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 The East Side Killer

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PostSubject: The East Side Killer   Wed May 01, 2013 1:52 pm

In the darkness, a dim two-toned light illuminated the faces of a few assembled bodies--a diffuse red and white glow that has the garish contrast of a highway at night. The faces belonged to agents and supervisors assembled in stony silence. The light, twin projected videos, one a simple black and white field recording, the other suffused with the sinister carmine of Kirlian video.

On screen, a young man, maybe in his late twenties, with brilliantly blonde hair, ice blue eyes, and a dignified if impetuous bearing, clad in a business suit, stood interrogating a collection of men and women.

"And you're sure this will work, then?" the man asked, "I need this...haunting or whatever you call it dealt with by the end of the week. I need to offload this property, and with the unfortunate rumors surrounding..."

"Just leave it to us, Mr. MacAlester," said a tall greying man in sunglasses and an ostentatious suit, "You can trust that Terrel and Squib will have this whole thing wrapped up by the end of the day."

"Pause." said an old man in the audience. "Who is this man?"

"Darius Farmer," answered a graceful voice, "From Number 772. The ringleader of the T&S Crucible that Whisper dealt with"

"Status?"

"Deceased."

"Ah, thank you, Ms. Dennison, you may continue."

"The rest isn't so interesting, Chet. I'll advance the tape. Keep your eyes on the Kirlian footage for this next part." Kate Dennison held down a button on a remote control, and the video began to race forward in time, the timestamp in the left corner advancing wildly. Figures moved about as if dosed on amphetamine--techs placing dubious equipment in a large hall, photographers taking dubious shots, and Darius Farmer, dubiously supervising the entire operation. The techs hovered about waving instruments on every object in the hall, setting up larger devices near a fireplace, which MacAlester lounged about in the periphery of the shots, near windows or seated.

"It's clear to me at this point that they didn't actually expect a ghost here. From what I gather from the data, they were pretty sure that the poltergeist activity was just bad wiring and a settling foundation." She paused, letting the video run. MacAlester sat down in and arm chair to watch the parapsych techs work.

"Here, look."

MacAlester took a small box from his coat and popped in open. He took a pinch of something inside the box and inhaled it.

A young man in a buzz cut and a button-down shirt chuckled. "Snuff, seriously? How stereotypical can you get?"

"Not snuff, Blink." Answered the husky voice of David Sanchez from the back of the room, "Pigment."

Dennison continued, "Now this is the bad part. Watch Kirlian please."

On the red tinted screen, several placid blobs hovered in the rough positions of the parapsych techs and MacAlester as documented by the standard video. One of the techs lifted a picture of a young man off the mantelpiece and examined it. Dennsion returned the video to its regular speed.

"Arthur, does this photo mean anything to you?" asked a ditzy looking parapsych tech.

MacAlester took a while to answer. "Huh? Ah, no, no. I don't think so. It was...ah...the previous owner."

"What happened to him?"

"Something about a jealous...ah...hmmmm"

"A jealous what?"

"Mistres...m...mistress, that's it. I think he was murdered."

"Ah, good thing you called us!"

And with that, the tech promptly stumbled and dropped the picture to the floor. The glass shattered loudly, and the scene changed immediately. From nowhere, a jagged, angry looking, and only vaguely humanoid patch of light hovered into frame and coalesced around the broken and shredded image on the floor.

"The spectre" said Tom Hayes, until that point silent in the back of the room.

The form stood and raised its hands before apparently looking about the room. Without another sign or motion, it charged towards MacAlester. The standard camera registered a look of absolute terror on MacAlester's face before the entity lept towards him disappearing into his body. In an instant, the icy blue eyes of the client took on a different cast. No longer the shrewd eyes of a businessman, they took the form of the ragged, hungry, and demented eyes of a killer.

MacAlester took to his feet and walked calmly over to the picture, studying it and even pushing the glass about with his feet.

"We'll have that cleaned up in a moment, Arthur." said a parapsych tech.

