The Dead of Dixie Society

Chapter Synopses

Summary: Set in Asheville, NC in the not so distant future, a group of mortals are caught up in a web of supernatural machinations. There is only one vampire in the city, the Prince of Asheville…and no one knows who they are. Beset by a pair of crazed vampire hunters, a detective who can’t let go of the past, and a mysterious Ouija board that just won’t go away, the group must work together to uncover the mystery of who is really calling the shots in this small mountain city.


Chapter 1. Bad Ritual

Playing Characters: Asher, Brian, Chloe, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz, Trent

Important NPCs: Albertine (Teeny) Black

The characters are teenagers, who call themselves the Dead of Dixie Society, enjoying a Halloween party at Albertine’s (Teeny) home in the mountains of Asheville. The home is called Tea House. They are watched by an unseen entity who narrates their actions within the home. They engage in drinking and recreational drug use before going to the attic to use a ouija board. They tell secrets to the board with the understanding their secrets never leave the circle. The board in turn provides them with cryptic responses.

The spirit presumably speaking through the board eventually asks them to come to its grave located on the Black’s property. Teeny is vehemently against this idea. The group proceeds, disturbing the grave while Teeny intervenes. Trent crushes a cigarette on the way back to the house. The region is currently suffering from a drought.

After falling asleep, they are awakened by a raging forest fire and narrowly escape with their lives down the mountain side. They are waved through the fire by Officer Taylor who notes their identity. Another unnamed party escapes the fire in a separate vehicle. Once they are safely off the mountain, Teeny flies into a rage at Trent, accusing him of starting the fire with his cigarette. A fight ensues and Teeny accidentally falls over the guard railing and dies. The group then make their way on foot and are taken to the hospital and interviewed by police.


Cutscene: Hot For Teacher

Setting: Past
Subject: Brian

Brian is a teenager and this scene takes place shortly after the death of his mother but before the fire. His brother is a drunk and drug user who verbally abuses him. His father is rarely present. Paz and Brian are hanging out when his drunk fuck brother arrives and cock blocks Paz who has a crush on Brian. After an altercation and the arrival of Fiona, they leave to go to Fiona’s house. Fiona’s mother, Jennifer Weir, a high school English teacher, dotes on Brian and welcomes him to her home anytime. Jimbo shows up and has dinner with the group and dreams of a brighter future. Brian stays the night with a growing infatuation for Mrs. Weir.


Chapter 2. Hearts Ablaze

Playing Characters: Jimbo, Brian, Fiona, Paz, Asher

Important NPCs: Red and the Suit, Scarlet, Frank

It is 10 years later and the narrator describes the aftermath of the fire. The PCs apparently were tried on suspicion of arson but presumably escaped prosecution. Solomon Black, Teeny’s brother wrote a book about the experience. He passively defends the PCs. They have become somewhat pariahs in Asheville.

The PCs run into each other at Esse Eck’s a local strip club below a bookstore. They are served by a schizophrenic bartender, Frank, who says cryptic bullshit. They are given tickets to a free show in the back by a dancer named Scarlet who intervenes when they are being heckled by locals. In the background, two individuals known as Red and The Suit, proposition one of the dancers to a private encounter. They return disheveled and somewhat dissatisfied. They also seem very interested in the PCs.

At the show, Red introduces herself and her husband (now known as Vince and Kitty Straid) and asks if the PCs can arrange a meeting with Solomon. They are interested in purchasing Tea House from him but are unable to persuade him thus far. The PCs accept an invitation to a bbq at their home in the mountains the following weekend. They provide their address on a receipt.


Cutscene: Tit For Tat

Setting: Past
Subject: Fiona

Fiona is in her 20s now and enrolled at the police academy. She has married her high school sweetheart, Michael Loudain. She and Paz return to Fiona’s townhouse after a night of drinking to find roses strewn up the stairs and romantic music playing. Fiona ascends believing a romantic encounter is about to take place, but quickly realizes how unfucking true that is. She finds Michael raw dogging another woman and a confrontation ensues. Paz and Fiona flee to Paz’s shitty ass apartment. A neighbor, feeling sorry for Fiona, takes them in. The neighbor is some dude whose name I forgot. Paz leaves with a predatory lesbian and the neighbor dude and Fiona share booze and talk about the situation. The neighbor guy reveals his spouse cheated on him as well with someone from Esse’s which turns out to be Michael. Tempted to pay Michael back, to the two almost kiss but Fiona vomits everywhere and ruins it.


Cutscene: Rock and Rye

Setting: Past
Subject – Brian

Brian, now 18 and a senior in high school, receives a call from Mrs. Weir who has taken up cleaning cabins to help pay for Fiona’s legal fees after the fire. She is stranded at a cabin without a working car on the precipice of a snow storm. Brian follows the lead of his dick and goes to aid her. They drink rock and rye and Brian takes a picture of her, discovering his love for photography, while his brother bombards him with abusive texts. Eventually Mrs. Weir seduces Brian and takes his virginity. Brian’s dick is very large according to the player. After climaxing, Brian immediately wants to fuck her in every position imaginable.

The narrator then slyly recounts what they saw earlier in the night. Mrs. Weir damaged her own vehicle when her other liaison for the evening blew her off. It is revealed Mrs. Weir is mentally unstable and possibly a nymphomaniac and is habitually unfaithful to her husband. She intentionally damages her own car so that Brian will come to help her and they will be stranded in the cabin all weekend.


Chapter 3. A Few Bricks Short

Playing Characters: Jimbo, Brian, Fiona, Paz, Asher, Chloe

Important NPCs: Red and the Suit

Red and the Suit host the BBQ and everyone arrives and shit. They sit at the table to eat the most fucking delicious bbq on the planet. Strange fucking noises are heard and Kitty dismisses this as their resident ghost Mr. Leadfoot. She then explains she wants to buy Tea House because of the special ouija board in Solomon’s possession which she believes can give spiritual portents. The Straids are real fucking vague about their past. This annoys everyone. When she becomes excited and asks them to steal the ouija board if Solomon will not sell the house, everyone gets fucking pissed and leaves. Jimbo and Chloe stay behind and cut a deal with Vince to steal the board, while Fiona, Brian, Asher and Paz go to Fiona’s to research the Straids. They don’t turn up anything good but there are no photos of them online. Asher does, however, realize the receipt on which the Straids wrote their address is for a local bbq place.

Meanwhile, Chloe and Jimbo break into Tea House and steal the board. They encounter a blonde spectre who gets Jimbo’s tag number. Upon returning to the Straid’s, Jimbo and Chloe are taken hostage once the exchange is made. Vince takes them to the basement at gunpoint and asks them what they know “about vampires.”


Chapter 4. Mr. Black

Playing Characters: Fiona, Paz, Asher

Important NPCs:
Solomon Black

Fiona, Paz and Asher decide to warn Solomon about the Straid’s intentions. They arrive at his lonely chalet on the mountainside. Solomon is paranoid and drunk and answers the door with a revolver. He allows them in and when Asher pelts him with intrusive fucking questions he gets pissed. Asher and Solomon have a heated exchange and Asher leaves and shit. Solomon calms down and explains to Paz and Fiona that the Straids have been harassing him, are dangerous and that the board has been a source of trouble for him and his deceased sister for years. He claims to have tried to destroy the board several times, but always finds it right back in the attic, the planchette always on “hello”. Fiona and Paz then tell him, the board told them to disturb the grave at Tea House. Solomon’s demeanor changes to one of sudden understanding and then he politely ends the evening and shit.


Chapter 5 & 6. Southern Hospitality - End Of The Line

Playing Characters: Chloe and Jimbo, Paz and Fiona

Important NPCs: Red and the Suit, Mr. Leadfoot

Red and the Suit explained to the captive Jimbo and Chloe (over marijuana) that they are vampire hunters. They believe the board can tell them where the resting place of the head vampire is.

They believe vampires have the following qualities:

Are demonic conduits
Enjoy sodomy
Enjoy moon blood
Seek out teenage girls with ouija boards
Seek out teenage girls with ouija boards who died untimely deaths
That Teeny is the whore-bride of Satan
Lots of other vampire related knowledge that is completely insane

They were drawn to Asheville by the fire and Teeny’s untimely death, believing her to be a vampire or vampire thrall and the Blacks to be a coven of demonic witch sluts. They want Chloe and Jimbo to use the board to tell them where Teeny’s vampire slut haven is. Incredibly confused and afraid Jimbo and Chloe have no choice but to comply. They are ritualistically doused with salt and garlic (to prevent unwanted sodomy) and asked to speak with the board. The board tells them “end of the line” and the scene is interrupted by the police pounding on the door. Vince then herds Jimbo and Chloe upstairs into a hidden room where they find a man bound in chains to a chair. Vince explains that this is Mr. Leadfoot. He is being bled into a large quart jar and has a very unnerving aura about him. Vince then locks Jimbo and Chloe inside to deal with the police.

Fiona has arrived with another officer and placed the Straids under arrest for conspiracy to commit theft or some shit. The Straids are compliant and allow Fiona to search the home with Paz in tow. They find the salt and garlic in the basement, but the board is gone. Eventually, they find Jimbo and Chloe and free them and Mr. Leadfoot. Outside, Fiona discovers the Straids have escaped the police cruiser and wounded the other officer. Mr. Leadfoot collapses as Paz tries to revive him to no avail. He has died at the scene.


Cutscene: The Instructor 1

Setting: Past
Subject – Paz

Paz is in her 20’s and on a date with Elliot whom she has been seeing frequently. Paz is enamored with him and they eventually go back to Elliot’s apartment for a night cap or some shit. Paz confesses to Elliot she is still a virgin and Elliot is surprisingly pleased. He takes her to the basement as things get hot and heavy and tells her she will be the perfect person to demonstrate his sexual preferences to. Elliot’s basement is a BDSM playhouse and Paz is uncomfortable. Elliot pleads with her to do violence on his ass but Paz is too shocked to agree. Elliot, however, doesn’t force her, and Paz sadly explains that she won’t be able to see him anymore. But somehow, Elliot is sure she will return.


