Kara, after getting sent home from work for the day, makes her way over to the theater. She stops by a coffee shop on the way and orders a triple-shot, hoping to diffuse her fatigue. After a few more minutes of walking, she slips into the theater. “Arthur? You here?” She calls out, her voice echoing a bit back to her.
There is some rumbling as Arthur walks out of the back,”Ah yes you’re here! Good. I’ll be right back.” He is wearing a pair of coveralls which is covered in old paint and fresh dust, with his hair tied up in the back. Even dirty he looks as if he could be a model from a magazine. He then walks back in carrying an old tome bound in a strange leather.”I have another secret to show you.”
“Another?” Kara asks with a slight smile, “You’re spoiling me, Arthur.”
<Storyteller> There is something… strange about the theater today, though neither can really place what it is. Just a feeling that something is… off.
Arthur seems to shiver for a moment then shakes his head and clears some space to put up the book to begin reading. He opens it up and he begins to look through it. It is written in various old languages from oldest to newest. About midway through he begins to recognize some of it… Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, with the last portion in Latin.”Do you understand any of this?”
Kara edges around to stand beside Arthur, and peers at the book. “Some. I know german, and I can recognize some of the latin, but none of the rest.” She turns to look up at him. “Why? What is this?”
“A Grimoire of Magic, dealing with rituals relating to the spirits of the dead. It should contain rituals and spells that may help us dealing with the things going on I hope. You must tell no-one of this, especially not your secret agent friend.” Says Arthur
<Storyteller> A tiny vine grows up the side of the table he placed the book on, and sprouts a single flower bud in front of them.
Arthur immediately picks up the book and shuts it,”Zirathur, is that you?”
<Storyteller> The flower pops open violently and releases a loud belching sound, followed by the worst type of fart smell that either of them has ever smelled.
Arthur looks over at Kara and begins moving towards the door,”Let’s relocate for today shall we?”
“A spellbook?!” Kara’s eyes take on a quality of almost-chidlike wonder before being drawn to the flower as it grows and explodes. “If that is your friend, he has a very… interesting sense of humor.”
Arthur nods,”Yes a spellbook, but that doesn’t seem to be Zirathur’s doing. I highly recommend we leave here this instant” As he reaches for the door at the edge of the theater.
<Storyteller> The doors slam shut and some old wood falls down in front of them, blocking the exit. More vines grow across the wood in the shape of words. “Dont go”
“Oh. Oh, come on!” Kara sputters indignantly. “I’ve already been haunted once this month!”
Arthur raises his voice loudly,”Reveal thyself at once spirit, I command thee to speak thy name this instant!”
<Storyteller> The air is oddly both very still and very charged. Hair stands on end, and there is a distinct taste of ozone in the air.
“I think you’re only making it mad, Arthur.” Kara whispers.
Arthur puts his hands in front of him in the manner that his Father taught him,”Invocato Spiritu Sancto Et Igni!”
<Storyteller> The wood that is barring the door catches fire, and begins to spread to the other matierals they have been bringing in to work on the theater. The smoke from it is thick and billows up thankfully toward the high ceiling, but at the rate it is spreading it might be wise to find a different exit.
“Okay, let’s file that under bad ideas and not set anymore fires.” Kara snaps and grabs the shoulder of Arthur’s coat, trying to pull him towards another exit.
<Storyteller> The vines grow in the shape of an arrow, pointing away from the fire.
Arthur follows Kara not sure what else to do and starts crying for his father the whole way
“I think this way. Do you have any better ideas?” Kara asks Arthur, pointing at the arrow.
“We could go upstairs and climb out the broken windows. It’s in that direction.” He points the same direction that the arrow is pointing.
<Storyteller> As they start to leave there is a huge clap of thunder behind them… it sounds as if a thunderstorm started inside the theater. A warm, steamy damp feeling seems to follow them, along with a coppery smell.
“Ugh, what a week.” Kara groans. “Lead on, then. You know this place better than I do.”
Arthur starts laughing,”What was I thinking? This seems more like the work of a faerie than a ghost?! Here I thought we were under attack! Let’s go greet our guest then.” He continues to follow the arrows.
