Christmas Scenes

“Oh, Joselyn! Lovely to see you, darling!” Margot, flashing a dazzling smile, kissed the fading starlet on each cheek. Joselyn politely nodded, her eyes skirting around the room. The Christmas tree in the foyer, one of two dozen in the house, sparkled under the crystal chandelier. “Shane’s already here. I’m sure he’s saving you a seat.” Joselyn’s lips tightened, though she graciously presented Margot with an expertly wrapped bottle of what was clearly just nice enough wine. “No sign of Ms. Keening however, though she intimated she was bringing… friends.”

“Is my cousin around?” Joselyn asked, arching an eyebrow.

“Oh heavens, darling. You know Artie, he’d be here in moment if only he could get away,” Margot, hand to impressive chest, sighed with a melodramatic pang. “But, love, he’s off playing Santa for all those sick children. Terribly cute Santa, Josie– I’ll have him send over a text or something.” Joselyn said nothing, but smiled blankly.

“Of course,” Joselyn assented, a large figure in the doorway begging her eye.

“Jos!” Shane Laurent swept into the room, and caught Joselyn by the elbow. He kissed her on the cheek, and exclaimed, “We’ve been waiting for you all night. Come settle a debate for me and Mrs. Finebairn– it’s about that strange fellow who played Manservant Goblin on Clockwork Skies. Andromeda is convinced he may have been an actual goblin.”

Shane escorted Joselyn into the parlor, and Margot turned to the foyer looking glass. She practiced a smile two times, and fixed her curls. As she did so, she heard a clatter from the room’s only closet. The clatter was followed by a series of rather strong curse words, and what was likely a zipped.

Margot crossed her arms, and turned towards the source of the sound. Moments later, Jordan Albright Jr. stumbled out, his tie slightly askew, and his mouth an arrestingly hip shade of smeared raspberry.

“Jordan.” Margot said flatly.

“Margot! Uh–” Jordan quickly attempted to straight his tie. “Is my dad or Aunt Lilah here yet?”

“Jordan, you know this house used to he a waking house, yes?”

“Uh, yeah. Dad’s mentioned it,” Jordan stumbled.

“Any idea what that closet was used for?” she asked, tapping her immaculate nails on her elbow.

“Uh, no.”

“Storing bodies,” Margot said airily, smiling just a bit too brightly. “Have some respect for the dead, love.”

***

Travis shuffled over the carpet with a bit more joy than he had been the previous months. While the sting of November still slowed his step, it was his favorite season. For Travis, Christmas commenced some time in November, and continued throughout the winter. When Christmas Day passed, Travis tempered the post-holiday blues by continuing its celebration for the next six months. (He would, of course, take a brief respite in July, in order to celebrate Independence Day for the remained of the summer.) Nevertheless, there was no day held closer to Travis’s heart than Christmas. His reasoning, held equally close, was a private matter.

For those who knew the Millers, their small home looked shockingly charming. The boxes of receipts and reminders were stacked neatly away. The lists of trespassers and wrong-doers were covered with wreaths. The festooned garlands leaned towards gaudy, but had been elegantly arranged by Shannon. The Christmas tree, plastic and at least sixteen years old; it was arranged with warm white lights, and, in an unconventional design choice, hung with sample soaps and toiletries provided to motel guests.

A large pile of presents fanned out around the tree skirt. As they didn’t particularly like eachother, neither Shannon nor Travis had wrapped gifts for one another. They both, however, had tenderly selected a gift for each of Shannon’s twenty-seven cats.

“Travis! Come on!” Shannon called from the front door.

“Yeah, yeah,” Travis muttered, grabbing a can of cat food from the mantle.

“Dress warm,” Shannon nearly admonished. “Cold out.”

Travis wrapped a scarf around his neck, and coughed. For the next three hours, he and his sister, always silent, would set about to feed the stray cats of Prescott.

***

William generally acknowledged both the major and minor holidays with a passing, academic sort of reverence. They were important, he contended, to how the world organized itself; they were of minimal importance, he felt, to his own spiritual integrity.

Violet, however, glimmered during the holidays. She set electric candles in every window of the museum. She lit, every year, the first Menorah displayed in a Prescott storefront. (Donated, in the 1970s, by the Appelbaum family.) She also, every year, decorated a Christmas tree with antique ornaments from the collections. The holidays were the only time Violet mentioned her childhood– back when “the Chesterfield party, not the Thursday one, was what everyone went to.”

