The Contingent

The Contingent Files

PLEASE READ: Here is the repository of journal entries and cases files that have been written by members of The Contingent.

If a player enjoys writing reports or journals of games, they will earn a Re-Roll to be used any time during the current season. A player can any number of rerolls banked at a time, and use no more than 1 per game session. The Storyteller is the last word whether a re-rolls is appropriate to the situation

Entries may be subject to editing to adjust formatting for consistency.

TAGS

The Following Tags are used for Adventure Logs:

Season #
Denotes what season this post falls within

Journal
A personal journal entry by that character

Case Files
An official report submitted by a member for the records kept by The Contingent. All Case Files are also Tagged with the session’s name.

Flavor
Photos, postcards, telegrams, news clippings, etc. All sorts of things that add to the season’s experience, but perhaps not directly to a particular session or character

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This Summer, Go To Hell
Storyteller: Richard

“Hello, I really hope someone can help me—I’ve been on hold here for nearly THREE WHOLE MINUTES, and this is an EMERGENCY! My name is Andrea Russell-Klein, of Klein REALTOR® Kings of Portsmouth, and our summer rental business is absolutely DEVASTATED! Our vacationers keep dying, AND their valuables go missing before the coroner can even pick up the bodies! We’re getting torn apart on Yelp with people saying our vacation rentals are ‘cursed’, and I’ve got a stack of complaints from the New Hampshire BBB! Now YOU LISTEN HERE, I WILL NOT let my business go under because of some supernatural hocus pocus! Get a team up here NOW, and TAKE CARE OF THIS!…Please? I can pay you. VERY handsomely.”

Investigators

Content Not Found: null
Miles Jaggens
Dr. Ryan Langston

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Sometimes, dead is better
Storyteller: Evan

“Contingent, Laura Shearer. I need you to look into some disappearances out on Staten Island, there’s kids missing, like they just vanished from their beds. There’s a lot of tension out there, the local cops really don’t know what to do, and it’s out of my jurisdiction. I don’t know if it’s connected, but there’s also a rash of graffiti down there with the tag ‘Cropsey Lives!’ A new gang maybe? Anyway, you owe me, you know why.”

Investigators

Reyna Parker
Fina Aquinas
Jack Mills
Gabrielle Ahern

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When there's no more room in hell...the dead will walk the earth
Storyteller: Adam

“Hello Contingent. This is Senior Special Agent Jenna Ferris with the FBI National Security Branch. My reasons for reaching out to you are twofold.

“First, we’ve been monitoring your activity over the past year and the Bureau believes a repair to the damaged relationship between your organization and the Federal Government should be attempted. With a few exceptions, your agents have been acting admirably while protecting this nation’s citizens.

“Second, we had a man who was on fire attack a US Post Office in Ashland, Pennsylvania. The attack happened after normal operating hours while two carriers were sorting mail for the next day’s delivery. He was brought down by one of the carrier’s emptying an entire magazine from his personal firearm into the suspect. Upon doing so, the fire engulfing the man instantly went out…and this is where you come in. The body did not look burned but instead showed signs of advanced decomposition. His clothing and personal effects were in the style of the early 1960’s. His license was from 1962 and listed him a resident of nearby Centralia…which is impossible. Nobody lives in Centralia…not anymore…”

Investigators

Junior
Dru Westing
Darren Knox
Kenny Crowder
Sir. Nigel Mulberry

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One, Two, He's Coming for You
Storyteller: Byerly

“Hi, this is Bob Risher from Clockmark Productions – one of our interns found your work on the internet and it has really kicked our writers into overdrive! Production is set to start in just a few days and we’d love to have all of you down to the studios to help with the project. All expenses paid, you even get your name in the credits!”

There is a poster in the tube: When it is unrolled, it looks like the following:

image-20180603_125721.jpg

Investigators

Eileen Fisher
Maddy Summers
Morgan Lindsey
Meredith Cohn

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Recovery Room

Samantha was nervous. They all spent time recovering in a hospital together in Idaho, and before that was on a mission with them. But warming up to people, even if she could commiserate with them, was difficult. Not to mention, meeting with Sir Nigel was going to bring more questions than answers, she felt.

They had transferred to New York (with some help from their employer) after most of their injuries had recovered, but a 24-hour watch period was in effect before they would be released. Rhys wasn’t going to show up any time soon, so now was a good time as any to finally follow up with Nigel. She knocked on his door, waiting for him (or rather, Corbett) to respond.

