Seattle, Spring of 2010
Trevor however has to look elsewhere for help. Shaw suggests talking with a police psychiatric councilor she knows. Stewart King works with victims of violence and might be able to help Sorenson with his nightmares of violence. After vetting him with his own contacts, Sorenson sets an appointment with Dr. King.
“You can call me Stew,” the psychiatrist says.
Trevor is nervous. The window his right looks out on a city street. He feels exposed.
“How are you feeling?” Stew asks.
“I just feel like the world is just dangerous,” he plies, thinking how to hide the real cause of his problems. “Part of it is that I feel like my own work I’m dealing with patients all the time who describe abuse and violence. It is making me feel unsafe. I’m taking it on myself. And I need help reorienting that so I’m not taking the weight and burden of the troubles of my patients.”
Stewart starts him on some deep breathing exorcises.
After few sessions, Stew asks, “Is there something in your life that is bringing these feelings to the surface?”
Realizing Stewart is becoming wise to his deflections, Trevor tries to give him an editted account of the truth. He vaguely describes some of the issue he has encountered while consult with One of a Kind Investigations. “Really I think its compounded by the work I do.”
But Stew probes deeper and Trevor tells him, “Some of it is classified so I can’t go into details.” He alludes to some government work hoping the psychiatrist won’t poke further.
“In fact I witness someone being shot and killed right in front of me,” Trevor offers. “I think that really is the issue.”
Stew backs off of the specifics for now and asks him how that situation made him feel.
“Well I feel responsible for the violence inflicted on this person.,” Trevor says. “They were dangerous but somehow I still feel responsible for their death.”
As the months pass, Trevor too makes progress on his issues but much slower. It is not helped by his research into the history of the Hillcrest Mental Health Center.
Community‘s directions check out. One day in April he enters the basements and finds the closet it mentioned. The wall that needs to be broken down is old and cracked. The closet is full of strange glass jars filled with organs in formaldehyde. Some jars contain an odd black sludge. Boxes of dusty files cover the floor. As he takes it all in he rationalizes to himself, ’Are these left overs from morgue? There is so much red tape to dispose of these like this.’
He decides to watch if any people are using this area before proceeding further.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, April 28th
“Great,” Robert says. “When and where?”
“He’s busy during the day but maybe tomorrow evening,” VI offers.
“Thanks for getting in touch with me. I look forward to hooking up with him and taking a look at it.”
“Okay,” he says hanging up.
Robert heads to Shaw’s office and fills her in. They decide to bring Vito and Dr. Sorenson to the meeting as well. Shaw calls Ilyes to make sure it is a good time to see it. The doctor sounds under the weather but is eager to have another scientist look it over. He explains he has put the creature under a vacuum, which has slowed but not stop its rate of healing.
Dr. Ilyes’s house, Bellevue, Washington, April 29th, 9 PM
The investigators gather together for the first time in months in front of Ilyes’s house as a SUV pulls up. V.I. and Dr. Trott get out. The man accompanying the hoodie clad youth is fit with dark graying hair and a bushy beard. He is wearing an ugly orange and purple sweater and lugging a heavy pack on one shoulder.
He greets Shaw in a thick German accent. “Hello, good to meet you.”
“And you,” Shaw replies shaking his hand.
“My friend has told me a bit about you,” he says.
“That’s good,” she says as she gestures to the others. “These were the fellows who with me when we captured the monster.”
The psychiatrist steps forward. “I’m Dr. Sorenson. You can call me Trevor.”
“You call him Bjorn,” he says smiling. “What are you a doctor of?”
“And you?” Shaw asks.
“I am a physicist,” he explains.
Robert ask, “I’ve heard you’ve had some experience dealing with these things before?”
“I’ve investigated a variety of such creatures.”
“It be great if you could have a look at this thing. Its pretty weird.”
“Then let’s have a look at it.”
Ilyes is still recovering from the flu but shows them downstairs. “Francine” is encased in concrete with a full fishtank rigged to drop on it at a moment’s notice. The others can see that it has been slowly healing. The damage from the bullets and shrapnel has scarred over and the Y-incision is slowly mending. The cranial cavity is still open to the air however. Finally the portions exposed to water remain still damaged and none of the strange dust has reappeared.
“I have…” Ilyes coughs handing Trott a stack of research notes.
Dr. Trott looks over notes and begins his own investigation. From his pack he removes several complex devices.
“Mind if I ask what you are measuring?” Shaw asks.
He mentions some technobabble about measuring its electromagnetic field and other physical properties. Dr. Sorenson can tell he knows what he is discussing. It includes some fringe science but is mostly mainstream.
After half hour of this, he puts down his tool. “I’ve seen similar things though not of this sort,” he explains. He asks to see a sample of the dust they collected and pours over the analysis that Robert’s friend, Michael Matthews, collected. “Mmm. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“Yeah, neither had the guy at the university,” Shaw says.
