Bad Dreams

Part 1: Afternoons in the Park

Sunday Evening, March 12, 1934
Esme hosts another of her dinners; in addition to the party (except for Peter, who is in Canada, looking for Bigfoots), Marcus Bellesby has accompanied Roderick, and Harold St. Jean has come with Esme. Tommy glowers at Harold, and Roderick glowers at Marcus. Roderick wears dark glasses and gloves through dinner; this appears to tied to his new obsession. Dinner conversation is a little stilted; Harold asks Dr. Schreber what he thinks of Hitler, who has recently come to power. Roderick talks about various inappropriate dinner topics, like aboriginal customs. Eddie diverts the conversation to the "possibly tribal rhythms" of the nighttime thumpings the Valiants are investigating. Esme talks to Harold about getting a job with better prospects for Charlie.

After dinner, most people head home, though Harold takes Esme out to a club with music. Dr. Schreber has another dream that night:

There's Charlie and Gerti and Junior, all sitting somewhere. Gerti is looking around, trying to watch in all directions, but she's watching in the wrong direction when something that looks like a translucent floating multi-legged creature comes and fastens itself to the back of Junior's head. As it flexes and pulls, he's reminded of nothing so much as a starfish attempting to open a shellfish... Gerti turns back to Junior, but the creature is hidden and she sees nothing. Then, Junior starts looking uncomfortable, then unhappy - he scrunches up his face as if to scream, but when he opens his mouth, no sound comes out, and you realize suddenly that his mouth is no longer a mouth, it's a third, larger eye...
He wakes at about three in the morning, in a cold sweat, and calls Gerti. Junior seems okay now, he's asleep.
"I'm sorry for the late hour..." - Dr. Schreber "Do feel free to call any time you have bad dreams about my son." - Gerti
Monday, March 13
Gerti tells Charlie she's taking Junior to see Dr. Schreber. He's nonplussed, and comes along. Dr. Schreber calls Roderick; Marcus answers, very chipper, and attempts to say that Roderick is still resting. Roderick arrives on the scene, wearing pajamas and an Indonesian war mask, and wrests the phone away from Marcus. Dr. Schreber explains the dream, and asks Roderick to come by as well. Some time later, Roderick, the Scottish Manservant, Gerti, Charlie, and Junior arrive at Arkham Asylum. It's a big gothic-looking building, with unnaturally large ivy climbing the walls, and there are screams, shouts, and the occasional bit of gibberish echoing out of the barred windows. One of the patients exchanges shrieks with Junior.

Dr. Schreber tells the dream again. Roderick puts on a black-and-white mask, and tries to read anything from Junior. Instead, he sees a huge black bug behind Dr. Schreber, and flees to the corridor. Charlie follows, but is unable to persuade Roderick to come back in; Roderick heads for the car, and Charlie goes back into the office. Dr. Schreber examines Junior, and thinks he's possibly a little jumpy and tired, but it's hard to determine anything more than that. Everyone heads outside, and the Walkers are shooed away to walk around the grounds (another patient keeps waving to them).

Roderick checks again astrally on Dr. Schreber and Junior; he sees what may be sucker marks on Junior, and a very far-off bug or possibly just a bug bite, on Dr. Schreber. Roderick describes (somewhat vaguely) the bug he saw, and Dr. Schreber recounts his bug dream of several months ago. Since there isn't anything currently affecting Junior, maybe it was just a suck-and-run? The Walkers are filled in - this is somewhat disturbing.

Roderick and Dr. Schreber head to the Miskatonic University library. Dr. Schreber finds a book in the closed stacks which has an illustration of a nude man with an eye in his mouth and eyes in his hands, but it looks like it's in Hebrew, and that isn't very helpful. Dr. Schreber convinces a Miskatonic professor, Professor Feldman, to make a stab at translating it - he says it's temple Aramaic, and makes some guesses at some bits. It says that the guy in the picture is "one of the many of Hengirth," to beware them, and that he'd been "part of Hengirth since youth." Dr. Schreber asks if Professor Feldman could take some time to do a better translation, claiming that this has something to do with one of his patients; he's not enthusiastic at the idea of spending a lot of time on it.

The researchers head for the Valiants' office; Tommy tries to lay hands on Junior ("What?? This is a mockery!" - Dr. Schreber); this doesn't seem to cure Junior of anything, but he does look at Gerti and say "Mama" and then off in a not-really-at-Dr. Schreber-direction and say "Dada", but the GM has forgotten that Charlie isn't there, so it doesn't cause much of a stir. The guy outside with his nose pressed against the window is really psyched, though.

