JACKS OR BETTER TO OPEN
JACK YOUNGBLOOD was busy planning and preparing for the poker match that he would be overseeing. He did quite a bit of research on Wards looking to make sure no one at the poker game would be able to use any supernatural abilities to cheat. Meanwhile, DETECTIVE ROY MULLENIX continued to investigate the recent beheadings. Realizing that he was at a dead end Detective Mullenix called the young Warden as well as OSAMU NISHIMURA (西村修)and asked for their help.
Jack made his way to the first crime scene on his 1914 Indian Scout Motorcycle all the while arguing with the spirit of his father, JOHN FRANCIS YOUNGBLOOD JR., about the best way to go about the investigation. Meanwhile, Osamu utilized his Ki powers to arrive startling the officer that was on scene when he dropped right out of a tree onto the ground next to him. Luckily, the young monk’s reputation within the Seattle Police Department was well established and the officer recognized him from his self defense classes. This proved useful when Jack, looking like a scruffy punk kid who was likely up to no good, arrived to begin his investigation. It took a little convincing by Osamu and Detective Mullenix but the young officer didn’t hinder Jack. The Wizard began stretching out his senses to the spirit world while arguing with his invisible father which made him look like a total loon. He didn’t find much.
The first thing he noticed was that there were few ghosts in the area. Almost as if something either scared them off or possibly consumed them. He did get a renewed sense of darkness however. Jack was relieved to sense that the darkness wasn’t related to the Outsiders like the THE SHADOWMAN. Still it was a bad sign. He did manage to strike up a conversation with the ghost of a homeless man who haunted the park but got little out of him.
He then began to prepare himself to commune with the spirit of the park where the body was found in the hope that he could glean more information. Jack’s father went on a tirade about utilizing the proper sigils while the young Warden managed to gather some blood from the victim to link his spell to. With some effort he was able to commune with the nature spirit that inhabited the park. The spirit allowed him to experience the final moments of the victim’s life although it was a little fuzzy. He learned that the victim was kidnapped and stuffed into a white panel van by a huge man who carried a large sword. The victim was led to a prepared spot in the park where strange objects were placed around in an almost ritualistic manner. Sadly the victim was killed so quickly that he perceived little more of value before his head was removed.
Jack immediately called Roy and gave him the news that the murderer was driving a white panel van and that he was heading over to the second crime scene. He argued with his father about the finer points of the ritual while maneuvering his bike through traffic like a madman.
Jack also managed to strike up a conversation with the ghost of a young waif who said that he saw the guy in the van. The murderer was large, wearing a leather jacket with studs and things on it. He had a camouflage jacket in his van along with a bag and brooms and other tools. Roy confirmed that the crime scene had literally been swept to hide all evidence when he found some broom marks in the ground. If they could get the broom they might be able to link it forensically to the crime scenes which could be a valuable piece of evidence. They were also able to locate some tire tracks for the van and using an ATM camera even got photographs of the vehicle. Now that he had a reasonable chain of evidence Roy put out an APB on it.
Afterwards. Jack invited Osamu to dinner at his house with him and his 16 year old sister CAROLINE YOUNGBLOOD. This proved to be a mistake for the monk as Jack made perhaps the most inedible pot roast in human history. Jack blamed his father for it of course. If he wouldn’t have been distracting him the whole time it would have been OK. He then promised Caroline that they would order pizza for dinner tomorrow. Even if the culinary disaster might have merited some form of punishment it was what happened next that strained the Warden’s credibility in Osamu’s eyes.
Jack suddenly snatched a copy of the novel “Twilight” from his sister’s backpack and with a mighty swing cut it in half with his Warden’s sword. After the initial excitement died down Jack explained that the book had been woven with words as a magical compel to make everyone who read it predisposed to liking vampires. Especially Black Court Vampires who lived in Forks, Washington. Vampires like BARONETTE MYST. Having used The Sight to look at his book, Jack has heard the voice of the book speak the words “Vampires are Sexy and Misunderstood”, words that he will never get out of his head…
It was a subtle magic and insidious in its complexity. It also explained the nightmares and headaches that Caroline had been experiencing since she read the book. She was instinctively fighting off the enchantment which demonstrated her powerful innate magics. Jack immediately called the White Council’s headquarters in Edinburgh and after getting the run around by Wizard Peabody (who has a particular disdain for the rebellious wizard) got STACY KEENE on the line. He told her about the books and explained who was behind it. He then said he was going to go after the vampire and take him out. With some help of course.
Meanwhile, Roy and his daughter MEGAN MULLENIX started making a strategy for the upcoming card game. They went over the various players that Megan would face and discussed their personalities. Roy decided that he would meet with WILLIAM WEST to see what he could learn about him and his proxy for the game. ERIC LAUFEY was not an unknown quantity to the police officer. The used car salesman had run with Jack when they were younger and been involved in a lot of petty cons and car theft although he was never really caught red handed. It turns out that Megan was familiar with him as well since Eric was the one who had cheated her and put her $50,000 in debt. Roy called West to set up a lunch date for the next day.
At lunch West became very excited when Roy inadvertently revealed that he was involved in The Game for the statue. He was only too happy to reveal that he was interested in it so he could use its good fortune to allow him to reveal the supernatural world to the general public. Which was a dream of his. He was also happy to impart his knowledge about TREVOR RADCLIFFE to Roy. While Radcliffe put on a very good public face with his Radcliffe Scholars and other charities he was a ruthless and driven man who was dangerous. Roy already knew this given that Radcliffe was suspected to be the one behind the theft of the BOOK OF OUTER DARKNESS which made him at least somewhat responsible for the earthquake and storms that very nearly destroyed the city of Seattle. Thanking West Roy then went on to meet with RONALD PARKER Esq. IV to learn more about The Game. He wasn’t there for long when he got an urgent call from police dispatch. He learned that the murderer had not been idle and had beheaded a third victim.
This proved significant since the timing of the murders became clear. The first kill was around 8pm, the second was a 9pm and the third was at 10pm all two days apart. This would mean that the next two kills would be at a park at 11pm and finally midnight in the following days. They also were able to discern a pattern to the kill sites that formed an inverted pentagram that would go through the heart of Seattle centered in various parks. Using this knowledge they were able to narrow down the next murder site to 3 different parks in south Seattle.
Roy had called Jack to the crime scene along with Osamu and when he arrived he immediately stepped over to where the beheading had occurred and demonstrated with his Warden’s Sword the attack made by the killer. The surrounding police officers reacted to the young punk kid wielding a broadsword who just appeared in their midst with remarkable speed. Jack was suddenly staring down the barrels of a dozen drawn weapons with screams to “Drop the Sword!” and “Freeze!” ringing in his ears.
Jack had noticed a spirit sitting at the top of a hill overlooking the Sound and went off to go see what he could learn from him. When he tried to speak to the obviously Native American spirit he despaired at first because the spirit replied in Salish. Jack did not speak the language. He said to the spirit, “Well like my pal CRAIG BIGEAGLE always says: Go forth with Courage”, and turned to walk away.
“Cool, man. You know Craig?” said the spirit.
Blinking in surprise Jack turned to the spirit and explained what was going on. The Spirit had little in the way of new information. He had only been in the park so he could commune with YUQUOT in the waves and didn’t see anything. However, the spirit was willing to spread the word to the ghost community to look for the the murderer or for anything unusual especially around the 3 parks that were the likely places for the next murder.
After wrapping up the crime scene Roy, Osamu and Jack met with Parker and learned that the prize of the Poker Game was none other than the actual Maltese Falcon. “The stuff that dreams are made of.” The real one not the fraudulent one that surfaced in the 1940s.