Spookhouse: Take Back the Night! Mission 2
Somewhere in London, 1946
Director Blackmore scratched the ruined socket of his stolen eye as he watched the last of the captured creatures wheeled into containment by a team of six burly men, each escorted by four men carrying Sten Guns and adorned in holy garments. Doctor Christmas has designed the creatures containment cells herself. Each one appeared to be a mere cube of glass, but tests had shown them to be shatter proof, bullet proof, fire proof, tempreture resistant, and able to contain everything from your standard hob-goblin all the way up to such horrific creatures as wraiths and poltergeists. Unfortunatly, no cell had yet been constructed that could house creatures of a powerful magical nature. Such a containment cell was still months away according to the R&D teams. Experiments with Christian prayers, Japanese straw dummy rituals, voodoo and houdoo magic, and even blood sacrafice had proved to be ineffective at containing magical influences. Director Blackmore scoffed. Magic creatures? Pah! Twenty years ago he'd been a bright colonel with a glorious career in the joint arm of O.S.S and British Intelligence. No he was playing ring master to this circus of fairy tale horrors, like a Grimm brothers story made flesh. Removing his snuff box, the director watched as a cage containing a naked young woman of stunning alien beauty was carted through the facilities cargo hold. Upon seeing the director the creature stroked slender hands over her full breasts provactively. Blackmore scoffed, snuffing some dried elderflower from his wrist. Upon being so blatently scorned, the creature's beautiful features vanish as she exploded from her place in the cell, slashing widely at the cage with bird like talons, hissing a high pitch shriek at the top of her lungs. Men with tanks on their back rushed forward and upon taking a long tube from the equipment on their back, inserted it into the cage and pumped a noxious looking gas into the glass prison, quickly subduing the creature. " Succubii." The Director grunted in sheer displeasure, turning his gaze to the information being projected onto the screen.
The images being flicked through were photographs from a dozen field teams. Ever since the successful first mission, Spookhouse had seen its funding triples, its allocation of manpower multiple ten times, and contact with other likeminded organisations had increased. As a measure of good will, the Vatican had sent a copy of the True Revelations to the Spookhouse HQ. The book contained the entire contents of the bible before the Vatican began controlling the content of the average Christian bible. Present within were the details of Enochs journey to heaven, the forty year war of Moses, The Chronicles of Caine, the only thing that had not been included was the final pages of the book of Revelations which according to Vaticans head exorcist could only be read 'By the completely insane, or the nearly dead.' This dubious gift was not however what concerned the Director. His gaze focused on the pieces of information on the situation in Siberia. He had dispatched his origional, and most successful field team to deal with the distress call. A deep sigh escaped his lips as he wrapped his one remaining hand around the railing. " Not the first time I've sent men and women to their deaths." He murmered, ignoring the bustle of activity behind him.
Meanwhile, Thirty minutes away from Moscow, Russia, on the Lenin railway line.
It was the smell of rotting meat caught in his nostrils that awoke Stranger. A smell like bleach, but with the metallic tang of blood and riddled with a rotten egg essence. The small quarters on the private train blasting through a terrible blizzard to reach its destination was bitter cold, yet far colder than it should have been. Ice had formed on the inside of the cabin, across the table and creeping across the floor towards his feet. Stranger's gaze flicked behind his goggles, his hand easing for the pistol as a figure lumbered in through the closed door, passing through the wood as if it was as thin as air and settling its ragged form down on the couch across from him. The thing smiled, and Stranger felt himself filled with primal terror which forced him to swallow down rising bile.
Stranger stared at himself across the small carriage room. The thing that stared back was undoutably him. Dressed in the same slate grey suit, and wearing the same white shirt and pin-stripe waist coat beneath, yet something was off. The fedora hat sat buckled and lop sided, the coat smeared with mud and the heavy night vision goggles sat lop-sided, buckles and broken around the rims. One of the len's had come loose, and behind it was an ugly eye, dim with death and rolled back in his skull. The creature smirked, removing a flask from the coat pocket. Stranger sat up, mirrioring the action as he drew his own flask. While his flask was still a bright, shining stirling silver, the creature had a tarnished, bent flask. " Good day to you, herr Doktor. It has been far too long." Uncorking the flask with skeletal fingers , Death took a sip of the contents of the flask, swishing it around in his mouth, some of which leaked out the gaping wound in the flesh of his face. Stranger stared hard at the image of his own death, and despite his terror his hands were steady when he uncorked his flask, taking a deep, long drink. " Are you here to collect me?" He asked, his voice even. Death merely chuckled, shaking his head. Something fat and wriggling fell from his gory locks and scuttered under the seat. " No... Not today Mein good brother." Death croaked with a parched voice. " Baron Samedi has repayed his last favor, Lilith won't deal with you, and when has God ever shown interest in you? You've run out of favors to call...Friends to sacrafice. Now...Now its just... him down stairs." Death stamped his foot. " Or the endless black with me. Does the idea terrify you? Do you feel me at your back every time you go to sleep? Each night edging a little closer to your bed."
