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[Call of Cthulhu] The Haunting (IC/OOC)

BogartBogart MR. Lady AnimeRegistered User regular
edited May 2012 in Critical Failures
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"There is a house," begins Dudley Davenport, taking a swig from the generous glass of scotch he holds. "A house I recently bought at auction with the intention of redecorating and renting out for a considerable profit. I bought it cheaply, and with little caution." He swigs again from the glass, nearly draining it. He pauses again and eyes each of you in turn. He looks comfortable behind his desk, firmly ensconced in an office lined with all the evidence of a life spent accumulating money and good standing in the local community of Arkham. Framed certificates of charitable giving signed by the Mayor. A photograph of Davenport shaking hands with a state senator at the opening of the recently built Derleth wing of the Miskatonic University. Well-dusted paintings of the bucolic countryside around Arkham. A bristling moustache furnishes his upper lip, and his clothes speak plainly of his wealth and respectable taste.

"Haste which I now regret. There were certain ... occurrences ... with the previous tenants of which I was unaware when I made the purchase. These occurrences have made renting the property out difficult, to say the least. Impossible, in fact. The old Corbitt House on Carter Street has been empty for six months and it's reputation has put a hole in my finances I do not care to see grow any deeper. The previous tenants, the Macarios, went mad after some nonsense or other, and have been committed. I'm sure you know what such things can give rise to. All it takes is the merest hint of hysteria and wild tales of strange goings on and suddenly gossip-mongerers are telling tall tales about ghosts and honest, hard-working folk like myself are out of pocket."

He leans over his desk. "I mean to see these damnable rumours put to rest, and the house occupied and profitable with two weeks. And that is why I've asked you all here today. You don't know each other, but you, as a group, will be able to proclaim my house clear of any hint of the superstitious nonsense that has plagued it."

"Dr. Goodman here is a woman of learning, and, though a woman, her word will carry weight with reasonable men when she confirms the house is entirely safe. Mr MacPhail is an acquaintance of mine who will be able to deal with any vagrants who have taken the opportunity to occupy the house while it has been left unattended. George here will take care of any handyman work that needs doing around the house before renting it out, and check that these rumours didn't start with squeaky pipes or some other perfectly natural noises. Chet is there to persuade any reluctant authorities to approve any permits for the work George needs to perform and to keep a cool eye on proceedings." He pauses before moving on to the last of your odd group. "Young Cecil is currently working for me here, learning about the world of business as a favour to his father. He will accompany you and learn some of the practicalities of business, something which so far I have not been able to drum into him here. Jisandra is a woman with some standing in certain circles I myself do not frequent. My wife, however, has seen fit to purchase her services as an astrologer and fortune teller, and I am given to understand that her awarding a clean bill of health, as it were, will help as much as Dr Goodman's more rational good word."

He drains his glass. He has made no move to offer any of you a drink, and has kept you standing while he sits behind his desk. "I pay $20 a day, split between you however you wish, with a bonus of $100 when you confirm the house's lack of supernatural occupation." He snorts in derision at the very idea of the haunting.

"I advise you to get to the bottom of the rumours by talking to the Macarios, if you can get any sense out of them. Stories have reached my ears of other occurences years ago, but I suspect these to be idle gossip, nothing less. If not, I am sure a library or the Arkham Observer will contain pertinent records. Any questions?"
Spoiler:

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Posts

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2012
    Jisandra steps forward as she speaks. She's wearing a tight violet dress, a nest of necklaces tangled around her neck, her long black hair is up for this occasion. "And where would you have us stay, Mr. Davenport? Yes, the Macarios must be dealt with, and they will, but I'm of the opinion that before we can declare the house fit for occupation we should spend a few nights there ourselves."

    Jisandra pulls out a cigarette, lights it, and takes a drag. "Do you mind if I smoke?" After a brief pause, she begins again, "Not only will we have put to rest those silly rumors, but you can tell any potential rentes that a host of your business partners just spent a week there without incident." Jisandra takes a long drag off her cigarette and looks at Mr. Davenport, awaiting his response.

    Vanguard on
  • EddyEddy pale Gengars I loved beside Cerulean CaveRegistered User regular
    edited May 2012
    George kept his hands in his pockets as he spoke. "How old is this house? Are the utilities still on? I need to know what I'm working with here."

