The Haitian Affair

Day 5: Confusing timelines

Monday 27th October 1926, The Star Pools, Haiti

Otto asks us what we remember. We all are wondering why he is acting strangely. Maybe it has something to do with this creature that suddenly appeared. We briefly tell him about our progress over the last few days, but he does not seem to remember. He clearly has something to tell us – he kes talking to himself insisting that he is going to tell us soon. We all are concerned at this uncharacterised vagueness and worrying lapse in sanity. Where was the logical rational Otto of only an hour ago?

Someone suggeests checking out the huts before we begin any extended conversation. While the others investigate I remain behind with Otto and the creature, concerned that it may seek to overpower him. I try to get some answers from him while we wait, but he justs asks me to wait. Until we are all assembled again. And still he has a strange far away look as if listening to something.

Jonah investigates the first hut and finds it empty save for some tables and chairs.
Tobias investigates the second hut to find various tribal costumes and a ceremonial dagger.
In the third hut there was a bed and Henry found upon that bed what appears to be a man offered in black scales. He appears to be asleep. Tobias recognises some of the contours of his face and believes this to be Jack Stirling. But what terrible disease or curse has afflicted him? Henry is unsure whether he is dangerous, but prodding him with the shotgun produces no effect.

The contents of his pockets, a wallet and passport, confrm that this being is (or was) Jack Stirling. The being breathes shallowly and seems to be unconscious. Prising off one of the sales reveals black skin beneath, not healthy pink skin as expected. The most disturbing thing they notice is that there is an extra eye in the middle of his forehead.

They take Jack’s unconscious body from the hut and all gather again to consider this new discovery. At least we have found the man we were looking for, but he I clearly not well. Otto must have some answers. I observed Otto when he first saw the scaly body and he appeared to recognise it for he moved oddly.

Otto’s incredible tale

I would dismiss it as the ravings of a mad man did I not know that Otto is perhaps the mst rational man I know, or at least was until now. Briefly, he told us he remembers nothing of our journey to Haiti nor of our investigation right up until 3 days from now whether he calls waking up in a military base in Haiti apparently with us. He recounted what he did then, visiting Marie Jerome for a (second time) having waking hallucinations, a tarot reading, discovering that Dr Bruce Northeast had been murdered, visiting Madame Josephine (for the second time). At Madame Josephine’s he drank a potion she made from a death’s head moth and cut himself with a sharp stone. He found the location of the Star Pools ( which he could not remember ) by visiting the hideout of the rebel leader Sebastian Senegal which is somewhere in the docks. On the way to the Star Pools on the night of the ritual, he discovered that he was in fact alone, we had been killed most horrifically and he was hallucinating. Then he encountered this creature and witnessed the ritual (wherein Jack was sacrificed), unable to prevent the Floating Horror from arising. It destroyed all the celebrants except him and while it was wreaking havoc in the city he poked the Jack-creature in the eye (the only bit which was still Jack apparently) and suddenly appeared back here, today.

He realised as soon as the creature appeared that it would attack us, and he tried to dominate it as he had been able to do in the future. It was attacking Henry when he managed to get control of it by cutting himself with the Sharp Stone again. How this object came to be in his pocket from the future we cannot imagine only that it must be a very powerful artefact indeed.

Now we are all here, alive, yet he still has our voices in his head. I suspect that these are only shadows of his previous memory for we do not speak to him telepathically. Otto is convinced he has gone back in time somehow.

We argue about our next course of action. We all agree we don’t want the ritual to go ahead. Should we kill the Jack-creature now? It seems improbable we could cure him. We now have the luxury of time, which Otto did not in the last instance of the ritual. Otto tells us about Senegal’s brother, Miguel, and what happened to him when he was cut with the Sharp Stone. We may not have the luxury of a few days, for it seems that Otto may turn into a scaly creature sooner if he becomes unconscious at any point.

Otto determines from the Lurker that the cleric who conducted the ritual, King Kaliko, nd the cultists have a village further in the jungle to the North. Perhaps the stone that the cleric wore, appearing to be similar to the Sharp Stone, can reverse the curse, disease or spell which now afflicts both Jack and Otto.