“But I have encountered creatures with similar properties.”
“Sacramento, Denver,” he lists.
“Were they also easy to forget?” Shaw asks.
“No,” he says. “Not at those locations.”
“Then what makes them similar?”
“The healing after death,” he explains, “the distortion of photographic media, the reanimation.”
“Have you talked to one?” Robert asks.
“Once,” he says hesitantly.
“What could they tell you?” the detective asks.
Reluctantly Bjorn says, “they had nothign relevant to this. They seemed mostly concerned with feeding on people.”
“Could they tell you where they came from?” he presses.
“They claimed to have magical powers,” scientist says disdainfully.
“What do they call themselves?” Shaw asks.
“I’ve encountered a few subspecies. Each had its own name for its kind.”
Vito asks a question. “Did they seem to be aware of each other?”
“I’ve not be able to ascertain if they have a culture or society.”
“You said they slowly heal.,” Robert says. “Do they come back from the dead?”
“Yes,” he says firmly. “Though the time for revival can be quite variable. For some it can take months while others never seem to recover.”
“Do they retain cognitive function or memories from prior to the damage?” Dr. Sorenson asks.
“I believe so.” Dr. Trott looks at ‘Francine’. “Though I’ve never encountered one that survived having its head open before.” He peers into its skull.
“So it is possible this one won’t reanimate.,” Shaw speculates. “Since it has lost its consciousness.”
“Possibly. My other interactions with them would suggest that removal of the brain is instantly fatal. They turn to ash or quickly decay.”
“Well it doesn’t have a brain,” Shaw says.
Robert adds, “unless that sand was brain-like in function.”
Robert asks about what the possible origins are of these creatures. Dr. Trott offers a few theories. The creatures themselves claim to be vampires and to be descended from Caine or Dracula.
“That’s interesting,” Robert says. “That’s something a human would do. Claim some sort of more powerful origin. Where as if they were alien they wouldn’t care to do something like that.”
Dr. Trott agrees and doesn’t believe their stories either.
Dr. Sorenson ask, “do you have any theories on what energies are being used on the cellular repair here? There has to be an energy source.”
Dr. Trott suspects that they derive power from a food source. In other cases it was blood. The same principal should hold here but perhaps in a more rarefied form.
Shaw asks if the others he encountered were once human. Dr. Trott says yes. They were turned into monsters. Dr. Sorenson thinks back to the research at he encountered at Verdant Technologies. Shaw asks if he found any connections to Keystone Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Trott isn’t even aware of the company.
Shaw explains her interest. “They seem to be researching these creatures and know more about them. But I don’t trust their motives.”
Dr. Trott tells them his research has indicated that the creature have been around for a long time, perhaps centuries. They live on the fringes of society. However he doesn’t believe their theatrical stories of their origin.
They discuss how to kill the creatures. Fire is confirmed as a viable option. Dr. Sorenson says, “We’ve been doing some research ourselves into holy water.”
Dr. Trott is dismissive of the idea by Shaw confirms Sorenson’s observations. Dr. Trott is sure there is some sort of energy field imbued into the water.
VI pipes up. He says he isn’t sure there isn’t some sort of holy power. “I knew this one guy. He was a street preacher. He could cast out demons.”
Dr. Sorenson asks, “What should we call these creatures?”
Dr. Trott calls the ones he has encountered ENEs, or specifically hemovores. “What do these versions feed on?”
“Well I guess the brain,” Shaw says. “That’s what happened to our friend.”
They fill him in on Frank’s condition. Robert adds, “memory loss however is one of the main components.”
Dr. Trott considers. “So it sounds like it feeds off the brain and perhaps memories.”
Dr. Sorenson tries to clarify, “it actually seems more like the damage of parasites. We’ve also heard rumors of spiders involved. Though whether that is related or a manifestation of the process is unclear.”
Dr. Trott looks at him. “I’ve heard of a case like that. Spiders that is.”
“Yes a colleague of mine told me about it. It was a few years ago in Virginia.”
Dr. Ilyes perks up at the mention and asks for more details. Dr. Trott offers to send him his friend’s report.
They also discuss the dopplegangers but Dr. Trott hasn’t seen anything like them. He promises to keep them in mind in the future.
“Well we appreciate you taking the time to look into this,” Robert says. “As I mentioned we are particularly interested in knowing where they came from. If you ever learn more about that let us know.”
“Sure. I’ll be happy to pass that information along.”
“Well I’m glad you could come,” Shaw says. “It always seems the more we look into this stuff the more questions we have.”
“We are in the holding pattern for now,” Robert says. "Waiting until the next shoe to drop. Well thanks for your time and please let us know if you learn anything we might find useful.
They exchange business cards and Dr. Trott heads back to Portland.
