Dear Readers, as previously stated, I am taking a break from the Ingrates for a bit to get a chance to play. Arkon’s player is running a modified Kids on Bicycles campaign, using “Tales From the Loop” rules. The Ingrates will continue soon. Additionally, the last week of the month will be the KoB (Kids on Bicycles) campaign to keep me from burnout and to enable me to keep writing. With no further ado, enjoy!
It’s the Friday before the last week of school, and all of “the gang” are meeting up. Anton, the bookworm, Goblin, the junkyard weirdo, Neil, the computer geek, Kelly Ann, the hick, Zane, the rocker, and Jessica, the popular girl.
Everyone lives in the small New England town of Arkham Falls, Massachusetts.
Leaving school, the gang stopped by Smokey Joe’s, the local convenience store, to buy pop before our meetup.
Meeting up at Goblin’s family’s junkyard where our hideout is (two side-by-side aluminum Airstreams; decked out with a generator and lights and such), the gang found out that one of Goblin’s brothers (one sibling of 12) was missing. He was found inside the gang’s clubhouse with two other children, his age (9), one of whom was crying.
Assessing the situation, the gang learned about Dmitri’s (Goblin’s brother) friend Liam said that his deceased friend Stuart Lovecraft (who was not well liked; the rumor is that he died of apparent suicide in Miskatonic Lake but no body was found) was haunting their clubhouse. The other friend of Liam said that Liam was making up the story for attention. According to Liam, he had taken a nap in the clubhouse, had a nightmare where Stuart had grabbed him from behind, and when he woke up, had two handprint bruises that Liam could not have made himself. He also mentioned some writing on the wall but that he didn’t catch what it said.
When asked where their clubhouse was, they proudly announced that it was in “the Woods.”
This was a place best avoided after dark, as it was well-believed by children that it was haunted.
The gang, seeing the hour, decided to head to Park Ranger Briggs Johnson, a close friend of Kelly-Ann, where we acquired one of a pair of maps that Ranger Johnson had found by accident, both located behind a picture, likely left behind by the previous park ranger. This map contained the information we were looking for (known trails in “the Woods”), as well as markings for other places, some with a question mark. Decided that we would not be entering into “the Woods” until the morning, we parted ways, each to our own homes, except Liam, who stayed the night at Goblin’s house with Dmitri.
After asking our parents, most of us got the runaround when discussing the Lovecraft boy, only noting the sadness of the situation.
Goblin’s conspiracy-theorist/doomsday prepper father, on the other hand, told Goblin about Mr. Lovecraft’s wife and daughter had been allegedly murdered some years ago, with the former town doctor, Dr. James Madison Ford believed to be the culprit. When brought to trial, it ended in a hung jury, acquitting Dr. Ford. It was also discovered that Dr. Ford had apparently died in his home during a freak house fire.
Each member of the gang made their own preparations the night before, Anton having made a copy of the map using tracing paper, and Neil using his computer to create a database to cross-reference, and others deciding what to pack for the day to come.
The gang met at Goblin’s, and headed out, at 8 am. As they passed Smokey Joe’s, Anton spied a strange man, someone that, after some thought, seem to have been following him of later. While trying to relay this to Neil, he blacked out, seeing a strange arcane sigil, one he couldn’t keep in his head, crashing to the ground. Kelly-Ann chased after where Anton said the man had been and found only an owl’s feather; a horned owl’s feather – one that was not native to the area…When checking for tracks, the tracks ended at the feather.
Heading up the road, and west, staying north of “the Woods,” Liam led the gang south, starting from the North/Northwest corner. After some time on a known trail, Liam stopped his bike, and revealed a hidden trail that we re-covered and continued onwards down.
Twenty minutes later, the gang was led to a large clearing, in the center of which was a hill, and upon that hill was a burned out house! There was no question as to whose home this was: the late Dr. Ford!
After examining the ruins, from where Liam said he and his friends get materials for their own clubhouse in the woods to the other side of the hill, the gang found several things of note: first, that this was an older teen’s hangout, second, that there were many pieces of paper with strange physics formulae on them.
Liam, with his binoculars, began checking the scene for his clubhouse and to “make sure it’s clear.”
While checking out the house, Kelly-Ann’s dog began clawing at something in a wall. After moving a heavy piece of dilapidated furniture, a hole in the wall was discovered, with a metal ladder going down.
The gang headed down this hole only to find a basement of some kind with strange purple crystals and a large ball of purple energy!
What is going on with Liam’s clubhouse? What’s with the Strange Man following Anton? What is the purpose of this bizarre room under Dr. Ford’s burned out home?
Find out next week!
Until next time, Dear Readers…