Report 10: Sex and Death at the Fat Beaver Inn

Sir,

I am pleased to report that I’ve been given a clean bill of health. I was released from the hospital earlier today, and am currently celebrating with dinner at a local establishment called The Fat Beaver Inn. Sheriff Patton recommended the place, both for a good meal and new lodgings. I haven’t checked out of the Opa Lodge, but after the events of the last few days, I don’t want to sleep there tonight. Luckily, the Fat Beaver has a room they rent out to travelers, so I’m taking it. The rates are more than reasonable, and the food is divine.

I’ll admit that I was a bit dubious when the Sheriff told me to get the meatloaf, but I now stand happily corrected. I don’t know where you come down on meatloaf, sir, whether you’re a tomato glaze man, or if you prefer your loaf unadorned. I generally prefer unadorned myself, but this glaze that Tom and Gladys cook up might just convert me.

That’s Tom and Gladys Rockwell, the proprietors of the Fat Beaver. Old married couple, and they bicker like one. Nice folks, though. They opened the Fat Beaver in 1973, and the food was terrible. So terrible that a year later, to save themselves from bankruptcy, they had to turn the place into, in Tom’s words, “a titty bar.” Gladys slapped his arm when he said it, but only because it’s true. That’s where the name came from, apparently, though I’m sure it conjured up quite a different mascot than the hand-carved rodent that sits outside now. The strip club business boomed, and in the meantime Tom and Gladys became better cooks. Then Gladys got religion sometime in the 80s, and they dropped the strippers in favor of their original dream of running a diner.

And that is how I came to be eating this magnificent plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes as I write to you tonight, and continue the story of my day on the Mountain.

If you’ll recall, sir, I had accompanied John Cheveyo onto Mount Pannawau because two more murder victims had been found, this time a pair of Alo teenagers injured beyond recognition. In the interim, I’m told that they’ve been identified as Ruth Omusa (age 16) and Daniel Tahki (age 17), both the children of prominent Alo families, and a well-known couple at the local high school. Two of Cheveyo’s men, Mark Hototo and Luke Pallaton, stood watch over the bodies while they awaited the arrival of county coroner Phil Phillips.

Once the introductions were over, we got down to business. The bodies were mangled as badly as I’d been told. The boy’s face was particularly messy, with a mass of wounds across his eyes, and his entire lower jaw having been ripped off. Pallaton said they’d found it about 20 feet away, like it had been tossed aside. I asked if they’d found a finger, but no. There were also some shallow wounds on either side of the torso, and another set on one shoulder that looked like claw marks. Otherwise, Tahki was in similar condition to the first victim: shirtless, with the same shallow stab wounds on the chest in the same summoning circle pattern. He had not, however, been stabbed in the back. In fact, Phillips found no evidence of violence on him other than the ones I’ve already outlined. Official cause of death is listed as exposure, and blood loss from the violent removal of the jaw.

The girl was another matter. She was found nude, and her condition was far more gruesome. She was missing the ring finger of her right hand, just as Alexandra Melmoth had been, and it had been severed in a similar clean manner, and bandaged. Her body had been savaged from head to toe, the face shredded with what, again, looked like claws. Her lips were also missing, and the coroner’s report indicates that they had been bitten off. Cause of death was identified as a broken neck, and Phillips believes that her head had actually been twisted around backwards and returned to its proper alignment postmortem. Her torso showed heavy lacerations, with an absolute frenzy of claw and bite marks across the buttocks, lower abdomen, and inner thighs. But the vaginal area was untouched, and the coroner’s report indicates no sign of rape. She was, in fact, a virgin, and remained so in death.

The report also confirmed that unlike Tahki, Omusa had almost certainly been killed elsewhere. I had guessed as much from the relative lack of blood around her body, and from the positioning of it. At the end of whatever horrible thing had happened to her, she would have been a splay-legged mess. But when found, she was laid out in peaceful repose, arms at her sides and legs placed chastely back together. So someone put her there on the Wambli Waste in as respectful a manner as possible, next to her boyfriend in death.

The relative lack of violence against the boy is also surprising. Unlike Chris Phillips, he wasn’t injured prior to being laid out for the summoning. In fact, he most likely died right where he was found. That would indicate that he was a willing victim. A willing victim, or subject to some form of coercion that lead him to the mountainside without a fight. More evidence of some kind of cult? Or of the power and influence of the Alo Council?

Cheveyo and his men, despite their gallows humor, are deeply disturbed at the latter prospect. If the Council is behind the deaths, that means their bosses have broken a sacred trust in exposing members of the tribe to such brutality. “We’d still have to stop them if they were doing this to outsiders,” Cheveyo said on the subject. “But doing it to our own people…” He shook his head. “I don’t think I can explain to you how great a violation that would be.”

Then, of course, there is the violence itself to consider. Claw and bite marks. The official coroner’s report is ruling it as an attack from an unidentified animal, and I suppose that’s as good an explanation as any. The evidence suggests that the people behind this used the boy to summon something through the Mountain Door, something from the Black Mirror World given Earthly flesh. Once it was here, the girl’s finger was left to lead it to her. And once it found her…

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? What purpose does all this serve? Was she a sacrifice? The concentration of the wounds suggests some kind of sexual frenzy, so why wasn’t she violated? Was it because of her virginity? It seems unlikely. An intact hymen generally makes for a poor shield, except in fairy stories. But, in the absence of any other evidence, that’s the theory I have to work from.

Once things have settled down enough at HQ, sir, I’d appreciate it if you could have the Black Library find me any reference to Outside Entities who adhere to patriarchal morality. Sometimes these things operate under strange rules, and I’m hoping we can narrow down the list of possibilities. I’d like to know what we’re dealing with.