Cutscene: GBD-724

Setting: Present-Past – Set shortly before the PC’s meet at Esse’s the first time

NPCs: Red and the Suit, Mr. Leadfoot, a family on a weekend outing

A husband and wife and their sister-in-law have just left a corn maze amusement near the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The husband and wife discover that their dog, Mr. Barkley, was left behind at the corn maze. The trio return to the corn maze which has closed for the night to search for Mr. Barkley. It is revealed that Mr. Barkley was intentionally set loose by the husband who was fucking the sister-in-law behind the wife’s back during the outing. They find Mr. Barkley and chase him into the woods where they find him being drained of blood by a thin man. The thin man is filthy and ravenous and menaces them. He attacks the husband and wife and is beat off (get it) by the slutty sister in law. The thin man chases them back into the corn maze and taunts them in their hiding place. The wife succumbs to her injuries and dies, while the sister-in-law tries to distract the thin man by fleeing deeper into the corn field. Just as the thin man is about attack the husband he is pierced by a stake through the heart. A man approaches and triumphantly declares it was a good shot and is joined by a woman with red hair. The man questions the husband about his bite while the wife finds the sister-in-law and leads her back to the group. The man explains that the husband’s bite means he’s been tainted and is probably a whore-bride of Satan now. He kills the man with a gunshot to the head while the red haired woman knocks the sister-in-law unconscious. The couple rifle through the slain family’s things and review their ID’s. The resemblance is uncanny. It is revealed that the slain couple’s last name is Straid. The man and woman agree to assume their identities and take the thin man (now understood to be Mr. Leadfoot) captive and the unconscious sister-in-law as a snack for him. It is also revealed they plan to imbibe his blood. This event takes place on a Friday the 13th in October and the narrator reveals the license plate number on the slain family’s vehicle is a code for 1313.


Chapter 7. Dead On Arrival

Playing Characters: Chloe, Jimbo, Asher, Fiona, Paz

Important NPCs: Detective Taylor

Mr. Leadfoot’s corpse is taken away in an ambulance while Fiona tries to deal with securing the crime scene. Jimbo, Chloe, Paz, Fiona and Asher are all taken to the police station to make a statement. They are questioned by Detective Taylor (formerly Officer Taylor who helped them escape the fire). Detective Taylor is incredulous at their story of the Straids as vampire hunters and brings up the old wounds of the fire a decade ago. He treats Fiona particularly badly as a fellow civil servant. He explains that Mr. Leadfoot had no ID or known relatives and that he was dead on arrival. Jimbo is angry that Detective Taylor isn’t taking this seriously. Everyone is dismissed but Fiona is suspicious about Jimbo’s involvement with the Straids. They have a brief confrontation and everyone leaves and shit. Chloe is taken to the infirmary to sleep off her bullshit experience. The Straids are still at large.


Cutscene: One Door

Setting: Present
Subject: Fiona

Fiona is called into the Captain’s office at the police station. He regretfully informs her that he has to suspend her after reviewing a sloppy report from her on the Straid incident and finding narcotics in her gym bag. Fiona defends her report and denies stealing narcotics from evidence. The Captain maintains she must go on leave while the investigation is underway. Fiona is suspicious that Detective Taylor is trying to frame her because of his obvious dislike of her. As she is packing up her things, she finds a picture of her son who died as a boy. While one door for Fiona closes, another more painful opens.

Fiona has a memory of his funeral. She remembers Michael telling her he doesn’t wish to have anymore children and that she is too good for him. When he leaves, she mourns by her son’s grave while the narrator approaches unseen and tosses some dirt into the grave and sprinkles some on Fiona’s shoulder. The narrator then whispers “soon” to Fiona in response to her grieved rambling about being reunited with her son. The narrator then disappears but is certain Fiona heard them.


Cutscene: Golden Haired Curiosities

Setting: Present
Subject: Ash, Fiona

Asher visits Fiona and hears she’s been laid off and agrees to delve into an investigation of Taylor and the Straids. Fiona in turn provides him with information on his mother’s disappearance and says she’s been looking into the old case herself. Fiona’s concerned Asher doesn’t have a gun and no self defense skills should the Straids come looking for him. So she shows him a move. Asher’s nervous Michael might return home and see the two of them and get the wrong idea. He should be nervous…


Cutscene: Done Dirt Cheap

Setting: Present
Subject: Asher

Asher returns to Esse’s to meet with the dancer, Scarlet, who helped him with the hecklers at their first meeting. Scarlet takes him to the back, thinking he wants a “private show”. She is a striking woman and very witty. Asher did some research about her and finds out she has been working at Esse’s the longest and has a Master’s in engineering but fell on hard times after the suicide of her long time boyfriend and her own troubles with drug abuse. He refuses her sexual advances and offers her money in exchange for information about the Straids. Scarlet tells him that when the Straids took one of the dancers, Ebony, to a private encounter the first night at Esse’s. Red had her period and paid the dancer to go down on her. The Suit is disappointed the dancer does not immediately transform into an undead creature when imbibing the menstrual blood. He tells Ebony should she find herself in the service of the “Duke of Asheville” then he would like her to let him know. While all this astounds Asher, Scarlet believes the encounter was more about Red succumbing to her sexual desires. Asher and Scarlet make an arrangement to exchange information. Asher will pay her for knowledge about Detective Taylor as well. Scarlet hints that Detective Taylor has a taste for underage girls but will not say more unless Asher will get Solomon to return to the club to see her. She explains she wants to begin a relationship with Solomon but he won’t return her calls. Asher agrees and then goes to meet with Fiona to explain what he has learned.

Michael returns home, finding Fiona comforting Asher who is having a flashback about his abusive childhood after Fiona becomes animated about Detective Taylor possibly preying on young women. Michael flies into rage, chokes and beats up Fiona and Asher. Asher knocks him out with a lamp and leaves Fiona to tend to Michael.


Cutscene: Old Friend

Setting: Present
Subject: Ash, Brian, Paz

Ash and Brian meet at Paz’s apartment to discuss helping Fiona in light of the beating Michael had doled out the previous evening. They’re concerned he’s out of control and may kill her, and try to decide what to do as they start planning an intervention.


Cutscene: The Night Shift

Setting: Present
Subject: Chloe

Chloe, now a forensic pathologist, has been summoned to the morgue to do an autopsy on Mr. Leadfoot. The supervising doctor and medical assistant are unnerved by the corpse and won’t touch it. During the examination, Mr. Leadfoot’s tongue begins to move like a snake and the doctor and medical assistant begin to hear disgusting noises from unseen sources. The lights then blow out and during the commotion, they are locked in the morgue. In the dark, they find Mr. Leadfoot sitting up. He attacks the doctor and medical assistant and drains them to unconsciousness. He then grabs Chloe and the lights turn on and everything appears normal aside from the results of the blackout attack. He threatens Chloe and then promptly feeds her his blood to enthrall her, having no other sound option for escape. He explains he believes the “Prince of Asheville” won’t begrudge him this. He explains he has “waded through lupine country” to get to Asheville and will not be ousted easily. He then coaches Chloe to cover up the confrontation and secret him out of the morgue to her home. Chloe, compelled by fear and a strange sense of affinity for Mr. Leadfoot complies.


Cutscene: The Burning Bride

Setting: Past
Subject: Fiona, Jimbo, Paz

Fiona, Jimbo, and Paz as teens meet by the wreck of an old bridge that has a ghost story attached to it about a bride who caught on fire. They hang out by the bridge and get freaked out. A mannequin is lit on fire and shoved across the bridge on a clothesline, a girl laughing in the background across the other side of the bridge playing a prank who they believe is Teeny. They decide to leave, when Jimbo is bitten by a copperhead, a danger they didn’t see while they were all distracted by the imagined threats. Fiona and Paz tend to Jimbo, but relax somewhat when they discover it was a dry bite–i.e.–not a bite with a punch of venom pushed into him. They hurry Jimbo off to the hospital anyway though, because even a dry bite needed to be treated.


Chapter 8. Save It For Group


Playing Characters:
Chloe, Jimbo, Asher, Fiona, Paz, Brian

Important NPCs: the Narrator

Asher calls everyone together for an impromptu meeting at a bookstore for literally no fucking reason whatsoever. Just kidding, he relays the information he has uncovered about the Straids and Detective Taylor. Brian has no fucking idea what’s going on because his player has missed several fucking games. Jimbo is intimidated by all the book learnin. Fiona is beat up and shit. (By Michael) Paz is mad that Fiona is beat up and shit. During the discussion, Chloe becomes uncomfortable about her knowledge of Mr. Leadfoot. Despite her internal struggle, she decides to tell them everything. Just as she begins to spill Masquerade annihilating details, the fire alarm in the bookstore goes off and they evacuate the building.

Unnerved by the coincidental interruption the group stands idly in the streets and talks about stupid shit while the ST tries to frighten them with police and fire NPCs. Fiona jumps in her car for reasons I could not discern at the time but found funny in retrospect. The group follows her, because they have to or the game would end. I make them leave the game and reopen because I didn’t prop the current map properly. Anyway! They all go to Fiona’s house to discuss the spooooky events.

Once again, Chloe starts running her suck about Mr. Leadfoot feeding her blood. There’s a sudden knock at the door and Fiona goes to investigate. The peephole reveals a faceless black figure that waves to her. In perfect dumbass white girl form, she opens the door. (She saves face by propping her foot against it. Whatever.) She finds there is no one on the porch and suddenly the door blows open and a cold blast of air engulfs the room. She then checks the security camera, while Asher arms himself with demon killing salt, Jimbo with a bat, and Paz screams at everyone. Brian bravely wants to investigate but I made him recton that bullshit cause I fucked up. So whatever, they review the footage and see there is a black figure on the porch that swept past Fiona and ran into the house. Freaked the absolute fuck out, the group investigate the home. The power goes out (because of course) and there’s an eerie glowing light coming from the attic door. They ascend to the attic and find to their horror the ouija board sitting on an old table surround by candles. The planchette is on hello.
The board asks them to talk of its own accord and compelled by forces they do not understand, they engage it. They ask it questions about its purpose, the Straids, its nature, Mr. Leadfoot, etc.

Things to take away from the board conversation:

The entity acknowledges Mr. Leadfoot is a vampire
The entity says Mr. Leadfoot wants to know its name
The entity says there is another vampire
The entity wants Mr. Leadfoot staked
The entity wants Mr. Leadfoot to be given to the Straids
The entity does not want other vampires in Asheville
The entity is affiliated with the Blacks and “liked Teeny”
The entity says Solomon is afraid of it
The entity says it will reward the group for assisting it

When Chloe asks the board what Mr. Leadfoot meant by the “Prince of Asheville” the planchette is thrown against the wall and the session ends. The narrator then explains with irritation that Mr. Leadfoot (the fugitive) and “the other” have caused them enough trouble. The narrator then remarks that if Mr. Leadfoot wants to know more about the Prince of Asheville that he will have difficulty uncovering this information.

Because the narrator is the Prince of Asheville.

Note: The takeaway from this game is that the entity controlling the ouija board is the narrator. It can be inferred the narrator utilizes the board to interact with mortals and others to conceal their identity.


