I put together an ad hoc gaming group online composed of Bryan, Miller, Slade, Jack, and Kristy. We tried out a new game system, Dead of Night, to provide the structure for a game in the Supernatural world, like the tv show.
Grandpa Silas is a monster hunter who tends to move into a situation, evaluate it, and then delegate the hunt to others. He is part of the Starkweather clan, a far-flung extended family that trains some of its members to hunt monsters. Silas put out the call for all hands on deck in the little town of Vancleave, Mississippi. He found a vampire nest there, but that’s no big deal; one or two hunters could sort that out.
He also found suggestion that Blind Men might be involved. They are old men, blind, silent, and in past encounters hunters have discovered that they are dead. Some other force animates and controls them, and the Starkweather clan would very much like to know more about that. This could be a chance to find out.
The hunters responding to the call agreed to meet at the Ye Olde Taverne across the parking lot from a Holiday Inn. There was even a snug that they could rent to have some strategy discussion upon arrival.
- Lou Starkweather. Rustic and solid, a farmer with a trucker cap and overalls driving an old red and white Mercury truck. Prefers to be underestimated and dismissed by monsters, until it’s too late.
- Ian Weatherly. Grad student studying folklore, still bright-eyed and energetic. Hitched a ride with Lou, Grandpa Silas wanted them to partner on this one.
- Carlton Starkweather. Crime doctor, conducting back-alley surgeries for a price (and hearing all the most interesting underworld gossip.) He showed up in a beat-up station wagon.
- Simon Starkweather. An emergency medical technician, signing on for shifts wherever his travels take him, trying to save a traumatized world from the malignancies that riddle it. Drives a battered red jeep with concealed weapon storage.
- Miranda Wolf. A young lady with an enthusiasm for violence, enabled by various custom weapons including a collapsible sword and a hot motorcycle.
Down In the Cooler
After a brief meet and greet where everyone arrived but Miranda, they headed over to the morgue as a group. The morgue was in the basement of the government building in town, that was also city hall and the police station. They got a tip that the mortician was willing to sell them information if they out-bid the one buying her silence, so they went to check it out.
Still in his EMT uniform, Simon had no trouble getting in and letting the others in through a side door. They headed down to the basement, where Simon asked to take a look at the morgue because there was a switchup with bodies; the mortician, Patsy, demanded paperwork or no deal. Deflected, Simon retreated to the break room.
Ian and Lou were up, and when they mentioned the proposed financial arrangement “paying the late fee” then they relocated to her office. Lou had the $1,200 she required, and she told them about one of the corpses she received, Old Man Farber. She did an autopsy on him, he was dead as can be. But a week later, she saw him in the hardware store a couple towns over in Hickory Hills, dressed in a black suit wearing sunglasses. She couldn’t tell the cops, and some scruffy guy bought her silence about any anomalies in the morgue. But it was bothering her sleep. Another old man in town was breathing his last soon, and she was increasingly uncomfortable about what might happen.
She suspected her assistant, Jack Williams, of facilitating this foul play. It wasn’t her, and he was the only other one with access. Her story told, she shooed them out.
Meanwhile Simon saw Miranda, who had made it down to the morgue. They were chatting, and the others joined them as the morgue assistant returned from whatever errand was keeping him; he looked askance at them, and headed into the morgue.
On the way out, they looped through the police department, greeting the dispatch officer manning the front desk. There were only a few missing persons posters up, two from New Orleans and one from Biloxi. No locals; the cop was friendly and insisted they take care of their own and keep track of them.
The cop also reinforced an offhand comment from the Ye Olde Taverne, that people were staying off the streets at night because the city was spraying for mosquitoes, to ward off the dreaded Zika virus.
As they were leaving, Miranda spotted a leather-clad long-haired dude glaring at them from the trees. He withdrew into the modest treeline when spotted. Miranda pointed him out, and Simon flashed the brights on his jeep; with that, the man took off.
Enthused, Miranda mounted her bike and zipped around the trees, off-roading it. Her bike got her close before it skidded out in a pool that looked like a puddle. The man she was chasing turned on her, hissing, and attacked. She fended him off with her collapsible sword, and Simon drove his jeep at the guy. The hissing man evaded the jeep, but then got his head swiped clean off by Miranda’s attack. They quickly checked his gums to confirm he was a vampire, then they loaded the corpse pieces into the jeep.
The cops came out to see what the racket was about, and Carlton got into a slap fight with Lou, distracting them. Nobody got pepper sprayed or arrested, and everybody pulled out. As Miranda and Simon drove over the edge of the parking lot and through the McDonalds, the drive-through worker dully stared at them; apparently all manner of things that happened in that meadow were routinely ignored.
Simon and Miranda went to dispose of the vampire corpse. First they found a pew envelope with local phone numbers scribbled on it (including their Holiday Inn) and some tattoos (including white supremacist symbols.) Miranda gutted the body and weighted it, then rolled it into the river, hoping it would stay submerged until they were long gone at least.
Meanwhile Ian surfed the web, finding vague articles about Zika spraying but no detail, and also noting nobody saw a sprayer truck since they’ve been here, and they wouldn’t spray every night anyway. More like an excuse to get people to stay inside.