    Eddy on
  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    His nose wrinkles in slight distaste as he addresses Jisandra. "The house is not too far from any of your homes or lodgings. You can sleep in your own beds, but if you wish to spend a night in the house that is your business. As for the utilities, only the water is still working. It has never had electric power. You may take some gas lamps from my property manager's office on the way to the house if you wish."

    "As for the age of the house, I am not sure. The deeds do not mention the exact date the house was built, but I believe it was before the Civil War."

  • GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    Cecil's cold lips curled into a smirk as he listened to Mr. Davenport. There was nothing here he had not been told of before, of course, but if the old fool thought that he was giving Cecil a head for business, he was sadly mistaken.

    And what a motley crew he had assembled for his task. He said he'd be calling in specialists, but this bordered on the ridiculous. Cecil sighed, it'd be better for him not to ask any questions at this point. Let those professionals handle it. What did he know about old houses anyway?

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  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    Ida looked up distractedly from her notebook waving the smoke away from her face. This isn't exactly what she went to Cambridge for, but obviously her boss had friends in high places and maybe a little time off would rejuvenate and re-motivate her. Plus, it would be fun to look around the library and research some of the local superstitions; do something a bit more modern for a change.

    Looking at the rest of the group she wondered what they might have in common, thinking it was very little. Hopefully this task would not take very long.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited May 2012
    An easy grin grew on Chet's blond, somewhat blandly handsome face. He clapped his hands together. "Hell, folks, why so quiet? This is easy money! Mr. Davenport - Dudley - I think I speak for everyone when I say we look forward to cashing your check pronto." He jabs a thumb over his shoulder. "I got a flivver parked that-a-way. Why don't we head out there now and give the ol' homestead a look-see?"

    Jacobkosh on
  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    Davenport reaches into a drawer in his desk, fishes out a set of old, grimy keys, and throws them to Chet. "Here. As I say, it's on Carter Street, and it's the only residential building on it. The rest were knocked down or converted into offices or warehouses. The Maccarios, if you decide to visit them, are in the Arkham Sanitorium, just outside town. Their two children are in the care of their Aunt." He hands you a piece of paper torn from a notebook, on which is the address of one Domenica Bianchi.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    Jimmy looks up as if the rest of the occupants of the room have just caught his attention. He unfolds his arms, and says "I'm with Chet. Buncha people easily spooked."

    "I don't spook easy. We check out the house, and get paid."

  • EddyEddy pale Gengars I loved beside Cerulean CaveRegistered User regular
    "I personally am ready to survey the house. What's a batty couple got to do with this?" George spoke deliberately to no one in particular, but there was some impatience in his voice. "All this gossip seems rather unnecessary."

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    You take your leave of Dudley Davenport, and head out into the street. It's a fine June day, not long past noon, and barely a breeze stirs the warm air. Chet affably leads the way to his car, and those of you that need a ride follow him. Seem have their own car, some choose to walk, some catch the infrequent bus that drops passengers at one end of Carter Street. It isn't long before all six of you are standing on Carter Street, standing in front of the house.

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    It's still sunny, but the air feels colder in this part of town for some reason. The old Corbitt House stands well back from the street, fronted by a generous but overgrown lawn. It nestles between office buildings that rise several storeys higher on both sides, and seems to hunker down there in the looming shadows. A small upper storey stops the house, but behind every window you can see drawn curtains.

    There appears to be no one on the street itself, save what might be an old man behind a cigar and newspaper stand at the other end of the street. From inside the offices you can hear some bustle and work, but it seems subdued, as if the noise does not carry well to the old Corbitt House. The key to the house seems heavy in your pocket.

    Bogart on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    Jimmy strolls to the cigar stand, buys some smokes and strikes up a conversation with the proprietor. "So I bet you're here most of the day, huh? See everything coming and going?"

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    The old man is happy to talk to you, and introduces himself as "Dooley".

    "Ayuh, there's bin a whole lotta strange goings on about the old Corbitt House. Ain't a year since the fella livin' there ran out covered in blood. Screaming 'bout a fella stabbed him. Only weren't nobody in the house but him and his family. Went insane, so they say, bin locked up now since then. Wife went plum crazy too, so I hear. Then there wuz that family lived here after the war, didn't last too long. Moved out after jus' two weeks, talking' 'bout crazy noises at night and such. And what wuz that other thing, made a big fuss at the time?" He drifts off in memory for a while, and provides nothing further. You think he might know more, but without knowing what you're looking for it will be nigh on impossible to get more out of him.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    OOC:
    Spoiler:

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Chet sees Jimmy strolling up the street, shrugs, and produces the key. "Now there's a fixer-upper," he laughs. "I'd probably run screaming from it too." His enthusiasm seems slightly forced - a bit brittle - but he takes long strides up to the front door and puts the key in the lock.