This year, before everything happened, been working with Aloysius Longnight to organize a children’s storytelling night at the museum: “Winter Legends from Prescott History” had been the working title. It had been dropped after the incident. William and Aloysius never talked, anyway.

This Christmas night, William stood alone in Violet’s office. With little expression, he placed a neatly wrapped gift on her desk. The tag read only “For: Violet, When You Return.”

***

Crowley had returned from the Thursday party hours ago. Never one for too much company, he now relaxed in his study.

Christmas night was his favorite night of the year: it was the only night during which he took out his model train set. A perfect replica of the first train that ran through Mathews Station, every year, a bit before the witching hour, Crowley would watch the train loop around the miniature version of Prescott.

The Proper Witch, feet kicked onto his desk, would watch this train, going round and round. With a certain level of bemusement, he would muse of which things would be set into motion with the New Year.

He would watch until the tiny train seemed pleased with itself, and then, dutifully, he would pack it away.

***

Molly smiled to herself. For the first time since Thanksgiving, she didn’t feel quite as lonely. As she whisked eggs for pancakes, Aloysius and Billy Lee laughed from the living room. They had been up since 5am– Dalliance McPhee, their houseguest for the past few months, had exclaimed that Santa had come.

Now, the living room a disaster of wrapping paper, the four-year-old McPhee was showing Aloysius how her toy car worked.

A messy, noisy Christmas, Molly pondered, but the first one in years that filled the house with something other than emptiness.

A knock sounded from the front door.

Molly frowned, confused, and put down the bowl of eggs. She walked towards the door, and opened it.

No one was there.

There was, however, a package. It was a carefully wrapped box, decorated with a threadbare red bow. In untidy scrawl, the package read “FOR DALLIANCE.” There was no other writing.

Though Molly didn’t know this, a similar package had been delivered to Shelly and Skip. That package, like this one, contained only some simple bracelets: red beads on white string. It was what somebody, somewhere, had to give.

***

Boyd sat in the Police Station’s lobby. No one, by some strange luck, had been yet hurt, scared, nor disorderly. There was, of course, some time before his shift was over. And, afterall, it was only 6pm. Jordan Albright Jr. had likely only been awake for three hours.

As Boyd dealt himself out another hand of solitaire, the jingle bells on the front door rang out. Festive but practical, the loudly alerted him to someone entering the station.

It was, bundled in a blue scarf and hat, Felicity Jane.

“Hi!” she said brightly.

“Hi,” Boyd said, standing slowly. Felicity had, in her hands, an envelope.

“Just wanted to deliver the Christmas card in person,” Felicity gestured with the envelope. “It’s from me and Sally.”

“Oh, well, thanks, Felicity,” Boyd ran his hand through his hair. “Any plans tonight?”

She smiled a bit sadly, “Just me tonight.” Sally Lautner was still, much to everyone’s worry, out on “tribal business.”

“Oh, well,” Boyd glanced at the clock, and swallowed. “Want some company? I’m off at 8.”

Felicity beamed, “That would be lovely! I haven’t made anything for dinner–”

“Come over to my apartment, then. I, uh, picked up a new recipe from a new blog the BAMFSHEE girls follow. Really mean vegetarian meatloaf. Well, not meat, of course. Just black be–”

“I would love that, Boyd,” Felicity interrupted.

***

Frank Ludlow rubbed his hands together, warming them from the chill. He closed the front door, and looked into his cozy, if empty, house. Normally, during this time on Christmas, he’d start on the crust for his mother’s chicken pot pie. It was a nice way to shift from the gravesite visit: a pleasant memory, rather than a bleak reminder of just how alone he was.

He didn’t feel like it this year. He wasn’t sure why. Maybe he was tired. Maybe he was sick. Maybe he was just old.

In any event, Christmas dinner would likely be an unceremonious helping of whatever was in the cupboard. He hadn’t been to the store to buy groceries, and certainly hadn’t bothered to get a chicken from Raymond Farms.

Maybe, Frank thought, he’d just go to bed. Might make the next eight hours easier. Early to bed, and then early back to work.

As Frank wondered on the merit of a 3pm bedtime, the phone rang. Frank hastily picked it up.

