Seeds of Evil

Episode 11: Slaves to the Outer Black

With Judith McKinght’s plan of a house warming party that would assist in revealing the Master behind all the troubles in Silent Waters almost upon them, there were a few final arrangements to put into place. Weapons were hidden around the Markhardt Estate and the liquid nitrogen machine was well placed in the basement. However, Dr. Edgar Blackford had one more clue he had to uncover; his African Crate which had been in his basement for months.

Knowing that something dangerous likely lived inside the crate, as suggested by the fox in Dr. Blackford’s dream, precautions were taken and a small hole was drilled in the side of the crate and a glass box was positioned so that the only way out of the crate was through the hole and into the box. Once the three investigators coaxed whatever was inside out, they could see and study it. Applying heat to the crate did the trick but it seemed as if they were ill prepared to see what emerged.

A small creature the size of a mouse but appearing like a giant, bloated, flea, this horrific but diminutive creature (later identified as a Death Tapper), tried to attack but after a small accident whereby it almost escaped, they quickly put things back in order and captured it. They determined the best course of action was to take it to the junk yard and have the demonic creature crushed, sending its essence back to no doubt the Outer Black.

It was then that they met up with Fr Jack Clowney, who provided more maps and charts that their ancestors has used to defeat Otto Markhardt over a hundred years ago. Apparently, his ancestor stated that they made an error in fighting the evil – they had no stopped the cultist at the height of his power. Had they done so, this evil could have been contained for good.

After a long and stressful day, the three of them went back to the Markhardt Estate and sat around a campfire sharing stories and drinking, putting together their final plans of how they would conduct their ritual, hoping that The Master would be present so that they could unveil him or her. This bonding experience seemed to work wonders on Dr Blackford’s dwindling psyche, but took a serious toll on his sobriety.

The following morning as Edgar stumbled home, Gwyneth Miller was waiting for him. It was here that Edgar showed an outpouring of his feelings for her as he was living in terror that somehow she was involved with others – Gunther Voss, Dr. Adrian Boley or anyone else that had crossed her mind. She certainly seemed open to his support but put him to bed, not wanting to discuss anything while either of them were drunk.

That evening, the party was ready and the plan was set. Most of the weapons were located in the basement where the void’s opening and the tear to the Outer Black rested. They suspected that the activity would take place there.

While mingling with the numerous guests that were present, each of them – Judith, Edgar and Zachary instantly got a message on their phones. Terrified that it would be another greeting from the Snuff Golem, they cringed. What they found was not from the Snuff Golem but instead an unknown individual sent graphic photos of Olivia Voss, slit open as a ritualistic killing. It was then that they raced to the basement but they were immediately confronted by the Organ Grinder. Immediately they set out on the ritual that needed to be cast but a mysterious figure, The Master, emerged from the shadows.

Gunther Voss.

It was Gunther all along, scheming and plotting his ancestor’s revenge on Silent Waters and carefully planning the destruction of the town. All that was needed now was the final strokes on the heroes and his scheme would be complete. He ordered the Organ Grinder to attack and this quickly led to a confrontation between Judith and Edgar, while Zachary continued with the ritual. Gunther explained how he had killed his servant, “Greggory Kildaire” and used his life blood as well as the blood of his wife, Olivia, to further fuel the Organ Grinder and it was now fully operational.

As Judith distracted the Organ Grinder, Edgar went into a blind rage, lashing out at Gunther.

As Zachary cast the spell, his mind was instantly transferred through space and time to the foul court of the Demiurge. This transcendent action put him before the mighty entity that wanted to enter the physical world to unleash havoc. Surprisingly, the Demiurge was not entirely displeased with Zachary, stating that he, the Demiurge was patient and that he would have another chance. However, he would give Zachary an option: The Demiurge was stay away from earth for 100 years if Zachary would either stay and be his servant or go back and convince either Judith or Edgar. It took Zachary a mere moment to take the heroic option and give his own life for the others.

At that exact instant, back at the Markhardt Estate, as Edgar was delivering the final blow, the ritual was cast, Zachary disappeared and the Organ Grinder was taken back beyond the Outer Black.

Epilogue:

Months had passed and Judith was visiting Edgar in Lich Park where he had been sent for his role in the murder of Gunther Voss. Obviously, the truth of what happened could be neither believed or told. Judith explained that Gwenyth was holding out hope. Edgar was satisfied, knowing he had made the right decision and thankful that Zachary had done the same . . .

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Episode 10: The Fox Says . . .

Judith McKnight and Dr. Zachary Wells went to the home of Dr. Edgar Blackford with the intent of telling him the results of their investigation from the past few days. Gwenyth Miller, who was also home, showed them in and they saw that Edgar had been hard at work, uncovering mysterious in the town but had come up with very little in the way of help. The first topic of conversation was explaining how they were fairly certain they had dispatched the Snuff Golem using the water guns that had been proposed. As the three decided what they would do next, it was decided that they should go to the home of Prof. Alan Wolff and meet with him and Dr. Samantha Woolsley, since they seemed to have some insight into what could be done as whatever was happening was quickly approaching.

Arriving at Wolff’s home, they discovered that he and Dr. Woolsley were engaged in similar research as Dr. Blackford. They showed him some of the images of things they had found, including the amulet that Judith had uncovered in a box in Gunther Voss’ basement. Prof. Wolff determined it was some form of attack that, if partnered with the correct incantations, would possible harm or drive off the entities from the Outer Black.

The discussion came around to the dream journal of Karen Cassius. Specifically, they discussed the ‘German fox’ that appeared in her journal. Edgar posited that the fox was some kind of metaphor for ‘The Master’ or whomever was trying to open the portal and bring in the evil into Silent Waters. The master was powerful, to be sure, to be able to go in and out of the dreams of others. But surely there was a way to stop him – or her. Prof. Wolff suggested that the Master would be nearly indestructible until their guard was let down while casting a ritual. There would clearly be a very small window of opportunity in which to stop the individual, which would surely involve violence.

At this point they decided to split up. Edgar wanted to go back to Voss Mansion to go through the family archives that had been compiled, Judith wanted to go visit the artist, Jenny Grieg and Dr. Wells wanted to check in at the coroner’s office.

Edgar found Gunther Voss more than wiling to help, providing him access to the genealogical archives in his basement while Gunther agreed to look into family histories in some texts he had upstairs – specifically whether any families in the area had a fox on their coat of arms. While poking around in the basement, Edgar’s research did not yield much in the way of family history, but he did find some parchment in a box marked ‘Krieger.’ The parchment appeared to be some kind of scroll with arcane writing on it (later determined to be a spell that could weaponize either earth, fire, water or air).

At that point Edgar heard a noise in the next room. Footsteps. Heavy.

As Dr. Wells dropped Judith and her dog Wit, off near the art community so she could speak with Jenny Grieg, they both could see dark clouds had rolled in over the bay. They could see several police cars roaming around town and after Dr. Wells dropped her off, he went to the coroner’s office to see if there was any news. Deputy Hadasa explained that there seemed to be a sudden increase in accidents, people being hurt and unusual activities around town, keeping all the police out. Dr. Wells’ stomach sank as these were bad signs.

When Judith and Wit arrived at Grieg’s home-studio, it was clear that Ms. Grieg was in some kind of altered state, her mind adrift in some unknown haze. When Judith asked to see some of the special paintings she had been working on, the artist heartily agreed. However, shortly after they arrived in the studio, Judith was shocked to see just how morbid and horrific some of the paintings were. One painting in particular showed a grotesque, shadowy figure at the banks of the water, ready to emerge and strike out at Silent Waters. Just as Judith was ready to excuse herself as she was increasingly nervous, a text came in from Dr. Wells. When she glanced down, that was enough time for Grieg to attack., clearly possessed or deranged After a brief struggle, Judith knocked Grieg back, causing her to fall out of a third story window. It was then that she stumbled downstairs to find Wit and called Dr. Wells that something had happened.

