Session 5 | New York | Meat is Murder

chakota

The hungry thing in the subway…

Game system: Call of Cthulhu 6th ed

Dramatis personae

Justin Case | NYPD Detective | 32 yrs | Djuro

Carl Blackwater | Foreign correspondant | 31 yrs | Martin

Edward Foxworthy | Big game hunter | 34 yrs | Flan

Ulla Bengtsson | Professor (Chemistry) Columbia Uni | 48 yrs | Berndt

Absent this session

H.P Rennfarth | NYPD Forensics specialist | 27 yrs | Mats

Link to background stories and portraits


Meat is Murder

New York, Sunday January 18th, 1925 | about 1.00 a.m.

This goes way up…

Ju Ju House African Curio Shop, Harlem.

The last shots and screams have just echoed out as poe-lice sirens in the distance signal the approach of several squad cars. H.P, Edward, Carl and Ulla quickly hide in the abandoned laundry shop while Lt. Case and the Kid stay to greet their colleagues only to find themselves surrounded by twenty armed cops led by Inspector Macceroni who tells them that they are relieved of their duties and that his team will take over from here. Case tries to protest but is convinced otherwise by Capt. Malone who confirms that “the brass” have appointed Macceroni from the Special Task Squad to take over the investigation of the “Harlem cult murders” (as they have been named by the tabloids). Case and the Kid are ordered back to police HQ. As they drive away the see Macceroni smile as he enters the shop.

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Capt. Terrence “Pretty Boy” Macceroni

In the car, Case reviews what he knows of Macceroni who is an up-and-coming star in the police force. The man comes from a wealthy background and has studied law at Harvard. He is also the youngest ever to attain his high rank and has a reputation of being very correct and for doing things by the book. Other than that – nothing.

Getting the shaft

18th-of-januari-1925

Anger. Hostility towards the opposition.

Entering the Captain’s office, Malone is furious and starts yelling like never before about recklessness, property damage and unnecessary violence. And police harrassment of an innocent African culture club.  He then asks Case to take a vacation until things blow over but when Case tries to persuade him he goes into a fit of rage, spitting sour saliva across the room:

“- You are suspended, Case! Leave your badge and gun on my desk. Now! And that goes for Rennfarth as well!”

Case gets a feeling that the good Captain is under external pressure – someone with power must somehow be connected to this bizarre cult.

Before leaving the police HQ Case asks the Kid to keep an eye open to figure out who is pulling the strings here and decides to unravel some buried dirt on “Pretty Boy” Macceroni. He also takes a quick look at some city maps to see if the subway tunnel under Fat Maybelle’s might possibly be connected to the cellar of the Ju Ju House.

The plan is simple – get back to the cellar of Ju Ju House and finish those occultists once and for all.

Bebop laundry shop

Hidden in the abandoned laundry (that no one knows that they are hiring), Ulla, H.P, Carl and Edward observe the police from Special Task Squad “clean” the Ju Ju House of all evidence! Body bags and other objects are carried out from the premises and people go in with cleaning utensils, led by a smirking Inspector Macceroni.

The bastards!

If the plan doesn’t work – try a Molotov

It is past 12.30 a.m. when Case gets back to the laundry. The others inform him of the dirty police officers and their little cleanup operation. The PCs decide to go back to Fat Maybelle’s and check out the hidden subway tunnel.

Back at the dark and boarded up speakeasy, they take the door under the stair to the cellar and then the circular tunnel down to the service tunnel. Cautiously they traverse the subway tracks and remove the blankets and plywood boards that conceal another circular dark entrance. Torches and weapons ready, they head into the unknown. After a few meters, the tunnel opens up to a rectangular cave with a mystical symbol on the floor, drawn with lime paint. In the back of the cave there’s a colorful drape. A faint moaning sound can be heard… Ulla slides the drape aside with her Tommy gun and the investigators find themselves staring into the myriad eyes of a strange wormlike horror, made of human faces!

chakota2

The sanity-blasting sight makes Case so terrified that he involuntarily soils himself*, while Carl manages to keep his stuff in, but in his battered mind he develops a different coping solution to this otherworldly horror*. Edward and Ulla are also shaken but keep their heads cool. After a few seconds (that feels like an eternity) of frozen screaming all the investigators pull their triggers and send a volley of hot lead towards the creature. Carl and Case just keep pressing the triggers of their Tommy guns and empties their 100-round clips into the beast in pure panic. But all those bullets seems to have no effect on the creature who attacks Case. With amazing speed it lashes out and three faces take bites out of the panic strucken police detective!

Retreating, Ulla throws a booze molotov at the roof over the beast, raining broken glass and fire upon it and while the bullets didn’t seem to do anything besides making it angry, the fire seems to actually do some damage! Ulla screams to the others to use their molotovs and while falling back, trying to lure the beast out to the tracks to electrocute it, Carl readies another molotov, but in his nervousness the bottle slips from his sweaty hands, shattering at his feet, setting his shoes and legs on fire, sending him into a merry jig to put out the flames.

The creature is slow so it is no problem to get out into the subway tunnel, but the creature won’t follow pursuit out of the cave. Sensing the vibrations of an approaching subway train, the PCs man up and go in again, throwing molotovs at the creature:

-You don’t like fire huh? Take this you ugly piece of shit!

The creature retreats, but it has nowhere to go to and it succumbs to the flames, spreading a popcorn-like smell as it burns.

