Weird Crimes

A Kidnapping in Westchester - Part 2

Ransom Notes and Vomit

Weird Crimes Division, New York City

Olga is in custody and has spilled the beans on her entire involvement:

Olga makes all sorts of wild superstitious accusations about the Corneliszs – they are devil worshippers and witches, she hears strange voices at night, and the house is haunted. Then, under the floorboards in her room, Olga found a diary left by Maria. She read it, and was terrified. She had to do something, she could not leave Adam with his parents.

A man named Thomas came to the house two weeks ago while the Corneliszs were out driving. He asked for work, and kept her talking for a long time, asking about her employers and Adam. He was the first person to come to the house in months who was not a friend of the Corneliszs, and she confessed her fears to him. Thomas returned a week later with another man, and said that if she left the window open in the nursery at night, then he would take the child away and put him in an orphanage.

Thomas had dark hair and was quite handsome, but his nose was squashed and clearly had been broken several times. The other man did not speak. He had red hair and a scar on one cheek. He was also missing two fingers on one hand, and was wearing heavy boots.

The team gets the call that a ransom note has arrived, and returns to the mansion, deciding beforehand that Jonathan Reginald Fox, Augustus, and Naomi will go inside to talk with the Corneliszs, while Paul and Nemo explore the overgrown backyard and look for the ladder that Nemo saw from the sky.

Cornelisz Mansion, Westchester

Jerry Grant answers the door. Jacob has called him here as an intermediary to deliver the ransom. Naomi immediately recognizes him as a local bootlegger and speakeasy owner. Jonathan Reginald Fox begins interrogating Grant; he confirms the statement in Maria’s diary that he hired her and Olga for the Corneliszs, but has not hired any other help for them. When asked how he knows Jacob, he says that a mutual acquaintance named Robert introduced them a few years back.

In the unusually overgrown and unmaintained backyard, Nemo and Paul find the ladder used to climb into Adam’s second floor window. Two sets of boot prints (one much heavier than the other) appear to confirm Olga’s statement about the two men. They then stumble upon a weird stone orb. It burns Paul’s hands, but Nemo has no problem carrying it. Paul recognizes that the spiral stone is Celtic in origin. Nearby, they find a bizarre ash stain on the grass. Paul takes a sample for analysis later.

Augustus decides he wants to find the basement and to hypnotize Jerry Grant, so he does both. Jonathan Reginald Fox follows along, while Naomi distracts the Corneliszs. Naomi joins up with them to break down the basement door after convincing the Corneliszs that the kidnappers have returned and they should stay put.

Augustus has Grant enter the basement while the other three follow behind. Inside they find a large alchemical laboratory. Augustus has Grant inhale some mysterious chemical that breaks the hypnotic spell but also causes uncontrollable vomiting. Naomi finds an unfinished stone orb, along with the book Folklore of the British Isles. Jonathan Reginald Fox finds a large porcelain tub with strange discolorations all over. The team suspects it might be burns from something acidic, but since no one is a chemist they are unsure.

Meanwhile, Nemo and Paul stakeout the house for a bit. They see a swan.

Jacob finally comes downstairs after the commotion of breaking into the basement. Naomi hides under the table of alchemy equipment while Jonathan Reginald Fox has conveniently fallen asleep behind the discolored tub. Augustus tells Jacob that the kidnappers have escaped while Naomi chased after them, and then convinces Jacob that the vomiting Grant is clearly an irresponsible drunk, just look at him. He’s not reliable enough to deliver the money, but Augustus is (despite the horror of having to wear a yellow cravat). Jacob agrees, and they go upstairs to get Jerry Grant a ride home.

Nemo and Paul abandon the stakeout and find the basement window in time to witness this all. They crawl inside and rescue Naomi, who has been trapped by a ring of vomit dripping off the alchemy table.

Nemo, Paul, and Naomi stumble upon a library of strange occult textbooks while carrying the sleeping Jonathan Reginald Fox out of the mansion. The three of them each steal a book, hoping for the best, and head out front.

Augustus and Jacob are outside helping Jerry Grant into a cab to take him home. Augustus can see that he has certainly ingratiated himself to Jacob, but also soured Jacob’s friendship with Grant.

Colonel Ellis informs the team that the postmarking of the ransom note can indicate which post office in Brooklyn it was sent from, but the team dismisses this as the ravings of a drunken lunatic.

The plan is to stakeout the 45th St. Station in two days time.


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