What Happens After

Peter (remember Peter?) manages to team up with a writer named Charlotte Evans to do a feature story for a monthly glossy about ghosts. There are sidelines about several people whose lives have been influenced by ``the unseen and the beyond.'' One of the sidelights is about the Valiants, and features Eddie prominently, looking ascetic and frail. This is shortly before Tommy leaves for the European theater, leaving Eddie unprepared for the flood of lunatics that begin to show up on his doorstep, demanding everything from reassurance to message-taking for the dead. Things come to a head one night when a wild-eyed woman with a gun breaks in and threatens to kill Andy unless Eddie retrieves the spirit of her dead son, William. Stalling for time, Eddie tries to pretend some sort of conjuring thing, but this proves a far worse idea than he expected, when Andy convulses and then says, in a higher-pitched voice, ``Mommy?'' Eddie claims to not remember anything after that point, but the neighbors call the police, and Eddie is arrested half an hour later for her murder (though as far as anyone else can tell, Andy is fine). Prison is not kind to someone with Eddie's weak constitution, and he does not last out his sentence..

As 1940 starts up, Tommy grows increasingly more and more jumpy and haunted-looking. Eventually, after many sleepless nights, he announces to all that he is going to Europe, that there are so many ghosts, women and children, he has to go, he's sorry, tell Andy he loves him. While he is a little old to serve in the front lines, he ends up in the ground crew for an air division. Eventually, this leads to one of those dramatic scenes where there aren't enough pilots and someone has to fly somewhere for horribly important reasons, and so Tommy and another pilot take to the air once again. They are set upon by a German plane, and Tommy, as the wingman, takes the hit so that the other pilot can finish the mission. As the last of the airplane's controls fail, he manages to wrench it into the enemy's path, and both crash, in flames. For several years, Tommy is mourned, but finally, after the war ends, he limps back to Boston, missing a leg and years of his life, but a hero.

Gerti is serene. Really serene. Really really serene. While to all outward purposes she appears happy and cheerful, Sheila's gift was never quite right for a mortal soul, and has begun to metastatize. It's running her now, and she's just a passenger. Sadly, nobody notices.

Weirdness on the wane, Charlie and Gerti live happily for a long while. Charlie finally manages to disentangle himself from the Mafia without any hard feelings when the war starts and the economy heads back up; while his new job in construction at the shipyards doesn't make as much as being a kneebreaker does, the hours are better and he gets to be home on weekends with the kids. Charlie lives long enough to see both Timmy and Junior married, and four grandchildren; he even outlasts Gerti, but not by very long - what would be the point?

Dr. Schreber
Dr. Schreber's work with the disturbed of Arkham proves remarkably effective at curbing inmates' violent tendencies (they either become better, or enough worse that they're not a threat). After another five years, he is promoted to Assistant Director; unfortunately, the end of World War 2 causes the Director to become squeamish about the idea of a German in a publically visible position of human experimentation, and he is asked to take a leave of absence. However, the Miskatonic librarian has just been committed to Arkham (that happens a lot), so a swap is arranged. Dr. Schreber's term as librarian proves substantially more resilient than most, and he is eventually celebrated as the first librarian ever to retire rather than resign (or be committed).

Roderick never quite believes that Ezekial Apcott is dead, and spends the next years growing increasingly paranoid. After an incident in which he assaults a woman who looks vaguely like Alison Harper, he is confined for three months to Arkham (under Dr. Schreber's care, who is nonplussed at being detailed to feed Percival). He is eventually released to Marcus's supervision. This somewhat dysfunctional family unit continues to live together for a few years, with Marcus becoming increasingly worried about Roderick's odd habits, until the day that Roderick wakes from a nap with a stabbing pain in his chest and his arm mangled and bleeding. He realizes something is happening to Percival, staggers downstairs with the shotgun, and shoots the hapless Marcus (who attacking the plant with a fireplace poker) dead center in the back. Realizing a moment later what he has done (and also worrying that he is dying), Roderick takes Marcus's face, with the help of Papa Gran's spirit, ``to let Marcus live.''. However, the combination of all this is sufficient to put him permanently over the edge, and he begins to stalk and face-steal the Luna Park members to get their knowledge/abilities. The remainder of the Valiant agency puts a stop to his murderous spree a few deaths later, and his body is burned to ashes.

After Tommy leaves for Europe, Esme finishes her transformation from romantic ingeneue to eccentric matron, preparing to follow in Roderick's footsteps. Her aptitude with Sheila-remembering and voodoo is sufficient that Roderick has begun to think of her as the heir to his supernatural talents. She's a bit more cautious than he, however, and doesn't lose sanity down the magic drain quite as quickly. She does see the advantages of dog-trees, though, and her first aid lessons from Dr. Schreber come in handy to create her own. Over the decades since then, Esme has had to switch identies four times as she fails to age noticably; each time she leaves behind a number of charitable works and foundations endowed with her ``death.'' She survives still.

Most pictures swiped from silent-movies.com. Dr. Schreber's picture swiped from Dark City.