Upon arriving, Dr. Wells stabilized Grieg and pushed back all the onlookers who claimed that Grieg had been pushed. Since actual deputies were all on various scenes across town, Wells called some of the volunteer deputies, Rick Savage and Stephen Potts. As Dr. Wells tended to the victim, Ms. Grieg, he looked up at the attic window from where she fell and saw a sinister figure looming, peering out the window. He immediately called Judith to get her out of the house and then the two of them, aided by Potts and Savage, carefully went upstairs to investigate. While nothing was present, Judith was shocked to discover that the evil figure from Grieg’s painting was missing from it.

Meanwhile, Edgar Blackford called out to the noises her heard in the next room of Gunther’s basement. When he heard, in response, the sound of a drill starting up, he decided it was a good time to leave. But as he moved towards the stairs up, a massive creature, dripping with blood and oil, emerged from the next room. This was a nightmare made of flesh, gears and wires, looking like some kind of butcher with saws and drills for hands and missing a face other than a large gaping maw that was filled with jagged metallic teeth. This horror, an Organ Grinder as it was later identified, took a swing at Edgar, but thankfully missed. Edgar scrambled up the stairs, the creature attempted to grab him but failed. As Edgar ran screaming to his car, he alerted Gunther who also fled, after seeing the creature. When Edgar started his car, he saw the creature lumber from the basement and come outside. Edgar’s car started up and as he sped from the home, the creature used a hook on a chain in an attempt to fell a nearby tree. Luckily Edgar managed to speed away but crashed his car not far from the home.

The call came in to Dr. Wells from Dr. Alex Hogan, the local vet. It seemed she had been asked to help out around town as well, filling in as a paramedic on the scene of accidents. It seemed that she and a deputy had found Edgar’s car. Wells and McKnight went over to the scene as soon as possible as Wit needed to be looked at by a vet anyway.

Finding Edgar, he was in hysterical, raving about some kind of mist or a gigantic creature. Rather than have him rave on, they took him to Blessed Mercy Hospital and found that the place was a buzzing hub of activity with numerous accident victims roaming around the emergency room. Getting Sr. Catherine Bailey to assign them a room, they could talk in private while Edgar explained his story. It was then that Wells made the controversial decision to contact Dr. Adrian Boley, someone who Edgar never really trusted.

The arrogant Boley showed up, calmed Edgar down and provided some herbal teas and other items to help calm him and suggested he get rest. The group then saw to it that Edgar got home and rested with Gwenyth. Then a call to Gunther was in order to make sure he was OK, as well. He was vague but came to Edgar’s house to discussed further.

His intimate greeting with Gwenyth was somewhat off-putting to both Zachary and Judith but they quickly dismissed it as some past history between them. He explained that every word of what Edgar stated was true and that he hid in his home but the creature clearly had more of an interest in Edgar. It was then that the three went to Voss Mansion to investigate further.

At the mansion, they found stains of blood and oil, similar to the Chemical Spill Judith had first discovered in the Markhardt Estate when she moved in. In the basement they found pieces of appliances suggested that the creature built itself from pieces, akin to the Snuff Golem. Zachary determined that the creature, the Organ Grinder, would be harmed by extreme cold, so Judith committed to purchasing liquid nitrogen. Further, the creature was something like an assassin, likely sent by whomever was considered to be ‘The Master’ behind the numerous wicked plots in town. Finally, with regards to the creature, it seemed to need blood to power itself, and seeing as it had not recently killed anyone that they were aware of, it possibly was weaker than normal.

Examining the parchment that Edgar had found, it was clear that this was some kind of ritual that could be cast but it required a minor blood sacrifice as well as some knowledge that they felt they had. Further, some herbs were required to power it but one of those herbs was wolf’s bane, something not commonly found, but common in Europe.

Exhausted, they all returned home.

That evening, Edgar awoke from sleep at 3 AM with a rapping at his bedroom window. It was a fox. Unsure if this were a dream or reality, the fox spoke to him, saying that there was something about him that he, the fox, liked and had sympathy for. He suggested that since Edgar was not needed for his ritual, he should leave Silent Waters as the town was to be destroyed. He wanted others – something Edgar was not a part of. When Edgar asked about Gwenyth, the fox simply told him she did not deserve him as her lustful ways with Gunther Voss and Adrian Boley proved it. The fox ended with telling him that Edgar had a choice: flee Silent Waters or die with the rest of them.

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Episode 9: Seeds of Evil

Knowing that there were numerous avenues that needed investigation, Dr. Zachary Wells and Judith McKnight planned out several more lines of questioning. The danger that Silent Waters was in was increasingly more obvious to them and they were well aware of the gravity of the situation they were in. They determined that as unpleasant as it seemed, they would have to make their way to Lich Park Asylum and deal with Linda Plassey, the Gold Coin Killer.

Dr. Edgar Blackford used his connections to call ahead and get the two in to see Dr. Roman Thornton, the institute’s director. The pair then convinced him that needed to talk to Linda as she had vital information, they felt, on the activities in Silent Waters. She was connected to what was happening since one of her past relatives was considered one of The Ancestors who stopped Otto Markhardt years before.

In interviewing Ms. Plassey, they were specifically interested in wondering if she knew or had overheard anything dealing with her former neighbor at the institute, “Greggory Kildaire.” Ms, Plassey, mysterious as ever, alluded to the fact that she overheard him talking. However, she was certain that she was talking to someone who was not present, such as someone in his head or someone who was far away but could still hear him, as if he were on a phone. Her called this person, ‘Master’ and she felt that the relationship was akin to Igor’ or ‘Renfield.’ She did specifically hear him, prior to his escape, talk about Gwenyth Miller, the woman who he would later attack at Gunther Voss’ party. It was when they asked her to look at pictures of the Ancestors she became interested. Whereas she did not have much knowledge of them or their role, she seemed to understand that something big was happening and that she was a descendant, like Zachary, Judith and others. She implied, through code, that she would be willing to help if they were to break her out. Naturally, Judith and Zachary were, to say the least, resistant to such a plan.

When they searched the faux Kildaire’s cell again, they were further convinced that he was working with someone on the outside. This master must have allowed him the means to escape and was pulling the strings for whatever disaster was pending. When giving the cell as more thorough search, Judith discovered some kind of chicken bone which was a stylus. It radiated some form of magic which was most likely the instrument used to make the strange Chonic Alphabet markings on the wall.

Leaving Lich Park, they decided to call Susan Cassius, sister of the deceased Karen Cassius. They felt that she could have some answers to the Ancestors or, at the very least, they were interested in seeing if she were safe, since “Kildaire” could likely see her as a target as well.

Talking with Susan was more fruitful than talking to Linda Plassey. Since Susan was something of a paranoid shut-in since the death of her sister, she lived alone in a large home with few other things to do. They were pleasantly surprised to discover that not only had Susan been interested in genealogy in her time of seclusion, but she had been researching all manner of things associated with her sister’s death. She was very interested in the stories of The Ancestors and even provided her sister’s dream journal.

Upon examining the journal, they found that Karen, prior to her death, had been experiencing terrible dreams and nightmares that were becoming increasingly vivid. The common theme seemed to be a ‘talking German fox.’ The fox was a symbol of evil and terror in her dreams. Further, they found that doodles in the margins of the dream journal appeared similar to the Chonic Alphabet and as time went on, the characters in the margins were undoubtedly characters from that alphabet.

But there was one passage in the journal that truly seemed to strike Dr. Wells as he read some of the strange ramblings that Karen Cassius had made before her death: The deeds that would go on in Silent Waters would aid in the destruction of the town. The seeds of evil that were being sewn would bear a terrible fruit, indeed. The slow moral decay of the town by providing drugs, by engaging in unspeakable sexual acts would further deteriorating and weakening the structure of the town, which would, in turn, weaken the membrane that separated the Outer Black from the real world, allowing things like The Practice and the Snuff Golem to enter and flourish.

Judith theorized that there was a descendant of Otto Markhardt or someone involved in the original plot who was here pulling the strings. Someone, perhaps, in the art community, as they were well aware that the mad visions of the artists were the kind of fuel that aided the weakening of the membrane. This individual – "Kildaire’s"’Master’ was the likely culprit. But how to draw him – or her – out – was the question.