Simon and Ian went to get everybody breakfast. As they were picking up masses of brown food, the waitress told a story about how she hated ticks, and had one between her toes; unable to help himself, Simon went through the steps of checking for Lyme disease with her. The food was cooled and partially congealed by the time it got back to the Holiday Inn.
As they were talking next steps, a police car pulled up, and the officer went to talk with the manager. Feeling some discomfort, they split up and continued their investigation.
Ian and Lou went to the Daughters of the Revolution headquarters, and met with a number of the oldest and proudest women in town. In addition to seeing their pride quilt, getting a great barbeque lunch, some pinches, and some phone numbers, they also found out that there was an abandoned church nearby that one of the neighbors complained about. Had some squatters, vehicles under tarps out back.
Simon went to catch a shift with the local EMTs, and tried to press about strange local events. People were weirdly quiet, and the morning atmosphere was oppressive and strange. Determined, Simon checked the activity logs and found stretches of suspicious calm. He looked at the supplies; there was probably some pilfering going on, but even so, the ambulance was more busy than it let on.
Carlton went with Miranda to the local bar, the Sinkhole. It was named for its pool tables, not its pre-historic cougars. They saw a sad man with a magnificent mullet mourning by the juke box; Miranda flirted with him and found out his girl, Sally, was a tough woman with a big heart who may have just left him, or may have disappeared; he held out hope she was in trouble and not moving on. He still had her Led Zepplin records, so he doesn’t think she left him.
An old man in a dark suit and glasses was sitting in the back; they noticed him, but didn’t confront him right away.
A woman came in, Jenn Wellsly, reporter for the Biloxi Courier. She checked in with the newcomers, and it came out that she was looking into a blue panel van that was driving around Biloxi offering homeless women $500 for babies up to 3 months old. Her legwork traced the van back to this town, and she was looking for thugs and a blue van and babies.
Carlton strolled over to where the blind man sat, and tried to strike up a conversation. At this range, Carlton could tell the man was dead. The blind man tried to gesture at him to go away, then pulled a knife and stabbed him. Carlton retreated, and Miranda just lit up at the chance to stab somebody. The blind man raced out of the bar, his running fast but disjointed and jerky. Miranda almost caught him before he ran in front of a lumber truck and was smashed.
Simon was on the call to spatula the corpse off the road. While his partner went to check on the driver, he packed up the corpse for transport. He saw the autopsy Y incision burst open, and felt the cool flesh; this guy was dead long before the truck hit him. And his eye sockets were empty.
They took the corpse to the morgue and Simon wheeled it down, dismissing his partner to wait in the ambulance. Patsy took the body without comment, and told him he didn’t see anything unusual. With Patsy headed to the back and no one else around, Simon quickly rifled her computer. She was still logged in.
He saw her bank account, up by three deposits of over $1,000 in a week! The paperwork didn’t reveal anything unusual, which was almost certainly not true.
Then Simon looked up to see two blind men standing in front of the desk. They drew knives. He realized how alone he was.
Kicking over the desk at them, he tried to escape. One knifed him, and grabbed his shirt, locking a death grip on him so the corpse’s body weight dragged him down. He managed to stagger over to the fire axe emergency cabinet, breaking the glass and taking the axe. Lopping the dead man’s arm off at the elbow, he managed to escape, bleeding and with a death-grip hand and forearm hanging from his clothes. He pulled the fire alarm and escaped in the confusion.
Time for Church
They met back at the Holiday Inn to plan next moves and so the medics could stitch each other up. Their clearest lead was to the vampires, who were likely lairing in an abandoned church. Since it was already early afternoon and no one wanted to tackle the vampires in the dark if it could be avoided, they mounted up and headed for the church.
There wasn’t much chance for scouting, but they did spot a Mustang under a tarp. Then Miranda was in action, charging in the front door. Three vampires popped up, hissing. She swiped the head off one as Carlton took out another, and as Ian moved to back him up, a vampire stabbed him with his own syringe of dead man’s blood and kicked him out of the way before Miranda lopped her head off too.
With the vampires dispatched, they looked around to find an entry to the basement. It was in the baptismal font. They headed down the ladder (except Lou, who would “stand guard”) and found a weird gargoyle sculpture, along with a row of shallow graves and a pile of clothing. Some guns. A bookshelf of hymnals. Shovel. Half-full bag of lime.
As they searched, the “statue” animated and lashed out at Carlton, flinging him across the room. It pounded Simon down and smacked Miranda, but they managed to get a couple good hits in. It retreated, leaping up out of the basement–
And Lou hit it with a big hammer, knocking it through the wall to tumble into the sunlight, screaming and singing and broken.
Sirens could be heard approaching. Did someone hear gunshots and call the cops? Anyway, time to go. They quickly splashed the old wooden building with gas, lit it, and hit the road before the cops could connect them to the event. They left the church a merry blaze behind them, and rode on out of town.
For now, there were too many questions for outsiders. The vampire nest was wiped out, and they had confirmation the Blind Men had been in town.