MacAlester ignored her and strode over to a pile of wood near the fireplace. An ax, decorative but still sharp sat on the floor nearby. He lifted it into his hands, testing out the weight.

"Ah, Mr. MacAlester, take a look at this!" said another tech, this one a boyish looking young man with a long brown ponytail. "We're getting incredible readings on this EMF meter!"

Without a sound, and with cruelty obvious in every step, MacAlester began to march towards the ten or so techs gathered at the plywood table. As he moved, he lifted his ax over his head.

"The readings are really picking up, Mr. MacAlester." said another tech. There was no answer. "Mr. MacAles-"

The ax came down, burying itself into the skull of the tech who fell towards the table knocking over equipment.

The ditz from before "Oh, god! Oh-" and the ax whipped around first striking her in the stomach before being wrenched free and driven through her collapsing form. The boyish tech stood up and backed away with fear. MacAlester cleared the distance and chopped into the man's knee, driving him to the ground. With a motion, MacAlester beheaded him, leaving a bleeding corpse staining the floor.

Then the screaming began. Techs fled in every direction. Few were a match for the impossible speed and strength of MacAlester. Limbs were severed by deft blows of the ax, and those who fell were quickly dealt with. Blood covered the man, and the mansion. Darius Farmer stood staring in abject fear, the Kirlian camera revealing the jagged, enraged aura around Arthur.

"What the hell is that thing?" screamed a tech.

"Hide!" Darius screamed, and ran, knocking over both cameras. The screams continued, and then were ultimately silent. Only the constant sound of ragged breathing and the moans of the dying could be heard. And then, footsteps, and suddenly, whistling. Something approached the knocked over cameras on the floor. The bloody face of MacAlester leaned over them, smiling placidly, before bringing down his ax. The footage ended.

"Jesus Christ" said Blink Carruthers.

"Hyde. That's what they call him." said Kate Dennison. "And now he's on a rampage through the upper east, killing entire families if he can."

"How many dead?" Asked Chet Mason.

"Currently 11. About one family a month gets taken out. The police are trying, but there's no motive, no suspects."

"My god..." said Hayes.

Dennison flipped the lights on in the conference room. "What's worse is I don't know if we have the resources to pursue this."

The sudden light revealed a figure standing in the doorway.

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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Wed May 01, 2013 7:22 pm

Once the lights came on, the figure stepped into the conference room from the doorway. Pulling off his glasses, folding and placing them in his breast pocket, Edmund Wiseman cleared his throat.

"How many resources do you require? I know I'm on Beach, but things need doing, and I've nothing but time, like." His Berkshire accent rung through in his speech, but there was a hard seriousness to his tone. "I'll take it, pro bono if necessary. This Hyde needs to be stopped, all melodrama aside. He's killing families. Can't let him kill mine."

He didn't like being physically manifested, but oftentimes it was necessary. His usually vibrant countenance was pallid, even jaundiced. A drawback of being a Haunter Shade. Clearing his throat once more, he smoothed out his impeccable tweed suit, and continued.

"This doesn't have to be an assignment for the Whisper Crucible. I do believe I'm more than capable of bringing down a singular Jason on my own. I like to think I've read enough files. And the less my teammates are involved, the better." He didn't think it was important to mention the eccentricities of the rest of Whisper.

"Suffice it to say, ladies and gentlemen, I'm on Beach but I have no need for money or actual vacation time until my personal energies have restored, which they have. I will do this if you deem me fit for it. Just point me in the right direction, and I will burn this tosser so awfully his spectre will feel it."
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Wed May 01, 2013 9:23 pm

Kate Dennison seemed surprised by offer. "Mr. Wiseman, while we respect your bravery...

"You'll get iced, kid." finished Sanchez, "We'll try to get the resources together to send a fumigation team out maybe by Winter, but for now we just have to hope this one runs its course."

"We'll do no such thing!" said Chet Mason, getting to his feet with the aid of a cane. "The young man has volunteered his support. As long as he keeps his head down and restricts this to a fact-finding mission he should be ok, shouldn't he?"

Sanchez sighed and threw up his hands. "Your funeral, kid."

