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Thursday, 8 July 2004
This session was largely introductions and getting to know the material. This session was largely introductions and getting to know the material. The characters spent their time being interviewed and questioned by Archbishop Fergusson and then they were handed a vast amount of case material to wade through. They quickly came to the conclusion that there were two killers. One killer struck randomly and the other not only killed according to a definite lunar pattern but another killing, they determine, is due in a few days time.
The random killer has left behind crimes scenes which tell of fast and brutal savagery using a implements ranging from stone, wood and bone through to iron and stainless steel. The death of John Brownjohn shows same signs of violence but the duration of the event on video is approximately three to four seconds.
The crime scenes of the other, lunar killer are scenes of ritual and deliberation. Each body is engraved with a symbol and pentacle surrounded by mystical symbols whose significance is not readily apparent.
Friday, 9 July 2004
Archbishop Fergusson demands a progress report. he has a press conference to give this afternoon and wants to show that his team, against all warning to the contrary from the Police Department, is making progress. The team stalls him as much as possible while they visit the first three crime scenes.
During their investigations, they learn that the beat coppers are hostile to their interference, someone is watching them and that Nicholas attracts weirdness like flies to sugar.
While investigating the third murder scene, Krista experiences a vision or flashback into the mind of the victim as she walks, she believes, into a paleolithic ritual deep in a cave. The priest dressed in animal skins wear a Rolex watch.
The numbers 17, 87, 229 are the numerical values of the Enochian characters which are part of the pentacle design carved onto the bodies. They also appear regularly on Nicholas's mobile phone.
Archbishop Fergusson's press conference bears more than a passing similarity, they think, to the Nuremberg Rallies. Fergusson's command over his audience is near-absolute.
Charles returns to his apartment to find that someone has been there. His possessions have been moved or subtly shifted out of place.
Monday, 12 July 2004
Sightings of the Jersey Devil continue on the Lower East Side and seem to centre of the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene. The team check it out.
Stepping over the threshold of the church invokes in all of the them a feeling of calm and serenity that instantly dissolves all their troubles. Ann notices the picture of the 'Black Madonna' appears to have pride of place over the more usual iconography, including Christ. The Black Madonna, she knows, is thought to be a survival into medieval times of pagan Earth-mother worship in prehistoric Europe.
Most of the action is occurring down the side of the church where members of the church community are digging vegetable gardens and planting shrubs and flowers to aid contemplation. Nicholas talks to a couple of elderly hobos playing chess in the gardens. They've seen the Jersey Devil several times. It hasn't seen them, though. They say no one pays any attention to the homeless.
They check out the fourth crime scene and find nothing until a flash of movement on the roof line reveals the Jersey Devil walking around at dusk completely unheeded by the populace. They chase it into an alleyway and it disappears.
Ann finds an open storm-water drain entrance and hears something running in the distance down there. They follow. Charles, Krista and Nicholas follow while Ann hunts up maps of the drain system. The drain, she finds, heads toward the church.
They lose their prey at the point where the drain runs closest to the church. As they explorer, they are stunned by the art work painted on the walls of the drain. It is either an exact copy of works of prehistoric cave art found in southern France or has been inspired by the same sources. The pictures depict elephants, horses and bison roaming grassy plains. People in the pictures hunt these animals.
As Nicholas, coughing up lungfuls of tar and nicotine, final joins the group, he is attacked by the Jersey Devil. Charles shoots it dead. Krista tries to contact it soul, the spirit of the man regressed to become a paleolithic hunter. She fails and this puzzles her.
As the call the police to the scene of the shooting, they learn that there has been another murder this evening, a random attack attributed to the Jersey Devil.
Tuesday, 13 July 2004
Two press conferences dual for media coverage. In the first, the Commissioner of Police say that they are investigating the shooting of a homeless man in the sewers by one of Archbishop's investigators. The NYPD does not believe that this man is the serial killer named the Jersey Devil because another murder attributed to "JD", as he has become known, occurred on the other side of the side ten minutes before the homeless man was ginned down. The Archbishop in his press conference calls for prayer. Two killers loose in the city? Can this place ever be saved?
Charles is released from questioning and returns a call to the hospital where is daughter lies in a coma. She woke briefly at the time her would have been visiting last night and ask for him. She has since lapsed back into the coma.