Cutscene: Here’s Your Reason

Setting: Present
Subject: Fiona

Deeply troubled by the events with the board in Chapter 8, Fiona decides to call on Solomon to warn him about the board’s cryptic messages. She brings him a casserole and the board itself. Solomon, is dismayed that she has been beaten the hell up and invites her to have a seat and a drink. He has a record player playing very loudly and has had a very sad supper. He also appears to have been drinking. Grateful for the meal and company he allows Fiona to explain herself. She then begins to tearily relay the board’s message. Solomon’s attitude seems somewhat different towards the board since their last meeting. He tells her a story about an occasion where the board was helpful to him. A year before the fire, he caught Teeny sneaking out on an illicit rendezvous. The board told him the address where she was. He found Teeny copulating with an unknown man at a lover’s-lane and drug her from the vehicle only to find it was one of the local police officers. Caught up in the fray, Solomon did not get the license plate or identity of the individual but he recalls it looked like a man in his 30’s and he was driving an Impala. Teeny would never identify him. Solomon is grateful for the board’s warning as was Teeny who said she would never have stopped the affair had Solomon not caught her.
Fiona is immediately alarmed, recalling the information Asher received from Scarlet. She suggests it could have been Detective Taylor but Solomon defends him and cuts the conversation short. He soothes Fiona and tells her that perhaps she should see the board’s instruction’s through as he did. He says seeing the message through and protecting her friend’s could be “her reason.”

During the entire encounter, Solomon’s presence is strangely soothing to Fiona and she begins to feel lethargic after sharing food and drink with him. After she passes out, Solomon carries her upstairs, looking out the window he remarks “I ain’t doing it for you.” After he puts her to bed, he has a tense moment where he seems to be warring with something. He then claps his hands over his hears and tells an unheard voice to “shut up”. He then tosses a bottle of whiskey at the far wall and retreats downstairs to turn up the record player. He imbibes more alcohol and sedatives and falls asleep himself on the couch.

Cutscene: Smokey Mountain Blues – Part 1

Setting: Near Present
Subject: Fiona

The dark night air carries the hoots and hollers of men and boys, the sweet smokey smell of whiskey and BBQ all over the blaring tunes of the one and only saint still venerated in these cynical times–Lynard Skynard.

“Sweeeet Home Alabama!”

It rains through the cool air, carried by the wind through the leaves over the cicadas and the last of the june bugs.

Beau Dudley sways back and forth wildly as the song fades and a banjo harmony soothes the night.

Smiling faces behind dark glasses and automatic rifles watch on between swigs of traitor Jack’s finest. Everyone’s having a great time, excepting of course the three thugs chained to posts before the festivities – Mudslide, Skunk and Eugene Barley himself. The scent of gasoline mixes with the whiskey and smokey barbecue with a bit of hash to soften the mix.

Two of them stare stoically…all but the local hooligan Mudslide, his pants already wetting beneath the fumes. Beau saunters up to Eugene like a date rapist at Esse Eck’s approaching the evening’s quarry, and holws,

“Alright boys. I do wanna thank you all for accepting my invitation to our little soiree. And I’m sure you will be the belles of the ball. I understand, believe me. We’ve all had our petty little turf as long as we can remember, our beaten down trailers where we brew our pretty little poisons. A little crystal makes a lot of green in the holler. And believe you me: no one loves the small American business owner as I do. Family, community and God. They’re everything.

But these…these are new times. The age of international commerce. And you fine young men have all been offered an opportunity to take part in this grand venture. It paints me that you have received my greetings not with the joy they were intended, but the broken heads and necks of my boys. But I am nothing if not a gracious host…

Eugene…good ole boy for sure, your barley boys run crystal out this holler for years. Whay ya say boy? Will the your good, you Proud Boys have a bright new future of partnership with Atlanta? Will the South truly rise again?”

Eugene Barley glares and spits in Beau’s face.

“Well…that’s a damn shame boy.”

On cue, Beau’s thug turn the stereo to blaring as Beau sways back and forth, seeming lost in the music, flicking a zippo in from of the gasoline soaked boy’s terrified face. He leans in, glowers and in a second leaps back as Eugene’s bursts into flame, shaking and shrieking against the glowing chains. The screams echo over the old graveyard, barely drowned by the blaring bass. The other two struggle wildly against their bonds as Beau saunters up to the second prisoner.

Skunk’s shaved head is glistening with sweat, the shining outline of swastikas and eagles shining in the light of the flames.

“Skunk…” Beau growls.

The skinhead doesn’t even think, just nods feverishly, “Yes Yes Yes! Whatever you want!”

“Skunk…your boys down creek run a tight ship. But y’know?…I just don’t think you love America.”

In a savage spark, Skunk is engulfed in yellow and orange as screams cover the yard. Beau laughs and spins frantically “Oh! Put some sauce on that boy! It’s a real smokey mountain barbecue now!”

Catching himself, he creeps toward Mudslide and chuckles at the stream of urine sneaking out the boy’s leg. Beau flick the zippo once more, licking his lips. Tears ran down Mudslide’s face and his head hung in shame.

“That’s what I thought boy…Congrats on the promotion!”

The gathered misfits cheer and beat their chests offering Mudslide a swig of whiskey as he tries to look away from the smoldering corpses, sometimes friends, sometimes enemies now lying still black and glowing orange.

Business is good in Blue Ridge.

***

Asheville Police Station

Fiona Loudain steps under the pale florescents. Another night, another dollar, another shift among Asheville’s finest.

Detective Balzac hauls a lowlife from the streets, his eyes wide with the meth look Fi had seen 1000 times and she hadn’t been here long.

As Balzac’s phone rings, he reaches into his pocket, giving the meth head just the millisecond he needs. He smashes into the detective, kicking him into the balls, sending him to the floor with a shriek.

Fi bursts into action as chaos takes over. Detective Biggs bravely take cover behind a desk–well, as much of him as can be covered. Fi charges the fugitive like bull, sending him sliding across the concrete, grabbed him and in a second was in for the pin. The miscreant squeals and squirms in terror and rage and delicious meth until finally he is subdued with a click of Fiona’s cuffs. He cries “I need Johnny Cochrane!”

As Fiona takes the prisoner to be processed like Fi’s bitch…cuz he is, Captain Hudson takes notice, beaming with pride in Fiona and shaking his damn head at Balzac letting Fi do his job again.

The methhead goes to jail forever and all crime is over.

The coast now clear, Detective Biggs, whose pudgy physique matches his name, waddles toward the captain and does what he does best…complains.

His partner Balzac would be on ice for the night, and Biggs was too scared to face the mean streets of Asheville alone. The Captain rolls his eyes, cursing the union contract that won’t let him fire the useless butterball of anxiety and cholesterol before him, even after his murder of several taxpayer funded toilets. Unfortunately, there was a robbery at Esse Eck’s and all of the detectives had to “investigate” the scene personally.

Just when all seems lost, Fi steps forward. Captain Hudson thanks her for the favor and she is now on Detective Biggs duty tonight.

Biggs breathes deep..the sent of day old donuts wafting from his sweat glands. Fi had worn her blouse completely buttoned up to the collar after numerous complaints about inappropriate office attire. Still Biggs leers and informs her that it’s probably time for her to learn from an ahem…”decorated” detective. Still, eager to get out into the field, Fiona steels herself for a night of mysteries and likely HR violations.

As it happens, Biggs has just gotten a tip, though he has trouble getting the words out, he hasn’t been this close to a beautiful woman in some time, her bulky mannish coat notwithstanding. It turns out there’s been some bad business, double homicide at the graveyard…who knew?

Luckily, there were two donut shops on the way. Fiona of course stuck to business, her stomach churning with the no-fat, no-milk, no-sugar soy-substitute shake she had on her break.

Fiona and Biggs arrive at the graveyard to a horrific scene. Empty bottles and cigarettes surround 3 poles in the ground two of which are adorned by the charred remains of men burned alive. Boomboxes and speakers surround the remains of firepit. Only the last pole lacks a victim, at its base only unlocked chains. Fiona immediately sets about investigating as Biggs spins wild theories about the third man’s daring escape, no doubt the result of acrobatic training, some sort of Houdini hobo on the loose. Fiona steps toward the pungent corpses and decides to actually look for clues. The intrepid rookie holds back wretching long enough to catch a glimmer of a necklace she knows, a rooster, sign of the Proud Boys gang…Eugene Barley’s crew. Knowing the crew often had scuffles with Mudslide’s gang, she decides to question them. Biggs follows along but is not capable of having thoughts.

***

Mudslide’s Ice Cream Parlor

Fiona and Biggs pull up to the ice cream parlor owned by Mudslide’s gang relieved that their investigation will mean a temporary end to Biggs’ rants about how the world has gone to hell. How this kind of thing didn’t happen in towns of good God fearing people like Asheville.

The cops enter in the middle of an altercation between Mudslide’s second in command Rocky Road. He’s flipping tables and yelling at a crying young woman dressed in sultry attire.

“Get out you fucking cumdumpster! And don’t come back. That used up ass ain’t wanted round here.”

She runs from him, plowing into Fi who catches sight of the bright yellow tulip tattooed on her face. Fi could swear she’d seen the girl before while scoping out Esse Eck’s. If face, she seen her nuzzling up to Mudslide more than once. Fiona does her best to comfort the girl, all the while overwhelmed by the smell of sugar and fat wafting from the counter.

Rocky Road strolls up and asks what he can do for Asheville’s finest. When Fi makes it known that she has questions, he recommends the triple brownie sundae. In fact, he has all the answers as might pertain to real American ice cream…not that faggy gelato shit.

Fi begins to question Rocky Road about Mudslide and his whereabouts, when the girl breaks down sobbing again. Rocky’s right hand Neo, “Neopolitan”, runs out to back up his boy. Fi learns that the girl worked at Esse Eck’s and had been seeing Mudslide. As she tells her tale, Fi notices the tattoo is fresh, leaking a bit of blood on Fiona. She holds her composure enough comfort her and get to the bottom of this whole thing.

Apparently there’s a new player in town looking to consolidate Asheville’s meth racket, a Beau Dudley from Atlanta, and he’s not about asking nicely. He and his boys decided to make their point to Mudslide with a little gangbang of Mudslide’s lover. Rocky has no sympathy and spews bile even as Fiona notes the rope burns on the girl’s wrists. Biggs unwisely has a thought and questions whether the girl may have flirted with Beau’s thugs, perhaps worn anything that might have been seen as an invitation and took this particular moment to remind all present of the value of kids staying in school. Fiona holds back her rage, the sole source of comfort for the victim before them. Apparently Beau had a habit of making his point in such ways. He held her down and have her the tattoo “to remember him by.”