"We'll get your associates in if we can." said Dennison, "But please, have a look at this." She gestured to a small map on a back table and walked over. "This is a map of the attacks that we can reliably associate with the killer. We believe there's a pattern, but can't quite figure it out."

(Roll Intelligence+Enigmas, difficulty 6 if you look at the map)
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Wed May 01, 2013 9:41 pm

Wiseman's brow, already furrowed with age, deepened in a frown. "I'm fifty-three," he uttered, "I still marvel at all this 'young man' nonsense." Though witty repartee had to wait, more important things were afoot.

Approaching the table, the manifested spirit produced his glasses from his pocket and put them on, leaning over the map to give it some study. He was silent, thoughtful as he looked over the marked points on the map.

(Rolled 2 successes on a pool of 3. I'd have proof but I lost the site that had a dice roller and logged the rolls!)
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Wed May 01, 2013 10:20 pm

Chet Mason laughed "Fifty three is young to me."

Edmund's eyes scanned over the map. Where each killing had taken place, a red dot had been marked. Four dots for four dead families. But what could be the pattern. Thinking instinctively, Edmund took up a pencil and connected the dots crosswise into an X.

"Notice anything, Wiseman?" asked Blink Carruthers, now leaning over the map.

Edmund did indeed notice something. At the cross point of the X there was a building. And in that building lived his daughter, her husband, and their young son.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Wed May 01, 2013 10:38 pm

Even though he was all gauze, Edmund felt a cold sweat. He swallowed, his breath caught in his lungs. One word came out of his mouth.

"Lily."

He nodded to his contemporaries, and mostly superiors, and then he left. He borrowed a co-worker's phone to text the driver. After all, he was still manifested, and therefore physical, so he could actually interact and converse with the driver on the way to the Upper East Side.

In all honesty though, Edmund was not in a conversational mood, so the ride was spent mostly in silence. "Stay local. Grab a dinner if you must, I'll pay you extra myself if it comes to it," he told the driver. "And be careful. It's better if you stay somewhere public for me to contact you."

After Edmund exited the car, he let his gauze slip back into the insubstantial stuff it was. After all, it wouldn't be good to knock on his daughter's door and ask to be let in. He'd been dead for two years. He only had so much of a supernatural awareness, but he kept an open feeling as he approached the building.

For either that Hyde, or his own doppelganger Specter.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Fri May 03, 2013 2:13 pm

Edmund forced his gauze into the lock of the townhouse's front door, and emerged on the other side. The foyer rung with an unsettling silence at first, until Edmund heard the clash of plates, the moving of silverware, and the laughter of adult and child-like voices. Creeping forward into the dining room, Edmund found his son-in-law Frank laughing and having an amiable pizza dinner with his five year old son.

"That's true, Dan, I guess you really wouldn't know."

They both laughed again.

"But, for real, though, are we going to go sailing tomorrow, daddy?"

"Sure thing, kid. Got to wait for your mom to get home first. Iceland's a long way away, but she'll be back soon," he looked at his watch, "Actually, she got off the plane an hour ago, her cab should get here soon."

Frank's cellphone buzzed out a little tune. He picked it up and read it.

"Ah, your mom says she's stuck in traffic. She's going to be a little late."

"Awwww" said Daniel. The phone buzzed again. Frank picked it up absentmindedly.

"The hell?" he said, confused by what he saw.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Fri May 03, 2013 3:55 pm

Not manifested, Edmund could move freely about the house with little trouble aside from risking waking into either his son-in-law or grandson.

Seeing them laugh made him feel good. It made him feel lonely, but pleased that Frank was being a good dad, and Daniel was turning out well.

Then Frank seemed to get a confusing text. Edmund tried to lean, to peer in and see what it was that had Frank so perplexed.