“Hello, Frank Ludlow speaking,” he answered with a chirp.

“Hey Frank,” Sasha McKeen responded, “it’s Sasha.”

“Oh! Happy Yuletide, if you’re celebrating,” Frank exclaimed.

“Thanks, Frank. Sam and I were actually just thinking of you,” Sasha continued, “we’re making your mom’s pot pie for dinner tonight.”

“Oh, Sasha,” Frank’s voice stopped in his throat.

“Ruby’s is back open now,” Sasha said lightly, “care to join us for Christmas dinner?”

“Oh…” Frank cleared his throat. “Yes, please. Thank you. That would be wonderful. I, uh, I may even have a bottle of wine from the municipal dinner.”

“Just your company is fine, Frank. Come on over whenever. Dinner is on around 7pm.”

***

Sally Lautner leaned back in his truck’s seat. He exhaled, deeply. His heart rate hadn’t been this high in years.

He peered into the rearview mirror, and wiped the smear of blood from his brow. Sally then patted his pocket. The pictures were still there.

He thought momentarily about calling Boyd, but it was Christmas. And he only had bad news.

Instead, he turned the key in the ignition, and started the long drive back to Prescott. He flicked on the radio.

Elvis started to croon, and Sally, for a moment, wondered if he might cry.

***

Happy Holidays! Please remember to sign up for the Jan 19 PACC event!


“Candy Covered Catastrophe!”

 

 

Candy Covered Catastrophe! (1939)

One of the few feature length films produced by Gaslight Studios, “Candy Covered Catastrophe!” was banned in multiple parts of the country due to “seasonally incongruous, distasteful, and horrific cartoon violence.” Concerned Parents of America decried the film, “morally bankrupt and perverse,” while Allies for American Film denounced it as “everything wrong with animated pictures.” Nevertheless, with its introduction of Yambag and Rascal Jack, two villains who would appear throughout the remaining Gaslight Studio films, the film gained notoriety and a cult following. Within the film, Mr. Sunnyside Up, chased through the woods by Rascal Jack and Yambag, stumbles upon a Gingerbread Cottage. The owner of the cottage, a seemingly beautiful young woman, initially greets Sunnyside Up with kindness; however, Mr. Sunnyside Up quickly realizes that her intentions are far from sweet.

“Candy Covered Catastrophe!” is particularly infamous in Prescott County, New England, as it is, seemingly, based on the crimes of the notorious Belinda McKeen. With monikers such as “The Candied Cannibal” and “The Mrs. Lovett of Cupcakes,” Belinda McKeen incorporated the body parts of her victims into her confections. Belinda McKeen, responsible for the murders of at least three dozen tourists, was the proprietor of McKeen Sweets until her death at the hands of Bradley Collins. In the cartoon film, the Gingerbread Cottage and the woman within are clearly aesthetically influenced by McKeen Sweets and Belinda McKeen respectively. Still in operation today, McKeen Sweets is widely considered one of the most Haunted places in Prescott.

***

We’re running a January 1 Day Event!

When: January 19 2019, 4pm-10pm (game), 10:30-1amish (out-of-game party)

Where: PACC, 37 Harris St, Webster, MA 01570

Cost: $50

Register Here

The event will take place at the PACC in Webster, MA, and will cost $50 to attend. The event will run from 4pm until 10pm. At 10pm, game will be called, and everyone will be given a 30 minute break to clean up any game materials. From 10:30-1amish, we will be holding an out-of-game social to celebrate the birthdays of Michael (Billy Lee in-game) and Sammy (Luci in-game). The birthday party theme, per Sammy’s preference, is Candyland of Horrors.  Pizza and dessert will be available for free for those interested. Cash bar and music.

The in-game location of the event will, as always, be the Montgomery-Albright Social Club. More information forthcoming. If you attended the original cartoon one-day, you will be able to use your “Imbue to Cartoon” abilities for the majority of the event. If you missed that event, and would like to attend this one, please indicate so in your registration form.

The Bogeyman

“Have you ever heard the story of the Bogeyman, children? No? Well, gather round your Uncle. It’s a good story for the first real snowfall.

“Our people say that the Bogeyman can walk without cold, even on the iciest nights of the year. This is because his heart is dark and watery. His heart is not frozen, like other monsters you may have heard of. No, it is merely cold.

