Tag Archives: Opa Lodge

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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EMERGENCY REPORT: On Patrol

***SECURITYBREACH*** Unauthorized Intra-Blog Access ***SECURITYBREACH***

[burst of static]

Testing…

[static]

Test–

[crackle]

[hum]

Testing… There. That’s got it. Here ya go, Pappy.

[rustling]

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.

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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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Report 21: Many Voices

Sir,

I returned today to my room at the Opa Lodge. This decision may be rash. Denise certainly thinks so.

I certainly do. He informed me of this idea by phone, if that tells you anything about how hare-brained even he thinks it is. Talk some sense into the man, Chief. Get him out of there before it’s too late.

But after my conversation yesterday with Heyoka, I believe this to be the best means possible of smoking out the Sad Man. This is the portion of that interrogation I’ve kept hidden from the Somnambulists, for reasons that I believe Denise has already made clear: some of the subjects broached there were things I am sworn not to reveal, even to you. If I thought these things posed some kind of threat, I would break my word in a heartbeat. But in our zeal to know everything, we sometimes delve too deep. Secrets and lies, sir. Secrets and lies. It’s the currency we deal in. But sometimes we must allow ourselves to trust. And unless you intend to bring me up on charges, that’s all I have to say on the matter. Though I’m sure the Somnambulists will have their say, as well.

[Review Complaint #23594-Q, pertaining to violation of Field Code 821: Mental Hygiene and Security Maintenance Code 51: In the Event of Somnambulist Intervention. The Agent has committed an unprecedented breach of protocol, and must be corrected for proper functioning of Agency operations.]

At any rate. One thing struck me particularly in Heyoka’s story about the snakes coming to Pannawau: there was a missing date. He said that they came 40, 60, 200 years ago. Well, 40 years ago was the Yig Incident. And 200 years ago was The Year Without a Summer. But what about 60 years ago? What happened then?

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Report 7: Touched by the White Mirror World

Sir,

I am sitting in the waiting room of the Alvin Melmoth Memorial Hospital, named for the twin brother of Oscar. Alvin was a philanthropist and international adventurer of some repute, lost and believed killed in 1970 while on a Himalayan expedition. Amazing the things you can learn from lobby plaques.

It’s been an eventful day, and I believe that it will soon become more eventful yet. Possum Reynolds has yet to fully awaken from his coma, but I’m told that the swelling in his brain is going down, and he may yet make a recovery. In the meantime, I’ll be interviewing Alexandra Melmoth on the events of her disappearance and kidnapping. She’s somewhere in the building getting an examination, but once that’s done I’ll have an hour with her, uninterrupted by her family or the hospital staff. I’m looking forward to it. Not because of her beauty, or even because I’m all that curious about what she has to say. After today, I have a pretty good idea of what she’s going to tell me. It remains to be seen how much of it she chooses to share, however, and that is something I’m very interested to discover, indeed.

I’ve come by this newfound knowledge after spending a day immersed in the world of the Alo. John Cheveyo seems to have decided that I’m at least partially trustworthy, based apparently on our investigation of the kitchen at the Opa Lodge. They were busy preparing the Continental Breakfast when we entered, and there was no sign that I had shot the owl-headed man there only an hour or two earlier.

But the layout was exactly as I remembered it from my dream. Slightly dazed, I went over to the counter the Horrible Thing had been lying on. Put my hand on it. The surface was cool and smooth and utterly clean. No stains, and no scratches from where that hoary blade had bitten through the flesh and into the wood. The thing’s awful screams filled my ears again, and I felt the gorge rise in my throat.

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Somnambulist Transmission 1: The Conversation

—Transcript of conversation between Agent X-23 and Captain John Cheveyo—

Italicized impressions of emotional response are the Agent’s. Bold impressions are ours.—

X-23: Good morning, John.

Cheveyo: Morning, Clint. You ready to hit the mountain again?

