Fourth Interlude: 1932-1934
The Valiants gain a lot of publicity from Mel Razen's article, though much of it is more annoying than anything else. While they do still get the occasional normal job (missing persons, or skip tracers), they get all the weirdos. A woman who says the talking invisible people won't leave her alone - she's eventually passed off to Dr. Schreber after some investigating. For about a month, there's a steady stream of people who show up and want Tommy to lay hands on them, and one guy camps outside the office for two weeks; apparently there's a belief that Tommy is a saint-in-the-making or something. Things that actually pay the bills include a flat that's being haunted by what is eventually determined to be the ghost of the previous tenant's pit bull; the tenant moved away and the dog died shortly thereafter, but dogs have a talent for finding their way back home. One case that is never satisfactorily resolved involves a husband who hires the Valiants to investigate his wife, who's been behaving oddly and he suspects she's having an affair. After several days of shadowing, in which nothing of import is discovered, she vanishes, and no further amount of investigation turns her up again. However, when she leaves, she takes almost none of her stuff, and leaves behind what appears to be a very cleverly fashioned mask of her face and hands. When they're brought to Roderick for psychometry, he suffers a panic attack and throws them in the fire - they're destroyed before anything else can be determined.

Peter is most put out to be scooped by Mel Razen, who has actually managed to *publish* an article with weird shit in it. However, the Globe's feeling a little silly about the vampire article, and is pushing back even harder than usual now about anything odd Peter submits (Mel is condescending about this). However, after his Life article about voodoo in Louisiana, there are starting to be nibbles from a publisher for a book of "traveling weird shit" articles.

The dentist next door (Dr. Potter) has his wife (Magda) working as a receptionist now. At first this was sort of uncomfortable, since he wanted to boss her around but she wanted to be the co-runner of the place, but it's settled out a bit better in the past few months. Especially since Magda appears to be really sweet on kids, so she's often cheerier when Junior comes to visit. She's been invaluable when Gertie had to run off for one thing or another for the Valiants.

There's a brief period of panic when Charlie loses his job as a cargo overseer - this is the Depression, so jobs are scarce. However, a friend (one of the other Ficorellis to have survived the purge) gets him a job as the "night supervisor" for the Long Wharf. It's for the most part pretty boring, but it pays okay, and it's secure. At least, as long as nothing goes missing...

More letters are received from the Apcotts; Julian is a tireless correspondent, and Mattie is starting to come into her own as an enthusiastic letter-writer. Especially shortly after the vampire fiasco, there are a number of letters, as Julian and Mrs. Apcott are both very concerned over people's health (Mattie's letters at this point are "Get well soon!", as she seems to have been told that people were not well, but nothing more specific).

Roderick has a heart attack, and his son, Marcus, comes to look after him while he's recovering. Six months later, Marcus shows no signs of moving out again, and is driving Roderick to distraction by coddling him mercilessly. The Scottish manservant and Marcus also seem to have taken a dislike to each other.

Dr. Schreber is still Directory of Pharmaceutical Treatments at Arkham Asylum, and is having a marvelous time. However, not all his self-experiments are completely benign; there's one vision that seems particularly vivid.

In a dream, he descends a stairway, hewn out of stone. The risers are deeply indented, as though worn through the centuries, but the stairwell is deserted now, and dark. After descending for what seems like days, round and round the spiral of the stair, he reaches a door, barred and locked. His hands reach out, of their own volition, and lift off the bar, unchain the lock, turn the combinations, slide back the bolt... it seems to be taking forever, as there are more locks than he can count, but his hands know them all, from the simplest to the most complex. Finally, the door is free, and he swings it open. While the stairwell is dim, on the other side is only blackness. For a moment, there is no response, and then he hears, from inside, a clittering, clicking rasp, first near the floor, then raising, as if something very large is uncoiling and unfolding. His volition returns, but he takes but a step backwards to wait and see what happens. The black, chitinous legs, as of a huge spider, emerge through the door, levering up a massive body. As he takes another step back up the stairs, the forebody of the creature comes through the door - it has multiple spindly legs, like a centipede, huge pincers with smaller wiggling appendages underneath, and no eyes. Its head tilts to regard him, and he flees up the stairs, pursued by clicking, pattering noises. Finally, he reaches the head of the stairwell, and wakes...

Despite Prohibition, Charlie and Tommy have had no trouble finding sources of alcohol (Charlie is pretty good at that), and have started to frequent a couple of speakeasies perhaps more frequently than they ought. Tommy's been coming to work a little later than Eddie, though because he works later, Eddie hasn't put his foot down yet.

Tommy and Esme have been going out, not very steadily; there's a bit of tension as Esme tries to get Tommy to cut back on some of the drinking, and Tommy tries to get Esme to lighten up; both are moderately successful, but it does cause the occasional fight. Then Miss Saravelda introduces Esme to Harold St. Jean (his father, Ernest St. Jean, is a tea importer). Harold has an MBA from Harvard, is blond, smiles perfectly, and seems determined to sweep Esme off her feet. So far she's been less than completely bowled over, but he is very dashing...

There's a park near Charlie and Gerti's apartment that has become host to a number of kids with their mothers during the day. Several of them (Amanda Smith, Sally Gaulter, Meg Hansen) are moderately regular, certainly more so than Gerti, and have struck up a friendship with Gerti. Most of the kids are a bit older than Junior, though many of the girls think that babies are "fun" and will entertain him for hours. Some moms swap off (you watch my kids in the park for the next couple hours while I run some errands, then we'll switch tomorrow); a few seem to send their kids by themselves, or in the custody of an older child, trusting that nothing will happen to them so close to home.

Eddie has made the acquaintance of a gunsmith named George Clayborn The Valiants at one point help him track down a valuable antique Colt rifle for a client of his, and in return he's been willing to talk long hours to Eddie about various armaments, and generally humor him. At the moment, Eddie has a crossbow, several iron-tipped bolts, several hawthorn bolts (hawthorn isn't a real straight wood, so it's unclear how well they'll fly), and some silver-dipped bullets.

A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Schreber was called in to help sedate Morris Feldman. Morris has been in Arkham since he was a boy - he was institutionalized after he chewed off both his hands. He almost never talks, but in the middle of the night he started screaming that it was back again. He'has been under heavy sedation since then.