“The Bogeyman walks noiselessly. He has learned to silently traverse the forest, and he can blend into the shadows of trees and leaves. They say he leaves no trail, and can follow any track. Silently, silently he creeps into places we think are safe.

“The Bogeyman frequently kills quickly and ruthlessly. He is terribly efficient.  Sometimes he kills with his hands. Sometimes he kills with a big knife. Sometimes he fires his gun. Many more times, however, the Bogeyman leaves clever traps that snare and rend. It depends, you see, on the size of his prey.

“The Bogeyman sometimes walks in the shape of a man, but that is only one of the shapes he chooses to take. Sometimes he walks in the form of the beast: his body becomes huge and monstrous, like a great bear, but, instead of fur, only naked flesh, horribly mangled.

“When people see the Bogeyman in the shape of a great bear, they wonder how it lost all its fur. Truly, they think it has been Cursed, as it eats the flesh of humans.

“What does that sound like, children? Does it sound familiar?

“Yes, exactly right.

“But children, listen closely. The Bogeyman isn’t his most terrible when he’s hunting as a beast. No, he’s far more horrific in the shape of a man.

“For, as a man, he blends into the people. As a man, many trust and respect him. They think of him as a guardian and protector. A hunter. But, children, what is he?

“That’s right, little ones. A monster. A monster only happy when all of Goldfire runs red with blood.”

The remaining children of Goldfire chattered amongst themselves. Some laughed. Others were quiet. The quiet ones remembered the bodies of their older cousins and brothers left piled in the woods. A few remembered the fire. A few more remembered the sounds of gunshots and shouts.

As the children leaned into one another, Emmett McPhee rose, and padded quietly out of the bedroom. The story was cruel, but it served its purpose.

Emmett looked out into the woods. Dark was settling deeply into the hills. The snow continued to fall, soft and silent, cloaking the floor of the Upper Hollow. Emmett shivered, partially due to the plummeting temperature of nightfall, but mostly out of fear.

Though lesser folk might mock him, Emmett was usually happy to admit that he was always scared. Not a moment went by, he would nod, without a tingle of fear slipping up his neck.

It wasn’t weakness, he would caution. Fear is never weakness. Fear is survival.

Being scared, he would say, was how he kept himself alive. How he had kept them all alive.

So Emmett listened.

Far off, at the lip of the valley, a truck idled and then stuttered to a stop. A shotgun was hoisted, and, somewhere, a warning shot fired into the air. Crows scattered, screeching.

Lock your doors. Shutter the windows. Hide your children, the gunshot sang. Only one way to run once I’m coming.

Emmett listened again. Five minutes passed, and the second warning clattered into the air

The Bogeyman was here.

***

Post-Event Teaser: Snowfall

Felicity didn’t pick up. He hadn’t expected her to.

Sally Lautner let the voice recording run to completion. He didn’t leave a message, but he liked the reassurance that she hadn’t picked up. It wasn’t a finality, so much, as a pause. A space to breathe. A moment to do what he did best: revel in a well-timed mistake. He sighed, and, ending the call, scrolled through the notifications on his phone.

 

Missed call from Felicity Cell: 2:46 AM.

Missed call from Felicity Cell: 3:28 AM.

Missed call from Felicity Cell: 5:29 AM.

Missed call from Felicity Cell: 5:33 AM.

Missed call from Boyd Home: 5:38 AM.

Missed call from Boyd Work: 10:14 AM.

 

Sally hit the last notification, and waited for the burble of a ring tone.

“Hey,” Boyd picked up on the second ring. A steady shuffle of papers, clicks, and hassled chatter lingered in the white noise of the call.

“I’m on the road,” Sally answered. His voice had taken on the slackened lifelessness of a man on a particular sort of job.

“Ok, keep me posted when you can,” Boyd responded. He sounded tired.

Before Boyd could continue, Sally interrupted, “How did the McPhee thing go?” Sally checked the rearview mirror, and put the key into the truck’s ignition.

Boyd thought for a moment. “Good… well, not good. But better.”

“Yeah?”

“There were 20 kids upstairs,” Boyd’s voice was heavy.

“Shit,” Sally said. “Shit.” He shook his head as the truck hummed to life. “Did they get out?”

“Quick thinking from Billy Lee, Sasha, Kimi– that crew.”

