Tag Archives: Jackson Curry

Report 27: Return of the Clown

Sir,

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.

Cheveyo: Understandable.

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.

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Report 26: In the Temple of the Snake

Sir,

Alexandra Melmoth has surfaced again, and this time I came close to stopping her. But I suppose close doesn’t count. Bottom line: she’s escaped, and disappeared without a trace. I suspect– Well, what I suspect can wait. First, I should make the report.

The whole thing started with a call from Josie’s. Josie’s is the local gentleman’s club. A strip joint, in other words. Josie used to be a dancer at the Fat Beaver. Stepped into the void left when Gladys got religion and changed the Fat Beaver’s business model. Josie stopped dancing ages ago, kind of let herself go. Now she tends bar and keeps the peace in her place. Her, and Mathilda. That’s Josie’s wife and bouncer, a six-foot-two Amazon with a buzz cut and shoulders broader than mine. Both of them are what Sheriff Patton has termed “great old broads.” Friendly, genuine, magnanimous, and tough as nails.

That’s why they were so surprised when the two of them together couldn’t stop Alexandra from barging in, mounting the stage, and putting on a show. But I should let them tell the story:

[SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION COMMENCING…SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION COMMENCING…SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION COMMENCING…]

MATHILDA: I almost didn’t let her in the door. Wasn’t sure she was legal.

X-23: Did you know who she was?

JOSIE: Of course she knew who she was! Bitch was the damn prom queen! Nobody in town who wouldn’t have recognized her.

PATTON: She’s right on that one, Matthews. Alexandra’s a pretty well-known face around here. Makes me wonder how she’s hiding at all. Now, Matilda, last report we’ve got on this girl, she was covered in blood. I assume she’d cleaned up before she showed up here?

MATHILDA: Yeah. Yeah, she looked fresh as a daisy. Wasn’t wearing much, but you know… Kids these days… “Ass hangin’ out” might just be the new look.

JOSIE: You never were much on fashion, honey.

MATHILDA: *grunts* You got enough of that for the both of us. Anyway, Sheriff… She didn’t have ID on her – don’t know where she’d have put it – but she wanted in, so I tried to remember when she was prom queen, did some mental math, and figured she was probably at least 21. So…

PATTON: On a different night, I’d give you a hard time on that. But considering… Go on.

MATHILDA: Well… I let her in, and she went over to the bar.

JOSIE: And that’s where I took her up. “Ass hangin’ out” doesn’t begin to cover it. That girl was prancin’ around here in nothing but a tube top and some Daisy Dukes cut up so high they might as well have been a thong. Trashy, even for this joint.

MATHILDA: Looked good on her, though.

JOSIE: No denyin’ that. Might be why I didn’t kick her out right away. I knew she was gonna be trouble, but something made me want to talk to her.

MATHILDA: That ass.

JOSIE: You be quiet. It was her eyes, actually. Something in her eyes… Anyway. She asked for a cum shot, and–

X-23: Excuse me?

JOSIE (rolls eyes): Vodka and a raw oyster. One of our regulars came up with it. Said it helped him get it up. Old Joe McIntyre, you remember him, Sheriff? Joe wasn’t the classiest guy, but the other barflies worshiped at his altar. Got so we had to put it on the menu. Kind of an institution now.

Anyway. Like I was saying. The girl ordered a cum shot, and I made it for her. Made some kinda joke about how she was slumming it tonight. She just kinda smiled and said she was looking for a man. Figured this place would prime the pump for her. Then she started eyeballin’ Duke Reynolds.

PATTON (to X-23): That’s Possum’s brother.

JOSIE: Yeah. Possum’s a sweetheart compared to Duke, though. Duke likes it rough. The girls– I run a clean establishment here, of course, but the girls do sometimes work out arrangements on the side.

PATTON: Josie…

JOSIE: What? I’ve got no control over what they do outside working hours. Anyway. Girls who’ve made the mistake of accepting Duke Reynolds’ company for the evening tell me that it’s not a mistake they’ll make again. Sometimes they can’t dance for a few days afterward. He’s a belligerent drunk, too. Mathilda’s had to strong-arm him out of here a few times.

MATHILDA: *grunts* Think he liked it, too.

JOSIE: That tent he had in his pants says he did. Anyway, the girl was eyeballin’ Duke, and I tried to warn her off. She just said he sounded perfect, and took her shot over to his table. Watched her knock it back, wipe a little off the corner of her mouth, and proceed to plant herself in the man’s lap.

MATHILDA: Duke wasn’t havin’ any of it, though. Shoved her off. Said he knew what she did to his brother, and wondered if maybe he hadn’t oughtta teach her a lesson right here. Bad scene. Loud. That’s when I got involved. I ran over and got Duke in an arm bar, then the girl rared back and punched him right in the mouth. Broke his damn jaw. Duke went limp, so I dropped him. Then the girl laughed and went to hop up on the stage. I grabbed her, and she turned on me.

JOSIE: Bitch broke Mattie’s arm, Sheriff! Hundred pounds soakin’ wet, and she broke that tree trunk like it was nothin’!

MATHILDA: S’okay, baby. Chicks dig casts.

[SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION ENDS.]

That’s when Josie called the police. In the meantime, Alexandra mounted the stage and started to dance. Which is where I found her when we arrived fifteen minutes later. I asked Sheriff Patton to let me go in alone. Not knowing how far things had gone inside, I didn’t want to expose him and his men to something they don’t have the training for. He gave me five minutes. So in I went. I hit the door expecting chaos. I found anything but.

The room was silent, the air thick. Humid and hot, but somehow electrified. Like a brothel. Or a church. The crowd hadn’t scattered, in spite of the violence. Quite the opposite, in fact. I found them rooted to their chairs, motionless, their faces masks of lust, their eyes locked on Alexandra. She was on the stage, clothes long since peeled off, her skin shimmering under the spotlight, fluid seeping steadily, prodigiously, from between her legs. The stage was slick with it, and so was she, sliding sinuous and slow as she danced, weaving her spell over the crowd. The stench was overwhelming, a deep tidal flow of musk and sweat. The smell of sex.

But it wasn’t the smell. Or at least, not the smell alone. There was something more. She was something more. Engorged. Larger than life. Too big for the stage, the room, her own body. There were depths within her, space, an endless wet pulsating void, at once alluring and utterly terrifying. I could sense it, feel it, pushing against the walls, her flesh, my flesh, the pressure building as it tried to uncoil itself, her every step, every motion, part of an equation, a formula, a key. Or not a key. A rod. A bar. A lever. Something to insert into the void, pry it open, widen the gap, let it out. But it had nowhere to go. The walls were sweating along with her, along with the crowd, along with me, and their sweat stank of smoke and beer and semen. They rippled in time with the dance, the formula, the bar, in time with my pulse and hers, my blood flowing like the wet between her legs and the long slow orgasmic trickle staining the jeans of every redneck and over-sexed frat boy in the place, locked in a single desperate spasm, straining against stillness, slaves to their sex, slaves to her, slaves to the thing within her.

But it was me she wanted, me, I could see it in her lips, her tongue, her black black eyes. I could see it in the angle of her hips as she went into slow gyrations, sticky and slick, the void gaping wider and wider with each new rotation, open, inviting, swirling, drawing me in with a pull as inexorable, as inescapable, as gravity itself. The pressure redoubled, inside and out, the pulse coming strong now, in my chest, my groin, my head.

My head. Something pulsed and spasmed in my head. There was a sharpness, a pinch, and then it was over. I found myself standing almost at the stage, over the still-unconscious form of Duke Reynolds, lying where he had fallen, not a finger raised to help him. Mathilda was there too, kneeling, cradling her broken arm and staring intently at Alexandra.

Alexandra. She’d stopped dancing now, and was staring a hole in me. “Here,” she said. “Now.” Her voice was strained, her every muscle tensed. I didn’t move. I couldn’t. I felt weak, drained. Barely able to keep myself upright.

“HERE,” she said again. “NOW.” I shook my head, not quite daring to do much else.

“HERE! NOW!” Screaming this time.

“No,” I said, my own voice a croak. “Why don’t you come down here instead? Down where I can see you? I have something for you. A gift.”

She screamed again, an ear-splitting howl that shook the walls. The men in the crowd behind me started to convulse. I nearly collapsed myself, but grit my teeth and held on. With effort, I reached into my jacket to pull forth the Wanageeska hot dog.

But she never saw it, because that was when the shot rang out. Sheriff Patton. That scream had been the last straw. He kicked the door open and took his shot, putting a bullet cleanly through Alexandra’s chest. She recoiled, hissed, her mouth a sudden ring of fangs, blood staining her breast. Then she retreated, legs elongating with each stride, scales sprouting down her naked spine as she went.

I finally fell to the floor, feeling a trickle of blood oozing out my nose. I was vaguely aware of the Sheriff rushing past, in pursuit, firing more shots. Even more vaguely, I heard the screams of his men as they confronted Alexandra coming out the back of the club. We don’t think all of them are going to make it.

The Sheriff himself just got a nasty blow to the head. He saw stars for a few seconds, and when his vision cleared, Alexandra was gone. Disappeared once again into the night. We’re canvassing the area now, asking questions. But no one’s seen a seven-foot-tall snake woman. Or Alexandra Melmoth, for that matter.

One detail from a homeless man I questioned concerns me, however, even though he was inebriated, and undoubtedly a bit mad. He reported seeing a large truck nearby around the time of our confrontation. “Looked like some kinda circus wagon,” he said.

Which brings me back to my suspicions. I fear that Alexandra may have fallen into the clutches of Jackson Curry. In which case, the situation has become very dire, indeed.

– Agent X-23, signing off.


Report 22: The Morning After

Sir,

As you could no doubt tell, it was a bad time in Pannawau last night. A lot happened, and I’m not sure my Osceola-fueled mind-hopping exploits entirely captured the scope of it. So I thought I’d codify things with a slightly more formal report than is my norm.

