08 April 2012

Session Recap, 7-Apr-2012


A few days of investigation and research.  Talking with the apartment manager reveals that all of the tenants -- not just the missing Abigail -- are three months behind on their rent and facing eviction.  Curious.

Interviewing the neighborhood business indicates that the tenants have completely withdrawn from the community.  They have not patronized shops, bought groceries, etc.  Curious.

Sir Richard receives a family request to negotiate a business deal back in Boston and had to leave.  The transient population of Manhattan is safe, for the time being.

The rest of the trepid heroes -- George Platt, Evelyn Joans, and Herr Doktor Professor Victor Hawkins -- decides that a night spent in the missing woman's apartment might provide insight.

Taking shifts for the watch seems prudent.  Hawkins has the first shift.  With an hour to kill, he walks the hallways of the ground floor.  Nothing.  He moves up to the first floor (what we Colonials would now call, in the parlance of our time, the second story) and walks the hallways.  Nothing.  He moves up to the second (and final) floor and walks the hallway.  Nothing.  He finally checks the basement.  Again, nothing.  He returns to the apartment and Miss Joans ventures out.

Like Hawkins, she patrols the ground floor, first floor, second floor, and basement.  Nothing.  She returns to the apartment and tags Mr. Platt.

Platt, canny P.I. that he is, decides to listen at doors.  Nothing on the ground floor.  But moving up to the first floor, he listens at the door of Michelle VanFitz, the insufferable suffragette.  It sounds like there is a party inside!  Multiple threads of conversations, none of them intelligible.  Platt knocks.  VanFitz answers the door.  Over her shoulder, Platt sees that her apartment is radically different from how he remembers it from the prior interview.  It is huge and sprawling, to the point where it is not clear how it is contained within the building's exterior walls.  The decor has changed; it is now all mahogany and bookcases crammed with ancient tomes.  Nobody other than VanFitz is visible.  Littered around the room are the remnants of a festus interrupta -- ashtrays with still-lit cigars, iced drinks sweating onto the tabletops.

"Hello there," says Platt.

"Hello," says VanFitz.

A short and confusing interview ensues.  VanFitz is hosting a party.  The others just stepped out for a minute.  Everyone is invited, though -- not just those who agree with her politics.  If they can find Abigail, they should bring her.  VanFitz misses her.  She hasn't seen her since she moved in with that encyclopedia salesman.

"Encyclopedia salesman?" says Platt. "Interesting.  Well, I'll let you get back to your party."

"Yeah, they moved into an apartment up on six," she shares.  "Anyway, goodbye."

Six?  Platt goes up to the second floor and takes the stairway marked "Roof."  He opens the door.  It opens onto another apartment floor, looking to all appearances like the others.

Platt sighs.  "Well, shit."  He goes back to the ground floor and shakes Joans and Hawkins awake.  Explaining the situation, they decide to explore.  It is now about 23:45.

A slow and cautious reconnoitering is undertaken.  The strange floor appears to be empty, but more stairs lead upward.

They ascend to the fourth floor.  It appears like the others, but has a long line of photographs lining the walls.  Each photographs appears to capture people in Edwardian garb.  Each person in each photo is holding a bottle of curious and unique design.  No two bottles are alike.  A brass plate on the bottom edge of each frame announces a name.  None of the names are recognizable.  Except the last.  The last photo is of a bottle, by itself, in the middle of the floor.  The brass nameplate reads "VICTOR HAWKINS."

The professor is disturbed by this.  He decides he might want to take the photo with him, and reaches for the frame.  As his fingertips contact the frame, he hears an impossibly soft whisper waft through the hallway.  It says one sentence and then falls silent:  "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living god."  Neither Platt nor Joans seem to have heard this.

They continue to explore the floors, moving gradually upwards.  Various strange and disturbing events happen with greater frequency.  A goldfish, apparently made out of solid gold, comes to life in Hawkins' pocket.  They find a waiter in a room; he does not speak their language but smilingly offers them hors d'oeurves and then disappears upstairs. An obese man is spotted at the end of the hallway; he nervously fumbles with a key in a lock and slips through the door.  When the party rushes to the door and throws it open, the door opens onto an elevator shaft going interminably up and down.  No elevator or man is in sight.

A page of a play is found, written on an antique typewriter, describing the trio moving through the halls and exploring.

Finally, the sound of a singing girl is heard.  Joans and Pratt follow it, opening an apartment door upon an enormous but empty ballroom.  The singing appears to come from deeper within.  Joans stays by the door, just in case.  Platt ventures into the ballroom.  The singing now seems to be coming from behind a door on the opposite side of the ballroom. Platt looks back at Joans -- curiously, he seems to be quite far away from her despite not walking that far or fast into the room.  Hemming and hawing a bit, he decides to open the door between him and the singing.  The door opens upon another ballroom, the same as the current one but lined with many mirrors.  "Can I see anything in the mirrors?"

"Yes, there's something there, but you'd have to get closer to make out details.  Do you want to go in?" I ask.

Platt looks back and forth at the second ballroom and at Joans, standing nervously by the door.  "No."  He starts running back to the first door.  Joans suddenly feels like the door she is holding open is getting heavier.  She tries with all her might to keep it open as Platt sprints like mad.  Right as her strength gives out, Platt crashes through and falls into the hallway.  Panting, they decide to retire from the building as it appears the sun is coming up.

They leave the building and look back.  There are three floors only, just like they saw it the day before.  Dawn is breaking over the cheap crenellations on the rooftop.

More sleep, and then research.  Joans decides to look up the intersection of artists and the occult.  Information is hard to come up, but there is a fleeting reference to a banned play in France ... Le Roi en Jaune.  But what does it mean?

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