Report 3: Love and Blood


An eventful day.

The continental breakfast at the Opa Lodge was just as magnificent as I’d suspected it might be. Fresh eggs from coops on the mountain, venison sausage, and a small bread loaf with a crisp outer crust and soft yeasty center that I’m sure I’ll be raving about for years to come. And the coffee! A lawman’s dream come true. So good that I fished the thermos out of the back of the car and got them to fill it up for me.

Sheriff Patton and Captain Cheveyo both seem highly competent and helpful law enforcement officers, dedicated and concerned with their community’s welfare. Patton is a no-nonsense type, the sort of skeptic I find quite handy in the field, where I have to remind myself that a murder is sometimes just a murder. Cheveyo, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystic. Comes with the territory, he says. The Alo reservation is spirit-haunted, he tells me, and sometimes his duties involve things he can’t readily explain.

I kept this in mind as we scaled the mountain to survey the murder site. Or, rather, the site where the Phillips boy’s body was found. I’m now convinced he was dead when brought there. The physical evidence already pointed in that direction: there just wasn’t enough blood on the ground for all those cuts to have been inflicted on that spot. But in addition, when I dowsed the area, I got nothing at all. Which tells me little that’s useful about the killing itself, but at least indicates a certain coolness on the part of the killers. No one involved was very anxious or upset when they put him there. Something to file away for later.

The body didn’t tell me much, either. Dead meat seldom does once the spirit’s left it. There are two deep stab wounds in the back that most likely caused death. The locals’ suspicions of a ritual murder are probably well-founded, however. The ten wounds in the chest were made with care, and form a definite pattern, though I don’t recognize it as belonging to any specific rituals I’m familiar with. I made a quick sketch of the shape, however, and have included it below:

Wound Pattern

Forgive the crudity of my pen work. I’d appreciate it if you could have the pattern checked against the database. Some insight on its purpose could be significant.

After examining the body, we moved on to Phillips’ car, which yielded far more information. There, I found the residue of a great deal of passion, and enormous pain. Per Agency protocols, I had Sheriff Patton record the dowsing session, and include the transcript below:


Matthews: Now, remember: I’ll pass the wand over the car, maybe even climb in if I have to. I may enter a trance–

Patton: Like you didn’t do on the mountain?

Matthews: Precisely like I didn’t do on the mountain. Now, if I do enter that trance, I may speak incoherently, shout, turn red in the face, or even go pale and deathly silent. Whatever happens, just let me go. And John, if I seem about to injure myself or enter cardiac arrest, be ready to throw that bucket of water in my face. Are we clear?

Cheveyo: As crystal.

Matthews: Alright, gentlemen. Here we go.

…Oh, my…

love my love my life my love so hot so hard so beautiful… warmwetsofttonguetonguewrithestrainstrainstrainpain pain the PAIN— Hot wet how… What are you… Blood… BLOODohmygodsomuchblood… oh god ogodChris they’re everywhere knives again knives so many knives knives in the dark OWLS owlsowlsowlsowlsowlsowlsowlsowlsowlsowlsowls OwlsOwls OWLSOWLSOWLSOWLSOWLS OWLSOWLS OWLSOWLSOWLS


At that point, Captain Cheveyo threw the water in my face, as I had begun to bleed from the ears and scalp. No permanent neurological damage was done, thankfully, and after a cup of the Sheriff’s nightmarishly strong black coffee, I was able to parse the experience.

As you know, sir, I’m a Class-One Dowser with ten years’ field training. And yet I have never experienced so immediate and powerful a reading. Three things I am now convinced of: One, the love between Phillips and Melmoth was deep and genuine. Two, they were assaulted by forces of significant occult agency, on a mission of some urgency. And Three, Phillips’ soul did indeed leave his body in that car, and left a psychic scorch mark on it fit to blister the paint.

Sheriff Patton remains skeptical, but did appear a bit shaken by witnessing my channeling of the trauma. He was quite concerned about my well-being afterward, strangely tender for so gruff an individual. Sign of a good heart, my grandmother would have said. He insisted that I return to my room at the Lodge to recover, but I assured him that I was fine. A hot shower to wash the blood out of my follicles, and I’d be right as rain.

Captain Cheveyo, in contrast, became withdrawn after the reading. He left the building, in fact, while I was getting cleaned up. Sheriff Patton said he’d gotten a call from the reservation, and left in a hurry. Private Alo business, apparently. But he did leave me a note, containing three words that both explained some of the ill ease I’ve suffered since arriving at the Opa Lodge, and turned my blood to ice:

“Opa means Owl.”


