|TIME:||Thursday – June 26, 1879 – 06:15 PM|
|LOCATION:||St. Louis, MO [MAP]|
Sterling Simms (a.k.a. David Davidson a.k.a. Jack Johnson)
Lucius had a slight problem. If he wanted to join the others at the St. Louis KC & LR Railyard, he would have to either convince Mr. King or Joe to let him go or sneak away from the employee compound… and the chances of convincing Mr. King or Joe to let him run around a railyard all night were extremely slim. However, Jonah came up with a plan to help. He concocted a sleeping draught which he managed to slip into Joe’s drink while he was distracted by a conversation with Lucius and Yang Li. Joe was soon fast asleep, allowing the three of them to talk their way past Bill (not the brightest door guard) with an explanation that they were on an errand for Mr. King.
In the meantime, Sterling, along with the Green brothers (Allen’s flock), arrived a tad bit before 7:00 PM at the railyard. Before leaving Iron Mountain, they had attempted to join with Seamus, but he did not answer his door when they knocked. Sterling had just arrived at the gates to the yard when a young boy walked up and asked if he was David Davidson. After confirming his identity, the boy handed Sterling a Western Union telegram which read:
After reading the telegram, Sterling led the Green brothers into the yard, and was promptly stopped by an older black man with a limp who asked him about his business. Sterling explained that he was there at the behest of Mr. Richard Barney. The man introduced himself as Otis Young and asked Sterling has name so he could compare it to the names Mr. Barney had given him. He was not greatly impressed that Sterling required three tries to find his name on the list (David Davidson, Jack Johnson, and finally Sterling Simms), and asked Sterling to wait outside the gates until the rest of his group arrived.
The next posse member to arrive was Tobias. He introduced himself to Otis and was invited into the office for a cup of coffee. After he vouched for Sterling, Sterling and the Green brothers were allowed into the office as well. After a few minutes, Jonah, Lucius, Yang Li, and Allen arrived. (They had bumped into each other on the way to the yard.) While they introduced themselves to Otis, Sterling attempted to take advantage of the distraction to replace the coffee sugar with salt. Unfortunately for him (but probably fortunate for the coffee drinkers), he was caught before he could replace the sugar. He explained that salt in coffee was the height of European fashion, but no one seemed interested. However, Allen did convince the Green brothers to taste a little salt for Sterling’s peace of mind.
Once everyone interested had a cup of coffee, Otis explained the deaths at the yard with a bit more detail than previously told by Mr. Barney. All victims were night watchmen for the KC & LR Railyard and their bodies were all found in the yard. They were killed while making their rounds, at different locations, and at different times of the night. All were armed. The bodies left behind were dried up, mummified husks. Not wishing to cause any problems for his business, Mr. Barney covered up the deaths as railyard accidents that necessitated close-casket funerals.
The first death occurred on Thursday, June 5th. When Ridley Freeman did not report back to the office after making his rounds, Otis gathered a couple of other watchmen and went looking for him. They found his body lying next to an empty car. The next death did not occur until June 20th, a Friday. John Gilman, a family man with a good reputation, was found dead in the yard. Just a couple of days ago, on Monday, June 23rd, Tom Blood, a widower with a son, died in the railyard.
The posse asked Otis numerous questions, hoping to find a possible link with the transported goods or trains in the yard with the deaths. Unfortunately, nothing stood out in the ledgers provided by Otis. The posse then decided to investigate the railyard as three groups (each with a lantern):
- Tobias and Sterling hid in an empty car, waiting for trouble,
- Allen and the Green brothers randomly wandered the yard, and
- Jonah, Lucius, and Yang Li patrolled the yard.
While walking the yard, Lucius noticed a small shadow moving amongst the cars. When he pointed it out to the others, the shadow immediately fled, starting a chase. Jonah was able to shine the lantern onto the fleeing form to reveal a small boy, roughly 12-years old. Yang Li and Lucius managed to catch the boy before he had gotten too far. As they began to interrogate him, the other posse members arrived. He was very reluctant to tell them anything, but they learned his name was James Blood, the son of Tom Blood, the watchman killed just a few days previous. Apparently, he was present when his father was killed and had returned to the railyard with his father’s pistol to enact his revenge. He wasn’t suppose to be at the railyard when his father worked, but James would occasionally sneak in to walk his rounds with him. During his last walk with his father in the dark hours of that fateful Monday morning, a chill mist had risen around them. Suddenly, from out of the mist, an Indian warrior had appeared. His father told James to run while he went for his pistol. James did not see what happened after he ran, but heard a shot from the pistol and a scream from his father.
After hearing the boy’s story, the posse agreed to help him kill the mysterious Indian. They followed him to the site where he saw the Indian (i.e., the place where his father’s body was found) and did a careful examination of the area, but found nothing. It was then agreed that Sterling and Nathan Green would take a position on a nearby engine over-looking the scene while the rest patrolled the yard.
After the others had left, a thick fog began to rise around the locomotive hiding Sterling and Nathan. Suddenly, a somewhat translucent Indian warrior with a tomahawk appeared in the fog and slashed Nathan who screamed and then collapsed. Sterling struck the ghostly warrior with three bolts from his pistol, causing him to fade back into the fog… but not before throwing his tomahawk at Sterling! Fortunately, the tomahawk turned into wisps of mist before burying itself in Sterling’s forehead. The fog had almost dissipated by the time the rest of the posse arrived (after being drawn by the scream and shots).
Nathan was alive, but unconscious. Upon opening his shirt, the posse noticed a livid white welt running across his chest. Jonah attempted to awaken poor Nathan, but without much success. Upon seeing Jonah’s floundering (he was not trained in heal), Lucius took over and managed to revive Nathan. He was still very weak so the majority of the posse moved him to warmth of the office. As he lay on the couch and drank Otis’ coffee, color returned to the welt on his chest.
While in the office, Allen, Tobias, and Jonah began to ask Otis about the ghostly Indian. He had no explanation, but upon being asked about the burial mounds surrounding St. Louis, he did recall that the yard had been regraded with gravel and dirt at the end of May. (The job was completed on May 28th.) The earth may have come from some of the mounds; Otis couldn’t be sure but he knew it was not uncommon for construction companies to dig into the mounds for filler material. Otis was able to provide the name of the St. Louis company that regraded the yard: Jameson Construction.
|EXPERIENCE AWARD: 1|