Seeing the tattoo, Rocky had flown into a rage, accusing her of betraying Mudslide and “sleeping with the enemy.” Fi shut him up quickly pointing out that this is rough business for the “honest purveyors of frozen treats” he claims to be. Rocky Road fucks off and gives her some info about where she might find Mudslide and calls in some heavies, a Caramel Crunch and Strawberry Swirl to keep an eye on the gang’s HQ. Fiona heroically avoids murdering everyone and gets the girl away somewhere safe. She was going to bring a motherfucker to justice and it seemed like she was going to have to do it on her own.

To be continued…

Cutscene: One Night Stand

Setting: Present
Subject: Fiona

During the night, Solomon sleep walks to the bedroom while arguing with himself. He undresses Fiona and then himself before falling into bed with her and returning to sleep. In the morning, Solomon and Fiona awaken in each other’s arms and believe they have slept together. Fiona is wracked with guilt and the pair agree to forget the incident ever happened.

Cutscene: The Gang's All Here

Setting: Present
Subject: Ash, Fiona, Paz, Trent

Trent, Fiona, Paz, and Asher run into each other at Esse Eck’s Trent meets Scarlet for the first time and Asher continues to exchange information with her. The group catches up when Trent is stabbed by a grieving father whose daughter perished in the fire. Detective Taylor interviews Trent at the hospital while Asher and Fiona discuss setting Solomon up with Scarlet.

Cutscene: Don't Tell No One

Setting: Present
Subject: Paz

Unable to see Michael again after his brutal attack, Fiona asks Paz to stop by her home to pick up some things for her. Paz agrees and finds Michael at home. She is wary of his presence at first but when he reveals he is suicidal she decides to stay and relive childhood memories with him. Paz has a soothing affect on Michael, one that he says Fiona cannot always achieve. As the night wears on, Michael continues to drink and eventually makes a pass at Paz. She is overcome by the sudden sexual attention and despite herself succumbs to his advances. She willingly sleeps with Michael and gives him her virginity. When the act is over, Michael hints that he wants to continue sleeping with Paz but she is overcome by the horror of what she has done and refuses his advances.

*the video is worth watching, if you desire first hand instruction on how to mindfuck someone into sleeping with a violent serial abuser within a three hour span. Cheers!

Chapter 9. Fit to Be Tied

Playing Characters: Ash, Brian, Chloe, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz, Trent
Important NPCS: Narrator, Eli Leadfoot

The group meet at a club to discuss what they have learned. Asher steals data from the club owner’s computer. The group decides to go to Chloe’s house to investigate Mr. Leadfoot. Chloe is certain he is hiding somewhere in her apartment complex but does not know where. Jimbo postulates that Mr. Leadfoot could be hiding in the abandoned basement in the main building. The group arm themselves with makeshift vampire slaying tools (a lighter and hairspray, and pieces of Chloe’s furniture that they wantonly destroyed without her permission). They venture down to the basement where they discover the body of Frank, the schizophrenic bartender, stowed in an old sea chest. Horrified, the group is then locked in the basement with the hidden narrator by Mr. Leadfoot.

Cutscene: Don't Go Back

Setting: Present
Subject: Ash

Having left the group to their amateur vampire hunt, Asher drives aimlessly until he finds himself at Tea House. He enters the house, thinking he may be able to unearth more information about Teeny and the police officer she was sleeping with. The house is abandoned but kept in pristine condition. Asher explores Teeny’s room and finds a hidden box with several disks inside labeled as a series of “auditions” and a personal statement. He plays the disks and it is revealed that Teeny was making pornography and selling it to an underground group in Asheville. She has a sexual encounter with a brunette who Asher believes may have been Scarlet. In the disk labeled “personal statement”, Teeny regrets making the pornography but explains that she needs money to leave Asheville and get away from her family. She says that she is in love with a man who is married and that they need the money to begin a new life. Asher discovers a final disk in which it appears Teeny has secretly recorded herself sleeping with this man. While they are having sex, the man’s face comes into view and it is not Detective Taylor, but Captain Hudson, the police captain that fired Fiona. After the pair fall asleep, a dark entity enters the room and examines a sleeping Teeny. Finding physical evidence that she has had sex with Captain Hudson the entity strikes Teeny and disappears. Teeny awakens and goes into hysterics claiming the house and the family are cursed and that she can no longer take living there. The video ends with Teeny and Captain Hudson leaving the scene. Asher, unnerved by this discovery attempts to leave the house but comes face to face with a blonde apparition who tells him “now that was disrespectful.” Asher flees Tea House, uncertain if the apparition was real or not.

Cutscene: The Lantern

Setting: Past
Subject: Jennyfer Weir, John Redmen, Trish McNamara

The Lantern Pub

Halloween Night, One Year Before the Asheville Fire

Summary: While John Redmen (Brian’s dad), Jennyfer Weir (Fiona’s mother), and Trish McNamara (Paz’s mother) are out one evening at the historic Lantern pub, they pay little mind to their young-overworked waitress while they consider their own lives, their children, make conversation. Jennyfer plays footsie under the table with John, and ends up giving him a hand job to “comfort him” in the men’s bathroom stall since his wife is dying. And he gives her good fingering telling himself it’s not cheating if they just use their hands. It only goes that far. And then they continue the awkward conversation at the table while getting drunker. Trish is glued to her phone and savagely giving the young barmaid a hard time about de-seeding lemon wedges while doing her utmost to forget her mexico lindo daughter, Paz.

Every time the waitress steps away from the table, we hear narration of someone talking to her without hearing the barmaid’s side of the conversation. And we learn about the Lantern and its strange history, especially during Halloween. And lastly, we learn, after John, Jennyfer, and Trish leave, that what marks this particular Halloween at the Lantern is that the waitress who has been serving them all night may have been dead the whole evening and that some or all of the revelers that night in costume may have been ghosts themselves.

Narration: No, please, you were before me. Age before beauty, ha ha. I like your Halloween outfit; sexy French maid very original. I’m in no rush to be served. The bartender knows me, he’ll get around to looking after me soon enough. This is my local. I’m always here on special evenings. You haven’t noticed me before? I’m not surprised. I tend to blend in with the crowd here. I like the Lantern well enough. And what else am I going to do? There’s never anything on TV, and at least you meet interesting people here. There’s always someone new passing through.

Take that bunch that just sat down at your table over there, the white-bread sanitized prim-lipped ambassador of suburbia who staunchly refuses to wear the slightest hint of Halloween flair next to that blonde poured into the stola of vestal virgin–bet she’s anything but–how very entertaining. And that dour-faced man with them, you can practically smell the Irish on him, or maybe that’s just booze. Probably needs a drink or 10. He’s got all their ruddy lines, but so little of their cheer. What’s that? No, I won’t go anywhere while you see what they want.

*****

Glad you’re back, no, I don’t see a run in your stockings. Hmm? Oh, I don’t come in on Saturday night because they have a DJ now and the music’s too loud for me. You’d probably enjoy it, being young. I haven’t seen you in here before. This place? Yes, it’s unusual to find a traditional watering hole like this. The Lantern has an interesting history. Well, if you’re sure I’m not boring you…this place is a bit of a pet subject of mine.

We’re on the site of an ancient peat bog here in the Appalachians. The strange phenomenon of gas flickering over it was called ignis fatuus, from which we get the flickering of the Jack O’Lantern. They built a coaching inn on the marsh in 1831. Not a good idea. Even now, there’s still water seeping through the basement walls. Later it became a gin palace. That burned down, and it was rebuilt around the 1902 as a pub called the Buckshot Tap House. See the counter? It’s part of the original bar. Solid teak, brass fittings. It was curved in a great horseshoe that took wood from all three rooms of the Lantern. And those shelves there, pitch black and aged were fashioned from what salvageable wood remained from the stables. Oh no, I can wait until you see to that table–

*****

Very clever, yes, you’re sure to get more tips if you stick the bills into that sexy lace bra tonight. Here’s one for the collection. Oh that? Well, yes, that’s not surprising. The Lantern was always caught between two worlds, the rich patrons who came from their elegant town homes, fancy chalets, and those reeking of rock and rye and worse soured in the shanty houses.

The drunken poor came in on that side in order to drown their miseries in cheap ale, and the fine gentlemen ventured in to swig down their wine while visiting the nearby brothels. Oh yes, there were dozens in the backstreets. The area was notorious back then. It’s all gentrified now. Urban professionals. They don’t drink in here, not stylish enough for them. But they’ll be the first to scream when it’s gone, carry on loudly about the loss of local color and a historic haunt. Not that Asheville will every really change. You don’t change it, it changes you. Oh, yeah, sorry, don’t let me distract you and your black stiletto heels from your tables. I see them waving their arms like they’re trying to drive bees away to get your attention. No, no, I’ll wait.

*****

Of course, there was always trouble in here on All Hallows Eve, right from when it first opened. One time, close to midnight, a couple of soldiers got nearly blind drunk. They mocked one of the raggedy, poor men who stood at the other side of the bar, and brought him over for their amusement. They challenged him to prove that he had not been born a bastard. When he couldn’t do so, they told him that if he could win a game of wits, they would give him five pieces of gold. They placed a white swan feather on one of the tables and seated themselves on either side of it. Then they produced a meat cleaver that belonged to the cook, sharpened it and challenged him to drop the feather into his lap before they could bring down the cleaver on his hand. The poor fella knew that these soldier boys were stronger and faster than him, but the deal had been struck and you didn’t back out of a bet in those days.

They splayed his fingers on the table, six inches from the feather. As one of the men raised the cleaver high above his head, the other counted down from five. The poor man held his hand flat and lowered his head to the level of the table, studying the feather. Then, as the countdown ended the cleaver swooped, the poor fella sucked the feather into his mouth and spat it into his lap. He won the bet. Those soldier boys though, they were angered so much that their whole faces were red with it though. They took this man outside and cut off his nose with their swords.

The nose remained on the wall here for, oh decades.

*****

Here let me just straighten your beret there, slipping a little, and I can see you’ve got your hands full with those trays. There you go. Hmm, oh that? Yes, during World War II, no one was much in the mood to celebrate Halloween. No female could come in alone, because it was considered immoral in those days. Well, so many men were off fighting, and most of the women around here were left available, see. But there was one attractive married lady, a redhead, Melanie somebody, who came in regularly and drank alone. None of the accompanied women would talk to her–they cut her off, dead. Melanie took no notice, just sat at the bar enjoying her drink.

But the whispering campaign took its toll. The other women said she was a tart, sitting there drinking gin while her husband was flying on dangerous mission over Germany. The pointed remarks grew louder, until they were directly addressed to her. Finally, Melanie couldn’t sit there any longer without answering back. She told the others that her husband had been shot down during the first weeks of the war, and that was why she came in alone, because it was his favorite place and she missed him so much.

