Last time, the characters met John Marron, a homeless, probably schizophrenic man, in the course of their ghost-busting activities. Over the week or so of downtime, they (Maxine in particular) have tried to help him out - getting him into the VA, trying to get him back on his meds, just keeping him safe and off the streets.
Today (5/25/06), the characters are going about their business. Max, Jerry and Mike are at the theater working. Samuel is at his church, trying to do some research on the Black Invitation. And Cheryl is at a bridal shop, trying to help a bride-to-be make up her mind about some things.
During the interlude, the mysterious "C" hasn't talked to them. At all. No texts, no strange whispers, nothing. Samuel's research into the "Black Invitation" has taken him to some unsavory places, but it seems that this ritual is meant to call up a ghost, but one that has already "passed on". To what degree this conflicts with Sam's religious framework is an ongoing question, but it does raise the point: If the ghost in question has already passed on, where is it when the Invitation is extended? And is it really a ghost that's being called up?
Cheryl, at the shop, hears a voice whisper "Help me." She excuses herself and walks into a hall, and the voice tells her "they're going to dig me up. Help." She calls the others, and they arrange to meet at a coffee shop.
There, they discuss what's happening and mention that "C" hasn't been in touch. They see a Scrabble board fall off a shelf (good coffee shops have game shelves) and dump the tiles out. They move on their own and spell "Lakeside" - there's a Lakeside Cemetery in Erie. They ask the ghost's name, and it tells them "Relin." Figuring that maybe this "Relin" person might be in danger of being exhumed, they head out there while it's still light.
At the cemetery, they look around the welcome center to grab a map, but no one's there. Max looks in a window and sees someone slumped over a desk in an office. Jerry enters the office with Mike, and finds the caretaker on the desk, dead, the desk covered in blood. He reaches for his phone - and then someone attacks.
The figure is gray-skinned and has a wound in his throat, but it isn't bleeding. But the shock of seeing a zombie isn't as horrid as who the zombie is - John. Jerry grabs a hammer off the desk and swings, but the zombie puts a good beating on him. Max kicks in the window and helps Jerry out, the zombie does some grappling, and Mike stabs it, but then it walks through
the characters and runs. They can't catch it - it's fast, and it's running right through obstacles.
Shaken (but laden with Practical Experience!) the characters call the cops and sit there for several hours answering questions. And then they head their separate ways. Cheryl goes to her place to do some research, trying to track down a real address for Kenny Blaisdale, whom the characters have all figured for the aggressor here. Mike calls Mandy, the owner of the curio shop, and learns that John was out front this morning but that he was acting crazier than usual and refused to come into the shop to have lunch. Mike instructs her not to approach John if she does see him, and he and Max go to the Y where John had been staying. Jerry goes to Lowe's to buy some equipment (he already bought an EM field detector, because those totally detect ghosts
). Samuel heads back to the church to do some more research.
At the Y, Max and Mike learn from the dude at the desk that John was in a few hours before, but hadn't left (that the dude had noticed). They checked his room - empty, but trashed. Things torn apart. They did find a small pocket Bible, the sort that street preachers hand out, and in the middle they found the words "I DON'T WANT TO KILL HER" written. They took the Bible and headed out, troubled, and bribed the guy at the desk to call if he saw John.
Meanwhile, Cheryl was looking for Kenny through Classmates.com and other such sites. She figured she could find him, it would just take a while. And then she saw a reflection in her screen - John was standing behind her.
He put a fist through her monitor. She ran, he picked up
the monitor and threw it at her, knocking her down and injuring her. She ran from the apartment, and fortunately her neighbors had already called the cops. The police arrived and checked the place, but John was already gone. They took her to the hospital and she asked them to call Samuel.
Samuel, of course, called the others and they met her as she was being released from the hospital. They headed back to Cheryl's so she could pick up a few things, and Max went across the street to the convenience store and asked the dude working what he'd seen. His video security showed John ranting outside the store a little while ago.
The characters regrouped at Samuel's house. Samuel called someone he knew at the church that handed out those Bibles, and learned they'd been handed out near the Y today - makes sense. The characters did some digging and found an address probably for Kenny Blaisdale's parents, and then talked about their next move and what was going on. All evidence pointed to Kenny somehow manipulating John's corpse into attacking them, and had probably conned them into going into the graveyard to begin with (they were still wondering about "Relin"; change a vowel sound in there, it'll make more sense). But why? And what next?
Mike decided that Mandy deserved to know that something was up, so he and Samuel drove out to the curio shop and explained that John was in bad shape. They didn't tell her the truth, however, but did warn her to stay away from John if she saw him. They walked her to her car, and then decided to check out the abandoned building where John had been staying.
Inside, they found something awful. Symbols drawn on the carpet, a card table, and what looked like a basin of blood. They took some pictures, and then got the hell out.
Back at Samuel's place, Mike sketched out the symbols and they did some research. The symbols didn't seem to correspond to anything Greek, Asian, etc., but they did find a picture of similar symbols at Pictures of Walls
. The tag line directed them to a blank web page, but looking at the source code showed URLs of videos, all with impossible things happening. A man flying, holding onto a stick. A guy jumping across buildings, clearing a gap that no one could. And these videos were all tagged "netz0."
But rather than digging further into this, Max was pretty adamant that they clean up this ritual site. They bought lots of bleach and other supplies, went back to the building and started cleaning up. Samuel was in the room with Cheryl while the others were dumping the blood into the sewer when John jumped through the window.
He took Cheryl down with one punch, and then grappled Samuel. The others ran in, and Max ran up John's back and broke his grip on Samuel, who then began the Exorcism Tactic. It worked almost immediately (John was out of Willpower), and his body collapsed. His soul rose up, and spoke with them, finally free of the voices.
He apologized to Cheryl for hurting her, and explained that he'd been in this building and had just passed out (the characters had smelled traces of chloroform in the bathroom, which raised further questions - where did Kenny get it?). Kenny had chained him down and bled him out, and then somehow sent him after the characters, intensifying the voices in his head until he'd gone mad. John also mentioned that Kenny seemed guilty, and kept looking over his shoulder like he expected someone to come after him. Max, crying, told John that he was free now, and he disappeared, leaving the characters there.
The characters prepared to leave, and then someone hurled a Molotov cocktail through the window. The place caught fire and they characters left, and saw a motorcycle zipping away. Jerry caught the plate, but they're pretty sure they know who that was - Kenny "Knell" Blaisdale.
They spent the next day perfecting the Disappear Tactic. Saturday, they're going to Sherlock's
to catch Obituary, Knell's band. We'll see how he likes it when his
space gets invaded.