Tag Archives: Owls

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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Somnambulist Transmission 3: Owls and Snakes

Transcript of conversation between Agent X-23 and Alo Cultural Eccentric designate Heyoka. Also in attendance: Alo Ranger Captain John Cheveyo, his lieutenant Luke Pallaton, and a captured Nukpana.

X-23: I should compliment you on the mind reading, I suppose.

Heyoka (shrugs): Just a trick of the trade.

X-23: I suspect it’s a little more than that. The only other person who’s been able to read my mind recently was a man touched by an extra-dimensional snake god.

Heyoka: How do you know I’m not?

X-23: You don’t seem the type.

Heyoka: Huh. Not good enough for your fancy snake gods, am I? Maybe I don’t want to tell you a story after all.

X-23: My apologies.

Heyoka: Apologies won’t fill my belly, White Devil. But they’re a start. Now, sit down.

X-23 (sits)

Heyoka (stands): Good. Now. What do you know about snakes?

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Report 17: A Brief Encounter

Sir,

It’s dark, and I cannot sleep. Earlier, I heard a noise like a door opening, and started awake. I rose quietly, so as not to disturb Denise, and crossed to the window. The Mountain seemed quiet and dark, so I went back to bed. But I couldn’t sleep. So I got up, dressed, helped myself to a glass of water, and went outside.

Pannawau is very peaceful at night. Nothing but crickets, and the wind in the trees. Relaxing. Tom and Gladys keep a bench out in front of the inn, next to the beaver. It’s a chainsaw statue, Tom tells me. The beaver, that is. Made by a local artist named Cecil Murden. Quite a character, apparently. Traveled all over the world as a merchant marine, then settled down here in Pannawau to make art. He wears an eyepatch, I’m told, and has a wooden foot.

At any rate. I was sitting on the bench, sipping on a glass of water, meditating on the silence. Then I looked up, and there he was. The tiny bird-faced man. Standing perched on the beaver’s belly.

He looked at me.

He looked at the water.

He looked at me again.

So I sat my drink down on the bench beside me, and suddenly he was there. Wrapping his arms around the glass, he stabbed his beak down into the water repeatedly. Then he threw his head back and swallowed. Stab, back, swallow. Stab, back, swallow. Over and over, with a mesmerizing rhythm. Once he’d had his fill, he stepped back, wiped a drip away from his beak, and bowed slightly. Then he looked up. His gaze took mine, and once again I was plunging down into the black depths of his eyes, up into the night sky, soaring. Seeing as birds see.

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Report 15: Out of the Frying Pan

Sir,

I am currently sitting in the corner booth at the Fat Beaver Inn, enjoying some pre-dinner coffee served up by LuAnn, the Fat Beaver’s lead waitress. LuAnn only has one arm, which you’d think would be a detriment in her line of work. But she handles it with aplomb. She lost the arm, it seems, in a most singular manner: singing accident. LuAnn sang in the children’s choir at her parents’ church. Voice of an angel, the preacher always said. But it was a poor congregation, and the church was in a state of some disrepair. Specifically, they had termites. So one Sunday, the little stage the children sang on collapsed, sending them all tumbling.

Now, this didn’t happen simply because of the weight of the children. There was one boy in particular, a large child (portly, is the sense I get) by the name of Melvin, who stood directly in front of LuAnn in the choir. And Melvin was filled with the Spirit, as they say, always waving his arms and dancing slightly as the choir went through its repertoire. Well, this Sunday, Melvin was particularly joyful, and began bouncing up and down, absolutely hyperactive with the power of the Lord. And (at least according to LuAnn) it was Melvin’s antics which caused the stage to collapse, and Melvin himself to fall over on top of LuAnn. His weight pushed her through the wall (which was also termite-infested), and the two of them went right into works of the rickety disused pipe organ.

LuAnn put her arm out to break her fall, and it got stuck between the pipes, which then broke the arm to pieces as the whole pipe organ structure came crashing down of top of them. Luckily for LuAnn, Melvin took the brunt of the falling pipes. But then she was left trapped, under tons of metal and a bleeding overgrown choir boy, covered in termites. It took them hours to dig her out, and by the time they did, her arm was a lost cause.

LuAnn doesn’t sing anymore. Doesn’t go to church, either.

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Report 13: Tell Me About the Owls

“Tell me about the owls, Alexandra.”

“I don’t– What? Listen… Do I know you?”

“I was there when you effected your escape from Jase Peterson’s house. Otherwise, no. I don’t think so. But, please. Tell me about the owls.”

“The owls? Well– They’re the ones who– …the ones who killed Chris. Those women. The lesbians.”

“Lesbians?”

“Well… That’s unfair of me. I don’t know that. They were just so… butch.”

“Butch?”

“Masculine. Broad shoulders, hard muscles… I don’t know. They could have just been athletes, I guess. Body builders. Soccer players. I don’t know.”

“But they had the heads of owls?”

“Yes. They were wearing masks, like… some kind of team mascot?”

“So, you were attacked by a group of muscular women wearing owl masks.”

“Yes. Look, I know it sounds strange–”

“It doesn’t sound strange at all, Alexandra. Now. Tell me more. Tell me about the owls.”

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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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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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