Deciding that Susan was not safe on her own, Judith set it up that Deputy Coye would come over and stay with the fragile Susan Cassius. Susan agreed and a quick call to convince Deputy Coye was all it took to get him to stay with the frightened woman.

Finally, Wells and McKnight went to the home of Steve and Daria Whitehouse in order to see what they may know. Since Steve Whitehouse was a suspect in the Snuff Film as well as other films that had surfaced, maybe he could be shaken up to reveal some details. During their conversation with him, he was close to revealing something but felt a drink was needed. As he got up, Dr. Wells saw an email come through on Steve’s computer. His blood ran cold when he say the subject line: thought you’d be interested.

Judith and Dr. Wells knew what this meant and sprung into action. When they intercepted Steve Whitehouse in his lounge, getting some glasses and some whiskey, they saw, right on the patio, the horrible Snuff Golem, right as it broke through the glass patio door. The horrible abomination was without a doubt, the same vile creature they had experienced before but this time they were prepared – they had large, full water guns as they were led to believe that water would impact the creature. During a brief altercation with both Judith and Dr. Wells being hurt, they managed to destroy the creature once and for all, leaving behind a scorched husk and some cobbled electronic equipment.

It was then that they knew whatever was happening, was going to happen soon as the evil creatures from the Outer Black were accelerating their attacks . . .

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Episode 8: Kildaire

Dr. Zachary Wells and Judith McKnight were putting together pieces of a puzzle. An ancient puzzle that had ramification in the modern day, impacting the lives of people in the community of Silent Waters. Knowing that something happened in the 1860’s, to a bloodline of people still present in the community today, they went to the home of Samuel and Lynne Miller, hoping to shake loose some new information.

Upon arriving at their spacious home, they noticed a group of landscapers tending to the lawn and surrounding property. Judith suspected this might be a good ‘in’ with the Millers, who were, according to reputation, somewhat surly. Of course, it was Mr. Miller’s law firm, Keller Yates that handled his medical practice so perhaps there was another avenue of conversation.

Judith and Zachary made some small talk with the Millers who seemed oblivious to much any family history. They certainly knew that Samuel’s family had been in Silent Waters for generations but did not know much beyond that. Before too many swipes could be taken at their friend, Dr. Edgar Blackford, Zachary managed to control the conversation. Samuel did, however, mention, that Gunther Voss, a mutual friend had supposedly had an interest in genealogy as Samuel’s firm had secured the transfer of some genealogical papers to his hands in the past few years. Samuel suggested they contact him.

A quick call to Gunther, the pair were on the road up to Voss Mansion in hopes of going through what could amount to valuable papers. On their way, they decided to contact Deputy Tim Coye, someone who was more than intimately aware of the Snuff Golem to see if he had any new details. They had a suspicion that Steve Whitehouse was somehow involved in the Snuff Film and knew the deputy was handling the investigation. Deputy Coye agreed to meet them for an early dinner once they were finished at Voss Mansion.

Upon arriving at the mansion, Gunther greeted them and made some small talk. He also asked how Gwenyth Miller was doing, happy to hear that her injuries from “Greggory Kildaire” were fare more superficial than initially thought. Getting down to business, they asked about his papers in the study of genealogy, stating they were working on a project where in depth knowledge of family history in Silent Waters would be invaluable. Gunther was happy to help and quickly showed them to his basement where he had an elaborate set-up dedicated to the study. Papers, maps, boxes, many of which were not yet gone through, were all at the their disposal.

Zachary and Judith spent hours in the basement, reviewing the material for any clue. Eventually, they came across some interesting things. First, there was a box labeled ‘R.M. Modiak’ which caught Judith’s attention due to her familial relationship with the Modiaks. Then there was a box that seemed to once be owned by someone named ‘Henry Thayer.’ Box boxes proved to yield some interesting information.

The Modiak box contained an interesting Stone Amulet which seemed to have some arcane nature to it. When the picture of the item was sent to Prof. Alan Wolff, Professor Wolff seemed very excited and both Judith and Zachary decided this was worth holding on to. In the Thayer box, they found not only a strange journal written by Henry Thayer, written in the Chonic Alphabet but also some strange floor plans.

At this point Zachary was more than well versed in the Chonic Alphabet and determined that Mr. Thayer, writing this journal in the 1920’s, was some kind of slavish lackey of the [{Tannhauser Bruderschaft]]. He was some kind of ‘leave behind’ asset of the organization, or at least of Otto Markhardt. It was clear from this journal that Thayer was involved in an occult conspiracy 100 years ago and that this had ramifications that extended to the present day. Further, they found floor plans for a home in the area that, according to the plans, had some kind of secret room in the basement. The plans had the name ‘Thayer’ on them but the address was mysteriously marked off. It was at this point that they suspected that Deputy Coye could get could them into city hall’s records office and they could further explore this mystery. They thanked Gunther for his help and went off to meet with Coye.

Coye explained that it was clear that Steve Whitehouse was involved in the rape and murder of several women. When questioned he was nervous and seemed to think his life was in danger. However, Coye agreed that nobody deserved the horrific creature that had torn apart their other deceased suspects. He said he was keeping an eye on Whitehouse but was not sure what else to do. It was at this point that Sachary and Judith showed him their floor plans and he agreed to get them into the records office to see if they could find out where the modern day location of the home was.

It did not take long for the three of them to determine where the house currently sat. It was owned by a husband and wife named Hiller (who had owned the property for several years). When the group went by the house, it was dark and several newspapers were outside. Walking around the exterior of the house there did not appear to be any signs of a break-in but they heard a noise – sounding like a lamp falling to the floor. Judith, against Deputy Coy’s wishes, quickly pulled out a lockpick and entered through the back of the house. With the deputy waiting outside, Judith entered and allowed Zachary access.

With Zachary and Judith poking around the dark house, they did not see any signs, other than an overturned lamp, of anything amiss. However, when they went upstairs they felt a strange presence. Before they could react, Judith was stabbed from behind and from the bathroom emerged “Greggory Kildaire” with a knife.

An altercation ensued where Zachary shot “Kildaire” and as he was trying to escape was shot again by Deputy Coye, who had entered upon hearing a shot fired. “Kildaire” now lay dead on the stairs. Zachary tended to Judith’s wound, which turned out to be superficial, and they asked Deputy Coy to watch the body and wait a few moments before calling it in. They then went to the basement where the floor plans said there would be a secret room.

The secret room contained the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Hiller, dead only a couple of days. It was clear that “Kildaire” must have come here to avoid the state police who had been looking for him after his escape from Lich Park Asylum. The room had the exact same dimensions as those in the basement of the Markhardt Estate and this further cemented the notion that Henry Thayer, who once owned this house, was associated with Markhaardt and the Tannhauser Bruderschaft. Further, Zachary deduced that the continued associations with bloodlines likely meant that “Kildaire” was somehow related to Thayer and thus knew about the secret room.

It was at that point both Judith and Zachary heard gunshots back upstairs. They quickly raced up to find Deputy Coye on the floor and “Kildaire” nowhere to be seen. Between gasps of breath, Coye explained that “Kildaire” must not have been dead and he got up, attacked Coye and escaped. It was then that Deputy called the incident into the station.

An hour later the entire house was covered with law enforcement officials They were zipping up the bodies of the Hillers and asking questions. Sheriff Craye was clear in his lack of patience at finding Wells and McKnight at every crime scene he had to investigate. During the processing and removal of the bodies, Wells asked Deputy Hadasa how her sessions with Adrian Boley had been going. She commented that they were going well but wondered if it was professional of him to have asked her out after the last session. She agreed to go out with him but still . . .

Later, when Zachary Wells went through some of the strange writing “Kildaire” had left behind in the secret room, he discovered that “Kildaire” seemed to have once had a normal life in Sunset Falls until something happened – The Master came and asked him to perform duties that would allow agents of the Demiurge to come through the Membrane that kept the evil entities out of their world and from the Outer Black. “Kildaire” an agent of these evil powers was given the gift of immortality – or at least the inability to be killed through normal means – so that he could help the Master execute his or her nefarious plans, involving targeting those people who were descendants of the Ancestors.