Seattle, First week of May
Shaw meanwhile invites Vito Vitacelli into her office. As he sits down, she says, “I was a little surprised to find out about your moonlighting. I realize it is probably important to you plus you are probably making a fair amount off of it. I am not going to attempt to convince you to stop.”
“Actually I’m not making that much,” Vito says.
“Oh. Well be that as it may, I don’t think you would stop just because I asked you to.” She watches him closely.
“Not if it comes through official channels.”
“I’ll take that as a no,” she says sourly. “That being the case, you are too valuable an employee to let go and its clear these two lines of investigation are going to cross occasionally. However I don’t want any of these strictly separate jobs to reflect badly on the company. I’ve drawn up a revision to your contract.” She pushes several papers toward him. “As you can see the two areas flagged, the only ones changed, say that One of a Kind investigations is not liable for anything you do off the clock. Would you be willing to sign that?”
He looks it over. “Yes.”
Dr. Soreonson stops by during the week. He joins Shaw and Vito in the break room. “I’ve look into this lost buried subbasement and there seems to be extremely low activity there. So we probably could get in without being observed. Unfortunately it involves breaking down an old brick wall.”
Vito suggests forging a work order for him and he can remove it.
“You’re sure its not in use?” Shaw asks.
“I haven’t seen signs there is any regular activity at all,” the doctor says.
Vito suggests installing a camera in there to make sure. Dr. Sorenson agrees. He borrows a camera from them and sets it up in the closet. Just to be sure nothing is going on in there.
Hillcrest Mental Health Center, Greenwood, May 6th, 10 AM
Dr. Sorenson looks over his notes for session with Frank. The old etective is improving. He has his vocalizations under control and seems less anxious. He still has serious issues but in another year…
Frank interrupts his thoughts. “I think I remember something else now.”
“Regarding what?” he asks.
“You asked me if I had files,” the balding man says. “I think I had – I had another set of files.”
“Do you remember where you had these files?” Sorenson says calmly.
“Yes. I think I remember having…a storage locker.” He struggles to remember. “It was in Tacoma.”
“Tacoma. Okay,” sorenson says, quickly jotting this down. “Was this a large storage facility or it more just locker size?”
“It was large. I was…Midlan. Midland. Midland storage or something of that sort.”
Excited Sorenson asks, “did you have a key to it? How did you access it?”
“There was a key. And a lock.” Frank frowns. “I can’t remember where the key is. I think the unit was number 493.”
“I’m sure we can verify that,” he consoles the patient. “Do you want us to retrieve what is there if possible?”
“I think, I think it might be useful.”
“Alright. It might be better for all of our safety if we find it.” Sorenson offers him some encouragement, “its really promising that you are able to remember all of these details. I think in a few more months if continue your progress you might make a full recovery.”
“I’m feeling calmer,” Frank says.
“Do you feel safer?”
He hesitates. “A little bit.”
After his session Dr. Sorenson calls Shaw. “Hey Frank’s had a breakthrough. He’s got another storage location in Tacoma where he might have equipment or files on his extracurricular cases he was working on.”
“Okay, that’s great,” she says.
Sorenson says more seriously, “he doesn’t have a key but we might be able to work around that.”
“Well we have power of attorney so we can get into the locker,” she reminds him. She gets the details on the storage unit. “I’ll look into that.”
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, May 6th, 12 PM
Shaw looks up Midland Storage. The name turns out to be Midland Self Storage. The 1000 unit storage facility is about an hour away. She browses its garish website. Advertisements for 10 by 10 storage units invite her to ‘contact us here for exciting storage opportunities’. Shaw works out that the facility is the typical rows of roll up garage doors.
She calls them up. A woman on the other lines introduces herself as Justine Tibbits. “Hey Mrs. Tibbits.”
The other woman asks. “Hi are you interested in some storage?”
“Yes and no.” Shaw decides to bluff a bit. “I’m looking into my uncle records. He’s not doing to well lately and I’m trying to organize his estate. I just recently learned he has been renting storage with you for some time. Locker number 843?”
She hears the riffling of papers on the other end.
Shaw continues, “first I want to check that all the bills have been paid on time.”
The paper sound stops. “Oh I’m sorry. Um, it looks like your uncle hasn’t paid us in quite some time.”
“I was afraid of that,” Shaw says her hopes dropping slightly. “I had hoped that there was sort of automatic payment set up.”
“We had to auction off the contents,” Justine says sadly.
“When did that happen?” Shaw says with a sinking feeling.
“This was a few months ago. February 20th.”
“This is going to be devastating,” Shaw says adding some extra emotion. “Do you have any records of who bought the various items?”
Justine takes pity on her. “Yes. Sam Jacobs. He is a pawn shop owner in Auburn. Jacobs & Sons. He bought the lot.”
“I guess that’s something.” Shaw plays for more information. “I guess that’s how it goes. I don’t know what is valuable and its all sentimental anyway.”
“I’m sorry,” Justine says.
“So you cleared out the whole lot?”