Krista fails to convince the detective at the crime scene to allow her into the victim's house so she casts a ritual in her car to see with the killer's eyes. She watches helpless as her hugely clawed hands dig into Russell Masterton and throw him around his living room like a toy. She wakes from the ritual just as the Julia Masteron returns home with their two children. Krista beats the other journalists who swarm around Julia. "How does it feel", she asks, "to have your husband torn apart in such a vicious manner?" This is the final straw for Julia whose mind snaps and Krista remembers a school photograph from inside the house.
Detective work reveals that seven years previously, Julia Masteron was Julia Katzenbach, wife of the homeless sorcerer killed by Charles in the sewers. The photograph, however, is more productive. The three kids in football uniforms in the photo are captioned: "Russell Masterton, David Graham, Frank Marshall". All attended St Mary's School, across the park from the church, during the time the then Father Fergusson was the parish priest and school chaplain. They were known as "The Three Musketeers" and brought great sporting honours to the school.
The find David Graham giving a pep-talk to the vigilante group in his neighbourhood. He founded this group nearly a month ago to combat the growing fear of attack by the Jersey Devil serial killer. Charles watches them into the night as they man ready-to-roll barricades on the street corners of the area. After a couple of shift changes, they pack it in for the night around 2.00am.
Wednesday, 14 July 2004
While Charles and Krista track down other leads and troll through high school yearbooks to find a correlation between the trio and the killings, Ann makes another tour of the church, park and school to ensure that they haven't missed any clues. She discovers an advertisement for one of the Archbishop's prayer meetings to be held that evening in the school's gymnasium.
She attends and discovers that the Archbishop is not there in person but his image in displayed to the adoring faithful on a huge video projector. "How many other prayer meetings are occurring in the city tonight?" she wonders. The audience listen with rapt attention as the Archbishop commands them to pray to "Our Lady" to grant liberty and freedom from the evils of the world. He prays to her publicly for a sign that she has heard and understands their fear and suffering. Her psychological training makes plain to her the signs of obsession in the other attendees and their faith in the Archbishop and St Mary as their saviours.The Archbishop's ability to bend a crowd to his will is once more apparent.
Krista and Charles discover that out of the whole class of 1984, only one student failed to join any clubs or school activities, Kevin Huntley. Could this be significant?
Exhausted after the long day of research, Ann returns to her apartment to find that someone has been there. Her possessions have been moved or subtly shifted out of place.
Thursday 15 July 2004
The team spends most of the day in research. The so-far untranslated symbol on the pentacle Katzenbach carved in his victims is an alchemical symbol rather than a magical one. It represents activation, the commencement of an alchemical process or the beginning of a transformation. It is always the last symbol drawn in an alchemical equation.
Krista discovered an answer to the mystery of how Katzenbach could be dead without his spirit appearing on the astral plane: possession. This could only happen if Katzenbach's spirit was so completely dominated by another entity that it was destroyed and replaced by the psychic invader.
Once finished with the book work and subsequent discussion, the team try to find Kevin Huntley. Charles checked into Huntley's criminal record. He has been regularly arrested over the last fifteen years for disturbing the peace and assault. Charles contacted a friend in Human Services to learn that Huntley has trouble holding down a job and moves house frequently. He was fired from his latest job -- postal worker -- for 'anger management issues.' Currently he is lives with his mother and drawing a carers' pension to look after her since the death of his father six months ago. A quick phone call to the school gives the team an address. Krista call for the outside broadcast van and they're away.
Huntley is not home but his aged mother says he'll be back at 8.00pm tonight. After missing the only waking of his child in twelve months, Charles leaves to keep his regular vigil at the bedside.
The remaining team members check the train timetable at the nearest subway station and wait for the 8:12pm train. They confront Huntley on his doorstep with lights! Camera! Questions! They attack him with questions trying to provoke a reaction. "What do you think about the high-achievers of your school year being killed by the Jersey Devil? Isn't Archbishop Fergusson is so holy for protecting humanity from that devil?" They got more reaction than they bargained for.
Huntley yells: "Fergusson human? Never!"