It was evident that whatever evil schemes were hatching, they were on the verge of fruition.

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Episode 7: Old Bones

As Dr. Zachary Wells sat in the morgue, pondering the numerous strange phenomena he had recently witnessed, Deputy Tim Coye approached him and seemed desperate for answers. His mind was still reeling from the confrontation with the Snuff Golem over a week ago. Whereas Dr. Wells did not have any hard answers, he did offer to pay for a therapy session with Dr. Adrian Boley, someone with whom Wells had a fruitful session with, himself. This seemed to placate Deputy Coye and he agreed to work with Boley.

At this point Judith McKnight arrived and she and Dr. Wells first picked up Fr. Jack Clowney and they made the car ride to Peller Lake. On the way, they explained to Fr. Jack, the progress they had made with their investigation and brought him up to speed on the importance of the Ancestors that several of them were related to. When the name ‘Dr. Raymond Geller’ was brought up as one of the Ancestors, Fr. Jack recalled that ‘Geller’ was once a prominent family name in Silent Waters and that Karen Cassius and her sister, Susan, were both likely descendants. This made their connection to the Ancestors, all the more mysterious. As to the connection with Reverend Wilcotts, Fr. Jack agreed to look into it that evening.

Upon arriving at Peller Lake, the group immediately set out to find the body of Otto Markhardt. They were certain, based on Judith’s dream, his body was likely located near the lake. Armed with shovels and a metal detector, they went about their work, interrupted only when the park ranger, Rick Savage, arrived to inquire as to what they were doing. Naturally, they did not talk about Markhardt or anything else out of the ordinary, merely stating it was part of an investigation. Savage warned them about the possible bobcat sightings in the area and cautioned them to be careful and not to stay out too late.

After Savage departed, they continued their work for several hours. Eventually they uncovered the body of Markhardt – or what was left of him – as well as some surgical tools nearby. Markhardt’s body was merely bones and Wells immediately contacted Deputy Kaleigh Hadasa to assist with the removal to take back to the morgue. The tools, Markhardt’s Tools were also taken back.

On the way back from Peller Lake, Dr. Wells received a phone call that Deputy Coye had pulled over a motorist because the tags had been flagged. It was Tatiana Atrov, the girlfriend of Anatoly Gradizh, who was a person of interest in the investigation into Gradizh’s death. The dispatcher suspected Wells would be interested in interviewing her. However, they would have to wait until Sheriff Craye was finished with his interview.

While they waited, Judith and Fr. Jack examined the Surgical Tools in Dr. Wells’ office, while Dr. Wells and Deputy Hadasa began the preliminary investigation into Markhardt’s bones. Hadassa, increasingly suspicious of what was happening in Silent Waters, tried to speak with Dr. Wells but he remained elusive. Meanwhile Judith and Fr. Jack discovered that the Chonic Symbols on the surgical equipment seemed to dedicated the items to a group called The Practice.

When Dr. Wells was finished with the initial examination, he then called Fr. Jack downstairs to see if a blessing could be performed on the bones. However, as soon as he begun, they were all filled with regret.

As soon as the first splash of holy water hit the bones, they came alive with the bones trying to reattach themselves and the ghost of Otto Markhardt appearing over the body, seen only by Dr. Wells. As the demonic ghost screamed out insults to Dr. Wells, stating that the work he had started must be finished, Dr. Wells had heard enough and began pouring hydrochloric acid on the bones, seemingly destroying it. It was at this point Hadasa had enough and demanded an explanation or else she, too, was going to take an ‘extended vacation’ like Dr. Smith. Dr. Wells begged her to stay, gave her a day off and offered her counseling with Dr. Boley, like Deputy Coye. Nevertheless, whatever doubts Fr. Jack had regarding the existence of the supernatural were quickly set aside.

Judith then went to go borrow the tome, Piercing the Darkness from Dr. Edgar Blackford. She wanted to see what could be uncovered about The Practice and in going through the text, she discovered they were an ancient order of medical practitioners who had shed their humanity, turned into something demonic and could be called upon to provide counsel to those seeking to uncover medical mysterious. But their endless experiments and horrific examination into medical research was a nightmare to humanity. It was quite likely that Otto Markhardt had been involved with these creatures which then led to the Ancestors investigating him.

Dr. Wells and Judith then decided to interview Tatiana. They felt she could provide a great deal of information to the case. They found that she normally entertained Anatoly’s guests, many of them she suspected were mobsters from ‘the old country’ or the Ukraine or Georgia, but then there were other guests that would come and she would be sent away, rarely seeing them. Though she did describe coming home early one night and seeing a car with a parking sticker that was associated with the local high school (the same high school where Mrs. Lynne Miller worked). When they left, they were unaware she was on the balcony. When shown a series of photographs, she did identify Robert Nuffleman, as well as Richard Simpson. In a surprise twist, she also identified Steve Whitehouse but there was another man (who she described as looking like comedian and actor Stephen Merchant) as one. When asked about Gunther Voss, she stated she had seen him before but nothing to do with this.

At this point, Sheriff Craye was convinced enough to send over Deputy Coye to the Whitehouse home to ask Mr. Whitehouse some ‘uncomfortable questions’ regarding his relationship with Anatoly Gradizh.

There was some discussion between Judith and Dr. Wells as to what to do with the surgical tools, Markhardt’s Tools. In the end they decided to keep them locked up in the morgue.

The following day when Dr. Wells came to investigate, the tools were gone and the lock ripped from the door. Quickly, Dr. Wells called Judith and the two of them watched the security tape. They saw as a mysterious figure, around 3 AM, arrived in the morgue and walked with a series of stutters and jerks as the video tape seemed to struggle to catch the video. As the figure, seemingly clad in medical garb, slowly turned to the camera, the horrific face, covered with a surgical mask glared at the camera before it went out.

That afternoon, Dr. Wells and Judith then went to speak to Prof. Alan Wolff and Dr. Samantha Woolsley. They discussed the dangers they uncovered regarding The Practice, an organization that Dr. Wolff seemed to have some knowledge of. As they discussed this danger, they theorized that Markhardt may have been working with the Practice before the Ancestors got wind of it which forced Markhardt to turn to more powerful magic to stop them. Hence, the dangers were still in Silent Waters, likely under the guidance of some figure who was working with Markhardt’s legacy. Prof. Wolff suggested that Greggory Kildaire was a likely candidate due to his connections with the Chonic Alphabet. Then, Prof. Wolff went to his secret research chamber and came out with three Elder Signs, which he said were amulets that offered protection against the unknown. These were identical to Woolsley’s Amulet.

Later that evening with Fr. Jack, he revealed that the research he had conducted into Silent Waters genealogy showed that Reverend Wilcotts was an ancestor of none other than Linda Plassey, the Gold Coin Killer.

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Episode 6: Peller Lake

After the horrific discovery of the Snuff Film and the clear psychological trauma it had caused Dr. Edgar Blackford and Dr. Zachary Wells, the group was frozen as to what steps to take. On one hand, there were many avenues to research. On the other hand, the group was drained of all emotional health. This was not a good way to embark upon a dangerous path. Knowing that getting Gwenyth Miller’s aid would lead to some difficult questions, Dr. Blackford considered other options. Perhaps another therapist he knew. Meanwhile, Judith McKnight decided to call Dr. Samantha Woolsley in order to get her input on what they had experienced.

Dr. Blackford had a former student living in the area, Adrian Boley. Adrian was a fairly successful ‘pop psychologist’ who had made a small fortune in writing self help books that were for popular consumption. His competence in real traumatic matters were limited but Edgar felt he was the best option under the circumstances. After a quick call, Edgar had set up a session for the group the following morning in Sunset Falls.

