In early January 1925, a half-dozen people scattered around the world received mysterious telegrams from their good friend Jackson Elias. In it, Jackson declared he had new information about the Carlyle Expedition, and he needed a group of reliable, trustworthy investigators. What could Jackson mean? All the telegram’s recipients could vaguely recall about the Carlyle Expedition was that it was lost somewhere in Africa a few years ago.
Dr Dudley Franklin, Ikil Lit, Jacob Rossini and Dr George Burton were Jackson’s old friends from the Peruvian expedition of 1921. The capricious Jezebel Slaughter also received a telegram, but the tempestuous woman could not be lured from her farmhouse in Kansas. Instead, she sent her childhood friend Tom Washington. The inclusion of Charles Collins Jnr—a new acquaintance of Dr Dudley and Ikil met two years previously during an investigation of strange doings in a farmhouse outside Arkham—rounded out the group.
The telegram urged the recipients to meet Jackson in New York on January 15th. The weather was atrocious, and travel to New York was difficult—particularly for George, who had to rapidly take ship from the far-off United Kingdom.
Despite these difficulties, by the 13th of January, the group had gathered in New York.
Jacob Rossini had even managed to find out more about the Carlyle Expedition. The expedition had set out from New York in 1919, sailed to London before heading onto Egypt and then Kenya. It was in Kenya, while it was rumoured they searched for certain Biblical treasures—perhaps even King Solomon’s lost mines, the expedition had been massacred by tribesmen somewhere deep in-country. In any event, no identifiable bodies had ever been recovered, and the execution of the murderers had laid the affair to rest.
But Jackson’s friends’ curiosity had been whetted. What new information did the intrepid investigative author possess?
A Friend on the Phone
On the morning of January 15th, Jackson telephoned his friends and asked them to visit him at Hotel Chelsea at 8 pm in his room, number 410. This number seemed most strange and propitious for several of the group—Dudley, Ikil, George and Jacob—had all had a peculiar dream four years ago in Peru featuring a hotel corridor and a room with the number 410 on the door.
The friends couldn’t wait for 8 pm and immediately set out for the hotel—braving savage winds, freezing temperatures and snow drifts before descending into New York’s subway.
They reached Hotel Chelsea without incident, but it quickly became apparent something was wrong as the group neared Jackson’s door. As Ikil bent down to see if it was locked, he heard a muffled scream and then a deep sigh as if someone was breathing their last. Quickly, the intrepid bodyguard picked the lock, drew his pistol and flung open the door…
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