We continue from last time with Rex and Allen in the stands of the Famous Fandabulum watching Strazi’s incredible and unbelievable knife throwing performance for the matinee crowd.
They were joined by Jessica Starkweather, a martial artist and doctor. She had pretty much retired from hunting, inspired by her uncle, Dimitri Kylov. Kylov had a good job in the FBI that kept him engaged but out of the line of fire. When he died two months ago, she put her affairs in order, outfitted a black extended Jeep Wrangler, and hit the road to track down the traveling fair, noting the missing persons in the fair’s wake that could indicate vampires. When she saw Rex and Allen, she recognized them from “family barbecues” that traveling hunters would use as social occasions, so she joined them (but scared off the two honeys that Allen had been casually cultivating.)
After Strazi’s show, Allen went to talk to the old blind man by the bleachers, but Strazi intercepted him and took him to get a turkey leg and chat. He invited Allen and friends to a party they were throwing that night at midnight, for good drinks and companionship and song. Allen agreed.
Rex followed the blind man instead, surprised when the confidently moving (if stiff) figure slid under an RV, popped up the other side, through an RV that had a front and back door, and once pursuit was likely lost, headed to the spooky RV that stood alone. The blind man gave his cane to the doorman, who didn’t even look up, and entered.
Jessica went after a funnel cake, but her wallet was gone; she bought the cake with tickets, and as Allen headed towards her, a kid handed him her wallet and said she dropped it. The three hunters had a brief discussion, observing they had probably been identified as hunters, and thinking over the possibilities of attending the party that night. But first things first. Time to deal with the spider witch.
First they stopped off at the motel, and Rex started sneezing and vomiting masses of spiders. Recognizing a curse or spell, the other two rifled the room and quickly found a hex bag in the wall behind the light fixture, and burned it. Rex survived, shaken and distressed. He got fuzzy on tequila to take the edge off, and they headed out.
They got out to the DuMont estate. Jessica would go up to the front door and claim her car ran out of gas and she needed to use the phone, while Allen would use her rifle and snipe the witch at range if need be.
Rex and Allen infiltrated the woods, finding a spot that was light on spiders, hoping they had some time before they were detected. Jessica approached the house and was let in by the butler. Selene DuMont saw her, and was suspicious; Jessica’s excuses didn’t move her, and they quickly realized that everyone was up to speed on the hunter/witch relationship there.
Jessica whipped out a pistol and blasted away at the witch, who dove for cover as the butler tackled Jessica. She hurled him off and sprinted away, and as Selene glanced out of the doorway she narrowly missed a bullet from the woods. Selene retreated into the house as the fat old estate guard zoomed after Jessica on his golf cart.
Rex shot up the golf cart, and the guard tumbled off, but turned out to be a martial arts warrior. He charged Rex, dodging gracefully and hurling his tonfa to bang off Rex’s head. As the security guard moved in to finish him off, Allen shot him with the rifle.
Now furious, the hunters ran up on the house and rushed inside. Allen’s tracker instinct suggested the witch would have gone to the basement, so they headed down through the spider webs and smashing all the spiders they saw that got close to them.
In the middle of the basement Selene stood resplendent, draped in webs, and told them if they acted against her they wouldn’t leave the basement alive–Rex shot her in the face with the shotgun. As she died, spiders boiled out of nowhere, swarming at them. The spiders dropping on silk lines covered Rex, and he died screaming as the other two scrambled out of the basement and slammed the door.
Jessica was slathering gasoline on things as they retreated towards the front door. They were interrupted by the niece, Kelly, who held a piece of wood to the back of the confused butler’s head as they stood on the stairs. Asked why she was holding her own servant hostage, she sneered that hunters found all lives precious, right? They didn’t want to deal with her, so Allen shot her and the butler with one shotgun blast, but not before Kelly unleashed a spider curse from the wood, filling Jessica’s skin with pustules of living spider larvae that began chewing their way out of her. She begged for death as Allen, horrified, recognized the curse that had produced the corpses that lured them here in the first place. He had dropped his lighter, and Jessica grabbed it and set fire to the growing pool of gasoline where she lay, immolating herself painfully.