Nigel wheeled to the door, and opened it. He looked up and “Ms. Miller, I was hoping you would come by. Please come in. Corbett has done his very best to make the Contingent hospital library, more hospitable. Mind you, it takes a while to get the clown smell out. I fear we will be back home, before this place it finished being civilized. May I fix you a drink, or send for some of the delicious jello that passes for food here?” Nigel hoped Samantha would bring up the kaleidoscope. Not just for the mystery of why it exists, but how it come to be in John’s keeping and if they can determine who might be using the Millers.

Samantha smiled, holding a hand up as she declined the offer. “Appreciated, but I’m fine. I was looking to follow up with you. You said you knew John, so I was hoping to ask you some questions about him. As I understand it, you also arranged to meet with him recently?” Sam sought out a chair, and settled across from Nigel.

“I did, like yourself I have only recently come to the Contingent recently, but I had the good fortune to have an adventure with John. He was a remarkable man, with a strong heart that is a rarity in this line of work. Most of those who choose this line of work are noble but fueled by tragedy or distracted by the pursuit of knowledge. Being around John, he radiated tranquility and focus, with the exception of that curious spyglass. I chose not to ask about it, at the time, my focus was on finding the missing kids, and thought the man deserved his secrets, I hope you can understand? After the adventure rumors began circulating that folks trying to study the piece were losing their faculties. I had my hands full resolving an outdated adversary who had incorrectly identified the kaleidoscope. I reached out to Mr. Miller but in my truancy I was to late. My inaction may have caused his distraction to worsen, expediting his death. If there is anyway to reduce my regret by serving the Miller family, please let me know.

Sam remained placid as Nigel recounted his interaction with John, taking in the information. She began shaking her head as he neared the end. “It’s not your fault,” she replied, unsure of her own guilt-laden words. “You know, John was… is my baby brother. I didn’t stop him from going back to the contingent because I wasn’t sure if I could help him at all. Not after whatever happened in California. Something awful happened to him last year, and he came back changed. Seriously changed. I know they say stress can age a person, but he seemed to be almost as old as our father. He’s only 26. He was living on and off again with either Rhys or myself because he couldn’t get a place of his own, or employment. Hell, he was flagged for fraud at one point, because no one believed he was ’John Miller, born July 7th, 1992’.”

She eyed Nigel with a discriminating glance before she produced the kaleidoscope from a pocket. “I guess, you could help by telling me what this is?” She held the object gingerly and seemed terribly reluctant to pass it to Nigel. “Dr. Buss had relayed to me that John had intended to meet with you about it, at your request. All I know about it is that he showed up on my doorstep with it. Dressed like he was in some sort of fucked up World War Two reenactment. And that bow. I’ve never seen John use a bow before.” Samantha shook her head, her description sounding as mad as she felt. “I just- I don’t even know where to begin?” She looked at Nigel hopefully.

Nigel held out a velvet case for the kaleidoscope. “We begin with resolve. John came back to the Contingent because he felt like he could make a difference with a company that could understand what he had been through. We resolve to the best of our ability to be the kind of people that your baby brother could depend on. You must resolve to yourself to be that person you must keep an open mind to how terrifying, strange, and beautiful this world can be. I resolve that I will do what I can to solve this mystery for you. My process will be three fold, we must identify both the mundane and magical components that make up the kaleidoscope. This will teach us how to destroy it, or repair it should the need arise. We will begin searching for it, to see if it is unique and obfuscate our possession of it, and we then we will attempt to decipher its message to prepare an appropriate response. I am happy to share my methods with you, should you wish learn. You must prepare yourself to walk an astonishing road, just as much as I must prepare to leave it. Now I insist, let me get you that drink, we should toast your brother.”. Nigel locks the kaleidoscope in the box, and hands Samantha a key for it.

Samantha took the key cautiously. The weight of its burden felt no different in her hands. “There… Might be other pieces to it?” She hesitate, speaking as Nigel called for a round of drinks for Corbett. “Rhys had looked through it previously. As I understood it, he snatched it from John one evening. He’s been a bit listless since, but he spoke of keys and gates, and mentioned that there was a map and a telescope, but the compass was missing?” She thought briefly to the moment a few of them considered opening up a gate to hell to send the Lethe Worms back through. Suddenly, she wasn’t so sure if this journey Nigel spoke of was one she wanted to go on. Sam pointed a finger at the locked box, keeping her eyes locked on Nigel. “I appreciate your help with this, but… be careful with that thing, please? If someone else ends up getting hurt by it, I won’t think twice about casting it into the Hudson.” She noticed her hands were shaking, and quickly stuffed them into pockets, tucking the key away in the process. She hid her nervousness behind a thin smile, as she glanced from Nigel to Corbett, who was now holding a glass out for her. “Drinks it is, I suppose. Why stop now? To John.”