He had a feeling he wasn't going to like it.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Fri May 03, 2013 4:20 pm

As Edmund looked over his shoulder, frank thumbed through picture after picture. The phone sang its tune with a frightening staccato intensity. First, an image of the inside of a taxicab. Then, Lily's face, looking tired but distracted. Another, a sudden look of panic in her eyes. A further picture, a whirlwind of color and motion. A picture of a sign--"Prospect Park", then, a wrecked vehicle slammed into a tree. A dead body--Lily's? No, the cab driver--his form twisted and mangled into the wrenched metal of the car. Blood was everywhere. Finally, a series of pictures of a woman crawling--injured, but alive, as she made her way to a stand of trees.

An ice cold feeling washed over Edmund. He did this. (Gain 1 spite point)

After a pregnant moment, a final text buzzed into the phone. It read only "Hide."

"Dear god, Lily! Daddy has to go, be good." said Frank as he lept to his feet and fled out the door to his car. Daniel could only stare in confusion over a plate of half-eaten food.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Fri May 03, 2013 5:00 pm

No. No, no, no, NO!

Edmund ran to a nearby cordless phone, Inhabiting it with impunity. It would take too long for either of the Sleepers to go under to assist him. His kindred Spirit hated anyone with status higher than homeless. So he called Siouxsie, and left her a message, frantically detailing the address, how to get there, and demanding that she guard his grandson.

Hopefully she would listen.

After that, he ran. He ran after Frank, to accompany him to find his daughter. Edmund felt his gauze like blood, pumping through him excitedly. He needed to help save his daughter, Frank if need be.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Fri May 03, 2013 5:19 pm

Edmund jumped into the backseat of the car as Frank raced downtown, running red lights. He tossed his cellphone into the backseat of the car. It buzzed and sang as it flew, its screen showing the haggard face of MacAlester walking away from the wrecked cab and towards the woods where Lily had crawled off, an ax held in his hands--his suit haggard and stained with blood.

Another text: "Hide!"

Frank pulled onto the bridge and crossed into Brooklyn. Fortunately, traffic did not impede his progress, and, with a hasty park-job in an illegal space, Frank and Edmund were outside the west side of the park. Without a word, Frank grabbed his cell phone, looked quizzically at the image displayed, and began to call the police as he wandered off into the park.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Fri May 03, 2013 7:18 pm

Edmund searched the woods, feeling his Vitality pumping in his ears. Emotions were running high, but he was a soldier and a technician in life, used to high-stress situations. He kept a sharp eye on his surroundings, trying to make sure that Frank would not be kept out of eyesight.

If it got too dark, Edmund would use the barest strength of Witch's Nimbus to be a candle in the dark for him, and non-manifested, should not give away his position to Frank.

Edmund felt with his senses, visual, audible and supernatural. Being a ghost gave him some level of awareness, after all, and even the slightest bit helped. Anything helped, to find his daughter and protect his son-in-law.

(I'm suggesting I roll either Perception/Investigation, Alertness or Awareness as necessary here. Up to you though!)
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Sat May 04, 2013 12:38 pm

Bond rubbed wearily at the bridge of his nose. The gauze-on-gauze interaction was a futile gesture, but it made him feel better nonetheless. Ok, one more time. He increased his glow slightly,

"Take a closer look. They'd be new players on the street. Either of you, seen either of them?"

The junkie sitting propped up against the base of the tree stared at him dumbly. Bond sighed, snapped his fingers on one hand while raising the now slightly dog eared photo with the other.

"The picture, Johnny, remember the picture? These two."

Johnny the junkie took a nominal glance at it before he started making his promises, "I can definitely find those mothafuckas for you, Imma just need some cash to grease the wheels, 'nawmean? Maybe twenty, nah fifty..." The ghost of a crack addict next to him was even more useless; busy recreating his death.

007 stopped listening and tossed the photo back into his briefcase. So far this jaunt around town hadn't been worth the effort of getting the techs to kill him on the sly. An investigator is only as good as his sources though, so what the hell. He had another week of his coffin being locked down for "routine maintenance," then he'd make some rounds in the meat. Maybe in the meantime he'd find some pigment fiend to carry the briefcase around for him, stop wasting his energy on manifesting while working the ghost scene.

