Persistent Memory

Eye of the Storm

The three remaining heroes stand by a cabin in the middle of nowhere, while eldritch sounds emanate from the woods around them. On the hillside beside them, a man named Stanley Mulligan waves a firearm around, while strange creatures in sunglasses who used to be men watch them.

At a loss for what to do next, Clara asks: What do you want from us? One of the creatures answers: Nothing.
Troy asks: What do you want from Stanley? The answer: He had knowledge of the site.
Clara: What are you? A: We have been called the Great Race by your kind. We understand that time as you know it may be…short. We will make you a deal.
Troy: what kind of deal? A: Safe passage as well as your friend (Marion) if you don’t molest this area any further.

At this, Stanley looks around as if to say “what have you done?” to the creatures.

Clara asks the creature what will happen to Stanley and it tells her that it is likely he’ll attempt to hide out in Seattle but that he’ll be found in 3-4 years.

Douglas asks why Patterson is looking for Stanley. The question elicits a strong reaction from Stanley, who asks the creature if he “let that guy free.” The answer, of course, is yes.

Behind Stanley, the bushes part to reveal the man from the dolmen…his tentacles have grown, and his body is less humanoid in shape…spindlier. The heroes decide to take the deal that they have been offered.

They are directed to enter the cabin…the tentacled lumberjack shrieks and thrashes towards them, and they run.

Inside the cabin, the creature/man from the window is sitting in one of the chairs beneath the light contraption; he appears to be dead. The flesh around his eyes is ravaged-fresh and old wounds surround the sockets. The eyes are black with the barest ring of white around them…they appear to be too large for his head. The eyes twitch as if registering the presence of the three humans in the room.

Clara looks at the figure on the table…but it isn’t a figure at all…it’s a circle made of some kind of black stome…shaped like a whirlpool or vortex. She can almost make out arms and fingers…and three toothed orifices (mouths?) in the ‘eye’ of the storm. She reaches out and touches it.

“The devouring wind,” says the not-so-dead creature. “That is teh being that is now dead.”
Troys asks how long has it been dead? A: We believe that trying to explain time you are like us. We exist outside time. You have been severed. We do not remember you.

Doug asks how it doesn’t remember us, yet asked which one are you, which doesn’t make sense. The creature goes on to explain that our heroes are outside time, there are no other like them. Troy was like others and then became like Clara, Douglas, and Marion. Tells them that the creature that took Mariom was a Hound of Tindalos, and that wherever she is, she will be returned to us on the train. It also tells them that its eyes belonged to a dolphin.

The air is rent by a high-pitched sound like the scream of a panicked horse, followed by thrashing sounds. The creature tells our heroes to leave…go back to the train.

They run back to their cabin to grab their things. Through the window they see a creature made of horse bits bearing down on Stanley. They leave the cabin and run out to run around him and the beast. The last thing they hear from him is a wet noise and gunshots.

They take off towards the lumber camp, but Troy freaks out and takes off in the wrong direction. Clara and Douglas chase him…Clara sees something in the woods moving in to intercept Troy…it is a simian form that clearly used to be human. She calls out to Troy to make him stop. The ape-thing attacks, Troy and Douglas shoot and kill it.

Clara searches the remains…finds a picture of a man with a little girl and an older woman.

Douglas looks behind them…he doesn’t see anything but all three heroes hear the thrashing horsemonster sound again.

They head towards the camp. About two minutes in, they stop hearing horse screams but the crashing sounds continue.

They make it to a cleared area beside a large creek, and follow it towards the camp. On the way, they find the corpse of an outdoorsy-looking man, his body against a stump, his severed arm and the axe that removed it remain on the stump itself. Clara’s inspection of the body reveal that he died from impact to chest and sternum. His wallet is still in his pocket, along with chew, dice, $4.00, and check stubs with the payee name of James Painter.

Finally they arrive in the camp. It is deserted. They cross the rope bridge to the store and Troy takes out the bridge.

The stables have been smashed…the doors are gone. The far end of the horse pen is also smashed out. There’s blood and bits of horse all over the place.

The house attached to the store…porch is destroyed…the store is empty…the doors are open on all the buildings except the store. They loot the place, then head towards the train. Clara goes ahead of the other two…Troy and Douglas take out a two-person-corpse creature on the other bridge.

In the passenger car, Clara sees a figure seated at the back for a moment, and then it’s gone…the face is her own. The expression of surprise is hers, too. More severe looking, but clearly this is some other Clara. Clara feels that there were others, but that they’re gone now. She feels that same feeling she experienced when she used the talking board at Eugenia’s…the light has that odd quality…but then everything goes back to ‘normal.’

Marion is sprawled on the floor, injured and unconscious…no worse off than before her abduction, albeit paler. Troy and Douglas try to start the train so that they can leave, but it doesn’t work out. They end up spending the night in the engine because it’s the most defensible spot. It’s a long and sleepless night…they keep hearing the thrashing sounds, sometimes close, sometimes farther away, and strange shrieks punctuate the dark hours.

Finis

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