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Finding Peace in the Horrors ...
... and taking the Horrors to task.

VOICEMAIL – Friday, June 15, 2018 – 8:45PM ET

“Samantha. Hi, this is Darren Knox. I know we haven’t yet been able to be properly introduced, but I would like to meet with you to discuss some things. I know it is still a rough point in time for you, and believe me, I can relate. However, I think your life and mine have intersected thanks to the actions of our lost loved ones.”

TEXT MESSAGE – Friday, June 15, 2018 – 8:47PM ET

“Barely Disfigured
257 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11231“


BARELY DISFIGURED – Saturday, June 16, 2018 – 4:02PM ET

The doors had just unlocked as Darren was approaching.

“Hey, at least I get Happy Hour specials at this time of day. Gotta be careful with the cash for now” he thought as he opened the door and waved at the bartender.

“Can I get a tall gin and tonic? I’m going to head to the booth in the back.” he said to her as he laid a ten dollar bill on the counter and walked toward the back. “If anyone comes in looking for me, just point them my way.”

A few short minutes later, Samantha entered the bar, pausing for a moment to allow her eyes to adjust to the low lights. She quickly scanned the bar for Darren, but being that they had never met, she wasn’t totally sure of who she was looking for. Approaching the bar, she fired off a quick text to him, letting him know that she had arrived.

“Rum with Coke please. Double tall.” she said to the bartender, offering a thin smile. “Also, I am looking for someone. Darren Knox? Know him?”

The bartender smiled and pointed toward the back corner of the bar and offered to deliver the drink to their table.

Sam wasted no time heading over and took a seat across from the man.

“Mr. Knox?” she said.

“Darren, please. And you must be Samantha Miller. Nice to finally meet you.” he said as the bartender arrived to deliver their drinks.

Darren gave the bartender a warm smile and a nod of appreciation before turning back to Ms. Miller.

“Samantha, I have an issue and I am hoping that you might be able to give me a little insight as to what might have happened. Your brother had a spyglass that people referred to as “The Kaleidoscope.” Do you know anything about that object?” Darren asked, followed by a large gulp from his glass.

Samantha paled at the mention of the Kaleidoscope.

“I know of it. At least from John. And Rhys.” The later name was muttered with a bit of exasperation. “There is a man. Sir Nigel? Have you meet him before? I’ve been talking with him about it. Nigel had contacted Johnathan about it prior to his death.” Her throat tightened at the mention of John’s passing, and was promptly drowned with some of her drink. “Why do you ask?”

“I do know Sir Nigel. Good man. A bid odd, but he knows his shit.” Darren began. “The reason I ask is that I think that when John brought that thing back, or forward, maybe,” his head cocked to one side “with him, I think it caused some issues with timelines.”

With another gulp of gin and tonic, Darren continued “I think that it brought my parents back from the dead, or something. And I think that it also brought back a Demon. And I think the Demon then cashed in on a pact with my parents to take my entire inheritance from me. Took my ownership of my company, Knox Industries, at the very least.”

Darren sat back in his chair, downing the rest of his drink and raising it toward the bartender with a smile.

Sam choked on her rum and coke. “Forward? I mean, I know what he said happened last year. They sent him out to California. He was the only one to return too. He said they killed it.” She paused. “But he couldn’t remember anything afterwards. We found him six months later. He called us. He was in terrible shape an in some weird reenactment get up, but nothing was mentioned about bringing something back.”

“Honestly, I am admittedly making some assumptions about what happened. I know he got sucked into the past and when he returned to this time, he had the object. He was alive again in this time and so were a few other things that had previously been killed or destroyed." Darren said with a sigh. He continued "Long and short of it is that I need any and all information you have on that thing. Has anyone done any research on its origins, its purpose, its creator, anything? Because it may well be the key to being able to take out whatever is coming after me.” Darren said, trailing off a bit as the bartender approached again with a fresh gin and tonic for him.