The other women were chastened by this and felt sorry for her, but in time they became disapproving again, saying that a young widow should show remorse and respect for the dead.

People were very judgmental in those days.

Then in 1944, Halloween night, when she’d been at the bar longer than usual, a handsome young airman came in towards the end of the evening and kissed her passionately without even introducing himself. Everyone professed to be shocked. The women said it was disgusting for her to make such a spectacle, but their disapproval turned to outrage because she slid from the stool, put her arm around his waist and went off into the foggy night with him.

It wasn’t until the barman was cleaning up that night that he found the photograph of Melanie’s husband lying on the counter. And of course, it was the young airman. He’d come back to find her on All Hallows Eve. Had he survived being shot down after all, or had the power of her love called him back from the other side, to be with her again? They never returned to the bar so I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.

You, uh, got a little something above your lip, there. A little powder. Yeah, that’s it. It’s gone. Hmm? Oh, well, the Lantern went through so many changes over the years. In the 1960s, it became The Groove. Psychedelic, it was, very druggy. All crimson-painted walls and rotating oil lamps. Let’s see, then it was Swingers, a purple plastic 1970s pick-up joint, then the 1980s a leather bar called the Anvil, and on and on it went, years, decades, centuries. Now it’s back to being called just the Lantern again. Always the same site, always changing identities. But the nature of the place never changed, always the rich rubbing up against the poor, the dead disturbing the living, the marsh rising up towards midnight in a crescendo of an ignis fatuus flare.

The Jack O’Lantern never goes out at the Lantern.

Or so they say…

And they do say that a lot on Halloween night in particular which is always lively and jumping here.

See the pumpkin flickering above the bar? It’s lit all year round, not just tonight. If you look carefully, it looks like you can see a skull behind the smile. It was put here long ago on All Hallows Eve. For months a sad-looking young man and his sick old father would come and sit in that corner over there. The young man wanted to move in with his girlfriend, but her life was over in Gatlinburg, and being with her meant moving away from his father. I would sit here and listen to the old man complaining about his illness, watching as his son got torn up inside about the decision he knew would soon have to make.

His father would sit there and cough and complain, and would catalogue the debilitating diseases from which he was suffering; but the funny thing was that he looked better with each passing week, while his son looked sicker and sicker.

I could see what was going to happen. The young man had to make a choice and his decision coincided with his father’s worst attack, although nobody knew what was wrong with him. The old man still managed to make it the pub every night. The son though saw his papa’s life was slowly draining away. Finally he broke it off with his girlfriend to look after his father. And the old man looked so well in his hour of triumph that even the son became suspicious.

I hear the girl quickly married someone else. We didn’t see the boy for awhile, but when he finally came back in, he sat on the stool alone. It seemed the old man had fallen down the coal cellar steps at midnight on Halloween, and had twisted his head right around. The son put the Jack O’Lantern up in here that very night. It even looks like the old man….

Look, it’s like the lantern’s laughing now, isn’t it?

*****

I walk into the back of the Lantern, past the kitchens, into the larder, and I see her there sprawled out on the floor, that sexy, French maid who had been serving drinks tonight, blood trickling out of her nose, an almost gentle frost of cocaine below her nostrils that gives a strange softness to her fresh, still corpse. Her death will make the papers, but pushed behind other news, second or third page story at best, a drug overdose isn’t exactly riveting news. The good folks of the Asheville police will come around and go through the motions of a cursory investigation on their way to some doughnut shop or another. And her last table that night, those hodge podge of parents, brought together, mostly out of social obligation for the sake of their kids, will never once consider this barmaid again, if they ever truly did at all.

They’ll likely never realize she died sometime that night, and most assuredly, would never consider that she may have even…been already dead by the time she served them.

Just another spirit in here with others. If they might have paid attention to their surroundings, they may have noticed that some of the costumes in here matched certain stories of the place. And whose to say who was living, who was dead?

The Lantern has always been caught between worlds, the dead disturbing the living, the living disturbing the dead.

And never is it more true than Halloween night.

You think this pub has endured more than its fair share of tragedy? I knew them all, and I’m still here. I sit here drinking while the tragedies of others unfold around me.

And who can say which of us is the main character in the story? Perhaps we only ever belong at the edges of someone else’s tale. We suffer, we cry, we die unnoticed, and the people we consider unimportant fail to sense our suffering because to them we are merely background colors, minor characters in their story.

The Jack O’Lantern never goes out at the Lantern.

Or so they say…

Cutscene: Smokey Mountain Blues 2

Setting: Past
Subject: Fiona

Fiona and her temporary partner, Biggs, continue to investigate the gruesome murders at the cemetery, and it leads them ever closer to the trail of that rapscallion, Beau Dudley.

Cutscene: The Fugitive

Setting: Recent Past
Subjects: Eli Leadfoot, Cordelia McIntrye

Mr. Leadfoot is running through the forest near Asheville with another vampire named Cordelia. They are fleeing a werewolf attack in which their car was overturned. Cordelia reveals that Mr. Leadfoot came for her in Gatlinburg the pair decided to flee but those details are not discussed further. They encounter a trio of mortals who have some connection to the werewolves. They kill two of them, while the third is terrified by Leadfoot and explains that “the Old One” has an accord with the local werewolves to prevent vampires from entering Asheville. Leadfoot kills the third mortal while Cordelia feeds on her. During the feeding Cordelia is attacked and killed by a werewolf while Leadfoot flees. The chase is interrupted by a lost dog (Mr. Barkley) and the werewolf leaves because mortals searching for the dog are too near. Leadfoot kills the dog and his discovered by the mortal family searching for it in the GBD-724 game.

Cutscene: Paz, The Instructor 2

Setting: Past
Subject: Paz

Paz returns to Elliott Harper to take him up on his offer and starts to become a secret professional dominatrix for money after a fun-filled first lesson complete with dick torture and spike crotches, which she finds curiously empowering.

Cutscene: The Funhouse - Part 1

Setting: Past
Subject: Trent

Trent is in his first year at NYU. He explores the city, musing at his lack of ability to connect with people. He runs into an old classmate from Asheville, James McKinney. They go for drinks and James recounts a story about Trent in which he noticed that Trent had no emotional reaction to a situation that should have been comical. James reveals that he understands that emptiness somewhat. Trent is nonplussed during the conversation excepting when James brings up the fire. When James leaves, he offers Trent his business card and says to call him if he “ever wants to see the other side”.

Cutscene: The Funhouse - Part 2

Setting: Past
Subject: Trent

Trent joins his old Asheville classmate, James McKinney, at a former butcher’s shop where bums fight for money. James approaches these fights with enthusiasm and chastises Trent when he seems to show hesitation about little things like possible death that could happen here as a couple of sad sacks of humanity duke it out. Trent bribes the bouncer to throw James into the next match. When James is on the other side of the bloodshed, he panics, realizing how vulnerable he is. He loses it and begs for his life while Trent beats him savagely. Violence may be one thing, but senseless violence was another. Trent nearly kills James, but hesitates, lets him go, realizing he has at last felt something.

Chapter 10. Line Stepper

Playing Characters: Ash, Chloe, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Henry Fink

The group is stuck in the basement with the narrator who is growing more hungry and agitated by the minute. They decide to use the sea chest containing Frank’s body as a fucked up battering ram. It works! They break down the door, getting covered in doo doo butter and blood. Nice! Brian and Trent unfortunately could not assist as they had spent themselves shitting and pissing communally in a trash can. The effort causes them to pass out. This is canon.

Anyway, they bust out and investigate the basement. They discover a room that has previously been closed up. It contains old documents about the infrastructure of Asheville and a census record from the 1800’s. It appears Mr. Leadfoot had been reading these documents. They don’t have time to investigate any of this further as a new comer forces his way into the basement, shotgun at the ready. His name is Henry Fink and he demands answers from the group regarding Leadfoot. A conflict ensues with Henry going absolute ape shit and transforming into his ultimate form. (He’s a werewolf). Terrified the group readily answers his questions. Meanwhile, Asher has recorded the entire event via Paz’s cellphone. He flees when he sees the transformation, believing his friends to be dead. Henry eventually knocks the group unconscious and loads them up to be taken to “Granny’s” house. She will know what to do!

The narrator grows displeased with this turn of events and Asher’s possession of such damning evidence. He is truly fucked.

Tune in next time to see who gets bad touched in the woods!

Cutscene: Smokey Mountain Blues 3

Setting: Past
Subject: Fiona

A series of events unfold that lead to Fiona’s mentor, Liam Talbot, being gruesomely killed while on the job and Jimbo’s hand is disfigured by a shotgun blast when he tries to grab hold of the gun to stop the carnage. Around the same time, Fiona and Biggs discover Beau Dudley has terrorized the family of the man who killed Liam, culminating in the wife’s overdose, and his daughter being held down and marked by Beau’s signature tattoo. Biggs and Fiona go to confront Dudley, and Biggs dies of natural causes during the scene, but Beau is caught by Fiona with Biggs’ gun in his hands. Having Beau Dudley dead to rights, she tries to use this turn of circumstances to leverage Beau into confessing his real crimes, but he’s too clever for it. She sadly doesn’t just shoot the lowlife and finally earn herself some respect at the station by taking down a cop killer, but she can’t live with letting him go free either. So she compromises the letter of the law and provides damning testimony to take a monster off the streets.

Cutscene: Tough Shit

Setting: Past
Subject: Jimbo

Jimbo gets a lesson in white trash tough love after he’s savagely beat up by some neighborhood hoodlums and learns to defend himself better after his memaw gets some of the family to beat him up more.

Cutscene: One Down

Setting: Present
Subject: Ash

Asher flees to Esse Eck’s and turns to Scarlett not having anywhere else he feels he can turn, and she embraces him.

Chapter 11. Granny's House

Playing Characters: Brian, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Henry Fink, Granny Fink

The group awaken in the home of Granny Fink, bound with duct tape. Granny Fink enters, a woman no more than 30 whose name is actually Granny, and admonishes Henry for bringing them. The group are then threatened with extreme violence if they act out and given a hot bath and fresh clothes. Brian refuses to be scrubbed by Jimbo and takes a bath in the filthiest water. Trent, still unconscious, has his booty-hole scrubbed and is left to sleep in the fetid water. Chloe is asleep some-fucking-where. Anyway, Granny Fink brings them shit to eat while Henry measures and packages drugs.

