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'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
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.