“Something is after you?” Paler still, she mulled over what Darren had presented to her. “Are you telling me time travel is real? Don’t answer that. I’m already bothered that ‘baby brother’ came back to our doorstep as ‘older brother’.” She held a white knuckled grip on her drink, deciding her next words.

“I can try talking to Dr. Skinner again, to see if he would be willing to release anything about John’s sessions with him. Also, perhaps you could talk with Sir Nigel as well. He’s helping me handle the Kaleidoscope right now." Samantha paused "I … Rhys has seen some things recently as well. Apparently he snatched the scope from John and had a hard meltdown shortly after. He opened up about it recently to me, saying he saw John and some other man in chains, but wouldn’t go much further into it. Maybe it’s related?” Samantha rubbed at a temple. Her eyes were beginning to show what seemed to be a common trait among the Millers. Dark bags and a heavy expression.

“Also, uh… Dr. Buss has John’s body. You could… ask him something about his autopsy. I’m not sure if that would help given that he…” she trailed off, either unable or not willing to complete the sentence.

“Honestly, Sam, you might have a better shot at getting something from the shrink. Family usually has a little more sympathy from the courts and the Doc’s themselves. I would need some legit legal claim and I’m not that creative right now.” Darren said with mild exasperation.

“Rhys might be a better option for me to talk to, personally. Actually, anyone that had looked through it might be of help, at least in figuring out what it does. Rhys is the most likely to give me some insight into what happened to John that might have lead us here.” Darren continued.

“Thank you, again, for meeting with me Sam. I lost them once, and then I lost their legacy, and now I have the opportunity to lose them all over again. I need to put an end to this before it gets out of hand.” he said as he reached out with his hand to put it oh her shoulder before thinking better of it and placing it firmly on the table.

Sam nodded solemnly as he thanked her for meeting him.

“I’ll see if Rhys is willing to chat about it." she responded. “He’s been a bit of a clam recently, but any mention of the Kaleidoscope gets his attention. I’m just not keen on his … Obsession.”

Samantha paused for a moment. "John was similar, when he was trying to figure it out, but he ended up turning us away about it. He did mention that some other folks did look into it as well. Jack Mills, I believe was the name? John was doing better around that time several months ago, said he had some ideas after he spoke with the man. He also showed it to some folk in Research and Development. Some woman, Vicki, I think? She didn’t handle the exposure too well. Apparently John failed to mention a few things and he was tearing himself up about it for weeks.” Samantha sniffed, taking a moment to regain her composure.

With a deep breath, her expression hardened, "I’ll see what I can do to help you get some answers, but if more people end up getting hurt by that … thing, I’m casting it in concrete and tossing it into the Hudson.”

“Oh, I get it. I’m hoping that whatever my resolution to this is involves its utter and complete destruction. If it somehow brings Demons back from real death, it has to go.” Darren replied.

“I will check in with Jack and Vicki and see what I can find, as well. Thanks again.” he said as he looked out across the bar as it had began to fill.

“Take care of yourself, Sam. This job is hell on a person, but the stronger you are, the more good you can do. Your brother gave his life, but he saved who knows how many people from the horrors that are out there.” he said as he stood up, leaving a $20 on the table under his glass.

Samantha reached out, touching his arm briefly. “Before you go, could you do me a favor? I don’t want to leverage a favor for a favor, but when you have the time, could you tell me a bit about a man named Richard Miller?” She retracted her arm quickly, pulling her drink closer. “I’m not expecting an answer right now, but anything you can send my way would be appreciated.”

She offered a last, thin smile. “I’ve got your number, I will keep in touch.”

“I will see what I can do. We’re all in this together, now. We have to stay close and work together.” Darren offered with a smile. “We can’t let ourselves be controlled by the monsters in our closets. Let them out so you can look them in the eye when you destroy them.”

Darren turned and walked through the bar, stopping to speak to the bartender briefly before stepping out of the darkness of the bar and into the light of the day.

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Family Tradition, Part 1

Samantha and Rhys eyed the grey-haired man sitting across from them. It had been little over a year since they last met; A family reunion of sorts around Christmas, 2016. It wasn’t a particularly happy reunion then. It certainly wasn’t one now. He seemed to be mulling over the news Samantha had just shared with him, though he didn’t seem terribly surprised or distressed.

“So that’s it? Jesus, dad. I know he was adopted, but he was your son. Our brother.” Samantha’s voice was wreathed with scorn. “Surprise, some sort of response, – anything! – would be nice!” Sam was leaning forward, taking an aggressive posture as Rhys shrunk back into his chair, chewing on a fingernail.