They exchange information about Leadfoot and the nature of being brought to Black Mountain. Granny Fink explains that the Old One, and the werewolves have a symbiotic relationship with the Old One ensuring wealth and prosperity for the Fink’s in exchange for keeping vampires out of Asheville. Granny believes the Old One is the spirit of the mountain who guards the lands from the evil spirits vampires bring with them. She and Henry explain that Leadfoot is the only vampire to successfully get through their lines in a 100 years. She also tells them that they make an attempt to warn the vampires and do not wantonly kill them. Any fuckin way, Jimbo reveals that he was imprisoned with Leadfoot and Granny and Henry reveal that have run into the Straids in the mountains and scared them off. Granny also goes onto to say that the family came from Germany before the Great War fleeing persecution for being werewolves and shit. (Easter Egg – Granny also spins a tale of a Kingdom in Germany from where they came with a Whore Queen – Cold King – Jester – Sorceress and Statue Woman – see OTVD). Jimbo also reveals that the board told them of another vampire in town. The Finks are unnerved by this. A bunch of info is exchange and then the Finks consult the Old One via a Ouija board to see what to do about all this fuckin knowledge and shit.

The Old One tells them that Solomon is in danger and is being controlled by the other vampire (not fucking Leadfoot). The Old One says that Leadfoot and the other vampire made a partnership and want access to the grave at Tea House and instructs them to go there to deal with that shit.

Cutscene: Black Mountain

Setting: Present
Subject: Fiona/Paz
Important NPCS: Henry Fink

Henry Fink is trying to decide what to do with these stupid kids he, sadly, cannot kill…yet. Thanks, Old One. He interrogates Fiona about the sketchy text message she left on her phone which she sent to Solomon Black, not her husband, thinking perhaps she was trying to warn him. She is flustered and says she sent a message to the wrong person in the heat of the moment, and Henry isn’t sure he trusts her. The two exchange some information tensely though about Solomon and the vampires, and Henry, being a fucking gentlemen, offers to kill Michael when he realizes who beat her up. Killing a woman is one thing, but crushing a spirit that way, that’s just not right! Later, Henry catches Paz messing around with some books at the Fink place. Can’t these damn kids leave anything alone?! He decides to take her outside to a makeshift shooting range on the farm and see how she fares with his shotgun. And she does well for someone who hasn’t fired one before. He gives Fiona a handgun as well, and she’s also a fair shot. The three come to an understanding, and are allowed to keep the weapons for now, so long as they cooperate and try to keep those other troublesome kids in line who seemed determined to ruin Granny’s floors like the animals they are.

 

Chapter 12. The All Night Society of the Damned

Playing Characters: Ash, Chloe, Brian, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Henry Fink, Scarlett, Eli Leadfoot

The gang arrives at Tea House in a piece of shit of van driven by Jimbo. The narrator stows in the back and complains about the endless Randy Travis cover songs on the radio. Upon arrival, the Finks are nowhere to be found. These assholes, however, do find Asher’s car parked in front of Tea House and proceed to investigate that shit because they can’t keep their fucking hands to themselves. The car smells like bleach and blood. Whatever. They find Asher acting like a fucking crazy person in the attic of Tea House. He threatens to burn the place down with a candle! The fiend! Anyway, everyone eventually calms the fuck down and Asher tells them he’s certain Teeny’s ghost is in the house and they need to communicate with her. Also, it’s worth mentioning Solomon was not at Tea House despite the narrator’s warning. So everyone goes down to the basement to use the ouija board to speak to their dead ass friend. During the ritual they begin to see nightmarish images and the board taunts them. The narrator is then chased away from the scene by Henry who does not realize the narrator is definitely not a benevolent spirit of nature who eats grass and tofu. While that bullshit’s going down, Eli Leadfoot emerges and knocks everyone the hell out with baseball bats because I do not trust them not to start knife fighting and let me tell the damn story. Scarlet emerges too, revealing herself as the second vampire and Asher as her vampire fuck-boi. This falls flat because no one appreciates what I do. So whatever, they are bound and then hellishly embraced one by one! Oh yeah, Jimbo died before he was embraced. Sad.

Cutscene: Homecoming

Setting: Past
Subject: Ash, Fiona, Paz
Important NPCS: Various

During the embrace scene in the basement of Tea House, Ash wrestles with his conscience when he hears Paz and Fiona begging for help. His thoughts turn to the Homecoming dance 10 years ago, a week before the fire changed all their lives. Fiona had blonde-bullied him into asking Paz to the dance, and he did it because he liked Paz. The dance takes place at the Biltmore Estate, and it’s an elegant affair with a Southern Antebellum theme. It’s also a snapshot of life in the town right before the fire. Fiona is the Homecoming queen, and Michael is stable, confidant, and both seem like the world is their oyster. The infamous Mrs. Peterson who knows how to wretch like a damn lady, is there, and her uppity little granddaughter, Carol, who is in high school with the gang and is a megawatt bitch, is there too. Their awkwardly bald and pointy-headed, germ phobic principal, Mr. Pontillion, is there too. Liam Talbot is there with his wife and his daughter Patsy. A rare sight is seen of Jennyfer Weir and her workholic husband, Paul, who has slipped away for his dinner break at the estate to show up. She also dances with Officer Hudson. Teeny is there and particularly moody. She came to Homecoming with Fiona’s brother, Vergil, and they dance for a bit, and then Teeny gets into a fight with Carol and makes a scene. After the dance, Ash and Paz are jumped by some uppity rich high school students who decide to make the pair look into the eyes of their sweet abusers. It seems Carol might have put them up to the little ambush. Ash stands up for Paz and takes a huge, epic beating. Just as things are getting out of control, Michael and Fiona break it up, still in their dance formals. Fiona, being a lady, has a set of brass knuckles with rhinestones on, of course though, to match her dress. Ash is prodded out of his memory by Scarlett’s voice and finds himself back in the basement where he tries to futilely console Paz as Fiona’s dragged off screaming into the darkness.

Cutscene: Fiona's Embrace - Yet to Be

Setting: Present
Subject: Fiona
Important NPCS: Various

Fiona is embraced by Scarlet as a Mekhet. During her change she has a vision of hearing dry leaves blowing in the wind. She remembers admiring a particularly beautiful leaf the day her son fell to his death and that this is what distracted her from watching him properly. Her son, Aiden, guides her through a forest and tells her that she will forget him after what she’s become and that she cannot enter the paradise where is he waiting for her. In parting he tells her “fight on, mamma, the best is yet to be…” and departs. The forest then becomes a dark and terrifying place and Fiona is confronted by a menacing shadow figure who calls her a “revenant” and then leaves to pursue another bloodied figure fleeing through the forest. Fiona then begins indulge in strange dark thoughts and encounters a vision of Solomon. He shows her a vision of her darker nature by recalling a time Fiona crept to his room as a teenager and tried to sexually assault his ass. It is suggested however that Fiona was unable to help this due to a strange and uncontrolled magnetism of Solomon’s. The vision ends with Solomon kissing Fiona and becoming a miasma of blood. She then wakes in the basement of Tea House as a vampire.

Cutscene: Paz's Embrace - What You Done

Setting: Present
Subject: Paz
Important NPCS: Various

*this content may be disturbing to some readers*

Eli chooses to embrace Paz as a Nosferatu but after his first drink he is disgusted to find that she is pregnant. Eli refuses to embrace a pregnant woman saying it will result in potentially gruesome consequences. He suggests Scarlet help him get rid of the unborn child but she vehemently refuses. Eli then resolves to do the dirty work himself and Scarlet unsuccessfully tries to stop him. He drags Paz to the bathroom where he cruelly toys with her and relishes in her fear and exploits her sexuality. He gives her a makeshift abortion and she bleeds to death on the floor. Paz then wakes in a bloodied bathtub and upon leaving the bathroom discovers she is in Fiona and Michael’s house. Paz’s death vision follows with a very fractured and confusing sexual encounter with Michael and Fiona in which she joins their family in a disturbing menage a trois speaking to the hidden desires she had in life. During the encounter, Paz becomes violent with Fiona and terrorizes her. Eli then enters the scene and instructs Paz in the proper ways of exploiting fear. He plays a video of Michael and Paz having sex and forces Fiona to watch and tells Paz to forgo physical violence and simply leave Fiona with the horror of her best friend’s WILLING betrayal of her. Fiona is seen reacting to the video, devastated by it, nearly smashing the TV, but instead grows still and picks up a DVD with Paz’s name written in purple on it. Then, Paz then awakens in the tub in Tea House with footsteps coming towards the door and the memory of Fiona’s torment and her own fear at her betrayal being discovered.

Cutscene: Special Relationship

Setting: Past
Subject: Brian
Important NPCS: Jennyfer Weir

In keeping with my tendency to incorporate and exploit pointless scenes of hardcore sexuality, Brian, 18, rendezvouses with Jennyfer Weir and immediately engages in sex with her! After the encounter, Jennyfer tells Brian she wants to be with him for like ever and shit and then adds that she is fucking pregnant. Cheers! Brian is surprisingly elated and the two agree to run away to NYC together to begin a new life as artists who will have a steady income and their illicit relationship accepted by those it betrayed! Anyway, they make plans to a run away with Jennyfer growing more and more pregnified. Brian drives to the Weir home on the night they mean to make their escape with the narrator bemoaning the mistake he is making. He finds the house in disarray with Jennyfer saying that Paul, her husband, has found out about their plans and means to kill her and the children. She tells Brian the only way they can be together is to murder Paul. Horrified at first, Brian eventually agrees!

Tune in next time to see what this prick does!

Cutscene: Lithium

Setting: Past
Subject: Brian
Important NPCS: Jennyfer Weir, Paul Weir

Brian stalks Paul Weir to a drugstore downtown. He is carrying his father’s Saturday Night Special and warring with himself on the slaying of Jennyfer’s husband. Paul emerges from the drugstore just after the strip mall has closed down. Fueled by Jennyfer’s fear and the threat to his unborn child, Brian sees his chance and approaches Paul. Joel Weir, a little boy around – I don’t remember what fucking age he is, emerges and has a warm interaction with Paul. Softened somewhat Brian chooses to have a conversation with Paul instead of paint the sidewalk with his brains. Joel leaves the scene so the men can talk about grown up man stuff.

Brian accuses Paul of trying to harm Jennyfer which he denies. Struck by the realization of the intent behind Brian’s presence, Paul passes him a white back from the drug store. Brian opens the bag to find a prescription for lithium carbonates with Jennyfer’s name on it. Lithium is commonly used to treat bipolar mania which can lead to debilitating delusions. Struck by this horrible realization, Brian begins to question Paul about Jennyfer’s history. Paul confesses she has cheated on him before and even goes as far as to say Fiona might not even be his. He is also not surprised Jennyfer wanted Brian to kill him as Jennyfer has tried to accomplish this herself. Brian confesses to having an affair with Jennyfer but Paul’s reaction is only one of muted sadness. At this point, neither Brian or Paul are certain of the unborn child’s paternity. He has come to expect this from her but is committed to their marriage.