Bond pulled a gangster roll of cash from the case, peeled off a ten-spot and flicked it towards the addict with a pulse,

"First taste's free. Have something real for me next time, I'll make it worth it your while."

The ghost of an addict continued to pretend to struggle for breath on the ground, and the agent could only look down on it contemptuously. Worthless. He'd need to find a few with easily resolvable fetters, fix their minds and hope they'd be useful afterwards.

But then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw another ethereal form, off in the distance. A ghostly profile that was quite familiar. Dropping the money into the briefcase, Bond snapped it shut, hefted it and killed the lightshow,

"Excuse me, gentlemen, I believe I see a friend out for a stroll."

The living junkie nodded as though the demands of social propriety frequently interrupted his affairs, and raised the hand not clutching the bill in a farewell salute. The dead junkie, now sitting up and fixated on the lethal overdose he was hungrily preparing for himself, did not notice the other ghost's departure.

Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Sat May 04, 2013 4:30 pm

James wandered forward, drawn by the bobbing light in the distance. Pushing through some brush, he stumbled into a clear area. A man, maybe in his early forties marched forward, heedlessly, shouting.

"Lily!" he cried into the tense night air.

Trailing him, the worried, ethereal form of Edmund, lighting his own way with a mote of white fire.

As James appeared from the brush, the man ceased his cry, and turned to face the spy. Frank took a quick look at James and noticed that he was dressed well enough to maybe be respectable.

"Hey, man, I'm trying to find my wife. Have you seen her? Here." He pulled up a picture of her on his phone. "I think she might be hurt"
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Sat May 04, 2013 8:41 pm

So. Drama in the family Wiseman.

Bond feigned concern as he looked into the phone, "Oh, that's terrible! No, I haven't seen her."

"But I'll help you look, a friend of mine actually lost his daughter in this park once. Lead the way!"

007 moved to let the man take point and met Edmund's incorporeal eyes, mouthing the obvious question: Your Specter? Falling into step behind the stranger, Bond kept talking to him while waiting for the Haunter's reply, "I'm Jim, by the way."

Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 11:50 am

Seeing as while not manifested, Frank couldn't hear him, but Bond could see and hear him just fine, Edmund gave his fellow the basic rundown.

"Partial confirmation on that. Presumably my Spectre and Hyde are working together. They're after my daughter, and I need your help, mate. They need your help." He was pleading, and he knew it. Pride was an easy pill to swallow when one's daughter was on the line.

Though alert, Wiseman was a little caught up in hope, seeing his compatriot out here at this time. There was a much better chance now.

Their superiors were right. Edmund couldn't hope to do this alone.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 12:22 pm

Bond, continuing to walk behind the son-in-law, nodded and turned to Edmund mouthing, Hide?

He continued speaking with the living member of their trio, without waiting for his reply, in the guise of nervous, adrenaline fueled chattering,

"The specter of crime in this city, you know, I've always thought it should just be put down hard each time it rears its head. I know it'll rise again, but we'd have some peace in the meantime."

Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 2:54 pm

"Yeah, crime. Do you think Lily was carjacked?" Frank made small-talk as best as possible, but was focused on his task.

The trio marched through a dark field, illuminated only by weak moonlight and the diffuse orange glow of civilization. The silence was palpable and pregnant--only the sounds of beasts and insects moving in the trees made any sound at all. Crickets chirped in the hot summer air. But there were no screams or cries save that of cars on a distant highway.

"Fuck." said Frank, "I should probably call the police." He took out his phone again and made the necessary call. The group continued through the dark.

Bursting through a stand of trees, the group emerged into the scene of the accident. The taxi lay crashed against a tree, the driver crushed and bleeding as in the pictures. The accident, fortuitously concealed in the woods would not be visible from the streets, and would at least give the spectral adversaries a moment's delay before mortals interfered.

"My god..." whimpered Frank. He pulled out a flashlight and passed it over the carnage. Lily was not in evidence. Where next to go?

(Somebody can roll wits or intelligence +investigation (Analytical applies) at a difficulty 5)
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 4:36 pm

Lily. She wasn't here.