SECTION A: The Events of the Evening

  • First, and most obviously, the Black Mirror Brute came out. I discovered that the Sad Man was not, in fact, summoning the Brute, but trying to distract it from leaving the Mountain and wreaking worse havoc. See Section B below for more details on the Sad Man’s plan.
  • Alexandra Melmoth was on the loose, as well, in a Yig-Form transfiguration seemingly triggered by the presence of the Brute in the Gray World. She changed back in the early morning hours, and is currently in custody on the Alo Reservation. Her family is demanding her release, but the Alo are thus far holding firm. I’ll be heading out to speak with her again later.

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32: Heads Full of Light

***CONNECTING…CONNECTING…BEGIN TRANSMISSION***

Carried I’m being carried through the dark the night the dark and the Mountain and the door and the light and

*************

Edna sits, sobbing, in the beer cooler. Cecil is gone now, gone off into the night, nimble and crazy and cruel. She shouldn’t have done it, he said. Shouldn’t have loved him. Shouldn’t have let him love her. Nothing good can come of love, he said, and as the light shines in and floods the cooler, she knows that he was right. He spoke the truth. The ugly truth. Ugly like her old woman’s body, exposed and cold and shriveled. Bulging in all the wrong places, sagging in the right ones. She feels his old man’s seed leaking out of her, cold and spent and useless, and she knows the truth.

She’d known it before Cecil, of course. Known it for years, on those dark lonely nights when she couldn’t sleep. She ignored it when the sun was out, ignored it and threw herself into her work, keeping this damn store running and running and running and running. Threw her everything into it, and what did it give her back? Never what she needed. And so she’d starved, shrunken down into a nosy old biddy. A busy-body. A character, to be laughed at and never understood.

Oh, how she longed to be understood.

But she’d killed a man with her love, and put it away, and waited too long to find it again. So many years wasted, cold and alone, and now… She despairs that anyone will ever understand her again. And without that, what’s the point?

She sobs again, blinks away the tears, and her eyes fall on a shard of green glass, glinting in that horrible searing light. Piece of a bottle, she thinks. Big piece. Big enough to…

She unwraps one of her arms from around her breasts, reaches out, and

*************

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30: Hearts Full of Fire

***CLEARING STATIC…OPENING CHANNEL***

***BEGIN TRANSMISSION***

My eyes are open now. They’re open, and flooded with light. They’re open, and lost in the dark. I’m lying in bed. Denise is beside me. Asleep. Or…

No, she’s asleep. She has to be. She’s just so still. I thought– No. She’s asleep. We must be– Are we in our room at the Fat Beaver? Is that bacon I hear frying? Or…

This isn’t the Fat Beaver Inn. This is the Opa Lodge. Except… Why is it so dark? What’s this pressure I feel? On my chest, my arms, in my ears. My forehead. Why can’t I move? Am I dreaming? Or…

The Door. The Door is open in the Mountain. It’s open, and the light’s pouring out. So bright and so wrong. So exposed. That’s why it’s so dark. All the light’s pouring out, and there’s none left here. Wait. No. That’s not right. I’m outside the Door and I hear bacon and

*************

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EMERGENCY REPORT: Night Journey

Chief, this is Denise.

Something’s… dammit… something’s gone wrong. I’m–

[unintelligible]

[burst of static]

DAMMIT!

Sorry for the mess, sir. I’m using the live feed from the auto-transcription mic, so this is gonna come out a little stream of consciousness. But I’m in a hurry, so I wanted to dictate this to you from the– gah!

Sorry. Deer in the road. How these people live with rodents running out in front of them all the damn time is– Shit. Deer aren’t rodents. I know that. They’re… What the hell are they? Anyway. You know what I mean.

So I’m in the car, heading up-mountain to the Opa Lodge. Something’s– I had a dream. Something’s wrong with X-23. One of those things – the owl-headed things – has dosed him with something. The Black Drink, I think. He fought it, but– Something’s not right. He was in my head, Chief. He was in my head, and he needs help.

I’m not making sense.

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Upload: The Icke File

Hello, X-23.

This is Denise. Chief Roberts asked me to upload the Icke File for you, which is patently ridiculous. The Icke File fills three cabinets in the Black Library. You couldn’t possibly pick through it all in the field, even with tags and a search option the intra-blog doesn’t have. Honestly. The Chief is a credit to the Agency, but they never should have put him behind a desk. So I’m just going to boil it down for you, concentrating on elements pertinent to the Melmoths. Hope it helps.

Lizards made of sound is the key element here. Malevolent reptile gods that exist at a higher vibrational frequency. We refer to them in the plural because they’ve gone by many names in many cultures over the centuries. But truthfully we have no way of knowing if there really are multiple beings, or if we’ve just seen one great reptilian overlord from different angles at different times. But, trusting to the evidence of our limited senses, we use the plural, and the many names.

The name that should most concern you is Yig. A localized tribal entity from Northwestern Mexico, Yig was a man-eater, offered human sacrifice to prevent the other, more disturbing aspect of his godhead: when angered, he had a habit of coming down out of the mountains and violently impregnating the women of the tribe. They would give birth to horrors, X-23. Wombs splitting open to birth a multitude of snakes. Lizards with the faces of infants. Reptilian monstrosities that would rip their way out from the inside and devour their mothers whole.

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