On Tuesday, the investigators did not leave their hotel. Several savage snowstorms pummelled New York, rendering travel quite impossible. This gave the group time to plot and plan.
By the next morning, the snowstorms had passed through the city. Although deep snowdrifts blocked many of the streets, New Yorkers were a hardy bunch; businesses began to reopen, and public transport again began to function.
The group split up to follow various leads.
Arkham & Harvard
Dr Dudley, Dr George and Ikil Lit took a train out of the city to engage in more research. Dr George went to Harvard to meet Miriam Atwright at Harvard University’s Widener Library, where he learnt Jackson had asked to borrow Africa’s Dark Sects. Sadly, the book—a lurid travelogue and expose of the dark continent—had been stolen several months before Jackson wrote to Miss Atwright. Dr George spent the balance of the day in the library before heading onward to Dr Dudley’s house in Arkham,
Meanwhile, Dr Dudley and Ikil Lit travelled to Arkham. Dudley was briefly reunited with his wife before heading off to the university to meet Professor Anthony Cowles. While Dudley’s wife, Eloise, had already met the anthropologist and listened to the partial recording of his lecture, she suggested that Dudley should listen to it himself. Dudley wasn’t an idiot; he knew a “suggestion” when he heard one.
Professor Cowles was a friendly man. An Australian, his talk centred on Australia and its environs. In his talk, he revealed details of strange ruins—perhaps unguessably ancient—found deep in the Australian desert. He even had a photograph of the ruins and gave Dr Dudley a copy! With much learnt—but now with more questions—Dudley and Ikil returned to his townhouse. The plan was to rest overnight before returning to New York the next day.
The New York Times
On his own, Jacob visited Rebecca Shosenburg at the New York Times. There he learnt much about the eight murders prior to Jackson’s. Miss Shosenburg had kept extensive notes and clippings, and the pair pored over them all day. Afterwards, the reporter offered to set up a visit with Millie Adams, wife of Hilton Adams, who had been sentenced to death for the previous eight murders. Rebecca believed him innocent and, at Jacob’s prompting, agreed to try and arrange a meeting with the death row inmate as well.
Enduring (for Charles) the horror of public transport, Charles and Tom travelled into Harlem to visit the Ju-Ju House. On the way, Tom stopped off at his hotel to retrieve a veritable arsenal of weapons. Concealing a rifle under his coat, he led the unsuspecting Charles to West 137th Street.
As the pair struggled through the deep snow to the Ju-Ju House, two men wrapped in thick coats crossed the road and shouted out to them. Charles—fearing danger—dropped back; Tom went on alone.
It transpired the two men were plainclothed policemen. Unfortunately for Tom, one of the pair was eagle-eyed and spotted the suspicious bulge caused by a rifle under Tom’s coat. When the policemen tried to disarm and arrest Tom, the farmer shot them both dead. At this, Charles fled while two more policemen who happened to be in the area rushed to the scene.
Tom rushed down the dead-end alley to the Ju-Ju House. Bursting in, he took the proprietor, Silas N’Kwane, hostage and demanded to know what was going on. While starting to search the shop, Tom tied up Silas and gain demanded answers. When answers were not forthcoming, Tom shot the man in the foot.
As he did, more heavily armed policemen arrived. Out for blood, they didn’t bother demanding Tom’s surrender. In short order, they forced their way into the shop and cut Tom down in a hail of shotgun shells.
Unsurprisingly, after the events of the previous day, Charles and Jacob were hauled into Precinct 8a for questioning on the morning of the 22nd by Lieutenant Poole—the policemen they had met several days ago at the site of Jackson’s murder. This time, the questioning was less gentle, and the pair spent all day answering questions about Jackson Elias, Tom Washington and the connections between the two.
However, it seemed the police accepted that Tom had acted alone and eventually, the pair were released without charge. They were strongly advised not to visit Harlem again.
Alerted to Tom’s berserk killing spree by a slightly panicked late-night phone call from Charles, Dr Dudley, Ikil Lit and Dr George stayed in Arkham to do more research. They were pursuing several avenues of interesting research and had learnt much. It seemed the symbol cut into Jackson’s head was the sigil of the Cult of the Bloody Tongue—an ancient sect with possible connections to ancient Egypt and Kenya. What its appearance in New York meant, though, none could say.
Discovering through several uncalled telephone calls that many of their promising lines of investigation now seemed closed to them, on Friday the 23rd, Charles and Jacob visited Dr Lemming. (It seemed few of their new contacts wanted much to do with those linked to two sets of killings—particularly those involving slain police officers—in little under a week!)
Dr Lemming, however, seemed genial and pleasant, and Charles and Jacob spent all day in his company. However, they learned little new as it seemed Lemming lacked any real, useful knowledge about any actual African death cults. Ironically, he suggested they visit the Ju-Ju House if they wanted to learn more about African folklore—clearly, the good doctor had not yet heard about the foul doings in Harlem.
This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.
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