Day 2: Friday October 31st 1926, a bar, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Before we went to Doctor Northeast’s house, Jonah insisted we find the bar from the previous evening, to confirm whether he had in fact left the hotel as he remembered. The bar is located almost opposite our hotel. The barman’s grasp of English was pretty much non-existent. In the end, Jonah was forced to stand in the street and shout for help. A kind middle-aged woman agreed, warily, to translate. It turns out that the barman did indeed remember Jonah from the previous evening, Jonah consumed several whiskeys over 20 minutes before leaving the bar. THis was the first time Jonah had been in to that bar. This then proves that not all of our memory of yesterday evening is false. We continued on to the outskirts of town where Dr Northeast’s house is located.
Day 2: Friday October 31st 1926, Dr Bruce Northeast’s house, outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Dr Northeast’s property stands alone at the side of the road and backs onto the Haitian jungle. We noted the dead black rooster over the verandah (a voodoo offering to Baron Samedi), which had clearly been hanging for a couple of days. Just visible behind it was carved into the side of the house a stylised human skull with three eyes. I noted this was similar to the tarot card Jonah had found. I took a rubbing of it for future reference.
On approaching the house, we noticed that the door had obviously been forced open, the lock smashed. There were multiple dried footprints going to and from the door. Jonah immediately took point, gun out ready, and warily entered the front door, closely followed by Otto and Tobias. Henry too the right side of the house, I the left. My military reflexes have obviously faded as I did not draw my gun nor approach the potentially dangerous location with the wariness I should have displayed. Henry got out the re-constructed shotgun in a purposeful manner.
The living room
Jonah, Otto and Tobias discovered that the living room had been trashed, quite thoroughly and purposefully. In Jonah’s opinion this had been done by several people (which is corroborated by the number of footprints) with deliberate purpose, yet in a chaotic matter. Furniture, books and clothing were all torn and damaged. There was no sign of Dr Northeast. The three headed cautiously for the only exit – a door at the back of the room.
Meanwhile I on the left and Henry on the right discovered side windows looking in onto the same scene. We continued towards the back of the house. I continued round the back and found a window looking onto a bathroom, also destroyed. Henry found another window near the back of the house looking in onto a bedroom, just as the other three entered through the interior door.
The bedroom was also trashed. The bed was standing upright against the wall. There was a horrendous stench, recognisable as decay. All eyes turned to the bed. Otto calmly hooked his cane over the edge and pulled it back down. There was a body, hacked to pieces, putrefying in the humid air. A white male. Presumably the good doctor himself.
None of the others had been prepared for this terrible sight or smell, yet all seemed to take it in their stride remarkably well. I was fore-warned not to enter the bedroom, but I insisted, for the Reader would not expect a reporter of good character to avoid evidence, however gruesome it might be. Even fore-warned it was still a shock to see the terrible extent of the mutilation, as if hacked by many hands. However, while I cannot recall ever seeing such a sight before, it did not turn my stomach nor distress me terribly (though I try not to think about it, of course). My mind must be adept at blocking out the worst horrors, but this leaves me to wonder what have I seen to cause my memory loss?
Henry, Tobias and Otto decide to track the footprints, Jonah began searching the bedroom, starting with the grisly task of the body itself, and I began to look for clues in the living room. Henry voiced the disturbing possibility that the attackers could have been us (for which we can no longer remember) as they discovered there were 5 sets of footprints. However, he calmed our fears on further investigation that none of the footprints matched his own. Additionally, Otto’s unique gait (due to a wound suffered in the Great War) would have been obvious, but was not present. The tracks were seen to lead into the jungle.
While searching the living room, I heard a gun shot from the bedroom. I called out to Jonah and went to see if he was injured. It transpires that when examining the body, a fearsomely large spider (a tarantula I am informed) crawled towards him, and fearing being bitten, he shot it with his pistol, most expertly it transpires.
We decided to follow the tracks into the forest, but before we did that we all turned to searching the house, to discover any clues as to what had happened here, and when. It took us a good two hours of searching through the tattered remains of the doctor’s possessions, but we eventually turned up some more information, disturbing though it was.
It was Tobias that found Dr Northeast’s journal, buried untroubled under some clothes. The last entry was Monday 27th October 1926. Reading this aloud, we discovered that we had already met with Dr Northeast (the previous day, Sunday) to discuss our investigation. We had discovered that Jack sterling had been kidnapped and taken to The Star Pools to be a victim in a ritual of blood sacrifice. It appears Dr Northeast subsequently visited this area (previously believed to be a myth) and saw Jack Sterling. According to his journal something had been done to Mr Sterling, and he might be killed in a ceremony occurring during the Fete Gede.
This caused us consternation because we may only have 24 to 48 hours to find and rescue Mr Sterling, and in doing so we might encounter dangerous people and creatures alluded to in the doctor’s journal. There is something called the Floating Horror Cult we must also be wary of. Dr Northeast alludes to the Floating Horror being some sort of creature; perhaps this is a Loa or demon. The journal also referenced a tale in Book: The Masked Messenger of the Ashanti Warrior and the Sharp Stone.
This book I had discovered along with two others, Ghosts of the Living and Created World of the Insane Mind, which I have yet to examine. I did read out the passage mentioned in The Masked Messenger, but I do not yet fully grasp its meaning.
While reading from this book, I glanced up at my audience and back down again to the book to find another tarot card had appeared out of thin air. Now I know what Jonah felt yesterday. This card was Tarot Card: The Devil, another unusual illustration I expect as it is different to that presented to me by Marie Jerome. I also note with consternation that this is the second card to have appeared and it matches the second card in the tarot reading. I expect that another card will appear before long (admittedly I am hoping to someone other than I) and that it will be The Hanged Man. I fervently hope this is not an indication that time is ticking away and that should the last card be revealed before we complete our mission there will be dire consequences.
There are further journal articles to be read, in addition to those tomes just mentioned. We also still intend to follow the tracks of the 5 murderers (as we all believe them to be).
It occurs to me, writing this, that the number five keeps cropping up. I do not believe coincidences. There were 5 mysterious Haitians in Jonah and Tobias’ visions, five tarot cards in the reading, five sets of footprints (though they could be from the same Haitians) and, lastly, five of us. The number may be significant. Marie Jerome said I should use my intellectual power to succeed, thus I shall attempt to puzzle out this riddle with the aid of the not inconsiderable intellect of my companions.