Paul then leaves the scene alarming Brian. Paul stops briefly before leaving to assure Brian he is not going to hurt Jennyfer adding that she is the one who hurts everyone else. After Paul departs, Brian goes to the Weir home to confront Jennyfer. He finds her in a paranoid state but she is pleased to see him. She shows him a macabre collage she has made of their unborn child using the shredded photographs of the Weir family. Faced with the gravity of her illness, Brian decides to leave the home with Jennyfer and enjoy his time with what remains of her sanity. They leave Asheville for weeks, staying in different cities until finally Brian realizes she will not get well without treatment. He takes her to a clinic and checks her in. Jennyfer is a regular here and the nurses regard the situation without judgement. In probably one of the more moving scenes we have done, Brian tearfully tells Jennyfer he will always love her and then allows the nurses to take her away while she violently protests.

The narrator then describes the following months of Jennyfer’s convalescence ending with the birth of Jennyfer’s child – a baby girl with red hair.

Cutscene: The Last Day

Setting: Present
Subjects: Brian, Fiona
Important NPCS: N/A

As Fiona is dying in the dark basement of Tea House, Brian is faced with his own helplessness and the grim realization that he follow her. His mind escapes in the only way it can returning to a somewhat happier time recently at the Fink farm. He catches up with Fiona there and they hash out some of their significant grievances. Fiona seems surprised when Brian reveals that his daughter, Alice, died not long after childbirth. Fiona believed the little girl had simply been adopted by another family instead and noted her family hadn’t had a funeral. They bond over their lost children. But Fiona makes it clear Brian’s betrayal and tryst with Jennyfer changed everything for the Weir family and thrust them into some incredibly hard times. He seems genuinely remorseful, but the damage has been done. They seem to come to an understanding about the bigger issues of survival hanging over them, werewolves and vampires, namely. And they spend some time where she teaches him some self defense and how to better use the force of his punches. As the day begins to darken, Brian’s mind snaps back to the dark basement where he is faced with Fiona’s lifeless, wreaking carcass resting nearby.

Chapter 13. Vivification

Playing Characters: Brian, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Eli Leadfoot, Scarlet

The new kindred awaken and devour a member of Belial’s Brood Eli and Scarlet have staked. They stop short of actually killing it. That honor goes to Eli. The new kindred are horrified by this, but manage to ask a few questions. Eli and Scarlet reveal they’re Carthians, and believe in freedom for vampires. They explain briefly about the Invictus, and that there are other vampires who don’t believe in freedom. So the two fled to Asheville. However, the local Prince there doesn’t want them there and refuses to grant asylum. The local Prince also was ready to kill the DODS kiddos cause they knew too much. So Scarlet explains they were given life and can have their freedom, but they have to find and destroy the Prince.

Chapter 14. This Means War

Playing Characters: Ash, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Eli and Scarlet

Jimbo frenzies and goes for Ash, and Tea House is nearly destroyed in a chemical fire. Meanwhile Henry has returned and chases after the vampires as they get away by the skin of their teeth in a harrowing escape. Scarlet and Eli decide to leave Ash to the mercy of his peers who nearly kill him. But Ash manages to talk his way out of it with Fiona, who he reminds of her humanity for her sake and for his survival.

Chapter 15. Boys and Ghouls

Playing Characters: Chloe, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Eli and Scarlet

The new vampires awaken and realize they’ve been asleep for two weeks, not one night. Frank’s body ended up a Tea House, and now a murder investigation is going on. Also, the town is hunting for our new vampires and knows they’re missing. Eli and Scarlet tell their new vampire kiddos they’ll die unless they get regular infusions of their sires’ blood. Paz and Chloe go for the two step bond, but Jimbo and Fiona are more cautious for now. Scarlet tells them they have two weeks left. They begin to investigate the Prince starting with that book of records they had perusing before since Eli and Scarlet managed to retrieve it.

Swannano Old Town: A DODS Tale

Playing Characters: Martha Davidson
Important NPCS: Ethan Redman, Rachel Davidson, Samuel Davidson, William Davidson

Opening Narration: Some people are like fragile petals, and they cannot endure hardship. But the Davidson family had always been more thorn than petals, tough and tenacious. And so after the close of the Revolutionary War, Colonel Samuel Davidson redeemed a soldier’s land grant, and he and his family were the first to tame the wild and largely unpopulated lands of the Smokey Mountains. Largely unpopulated, because the former inhabitants, the Cherokee, had been decimated, driven out, their villages destroyed. The Cherokee had sided with the English during the Revolutionary War in their eagerness to be rid of the invaders, but this tactic had failed to save them. And what remained of their settlements rested in ruins, their ways of life, and the horror wrought upon them, all quietly returning to the earth near the freshly built log cabin Samuel and his family lived in.

There was nothing else nearby, except nature, with all its bounty and perils. But there was Davidson’s Fort, named after Samuel’s father, General John Davidson, some 16 miles away. The General had fought with George Washington during the French and Indian War and had commanded the supply train for General Rutherford’s expedition against the Cherokee. Perhaps his family’s history and the nearby ruins of a Cherokee village known as “Swannano Old Town” gave Samuel confidence, that and his twin brother William, served at the fort dutifully.

– Swannanoa Valley, in the territory of North Carolina, 1784 –

– Late Afternoon on an Early September Day –

Martha, along with her daughter, Rachel, bid Samuel a tender farewell as he leaves to go hunting. Rachel is a rambunctious child and Martha worries that Samuel’s overindulgence will spoil the girl so she will not be able to learn to be a lady. Before Samuel leaves, he notices Martha’s unease, and offers to buy her a proper lady to attend her come Spring when they were settled in. Their indentured servant, Ethan Redman (Brian’s ancestor), was chosen for protection and to do a lot of hard work needed to tame the valley.

After Samuel leaves, it’s revealed that Martha’s unease was due to a one-time moment of weakness with Ethan who she had an affair with while her husband away. Ethan refuses to acknowledge it openly. The deed has plagued her, and it’s torturous for her to be around him. And she decides to give him his freedom, unable to continue to abide his presence.

Sometime later, Martha hears the bell on Samuel’s horse drawing nearer and believes he is returning only to hear a hard thud at the door that startles her and her daughter. When Martha investigates, she discovers an arrow in the door, the bell of her husband’s horse was hanging from the shaft. Realizing Samuel is dead and hearing the Cherokee are there to seek bloody vengeance, she gathers up her daughter and they run out the back of the cabin, under a hail of arrows, and rush to the river where they have a boat. Martha managed to get Rachel into the boat and push her away, but Martha herself is caught by an arrow in the shoulder, and hit with a rock over the head by the Cherokee. When she awakens she is tied up, and two of the Cherokee viciously rape her until she passes out. Later, she awakens again, and sees the Cherokee passed out around a dying fire, sleeping soundly after having their way with her. They had loosened her bonds very slightly grabbing her as they raped her, just enough that her delicate, tiny wrists are able to work their way out of the ropes over time. And it seems like forever.

Once free, she manages to kill the two Cherokee brutally before they can fully rouse themselves, and she runs and finds she is in the ruined Cherokee village, Swannano Old Town.

Narration: As she ran, the silvery moonlight cut an eerie path through the brambles of tree branches above, illuminating what was left of Swannano Old Town, the Cherokee village, now the husks of ramshackle homes made of woven saplings, plastered with mud and roofed with poplar bark smeared with blood, broken, and sooted black from fire and red smears of blood. Bodies still littered the ground in some places.

What was barely recognizable as a woman could just be seen clutching a small bundle close. Another pair of badly mutilated bodies were strung up, hanging from a robust and ancient oak tree near by. It slowly swayed like Spanish moss from the boughs.

The old tree’s roots ran into the ground and pushed back up forming new trees from where it broke the ground again. And as Martha feared more Cherokee might spring from the darkness, she heard a loud THUD come from the tree. A form in the darkness began to crawl toward her. It crawled closer and closer, close enough where she could see he blond hair, see her little girl, and her tiny hand reaching out to her, who rasped, “Mamma.”

Horrified to find Rachel here, Martha scoops up her daughter, grabs what she can from the wreck of a nearby cabin, and learns from the child that there are more Cherokee down by the river who could return at any moment. The two manage to just barely skirt the returning Cherokee, who have not yet realized their comrades are dead. And they follow the moon up the mountain to the fort, drinking dew from the leaves as morning starts to draw near fearing to return to the river where the Cherokee may be searching for them. This 16-mile walk in the dark, through arduous terrain, starving, thirsty, injured, exhausted, and traumatized nearly ends them. But at last they see the fort.

Closing Narration: Davidson’s Fort loomed around the corner, dotted with fires that seemed to burn away the blackness of the night. And as they sloughed forward, exhaustion and pain in every inch of their body and bones, Martha Davidson, she could see it now, the eyes of little girl nestled near her, they weren’t holly green of her Rachel’s eyes.

No…they were blue and clear as a frigid lake.

Her little nose didn’t retain that slight bulbous tip that would twitch when she laughed.

No…this nose was aquiline and seemed more than anything to be someone’s idea of a too-perfect nose.

Her cheeks were not the slender things that only seemed visible when she smiled.

No…these cheeks were rounded sculpted defined. All those little differences, a mother would know. This little girl was close to her Rachel, but she wasn’t the same child, Martha was absolutely certain.

And now in this harrowing moment of recognition, Martha faced a choice, she could scream, draw away from this imposter, this fair-haired girl who came impossibly fallen from the branches of that old oak tree in Swannano Old Town, and grieve for her Rachel.

Or…Martha could welcome the child to her bosom, claim it as her own, and never once be allowed to grieve openly for the green-eyed girl, her Rachel.

This second choice seemed absurd, but then…Martha, knew he awaited at the fort, William Davidson, her Samuel’s twin brother. He was in charge there. He had always fancied her, even while his own brother courted her, and she had forsaken the roses he scandalously gave her, only to have it come her wedding night, and just after she felt her husband release his hot seed into her on their bed, she’d felt him shove roses into her hands, press her palms into their sharp thorns, and she knew it was not Samuel, but William, passing himself off as his brother who gave her a child that night, Rachel.

William was a cruel man, and it was only the mercies of war, having his issue, and having his brother’s hand that ever gave Martha any peace. If she presented herself bereft of husband and daughter now, he’d see to it she didn’t get her widow’s stipend and would have no recourse but to marry him.
No time left to decide, those fires were too close now. She had to choose…

Once inside of the fort, Martha tells them that Samuel is dead, and she rails to tell them this blond girl with her was not her Rachel and begs William to send the soldiers out for a search party to find her. Rachel stands near her confused, fearful and uncertain, claiming she is who she says she is. William and the soldiers believe Martha is raving due to the trauma she experienced and ply her with laudanum and wine until she becomes placid. As she is about to fall into unconsciousness, Martha sees a flash of the blond girl beneath William’s arm, and he places a black funerary rose between her hands, expresses his sympathy about her husband and his brother. Then whispers to her, “A rose for a rose.”