Edmund put his hand over his mouth in surprise. He was no stranger to death, but the dread anticipation of seeing his daughter's body sent chills throughout his gauze. They had to find her.

Luckily, Edmund's nimbus-light provided significant illumination to explore. It helped, at least, for himself and Bond, who could see the sepulchral light.

It was at that moment that something caught Wiseman's eye, a clue...

(Forgot to link the thingy! http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4039417/ Three successes!)
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 5:04 pm

The agent cast his expert eye over the scene while surreptitiously producing a well worn Walther PPK from his briefcase, carefully keeping it concealed from Frank's perspective.

"Do you have any idea what happened here, who's responsible, any useful information?" Bond hazards, his expectant gaze turned firmly to Edmund.

Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 5:11 pm

Edmund looked about the grizzly scene, noticing nothing but his own anger at first, until, just barely, he perceived a glimmer of light on the patchy grass at his feet. He bent down to look at it, and found a thin trail of rapidly drying blood leading off into the woods, perhaps in the direction of Lily.

Meanwhile, Frank was jarred from his focus on the carnage to answer Bond's question.

"I don't know. I started receiving these messages--look." He thumbed through the pictures for Bond to see. "What kind of sick fuck does this? My wife must be alive, look here, she's crawling away. But why over there? And who the hell is this?" he asked, talking about Hyde. He noticed Bond doing something with his briefcase. "Jesus, is that a gun? Are you some kind of cop or something?"

(Rolled 4 dice Per+Alertness, Diff 7, 3 successes)
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 5:38 pm

Bond holds the gun as though embarrassed, and adopts a nervously apologetic grimace.

"I'm afraid not, I just live in a terrible neighborhood," he feigns, "And honestly this just crossed the line from 'help a stranger' to 'fear for my life'.

"But look, I think that's some blood over there, she must be crawling in that direction. Let's go look and well, I'd hate to have to use it but..."

The agent shrugs to complete the better him than us sentiment.

Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 5:46 pm

"Hyde," Wiseman explained to Bond. "The Jason that's the East Side Killer. He's after my Lily. My doppelganger is probably assisting it. Bloody hell!" he exclaimed as he saw the trail of blood, and immediately started to follow it, breaking into a run. Caution was thrown to the wind - Lily was more important.

He had to save his daughter.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 5:59 pm

The three of them walked ahead, Frank shining his flashlight on the ghostly trail of blood, while Bond walked behind. They pushed through shrubs into a wooded area and moved deeper into the park, off the beaten paths and into an area that aped natural forests outside of the city.

"Do you guys smell that?" asked Frank. The answer was yes. Both of the agents could perceive a distant, but almost offensively sweet smell coming out of the trees ahead of them. As they moved forward, it intensified taking on undercurrents of noxious, corrupted flesh before morphing entirely into the smell of rotting remains. Edmund, charging ahead, noticed something else--the annoying buzzing of flies.

As they passed through the woods, finally, they emerged into a clearing. Edmund first, and the others shortly behind. The smell was worst here, and the buzzing of flies was deafening.

"Mother of god, what is that smell?" Frank passed his flashlight through the clearing. As his light moved about, it illuminated horrifying tableaux like a spotlight in some sick tragedy.

On the ground, all about lay corpses, most of them middle-aged black men, their faces--if they had them--livid and gawking, their bodies decomposing and putrid, some covered in maggots and wearing black cloaks of flies. All had been killed by an axe, some with severed heads lying a few feet away, some with missing limbs hacked off crudely, with bones jagged and broken protruding from wounds, and some had been gored, leaving organs to fester and burst. They wore thick clothing, most of it ragged and filled with holes. The clearing, covered in a patina of dried black blood, was filled with these bodies of the obviously homeless.

But no Lily.

(Perception+ Alertness Difficulty 7)
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   Mon May 06, 2013 7:00 pm

Dropping all pretenses, Bond adopted a practiced marskman's stance and stalked forward warily.
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PostSubject: Re: The East Side Killer   

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The East Side Killer
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