<Storyteller> By the time they pair get outside, the fire has been put out. They don’t see any signs from the outside of smoke or flame… but the front doors are heavily burned however.
“Well, at least we have the book and the whole thing isn’t burned to the ground. Most of that wood needed to be replaced anyway. I am curious as to what kind of spirit had taken residence there. I’m sure we can find out later, in the meantime do you know of a safe place that we can study this tome Kara?” Says Arthur.
“I…” Kara stutters, at a loss for words, then pinches the bridge of her nose. “We can look over it at my apartment. Just, just please don’t set anything on fire.”
“Why would I set anything on fire? Does your apartment have Demon vines too?
“No. Just…just no.”
Kara sighs again. “Come on. It’s a bit of a walk.”
Arthur follows Kara, holding his book close to his now ash covered, dirt covered, paint covered, coveralls.
<Storyteller> Though it had semed that it was morning when they entered the theater… it now seems as if the sun is instead, going down.
Kara chooses to ignore that. She chooses sanity instead.
Arthur looks at the sun which is setting,”We should probably hurry, there isn’t much daylight left.” He starts jogging,”Just… don’t outrun me.”
<Storyteller> On the way back, down between a pair of buildings they hear a scraping sound, like metal on metal. Almost right next to them.
“Okay, I’m going to need an explanation of this eventually.” Kara mutters to herself as she leads Arthur forward. She spares a glance towards the noise, against her better judgement.
Arthur pushes her on,”Can we start running just a little.” Arthur looks back quickly,”Zirathur! Where are you?!”
Kara snaps around as Arthur shouts, but then remembers that she can’t normally see his dragon friend.
Arthur looks at the ground,”There you are Zirathur… Kara, we need to start running, Take the book please.” He scoops and picks up something imaginary and hands her the book.
<Storyteller> *Scrape* *Scrape* Then against the brick wall behind them. *Scrape*
“You say you saw what Zirathur?… that sounds like… Captain Hook.” says Arthur in exclamation.”Kara, I think we are being chased by the legendary captain himself!”
Kara shivers at the scraping noise, and hugs the book closer to her. “Running. Right. This way!” She takes off, heading towards her apartment.
Arthur also begins running, whatever this is, it’s scaring Zirathur and that means he chooses life.
<Storyteller> It doesn’t seem to follow them at more than a walking pace… so they quickly outrun it and make it to Kara’s apartment as the streetlights outside kick on. As they walk up to the door, two police cars shoot down the street headed the opposite direction with lights and sirens going.
“Okay,” Kara slumps against the door as she locks it behind her, and silently thanks a longtime dedication to physical fitness, “that was an ordeal.”
“Yes it was. Whatever it was scared a several thousand year old dragon, I wouldn’t want to fight it with my present skills. I wonder if it was really Captain Hook. That’d make it a Legend.”
“If it is, I’m blaming you if it kills me.” Kara stands and rolls her shoulders. “Alright. Welcome to my place, I suppose.” Kara gestures with one arm around her modest apartment. It’s fairly standard, with the only items of personalization are a few posters for local bands, one for the X-Files, and a few books of ghost stories, occult lore, and the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
Arthur moves over the selection,”A good start but you’re missing Shakespeare, Euripidies, Edgar Allen Poe… or really most of the poets. Lovecraft though at least. Regardless, the best ghost story we have is the one you’re holding. Shall we begin to decipher it’s enigmas?”
Kara mutters something about the ubiquity of critics, but sits herself at her computer desk and boots it up. “Take a seat,” She says, gesturing to the adjacent couch.
Arthur sits down with a flourish and then begins to pet his dragon, while he waits for Kara to load up the screen.
“Okay, I’ll pull up some translation sites, and a few scholarly indexes for these old languages.” Kara says, then turn in her chair back to Arthur, “just let me know what to look for.”
