- “’Just’ Justin Churchill,” Biology major and bird-enthusiast outdoorsman.
- “Gerald M. Mayer,” F.O.C. Geologist and corporate chaperone.
- “Leopold Flanagan,” tenured Professor of Religion & expedition chaperone.
- “Adleine ‘Sunshine’ Fredrick,” cheerful Anthropology major.
- “Bernherd Whately (of the Arkham Whatelys”), Varsity Football hero and Chemistry major.
- “Ethan Froam,” dilettante student artist on hard times.
- “Octavia Franklin,” dour Archaeology student fated to be a crazy cat-lady.
The Arkham expedition heads on in to Joe’s Grill and are just placing their orders when Sheriff Spencer and Deputy Cutter come in. The Sheriff sidles up to the bar, gets a cup of coffee, then reads them the riot act, informing them at length that he will have none of the shenanigans that happened last year. With that he tips his hat and leaves. Deputy Cutter sticks around though, apologizing for his boss and asks if he can join them, offering to give them a tour of the town afterwards. They agree and get to talking with the handsome young deputy (several noting an awkward exchange between him and expedition leader Robert Blaine in regards to the missing members of last year’s expedition). Gerald tries probing deputy and Jim’s wife, Ann, in regards to the missing students, to little avail, but Just takes interest in Ann’s son sketching weird trees in the corner and enjoys (?) a rather odd conversation with young Jason because of it (including the youngster razzing the deputy for getting too old). After their late lunch, true to his word Deputy Cutter gives them the tour and introduces them to many locations and locals about town, including (but not limited to) the Librarian Mable Carruthers and her niece, Amanda Wells, Rev. Wilson, Karner’s Goods grocery story, Dr. Perry’s Office, and the War Memorial (with its fully functional canon!). He warns them to avoid Jimmy Maclearan (a notorious drunk and the Sheriff’s brother-in-law who lost his farm –the same one they’re now staying at – after his wife died) and Richard Wendell (the nosy reporter whom they met earlier). Afterwards he drives back with them to the Maclearan Farmhouse, and sticks around to share a little whisky from his flask (on the down-low! No telling his boss!) while they share ghost stories. When his turn comes around, he tells them of how the neighborhood kids dare each-other to stay in the house because they believe Maclearan’s wife still haunts the place. After he leaves they settle down for the night, and Just and Octavia (along with a few others) are haunted by curious dreams, which they keep to themselves upon waking. After breakfast Ethan has a very peculiar “vision” of a strange bipedal rat slaughtering a hare while transiting from the outhouse earlier, decides to keep the experience to himself, but spends his off-hours over the next day or so sketching the creature. When they are all ready Blaine breaks them all into two groups. The Anthropology & Folklore team drive into town with him to question the locals, while the handyman, Joe Harlow, drives the rest to a dig-site he’d picked out to survey. The town-team hears little of interest save a story about a ghost-hound that haunts one of the neighboring hills, while the other group finds little outside of a single Indian arrowhead. Regrouping that evening at the Farm, the Arkhamites are concerned about the incoming storm (given all the work they’d done), but settle down as best they may, despite the heat. Most sleep uncomfortably, and while both Just and Ethan wake briefly to note Blaine stepping out, only Ethan thinks he hears a strange buzzing noise in the distance, like bees. As the night wears on, Octavia and Just are again haunted by strange dreams…