Stranger shifted in his seat, listening to the black words without a trace of interest, though his heart beat so hard and so loud he felt the team could hear it in their private quarters dotted along the train. " Don't waste my time with talk. Do your work or be gone." Death merely smiled, and upon noticing Stranger's flask was empty he chuckled. " Let me top you up." Leaning forward Death poured the contents of his flask into Strangers, grunting. " To your good health, my friend." Stranger felt a chill crawl up his spine, but accepted the drink without complaint. " And to yours." He replied dryly, sitting upright and taking a drink. Much to his pleasure it was only whisky within the flask. " You know...I've always admired you." Death rumbled. " So different from the usual lot... Those tedious die hards who prattle on and on about being 'survivors'...And that disgusting bunch of happy clappers with their ridiculous last wishes and bucket lists." Death chortled, brushing a finger over his, or rather Strangers mishapen lips. " Then...of course, You have that Ethunasia lot. Those...cowards who remind themselves how very brave they are while fleeing in terror for the exit, hoping to jump ship early." Death grunted, spitting something shrivelled and grey across the floor. " Opps...Chunk of lung. Not like you are taking care of those anyway." Removing a cigerette from his coat, Death sparked up, exhaling smoke through one nostril, the other having caved in. " Last of the old guard... All you can hope for is someone upon high remembers how useful you are. Or... you could always just sacrafice another friend. Who's it to be eh?" Death turned his gaze to the wall. " The American maybe? His heads so full of Uncle Sam and Apple Pie he wouldn't even see it coming. Would you miss him? Would your superiors?" Death smirked. " What about that little piece of skirt out there mh? You'd be surprised how many years of life someone down stairs would pay for her. Then again...Could just sacrafice one of the grand children couldn't you? How ar- oh thats right... They're the insurance to keep you working, ticking away like a good little cog. How is your daughter by the way?" Death grinned mockingly. " That's right...Dead, sorry...touchy subject. What about the wife?" Stranger rose to his feet and Death mimiced the gestured. " Thats right...Back in '92... Did I touch a nerve? Come on...Solve your problems the way you always do...With bullets and booze. Pull the trigger, be a good little soldier." The screetch of the trains sirens made both Death and Stranger turn their heads. " Oooh breakfast time... You best get going...Its the most important meal of the day. As for me...this is where I get off. Another family froze last night...I'd like to pick them up while they are steamy fresh." Death slouched passed Stranger, patting him on the shoulder as he went. " Once more into the breach, dear friends. You take care of yourself, Don't be a Stranger now." With that, death vanished leaviny only the faintest trace of grave dirt to mark his passing.
Exhaling slowly, Stranger wheeled to make sure the abomination was gone. Death had a poor sense of humor, and was at his funniest when a man was standing on the gallows. The words were designed to throw off his concentration, to fill him with terror. To give Death his due...In this he had done well. Stranger felt his lungs burning, acheing for the relief of cigerrette smoke. His hands shook and the whisky made his mouth taste dry and jagged. Quickly sparking up a cigerette Stranger left silently to join the team at the serving carriage.
The Stranger found himself at the table before any of the other team mates. A pair of young men were present dishing out platters containing all the components of a full english breakfast. Stranger ignored the plate and cutlery they placed before him, instead focusing on his cigerette, and quickly sparking up another when this one had finished. When team mates started arriving Stranger made a point of ignoring them, sitting in his self contained little world with only his thoughts for company. He was vaugely aware of the team eating and having their own conversations between each other, but didn't think all too much of it. Behind his goggles, steely eyes surveyed the survivors of his team. Each would be needed on this mission where the enemy was unknown, and the possibility for any sort of situation was present. This would be different from Scotland. It would not be so easily ogranised a situation. His gaze flicked to the doors at the front of the carriage as they slid open and a slender looking man in the uniform of a British Major strolled in, placing his hands behind his back. The major was fairly young and fresh looking, though ever inch of his skin as far as could be seen was etched with ritual tattoo's depicting the lesser key of Solomon. The circular patterns expanding over his skin, and forming a road map of lines on his face.