“I believe we should start with the new languages. It’s probably easier than the older stuff. I don’t know what some of these languages even are honestly. Hopefully we can find some simple spells and rituals to help us face ghosts. Although that wouldn’t help us against Hook.” Arthur sighs. “It’s probably just a ghost though, I hope. I’m sure there are real pirates that had hooks for hands.”
Kara does as he asks, working to translate whatever passages he feeds her.
Arthur grabs the book and starts skimming through lines,”Ad defendre contra spiritus…”
“…Melius est nomen scire.”
Arthur continues to read off some lines and take notes for a time,”I think I’ve gotten as far as I can with this for now.”
<Storyteller> Another set of sirens goes by on the street outside, followed by an ambulence.
Kara looks out the window, curious at the second set of sirens.
Arthur turns noticing the sounds and the sirens,”Kara do you have a television or anything with the news?”
“Wha? Oh, yeah. The remote’s on the table over there.” She points to the table by Arthur on the couch.
Arthur picks up the remote off the couch and flips through the channels to try and find local news, hoping to hear perhaps what is going on with all the ambulence. Hopefully it’s a big enough story for it to be on.
<Storyteller> As the TV clicks on and turns over to the news, there is a story about some sort of violent attack, but no other information has been released at this time.
“Kara, I’m worried that there may be some connection with these ambulences and the spirits we saw earlier. Unfortunately it appears that the news stations don’t have anything to say. Could you contact that man who was with you the other day and see if he can verify that there isn’t anything suspicious about it?” Arthur moans,”I’m hungry too, do you have anything to eat?”
“I’ll let him know when I see him again, but I don’t think it’s our department.” She turns to look at Arthur, then heads over to the kitchen area. “Yeah, I’ve got food. You’ve got your pick of tea and instant rice or noodles.”
Arthur makes some instant noodles,”Would you mind if I stay here tonight? I don’t think I want to travel outside with that thing out there.”
“If you don’t mind sleeping on the couch.” Kara says with a shrug. “Sure. Make yourself at home. I don’t think this building’s any safer, though.”
Arthur looks perplexed,”Why would you say that?”
“Well, I don’t exactly have any supernatural warding on this place,” Kara says with a shrug as she puts a pot and a kettle on the stove.
Arthur looks at her and sits down.”Do you have any salt, flour, chalk or anything like that?”
“Er, yeah.” Kara nods towards a cupboard off to the side of the kitchen area. “In there.”
Arthur goes over to the salt and sees how much she has,”We can try to make circles around us for the night. Circles might help… maybe. If not Zirathur can defend against most things… just not whatever that was.”
<Storyteller> There is a firm knock on Kara’s front door.
Arthurs eyes widen,”Kara… did you order take out or something?”
Kara shakes her head, then carefully walks to the front door and peers out the veiw-hole.
Arthur immediately goes and hides the book. He decides the best place is probably behind a piece of furniture.
<Zane Calbeni> is standing outside the door, hands in his jacket pockets as he looks about in the hallway and toward the windows. “Kara, it’s me. Just checking on you, something bad happened not far from here… want to make sure it’s not you under that sheet. You in there?”
Kara beathes a sigh of relief, then unlocks and opens the door.
“Hi Zane,” she says with an only slightly uncertain grin.
Arthur stands up and goes over to him,”Good evening sir, my name is Arthur, a pleasure to meet you.”
<Zane Calbeni> looks down at Kara and seems to look relieved, then raises an eyebrow as he studies Arthur for a moment. “Thank goodness. I couldn’t get close enough to get a look at the body, but i am glad you are safe.”
<Zane Calbeni> regards Arthur, hands sliding from the poskets of his leather jacket as he looks him over. Then he shakes his head a bit. “Zane, nice to meet you too.”
Arthur looks back at him,”I’m normally far more fashionable than this. Can you tell us about this death? Any idea what happened to the body?”
“This is Arthur,” Kara turns and gestures to where Arthur was hiding, “he’s a friend of mine. I was actually meaning to visit you, Zane. I got you message. It’s just life got in the way.”
Arthur says insistently to Zane,”Tell us about the body Zane. We are dying to know.”
