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Old 09-18-2017, 09:41 PM   #237
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: The First Interbellum (1918-1939)


The reports came in late morning, in part because rain had fallen throughout the early hours, from shortly before dawn until mid- morning. The cemetery in question was one of the ones that had previously been attacked, but this time the damage was more extensive.

According to the police reports, the local newspaper, and the rumor mill, someone had actually ripped the door off an elaborate old mausoleum, one belong to one of the old founding families of the town, dragged out over a dozen corpses, and left the bodies scattered across the cemetery. In some cases, all that remained of the older bodies had been bones, and these bones were scattered at random around the grounds as well.

The cemetery had a high wall around it, made of heavy stone, and a heavy cast iron gate, normally chained shut at night. During the early hours of the day, while the rain had been falling, someone had apparently broken the chain, and wrenched open the gate with such force that the hinges were now out of true. There was no trace of the coming or going of the culprits.

This was the last straw to many in town. Most of the attention of the city police and the county authorities were now spent trying to keep mobs from forming, and going after whatever scapegoat seemed plausible.

In the meantime, McLaird, Conners, and Bingham considered the likelihood that the sighting the night before was connected to the desecration. Their conclusion was that it was a near certainty. None of the three doubted any longer that the various sighting were real, there was something moving around Harrystown and the surrounding territory, and that something was dangerous and very strange.

It was not surprising that it had taken so long to discover the damage. The cemetery was not commonly visited in the early hours of a work day, and the rain had made it the less likely. One when a groundskeeper had gone to the site to do some maintenance had the damage been discovered.

The Aces calculated that the...whatever it was...that had been seen down by the river could have reached the site of the cemetery on foot fairly easily in the known time window. It had a long stride, and could have cut through various alleys and short-cuts to avoid the main roads in town. There would have been time and to spare to get there, do the damage, and get out.

Of course that left the questions of 'what' and 'why' unanswered.

A regular spot check of the 'stake out' near the opening in the cliff indicated that nothing untoward had happened. This was actually disappointing, but not surprising, Conners seriously doubted if the entrance they had discovered into the tunnels in the hills was isolated, he was sure it connected up to the warren of passages and tunnels in the bluffs south of the river, and they already knew that someone had modified those tunnels artificially over the years. There might have been any of a hundred other places where their mystery-creature might have entered or left the tunnels.

Meanwhile, though, some of the B-Jones men had picked up on the ongoing activities of Henry McCord again. It was a stroke of luck that let them catch him moving materiel out down the river to his temporary hiding place, but once they had it they carefully watched, hoping he would reveal the particular item the Bingham-Jones Group had been hired to find, and hoping also that they might reveal something to explain the madness that had befallen Harrystown over the previous month or so.

McCord had arranged, through a blind, to rent a house near the river on the east side of town, sheltered from the rest of town by half a mile of woods lots. It was possible for a boat to pass the town in the dark, rowed rather than using its motor, and moor against the shore near the rented house, which McCord was using as a temporary storage site.

The Aces observed in secret over two nights as McCord and his men quietly moved things down the river, and traced his starting point to the cave entrance west of the city. Thus it was that when the fighting broke out between the men loyal to Davis and the men in the 'double ambush' that McCord had set up, the Aces and B-Jones men were close enough to hear the weapons firing, and arrived only about fifteen minutes after McCord departed.

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