“Yes, it looks like he had a few boxes, a motorcycle, a trunk full of clothes.”
“Well thanks. I guess I’ll have to contact this Mr. Jacobs and see if I can get any of this stuff back.” Before hanging up she checks the mailing address they have for Frank on file, jotting down the P.O. Box.
Shaw walks over to reception and talks to Mavis about the recent events. The older woman is happy to here about his husband’s progress. As to the storage facility, she had no idea he had one or that he still had that old motorcycle.
“So there is a motorcycle?” Robert muses.
“There are 5 banker boxes, a trunk of clothes, and a motorcycle. We want to get as much back as we can.”
“How much did the pawn shop owner pay?” vito asks.
“Not much. $200.”
They decide the motorcycle is likely already sold but the rest might still be there. The two detectives head to Auburn.
Auburn, Washington, 2 PM
Vito and Robert walk up to the pawn shop. Its nicer than most. There are still bars on the windows but the location is nicer than average. As they go inside they see shelves of oddities and collectibles.
Vito approaches the proprietor, an overweight and balding man named Sam. He explains why they are here. “We understand you bought his storage and we were wondering if you had anything left that we could buy back from you?”
After here his story, Sam rubs his brow. “So this Frank guy. What storage was he at?”
After they tell him the details, he turns the thin man behind the counter. “Benny watch the register. I’ll be right back.”
Sam disappears into the back room for a few minutes. He comes out with a heavily marked pad. “So yeah, there was a motorcycle, A trunk.” He rattles off a list of clothing items. “And those five boxes. Let’s see. I have all the glassware in one of the boxes plus most of the pictures and files from the rest.”
“What about the rest?” Vito asks.
“I sold the motorcycle a couple months ago. Still got the trunk. Most of the clothes are gone.”
Vito tells him, “we’ll buy the trunk and whatever clothes are left. As well as the files.”
“Someone was interested in the files?” Robert asks.
“Yeah I have a regular. He comes in usually once a week.” Same glances at the calendar. “He’s a writer. Says the stuff is inspirational.”
Vito and Sam haggle over the cost and they put it on the company tab.
As they finish up, Robert asks, “so this writer guy, I don’t now what the confidentiality rules are for pawn shops, but we’d like to get the other files.”
Sam looks up from the register with a grin. “Oh, yeah his name is Terrance, Terrance Smith. He lives a couple blocks from here.”
“Maybe he’d be willing to sell the papers to us,” Robert says.
“Yeah sure.” Sam gives them his address as well as the buyer of the motorcycle. Robert thanks Mr. Jacobs and they head out.
Outside, Rob calls Shaw. “We recovered most of the items. We of course are missing the motorcycle and a variety of clothes are gone. Disturbingly some of the files have been purchased by a writer named Terrance Smith. He says they’ve been inspirational in his writing which worries me a little bit.”
“That’s probably better some of the alternatives,” she says.
“Vito and I are going to go talk to him and see if we can get the rest of the files. He’s just up the road.”
The two detectives reach Terrance’s apartment. Its on the second floor of residental home. They climb the exposed side stairs and knock on the balcony door.
After a few minutes of silence, Robert turns to Vito. “My inclination is to leave a message for the guy.”
“I think we should come back later,” the military man says. “I don’t want this guy to know we are coming. Who knows what is in that stuff Frank had.”
“He’s just a writer,” Robert protests.
“You can go back,” Vito replies. “I’ll stay here staked out.”
Robert shrugs and heads back to the car. As he fastens his seat belt, he texts Shaw: ’Wasn’t there. Vito’s staking out. I’m coming back. Agreed?"
Back at the office, Shaw reads Robert’s text irritably.
Vito’s phone rings and Shaw’s voice can be heard at the other end. “Vito, why are you staking out a private citizen?”
“I have a feeling based on Frank’s records and this guy’s reactions to them,” he explains. “I didn’t want to leave a note and allow him to mentally prepare. I want to hit before that.”
“You don’t have to mention the files in the note,” she tells him. “You can just mention that we are interested in his writing. He’s a writer. He will pick up the phone. That’s how they are.”
Vito insists on waiting.
Shaw relents. “I don’t want you to read too much paranoia into this. All he has is some mad scribblings. Don’t go hard on him.”
“I won’t,” he promises.
“And this is not billable.”
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, 4 PM
Shaw and Mill look over the boxes and other effects Mill brought back. Theclothes they put to one side. They are all nromal mens clothing in Frank’s size. Shaw and Mill pound and measure the trunk they came in but find no secret compartments.
One of the boxes is filled with glass bottles and flasks of varying sizes from wine bottles to medicine bottles. Neither of them are sure what to make of them.
Dr. Sorenson comes into the office to help. Together they each begin to look through the other four files. The dusty folders are filled with type written papers, faded Polaroids, and other evidence. It looks like case work but for strange cases.
