Monday, January 24, 2011
After work, Jones meets Leah at her house around 8:00 AM, and they pile into her car to head to Brigid Ruskin’s house in Ventura. Along the way, Jones decides to call Eli to set up a meeting with him. He calls, but when he hits Eli’s voicemail, he doesn’t leave a message. Eli calls back in a couple of minutes, and Jones sets up a meeting with him at some sports bar around 4:30. Jones receives a call from the shop where he ordered his gun, apologizing for tardiness — according to their records, it probably should have come through on Friday, but instead came through today. He inquires about it, but they note it was probably just some clerical error.
Jones is grim about this development, wondering if someone has tampered with it. Leah asks if she needs to take him to pick it up; he says he may not retrieve it today.
Meanwhile, as Kevin gets ready for work, he’d swear there’s more space between his bookshelves this morning. When he concentrates and peers at the holes, he sees that there’s some sort of activity around that wall. He draws a line on his floor in a piece of chalk and heads off to work.
Jones and Leah arrive at Brigid’s house in time to make their 10:00 AM appointment. When they knock, a young man answers — he seems somewhat sullen and his demeanor is a trifle slow. Of note, his left eye is blue and his right is brown. Leah indicates they have an appointment; he leaves, then returns and waves them inside. He does not speak during the interaction.
They are led into a somewhat eclectic, well-furnished house. The only odd thing is there are a couple of bookshelves of occult grimoires spread throughout the house. The man leads them to a kitchen where an old woman sits, sipping tea. She wears a porcelain eyepatch over her right eye, and introduces herself as Brigid Ruskin, referring to her servant as Christopher. Leah, thinking about the rumor that she gave an eye to create some manner of Unspeakable Servant, notes that Christopher’s right eye is the same color as Brigid’s remaining left eye.
Leah explains why she’s present, and Brigid indicates that she’s done some charity work with her mother in the past. She further notes that she took the time to look them up and has heard about their recent exploits. As such, she suspects they’re here for something in particular. Leah explains her interest in One Glorious Day, and Brigid surmises she must be here on behalf of Edna. She says that if they are insistent, she’d be willing to part with it if they can give her more time — fifty years, to be exact. Leah says she will speak with her associates about it. Otherwise, they discuss matters regarding the actual auction, and Brigid says she will try to find film memorabilia that seems suitable. Leah also takes the opportunity to ask if her mother was involved in the occult; to Brigid’s knowledge, she was not.
Once finished, Leah and Jones leave and discuss the proceedings. Leah calls Kevin and explains the meeting, telling him to pass that along to Edna. He calls her and does so; she indicates that she’s not gifted enough to deal in intangibles, like years of one’s life. That means dealing with The Dealer. Kevin notes that it sounds like bad things happen when one cuts deals with The Dealer, but Edna says she’s never had any trouble. Kevin further asks about what it entails to sell years of your life; she says they come from the end of your life, moving your death date closer. Just be careful about it — if you’re 30 and you’re destined to die at 76 and you give away 50 years, you’ll die of a heart attack right then and there.
Kevin reports this information back to Jones and Leah. Leah really doesn’t care for the idea of giving up years of her life, and feels that the deal was just to get Brigid to sell; it’s Edna’s responsibility to procure the years of life. Angry, she asks for Edna’s number. Kevin recites it, and Leah calls her. She starts unloading on Edna, but Jones touches her arm and warns her to take it easy. Leah takes a deep breath — and proceeds to chew her out anyway, losing control midway through her tirade. Once she’s finished, Edna notes in a chilly tone that if she doesn’t care for the terms of the deal, perhaps she can deal with someone else. Edna then hangs up.
Leah calls Kevin back to let him know that Edna seems…less enthused about this deal than before. Kevin will take some time to consider what to do about Edna’s deal.
After about a half-hour or so, Kevin decides he’s done making deliveries for the day, and heads home. On his way home, he gets a call from Felicia who sounds rather upset, and notes that he should probably come home. Quickly. Alone.
Kevin arrives to find her out on the porch smoking a joint, trying to calm down. She has a freshly-bandaged cut on her left bicep. She says she’s fine, but that there was a prowler inside, and she attacked him. Kevin goes to investigate and finds a dead Caucasian male inside. He’s wearing paramilitary garb somewhat incongruously marked with a patch reading “THEATRE SECURITY.” A shotgun lies discarded to his side, and the man’s right hand appears badly cramped and crippled with some manner of palsy. His mouth and nose have been smoothed over, as if the flesh were like putty. Furthermore, it appears he was entering Otis’ room when he was surprised; Kevin’s door is also open, revealing a strange sight — he has an extra door in his room. Across from the door to his bedroom is another door that was not there this morning. It is currently closed. The chalk line from earlier, as well as that whole wall, appear to have grown to accommodate the new door, although the other walls are the same size as they were this morning, and the walls still somehow meet at right angles.
