Eighth Interlude: 1937-1939

Summer, 1937
The Walkers spend the summer in North Ashfield in Peter's house (Peter is off in Alaska chasing yeti, after successfully publishing something on spontaneous combustions). No supernatural creatures are anywhere evident, much to everyone's relief. They're frequent guests with the Apcotts, and vice versa. Maddy has grown into a charming young woman, and Julian, while still mostly confined to the house, has had two essays published in a semi-academic journal, and is quite pleased. Timmy finally decides that the Walkers are not just waiting to kill him, just as it hits Junior that this new kid is not just some temporary sleepover comrade, but a Horrible Permanent Interloper. The summer turns somewhat tumultuous, and there's a lot of splitting up of the kids - Maddy does a lot of entertaining of Junior, burning off his energy, and Julian is more than willing to sit with Timmy and tell him various stories. As Timmy is by nature a quiet listener, they get along quite well. By the end of the summer, Junior has gotten used to the idea of Timmy, and is starting to have ideas about how having a somewhat bigger kid who's willing to take orders from you isn't necessarily so bad.

Esme and Tommy go out a couple more times, but Tommy is always sort of strangely diffident, and things don't really go very far.

Roderick continues to talk with the voice of Papa Gran in his head, which becomes stronger as time goes by. Roderick is uninterested in learning how to be a face dancer, and also is uninterested in being talked into killing Dr. Schreber, but as long as the particular trouble subjects are avoided, they get along all right. Dr. Schreber tries to keep an eye on Roderick, being worried about possible repercussions of eating the snake scales, but Roderick doesn't admit to much and says everything is okay.

Roderick and Esme purchase the bookstore, and arrange to have some useless support columns installed in the basement. The contractors argue for a little while about how putting a column in the corner (over the pentagram binding the servitor of Cthaugua) makes no structural sense, but Roderick prevails, on the theory that he's the one paying the contractors and so he can get columns put wherever he wants.

Spring, 1938
Esme meets Jonathan Avery, a financier, age 41. He is very dignified and charming, and seems fairly likely to sweep her off her feet. The group starts to see a bit less of her, as while Jonathan isn't quite overtly disapproving of associations with private investigators and Germans, he does frequently seem to have suggestions for better things to do.

Dr. Schreber still has an intern named Sheila, assigned to him for the next six months.

May, 1938
Esme goes to Tommy to ask for an airplane ride to Jonathan Avery's cabin in the Adirondacks. Tommy, jumping to all sorts of conclusions about escalating romances, agrees. Most of the way through the trip, a goose comes flying out of nowhere and is sucked into the propeller. The Adirondacks don't offer much in the way of empty pastures to land in, so Tommy aims for the softest bit of forest he can find, and at the last moment, tilts the nose down so that the front of the plane takes the brunt of the damage. Tommy breaks his left leg and arm, and a number of ribs.

Esme manages to get Tommy out of the plane and somewhat stabilized, but doesn't think she can transport him, due to the broken ribs. And while Tommy can attempt to draw a map to the nearest road, Esme is unlikely to be able to follow it. Luckily, there's a creek not far off, with fish and watercress and such to eat, so a rudimentary camp and a fire are made, and the pair hopes that they'll be reported missing and then a search mission will find them.

With nothing to do but talk, Esme and Tommy do some of that. Tommy fills Esme in a bit more about Adele (though still refrains from mentioning the fact that Andy is (possibly) his son, because you don't tell dames that sort of thing. Though Gerti has filled Esme in on some other of the details, so now she has something close to a full version of the story) and Esme fills in Tommy about the fact that Jonathan is actually a jerk. To break the mood, some wolves also seem to have noticed the existence of some apparently inept and non-fleeing prey, but the prey does prove to have guns.

Back in Lowell, that evening, a Boston air traffic controller calls Eddie to see if he knows anything about a change of Tommy's plans. Eddie didn't know about the flight at all (and jumps to the conclusion that if Eddie and Esme are off for a weekend in the Adirondacks, perhaps they're eloping). He attempts to find out more, and calls in a friend of Tommy's who is willing to spearhead a search mission.