Some of the files, particularly the older ones, seem to start like typical private eye cases. But then things get weird, supernatural things occur, and monsters come out of the shadows. There are documented encounters with ghosts, cults, shape-shifters, demons, even a sea monster. They make a note to check the records later to see if any of the Groetnich mythology is involved.
Most of the case date back to the late 70s through the late 90s. After an hour they are pretty sure that after 2002, Frank stopped adding reports. They also find mention of numerous associates:
- Amy Smith, a lawyer
- Eddie Stam, a journalist
- Emerson Gutmann: noted as a Union man
- George: no last name is mentioned, but the files suggests he might be a petty crook
- Joseph Heisen
- Kathleen: no last name is mentioned, but the files suggests she might be a police officer
- Kathryn McNabb
- Peter: no last name is mentioned, but the files suggests he might be a truck driver
- Rajiv: no last name is mentioned, but the files suggests he has corporate ties and a scientific background
Also mentioned in Father Benedict, Frank’s preacher friend. The files note he is associated with a group known as the (associated with a group called the Malleus Maleficarum.
Shaw looks up the clock. Its almost 6 PM. They decide to break for dinner.
Terrance Smith’s apartment, Auburn, 6 PM
Vito stomach rumbles. Terrance still isn’t back. He decides something may have happened to him. The old man who has been puttering around the yard is back again.
Vito approaches the thin gray haired man. He asks, “has the guy above been around?”
The old looks up confused. “Terrance? No I haven’t seen him. Actually I’m a little concerned. He’s a bit late on the rent.”
“How much is the rent?” Vito asks.
“$400,” the man says surprised.
“He’s a friend of mine,” Vito explains. He pays off the old man, who introduces himself as Tom West, and asks him to let him know when Terrance is back.
The investigator walks a safe distance away and calls Shaw.
“He show up?” she asks, munching on some Chinese food.
“No,” Vito replies. “I just talked to the apartment manager. He hasn’t seen him in a while.”
“Well at least since the first of the month. He hadn’t paid his rent. I covered the rent for now.”
Shaw reminds him, “well legally the home owner has the right to enter the apartment. You can get him to open it up. Just know if he’s dead and decomposing in there you will have the cops to deal with. It’s better than breaking in.”
Vito heads back to the house. He tells the Tom, “I’m really worried about my friend. Would you mind going up and using your key to open it up?”
Mr. West is quite willing to help him and they go up to the apartment to check it out. The old man opens the door and sniffs. “Nobody’s dead.”
Vito takes in the sparsely furnished studio apartment. A table sits in center of room with a file folder open on it. Another is pressed up against the wall to serve as a desk. A laptop and battered printer take up most of the surface. A box of files sits nearby as well as a box of of what looks like printed manuscripts. A beat up couch, a wooden chair, and old TV complete the furnishings.
Vito enters the apartment and looks in the fridge. The date on the milk suggests Terrance has been out for a week and half. Look at the file, he notes the title “The Sewer Hauntings”. He pages through it mentally taking a snap shot. It describes some sort of sewer monster or ghost in Seattle’s sewers back in 1988.
After a moment, Tom says, “We should probably get going. Your friend doesn’t seem to be here.”
“Can I turn on the computer see if he left anything there?” Vito says.
Vito clicks the laptop on but there is password protection. Not about to hack a computer in front of the land lord, he tries another tact. “I’m really worried about Terrance. These files are from a friend of ours who is in the hospital. This seems to be some really strange stuff.” Vito then convinces Tom to let him take the files.
Vito gives Tom his card. “If he comes back, tell him this is my current number and to give me a call please.”
He gets Tom West’s contact information as well and then Tom shows him out.
Vito takes his box and catches a bus north.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, 7 PM
Vito comes into the office, carrying the final batch of files. The others clear some space on the meeting room table and look over the new additions.
One rapidly grabs their attention. Its the only file with recent alterations. Entitled the “Disappearance of Ambrose Grant”, its a case from the early 90s but apparently was reopened a few months before Frank went missing. The name Ambrose Grant stirs some memories. Shaw and the rest remember him as famous magician. Robert recalls that he drowned while on vacationing on his yacht.
The original case started off normal. Frank was hired by a Doretta Teesdale, Ambrose’s ex-wife. She believed her ex-husband wasn’t dead and wanted Frank to find him. Frank looked into the disappearance. The official report is that he disappeared off his yacht while off coast of Oregon on May 8th, 1989. He had been drinking and is presumed to fallen off the yacht and drowned.
Frank started by researching Ambrose’s life. He was a native of Seattle growing up in Yesler Terrace. He history after he left the city is sketchy but his rise to fame in the 70s is well documented. Frank also looked into his client’s marriage to Grant and how they became estranged. His client seemed to believe her husbands claim to psychic powers but urged him not to use them for his own safety. A special report from Rajiv is inserted here with an evaluation of the magician’s supposed powers.
