Previous Session: Front Towards Enemy
In the Brownings' house, everything is quiet. Recovery from that climactic encounter with Sofia has drained them all.
Earl Snr the Expert has noticed wolf tracks around the house. Nothing inside the fence, but worrying. He has severe worries when Tess and Jack tell them how they went off on a solo run against Sofia, but is kind of proud as well. That reminds him of her mother. He dreams that night, the same dream he had the night before the Shadow took her mother, Beth. It unnerves him.
He does have questions for them both, like how did they know it wasn't Velasco, but they dissemble enough to keep him from being too suspicious of Jack.
David the Monstrous is trying to get used to small-town life. That little girl, MacKenzie, that he helped save from the Doppelganger, calls him by his real name. Not the pseudonym he's been using around town. That might cause a few problems with her dad, the sheriff's deputy he held at gunpoint during the raid. He's been getting his coffee in the Vagabond, but is completely oblivious to the crush his barista Eric is developing on him.
He's pretty suspicious of Tess and Jack as well. They must have had help! He's sure they're not telling the whole truth. By and large though, he's just failing miserably at being normal.
Earl Jnr the Wronged is having nightmares, he's been mostly house-bound since that Doppelganger nearly killed him, which isn't helping. Not getting much sleep, he thought he saw Reggie in town. He's been reading up in his dad's library, but the image of Reggie's grin from his nightmare is etched in his brain.
|Fear by AkiraKirai|
Everyone notices that things have gotten a little bit strange.
Jack the Crooked is on edge. She's noticed that there's no birdsong in the surrounding area. Nothing, but just the hint of ammonia in the air.
Tess the Spooky sees the trees without their early Autumn foliage. She's not telling anyone about what's she's seeing. She's coping with a lot of dissonance since her confrontation with Sofia.
Beloved childhood toy
Earl Jnr wakes up to find Mr. Binky on his dresser. He's sure that his favourite childhood toy has been up in the attic for 15 years.
David hasn't been in the house long, so he takes it for granted. A family tradition his mother shared with Beth. An extra place set for absent family. But they have no idea who did it when he mentions it.
Tess is walking the grounds, wondering what's happening to her, but she can tell that its the house that's the epicentre for everything - it's what's slowly being concealed from the world. The thing that took her mother has returned.
Earl Jnr. goes for a run, he's slowly working his way back to full health. He was distracted while researching werewolves, and got into a deep dive into what took his mother. Some kind of demon from the Abyss. Some terrifying and incredibly powerful.
Jack is heading into town. She's paranoid about this new pack of werewolves that are aimed at their little town. She's keeping an eye out for new people, who won't quite fit the usual tourist look. She sees Eric wandering up the lane (he's stalking David, trying to figure out where he lives!).
Earls Snr goes to his haven to investigate things. Anything to put his mind at ease. Like his son, his thoughts keep going back to what happened in this house all those years ago.
David is quietly paranoid. He starts searching the house for signs of any intrusion, finally satisfying himself that it there's anything doing this it's either one of them or something undetectable.
He's thinking about making a run for it, as he catches his breath. But she brings out the magnum from behind her back, and takes a couple of small steps that would make running for it suicidal.
It's obvious that she wants revenge for what he did to the rest of the pack, but something's holding her back. Though she pushes back on his suggestion that she daren't just murder him here, she suggests that she'd have no problem consuming his entire body to hide it.
She warns him about the new pack that's coming. Staring down the barrel of her gun, he convinces her that they could help deal with it.
It can't be more than 50 yards away where Jack is talking to Eric. She's pretty suspicious until she pressures the reason he's up here out of him. He's developing a crush on David but wasn't sure where he lived and was trying to figure it out. He's shocked when she tells him that David is a Browning, that's the house on this lane that they were afraid of egging or playing pranks on when they were young.