The old man glowered at his daughter in response. “Believe it or not, Samantha, this isn’t what I wanted for John. Not for him, not for any of you!” His nostrils flared with a sharp exhale. “You think I’m distant out of spite, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!”

“You left us! You-” Sam shouted back. Rhys sat upright, interjecting himself as he rest a hand on Sam’s shoulder. “You were gone without a trace for almost fourteen years. No explanation, nothing. We practically raised John after that. So, excuse us for being a little upset about your response. Showing up out of the blue and trying to reconnect with your kids doesn’t exactly make up for lost trust.” Sam was taken aback by by Rhys’s interjection, but nodded along.

The older man huffed, and shook his head. “Look, I get that, and I don’t expect forgiveness for that, but it was to protect you. All of you.” He paused, tilting his head slightly. “And I know that Richard was a little too big for his britches, but he was there for John and you both, too.”

Rhys blinked and shook his head. “Who the fuck is Richard? Why do people keep mentioning Richard?” Sam pursed her lips, looking at her father expectantly. He returned the look, quizzical.

“What do you mean, ‘Who is Richard’?” The old man’s expression turned to one of concern. “He’s your brother. Archaeologist. Taught at Tulane for a while? Hell, you threw a fuckin’ bottle of wine at him two years ago for, and I quote, ‘Being a pompous dick’.”

Rhys was about to raise his own voice, before Sam shushed him. She recalled Rhys throwing a bottle at… Someone? She pinched her temples as static filled the anomalous gap in her memory. She shook it from her mind and looked back to her father. “Look, I don’t know who Richard is, but John mentioned him too, as did a… Co-worker. You and John are saying he’s our brother, but this other guy said he was just a friend of John’s.”

Their father lofted his brows at the mention of ‘Friend’, giving them a dubious expression. “Friend might be a strong word to use, but he is definitely your brother. Who the hell do you think took legal guardianship over you three?” He fished out a wallet from his back pocket, retrieving a few small folded items from it and passing them to her. “Go ahead, look.”

Sam took the folded photos and glanced at them, each a family photo of sorts. One in particular stood out. It was dated January 1st, 1990, about a year before their mother died. In the picture was Sam and Rhys, situated on either side of another child, who was slightly older. Behind them kneeled their mother and father. On the back, a small note read, “‘Our three, beautiful children, Richard, Samantha, and Rhys’. – Gerald and Joyce Miller”. She frowned. She couldn’t recognize the face, and Rhys look just as confused, and snatched it from Sam’s hands.

Sam leaned over, before casting a dubious glance to Gerald Miller. “What, did you photoshop this to fuck with us?”

Gerald quirked a bushy brow at her again. “You think I know how to use photoshop?”

“Wouldn’t matter,” Rhys interjected. “Wasn’t released until the following month. I suppose it could be, but that’s a lot of effort for a deadbeat.”

Rhys withered slightly at the incoming glower from his father, but composed himself and sat straighter. Gerald relented in his glare, letting out a long and tired sigh. “I s’pose Millers don’t get to die peacefully. I s’pose not being around doesn’t prevent one from snooping where they shouldn’t, either.” He took the photos back, looking them over once more.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” The twins asked in unison.

“Means you wound up being hunters. I wasn’t terribly pleased when he was telling John about some of his work. I don’t know how he got involved, but he sure as hell got John roped into it.” He gestured hopelessly to the twins as his stony expression began to crack apart. “And you two as well. I didn’t- I didn’t want that kind of life for you." The older man’s composure faltered as sorrow placed its full weight upon his worn shoulders. "Not at all. I left, I had no choice.”

Sam frowned, as she watched her father break down into tears. Tears stung her own eyes, recognizing genuine grief. She harbored anger towards the man: for an inexcusable absence; for abandonment. But it couldn’t stand against a tide of her own heartache.

She stood up, quietly excusing herself from the table. Rhys gave her a nod, coping quietly as he made his own internal judgements about his father. “I’m stepping outside for a moment. I’ll be back with drinks: There’s a lot to discuss, and apparently we’re going to need it.”

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Losses and Gains
A brief account from a guy with red in his ledger

Goddamn, what a couple of months.