Commentary: The end of this story leaves us wondering what exactly really happened. The little girl could have been another child the Cherokee took on a raid, and perhaps Rachel was, horribly, and in truth, still out there. It could be the child was unnatural, a kind of changeling, born of the blood-besotted roots of this oak tree to replace the child taken by the river into darkness that night. It could also simply be that Martha, who has endured terrible trauma that night and incredible exhaustion, was, at last, struck by a troubling thought when the light of the fort and approaching dawn made her child…look..different, an idea she could not shake, and she went crazy with the thought as it fed on itself.

Cutscene: Lee's Asian Market

Setting: Present
Subjects: Fiona and Paz
Important NPCS: Hwang and Sumi Lee – married couple who own Lee’s Asian Market

Fiona and Paz decide to try purchase pig’s blood from Lee’s Asian Market as a way to contend with their hunger. They do this cautiously and filled with paranoia given at least half of Asheville is looking for them. Just after putting the blood in the trunk of the car, they are drawn to the back of the store by a delicious smell which turns out to be Sumi (one of the owners of the store). Her nose is broken and bleeding profusely on the ground. Two bums are in the process of attacking her. Paz spooks one of the bums and he runs off. Fiona knocks the other into unconsciousness. Fiona means to help Sumi, but is overcome with her hunger, and ends up drinking from her, only to have Paz interrupt the feeding and save Sumi from Fiona. Paz patches up Sumi (because Fi does not yet eve know how to close a vampire’s bite) with some first aid. Sumi in her confusion from the vampiric kiss and darkness doesn’t seem to recall Fiona was the one who turned on her, but she does remember the bums attacking her earlier. Sumi also recognizes Fiona as Miss Blue Ridge, but is also seemingly convinced it isn’t Fiona after all.

Cutscene: In a Heartbeat

Setting: Present
Subjects: Fiona and Paz
Important NPCS: None

Paz and Fiona try out the pig’s blood, freezing and try to make “bloodaritas” using a blender to add in some spices they got from Lee’s Asian Market while remembering the happier nostalgic past and the more somber and grim near death of Sumi. They get violently ill from trying to blend crap in with their blood, hurling over the railing of the back porch. As they recover they notice a light snow has started to fall, and Fiona tells Paz she saw Aeden when he was dead, and they both sadly admit to missing him. This somber moment, however,a snowball fight with the pitiful amount of snow around them. And then we cut to Fiona and Paz decorating the lawn with Christmas lights and trying the pig’s blood again, heated this time with nothing in it in Christmas mugs. The neighbors give them a friendly beep and for a moment they fit in here. The game ends with Fiona purposefully breaking the lock on the room Paz has chosen, bending the catch and using a fork to lock so Paz feels at home. (She used a fork to lock the door of her crumby apartment.)

Cutscene: Paw Prints

Setting: Past
Subjects: Fiona
Important NPCS: Liam Talbot (Fiona’s dead cop mentor) and Michael Loudain

Fiona is just getting back to work after Aeden’s death, and a case involving a couple of dead cops tied to drugs has come up. The peculiar aspect is the number of paw prints on the scene of the crime (which is the involvement of the Finks, she doesn’t understand yet). She and Liam are discouraged from pursuing the case, so they turn to Michael when it comes to using a special night-vision camera to investigate the purveyors of these paw prints. Michael and Liam don’t care for each other, but Michael agrees to help them with the camera anyway. Things are tense and on the precipice of violence between Fiona and Michael, but they are brought together for now by grief and tenderness and have sex. The closing scene reveals that there were oddly shaped paw prints on the side of the townhouse window the next day that Michael sees, prints that seem oddly shaped and seem to merge with fingerprints.

Chapter 16. Silent Night

Playing Characters: Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Eli, Prince

Fiona, Jimbo, and Paz gaze at the Christmas lights in their new home and consider their recent past and how life is now as fresh vampires as Scarlet joins them. They go inside, and Fiona presents Scarlet with the public records information she requested on the Black family, not mentioning that she obtained it another way that didn’t involve her and Jimbo breaking into the Clerk’s office. Scarlet, fortunately, does not inquire about the details about how they got the information, seemingly content that it was obtained cleanly. Jimbo and Fiona begin to experience the effects of the withering, since they have not imbibed the blood of their sires. Paz pleads for them to drink it, but they refuse to her great displeasure. The episode passes but Scarlet tells them, it’s just the beginning and will continue to get worse and worse until they die now.

Later, Fiona leads Paz and Jimbo to a secret storage unit she’s been keeping under a false name. It’s clear by the look of the place which contains a bed, that Fiona would go there to sleep sometime when fighting with Michael got bad. She explains, while they’re in private that she learned that she looked over the public records for the Black family, and the only thing she found that’s somewhat peculiar was that there was a sharp decline in birth rates for the family in the 1800s which doesn’t seem to line up with any natural disasters or epidemics. They then talk to the ouija board….

Things the board told them:

1) Scarlet, who they thought they saw earlier that evening, was in fact Eli in disguise.

2) Scarlet and Eli are lying to them. There is no such thing as the withering.

3) Looking into Frank Greene’s life and his sister’s death may lead to information about the Prince.

4) The Fink’s may possess a ritual that may free the young vampires of some of Eli and Scarlet’s influence.

5) Solomon is “drying out” with the Finks (probably being purged of the vampire blood in his system).

Chapter 17. Bigger Fish

Playing Characters: Brian, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Jasper Brown, the Straids, Detective Taylor

Brian, Jimbo, and Paz decide to sneak into the morgue and investigate Norah Greene’s body while Fiona meets Ash to do some digging on their own. It’s just hours before dawn, and there’s a little snow on the ground still, and there’s only a skeleton crew at the morgue. So they sneak inside without any problem. Just as they reach where the bodies are stored however, they discover, to their dismay, their old pal, Detective Taylor is there very late asking questions to a morgue attendant, Jasper Brown. And they duck out of sight behind the door and eavesdrop.

Takeaways from Taylor’s conversation with Brown:

1) Most of the few remaining members of the Greene family are schizophrenics and are institutionalized. Frank Greene and his younger sister Norah were too, but were able to function somewhat in every day life with medication. While he had a job at Esse Eck’s, she had a job at a new age shop, the Raven and Crone. Fiona’s cousin, Charlotte, incidentally, took a job there after Norah died.

2) Norah was institutionalized for awhile at one point and would have episodes where her body would twist at odd angles and she’d remain frozen that way. She’d also scribble gibberish, but there was one somewhat decipherable phrase, “Dora Norah Open,” which our fresh vampires realize is connected to the sign on the grave at Tea House.

3) While Norah was institutionalized, she was quiet outside of her episodes, but she did confide in another patient, Jennyfer Weir (Fiona’s mother), who had been hospitalized at the time when she was pregnant with Brian’s baby. It’s revealed that Jennyfer was very insistent at the time that she be called by her maiden name, White, or by Brian’s last name, Redman, not wanting her child to have her husband’s last name.

4) When the medication started to wear off at the hospital, the schizophrenic patients would scream at things that weren’t there in the shadows, have paranoid delusions that they were being watched.

5) Some of the older families in town with colors in their last names, Greenes, Browns, Blacks, Whites seem to be small now but flourished at one time.

Taylor leaves, and Brian, Jimbo, and Paz sneak past Officer Hughs, who is left to guard the door and instead decides to drink and beat off to the Miss Blue Ridge calendar the moment he is left alone. Jimbo masterfully puts his crime-ing skills to work and snatches the morgue keys from Hughs’ supine body and opens the door to the morgue.

They examine Norah Greene’s body and note that she’s been bludgeoned to death by possibly a baseball bat. She had also been tied up with rope at one point. This, among other clues, including a page from a medical report that mentions “penetration,” leads them to believe that Eli killed her just as he did her brother, Frank.

After Brian, Jimbo, and Paz leave the morgue believing they’ve gotten in and out while being unseen, we see the Straids had been watching from a rooftop across from the morgue. Though our vampires don’t yet know it, it seems the Straids killed Norah Greene believing she was possessed by the devil. It also seems they had been using her as some kind of bait to find bigger fish.

When our vampires return just before dawn to the suburbs, there’s just enough time for Fiona to reveal a couple of things she learned with Ash:

What Fiona and Ash learned:

1) Long ago, Spencer Greene married Abigail Black — The Greenes and the Blacks are family.

2) Security footage from Esse Eck’s taken during Halloween night reveals that while the gang was busily distracted with Scarlet that the bartender, Frank Greene, was not talking to himself at the end of the bar, but a shadowy figure in a hood that seems somewhat similar to what was recorded on Fiona’s home security system.

Cutscene: Missing Pieces

Setting: Present
Subjects: Brian, Fiona, Jimbo, and Paz
Important NPCS: N/A

Brian, Fiona, Jimbo, and Paz discuss the details they learned from the morgue venture about Norah Greene’s death and the conversation overheard with Detective Taylor. Fiona puts together a couple of more clues from the medical report Jimbo and Paz retrieved. It seems poor Norah was doused with silver nitrate and force fed/given an enema of onions, garlic, and salt (the Olive Garden special!). The gang hypothesizes that it was the Straids who killed Norah and not Eli as they once believed after all.

Cutscene: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Setting: Present
Subjects: Fiona, Jimbo, and Paz
Important NPCS: Caramel Crunch and Strawberry Swirl

COMING SOON

Chapter 18. Winged Things

Playing Characters: Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Volucris

COMING SOON

Chapter 19. Well, I'll Be Damned

Playing Characters: Brian, Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Eli, Scarlet, Solomon

COMING SOON

Cutscene: Shattered

Setting: Present
Subjects: Fiona, Paz
Important NPCS: N/A

Fiona catches up with Paz at the storage unit and Paz confesses she was fucked Michael.

Cutscene: Dead Girls

Setting: Present
Subjects: Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Scarlet, Volucris

COMING SOON

Cutscene: Like Love to Hatred Turned

Setting: Present
Subjects: Fiona
Important NPCS: Michael Loudain

COMING SOON

Cutscene: Pretty Can Take You Places

Setting: Past
Subjects: Fiona
Important NPCS: Jay Redman, Teeny Black

COMING SOON


Chapter 19. COMING SOON

Playing Characters: Fiona, Jimbo, Paz
Important NPCS: Eli, Prince

COMING SOON

Cutscene: COMING SOON

Setting: ???
Subjects: ???
Important NPCS: ???

COMING SOON