Before Frank got much further, he began to suffer strange encounters and missing time. He recorded this carefully. He apparently encountered some unidentified men one night who tried to get him off the case forcefully. A cryptic note claims the men were “empty”.
Then Doretta died, snapping her neck when she fell down the stairs of her Rainier Valley home. His client dead, he closed the case.
Then in 2008, Frank reopened the case. His notes claim “Doretta contacted me”. She apparently hired him to “help her move on”. Shaw and Trevor both hesitantly voice their suspicious that Doretta is a ghost.
The newer material provides a larger section on the possible supernatural abilities of Ambrose, again thanks to Rajiv. Mostly compiled from Grant’s known feats, they include astral projection, clairvoyance, precognition, postcognition, psychometry, and telekinesis. He is also recorded as being a skilled escape artist and con artist. The new material also includes a computer printout with details of Ambrose’s history in the 1960. It claims he was employed by the CIA as a spy and assassin. It also adds to the records of his youth. There is a strange lack of detail. It become clear to the investigators why. Ambrose’s childhood home was next door to the lair of the Sandmen. Even more interesting, this file was given to Frank by a new contact: Infinity.
With these new sources, Frank was able to finds records of a paralyzed patient who was found washed ashore around the right time. The man who was brought to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. The last entry in the file, dated a day after Frank’s last known appearance, says that he is heading to the hospital to find out what happened to the man.
As they take in the information of what Frank really was doing and where he likely vanished, their attention turns to the issue of Terrance Smith.
Vito shows them the file on the Sewer Hauntings. The original case involved a group of sewer workers in 1988 who reported strange noises in the sewers. At the same time the local dogs were going missing at an unusual rate. Eddie Stam brought the matter to Frank’s attention. The two othem along with Peter and Kathleen investigated. The report claims a small family of cannibals lived under the streets of downtown Seattle. The investigators were forced to destroy them once they learned they were eating people.
If Terrance went looking for evidence, he might not return.
May 7th and 9th
The investigators spend their evenings continuing Frank’s research as well as looking into Terrance Smith.
They find his blog and twitter account. They paint the picture of a skeptic who’s faith slowly erodes as he studies Frank’s files. He mentions cases of missing animals in the area of the sewer hauntings in the modern day in his posts. And his last tweet is “Going down” as he investigates the tunnels beneath the city. Shaw’s police contacts are able to get some video footage of the area. Terrance definitely was in the area. Shaw doesn’t believe he is still alive. She notifies the police and leaves it in their hands.
As for Ambrose Grant, they learn his real name is Adam Freud and he was born in 1942. From some phone calls with people who lived in the area, they learn he had a reputation as a child for telling wild stories about ghosts. He was ultimately sent to the Hillcrest Center for psychiatric treatment.
Shaw comments, “whether he was psychic or not, he had some sort of abnormality which allowed him to see the Sandmen.”
Dr. Sorenson is able to access some of his records at Hillcrest. He was a patient from 1955 to 1960. Its unclear what happened to him but he was under the personal care of Dr. Moorcock, the director at the time. He was apparently involved in some research projects funded by the U.S. government, possibly part of the same batch of research as the MKUltra project. Ambrose was discharged in 1960 and vanished.
“Recruited out of the Hillcrest center for the CIA,” Shaw muses.
During the 1960s, he location is less clear but they find sightings of him in various countries, particularly in Eastern Europe. Towards the end of that period, he apprenticed to a stage magician in Berlin. The whole affair is suspicious, as Robert Mill notes.
More recently by searching through microfiche they find records of a man washed ashore shortly after Ambrose’s disappearance. He was paralyzed but there are very few details in the articles. But the rough measurements could be his. The man was transferred to Harborview Medical Center.
Vito decides someone needs to examine Terrance’s last known location. He visits the sewer grate mentioned in the file. Someone has moved it recently.
The investigators decide to look into the background of Doretta Teesdale as well. Born in 1960, Doretta belonged to a well established family local to Seattle. They had fallen on hard times due to various issues, including an uncle with a gambling problem. She first met Ambrose when she was 17 and they married 1979. As they already knew the marriage didn’t last.
She divorce him in May 1984. Because she was now financially dependent on him, she continued lived with him for the next 5 years. After his death, she moved back to Seattle. Due to Ambrose’s uncertain fate, she never inheritted any of his wealth. When the state declared him dead in 1996, various distant relatives laid claim to his fortunes. They also track down the location of her house.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, May 11th
The investigators discuss one other option. Rajiv, Frank’s friend, obviously knows something. A first name isn’t much to go on but he lived in the area for over 25 years, at least until 2008.
In the end they decide to send Infinity a message: ‘We are following leads on Ambrose Grant. We’ve heard he is associated with the Sandmen. We are going to check out Harborview Medical. Do you have any interest in helping us with our inquiries?’