And then the change begins. Huntley grows bigger and fills the doorway, clothes ripping. He picks up Krista and throws her down the corridor. Huntley screams as antlers grow out of his skull. Claws sprout from his massive hands followed by bone, stone, bronze, iron and steel instruments from his forearms. Huntley -- now the Jersey Devil -- tears the cameraman in half. The sound recordist runs for his life. Nicholas runs to the van and starts making Molotov cocktails out of a bottle of cleaning alcohol. Ann goes for the camera to get photographic evidence of the beast.
Through the viewfinder, Ann watches the Jersey Devil tear the door off the side of the van and grope inside for Nicholas. The Molotov explodes on the Jersey Devil covering it was fire. It screams and redoubles its attack, almost lifting the van from the road. Finding Nicholas inside, it drags him from the van causing him hideous injuries and raises him above its head. The van starts slowly rolling down the street.
Krista, having regained her senses and realising what is happening, runs into the street and begins a ritual to banish demons. Caught in the spell, the Jersey Devil freezes. Krista completes the final syllable and the Jersey Devil begins to revert back into Kevin Huntley, collapsing under the weight of Nicholas' broken body.
Huntley drags himself from under Nicholas. He takes in the scene of destruction and looks down at what he's down to Nicholas, who can see the fear and panic in Huntley's eyes. Huntley apologises to Nicholas and then runs down the street. The burning van, having gathered a fair amount of speed, crashes into a tree, petrol spills everywhere and ignites, preventing Ann or Krista from following.
At the sound of sirens in the background, while Krista attempts to prevent Nicholas bleeding to death, they decide that Ann should take the video tape and disappear. Police, fire and ambulance arrive and take control of the scene.
Friday, 16 July 2004
While Ann and Krista drive around the neighbourhood looking for Huntley, Nicholas drifts in an out of consciousness in hospital. He has a recurring image of a priest in traditional robes mumbling words over his numbed and immobile body.
The last thing he remembers is the priest slipping a piece of paper under his pillow. He wakes mid-morning and reaches tentatively for the note, unsure whether this will be real or a figment of his delirium. The note is there. It reads: AZURE.
Ann and Krista, after depositing the video tape with the studio, decide to try the church. Perhaps Huntley ran there. No luck. The only people in the church are the parish priest and a woman, Miriam, who is laying down the law to the priest. They decide to try the school.
Nicholas submits to hospital routine with as much bad grace as he can muster in his present state. At one point he notices that the levels on the vitals monitor read 17 - 87 - 229 - 333, the numbers which have been haunting him since he took this case.
Ann and Krista leap the chain-link fence surrounding the school and begin to reconnoitre. They hear rhythmic thumping coming from the school gymnasium. Through a broken window the see Huntley, knuckles bleeding, boxing a suspended punching bag. he's covered in sweat and looks like he has been doing this for hours. He stops turns and looks directly at them.
Krista casts a circle of protection around them in front of the broken window while Ann attempts to engage Huntley in conversation. She tells him that the police and others are after him. They can hide him but he must come with them now. He agrees and walks to the window. He stops, senses the cast circle of protection, looks at Krista and smiles. "You know I can't cross here," he says. "That's bad manners."
Ann and Krista decide they must show that they trust him and Krista breaks the circle. Huntley vaults gracefully through the broken window like an Olympic gymnast and walks with them to the car.
Nicholas is reading the newspaper when the phone call comes. Krista wants to hide Huntley in the apartment above Nicholas' shop. At first, Nicholas is not keen on the idea but eventually relents. They can keep him there for now, a few days at the most.
He turns back to the paper and glaces across last night's winning jackpot numbers: 17 - 8 - 7 - 22 - 9 - 3 - 33. He rolls his eyes and sighs to the heavens. If only he'd bought a ticket, he'd be $13 million richer.
Krista, Ann and Huntley walk up the stairs at the back of Nicholas' store to the apartment. At the head of the stairs, Huntley stops and slowly scans the room with the same expression they saw earlier when he sensed the circle of protection. "This will do nicely," Huntley smiles.
Saturday 18 July 2004
In the apartment above Nicholas' bookshop, Krista dreams she is standing in the long grass of the savannah. She knows a deadly beast is hiding in the grass waiting for her. She can hear it growling softly. In front of her, standing in the mouth of a cave is a woman urgently beckoning her to run. Krista reckons she has a 50-50 chance either way. She runs then suddenly stops and turns to fight the creature which leaps at her. She wakes in a cold sweat at the second the beast hits her. Kevin Huntley is standing in the dark at the foot of her bed smiling at her. He pads quietly from the room. Krista gets no more sleep this night.
