There’s been an incident. Not something involving Alexandra Melmoth– at least, not directly– but something I think is significant nonetheless. It happened out in the woods, at the cabin where Jase Peterson and Possum Reynolds held Alexandra back at the beginning of all this. I don’t know yet if that’s significant. It may have just been an isolated place to carry out an act they didn’t want interrupted. I’ll find out soon. But first, let me tell you what happened.
I was catching a few hours’ sleep at the Fat Beaver when I got a call from John Cheveyo. I hadn’t heard from him in a few days, but I knew that the Rangers had been keeping an eye out for Alexandra on the reservation. They’re also working on something with Heyoka involving the Mountain Door. I need to pay some attention to that, as soon as possible. Alexandra’s condition has taken precedence over my deal with the Sad Man, but if that Door opens again and I haven’t found him a solution to the problem of the Black Mirror Brute, another couple will die.
At any rate, their routine patrols for Alexandra are what clued them in to the incident: they’d been making periodic checks of the cabin. It’s a place she knows, and a good hiding place besides. So when Hototo pulled up to the place and saw a light in the window, he thought he’d found her. No such luck.
But this isn’t my story, it’s his. Turning report over to Somnambulist Recall, for a transcript of Hototo’s exact words as he told the story to me.
[SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION BEGINS…SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION BEGINS…SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION BEGINS…]
Agent X-23 (groggy): So it wasn’t Alexandra?
Alo Xenotype Designate Mark Hototo: No. Almost wish it had been, though. Might not have smelled so bad.
Alo Xenotype Designate John Cheveyo: Might have left you a lot deader, though.
Hototo: Came pretty close as it was.
X-23 (sips coffee, sighs): Maybe you should just tell me what happened.
Hototo: Yanaba’s grumpy tonight.
X-23 (takes another sip, raises cup): This will help with that. Now, you were saying…?
Hototo: Right. I could see a light in the window from a distance. So I called it in and went to see what I could see. When I got a little closer, I heard a voice. Kind of sing-songy. The tune almost sounded familiar, but something about it set my teeth on edge. Like nails on a blackboard, you know? There was medicine in it. Black medicine.
So I pulled my gun and snuck right up to the window. Two figures inside, male. One of ’em was a big sucker, bald, kept to the shadows. But the other one, the one who was doing the singing, him I got a good look at. Tall, rangy fellah. Kinda fancy, but he’d maybe seen better days. Sharp dresser, but a little gaudy. Purple jacket, looked like the color had faded. Wavy brown hair, kinda mussed. The one thing about him that didn’t look disheveled was this big handlebar mustache. That, he had trimmed, waxed, and perfect. Sound familiar?
X-23 (nods): Sounds like Jackson Curry. Go on.
Hototo: So the fancy man… Let’s just call him Curry, okay? I think we’re all pretty sure that’s who we’re talking about here. So Curry was holding this big book in his hands. Looked like a scrap book, or an old-timey photo album. Pages were a mess. Filthy. Notes sticking out all over. But he had it open and I realized that whatever he was singing, he was getting it out of that book.
Then I noticed that he was standing over something laid out on that rickety old table Possum and Jase had in there. Something wrapped up in a sheet. Hard to see from the window, but it was sorta… wriggling. Not moving, understand. It laid there dead as a brick. All the movement was on the surface, like there were a million angry worms writhing around on it. But it wasn’t worms. It was the flesh knitting itself back together on the thing. Because it was getting bigger, starting to fill out in bits and pieces. And as it did, I realized that I was looking at a body.
Once I knew that, something clicked in my head, and I recognized that song Curry was singing. The tune of it, the basic rhythm, was the same as the song we use here on the Mountain to sing the dead off to the beyond. But it was twisted around. Discordant. The words sounded like the Old Alo, but… wrong. Not backwards, exactly. Sideways, maybe. It was wrong, whatever it was, and that’s what was messing with my head. But just as I was figuring that out, and I mean right at that split second… The body sat up.
I stumbled back. Might’ve let out a yelp.
X-23: But I’m guessing unfortunate?
Hototo: Yeah. Yeah, they heard me. The big one started for the door, and I hauled ass back toward the truck. Sounded like he was behind me at first. But then a scream came up from inside the cabin. Anguished. Not Curry. Sounded like somebody waking up in Hell. I heard a crash, and chanced a look back over my shoulder. The big guy had evidently gone back in. I heard Curry yelling something. Couldn’t make out much of it. Definitely heard him shout the name “Billy” at one point. Also… And this doesn’t make sense. But also, I thought I heard him say “doodle.”
[SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPT ENDS.]
And that’s that. Hototo got back in the truck and retreated until his backup arrived. But by the time they returned to the cabin, Curry and his entourage were gone. Speaking of whom…
I think it’s safe to assume that the big one was your Deep Joe, sir. “Billy,” I’m assuming, is that Level Twelve psychic malignancy Curry subdued when he infiltrated HQ. And if your story from Timothy Danforth is to be believed, I think Hototo heard right. Curry was performing some sort of necromantic rite in there, to revive his old henchman Doodle the Clown. It seems he really is “getting the band back together.”
Which brings me no closer to finding Alexandra, or to finding a way to deal with the Black Mirror Brute. But I thought you’d like to know.
– Agent X-23, signing off.