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Call of Cthulhu: Amidst the Ancient Trees, Part 2

August 10, 2018

A shoot-out in the woods of Bennington, Vermont! Bootleggers kidnapped prominent local business owner’s daughter and absconded with her into the forest! One citizen search party had the misfortune to find the wayward gangsters, and were now being shot at from inside a run-down shack, amidst the ancient trees!

Our Keeper for this investigation was Drew, and the unlucky searchers were:

  • Jack O’Toole – a local private eye who was down on his luck and in need of the reward money for the daughter’s safe return (played by me)
  • Dr. Mac Addington – a middle-aged doctor who loved nature and knew the woods well (played by Bill)
  • “Baby-Face” Fenster – a gangster rival of the kidnappers’ pretending to be a concerned citizen, hoping for the chance to get even with the them (played by Antony)

Whoever was shooting at them from inside the shack sounded like a crazy person. But Eugene, their captive gangster, recognized the voice of his boss, Sidney. “Hey, Sidney!” he shouted out. “It’s me, Eugene! Stop shooting, would ya!” But the answer was more yelling, and more bullets.

Fenster and Jack sneaked around opposite sides of the cabin, and then Jack proceeded to make a racket to draw Sidney’s attention. While he was distracted, Baby-Face ran in and tackled his gangland rival! As they tied him up, he kept ranting about a “them” who took Jane Lucas, and how “they” can’t be killed, ’cause “they” ain’t human no more. Doc gave the delirious man a shot of morphine to calm him down.

As it was now dark outside, the trio made plans to spend the night in the creepy shack, with one person on watch to guard the two prisoners. Dr. Addington took first watch.

Jack had a disturbing dream where he was walking down a path covered in yellowed leaves, with the hilt of a knife sticking out of his chest and blood running down from the wound. He later figured it was caused by the past couple of days of stumbling around the woods and finding that stabbing victim.

Fenster had another bad dream himself. Instead of a lake this time, it seemed like he was awake and alone in the same cabin where they were sleeping. He heard a constant refrain to “join us,” coming from outside, and he both needed and feared to open that door and follow the command.

The next watch was Jack’s. His boredom was interrupted when his eye caught a hint of movement from outside the window! The private eye shined his flashlight out from the broken windows, finding nothing over there… nothing over there… and then a man! Startled, he quickly raised his revolver and fired a shot, but the figure was no longer there – if it ever had been! The weirdest thing was, Jack could have sworn the guy he saw was dressed in a Civil War costume. Also, the man had looked a little… decomposed.

The gunshot naturally had woken everyone up, which Doc was grateful for. He, too, had had a nightmare, where he was standing on the edge of a lake. There were tentacles coming out of the water with eyes on the ends of the tendrils! The body that the tentacles came from heaved itself out of the water and looked to be made of metal, and then a spike came out of the thing and stabbed the doctor in the chest! (I think everyone lost some SAN over the night)

No one believed Jack’s story about the dead Civil War man. In the morning, they questioned Sidney again and he said he saw the man too, but then no one believed him, either. The gang boss went on to say that his gang knew about this cabin and planned to hole up there after the shoot-out with the cops. Dobbs was supposed to have arrived at the shack first, but when Sidney showed up with their hostage, he found Dobbs dead in the tree. He barricaded himself in the cabin, but then two Civil War soldiers broke in, grabbed Jane, and dragged her off into the night. When the investigators showed up, he thought they were more weird soldiers coming to take him away.

Before leaving, Jack pushed Sidney’s shotgun into Dr. Addington’s hands, who protested that he couldn’t shoot anyone. “I’m not asking you to shoot a person, Doc. Just… if you see a dead-looking guy in a Civil War outfit, pull the trigger, OK? That ain’t against your oath, right?” Doc thought that his fellow searcher had lost his marbles in the night, and agreed in order to placate the man.

Another Cabin in the Woods

With the two gangsters tied up and in tow, the searchers went back out to look for some sign of Jane or her new kidnappers. They found a small path which eventually led to another cabin. Inside they found long-dead game, rusty knives with dried blood on them, some old rifles, and… Civil War uniforms. “I think these kidnappers were just dressing up,” concluded Dr. Addington. “Maybe they thought they could scare folks. There’s old stories about the ghosts of deserters being in the woods here.”

“We know, you told us over and over, remember?” snapped Fenster.

While examining the items, Jack mused, “If so, they really went for authenticity. This stuff is old. Maybe those stories had some truth to them.”

A trap door was discovered, and after tying their captives to a post, the group headed down into the root cellar. They did not find anything remotely like what they had expected.

Down in the cellar were five stone coffins with no lids. The coffins… glowed… with a soft blue light. Never a good sign! The three closest appeared empty, but as they advanced they could see that the two in the back of the cellar held bodies! Dressed as old soldiers!

The “empty” coffins actually held old Civil War-era knick knacks, green dust, and strange metal spikes. Doc examined one spike, having a flashback to his nightmare as he touched the cool metal. The material was unlike anything he had ever seen before, and his first thought was that it was not of this world, which shook him greatly (lost some SAN).

Fenster was busy pocketing a diary and anything else that looked like it might be valuable when Jack went to get a closer look at one of the corpses. But when he shined his flashlight onto its face, the body suddenly bolted upright and spoke! “Join us,” it croaked, looking right at Jack with its dead eyes! (que more SAN loss)

Next: to join, or not to join?

  1. “… glowed… with a soft blue light. Never a good sign!”
    So very true!

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  1. Call of Cthulhu: Amidst the Ancient Trees, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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