The investigators are searching the cave and photographing the creature’s faces to compare with missing persons records when Edward turns around, finding Carl kneeling beside the creature, chomping on something. Edward realizes that Carl has a knife in one hand and three human eyes in the other, pried from the beast…

-We must eat the eyes so that they can’t see us! *chomp chomp*

Edward slaps Carls hand and turns away in disgust…

*[GM comment: Carl and Case failed their SAN checks and lost 8 SAN each, sending them into a short temporary insanity. Case got delusional, seeing familiar faces on the beast while Carl developed another coping mechanism where eating the eyes of the monster would make everything normal again…].

Behind the drape is a smaller cave where the creature has gnawed out a shallow depression, creating a lair of sorts. In the bottom of the lair, there’s yet another round tunnel running deeper into the ground…

Masquerade

The narrow tunnel goes deeper into the rock before levelling out and running fairly straight. The walls are glistening with moisture and sometimes a faint rumble can be felt in the stone. After walking for a long time the tunnel slopes upwards and exits into a small cave with a colorful drape. Faint sounds like someone is whistleling a merry tune can be heard. Learning from previous mistakes, Edward cautiously peaks behind the drape, only to find himself face-to-face with one of the zombie-like creatures from Ju Ju House! He quickly pulls back in the hope he wasn’t noticed.

The investigators come up with the brilliant plan of putting on the silly occultist hats that they took from Jackson Elias’s killers at the Chelsea Hotel. As they only have two, Ulla and Edward puts them on and enters the zombie room. Nothing happens. Searching the small area they find a shaman’s feathered robe on the wall, along with a pair of clawed gloves and two more silly tentacle hats. In a leopard skin bundle they find a book – Africa’s Dark Sects – stolen from the Widener Collection at Harvard University! Also, in the bundle, is a strange African tribal mask with no straps attached.

Ulla and Edward return to the tunnel and they investigate their finds. In a “Look, frost“-moment, Case puts the mask to his face. It immediately attaches itself, forming after his face. The others see Case struggling for air, falling to the ground while clawing to get the mask off. Suddenly the mask changes, as adapting to the new face and Case’s eyes and mouth become visible in the mask. The eyes roll up, showing the whites and Case slumps to the ground, lifeless…

After about 30 seconds, the mask falls off and with some slapping Case comes to senses again, telling that he suddenly found himself in a grey featureless place. There was an old bearded man and winged creatures swirling in the misty sky. Case tried to talk to the man who replied in a booming voice:

You must utter the right words.

And then he was back in the tunnel again. The old man didn’t feel malicious but very alien and Case feels somehow enlightened [GM comment: +1 Cthulhu Mythos skill].

The stalwart investigators put on the new stolen cult hats and proceed into the zombie room, where they tie up the zombies, including their shoelaces. From behind the drape they hear the merry whistling and a sloshing sound. Ulla dares a peak and realizes that she is looking into the cult room below the Ju Ju House, but from across the room. The door they previously entered from is open and sounds can be heard from outside the room. In the center of the cult room, Inspector “Pretty Boy” Macceroni is mopping the floor with a broom and a bucket, while whistling on “Bam, Bam, Bamy Shore” by Mort Dixon. No traces of the previous massacre can be seen. It has all been taken care of…

A plan is devised – to run into the room, grab Macceroni and make him talk. However, as they prepare to run into the room, Mr. Mukunga, dressed in a fancy suit steps into the room.

“-Almost done here, Mr. Mukunga” says Macceroni. “-Hell of a job, but someone’s gotta do it, right?” And with a last splosh he throws the red stained wash cloth into the bucket.

Brass knuckles on one hand and shotgun in the other, Case runs into the room and punches Mukunga’s jaw, telling him to shut the fuck up. They know what magic powers Mukunga has, so they’re taking no risks with the African sorcerer. Simultaneously, Edward rushes at Macceroni and places his gun at the police detective’s forehead, making it clear that silence is of the essence. Ulla and Carl takes up post at the corridor door, making sure that no one comes that way.

Macceroni acts very surprised, but Mukunga starts chanting in some African language. Afraid of the fireballs and zombies, Case shoots him, point plank in the face, sending blood and brain matter over the newly cleaned floor and walls. Mukunga falls backwards, his head a bloody mess.

“-I told you to shut the fuck up…” Case is breathing hard, adrenaline pumping…

Macceroni starts to whine about his mighty contacts and how the investigators will end up in jail and the electric chair and that no one will believe them before the word of him, the successful Inspector Macceroni. His monologue is ended abruptly when Case’s brass knuckles dig into his cheekbone, sending him sprawling on the semi-wet flagstone floor. The investigators try to question him, aided by punches and general slap-around techniques, but Macceroni spills nothing. Only when the zombies are released to feast on Mukunga’s carcass does he start to look frightened and blathers something of “the Cult of the Bloody Tongue” and how the cult will hunt them down and kill them in imaginable ways.

After some harsh questioning, it is evident that Macceroni won’t talk. His aspirations to power dies right there on the stone floor as Case and Edward put some bullets in him, leaving the carcass to be disposed of by the two zombies, along with Mukunga’s corpse. Before they release the monsters, the heroes make sure that no traces of evidence are left that could lead back to them.

The sounds of the zombie’s ripping and tearing and feasting on the cultists’ flesh echo in their ears as they leave the cult room the same way as they came…

A quick look at their wrist-watches shows that it is almost Sunday morning – 5.30 a.m. Tired and bleeding, stumbling from exhaustion and shocked by the recent events the investigators walk in silence as in a drug haze they slowly move back to Fat Maybelle’s to get their car and drive back to the abandoned laundry which now has to become their new base of operations as no one knows about it. Rennfarth’s bookshop has been compromised, and their apartments are surely under surveillance.

The Laundry it is.


To be continued…

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