Nicholas sees again the priest in ancient traditional robes sitting next to him speaking softly, just below the level of audibility. He can't make out anything the priest is saying. He drifts back into sedation, the pain of his wounds has not diminished over the last 24 hours. The next time he wakes, Archbishop Carey Fergusson is standing over him, hands outstretched praying. A knot of staff are gathered by the bedside looking on with wrapt attention. When Fergusson finishes, Nick feels suffused with a warm, golden light and no longer feels any pain. Fergusson requests of a crowd a moment alone with Nick. "Even after all your ancestors have to my family, the church," says Fergusson, "I do not withhold my love from you. When you're feeling up to it -- probably around midday -- come and see me. I have a special job for you."
Charles Lincoln also dreams. He is lying in the gutter of an alleyway, shot and slowly bleeding out. His pistol lies a few inches beyond his reach. His wife is hugging their son to herself and backing away from the gangsters armed with knives and pistols advancing upon her. As Charles tries to reach for his weapon, on the other side of him appears Archbishop Fergusson surrounded by a white halo of light. "Ignore them," he says. "Take may hand and I will protect and heal you. Everything happens for a reason. It's all good." Charles streches painfully across the tarmac and picks up the pistol. Just as he is about to fire, he wakes.
Anne Charleston has no dreams. She is too busy gathering all her monitoring equipment to help her figure out what makes Kevin Huntley tick. She condenses everything she needs into two padded aluminium briefcases, packs the car and heads for Nicholas' bookstore in Brooklyn. Huntley holds the key to what is happening in the city, she feels, and nothing will stop her from discovering his secrets.
Krista's phone call from the studio. They need a show prepared for broadcast tonight at 8.00pm. She promises the show to end all shows. She leaves to get Nicholas out of hospital.
Ann phones Krista and is shocked that Krista has left Huntley alone. She speeds over there. She starts unpacking her gear in order to study Huntley. "You think you can understand me?" he says. He tries all he can to frighten her -- and when he turns into his monstrous form, it works.
Charles rushes to Nick's place as well. When he gets there, he finds Huntley's monstrous form nose-to-nose with Anne. He draws his pistol and fires until the clip is empty. He keeps firing and don't register that the only sound he hears is the click of the hammer striking nothing. Huntley turns and walks over to him. It towers over Charles and stares with its glowing red eyes into his. "On your knees before me, mortal," it growls and Charles meekly obeys. "Crawl out of my sight, worm." Charles steps wrongly and falls, tumbling down the stairs and landing in a heap at the foot of them. He watches Huntley descend the stairs, transforming back into human shape and leave the shop by the front door.
Nick signs himself out of hospital against all medical advice and visits Archbishop Fergusson, who tells him that Huntley is important to his plans. He tells Nick to arrange a meeting between them. Nick agrees and heads for his apartment.
The police arrive with lights flashing and sirens blaring. A neighbour must have phoned 911. Krista is looking for Huntley. Anne escapes down the fire escape with her equipment and is picked up on the street behind Kick's book store by Krista.
Charles is escorted to hospital by the police. He has blocked out the last couple of year of his life -- preferring instead to believe that he is late for work back in the uniformed division and that his wife and kid are safe. He repeats like a mantra, "It's all good."
Nick gets to his place and is interviewed by the police, who have dug fifteen slugs out of the wall. When they find out that his uncle is a minor boss in the Russian mafia, they take him to the police station for further questioning.
Anne and Krista puzzle over where Huntley could have gone before deciding that all little boys who are lost and alone eventually make it home to mother. They burn rubber heading for Huntley's mother's place.
Huntley's mother won't let them in. She remembers the fuss they caused last time. Krista calls out that she can arrange for Huntley to confront the Archbishop outside the protection of the church. All he needs to do is tell her his story.
Krista squares a live show with her producer -- a real-time interview with the Jersey Devil and a confrontation between him and the Archbishop. How can the producer refuse? Good versus evil on national television. The ratings will skyrocket! She tees up the Archbishop to appear on the show. He's more than happy for another chance to tell the world his views. The team gathers in the wings of the studio to watch the show as it's beamed live to the nation.