A reply comes quickly: ‘Be careful. Your friend tried to do the same thing. I don’t know if Ambrose is there. Records suggest he was moved to the Garden. I’ll keep my eye on you.’
Dr. Sorenson recognize’s the last reference. The Garden is what they call the coma ward in the West Wing of Hillcrest. He informs the others. “He might actually be still here! That’s what we call the coma ward. Because they are all vegetative so we call them vegetables.”
Robert is a little upset about the staff’s name for the patient ward.
“Maybe I could follow up on that,” Sorenson offers.
The others decide to check out Harborview Medical Center to see what Frank found.
Its night when Dr. Sorenson arrives. He hurries into the basement to grab the surveillance camera first. The lower levels are empty, dimly lit by florescent lighting.
The closet door opens easily and he reaches up to the shelf where he hid the camera. As he does he hears a skittering noise from behind the walls. The noise is too large to be rats. Its coming from the wall they intend to break down. Worried he grab the camera and leave.
Calming down he heads for the Garden. A gentle symphony of life support machine beeps fills the air. He pulls out a picture of Ambrose Grant. One by one he checks it against the John Does. He also looks over the medical charts to see when each one was admitted.
He is making good time when he hears some muttering behind him. A patient, still in a coma, is peaking. “Warden..Warden.. No.. Won’t.. let go..”
Sorenson checks the old woman. The brain scans indicate she is still in a coma. After a moment she subsides into silence. He realizes that the charts indicated a number of the patients here have some autonomic vocalization behavior.
A bit creeped out, he hurries on. Hillcrest is silent. The orderlies have all retired to toher floors. He reaches the last row of patients. His mind boggles at the expense of supporting all of these people. The special orderlies, the manager of the ward, and all of those security cameras. All paid for by a non-for-profit. What is the Pleseus Guild anyway?
He checks the last few patients. Ambrose isn’t here. Then Trevor hears more muttering. “The gears..the gears…”
As he glances around, he hears other patients join in. “They turn… they turn..”
He can here coma patients from other rooms joins in. The ones in his room begin to finish each others sentences. Freaked out he leaves.
It takes a bit longer but he again regains his calm. He checks out the facilities records. He tracks down the record for the John Doe’s transfer and his file. But its seems off. The proper signatures are missing for the transfer document. It all seems to involve the Pleseus Guild. Reading between the lines of the documentation, it looks less like helping a coma patient and more studying a paralyzed but fully aware person. In any case the records stop after 3 weeks.
They encounter her in the lobby.
“Thanks for agreeing to talk to us,” Shaw says.
“Yeah, sure,” the nervous woman says.
“We are investigating a kind of cold case. The subject went missing many years ago. In fact he’s been declared dead. We have reason to believe that he may have been recovered and declared a John Doe. We don’t know the exact state he was in. For all we know he’s somewhere in a coma ward. But we know he was transferred here and we are hoping to find some records. We were hoping you might be sympathetic to this cold case. People who get lost in the shuffle.”
Jackie hesitates. “Sure I guess I can look into the records and see what there is.”
Shaw supplies the details and she leads to the records room.
Meanwhile back at the security desk, Vito explains to them, “We are trying to find out what happened to a friend of ours who was committed. We found some papers of his that indicate he was here on November 13th 2008. I just wanted to see if he signed any visitor’s log.”
With some effort he gets them to find the log. He find Frank’s signature. He signed it in the evening and stayed an hour. He was visiting a Dr. Warden. “Thank you. Appreciate it.”
Vito texts Shaw: ‘He was there for an hour talking to Dr. Warden.’
As Shaw reads the text, Jackie steps out of the records room to talk to them. “I looked into it. there was a John Doe here at the time, but the records are a little messed up. There are two transfer records out of the hospital but no record of him returning.”
“Could we take a look at them ourselves?” Shaw asks. “This is part of our job.”
Jackie looks up and down the hallway. “I shouldn’t…but I guess I can let you have a look at them.”
She goes back into the records room and comes out with the files. The files show the John Doe who might have been Ambrose was admitted on May 16th 1989. A week after his admittance he was transferred to the Hillcrest Center. But the form is unsigned by the attending physician. Three weeks later he is transferred again this time to Swedish Medical Center. This form is signed. Shaw notes the attending physician’s name as Dr. Krocyzinski.
The medical files are more enlightening. The subject was paralyze due to a neck injury, probably from a blunt object. He was conscious and otherwise healthy. But he was unable to interact with the outside world. There are also no records between the two transfer forms. There is also no sign of a Dr. Warden in the records.
Just then Robert notices a doctor making his way down the hall. He looks around but the three of them are alone in the hallway with no easy location to hide. So intercepts the doctor while Shaw hides the files.
“Doctor, doctor, I’m confused,” he says.
“Who are you?” the dark haired doctor asks.
“I’m I’m ". Robert gasps and falls down.