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    The way to the door is overgrown with weeds and litter blown in from the street. As you pause to unlock the door you realise what may have given you a slight chill.

    It's very quiet. The noise from the offices seems to be muffled by some withering trees on either side of the house, but no birdsong issues from their branches. No crickets chirp and no one except your companions seems to be on the street. Your companions, you notice, have stayed several paces behind you as you unlock the door.

    Your give the door a shove, but it seems jammed, or blocked, as though something heavy were pushing back against it. Almost certainly this is the heat expanding the wood and cracking it's boards to fill the doorway. You shove harder, and suddenly the resistance is gone, and you stumble forward into the house.

    It's very dark inside, and the wan sunlight from the doorway does little but illuminate falling dust disturbed by your entry. There are doorways immediately to your right and left, and the hallway extends to what you think is the other side of the house. Two further doorways on the left and one on the right are indistinct. There might be stairs at the end of the hallway, but without any light you won't be able to tell unless you get closer.
    Spoiler:

    Bogart on
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Chet leans in and hollers. "Anyone home? Any vagrants oughtta clear out!" He gestures for George and Cecil to join him. "Ladies, you should stick back and watch the car for now. Sometimes these places have bums camped out inside."

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    You can see no evidence of current habitation in the house. A layer of dust covers everything, and cobwebs are plentiful and well stocked with mummified flies. From door on your right, a musty odour of mould reaches your nose.

    Bogart on
  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Jisandra follows Chet and the others into the house. "Does anyone have a lamp? It's impossible to see through the dark and dust." She coughs and catches her breath before fumbling in her bag for cigarettes and matches.

    "What do you think, split up or take a survey of the place together?" Jisandra strikes a match, lights her cigarette, and takes a drag.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    Jimmy, not having found anything useful out from the cigar seller, sees the rest of the group entering the house, walks back, and follows them in.

    "The fella at the end of the street doesn't seem to know much" he says, addressing nobody in particular as he took in the interior of the house. "First tenant got shivved, the folk that moved in afterwards ended up in the nuthouse, load of hooey about strange noises and such."

    "I'd lay money there's a couple of hobos using the place as a den. Need to figure out if there's a way in or out that isn't the front door. Anybody stop off for those lanterns?"

  • GreeperGreeper Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    "Hmph, I wonder about that." Cecil said, speaking for the first time. He turned to Jimmy: "Even a hobo has standards, although I'll admit, just barely, but this place is more than a sty, you'd have to be crazy to try living here. Which is something I'm sure you'll include in your reports, ladies and gentlemen." The sarcasm dripped from Cecil in buckets.

    "Old man Dudley should've left us some flashlights, but he's been known to screw up. Maybe that old geezer can direct us to a tools store."

    Greeper on
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  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    You remember that Dudley did mention some gas lamps could be had from his property manager's office. Without them you could explore using matches, or attempt to get some windows open.

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    OOC
    Spoiler:

    Bogart on
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited May 2012
    OOC:
    Spoiler:

    Jacobkosh on
  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    The property manager's office isn't far, and Dr Goodman graciously volunteers to retrieve some gas lamps from there. She'll be about an hour, but you're free to explore until then using matches and the light from any window whose curtains you manage to draw back.

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2012
    Jisandra grows impatient. She digs through her bag and pulls out a candle, strikes a match, and lights it. "I have a few more of these in case any. . .rituals need be performed. Quick, let's make out rounds before my hand is encased in wax."

    Vanguard on
  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    OOC
    Spoiler:

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Jisandra calls to Chet and the others and turns into the room on the right, where a foul odor hangs in the air.

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    The door opens on to the darkened living room of this uneasy house. A doorway opens on to what seems to be the dining room in the left hand wall as you enter. The smell seems to emanate from there, and your dim candle shows the outlines of the dining table and perhaps some crockery laid out, as if the occupants were due to return at any moment, or had left in an awful hurry.