About Mark Brett

Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at View all posts by Mark Brett

One response to “Report 3: Love and Blood

  • Mark Brett

    Clint, I can understand how you might want to find different lodgings. But I’d like you to hold off, at least until you can talk to Cheveyo. If the Lodge is wrapped up in the case somehow, it might pay you to keep them close. Also might tip them off that you’re on to them if you bolt. Just think about how good that coffee is, and hang in there.

    You know, on second thought, you might want to avoid the food. Especially if they offer you any kind of meat pies.

    Anyway. I had the boys down in the Black Library take a look at that stab pattern for you. Could be lots of things. It appears in the Blue Book as a crop circle. Now, I’m sure that kid’s chest isn’t that kind of big. But seeing as you’re on a Blue Folder case, I thought I should mention it. Because of how the body was laid out in the open, what the Library boys really think is that it’s some kind of occult lure. For what, they couldn’t say. But it sounds like these owl killers staked that kid out on the mountain as bait.

    And speaking of bait, I was telling you about my fishing trip to Waukeega last weekend. If you’ll remember, I’d gotten the brain-zap from some kind of mini eldritch horror. And when I finally found Leroy down by the lake, he turned his head around backwards and told me to grab my pole.

    So I did like he asked and headed back to camp. I didn’t know what else to do. There was no sign of action from the thing in the tackle box when I got there, but I wasn’t about to look in and find out if it was still there. I just grabbed my fishing gear, slipped my pistol into the back of my pants, and high-tailed it back down the hill.

    The Leroy-Thing was still fishing when I got back. His head was turned around the right way again, though, for which I was awfully glad. I sidled up beside him and made to choose a lure.

    “So, how are they biting?” I tried to say it like everything was okay, which believe you me wasn’t easy.

    The Leroy-Thing replied in that same voice that was deep as Leroy’s, but wasn’t. “There is but one fish to catch in this place, and it is a difficult beast.”

    “Do tell.”

    “Hear the quiet of the forest, the stillness of the water. Deep Joe is near.”

    “Any suggestions on what kinda bait he might go for?”

    “Your presence is enough. It would have been better had we been able to prepare you for the hook. But this will do.”

    “Gotcha. Nothing dainty, then.”

    “Dainty would be… inadvisable.”

    “Right. Big Chuck it is.”

    Big Chuck is my lunker-killer, Clint. Six full inches of oak with a cork center and hooks filed down from ten-penny nails. Got to use three floats with it. Nasty piece of business. As I put it on my line, I looked over at the Leroy-Thing’s rod. “What’s that you’re running? Hundred-pound test?”

    “The line is composed of materials not available on your planet, and human flesh. But it is capable of withstanding a great deal of pressure.”

    “Sounds fancy. Where’d Leroy pick that up?”

    “Our agent gave it to him along with the directions to this place.”

    “Guess that’s where he got the stick-thing, too.”

    “Our talisman? Yes.”

    I cast my line out, and Big Chuck hit the water, sounding like a cannon ball in all that quiet.

    The Leroy-Thing flinched. “Have a care! You will scare the fish away!”

    “What, you scared of a little competition?”

    “Do not be ridiculous! Your bait is futile in this hunt!”

    Of course, that was when my line gave a jerk. Something had hit at Big Chuck, and hit hard. I’ll spare you the details of the reeling-in, but that was when I caught that five-pounder I told you about. The Leroy-Thing didn’t seem too pleased.

    “Hmph! A paltry thing! Deep Joe is king in these waters!”

    I was about to hit him with a snappy comeback about how king didn’t matter if you didn’t hook the fish. But then something hit on his line. Something big. Nearly bent the rod in two. The Leroy-Thing reared back to set the hook, and let out a roar. It was impressive, seeing all of Leroy’s bulk put to work in pursuit of the ultimate lunker. Even though, you know, Leroy himself wasn’t really there.

    He fought that thing for what seemed like hours. And let me tell you, it was a near thing. He almost got pulled into the water more than once. I thought the rod was going to snap. But it held out, and the line didn’t break, and the Leroy-Thing dug in his heels on that muddy bank. It was still fighting, but slowly, he started reeling it in.

    Then, all of a sudden, the line went slack. Caught the Leroy-Thing in mid-tug, and he fell over on his backside. For a long second, everything was dead still. The sun appeared on the horizon, reflecting on the calm, smooth surface of the water. Filling our little cove with the dim purple light of dawn. Then the lake exploded as Deep Joe came leaping out of the depths, hook still in his mouth, and his bulbous fishy eyes zeroed directly in on me!

    And I know that’s a bastard of a place to stop, Clint, but I just looked up at the clock, and duty calls. I’ll have to finish this one up later. In the meantime, you track down Cheveyo and get to the bottom of this owl business. The Green Book’s got plenty to say about those critters, and none of it’s good.

    Chief Bill Roberts, signing off.

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