Elsewhere, Roderick gets a creepy feeling at the back of his neck, but misses noticing anything more, being distracted by having conversations with the voice in his head about the nature of existence. Papa Gran does notice, though: "You ignoring de ghost, or you just dense?". Eventually, he does manage to see the ghost, which is of a man Roderick doesn't recognize. He tries to mouth words at Roderick, which fails to convey much information. Roderick drags out a Ouija board, which the ghost can't move, but can point to. He spells out "FRIEND HURT AIRPLANE CRASH". Pointing on a map of the area indicates the Adirondacks as where the crash happened. The ghost is identified as Brian Whitcomb, not that that means anything to anyone.

Roderick calls Eddie and reports this in. Eddie talks again to Tommy's friend, who arranges a six-seater, to take off an hour before dawn; bring up to six people, the more eyes the better. Eddie calls Dr. Schreber, and asks that he come too, especially in case there are injured people. He'll go. Dr. Schreber calls Roderick about a room for the evening (Papa Grande mutters peevishly about Dr. Schreber, and is ignored). Sheila arrives at Dr. Schreber's, and the two go to Roderick's. Everyone heads for the airport at an ungodly pre-dawn hour of the morning.

The search plane cruises around the Adirondacks, and Sheila notices the downed biplane. They waggle their wings at the camp and then land at the closest airfield. Sheriffs and ambulances are summoned; sadly, the rescue party gets lost on the way in. Eddie volunteers to climb the tree, before the deputy manages to.

"You're not climbing the tree." - Dr. Schreber
"Why not?" - Eddie
"Because if you fall, you will die." - Dr. Schreber
Happily, once up the tree, Eddie spots some landmarks. Yay! The rescue party does finally manage to get to the camp. Tommy gets strapped up, then tranqued, and put in a stretcher. Unfortunately, the EMT trips once on the way out, which is no good, and Tommy's lung gets nicked. Eventually, they get to the ambulance and from there to the hospital.
"How did you send the ghost to contact me?" -Roderick
"The what?"
Tommy decides he owes Brian one, whoever the heck he is.

November, 1938
The Man without Shadow comes and visits Dr. Schreber; it's time for Sheila to go. Some cryptic goodbyes are exchanged, as well as goodbye presents - Sheila gives Dr. Schreber a call number, Dr. Schreber gives Sheila a letter of reference. She also says she'll give Gerti something. The Man Without Shadow says that Sheila should make sure to clean up the loose ends; she says she will. They leave.

That afternoon, Gerti is at church when she has a strange encounter with the Virgin Mary, and then with a rabid dog on the way home.

That evening is a traditional dinner with Esme. Esme has been inviting Sheila to these things as well, but tonight Sheila's phone has been disconnected. Esme asks Dr. Schreber where Sheila is. Dr. Schreber says she has been called away. "Sheila who?", says Gerti...

Roderick explains to Gerti that Sheila is his imaginary friend, he doesn't know why Esme is hassling him about her. (Dr. Schreber has new respect for Esme, as the only person who remembers.) Papa Gran also remembers her too, and argues with Roderick about it. Roderick lectures Esme about not provoking Dr. Schreber, "even if it is fun." Esme says yes, she's sorry. Roderick gloats at Papa Gran.

"She's just humoring you." -Papa Gran
"Who's my friend and who's the evil face dancer?" -Roderick
"Feh." -Papa Gran
The next day, Roderick begins to remember, and calls Dr. Schreber. Is she really gone? Really really gone?
"If she's not really gone, and you can't talk about about it, make some comment about the weather." -Roderick
"No, she's really gone." -Dr. Schreber
Looking with aura sight, Roderick thinks the brand is different on Dr. Schreber's soul, but the giant bug isn't back. Dr. Schreber looks in the closed stacks of Miskatonic for the book - it's a reference that if you try to read in order never gets out of the Aas. But it has little entries on other random things like Hengirth and face dancers. It's unclear how much use this is, since you can't look up things until you know something about what they are.

Early 1939
Esme begins to devote more time to a local orphanage and less to her society friends. Her public persona appears to be shifting from "young socialite everyone adores" to "eccentric wealthy woman everyone humors" (like a younger version of Roderick)

April, 1939
Everyone gets a letter saying that Julian has died. Oh woe!

Gerti heads to North Ashfield immediately, and is soon talk to by Mattie, who gives the pré&;cis of her suspicions that Julian's death wasn't natural. There was mud and dirt on his rug, and his window was unlocked when he always locks it.

Gerti calls people to try to get them all to come up early. Roderick goes and gets the Box from the lawyers - the one that has the picture of the Hound. He also brings surgical equipment sufficient to become a face dancer, if it becomes necessary. Tommy goes to church and complains to God.