Allen took an hour or so to do the arson right, and set the mansion on fire. Not sure how to deal with the greenhouse, he left it alone. As he left, he called Mikhail, in Maine, who backstopped their operations. Mikhail said two more hunters were in the area and closing in, and told him to shower and shave off his hair (in case of spider surprises) then meet them at a road house nearby.
Alexander Anderson (aka Max Redding) was a former Catholic clergyman. He had been around Starkweathers for many years, but grew increasingly restless at his inability to help them as they died from monsters or related trauma. The man radiated a trustworthy aura, but was always on the lookout for the downtrodden, unable to resist helping them.
Janice Moore (aka Joan Hammer) was a hunter’s brat. When she was a kid, her parents went on a hunt together and never came back, so she drifted around the clan hunting monsters and taking on odd jobs. She found the priest to be the first one she felt she could trust, and she was downtrodden enough he took an interest in helping her find a healthier life. Together they drove around in a beat-up old Suburban SUV.
They met up with Allen, and passed the time in the roadhouse getting up to speed with the current situation and preparing for the night assault. They would attend the carny party tonight, that was for sure–but the carnies wouldn’t see them coming.
About midnight, they drove to the fairground. The man by the gate let them in when Allen said he had an invitation to the party. They drove around to where they saw a pallet fire surrounded by maybe 40 people, some with musical instruments. They idled in close, then Allen (who was at the wheel) gunned it and ran over a swathe of partiers, crashed through the bonfire and scattered it, then ran over the people on the other side.
In the screaming and smoke and confusion, they kept driving, right over to the spooky RV. The doorman protested, and Allen shot him with the shotgun. They got the door open, but it was weirdly dark inside, maybe magically dark. The whispering man inside said one could come in at a time, that’s all there was room for. Alexander stepped up as the other two waited uncomfortably outside, having lost momentum.
The old man in a wheelchair lived in a jam-packed trailer. He explained he was very old and protected some ancient secrets, and that he was always the target of evil, and all his powers were bent to creating this sanctuary and protecting secrets within it.
Alexander pressed about the vampires in the fair, and the blind men. The old man replied that the vampires were drawn to his power even if they didn’t understand it, and the carnies had an uneasy time managing that, but weren’t in league. And the blind man was drawn to the power, entered, and was destroyed by the old man’s magic. The old man was concerned about these blind men, and Alexander agreed to bring news to him if he discovered any more about them.
That all seemed very persuasive. Before Alexander left, the old man asked him to brush his shoulders with a towel and scrape his shoe soles off; he was ashamed of how the housekeeping deteriorated here, and Alexander reluctantly answered that the doorman was dead. The old man was confident Strazi would provide a new one.
Alexander stepped out and relayed the conversation to his fellow hunters as Strazi approached with a group that had torches and pitchforks. Alexander stepped forward and explained he had talked to the old man, and it was all a big misunderstanding. Strazi was swayed to his side, and helped sway the others. They spent an hour handing out medical supplies from the late Jessica’s stash to the people injured in the car attack.
House of Mirrors
Strazi agreed there were three vampires plaguing the fair, and they were laired in the house of mirrors. He could round up a dozen able fighters, and they assigned them to the perimeter while the three hunters and Strazi went into the house of mirrors.
Allen’s hunter instincts sensed one behind an ideal ambush point, and he fired through the mirror, knocking the vampire back. Janice leaped after it, and had a brutal tussle with the vampire in the dark, barely winning, staggering back out to the rest of the hunters.
Another vampire came out guns blazing, nicking hunters with some near misses. The vampire pulled knives to finish them off, when a shotgun blew most of his head off, and they finished him with machetes.
The last one might have escaped, but Strazi threw a knife through a mirror and tagged him, and the hunters made short work of him after that.
Victorious, the hunters shook hands with Strazi, then headed for the Suburban to get underway. The hunt here was finished.