When Dr. Woolsley arrived, she was brought up to speed on what had happened. It was then that she revealed that she had a contact nearby, a mentor of sorts, who she had discussed the issue with, regarding what the others had been experiencing. She stated that her contact valued his secrecy on the matter and did not want to be known outside of the little group but was willing to help. When she revealed his identity, Professor Alan Wolff, this was a welcome surprise to Judith, who saw him as an uncle, but something of a sore spot with Dr. Wells who had been the target of Wolff’s scorn for his relationship with the serial killer, Linda Plassey.

That evening the group met with Professor Wolff who sat them down and explained what they were dealing with – or what he thought. He had found some accounts of what sounded like the Snuff Golem which had been encountered by several other individuals over the past 20 years. Among their discoveries were (a) the creature would likely never stop the rampage it was on and (b) it was theorized that water would be the main weapon against it. Professor Wolff later went on to explain the greater threats, again speaking about the Outer Black as well as the entities that were trying to seep through as well as the fact that the Outer Black became more powerful and the membrane weaker with the more people who experienced the horrific entities from beyond. It was then that he allowed them to explore his basement with his occult library and strange artifacts.

During the time the group spent researching in his library, Professor Wolff did mention that he felt there were specific focal points that the Outer Black needed, in order to come into the world. He theorized that the Ritual Slab as well as the Markhardt Estate could well be examples. He also pushed the idea that Peller Lake could be one as well, as he had personally experienced some unusual experiences there. Prof Wolff also showed them a text he called the Black Book which was written in the Chonic Alphabet which he subsequently lent to Dr. Blackford. The Black Book, Prof Wolff stated, may have some clues as to what was going on in Silent Waters. Nonetheless, the group agreed to conduct an investigation, the following evening, at the Markhardt Estate to see if his theory panned out. However, before they concluded for the evening, Dr. Wells noticed an unusual skull in Prof. Wolff’s library, something he felt would aid in the research process. Judith discovered that there was a series of clues they should investigate, confirming that the Markhardt Estate should be the next step. After all, if there were secrets – or dangers – in her home, she should be aware of them.

The next day the group went to the home of Adrian Boley for their therapy session. Whereas Boley was a fairly obnoxious individual, filled with what Dr. Blackford would later call ‘psycho-bable,’ and also evidenced by the numerous portraits of himself throughout the house (including a nude portrait), it could not be denied that his unique style of therapy ended up being helpful for most of the group – excluding Dr. Blackford, whose mind was likely not in the right place to get proper treatment. The session ended with Boley giving out his books to those gathered – You Are Me and You Are Me, Too.

Later that evening, after putting in time at their respective jobs, everyone gathered at the Markhardt Estate, including Prof. Wolff and Dr. Woolsley, in order to uncover whatever secrets they could find. They would be shocked at the discoveries they would soon make.

In the attic, Dr. Blackford made an unusual discovery. Under a secret bottom in an old trunk there was an old photo album from the 19th century, showing, what would later be identified as Otto Markhardt as well as his wife, Constance and his son, Willy. When shown, Dr. Wells recognized Otto from the apparition he had encountered at the Ritual Slab. Evidently, it was Markhardt’s ghost he had come across. Meanwhile, in the basement of the house, Judith found a secret hatch that lead to an earthen sub-basement. This area was a room that had broken furniture and even some strange sigils on the floor. The most remarkable feature was a series of small silver boxes, made by the Atlanta Silversmith company in the 19th century. Upon examining the sigils, Dr. Blackford determined it was some kind of gate. The gate would have been made by someone who was inviting entities from the Outer Black into the world and would have required a human sacrifice to do so. Unfortunately, closing the gate would also require a human sacrifice. This, it was surmised, made it easier for an entity like the Snuff Golem to come through into their world.

Upon careful examination of the silver boxes, Dr. Woolsley first determined that they had great value – likely in the current market between $8,000 and $11,000. When opened they found strange papers that seemed to be cursing specific individuals. Each of the six individuals cursed was, obviously, a person long dead, but had a remarkable coincidence to some of the present investigators. These Ancestors were related to Judith, Dr. Wells, Fr. Jack and Gwenyth Miller. Apparently, whomever created these boxes (which were not unlike voodoo dolls), presumably Otto Markhardt, wished great ill and ruin on the targets.

The next day they planned a trip to Peller Lake to see what clues could be found. The serene lake, with its natural beauty seemed an unlikely place for something sinister, however, that would be soon shown to be untrue. Professor Wolff reminded them that this had been the scene of several strange lights as well as some unusual sightings of what could have been dangerous wild animals (but local park rangers had found nothing). Further, it was Dr. Wells’ encounter with what he now knew was the ghost of Otto Markhardt, indicated unusual activities at Peller Lake. Searching the area, Judith found a strange Pocket Watch when she almost fell into the lake. The watch, with the initials ‘O.M.’ was also constructed by the Atlanta SIlversmith Company and quite likely seemed to be from the 19th century. Dr. Blackford, upon reaching the apex, looked down into the pristine waters and saw, clearly, similar sigils as the ones in Markhardt’s sub-cellar. Clearly, an attempt was made to create a gate, here, as well. Fortunately, however, it had not been powered. What was Markhardt doing out here and how was the gate not completed? Markhardt DID disappear but why, how and who was involved?

Upon concluding their investigation, and researching their own backgrounds, discovering their connections to the Ancestors, Judith had a strange dream that night. She had a vivid vision of the Ancestors, confronting a hooded man at Peller Lake who was attempting to summon a creature from beyond, presumably the Outer Black. In this altercation, the Ancestors not only stopped Markhardt but killed him in the process, burying his body in the lake, explaining his disappearance. Judith awoke in a cold sweat, holding onto the pocket watch she had found at the lake.

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Episode 5: We're All Mad Here

As Dr. Edgar Blackford sat with his patient, the psychic Natalie Cameron, in his Silent Waters office, he noticed that Cameron was agitated and upset. His anger and frustration seemed to be centered around a painting in the Art Colony called We’re All Mad Here. Cameron explained that he wanted to destroy it and perhaps hurt the artist, Jenny Grieg. Dr. Blackford made a promise that they would go there together and address the situation if Cameron promised not to do anything rash. That is when Fr. Jack Clowney, Dr. Zachary Wells and Judith McKnight arrived.

After Dr. Blackford dismissed Natalie Cameron, and while they were settling in, it was clear the group was somewhat agitated and upset. While Dr. Wells was getting more coffee, he saw at he top of the stairs a figure that resembled Gwenyth Miller, Dr. Blackford’s girlfriend, and instead of a friendly greeting, she simply growled in his direction. When Dr. Bradford went up to check on Gwenyth, she was lying in bed sketching something and had a surly disposition. When he checked to see what she was working on, he noticed that it was the start of some kind of piece that involved people around a table.

Somewhat disturbed by the events from Gwenyth, even though they paled in comparison to what he had gone through in the past 24 hours, Dr. Wells returned to Dr. Bradford’s office where the group talked about what had happened. They filled Dr. Bradford in on the events with the murders as well as the events with the email, ‘thought you’d be Interested’ and the Snuff Golem. They concluded with explaining what they had found in Piercing the Darkness and how it related to Gwenyth as well as the Chonic Alphabet. Both Dr. Wells and Judith were disturbed to discover that Dr. Blackford seemed to have no problem with a possible demon of vengeance coming after those who had participated in a Snuff Film.

It was then that they decided to meet up with Natalie and look at the painting he was so agitated about. Fr. Jack agreed to stay and look after Gwenyth. Disturbed at the reports about Gwenyth, Judith went upstairs to check on her while she was still working away at her sketch. Gwenyth’s disposition towards Judith was bitter and Judith decided backing out of the room was the best course of action.

The group then went over to the home-studio of Jenny Grieg to look at the painting. Meeting with Natalie, they approached and when they met Ms. Grieg, she seemed cold until they expressed an interest in the painting. When she said that another buyer was interested, Dr. Bradford decided that purchasing the painting, We’re All Mad Here for 500 dollars was a wise course of action.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wells and Judith both took an interest in the other pieces in Grieg’s studio, Lighthouse Landscape and Seaside Landscape. When Judith asked where Grieg got her inspiration, she paused and said it came to her in dreams. It was at this point that Judith surmised that she got her inspiration, more accurately, from the Dream Drugs that were once sold out of the Autumn Tavern by the now deceased Richard Simpson. This is about when Dr. Wells began intently staring at the painting, Seaside Landscape. Before he knew it, some force had taken over his mind and he found himself lost in the painting, becoming one with the strange images he began to see. He was staring into the ocean as something, perhaps it was oblivion, staring back at him, coming from the depth at a rapid rate.