Dr. Schreber comments that Roderick's son does seem a bit high strung - perhaps he could...

"I do not need an opium fiend lying around the house. Charlie still asks for painkillers every time he sees you. I think he dropped a bookcase on his foot on purpose!" - Roderick
Roderick doesn't know any exorcisms about squid. Maybe if Junior were to wear someone else's clothes, the mystery thingy would be confused (the same way Roderick's masks confuse the astral spirits...)?

Roderick, Dr. Schreber, Gerti, and Junior go to the park. Roderick sees that there's little astral tendrils coming out of one particular girl (very short red hair and bonnet), going to other kids. Some of them are over playing peek-a-boo with Junior, and there's an astral tendril poking at him. Roderick heads over, and puts a hand in the way of the tendril. The girl glares at him with a "annoying insect!" sort of look. Dr. Schreber's guess is that the very short hair is indicative of chemotherapy.

Dr. Schreber calls Esme, to see if she knows any ancient Aramaic scholars. She knows Professor Feldman! She calls him, and asks if he could pretty please do the translation for Dr. Schreber, and suggests dinner on Wednesday. He agrees to translate it by Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 14
Dr. Schreber calls around to various hospitals, and finds out that Carey has been a patient at the Floating Hospital. Eddie disguises himself as a hospital file clerk, and pulls Carey's file to take a look - the attending physician was Dr. Barnes, and there appear to have been a series of treatments which didn't work, and then one that did, a couple of weeks ago. The most recent treatment was something that had failed to work before, though Dr. Schreber points out that that does happen sometimes.

Gerti waits until Carey is in the park, and then calls Patricia (her mother). Gerti mentions not having seen her around for a while; she says she's been down with the flu. Gerti speculates that Carey is principally tapping people she's paying attention to, such as her mom and the kids in the park.

That night, the Valiants stake out the house with the thumping noises, and see a neighbor leaving, but don't catch up to him, and fail to figure out what he was doing at the back of the house.

Wednesday, March 15
Roderick watches the park for a while, but sees nothing. Tommy and Eddie fail to find the thumping mechanism when they go back during the day.

Esme goes to dinner with Professor Feldman, and gets his notes on the translation. He thinks they're unsuitable reading for young women. He also wants to know whether Esme is serious about that odd little fellow (Dr. Schreber). Esme says she isn't. Later that night, Esme reads the notes (which are, in fact, rather disturbing) calls Dr. Schreber, and tells him about them. ("It's really alarming, actually. You said this had something to do with Junior?" - Esme). They debate what of the notes to pass on to Gerti.

Wednesday night, the Valiants pounce on Rumplesworth, the neighbor making the thumping noise. He says he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids. Case closed.

Thursday, March 16
Dr. Schreber comes over to Esme's to see the notes. Esme calls Roderick, but has to pass the Marcus gauntlet. The Scottish Manservant wrests the phone away from Marcus this time, and bangs on the wall with it. ("It's for ye, ye old goat!"). Roderick heads over as well. After hearing all about Hengirth, including the bit that says that nested people can be cured by removing their eyes, Roderick wonders which sorts of eyes, and recalls the Great Bulgarian Hand-Chopping of 1312. Upon mentioning this to Dr. Schreber, the latter recalls the patient who chewed his hands off. (""Perhaps... you should have him taken off sedation." -Roderick)

There's some metaphysical discussion about how you can tell a nest of Hengirth from someone who's been fully taken over. Carey glared at Roderick, so either Hengirth is in control or she's evil, or something. Really, the question is whether they think they need to kill Carey, or just cut her hands off.

"My field guide to Hengirths has gone missing under the ottoman, so I can't tell you if this is an Eastern Spotted Hengirth or a Red-Breasted Hengirth." - Roderick
Roderick suggests throwing a skunk into the park, so the kids don't congregate there. The group is briefly dumbfounded, but then fixates on this plan (Stinkbomb versus influenza warning signs? So hard to choose...). Dr. Schreber is enthralled by the chance to make a nasty smelling chemical; he successfully brews something up.

Roderick researches the Bulgarian Hand-Chopping Massacre; apparently it was a knight who insisted on doing this; there was some argument from the villagers, but after he started cutting heads of objectors off, objections decreased. The victims apparently tried to smite him, but he was shielded in the Armor of God and was able to stand against them, and then cut off all their hands.

Charlie and the Scottish Manservant are delegated to paint the nasty smell all over the park. They succeed, and the Scottish Manservant is but a blur of shadow in the night (having critically succeeded a stealth roll).

Part 2 ->