Jonah favours a direct approach to obtaining that Stone. There would be too man cultists for an put right confrontation, therefore he suggests we should utilise the weapons shipment currently at Labaddie Imports, and not yet delivered to Senegal. In a ruse we could claim these cultists had stolen the weapons and so set Senegal against the cultists. We would sneak in and steal the stone after the commotion had died down. But this would be risky and we all agree that we need to prevent Jack from falling into the cultists hands otherwise the timeline would repeat itself and destruction would be visited upon Haiti. We cannot allow that to happen.

We decide to back track a little – to see if Mme Josephine can help us. I also remember subddenky that Dr Northeast was supposed to meet us today but did not show up. Perhaps his murder has already occurred. The time would be around now. We hurry back to the town to his houses to see what has occurred and if we can prevent this happening if possible. Otto’s thumb has now blackened, a reminder of the inexorable passage of time. Despite Tobias’ protestations, Henry ties up the Jack-creature and places it in the boot, though it is still unconscious.

We arrive at Dr Northeast’s house around late afternoon. Henry checks out the back of the house while Jonah and Otto knock at the door. I am relieved that the Australian doctor answers the door in rude health. Otto tells him directly that he must come with us immediately as if he stays here he will die. We expect people to come tomorrow to murder him. This unnerves the doctor understandably and he even shies away in fear as Henry knocks on his window. We convince him to gather as few things as possible including his journal and assure him that we will explain more later. With little protest he allows us to drive him into Port-au-Prince, to Mme Josephine’s laundrette. While waiting for Dr Northeast to be ready I check on our captive and curiously examine its eyes. Strangely all three seem as yet unformed.

Monday 27th October, Madame Josephine’s laundrette, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

We convince the attendant at the laundrette that we need to see Mme Josephine urgently. We drive round the back, and in a freshly laundered sheet we take Jack Stirling’s scaly body into the back of the laundrette. We reveal what has become of Jack Stirling and Madame Josephine is shocked, but not as surprised as when Otto tips the Sharp Stone carefully into a bowl. Otto tells Madame Josephine his experience of the ritual and of ‘resetting’ the timeline.

Mme Josephine checks inside a wooden box to find the Sharp Stone missing from it. She tells us she had intended to give it to us for use with the person, but it is known that such an artefact can be passed from person to person seemingly at will.

she is concerned that the Cult of the Floating Horror (also known as the Crawling Chaos) will come after e host , by which she means the creature Jack Stirling is becoming. She says we must destroy the host. This would mean killing Jack Stirling which is not a price Tobias is yet willing to pay.we ask whether the stone that King Kaliko wears may reverse the effect, but she does not know.

Suddenly, without warning, Otto pulls out his Luger and tries to shoot Jack. The voices in his head are telling him to do it apparently. Jonah and Tobias attempt to stop him, but not before he gets off a glancing shot. Jonah fires his gun again at Otto’s hand. The injury is severe enough to send Otto into unconsciousness. This is a bad turn of events, as we understand that Ottonot having drunk the potion in this reality, will not now awaken and the transformation will accelerate.

The large black man, Jim, has already whisked away Mme Josephine to safety. Tobias tries to apologise, but we are not heard. Instead we decide to go to Dr Northeast’s house via the hotel to collect our things. There is much to discuss, many arguments to be had. It is early evening now and Henry prudently barricades the door against those we know are coming. Dr Northeast is afraid of what the cult will do, yet believes we could bargain for our lives, since we do have the host. We argue whether to kill Jck now and cut off Otto’s arm to save him or to let the ritual conclude and try to reset the timeline again. There are few real options. We despair at the hard truth that a sacrifice must be made, yet we do not want to believe it will be either Jack or Otto or both.

Comments

After reading the write up (very good and concise as usual Marie :-) ) I think (in my unconscious state) that the only way is to relive the ritual and try to escape the lurker! Obviously from my point of view this is the best way, because I will not be affected by cutting myself. I do not want to lose an arm, so this is my thinking.
The only problem will be if we reset everything my touching the eye, we do not know who will remember what and how to deal with the lurker!

Day 5: Confusing timelines
mcstreeting

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