Sunday, June 4, 2017

Chill: Take Me to Church

Today we began a new case in my Chill game set in Boise. Hoorah!

Auntie Dee had received an email from a pastor from Coeur d'Alene saying that there was "evil" in his church. She passed this along to the envoys and sent them up to check it out, figuring she'd be along if they found something significant (IRL, her player was on vacation and couldn't make the game).

The envoys arrived in Coeur d'Alene and drove by the church, Falls Baptist. It had been shuttered for a long time, but someone had obviously trimmed the grass and done some basic maintenance on the outside. They peeked in and saw dust, but no damage, and they noted there was no graffiti (but figured that was as much the part of town as anything). Dylan was taking some pictures when a cop car pulled up and the officer asked them what they were doing. He told the cop that they were interested in the property, but the cop clearly did not give a fuck and told them to leave.

They then headed to the pastor's house, and knocked on the door. A woman in her 30s answered, and introduced herself as Joy Taylor. She recognized Dee's name (everyone knows Auntie Dee), and told them that Pastor John was in the hospital; he'd had a heart attack a few days ago and had asked Joy's help in sending the email (for her part, Joy had been a parishioner a long time ago and had remained friends with John). She told them that John was convinced that there was something wrong with the church, and he'd gotten up in the morning every day for the last 20 years to walk down to the church and say a prayer at the door. Now, he was anxious that he wasn't able to do it.

She agreed to take them to the hospital to meet him. John was in relatively good spirits; he was weak, but happy to see them. He told them that when he was actually in charge of the church, something had started to go wrong. A church secretary named Anne Labelle had lost her cat (John remembered the cat perked up and ran into another room, and then no one had ever seen it again but they'd found the cat's collar torn in two). And then Anne herself had died shortly thereafter; she'd apparently tipped over in her chair and jostled a shelf, and a big geode bookend had fallen from the shelf and cracked her skull. It was then that John knew something was really wrong, and had had the church shut down. He even talked to SAVE in 1998 in Seattle (but as Jeannie pointed out, that was a weird time for SAVE).

John said that he went to the church every morning to say a quick prayer and make the sign of the cross on the door, so as to keep the "evil" in. He asked the envoys to please be careful - he didn't want anyone else being hurt. He told them they could find a key at his house.

The envoys headed out, and stopped by the church on the way home so that Edward could use his Clairvoyance discipline. He looked into the church, and smelled dust. He also saw tiny footprints on the ground, but couldn't tell what kind; they looked about cat or raccoon sized. The envoys decided they were better off going back in the morning, and went to a resort (Edward's treat) for the night.

Next morning, they headed to the hall of records to look into some, well, records. They learned that the land had been a Dairy Queen, and then a residence, but it had no particular unsavory history attached. Whatever was happening, it was happening incidentally to the location. They also dug up the blueprints so they had an idea of the floor plan.

From there, they went to Father John's house to look for the keys, and BB found a box upstairs containing a treasure trove of old church records. They found the keys, but also photos and sign-up sheets. They learned that the church had hosted a lock-in for the kids, but the last year they'd done it was 1996 (the church closed in 1998). They found the photo from that year, and saw that one boy had a bandage on his hand. Joy was also in that photo (about 12 at the time). They called Joy up and met her for lunch, and she said that the boy (Logan) had hurt himself in the basement. She'd heard he got his hand caught in something or burned it on the boiler, but had never gotten a straight story. The envoys headed over to the hospital to asked Father John, and noted that he looked weaker today and hadn't eaten.

He was willing to talk, though. He told them that the boy had said he reached into a box and something hurt his hand. John had always assumed it was a rat trap (Logan's fingers were broken and he had stitches), but it was odd that no one ever found the trap. John himself had never stayed for the lock-ins (the very first year he was there, a mother had raised the question of inappropriate relations between the pastor and children, and John had been too gun shy afterwards to stay), but he'd met the chaperone and the mom at the hospital and never gotten a good answer as to what happened. Logan had recovered, though, and still lived in town (Joy had pinged him on Facebook, so we'll see if he answers).

The envoys figured they had enough information to look around in the church (also keys), so they headed there next. BB went in first, felt his leg contact something, and ducked just as a blade nailed to an organ pipe swung down from the ceiling at his head. Jeannie looked at the workmanship - crude, forced, but deadly. Realizing they needed to be careful, the envoys investigated.

They found that the floor by the organ was also trapped; the boards had been weakened so a person standing on them would crash through to the basement (Edward noted this with Premonition). BB dropped the lectern on the spot to set off the trap (why not do it now so they don't do it by accident later?), and they looked down into the hole. It wasn't much of a drop and there were no spikes or anything, but the envoys noticed the basement was trashed and cluttered. Edward noticed a dead dog, split open and dismembered. The kill was fresh. Something was definitely here.

They headed to the offices to rig the stairs with surveillance gear, and then figured they'd come back later. Dylan noted that a widow in this room, though boarded up, had been altered so the board could be moved. He also found little nicks in the walls - claw marks.

Edward, meanwhile, found a false panel on the wall and pulled it out. He heard a paff kind of noise and then got a face-full of black gunk. He turned around, retching and eyes burning...and that's where we left it for now.