X-23: Not quite yet. You mind stepping in for a minute?

Cheveyo (uncertain): I don’t mind, but… We got a body to look at.

X-23: I know, and we’ll get to it. I just need to ask you about something first.

Cheveyo (understanding dawns): This is about the note, isn’t it?

X-23: (pause) Just step inside, will you?

Cheveyo: Sure, sure. No problem.

(Agent is anxious. Looks up and down hallway, then closes hotel room door.)

Cheveyo: Clint, you look like hell.

X-23 (relaxes somewhat): I had a hell of a night. Why’d you think it was important to tell me that opa means owl?

Cheveyo: I was hoping it would convince you to find different accommodations.

X-23: So you think the Opa Lodge is tied up in this?

Cheveyo (hesitant): I don’t know anything for sure, but anytime owls come up in relation to a case… I don’t want to tell you, “this is the rez, white man,” but… Things really are different on the Mountain. How much do you know about the Alo?

X-23: The tribe has a file, mostly filled with speculation. Why don’t you tell me about it?

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Report 6: The Door in the Mountain

The mountain door is open again, and I cannot sleep.

How do they stand it? The locals, I mean. How can they bear lying in bed, night after night, that obscene white light flooding their windows, keeping them awake? They must see it. They have to see it. How could they not see it? Are they blind? Are they cowards? Are they its acolytes?

No. No, that’s not it. They must be mad. Driven out of their minds by the endless light and lack of sleep. Edna with her deadly biscuits, the snake-kissed Melmoths, bold gruff kind Sheriff Patton, John Cheveyo with his bland acceptance of the strange and his cryptic owl notes. Mad, all of them, mad, and I’ll soon be mad, too, if I don’t do something about that door.

So out again, out into the dark of the Opa Lodge, where the horrible low squeal screeches in my ears, and the kitchen door fairly vibrates with the noise. There’s a chopping, too, the chopping of a monstrous blade severing bone and flesh, thunk thunk thunk into the wood of the cutting board, that carnivorous evergreen altar. The Continental Breakfast is in progress, and suddenly I am filled with a desire to see how the sausages are made.

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**subjectnotdefined**

There is a door in the mountain. There is a door, and someone has left it open.

The light from it shines in my window, keeping me awake. I get up to close the curtains. That’s when I see it. It’s a white door. Old, indescribably old, but still white. New coat of paint, I suppose. New coat of paint to cover the blood. Someone should close it. No telling what might get in.

And that’s how I find myself padding through the Opa Lodge in the dark. A low, screeching squeal escapes the kitchen, though whatever makes it does not. The sound seeps in at the edge of my hearing, sneaks up on me in the dark. I’m not sure that I’m really hearing it, then I am. I stop, staring long and hard at the kitchen door, wanting to go in, not daring to go in, wondering what manner of thing could be making that horrible noise, wondering if I’ve already eaten it. Slowly, it subsides, trailing off in a terrible croak before fading away completely, and I’m left staring at a door that suddenly is just a door.

But it’s the wrong door. The door in the mountain is still open. I can’t see it, but I can feel its light pouring out into my head, and it seems more imperative now that I close it. So out. Out the front door into the cold Pannawau night. And there it is again, standing out stark white on the mountain, indecent in its exposure, embarrassing and uncomfortable. I feel a swelling in my head as I look at it, so far away and so high. So high up on the mountain.

How will I reach it? The face of Mount Pannawau is hoary and perilous, and I am small and weak. Helplessness washes over me, and panic, and the light. Always the light. My head pounds with the pressure of it, each heartbeat echoing painfully through my brain, and the phone is ringing. The phone is ringing. The phone is ringing.

It’s the Sheriff, telling me that the Melmoth family has received a ransom demand for the return of Alexandra, and asking me to meet him at Melmoth House asap. I put down the receiver, and pray to wake in time.


Report 3: Love and Blood

Sir,

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:

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