    The living room contains little other than conventional furniture: a radio, a couch, two stuffed chairs, some shelves lined with books and gewgaws. A picture of Christ hangs next to the door. One of the Virgin hangs on the wall opposite, under which dangles a rosary. You notice several shelves hold other, smaller, portraits of religious figures. Crucifixes also seem to be in abundance.

    The windows to your right and ahead of you have tightly drawn curtains.

  • EddyEddy pale Gengars I loved beside Cerulean CaveRegistered User regular
    "A radio? With no electrical wiring in the house?" George softly muses to himself. He walks over with his eyes trained on the device.
    Spoiler:

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    You quickly realise that the radio set, like many, is powered by batteries. They have long since run down, however.

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    You make your way to the dining room though the open doorway, and find three tureens laid out on the table that seem to overflow with green, furry matter. This is the source of the smell. Rice soup long since turned to mould. Davenport didn't mention that the previous tenants had left this abruptly. The curtains on the windows are drawn, as they were in the living room. Ahead, directly opposite you, is another open doorway, this time leading to the kitchen.

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Jisandra opens the curtains and then the window. "I'm starting to wonder if all we're going to find is dusty furniture and rotten food." She stares out the window while puffing on her cigarette. "Let's try the room across the hall," while exiting the room.

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    The drawn curtains let in wan sunlight and illuminate the dust that circulates throughout the house. The windows, however, don't open. Upon closer inspection you see that they have all been nailed shut from the inside. Undoubtedly the work of the Maccarios, and a desperate attempt to secure themselves against something.

    Leaving the living room and returning to the hallway, you push open the door you ignored earlier. It appears to be a storage room of some kind. Old and broken furniture little the place. A large writing desk is shoved up against the far wall.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    "I've seen some rat-traps in my time, but this takes the cake," Chet says, a bit too loudly. He steps forward and begins examining the writing desk.

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    The drawer on the desk reveals a grimy compartment filled with yellowing papers and, underneath, three old, leatherbound books bound shut with rotted string. They look and feels old, and the string falls away as you lift the topmost book from the drawer. You crack the cover open as Jisandra leans in closer with her candle. The first page contains spidery writing in faded ink.

    The Journal Of W. Corbitt

    Flicking rapidly through the book you quickly realise it is a diary written over the course of the middle decades of the last century, and detail the life of William Corbitt, the occupant during those years. His writing is archaic and the phrasing odd, but from what fragments you are able to read in this poor light it seems Mr. Corbitt lived a strange life indeed. Odd occurences and experiments are mentioned and curious names abound throughout the pages. You think it likely that Corbitt was not entirely in his right mind. It will require further study to understand these diaries in full, and must be done somewhere quiet and well-lit.

    Bogart on
  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    "I'll take that journal, if you don't mind, Chet. Just from paging through it, I have some. . .concerns. It may be nothing but the scribblings of a madman, but I'll need to study it further." Jisandra turns from Chet and sets the other two journals on the desk, flipping through their musty, yellowed pages. Dust clouds the air and Jisandra coughs a little.

    "How long has it been since the Macarios lived here? It seems odd they would keep another man's journals."

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    The Maccarios left just over six months ago, the parents for the sanitorium and the children for the safety of their Aunt's house. The writing desk appears to have been closed for a considerable time, and was at the very back of this storage room. It's possible that it stood here undisturbed when the Maccarios moved in. You think it likely that not all of the junk in here was left by the Maccarios.

    You know they weren't here for very long, so clearing out a long-ignored room of junk may have been a task to which they had not yet attended.

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2012
    While skimming the journals, Jisandra looks to see if anything out of the ordinary stands out.
    Spoiler:

    Vanguard on
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Chet shrugs as Jisandra seizes the books. "Eh, whatever floats your boat, lady." He puts a handkerchief to his mouth and surveys the room.

    Is there anything else in the junk room?
    Spoiler:

  • BogartBogart MR. Lady Anime Registered User regular
    You flick through the journals and find oblique mentions of rituals performed with others that sound unseemly, and more detailed instructions for other kinds of rituals that Corbitt was apparently intent on performing himself. Your occult knowledge lets you recognise mentions of something called a 'shambler' that Corbitt hoped to invoke during one of these rituals and bind to his service. There are also occasional mentions of something or someone called 'The Opener of the Way', that strikes a chord in your mind. This Corbitt fellow was no Christian.

    You feel that understanding the diaries fully will take two days of dedicated study.
    Spoiler:

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