Shaw hurries over, feigning surprise. “Oh my god what happened?”
The doctor crouches down and examines his vitals.
“Is he okay?” Shaw asks. Behind her, Jackie sneaks the records back.
The doctor looks up. “I think he will be okay.”
Robert blinks and opens his eyes. “Ow. I hit my head. What’s going on?”
“I’m not sure,” the physician admits. “You said you were having some problems and then you passed out.”
“I don’t recall that. I do black out from time to time but its no big deal. I get a little excited and my blood pressure rises and I faint. Its normal.”
The doctor puts on a serious expression. “Perhaps you should have a physical examination. It could be a symptom of something more drastic.”
“I guess I’m in the right place then.”
“I told you to have this looked at,” Shaw says.
“So who are you two?” the doctor asks.
“Oh I’m Jessica, Jessica Lane,” Shaw lies.
“Jack, Jack Redmen,” Robert says. “I’m sorry to disturb you. I don’t know what happened. I’m sorry.”
“Alright,” the doctor says.
“Can you point me towards the ER?”
The doctor gives them directions and Shaw leads Robert away.
Once safely away, Robert says, “I’m not sure if that’s the distraction we needed. I may have overdone it.”
“Maybe,” she replies sarcastically.
They reach the lobby and Shaw checks the board post. Dr. Warden is listed there as a general practitioner. She lets Robert and Vito go.
Outside Harborview Medical Center, Yesler Terrace, 10PM
time ~ 9 PM
As she stands outside the hospital, Shaw calls to make an appointment with Dr. Warden.
As she navigates the hospital phone system, the line suddenly goes dead.
Looking at her phone, a text message appears. ’Don’t trust Dr. Warden. He knows who you are.’ There is no sender.
Trevor’s phone rings and he jumps in fright. Picking it up he says, “sorry I was-”
“Did I interrupt something?” Shaw asks, cutting him off.
“No it was a creepy here. I visited the coma looking for our patient. It was the scariest thing. All the patients started babbling incoherently, they kept finishing each others sentences. They were talking about a warden and the gears turning.”
“Warden, like a prison?” she asks.
“That’s what I thought they were talking about too. Like their minds were in a prison.” Trewor shivers.
Shaw thinks for a moment. “Warden. Could it have been a Dr. Warden?”
“I don’t know. There isn’t a Dr. Warden at Hillcrest.”
Shaw fills Dr. Sorenson on what they learned about Frank’s last case.
“That could be a coincidence,” Trevor says in reference to the Dr. Warden. “Than again I’m learning coincidence isn’t always what it seems.”
“Also I’m pretty sure Infinity is listening in on all of my phone calls,” Shaw says. “Hi Infinity.”
Dr. Sorenson tells her about his experience earlier in the evening when he went to grab the camera. “But there is something alive behind the walls. I don’t know what it is.”
“Like a rat infestation. So when we break through we need to be prepared.”
“Like bring rat poison?” Shaw says.
Trevor thinks how big the sounds were. “Well guns or something to scare them off.”
The conversation turns to how both Hillcrest and the hospital are nasty places with dark histories.
“Maybe it was a coverup,” Shaw says about Ambrose’s files. “Maybe they only needed him there for 3 weeks. Then they transferred him to another location.”
“Well..he wasn’t really a coma patient,” Sorenson says. He explains the paralysis. “He shouldn’t have been in that ward. The files seem to refer to the patient as a research subject rather than as a patient.”
Sorenson starts to describe the coma ward. “I don’t know what is going on there. I don’t feel safe there at night. Not alone. I don’t know who I can trust there. It’s all run by a private company, the Pleseus Guild.”
“Why don’t you go home doctor,” Shaw advises. “Get some rest.”
Sewers, Downtown, Midnight
Vito walks over the sewer grate. A shot gun hangs hidden under a large rain coat. As he slides the grate open, he puts on a hat with a built in light. He climbs down in search of Terrance.
He discards his coat and makes his way through the tunnels. Following the instructions in Frank’s files, he makes his way through the narrow water logged tunnels to a ladder. He climbs part way up it and swings though a gap in the wall. The new tunnel system consists of several links basements, sealed over and partially filled with rubble.
Moving slowly and quietly he finds signs of recent activity, dust and dirt disturbed by the passage of something man sized.
He arrives at the old cannibal lair. Only the black stains of the final fire and a few well gnawed bones remain. He spots the tracks of someone’s shoes. It could be Terrance.
Looking at the scene more closely, it is clear this area has been disturbed. The skulls of the cannibals are missing. Crouching down he makes out the tracks of an unshod human foot. As he puts his hand out to get up, he finds the rock shift. Pull it away from the wall, he finds a small niche. Only some decomposing bedding and a tiny crib remain but some child slept here. This niche wasn’t burned.
Vito decides to follow Terrance’s tracks. As he reaches an intersection, a hulking shadow rises behind Vito to grab him.