“Didn’t know the ranger had it in him. Where’s Emmett and that McPhee girl?” Sally didn’t ask why civilians were on a Goldfire call. He’d take that up with Boyd later.

“Unconfirmed. Tuilelaithe has the Scarletts looking into it while you’re, uh, out of town.” Boyd sounded like he wanted to say something more, but had stopped himself.

Sally said nothing for a minute. “Yeah, well. Tribe stuff. You know how it is.”

You know how it is. Sally thought. Pretty sure you’ve forgotten just how bad it gets before the holidays, though. Takes one asshole, and one lapse in otherwise perfect judgment.

Boyd cleared his throat, and, for a second, Sally was nervous he had spoken out loud. “Thanks for doing this, Sally,” Boyd eventually muttered.

“It’s a job,” Sally said shortly. “Talk to you later, Boyd. Please tell Felicity to give me a call back.”

Sally hung up the phone before Boyd could respond. He didn’t want to talk– he wanted, and needed, to clear his mind. Think hard. Think precisely.

He’d take care of Boyd’s feelings later.

Sally thought about the last 24 hours, and the swiftly accumulating snow. It would, in a few hours, almost cover up any tracks from this morning.

 

Where had he been at 2:46 AM? The bar.

Where had he been at 3:28 AM? The bar.

5:29 AM? The trailer.

5:33 AM? The trailer.

5:38 AM? The trailer.

10:14 AM? Bleary, but headed towards the truck.

 

“Well, fuck me” Sally, after a few plaintive moments, said to no one in particular. He was no longer guilty and scared, and, with the grim calm of someone who knows their job, had turned towards a simmering anger.

Sally leaned back. In the background of his brain, maps were running through his head. The quickest routes out of town. The roads infrequently traveled. Good places to hide for awhile.

Thing I like about snow, Sally peered into the rearview mirror, Liars’ Paradise melting into the distance. It keeps tracks if you don’t know what you’re doing.

The thing he hated about snow, however, was that it covered up the things you didn’t want to see. It made you poke, prod, and dig deeper than you wanted to. Laughed at you if you looked away.

Sally Lautner had never believed in looking away.

***

Teaser: Goldfire Hollow Transcript

Transcript: GF Audio Recording 2

Source: DJNoAxis, WeirdWebbitor

Upload Date: 10/2/18

Recording Date: 10/1/18

***

[START TRANSCRIPT.]

Friends.

Today I want to talk about something that has no doubt hurt us all.

It starts with a question, friends.

What do we do when someone leaves us?

What do we do when someone turns their back on us? On our family? On everything we’ve built?

[Indistinct, argumentative voices.]

I know, friends. I hear you. And it’s true. It’s almost impossible to forgive someone who walks away, isn’t it?

Look around this room, friends. Spot the person who walked away.

Yes, friends. There she is. Standing among us. But, friends, does she look like she enjoyed her time outside?

No, friends. I know that face. I know those eyes. They tell me all I need to know.

Come here, sister. Come here. That’s right. Come stand up here, with me. Look at all these faces, sister.

And friends, look at your kinswoman here. Look at her. Let your eyes tell her that she hurt you. Let your eyes tell her, but not your hands.

Not your hands, friends.

[Muffled argument.]

Why not, you ask?

Because she came back, friends. She came back home to us. She’s returned to where she wants to be. Where she should be. She returned to the Hollow, because outside can’t give her what she needs.

Family.

Comfort.

Peace.

People who are like her.

No, I’ve seen what they do outside.

They let their dogs rend and kill people. Innocent people. Good people. That’s why we took their dogs. To protect them from themselves.

They let demons rule them. Hellspawn walks with their children and their elderly. That’s why we took their demons. To protect them from themselves.

And what have they done? They’ve violated our land with dark sided things. They’ve taken away the food that sustains our hunger. And worst of all: they’ve taken our children.

But here is one of our children, come back from the other side.

No, no, sister. Don’t look scared. I can’t imagine what you’ve seen.

Come here, sister. Embrace your brother. Show your family you’ve come home.

[5 minutes of muffled sound elapses.]

Good girl, Lucasta. Thank you.

Now, friends. As they try to make us weaker, we grow more resilient. We have the ice in our hearts, and the steel in our souls. Many of us have drunk the poisoned wine, and we’ve emerged from it stronger. Not dead, as the doubters feared, but stronger. More alive.