Dr. Bradford and Judith were both unaware of Dr. Wells’ strange behavior. Judith instead wanted to press on whatever it was that Grieg was working on next. She remained secretive and Judith guessed that a combination of cozying up to her, offering to buy one of the paintings and getting for her more Dream Drugs would be her ticket into looking at so much more of what Grieg had to offer. When Judith offered to buy Lighthouse Landscape, Grieg seemed to loose some of her cold exterior and went to get some packaging paper. While she was gone, Judith and Dr. Blackford both noticed the strange behavior of Dr. Wells and when they tried to bring him out of it, he attacked Dr. Blackford, destroying Grieg’s coffee table in the process. When Grieg returned, upset, she was calmed when Dr. Wells agreed to buy the painting. Strangely, upon leaving, Grieg beckoned Judith to return, whispering and flicking her ear with her tongue.

Upon leaving, Dr. Blackford assured Natalie that everything was fine and the painting would trouble him no longer.

The three went their separate ways as each had something different to do. Judith followed Dr. Wells as he had been acting strangely and watched as he want down to the pier, staring at the water and speaking with Claude Rickson, the strange man who offered tourists boat rides. Before Dr. Wells could get into the boat for another ride, Judith took him back home. When she dropped him off, she went to the Autumn Tavern, broke in and found where Simpson had kept his Dream Drugs. It did not take her too long to find them as she had a solid idea of where they had been hidden from before. She was surprised when she found 2 pounds of the narcotic. Getting home, she removed a small sliver and sent it to the lab of Plymouth College to be analyzed.

Dr. Blackford went home to find neither Fr. Jack nor Gwenyth present. He called and found they were out for ice cream. He agreed to meet them but before he left, he checked his clipping service and saw an article that talked about how Silent Waters’ art community had tripled in the past couple of years making it a great place to find affordable and interesting art. The article, aimed at northeastern tourists was intended to be charming, but Dr. Blackford found it somewhat disturbing in light of the connection Judith and Dr. Wells had made between the increased activity of the unusual and that of the imaginations and insight of artists. Were the artists unwittingly responsible for what was happening in Silent Waters? Nonetheless, when Dr. Bradford met up with Fr. Jack and Gwenyth, she seemed transformed and in a better mood. But when they got back home, he saw her completed sketch she had been working on. It looked identical to the painting, We’re All Mad Here. He urged her to take it down from the wall . . . .

The following day, both Dr. Blackford and Dr. Wells both had patients they had to see. Judith, by contrast, went to the city records office and then to the bank where she met up with Daria Whitehouse. Her attempt to find out more about the Markhardt Estate revealed some interesting information. First, it seemed that Otto Markhardt and his wife Constance, bought the property and built the house back in 1864. Then, in 1875 Constance and their son, Willy, moved away. Constance was listed at the sole owner of the property and no mention of what had happened to Otto was referenced. Judith was convinced that the house played an important role in what was happening in town. She was also convinced that the house likely held secrets that were not yet discovered.

As she left the bank, she ran into Deputy Tim Coye who was waiting near her car. After lecturing him for what seemed like stalking her, he asked what she was doing about what they had seen and what he could do to help. It was evident that he was agitated and terrified still of what they had encountered. She told him to be patient and to what and see what they could do as she was still trying to figure things out.

As Dr. Bradford was finishing up for the day, he noticed an email that was waiting for him. The subject line simply read: ‘thought you’d be interested’ and it had an attachment. His blood ran cold and he immediately called Dr. Wells and Judith to come over.

When they arrived, Judith with Wit and Dr. Wells with his pistol, they were unsure what they would encounter. Dr. Bradford showed the email and they agreed to open it and view it. It was the murder of Robert Nuffleman, shown from the perspective of what they could only assume was the Snuff Golem It even showed when Coye, Judith and Dr. Wells broke in towards the end. What was most disturbing was the delirium that Nuffleman entered as he was being chopped apart. He was singing the classic Disney tune from the 1950’s Alice in Wonderland movie, ’We’re All Mad Here.’

Dr. Wells was barely able to keep things together but did manage to capture the video on his phone. After it was over, they were all in a state of shock. Dr. Bradford hit reply and began going back and forth with emails from the individual who sent it.

Whomever or whatever it was that was answering was taunting them.

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Episode 4: Piercing the Darkness

Judith McKnight and Dr. Zachary Wells went to Gradizh Mansion as they had gotten a phone call from Sheriff Craye, requesting them to investigate a crime scene. However, they were il prepared for what they were about to encounter. Upon serving the warrant to examine property for illicit materials in the death of Shayna Rossi, they had uncovered something else.

Upon arriving at the mansion, they were quickly introduced to Deputy Kaleigh Hadasa, the assistant forensics examiner who was doing preliminary examinations outside on the grounds. Shortly after they went inside to see the crime scene.

Going inside Deputy Tim Coye showed them what had happened. In total there were three bodies; Anatoly Gradizh and two brothers later identified as Arturo and Jose Gutierrez. Gradizh had been hanged from the ceiling, his leg mutilated, his face beaten and his genitals smashed over and over again. Arturo was in the kitchen with almost every utensil from the draws inserted in his body. Finally, Jose was found in the upstairs bathroom, electrocuted from a hair dryer. Curiously, the entertainment center in the living room was moved, allowing access to the electrical socket, identical to the murder of Richard Simpson, at the Autumn Tavern.

Subsequent to examining the horrific state of the bodies, Dr. Wells and Deputy Coye examined the basement and found a secret passage off from the gym room. What they found was a dungeon with items that had a strong sexual uses. Further, there was a set up for a film studio, including cameras and lighting. When Dr. Wells examined the walls, he noticed that the stucco was the same on these walls were the same from the Snuff Film he had seen. Further, there were stacks and stacks of videos and DVDs in a side room. Evidently, these were the adult films and perhaps other snuff films that they had been looking for. They were packed up and sent back to the police station for review.

Over the next couple of days, Dr. Wells examined the corpses and Judith requested from Sheriff Craye that she be allowed to examine the videos. Sheriff Craye allowed her to help, reluctantly, and mentioned that an outside consultant was already helping, Prof. Walter Peasley.

The results of Dr. Wells’ investigation was that whomever did this to Gradizh and the Gutierrez brothers was either very strong or had some kind of a device to hold them in place. Perhaps the most disturbing element was the fact that when examining Gradizh’s genital area, the small splinters that were found seemed as if two pieces of wood smacked together over and over again.

Like a director’s clapper.

Oh yes, someone was making a movie. Their own snuff film.

Meanwhile, the several days Judith spent reviewing virulent pornography with Professor Peasley, revealed some clues. First, the vast majority of the films were best classified as ‘underground dungeon porn’ but there were a small number that did end up in the death of the female performer. These women matched up the bodies that were found out in the forest behind the Markhardt Estate. Second, one of the things she noticed was that one of the men in the pornographic films had a strange mole on his hand that Judith recognized from somewhere but could not place it. Since the men all worse masks, this was the only clue she had but it was nagging at her.

After spending all this time viewing grotesque sexual images, Judith needed a break. While reviewing what to purchase at the vending machines, she got a call from Dr. Samantha Woolsley who wanted to speak with her and Dr. Wells as she had just returned from Miskatonic University with some valuable information. They agreed to meet at the Paul Revere Brewery for drinks to discuss.

Dr. Woolsley had with her a book she had pulled from the private collection at the Miskatonic Library. The book, a German text, Piercing the Darkness, proved to be a valuable resource. She explained that this was the text book of the sinister organization, the Tannhauser Bruderschaft which was connected to the Ritual Slab. The book explained the existence of a ‘membrane’ that existed between the outer world, called the Outer Black where terrible entities existed that wanted into the world of man. These demons or ghosts or aliens could only slip through on occasion but there were those people who wished them to, to cause mischief and evil. Individuals, like the Tannhauser Bruderschaft seemed dedicated to this. Further, she explained that the entity which seemed to hold dominion over the Outer Black went by the name Demiurge.