“Travel the world!” everyone had said. “Meet new people, go to interesting places. The world is yours for the taking!” Even now, a 15 year old commercial played on the shiny flatscreen trying to get people to buy timeshares in Miami, or Cozumel, or somewhere else a cruise ship goes.

Kenny had the volume up just enough to drown out the AC unit and the buzzing neon sign outside. Extended-stay motels had gotten a lot nicer since he’d been staying in the between fishing seasons, but the “NO VACANCY” signs were still straight out of the 80s. Same with the infomercials.

“Travel the world!” I had. USA, mostly, but there were some international waters out there. I brought back money, left a friend or two. “Meet new people!” Buddy, had I ever. One of them had gotten torn apart by something and needed a blood transfusion. Another one of them gave me a pot brownie. Then we went to the woods and killed a vampire in a tree. Kenny smirked at the thought, just how ridiculous it sounded, then went back to writing. He’d been told to practice “fine motor skills” with his new arm, and there was a pen and paper sitting on the nightstand. That and the “local, artisanal whisky” were the finest things in the room. Most everything else was in some state of disrepair, or covered in mud, blood, or worse. There was a pristine red and yellow scarf, barely peeking out of the drawer that it got all to itself.

Another one wasn’t real, and there I tried cocaine for the first time before smashing up a doll with a real mean streak. That was two drugs in two assignments…wait, three if you count painkillers. I don’t think anyone would though, they’re legal most anywhere. Some places I’ve been even have stores dedicated to whatever flavor you fancied. The fine, local artisanal whisky tasted like someone was trying really hard NOT to make Jim Beam, and didn’t do that great a job. Still, it was booze, drinkable with a fistful of ice in a glass that probably hadn’t been properly washed in a while. “Go to interesting places!”

Kenny tore off the top sheet of the notepad. His lettering wasn’t as small as he could have done before.

FUK U 8====D

“Damn kids” he muttered, figuring some miscreants had left him a note buried in the pad. He doodled his own contribution, a janky circle bisected by a T with dots in the lower sections before tearing it off the pad, crumpling it, and tossing it toward a trash can chock full of glass bottles. It bounced into the corner.

“Fuck me” indeed. That’s the part we’re at now. The next couple of “people” I’d met tore out part of my soul and most of my arm, respectively. I can’t get the image of either one of them out of my head, and they couldn’t be more different. Him, with his eyes glowing red, pure animal fury like I’d never seen with strips of my arm in his…claws? Were they claws? Probably. Clean, treatable cuts were they only way I didn’t bleed out. Her, seductive and inviting, and only wanting pieces of my mind and soul in exchange for me and mine’s lives. She’d left a mark on me, in more ways than one. Me and mine. That terrible memory came rushing back. A woman and a child, important to him for reasons he couldn’t work out, being thrown through a door by something not quite human. The worms showed me part of what she’d taken, I think. What came before it, I figure. Then I killed them.

I killed them all.

The rest of them said it was pure agony. His hands began to shake, remembering what he’d done. It was all for his friends, right? It wasn’t just because he was following orders, right?

When he regained his composure, Kenny’s eyelids hurt from closing so hard, and the Bic in his hand more resembled a banana than a writing instrument. His eyes opened onto a dropper bottle with a green cross on it. He’d picked it up on the way back from Eileen’s from a dark alleyway and a shadier fella. “One drop of this and you’ll have the most fantastic high. Two drops…we’ll see how we get on with one”, she’d said. Kenny squeezed the bulb, released it, unscrewed the top, and emptied it into his glass, then topped it off with some of Dumbo’s Finest.

“Heh, Dumbo. Bring on the fucking pink elephants.”

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What's in the Box: Safety
Eileen has a realization

‘I really shouldn’t have done that’ I thought. The note specifically said a drop, but there was no way I was going to let Kenny do this alone. Apparently two drops within an hour of each other , and whisky was overdoing it. It wasn’t a bad high, I was just starting to see shit. Not seeing, like with the ritual. It was more like memories floating around in my consciousness.

I was back in Eagle Bay, in the forest. I hadn’t intended to give Kenny that particular brownie, which I felt bad about, but somehow, we managed to find our way into the forest. Then the wolf bites my leg, and I crumple to the ground. In comparison to my most recent injuries, it didn’t seem so bad. Once I am up again, I started to feel angry. It seemed so incredibly foreign to me because I don’t get mad. I thought that I was angry at my Mother after my Dad disappeared. But that was a child’s confusion and loss, this was rage. It was raw, visceral. I wanted to lash out, but I managed to hold myself together. Until we reached the darkness, anyway. I needed to look at it, study it, but then everyone started yelling, and the anger flared . I was about to hit Doctor Buss in the face, but then I felt rage that was stronger than mine, and it said “STOP, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELVES, YOU ANIMALS “. It was coming from Kenny, and I could feel the anger lessening, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I may be reckless, but I am in control of my own actions. Kenny had bound us together as a pack with his rage, and I felt safe.