Friends, one Messiah once said, “Father, if you are willing, let this cup pass from me.” He asked, friends, for the suffering to be lifted from him. For a moment he doubted. But friends, what did he say next?

[Muffled response. Pounding.]

That’s right, Henry. That’s right. That Messiah said, “However let not my will, but yours be done.”

Friends, should I offer you this cup, the poison that will save you from yourselves, know that it is not my will, but yours.

You are your own Messiahs, friends. I am merely the one to show you the cup, and teach you the lesson. If you doubt anyone, you doubt only yourselves.

Now, come here, sister. Come here, Lucasta. It’s time for me to offer you this lesson. Yes, it may seem early, but you left.

Don’t be scared, sister. Come here. The only thing to fear is fear itself.

[One minute of silence elapses.]

Sister, look to your cousin, Jeremiah. Jeremiah had unnatural desires. Jeremiah, our beloved cousin, went to the outside to have those unnatural desires met.

Yes, friends. I know. But remember they walk with demons and dogs. They tempt. They twist.

And remember, friends, Jeremiah came back. Jeremiah knew his place was here, in the Hollow. With his family.

But when he came back, he had to learn a lesson. The same one you’re going to learn, sister.

Albert, bring me the cup.

Sister, I’m going to offer you the lesson. You must learn it, to remind you why you must stay here.

Ah, thank you, Albert.

Friends, what lesson am I going to teach our sister?

[Muffled response.]

That’s right, friends. That’s right.

Sister. Your lesson:

When the family feasts, so too must you.

[END TRANSCRIPT.]

***

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All Things Considered

(Volunteer, Interim) Sheriff Boyd Wallace hummed to himself quietly, the engine of his old Chevy rumbling and grumbling as it made the trek, up the dirt road, to Ruby’s.

Boyd had plans, now that he was back in town, to have dinner at Felicity and Sally’s. For now, however, he had a strange sort of compulsion– a wanderlust, but a wanderlust for the silent rest of a small town on Monday evening.

It felt emptier than usual.

Boyd stopped the truck, unfastened his seatbelt, and stepped out into the chilly night. He stretched, his shoulders creaking, and looked to the diner’s front porch. Molly Raymond, outfitted in her restaurant uniform, waved to him from it.

“Hi Boyd,” Molly called.

“Finishing up, or just starting?” Boyd gestured to Molly’s uniform, and walked towards the front steps.

“Finishing up,” Molly smiled. “Sasha is taking on my night shift, now that my dad is,” her voice trailed off, and her smile tightened.

“Good woman,” Boyd provided. “And Monday nights are usually pretty quiet, anyhow.”

Molly nodded, but said nothing further.

“Town feels empty,” Boyd sighed. “You’d think with all these new people it’d be… I dunno. Noisier.”

Molly looked up to the night sky, the waning moon still hazily bright. After losing herself in a deeply private thought, she answered: “Maybe it’s because those folks aren’t not so new anymore. They’ve become a part of the buzz of this place.”

Boyd laughed, “Is that a good thing or a bad thing, Ms. Raymond?”

Molly shrugged, “I’m never sure. I’ve long been convinced that people,” she paused, and looked to the moon. “I don’t know. It’s like they fade here.”

Boyd considered this for a moment. “I don’t know about fading, but… well. It’s almost like, here in Prescott, people burn too brightly, and then they just go out,” he looked nervously to Molly’s furrowed brow. Boyd then continued, “And you notice how dark it is without them.”

Molly and Boyd sat in the silence of the conversation for a moment. It felt heavy and stern, nearly impenetrable. As heavy and stern, Boyd realized, as the overflowing P.O. box labeled “V. Chesterfield,” or the shuttered windows of the Half-Grin Cafe.

Boyd shivered slightly, and finally asked, “Say Molly, I’m headed over to Felicity’s to get dinner with her and Sally. Care to join?”

Molly shook her head, “I’m helping box up Lucas’s things for the move.”

“Heard they’re teaching him to cook or something,” Boyd grinned. “Nice folks.”

Molly and Boyd exchanged a quick glance, both wary of the danger inherent to being, very merely, one of the nice ones.

Niceness started to rub you raw. Kindness would eat you up. Goodness, especially holding tight to that goodness, was its own kind of monster.