" Attention." He barked, waving for a projector at the back of the room to be switched on. When it did, the projector threw up plans of a small, fenced complex onto the carriage wall behind him. " As you know, we've received a distress call from one of our moles in the USSR. Doctor Leara Hemmingway. She was stationed here." The Major stepped aside, gesturing to the map. " Outpost thirteen, Siberia. A research facility which we believe has been accepting shipments of political prisoners from the local Gulag, for what purpose we aren't sure." The Major clicked a button and the projector shifted to display a picture of Doctor Hemmingway, an older women with iron grey hair and sharp, hawkish features. " The doctor was working on dissecting the work of the S.S Occult Warfare division for the U.S.S.R. This in itself is a director violation of the Accord of Nations, a treaty designed to police the use of the Supernatural. Doctor Hemmingway was sending us coded messages via radio, and we almost had enough to bring the U.S.S.R into account for her actions when the good doctors radio tranmissions became...erratic, babble. Three weeks ago she went us this." The Major gestured to one of the young men who hit play on a radio device. Static filled the room, broken only by a woman whispering " He walks behind the tree's." The sound hissed through the room then with a womans panting, vanished. The major lifted his head. " A week later...She sends us this." The radio was once again played, and once again static resumed on the radio broken by words which raised almost to the pitch of a scream. " The devil is at the gate!" The Major waved for the machine to be shut off as he removed a slip of paper from the folder. " Around the same time our telegraph machines and radio's went utterly hay wire. Most of its ruined, however...In each machines last transmission we found this...Its a section of obscure biblical text from the days of Moses and refers to the time in which Moses descended from upon high with the Ten Commandments only to find his people worshipping another God. It reads as such." The Major cleared his throat.
" Out of the Wilderness came the Dark Man
Wicked of intent, he spoke with authority
Even though the words of his tongue were black
Even the wisest were swayed, and fell thrall to him"
The major placed the paper behind his back, lifting his head to gauge the reactions of the group. " The 'Dark Man' is included in several cultures around the world. The Scottish refer to him as 'Fear Dumh' or 'The Black Man' and in Germany, tales of a creature known as 'Der Ritter' are also common. We believe this may be the devil refered to by the Good Doctor. Our occult theorists can't seem to decide exactly what this might be. Some say it could be the ancient God Samhain risen to the world by the carnage of the Second World War. Others suggest it might be just the returned spirit of Grigori Rasputin who has been reported several times in the area leering at young women through bedroom windows. Whatever the case your mission has three objectives. Number one is to locate, or at the very least discover the fate of Doctor Hemmingway and return her to British soil if at all possible. Second, aquire evidence of Russia's involvement in the weaponisation of supernatural forces. Lastly, identify the creature or creatures refered to as the 'Dark Man' and execute a Capture/Kill order. Miss Avi and Mister Stranger will decide the best course of action at the time." The Major grunted, shifting to click the projector. The image shifted to a handsome, scarred man wearing a dark suit getting out of a car. He appeared to be looking towards the camera.
" We are aware that this train stops miles short of your destination. Therefore, you will need to aquire other means of transportation. Our agency has been contacted by this man." The Major gestured to the projected image. " Dimitri Makarov, a former Gulag prisoner, ex Russian Special forces, and current leader of the Vory Vi Zakone, or...Russian mafia, if you like. He rules the Moscow underworld with an iron fist and is currently the most wanted man in the U.S.S.R. He specalises in arms deals and slavery, but recently may have turned to trafficking in occult materials. Virgins blood, hemlock, black candles...That sort of thing. He could well provide you with an alternative means of reaching the facility. He operates out of a bar in Central Moscow, the Wolf, Ram and Heart." Turning back to the team. " Make contact with him if you can, but remember...This man is a ruthless criminal. Terminate if he proves to be a problem." Shutting off the projector the Major surveyed the group as the train came to a rolling halt in a private section of railway mere minutes outside of Moscow. " Any questions?" The Major waited for a moment before grunting. " You have your orders. Procede to the armory section of the train, gather your equipment and remember... Russian authorities are not aware of your mission here. This is strictly wet work, keep a low profile and stay out of the hands of the police, and the KGB. Good luck." With that, the Major left with a sharp salute, leaving the team to ponder their next mission.