Monday Night Madness

Amidst the Ancient Trees, chapter 4

Blood at the Beach...

Sunday, June. 25th, 1922 – Edith awakes deep in the forest with Antony. Striking out northwards in hopes of eventually finding the others, they come across a devastated camp-site by mid-morning. Blood, ripped tents, and weird scattered paintings unnerve Edith, as do the familiar descriptions of dreams in a notebook she finds. She realizes the camp-site belonged to the Boston Artists they’d heard about. Soon they come across a Texas cowboy hat, and a rifle, which she deduces belonged to the other pair of father & son hunters, the Halls. Following the trail where they were clearly dragged off, they eventually come across the rest of the search party. Carol and Emily have had enough for now, deciding instead to rest a bit on the trail while everyone else continues on. They eventually come to a split in the road, and several suffer from deja-vous when they see the lesser trail covered in unseasonal yellow leaves. Following the smaller path they find an oddly familiar Cabin. Inside they find evidence of the undead civil war soldiers (coats on hooks, rusted rifles, etc), and note a strange blue glow coming from beneath the floorboards. Emptying their cooking oil they set fire to the place and leave. Soon they reach the edge of a lake, where they are horrified to find the missing artists, bound to poles, each with a large metal barb shoved through their chest to pin them in place. Worse, they should be dead, but are still somehow barely alive. Shaken, Hayward takes a swig from the flask he swiped from Edith the previous evening, resulting in a fight with Edith and Jonson. Father Ward in turn gives the sufferers the last sacrament, while Anne-Ann, sliding ever deeply into her madness, unties them and starts yanking out the spikes in their chests. Breathing his last, one Artist whispers they had been abducted by undead union soldiers, then held with several others (a man, a boy, and a teenage girl) at some sort of dig-site before this. The men at the site were using dynamite and shovels to dig something up. He begs them to kill him, as something in the water is coming, the same thing that infected them and won’t let them die. Anne-Ann does so, yanking out spine after spine, so that the hills echo with their dying screams. Shaken, the Investigators continue along the water’s edge towards the dig-site, when they encounter James and Dean, two workers from the dig-site, coming to investigate the screaming. Unsuspecting, the Investigators reveal what they found and what they have done, and are caught flat footed when the men whip out knives and begin stabbing them. Antony hits one so hard his neck snaps loudly and tilts to one side, and the Investigators realize the workmen too are dead. Ward faints, Hayward flees screaming, and Anne-Ann finally snaps for good, wondering over to the unconscious priest and burying him in the sand, muttering “and now we will bake you into a new god!” Though they manage to dispatch the undead workmen with much hacking and shooting, the Investigators are in bad shape! Father Ward and Hayward are badly shaken, Jonson is unconscious and dying, and Edith close to it. And poor Anne-Ann is now completely mad!

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