While going through the book and explaining the facts, Dr. Wells noticed sections of the book contained Occult Symbols that were the ones found in the cell of “Greggory Kildaire” which caused him to take the text and compare them with the journal found in his cell at Lich Park Asylum. Dr. Woolsley explained that these sigils were called the Chonic Alphabet. He then compared the pictures that were taken of Gwenyth Miller’s back which contained the same symbols. When he was able to translate what the sigils meant, he translated them as ‘This woman is the blood of your enemies.’ It seemed that Ms. Miller was involved in what was happening, whether she wanted to be or not.

It was at that moment that Judith remembered where she saw the mole on the hand from the videos. It was someone from the Silent Waters Writers Circle, Robert Nuffleman of Nuffleman Family Photography. With that knowledge she and Dr. Wells excused themselves from Dr. Woolsley and and called Deputy Tim Coye and stated they had to get to Nuffleman, immediately.

Dr. Wells and Judith made their way to Nuffleman Family Photography where they met Deputy Coye. Coye went inside to find, question and possibly arrest Mr. Nuffleman. But mere moments after going in, they heard gunshots and immediately went in to investigate. When they got inside, they came face to face with a nightmare in stark reality.

Deputy Coye had his gun drawn and Nuffleman was lying on a desk that was covered i blood as he had been cut open with over 100 incisions. But the entity that took center stage was a horrible creature with a lens for an eye a needle for an arm and a chord that seemed to extend from the body of the creature and was plugged in to a outlet. It had clearly been filming what it had been doing. Dr. Wells took a few photos of the thing on her phone.

A brief firefight broke out but when it was evident that they were not suited to deal with the creature, they fled the scene and called the police, while fleeing in Deputy Coye’s car as fast as they could. Dr. Wells looked at the photo on the phone and the creature seemed to eerily stare back at him. He sent the photo to the state’s investigator, Dr. Conway Horst. They waited for at least 45 minutes before they returned and found the place was crawling with crime scene investigators.

The official explanation given was that they had a clue that Nuffleman was involved and when they arrived on the scene they found a man dressed in some nightmarish monster suit. There was no way they could explain that a demon on monster was responsible. Besides, the photograph sent to Dr. Horst was a blur. Dr. Wells could see it fine and even Judith could see it fine, seeming that people who saw the actual creature could see images of it as well.

The following day, Dr. Wells determined that this creature, this Snuff Golem was something that was referenced in Piercing the Darkness, as a manifestation of evil that came into being when something terrible or horrific took place. The Snuff Golem likely came into being as a result of the evils that had been enacted upon the women in the snuff films.

The swirling images going through Dr. Wells’ mind prompted him to go visit Fr. Jack at Precious Blood. Dr. Wells spoke about what he saw and it was clear that Fr. Jack did not believe that demons were running around Silent Waters but instead suggested that they see Dr. Edgar Blackford and at that point, they decided to pay him a visit.

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Episode 3: Dr. Woolsley, I Presume

While enjoying the weekly Poker Night at the Paul Revere Brewery, Judith McKnight, Dr. Zachary Wells, Stephen Potts and Fr. Jack Clowney were joined by Dash Cartessia as Dr. Edgar Blackford was still tending to Gwenyth Miller. The discussion came up about some of the strange activities in Silent Waters and how the string of brutal murders in the past six months, combined with the escape of “Greggory Kildaire” were making the town a chilling place to live rather than the welcoming and exciting place that it once was.

As the conversation moved to other areas, Judith mentioned that she was going to do some more work on the house and even wanted to explore the forest behind the Markhardt Estate. It was at that point that Dr. Wells agreed to accompany her as he was curious about the forest as well.

The following day, Sheriff Craye came by Dr. Wells’ office and with his usual disdain for Dr. Wells, it was clear he was on an assignment that he did not approve of. He pointedly stated to Dr. Wells that Mayor Hornsby wished to see him, immediately. Sheriff Craye was silent as he drove him over to city hall. Upon meeting with the Mayor, Dr. Wells was informed that when the police department sent the faxed and emailed the files to Dr. Smith, the town’s medical examiner who was still on vacation, the mere sight of the work and the mess involved caused Dr. Smith to put in for early retirement, effective immediately. This left the town without a medical examiner and the Mayor was now offering this task to Dr. Wells who had been filling in while Dr. Smith was on vacation.

Later, Dr. Wells went to the Markhardt Estate where he joined up with Judith and the two of them, along with Judith’s dog, Wit, ventured into the forest to investigate some of the clues they were hoping to find. After an hour of searching, they came across something very curious. A strange rock formation, buried under weeds, leaves and overgrown roots as well as a Ritual Dagger. As the two began to examine the stone, they realized it was huge, some 40 feet in diameter and by the looks of things, it had not been disturbed in what may have been decades. At this point, they had the idea to call the historian they knew, Dr. Samantha Woolsley. As they were so deep into the forest that their phones did not work, Judith agreed to go back to the house, call Dr. Woolsley and return once she arrived, leaving Dr. Wells at the slab.

Upon Judith’s return to the house, she noticed the eerily familiar Flock of birds gathering on top of her home. The flock was silent and merely stared at her as she approached. She was unable to function for a few moments as the potent was an eerie glimpse into the horror that had been stalking her. However, she was able to pull herself together, call Dr. Woolsley and make it to her car where she sat, silently waiting.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wells, back at the stone area in the forest, continued to scrape away the dirt and leaves that were covering the rock. That is when a spectral hand came out from underneath the dirt and debris to grab him. A figure emerged, ghostly and pale, muttering some strange language he could not understand. The entity was in old garb, such as clothing and style from the 1800’s. As the entity came for him, he fired his weapon but the bullets seemed to pass right through it. Dr. Wells was able to film a small part of this encounter on his phone but as he lunged towards the creature, it disappeared but not before the entity seemed to make a reference to Peller Lake outside of Silent Waters.

When Dr. Woolsley arrived at the Markhardt Estate, Judith had finally gotten over her terror as the flock of birds had just flew away. She was able to compose herself and greet Dr. Woolsley. However, Wit, normally well behaved, seemed to growl at the history professor, which was rather unusual. They ventured into the woods to show Dr. Woolsley the strange formation. When they arrived, Dr. Wells was leaning against a tree, breathing hard, still unsure of what he had seen. He immediately explained the spectral encounter he had, Dr. Woolsley acted suspicious but when he showed the video from his phone, which did not show the figure but showed the leaves and earth being disturbed, Dr. Woolsley seemed slightly more convinced. But Judith was certain that she believed what Dr. Wells was talking about.

Upon examining the strange formation, Dr. Woolsley commented that the formation seemed to have some kind of strange Latin and Germanic runes that she was somewhat familiar with. She spoke about old fraternal organizations that were common in Europe, most of which were professionally oriented trade groups with the trappings of the occult or unusual. This set of runes seemed to be the work of a somewhat famous, and sinister group called the Tannhauser Bruderschaft which had popularity and notoriety in Germany in the 1700’s and 1800’s. But she would have to examine more later in the library.

But there was something that both Dr. Wells and Judith thought was unusual with Dr. Woolsley’s approach. They felt as if there was something she was holding back. When Dr. Woolsley stopped to examine some other clues in the dirt, Judith took a look at her phone and it was clear she was texting someone about what she had discovered. When directly confronted, Dr. Woolsley looked around and suggested she would tell them more but not until they got back to the Markhardt Estate. It was getting dark and Wit was still giving Dr. Woolsley the darkest of looks.