<Zane Calbeni> raises an eyeborw as he ventures inside of Kara’s apartment. “That’s alright. It happens.”, he says before looking back at Arthur with a slight frown on his boyish face. “You are a morbid little guy, aen’t you?”
Arthur smiles,”No, I am simply concerned is all. Something was following us for a while we were outside. Then the ambulances went the direction we came from.”
“Anything to do with a hook?”
<Zane Calbeni> shrugs his shoulders a little bit. “I will say that the body was slashed up pretty bad… a lot of blood. What did it, I wouldn’t know.”, he says. “A hook? Like… the old hookman story? Scraping along the car door and all that junk?”
Arthur’s eyes go wide with obvious fear,”An Old Hookman story you say? With a Wide-Brimmed Hat?”
“Are you okay, Arthur?” Kara asks, giving the man a concerned glance.
<Zane Calbeni> cocks his head slightly and then shrugs again as he looks out the window. Just kind of looking around. “Don’t know about a hat… but it’s a common urban legend.”
“Zir… I… I saw a man with a hook and a wide brimmed hat when we were running. Those god awful sounds of metal against metal. It would appear that urban legend has come to life… Kara can you go on the computer and look up the history behind this legend? I want to know if it’s a ghost we are dealing with… I hope it’s just a ghost…”
<Zane Calbeni> sighs a bit, but nods. “In the story he scrapes the hook along a car door where some lovers are getting busy… classic teenager horror flick kinda stuff. In one version he kills them… in another they drive away and when they get back to the girlfriend’s house there is the hook, still stuck in the door.”
“If you want to look up ghost stories, try the library.” Kara advises Arthur. “You’ll never be able to piece anything together from the mass of stuff online.”
Arthur shakes his head,”I don’t want the legend, I want to know if there was a real person or event behind the stories. I doubt he actually made those car door sounds while he was alive… so it’s not a ghost. All I know is I am not going outside until after the sun comes back up.”
<Zane Calbeni> “What kind of logic is that? If it’s a guy with a hook and he scraped it on a dumpter… it’d make that kind of noise. It could be a person.”, he says as he glances between them for a moment. “Not that I don’t believe in ghosts… don’t think there’s many who live in New Orleans that could say they don’t.”
Arthur thinks for a moment.”Normally I would feel safer without doubters around… but I believe we have the best safety in numbers. You should probably stay here the night too. The more of us there are the less likely ghosts or crazies can attack us. After all you saw what happened to the last person, and I don’t want to get hooked.”
“Er,” Kara looks from Zane to Arthur, suddenly much more apprehensive, “that might not be the best idea.”
<Zane Calbeni> chuckles a little bit, shaking his head. “That’s adorable. But I am not about to impose, first off… secondly… I am not afraid, either. Not of some guy with a hook, and not of a ghost either. I’ll go check for scrape marks once the cops clear out of there and let you know what I find though.”
Arthur nods,”Probably for the best then. I’m glad you checked by at least, and told us what you did. I now have a starting point to research more about this.”
“Wait, what did you want to talk to me about, Zane?” Kara asks, biting her lip slightly for a moment. “You sent me that message a few days ago…”
Arthur gets up,”I’ll be in the restroom for a while if anyone needs me.” and walks over to a nearby room and shuts the door. It isn’t actually the bathroom.
Kara watches Arthur walk into the wrong room, then sighs lightly and turns back to Zane.
<Zane Calbeni> looks over at Kara and starts to say something before watching Arthur go, then looks back to her. “It seems like you have your hands full. As for what i wanted to talk to you about… it can wait. He might be in there, but he’s left his ears out here to listen. I’ll see you sometime later, till then, be careful.”
“Yeah,” Kara mutters in response, “take care of yourself too.”
<Zane Calbeni> sighs and moves out the front door into the hallway, glancing back at her. “I know you don’t entirely trust me, you have reason. You know why, you just don’t want to know why.”, he says before half smiling and then closing the door behind him.
Kara watches the door for a few moments after he leaves. Then, she mutters darkly to herself; “I’m getting really tired of this smugly vague bullshit.”
Arthur falls asleep inside of the broom closet that he crawled into.