A shaken Earl Jnr returns to the house, around the same time as Jack - they both notice that crossing the threshold, everything is a little bit colder and darker. They call a family meeting to discuss all of the weirdness that's been going on the last few days, the only oddity is when Earl Jnr raises his eyebrows at David's denial that he could be interested in Eric (and a quick re-appraisal of his previous visits to the Vagabond Cafe).
Earl Jnr heads up to the attic, he needs to find out how Mr Binky got in his room. It was something his mother always did when he went to bed so he's not sure he knows how to feel about it. Up in the attic it's dark but as he heads over towards where the box of childhood toys is, his torch begins to fail. Or at least the beam of light gets narrower and dimmer. He turns back but the small square at the hatchway out of the attic disappears in front of his eyes. He rushes over, but there's nothing there.
Downstairs, David notices that he's been gone quite a while. Nearly a hour is way too long to find a toybox in the attic. He heads upstairs to see what's going on.
Tess remembers the night her mother disappeared, when the tornado landed, her voice said "It's your fault". Earl Snr. remembers that it was multiple tornadoes, competing. Somehow swirling around each other to be the one to take her.
Earl Jnr feels a presence behind him, his mother takes his hand and tells him to "Save your sister. Then you can both be with me forever." She releases him just as David opens the hatch.
He tells Tess that she should go up with him to the attic. To make sure that Mr Binky is the real one, and that there's no surprises up there. But she along with David tells him that's a dumb idea.
Earl Snr has gone out to the Haven with Jack. To dive into the research again. They're armed with much more knowledge this time. Only the purest of salt can contain or drive out this thing. There are ancient rituals which would allow them to bind, or destroy the demon but they have no time for that. It will drag them all into the Abyss given that much time.
Back inside, Earl Jnr finally tells David what really happened. And then they notice that it's gotten dark outside, way too early - but it definitely happened gradually. They surely would've noticed it happening suddenly.
With a large bag of salt ready to deploy around the house, Jack and Earl Snr. leave the Haven to cross the yard to the house. But they see only pitch darkness outside. They can't see the house, and then see see creeping darkness spill into the Haven, like it's a thing and not just the absence of light.
Earl Snr leads, his body knows this path better than anyone else, and they make it to the back kitchen door with relief.
In the kitchen, although he reflects that relief outwardly, David's dark voice has become stronger and more direct. They all divide up to spread salt along every window and doorway, encircling themselves and waiting for their chance to strike at the Demon. But David is having second thoughts, he's just lying to himself all this time really. He submits to his inner turmoil and spoils his warding, sabotaging their efforts and allowing the darkness a way in.
They stand back to back in the kitchen, trusting in that circle of salt to protect them. Earl Snr thinks they used too much salt in the wards, they have so little left to attack with.
Earl Jnr sees the shadow demon take form in front of him, but he only sees his mother. She beckons him to cross the circle to her, and bring his sister with him. When he whispers this to her, Tess smacks him across the face.
His mother tells him that's okay. He always knew that his sister didn't love him. She'll be happy with just him.
Jack and Earl Snr don't see it, but throw salt at where Earl Jnr is looking and reaching for. They coordinate their attacks until they see a dark tornado growing, and then they throw every single grain of salt they still have. The multiple tornadoes crystallize and then collapse in sodden salt on the floor.
But Earl Jnr feels even worse than he did twenty odd years ago. Her absence feels final now, and he knows that the shadow demon could only take her form because it fed on the image in his mind, fuelled by the endorphins thinking that she was still with him released.
After the cleanup, everything seems back to normal.
Intrepid reporter with
the Monroe Herald
There's a knock at the door, and Earl Snr answers, but when the young woman asks him if he's Earl Browning, he shuts the door in her face and walks back inside.
Jack talks to her as she walks back to her car (a very out of place Fiat 500). She seems very good at getting more information out of Jack than she would like. Until eventually, Jack demands to know who she is. Molly Reynolds from the Monroe Herald introduces herself, telling her that she's doing a story on how an old man can possibly be driving around the state without a valid license for over 30 years. She feels that it would really benefit him for her to be able to write the piece with his story represented. But Jack gets rid of her.