All the same, Boyd mused to himself, goodness wasn’t so terrible a demon to wrangle. All things considered.

***

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Prescott News

Excerpts from the Prescott Herald Online, August 24 2018

 

Preparations for Full Moon Underway

Anxieties are mounting around the upcoming September full moon. While full moons in Prescott are nothing new, the recent uptick in affected demographic has people worried. While local authorities maintain that they have, “as always, taken the proper precautions,” (Prescott Sheriff’s Office) others are not so sure. Locals and folks from away alike seem unusually worried about the upcoming full moon.

“I have enough silver bullets to take out a pack,” Skip Newton remarked when asked about his personal preparations. “Use ‘em on wolves, witches, and probably ghouls. Folks may think that’s insensitive, but I’ve seen a couple of these when things are this bad. No Violet? Well, there goes our ace.”

Others, however, maintain more optimistic perspectives. Frank Ludlow offered his own comment on the preparations: “We have good people on our side: Salvatore, Diaz, and Wickham– whether they’re in town or working late nights behind the scene, they’ll keep us safe. Of course, well, Billy Lee might not be, uh, as reliable as he normally is… so. Well, Elisa has a full weekend ahead of her, I think.”

Locals are reminded to bolt their doors with the municipal silver locks before nightfall September 20th until September 23rd. Families and households falling under the lycanthropic liability zoning clause are asked to contact Frank Ludlow at their earliest convenience.

 

Strange Fox Activity

Foxes, particularly those that live at the border of Goldfire Hollow and the Raymond Farm, have been observed in unusual number. Molly Raymond remarked, “the owls are always a problem, but that usually keeps the fox population down. This year, we’ve seen dozens and dozens of foxes. I’d normally be worried, but they don’t seem to have any interest in the chickens.”

 

Chesterfield House Property in Flux

The recent local tragedy, the abduction and presumed death of Ms. Violet Chesterfield, has resulted in renewed controversy around the Chesterfield House.

Jamey Chesterfield has announced his intention to buy the property, while Gavin Welsley-Tate has contested the purchase. Mr. Chesterfield, as Ms. Chesterfield’s half-brother, has claimed to be next of kin. Mr. Welsley-Tate, however, announced himself to be Ms. Chesterfield’s widower. In a surprising turn of events, Tony-award winner Shane Laurent has thrown his influence into the ring. He has provided his personal lawyer, renowned attorney Jackie Stewart, to William Wilhelm, who is handling Ms. Chesterfield’s estate. When questioned on Mr. Laurent’s motives, Mx. Stewart offered only that, “My client wants her estate treated with as much dignity as possible.”

William Wilhelm offered no comment on the situation.

 

Graffiti at Mathews Station

A large number of apparent graffiti has been removed from Mathews Station. The group connected to the graffiti is presumed to be the Blue Moon Cult, as the “tags” all read “there’s a bad moon on the rise.”

Florence Wildes chastised the removal of the graffiti, countering that, “it’s a part of Prescott’s developing aesthetic history.” It was reported by an anonymous source that Ms. Wildes, prior to the removal, sent in a photographer to document the materials. The anonymous source suggested that Ms. Wildes collected the materials to, “add to her collection.”

 

Jordan Albright Jr. Caught Sleeping on Bench

Socialite and reported Servitor Jordan Albright Jr. was found sleeping on a bench outside the (in)famous entertainment venue Big Salty’s. When asked why he was sleeping on public property, Mr. Albright responded, “I just need some f****** sleep, man.” Mr. Albright then implied that Ms. Finebairn keeps him overly busy.

 

Harry Collins Case Reopened

Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Emile Barlow, Haunted Analytics Unit, has returned to Prescott. Following an anonymous source, he has decided to reopen the case on the late Harry Collins. While Agent Barlow offered little in the way of comment, he did remark, “We initially thought it was Cursed work, but I’m considering Demonic options at this point.” Agent Barlow mentioned he would be looking from Haunted and Possessed consultants specifically.

 

Civilians Cry for Thursday

With November elections on the horizon, Prescott locals are puzzled by the term length absence of one Mayor Arthur Thursday. “Oh yes, I’ve seen his election posters everywhere!” Dotty Beans commented, “But it seems like it’s high time for him to show his face!” Mrs. Beans then muttered bitterly about Travis Miller’s “guerilla tactics.”