I also have a physical description of the beast, or at least my impression of it from when I dowsed the area. Governed as such impressions are by subconscious iconography from both the dowser and the victim, that description may not be accurate. But if it helps, it’s

My apologies, sir. The rest of this report will have to wait. I’ve just received a visitor here at the Fat Beaver Inn. Denise sends her best.

– Agent X-23, signing off.

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About Mark Brett

Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at https://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at http://dorkforty.wordpress.com/. View all posts by Mark Brett

One response to “Report 10: Sex and Death at the Fat Beaver Inn

  • Mark Brett

    And hello right back at her!

    I almost told Denise she couldn’t go up there. But then I caught the look in her eye and realized she was telling, not asking. I swear, Clint, if that woman wasn’t so good at her job I’d… Well, I guess maybe I’d give her mine. I did send some information with her, though, just to cover the use of Agency travel protocols. You two enjoy your R&R, and she’ll fill you in afterwards.

    Oh! Also, tell Denise that her desk has finally stopped manifesting in five dimensions. The smell was coming from that chicken sandwich she brought in for lunch. Looks like it maybe got pushed a little sideways through time, and just went bad. Nothing stinks worse than rotten poultry! Anyway, she can rest assured that her work area will be both solid and fumigated when she gets back.

    In the meantime, I’ll get the boys in the Black Library on your question. I think we can skip the Ultra-Violet Book on this one. Giving special status to virgins strikes me as more of a Green Book sort of thing. Or maybe the Red. We’ll see. I think things have congealed enough down there that it should take them too long.

    But I need to finish telling you why we enacted the Manhattan Protocols in the first place. And that’s down to Billy. I think I left off last time just after he let go of Pop and Euclid, and Ernie started screaming.

    At first, I thought maybe it was the shock of waking up with a gooey mummified fetus laying on her belly. That might make me let out a yelp, too. But once I got a good look at her, I realized something was wrong. Every muscle in her body was knotted up. She was in serious pain, and letting out throat-rippers every couple of seconds. Something started writing around in her stomach, and I didn’t have to wait for the water to break to realize it was her baby. She was going into early labor, and something was bad wrong with it.

    That something was Billy. He’d been forming a bond with Ernie over the weeks since she’d dug him up. I couldn’t tell you how much of that was planning, and how much was sheer blind instinct. But when I entered the picture, he got scared and made his move. His old, dead body was empty now, but it seemed pretty clear that he’d gotten into the baby, and that he was fighting his way out.

    This is where I’m glad I had those two elderly pig farmers with me in the bait shop that day. As the saying goes, I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies. But Pop and Euclid had three kids each. Pop even delivered his first-born himself when she came due in a hurricane. That hardly made them experts, but they were way more experienced than I was. So I just grabbed a net and a hook, and got the Billy-Husk off Ernie’s stomach while they prepared for what was coming next.

    Then I got on the horn with HQ to order both a medical team and a Psychic Operations Unit to the scene. I already had a bad feeling about where this thing was headed, and wanted to get ahead of it as much as I could. So it was lucky for me that Ernie took her own sweet time popping him out. I’ll spare you the details, but it was what they call a “difficult labor.” Our people got there before the baby’s head crowned, but two of the psychics locked down the second they entered the shop. Full-stop. Joints locked. Muscles tight. Eyes rolled back in their heads. Had to pick them up and move them out of the doorway just to get the stretcher in. But then I had to figure out something to tell Pop and Euclid.

    Now, Clint, the nice folks down at W A’s officially think I’m in some kind of classified law enforcement. I tell them I can’t say exactly what I do, and they assume I’m attached to one of the military bases in the area. We don’t talk about it beyond that. Lots of patriots down there. But they’re not stupid. There’s all kinds of Fortean events going on the swamp, and they know I’m interested in all of them. Pop once helped me hunt down a Potterak, this skunk ape kinda thing they got down there. Great story, I’ll tell you that one next.

    Anyway, there we were loading Ernie up into the ambulance, and those two old men were gonna have to tell the story to the community, including her husband. But as I said, they’re not fools. So before I could say anything, Euclid just asked me, “How much can I tell Bobby?” And I said, “As much as you think he’ll believe.” Swear to god, Clint, the best lie is always the truth.

    I gave them a copy of my card, told them to pass it on, and said we were taking Ernie back to base for observation. They asked me when I thought she’d be back, and just then she let out another scream, a real gut-wrencher. One of the docs came flying out the back of the ambulance, and three psychics converged on it to quiet things down. So I turned back around, gave them the eye, and said, “I dunno, fellas. I dunno.”

    Then we loaded up and got rolling. The ambulance was full of medics and psychics, so I rode in one of the trucks the POU deployed in. We made it back to HQ without further incident, and I came back to the office to check in while the docs got Ernie into the medical bay. They were keeping both mother and baby quiet with a combination of drugs and mind control. I planned to confer with the Somnambulist Overmind to see if there was any way to separate Billy from Ernie’s kid, and then get back down there to do whatever I could. But there were two things I didn’t know.

    One, Billy was playing possum.

    And two, he was playing possum because Jackson Curry had managed to stow away on one of the trucks, and was even then prowling the halls of HQ.

    I learned both those things at the same time, but by then it was too late. Lab C was on fire, Ernie was dead, and her baby’s soul had long-since been eaten.

    But we’ll have to wrap this one up next time, Clint. I suddenly realize that I haven’t slept in three days, and I’m too old to be keeping that kind of schedule.

    – Chief Bill Roberts, signing off.

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