I thought about Sam. I thought about when I put two and two together about him being a Vampire, and the wave of animalistic rage that hit me like a ton of bricks. Every fiber of my being was telling me to run, but I stood my ground. But then we talked, and he asked me if I was sure that I wanted to learn more about blood magic. Asking me if I was okay with what was happening every step of the way. Somehow he understood how important that was to me. I had heard things about Vampires, that they manipulate you, and take what they want, and that is exactly what Kourakis did. He touched my shoulder, and I would have done anything for him, I would have died for him. I almost did…

After I woke up from my surgery, I spent a lot of time thinking about what makes someone a monster. It definitely did not make me feel better, I was conflicted and off balance. Then Sam called, and said that he knows what to do with the cube. I said, “Yes, let’s do this. It’s not like I’ve been running around for years, getting nowhere. Let’s do this thing”

During the ritual, during the chanting, I saw Kourakis again, touching my shoulder, and I felt Sam’s rage slam into me, but I kept going because I feel safe, even though I’m losing a lot of blood. I felt safe when I woke up, because he’s waiting to see if I’m okay. Even when he’s obviously not. There was a lot of blood. He’s telling me to run, and he could have just attacked me from the start, but he’s telling me to run. So, I did. I was terrified, but not afraid.

I felt safe when Kenny took control of the situation with his rage. Sam’s rage felt safe, because it wasn’t directed at me, he was protective of me. I had never had that before, I always had to be strong for myself. I thought about this for a moment, and then my brain caught up with itself. Oh, hell, this makes so much sense, but it’s still really fucked up…maybe? I’m not scared of him, I think I’ve already forgiven him… It’s not his fault he lost control…but still… I look over at Kenny next to me on the couch, and he’s looking at me like I have three heads. Wait, was I talking out loud this whole time?

“Crap, crap, crappity, shitfuck.”

Kenny looked at me, concerned. “Are you…okay?

“Yeah, no, I’m good.” I pour myself some more whisky with shaky hands.

He raises his eyebrows, seeing through my lie. “No, you’re not.”

“I thought we weren’t going to talk about anything serious tonight.”

“But you want to. So spill.”

I took out my knitting, because I needed to have something to do with my hands, and the sound of the needles took the edge off. What should I say? What CAN I say?

I took a deep breath. “Do you remember, when we were in Eagle Bay, it seems so long ago. And you used your rage to take control of the group. I was afraid, because I never get angry, but your rage, it made me feel…safe? Like I was a part of something bigger than myself.” I pause, really thinking about what I want to say. “I guess…do you think it’s weird, if I feel rage from someone else, I get that same feeling of safety? I mean…we’ve seen some shit now, I’ve seen what…” what he truly is “I’ve seen some monsters, and I’m not afraid, and I know that everyone would tell me I’m being stupid. And maybe I am, but I don’t think he would ever actually…”

I drop the knitting and grab the whiskey and pour a large amount into both glasses. “You know what, nevermind. I’m just drunk.” I tried very hard not to look at the bandage around my hand. “Why don’t we watch another movie huh?”

“Eileen,” Kenny began as their glasses clinked together for the …seventh?… time this evening. I didn’t catch exactly how it happened, but he’d raised his higher than mine and was somehow holding it down so I couldn’t drink it. “You’re not being stupid. You’re enthusiastic. It’s probably your best quality. You get something in your head and you’re after it, everything else be damned.” He relaxed the hold on the glass. “Sometimes when you’re chasing whatever it is that’s on your mind that day, you forget to look both ways before crossing the road. You’ve been burned by it, but we all have. We just have to look out for each other and hope for the best.”

My eyes start to tear up, and I reach into a cardboard box under the couch, that contained extra yarn, finished pieces, and some that were still in progress. I wrap a soft scarlet and gold scarf around his neck. “You are totally a Gryffindor, and you are the best of all of us.” I give him and hug, and when he hugs me back, I start to relax. I feel safe.

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