Upon returning to the Markhardt Estate, Dr. Woolsley revealed that she was a member of a small group of like minded researchers in the greater New England area that were investigating increasingly possible paranormal activity. Due to some experiences each individual had (but none that Dr. Woolsley would specifically allude to), she explained that there seemed to be more and more events as of yet unexplained by science and many of these activities were classified as ‘dangerous.’ Whereas Dr. Woolsley did not wish to reveal any other members, for the time being, she stated that the strange ritualistic stone in the forest could well be related to the kinds of things the group investigated. Of course, the connection was made, however, thin, that the references to the Tannhauser Bruderschaft as well as the Germanic sounding name, ‘Markhardt’ may well be worth more investigation. Dr. Woolsley stated that she would investigate the libraries at Plymouth College as well as some in the Arkham area, and would check back with Judith and Dr. Wells later when she was finished. She also provided both of them with a special number to reach her night or day that she would answer if it rang.

The following day, Judith spent most of her time in the library, researching old records, especially anything that could be related to the strange stone slab in the forest or the Markhardt Estate. Very little seemed to exist on who the Markhardts were, other than that they moved away a century ago. However, one thing that she noticed, in examining old records from the town was that there was once a prominent family in town called the Modiak Family. This struck out to her as this was the name of her maternal grandmother’s family. A quick call to her mother revealed that ‘Grandma Modiak’ was from somewhere in New England but her mother was not sure. It could not be a coincidence that such an unusual name was not related, was it?

Meanwhile, Dr. Wells was reviewing some of the reports from the material from the Snuff Film murders they were investigating. He managed to get a break in the case when the stucco on the walls in the background of the tape matched a very specific kind of material that was only used in one construction project in Silent Waters in the past few years. It was special ordered for a project by one Anatoly Gradizh during a recent remodeling of his home. Armed with this knowledge he informed Sheriff Craye who immediately had a search warrant issued. Despite the earlier thoughts of Gradizh may or may not having been involved, it was clear he was. This was the clue they needed!

Shortly after the warrant was executed, Dr. Wells got a phone call from Deputy Tim Coye who stated that Wells was needed at the Gradizh Mansion immediately.

Something dark was discovered.

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Episode 2: Thought you'd be interested

As Dr. Zachary Wells sat with his uncle Walter in the Paul Revere Brewery, discussing the events at the Voss Mansion, Judith McKnight, Dash Cartessia and Wit were across town going through the Markhardt Estate, making plans for what alterations could be made to the home. Meanwhile Dr. Edgar Blackford was at home, tending to Gwenyth Miller who was still recovering from the events at the Voss Mansion.

As Dr. Wells informed his uncle of some of the strange and jarring details of the events, including the strange Occult Symbols that seemed to come into play, Judith McKnight suddenly realized that Wit had gone missing from the back yard where he had been present just moments before. Before long, she and Dash went from curious looking to mild concern as the dog just seemed to vanish. They soon found themselves in the woods. As the investigation deepened, they found Wit at The Tree and he seemed to have uncovered a body that had been buried. When approached, Wit growled and almost bit Judith as his work seemed obsessive in uncovering the body.

An hour later, the entire area was covered with Silent Waters police, including Sheriff Craye, as well as as Dr. Wells and Walter who were called in to consult. It seemed that there was not just the body of one woman but three others that had buried here over a series of months. These, including the body of Karen Cassius that was found here, brought a total of 5 bodies found in the general area. Sheriff Craye was concerned about creating a panic and swore everyone to secrecy. Alex Hogan, who was present because she was looking after Wit, decided to take him back to her office for the night for observation.. Dr. Wells was asked to act as the medical examiner since the town’s normal examiner was on vacation. This would be grim work, indeed.

The following day Dr. Wells and Judith met the state’s medical examiner, Dr. Conway Horst, who came in to assist with the bodies and the examination of the crime scene. When the rest of the bodies began to be unearthed, it was discovered that all the others were female and had all met similar fates: bound, raped, and then finally murdered in some way that up close and personal, such as a gun shot wound to the head of slicing of the throat. The ME determined, however, that only one individual had likely dumped and buried the body. The reason none of these had been found is because they were buried well, few people came out here and when Karen Cassius was found in January, there was snow on the ground that had obscured the scene. However, at least Dr. Wells had identified the first body. It was a woman named Shayna Rossi and she had only been dead a few days.

The following morning, after a long day of working on the corpses and finding whatever clues would be be found, Dr. Horst arrived in a car to pick up Dr. Wells as something new had transpired and Dr. Wells was needed immediately.

They arrived shortly at the Autumn Tavern where Dr. Wells noticed several squad cars and deputies outside an inside the restaurant. Upon entering, Dr. Wells’ gaze met with that of Fr. Jack, who was silently praying and holding his rosary, as if something deeply disturbing had been found. Dr. Horst explained that Fr. Jack had found something early that morning when coming in for coffee. The restaurant was open but nobody was around. When he investigated, he found something chilling in the basement.

Descending the stairs, Dr. Horst prepared Dr. Wells for a shock, but nothing would have truly prepared Dr. Wells for the morbid scene that he was about to be confronted with. In one of the storage rooms, Richard Simpson, the suspicious owner of the Autumn Tavern was lying in the middle of the room, dead, amid pools of viscera, shit, urine and blood. It appeared as if he had been tied down, beaten and anally raped, repeatedly. Teeth were missing and chipped as something had been shoved in and out of his mouth. One of the meat freezers had been pulled away from the wall and unplugged. Voluminous drug paraphernalia and cash was in plain view (as it was long rumored that the Autumn Tavern was a front for a drug operation). So again, Dr. Wells would be looking at a body to examine for the day. This was turning into grim work while the coroner was away.

When Dr. Wells went outside to get a breath of fresh air and clear his head, he ran into Judith who was walking Wit. He asked for her help in the examination of the clues and she agreed, warning her of the horrific crime that had been committed – which Sheriff Craye and Dr. Horst were calling a ‘drug hit’ and keeping the crimes separated from any others. They again examined the area but this time had decided to look at the business office for the Autumn Tavern. Whereas they found some shady books, that a forensic accountant would need to examine, the decided to look at his computer. Aside from finding a disturbing amount of lurid fetish pornography, there was an interesting email titled ‘Thought you’d be interested.’ It was unopened and at that point, Dr. Wells chose to investigate. There was no text but there was a video file. Knowing he would regret his actions, Dr. Wells clicked on it.

In short, it was a video of a Snuff Film. The ‘star’ was none other than Shayna Rossi. In the video, she was in a room, clearly some kind of well designed ‘sex dungeon’ complete with toys, furniture and other things appropriate for a BDSM ‘playroom’ Several men, all wearing leather fetish hoods talked to her and she proceeded to have sex with them until it became violent and horrific. Filming the entire affair, it concluded, grimly, with Shayna pleading for her life, and staring into the camera before one of the men shot her, point blank, in the head.

At this point, there was no use in keeping it hidden. The police were brought in and the material was immediately sequestered to have it examined. (The file was later found to be sent from a server in Norway that specialized in fetish pornography and the email address was associated with the server.) As Dr. Wells and Judith later began examining the body for clues, they were interrupted by Dep. Tim Coye who brought them coffee and seemed morbidly curious about the video. It was Dep Coye who suggested that there was one person in town who supposedly knew a great deal about fetish pornography and that was the Russian recluse, Anatoly Gradizh.

Later, when the two went to Gradizh Mansion to question Anatoly, they were greeted by a woman later identified as Tatiana Atrov, whose relationship to Anatoly was unclear. It took time to get to him as he obviously did not want to speak to anyone until they identified themselves as ‘with the police.’ Then he spoke with them but reluctantly. They asked about his knowledge of snuff films, his knowledge of cameras, and his knowledge of Shayla Rossi. He was dodgy on all of the topics, but Judith determined he was being deceptive and knew far more than he was letting on. However, he did mention, that the camera they suspected in use for the Snuff Film, was a large on, and an expensive model. It was at that point that they realized the likely significance of the freezer having been moved and unplugged in the basement of the Autumn Tavern – someone needed the electrical outlet for a camera. Had someone taped Simpson’s murder as well?

With the interview over – but hardly satisfied with the conclusion – they departed Gradizh Mansion to further examine the deepening mysteries that were unfolding.

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