***SECURITYBREACH*** Unauthorized Intra-Blog Access ***SECURITYBREACH***
[burst of static]
Testing… There. That’s got it. Here ya go, Pappy.
Hello. This is John Cheveyo. I don’t know who’s on the other end of this thing, but we found your transmitter here on the ground outside the Opa Lodge. Little beat up, but we got it working again. Figure it belongs to either Matthews or Denise. Definitely not commercial-grade kit. And not something we built on the rez, either. Not enough owls on it.
Ah, hell. Let’s stop pretending here, alright? I don’t know exactly what agency Matthews works for, but I know the kinds of things you investigate. You investigate things like us. And that’s fine. We’ve got our secrets, you’ve got yours. Neither of us likes it too much. But right now, I’ve got more important things to worry about, and I need your help with it.
Don’t know if you can hear it in the background, but the Opa Lodge is on fire. Reservation fire crews just arrived, but I doubt they’ll be able to save it. Lucky thing is, the place seems to be empty. Found the night clerk outside, propped up against a tree. Nasty head wound, but otherwise okay. Near as we could tell, everybody else is gone without a trace. Guests, staff, everybody. Another mystery.
Here’s the thing, though: the Lodge was the last known location of both your man Matthews and his lady friend. She called me, told me he was here and in distress. She also told me that another murder was gonna happen up on the Mountain tonight. We were en route there when we saw the flames and came here instead.
Now, I don’t know yet what happened up there tonight, but there was some god-awful caterwauling going on. Stopped just after we got here. Some kind of howling. Two voices. Neither human.
[sigh] Look. Something’s happened to your man. Thought you might like to know. And local law enforcement’s still in over their heads with whatever’s out there committing these murders. We’re going up there now, and I’ll keep you up to date if we find anything worth mentioning. But we need back-up. Either save Matthews, or send us a new man. I’ve got a hunch this thing’s going to escalate after tonight. Couldn’t tell you why, but that’s what I think.
Alright. Cheveyo out.
Okay, we got another male victim here, found roughly in the same area as the first two. He’s in roughly the same shape, too. Lacerations on the torso, the jaw ripped completely off. Haven’t found it yet. Probably will come light. One difference between this fella and the first two: he’s older. Mid-30s, I’d say. Hmph. Might change that estimate in better light. Anyway. He’s Alo. Don’t recognize him right off. Maybe if he still had his jaw.
We’re heading over to the ledge at the entrance to the Liar’s Path now. Figure that’s where they’ll have the girl, if there is one. I’m sure the Brute’s done with her and gone by now, but I’m hoping we’ll catch the Sad Man in the middle of the clean-up. Cheveyo out.
[low whispering – some words not scanning] We’re close to … ledge, and … definitely something down there. Some kind of … sucking noises. Hissing. Sounds … something big. Moving my man Pallaton … position with a rifle, but–
[hooting shrieks, clattering, hissing]
GO! GO GO GO!
[avian shrieks, hissing, gunshots]
[deeper, cleaner voice] What the hell’s that?!
[clattering, shrieks, howling]
[younger voice] I’m trying! The Nukpana keep–
They got her! They– Shit! Shit, she’s– SHOOT! Shootshootshoot!
Dammit! Back to the truck! Back!
[younger voice, calmer] Time we get down there, she’ll be long gone.
Dammit, Pallaton! Just–
[trilling moan, nearby]
[younger voice] We got wounded, Cap’n. At least three Nukpana down there. And a lady.
Alright, alright! Stay here and tend to them! You got the med-kit?
[younger voice] Yes, sir.
Alright. Hototo, you’re with me.
[deeper voice] Damn right, Pappy. Where we goin’?
Down-Mountain. We don’t have to out-run the bitch. I think I know where she’s going.
You still listening out there? We just had some kind of snake woman on the Mountain. Scaly. Long tongue. Think we interrupted her having relations with the girl they laid out for the Brute. Nukpana ran her off, put a spear in her. Shoulder, I think. They’re still chasing her down the Mountain, going places we’d break our necks on. But I don’t think they’ll have much luck. Bitch is fast. We’re heading back to the truck now, to catch her at the other end, and–
Look, I think we both know what snakes mean in Pannawau. So we’re going to Melmoth House. If you send that help I need, you send it there!