Shadows over Appalachia

Bad to Worse

Dear Journal,

Well, we managed to get out of Big Don’s without too much trouble, if you call “being pursued by a rogue government agency hit squad” not too much trouble. Still, we needed to get out of the building and not draw too much attention. I set up a little smoke bomb thing. Nothing much, some sparks, a lot of smoke, and nothing left. I tossed it in a frying pan and set it off. Pulled the fire alarm, and then we all trotted out and scattered when the rest of the complex emptied.

We met up at the rookie’s place. It’s pretty basic stuff, lot of Target furniture. Looks like a college age bachelor pad. Rookie keeps a nice place. We eventually hash out a plan to retrieve that metal box that Freedom and Alan found underneath Mr. Goins’ trailer. We get out there, and the place is crawling with angry Melungens. Eventually, most of them leave but the 20 or 30 that remain behind are more than enough to fill us full of holes. Ironknife and Annabelle did their magic thing, and Veiled themselves. I didn’t see much, but I HEARD it when one of them dropped something heavy. That perked up the matriarch of the guards. Freedom and Alan let off wolf howls from somewhere nearby, and I tossed a rock as far away from where I thought Ironknife and Annabelle were. Between the three of us, it did the trick. Ironknife and Annabelle got back to us, and we hustled off to the Ranger station to open the box.

Ironknife put up a circle around it just in case, and said it was safe to try and open it. I, uh, gave it my best shot. I’m more used to fiddling with standard locks, not these old timey ones and it was TOUGH to boot! I resorted to the crowbar. Yeah, that didn’t work either. Eventually Ironknife magic’ed it open. That’s when it all went bad. SOMETHING tried to get out of there, and the rookie jumped on top of the box to shut it. This proved to be a mistake. A nasty spirit, one tied to Winter, let loose on him and started trying to bind itself to him. Of course, the poor kid panicked and ran out of the circle. This complicated things. The wolves wrestled newbie down and I tried to get him calm again, while Ironknife threw some kind of barrier around him. That seemed to help, but the kid was pretty upset at this point. Luckily, Ironknife whipped up a nice binding and we shoved the spirit back into the box. Ironknife also had the foresight to throw whatever was IN the box out of it. Annabelle opened it up and showed us a very old, yet very shiny bronze spear point.

Near as we could figure, this little beauty was someone from way back when. Ironknife got on the horn with the White Council and told us that in order to wake the dragon, the bad guys would need something used to bind it originally. Three guesses what that spear point is. We heard some motor bikes and hustled out of there…and then we heard the gun shots. We got back as the bikers were leaving. The ranger was busted up pretty bad, but I managed to get her stable and conscious. We called the paramedics, and made a war plan. We were going to find these bastards and give them what for.

We found ‘em alright. Big clearing, helicopter, lotsa bikers and paramilitary types. A couple of suits as well. I saw them talking, and eventually this HUGE metal box opened up, and let out a monster. A literal, real, pants-wettingly terrifying monster. A loup-garou. I had read about them in my parents’ library when I was younger. You do NOT fuck with Loup-Garou. It was clearly being controlled by this techno-gadget thing around its neck. How do I know that? Because it didn’t immediately start killing everyone around it.

Freedom hid behind a tree, and gave us the low down. The suits were government types, and had hired Eddie Sledge to look for us. They knew we were around, and that we probably had something they wanted. They roughed up the Ranger (Freedom was particularly agitated at this, and pretty much wants them dead…well, more than usual), and Ironknife went really, really quiet. That is not good news. Then, something happened I can honestly say I did not expect. Rookie mutters something under his breath, and the lovely blue LEDs on the color go out, one by one. One of the suits looks up, and almost seems to look right at us…and that’s when all Hell broke loose.

I admit it, I ran. A loup-garou is way, way, WAY out of our league, and now any possible control that was over it was gone. It would just start murdering in a spiral and take out anything within reach that it can hear, see, or smell. Sadly, it was REALLY good at all of these tasks. Alan bolted past me as a wolf, with the rookie and Annabelle right behind me. Freedom and Ironknife were farther back…at least I prayed they were back there. We hit the car, and my mind had only a few seconds to recognize that Alan was in the front seat, completely naked. I shoved Annabelle up front, crammed the rookie into the back, and hopped in myself. Alan tore off…towards the valley. I heard the thump of the helicopter, and some screaming. Well, Sledge’s boys certainly would get more than they could handle tonight. Alan skidded to a halt and turned the car around, only getting it right way just as Freedom and Ironknife skidded to a halt. I pulled Ironknife in, and Freedom leaped across all of us.

Alan punched it…and never have I wanted a car to go faster in my life. I heard the oncoming death…and it was LOUD. thump, Thump, THUMP. Alan skidded out a few times, but he got traction and we finally started hauling. Too bad the loup-garou got to us first. I thank whatever person bolted on Alan’s bumper, because when the loup-garou tore open the trunk and shattered the back window, the bumper came off and tangled it up for a bit. Alan sped off, and we seemed to be gaining ground. That’s when I realized the trunk that we bound that spirit in was bouncing around…with precious little between it and getting jostled out of the hole in the trunk. I did something REALLY stupid. I leaned out the shattered window, and held on to that trunk. Then, more death approached. I saw that loup-garou, really saw it up close. It is like NOTHING you will ever see. I thought I was going to die. My life flashed before my eyes. That’s when I did the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I said something stupid like “Wanna see a magic trick?” and dumped about half my stash of props into its face. 52 cards, an old hankerchief, and one of those super long knotted bits of cloth all flew into its face. This caused it to lose focus for just one second, and it slipped on some gravel and fell over the side of the road, down the mountain. We sped off into the night, me clutching that box with one hand, half stuck out a window, Freedom growling at the last howls of frustration from our foe. We had escaped!


technoir wkotas

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