It’s probably best not to think about it too much.
Felicia explains that she heard someone around the house after Kevin and Otis were both at work. She made the cut on her own arm when she heard an intruder; when a man in paramilitary uniform came into her room, she freaked out and attacked him.
Kevin calls Jones to let him know about the situation. They agree to leave Leah out of it; Leah just knows to drop Jones off at his house, and that Felicia is freaking out about something. While waiting for Jones, who is still probably at least a half-hour away, Kevin calls Mabel and asks if she can come over. She arrives in a couple of minutes, and Kevin explains the situation. With regard to his new door, Mabel isn’t really familiar with permanent Otherspace doors arising — gateways to Otherspaces are usually transient, requiring specialized rituals to activate. As such, Kevin is really in uncharted territory with regard to interacting with the gate or closing it.
Kevin also notes he’ll absolutely need to tell Otis about the occult underground now. Felicia is fine with it, and they’ll tell him together. Kevin asks if he can tell Otis about Mabel, and she says to tell him whatever he wants.
The trio doesn’t mess with anything until Jones arrives. Kevin shows him the new door, and the body. Jones steps over to a window and takes a moment to collect himself before he proceeds; he doesn’t establish eye contact, and he is very reserved in his actions. He asks Kevin if he has any gloves, and Kevin retrieves latex gloves from the kitchen. Jones examines the body, removing the man’s personal effects and setting them aside. The man’s shotgun and sidearm were both manufactured by a company called “Ultrafrontier,” certainly no firearms company known to Jones. He also removes the “THEATRE SECURITY” patch on the man’s uniform.
The gathered party discusses what to do with him. The possibility of returning him to the extraspatial doorway is mentioned, although Jones is concerned that this could start some manner of conflict with people on the side of that gate. Dumping him on this side of the gate risks all the concomitant legal issues that implies. Perhaps they could dump him with a note, indicating there was a misunderstanding when he wandered onto this side of the gate? But then their legal system is unknown; what if they then demand Felicia be delivered to them?
After discussion, Jones decides to investigate the Otherspace beyond the door. He pulls his gun, as does Mabel. He’s going to investigate; Mabel will cover him from the door, while Kevin also stays and makes certain the door doesn’t close. They ask Felicia to hang out outside of Kevin’s room; she goes and sits on the porch to make sure Otis doesn’t unexpectedly come home for lunch and barge in while they’re making their preparations.
Kevin opens the door, revealing that his door is one of several in a hallway which stretches to the left and right before terminating in T-intersections. The door to Kevin’s house matches the style of his house, while the other doors in the hall are all blonde wood. Jones heads out to the right, listening to the first door he reaches. He hears noise — singing, perhaps? — on the other side. He quietly cracks the door and hears someone singing scales within. He tries to quietly close the door, but as it shuts, he hears the person within stop and ask, “Hello?” He rushes back to Kevin’s door and they close the door, waiting for anyone to pass.
Once they are certain the hallway sounds clear, they open the door and try again. The door he previously open and shut now sits open, but Jones heads left, listening at doors as he goes. He hears talking at one, a baby crying at another, and a couple of doors with no audible sound. One of them doesn’t even have light flowing from underneath. As he reaches the intersection, he sees a group of three people heading his way from the right side; he hurries back to Kevin’s door and waits for them to pass. They appear to be talking, but he doesn’t catch much of the conversation. Once they’ve headed down the hall, Jones again enters the hallway and heads right. He creeps to look in the open door, and finds an empty dressing room. He heads toward the end of the hallway, but as he hears footsteps coming, he heads back to Kevin’s door. When the footsteps are gone, he again heads out and goes to the darkened, silent door. He cautiously opens it, and finds an old prop room.
Returning to Kevin’s room, Jones describes the prop room and suggests that might be a spot to dump the security agent. Conversation goes back and forth until they decide the prospect of starting a war with the inhabitants of this strange place is too great. They ultimately decide to dump him in a secluded area, but after dark. Just so he doesn’t start to smell, they’ll store him in a bathtub filled with ice to slow his decomposition. Jones wraps him up in garbage bags while Kevin goes to get ice, and they stow him in the bathtub. Kevin also grabs some lumber and nails the new door in his room shut, sliding a bookcase in front of it for good measure. For his own edification, he measures the walls — despite all coming together at right angles, the far wall in his room is about three and a half feet longer than the wall between his room and the rest of the house.
With their preparations complete, Mabel is going to leave, but says to let her know if they need anything further from her. Jones is also going to leave — he ostensibly has to meet with Eli in an hour or two — but he’ll be back to help move the body that evening. With that, Felicia and Kevin are left alone in the house until Otis gets home.