***

Hello everyone! Please make sure to pre-register for the event here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeoxlN8ng0CQcfESkErpO2LFEArDLc_85GzpyeplbOR63g2Cw/viewform

I especially need you to pre-register if you are Cursed or Lycanthropic, as I have materials I need to send to you!

Contract

by Angela Montgomery

 

When you come to an old place, you can be sure of one thing: it is long festering with the tattered sutures of ancient accords. Handshakes gummed up with conspiratorial spit. Ledgers penned with true names. Letters signed in ash and blood. Entrails spilled on the earth, and oaths uttered precisely and predatorily.

New places, in contrast, have new deals. Hastily made, jostling acceptances of a mutually agreed upon future. Locks that give. Signatures lacking genuine regret. Oaths easily broken or paid off. Fine print that requires only the human eye.

Old places, however, have spiraling, airtight pacts. Contractual obligations that extend centuries, sometimes in multiple directions. In old places, no action goes without reaction, and no good deed goes unpunished. 

This is not always so bad.

In one of these old places, for instance, someone might see you in a moment of desperation. Someone might even help you. But, in these old places, such help never feels quite right.

Perhaps, if you have swum in old circles, you already know this. Someone has helped you. Someone has saved you. Someone has done you a kindness.

But be honest.

Someone has done you a kindness only because they needed to.

Somewhere, in their own history, they stumbled and faltered. Somewhere, in that falter, they made an agreement. Somewhere, in that agreement, they signed away their soul. Somewhere, in that signature, they made themselves, however unwittingly, your eventual keeper.

Kindnesses are an accident of time and space. They happen only when a lifetime’s imperfections warp in a direction that might be followed. They are uncomfortable ruptures deserving of a closure only attempted through gratitude. Kindnesses are a heavy and awkward handshake. A handshake made when our backs were to the wall, and our spines edged into the corner.

Still, in a world where words still matter, agreements of kindness span lifetimes. You might wonder: when it’s your turn to perform a kindness, what debt will you eventually be owed?

Or, perhaps, you haven’t yet grown so cold.

***

Sign ups for the September 21-23 event go up next week! Keep your eyes on this space.

Announcing: PresCon Costume Auction

A fine “hello” and “how’re you” to my Presketeers! (That’s what I’m calling all my Prescott friends. Sounds neighborly!)

Seems like just a few days ago we were shaking the slush off of our boots, and keeping out the chill! Hard to believe summer is halfway over, and we’ve tucked our sweater vests away. I’m not a flip-flop wearing fella, but I must admit that they’re a good way to beat this heat!

You know another way to beat the heat? “Chilling out” with all your friends at PresCon! That’s right! It’s right around the corner, and it’s jam-packed with more fun than a pile of piglets! Also, now sponsored by our favorite Presketeer, Jordan Albright Jr., PresCon has a new exciting opportunity.

Some of your favorite Presketeer locals have volunteered to be your muses for PresCon! That’s right, friends! You can bid to have creative control over how some of your favorite people are dressed. Sign up information is below.

But wait! There’s more! Have you ever wanted to participate in a cosplay contest, but are always busy? No worries! Jordan Albright Jr. will be hosting the first ever PresCon Cosplay Contest! You can enter in three categories:

1) Runway (you show up and strut your stuff in front of a panel of judges)

2) Fashion Sketch Submission (submit your fashion design ideas to the same panel of judges)

3) Group Skit or Performance

Fabulous prizes will be awarded to the winner of each category.

Keep your eyeballs peeled for sign ups!

Your Pal and Civil Servant,

Frank Ludlow

***

Out of Game: Do you want a way to donate (real) money to the game that is quick, easy, and vaguely competitive? Sign up below to bid on NPC costumes for the convention. We have veto power on costumes, and can and will say no to ideas we deem inappropriate, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Jordan Albright dressed up as a Cyperpunk Minotaur, now is your chance!

This auction will run from July 11 to July 15. It is completely online. We will announce the winning bid on July 16, and will reach out to winners to see what they want. You can bring your donation in cash to the game, or can submit via PayPal to witchtowers@gmail.com.

Sign up below!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1946zsyafj89s64tsx5U5JC10aasv57t6mbV528x_WWU/edit?usp=drivesdk