Huntley tells his tale of being the loner at school -- no friends and constantly being picked on by the three athletic celbrities of the school. Father Fergusson, then the parish priest at St Mary's Church next door to the school, took him under his wing to toughen him up. Fergusson taught him boxing and how to defend himself -- not much good at odds of three to one. Then, they moved on to mediatation and yoga to improve his self-esteem. When those paths failed, Fergusson turned to the more esoteric aspects of Catholic ritual. Somehow, the ritual failed or backfired, Huntley is unsure which. It turned Huntley into a creature which causes and feeds on fear. Fergusson must have been affected as well but Huntley does not know precisely how.
Krista uses clever questioning to get Archbishop Fergusson to explain his position and the importance of Catholic rituals in saving oneself from evil. Unknown to him, however, she is using split screen techniques to show how these rituals are exectly the same in form and function to many rituals of pagans and nature worshippers. This only serves to confuse the religious in the audience and their faith in Fergusson's role as their protector and saviour diminishes.
She then questions him about whether he regrets anything he's done. Puzzled, he answers no. At just this moment, the curtained backdrop to the interview opens revealing a mock up of the crypt of St Mary's Church and Kevin Huntley standing in a spotlight in the middle of the set.
Huntley starts to transform into the beast. Fergusson becomes surrounded by a halo of white light. The battle begins.
Nick tries to interpose himself between the two charging combattants and is skewered deeply by Huntley's steel claws and thrown aside. He slides down the studio wall six metres away bleeding profusely without the energy to drag himself to safety. The others, like the TV audience, watch on in stunned amazement.
Without the faith of his parishioners to aid him, Fergusson is quickly dispatched, torn in half by the beast. Huntley howls in triumph.
Charles runs to Nick's aid but there is little he can do for him. Nick is dying from his wounds. His last words are "I've failed you all."
By this time, the studio audience has scattered, running for their lives. The team hears police sirens in the distance. Either someone dialled 911 or they were watching the broadcast.
Huntley runs out on to the street. Anne, Krista and Charles follow Huntley onto the street and dive for cover. Police cars surround Huntley. More than a dozen officers have their weapons drawn. People in the gathered crowd are screaming in fear. Huntley laughs at them and seems to grow even larger in size and ferocity.
A terrified cop succumbs to his fear and fires on Huntley. Then all the police open fire on him. Huntley falls, riddled with dozens of bullets, and reverts to his more human shape. His body then begins to ripple and burst. The beast which was Kevin Huntley rises from his ruined corpse in spectral form, translucent and outlined in red, flickering tendrils of flame. It howls and cuts a swath of destruction through the police and the gathered crowd before disappearing into the night.
A wave of terror ripples out from this spot over all of Manhattan Island and wherever else the program was broadcast.
Fear now truly reigns in New York City. Babylon the Great is fallen.
Nine Months Later
Monday 18 April 2005
The first day of spring dawns on the ruins of New York City.
A column of UN peacekeepers in armoured personnel carriers pushes its way into what was once the Lower East Side and stops outside the Church of St Mary Magdalene on Essex Street. The community of several dozen look up from their work preparing the vegetable gardens for the new planting season. Miriam steps forward to greet the lieutenant stepping down from the lead vehicle.
"Welcome to our little patch of paradise," she says. "What can we do for you?"
The lieutenant is stunned by the neatness of the church and the profusion of greenery within its grounds.
"How have you survived? All we've seen for more than twenty miles is looting and destruction. We're setting up camps for the survivors but they seem afraid of us and won't let us help them."
"They're afraid. The monster still roams the rubble at night inspiring terror wherever it goes. Once fear takes a grip of you, there's little you can do. All you think of is yourself and everyone else becomes an instant enemy."
"Then," says the lieutenant. "If Archbishop Fergusson had defeated the creature before it escaped the TV studio, none of this would have happened."
"I'm not so sure," she says. "Fergusson was a fanatic who drew followers to himself. If he defeated the beast he would have gained himself an army to do with as he pleased. Fanatics don't think for themselves and regard their leader as the only source of truth. Anyone who doesn't agree with them becomes an instant enemy."
"So there was never any hope. Regardless of how it all fell out, it's a case of you're either 'us' or 'enemy'."
"That's not quite true. There is a middle way...."