Persistent Memory

Take the Last Train to Skookum

Our group meets up for an early breakfast before catching the train to Skookum Lake.

It is a dreary, rainy day as we make our way to the train. A man in work clothes stands under the passenger car overhang, smoking a cigarette and trying to stay dry. It turns out that he’s the engineer. He lets us into the passenger car; it’s not luxurious like the one that we took to New Mexico. It’s a more utilitarian version, meant for the workers.

The journey is about 15 miles, roughly an hour’s ride. This isn’t a day trip. This train will most likely not return to Tillamook for several days.

About 15 minutes into our journey, Marian asks if we smell something…her voice is muffled..everything is muffled. In the seat next to her are the sickles…the sack is smoking. Marian looks around, opens the sack…her face is illuminated by their glow. she grabs one. The rest of us see the ‘shadows’ collect in all the corners of the car. It’s more like the edges of the car are being pulled away somehow.

Douglas pulls a penny from his pocket and throws it at the ceiling edge…it bounces off as if the corner is still solid, yet it leaves an after-image in the darkness. Something comes through the space…another flat, projected thing, a creature, paile blue, vulpine, with spindly appendages and spiky, protruding joints. It strikes.

Overcome by the sudden appearance of the monster, Troy loses his mind a little. Clara, Marian, and Douglas somehow manage to keep their panic in check.

The creature lunges at Douglas, who tries to dodge away…he isn’t fast enough and it claws him.

Marian attacks it with a sickle. She swings at the wall. the creature turns and raises one of its appendages. There is no apparent contact between it and her, and yet it somehow moves her arm aside. She falls back, which actually saves her from being injured.

Troy goes after it with the other sickle. He connects, hitting it pretty solidly. There’s a sickly blue flash, and the image of the creature appears to be wounded.

Douglas attempts to shoot it. There is a muffled pop when the gun discharges. The window shatters…rain comes in, making the floor slick.

Clara picks up a coffee urn and hurls it at the creature. It hits the back of one of the seats and careens off, rolling down the aisle and spewing hot coffee everywhere.

Troy hits the monster again with the sickle and deals it a gash to the face.

Marian swings and misses.

Clara shoots her gun at it…she thinks she hits it, but there is no blue streak; there’s no shattered window either.

The creature moves up the wall to the ceiling. It attacks Mariam from above and she drops her sickle. She turns white, freezes, then disappears like mist. An image of her reappears behind the creature, receding into the distance like the projected image on the wall of Mulligan’s hotel room.

Clara goes into a frenzy at this, and hits the creature with the sickle that Marian dropped. It goes after her but she manages to dart out of its way between rows of seats.

Douglas slips on the coffee urn and shoots wild.

The monsters runs through Clara, leaving ragged tattered flesh in its wake. It skids to a halt near the broken window.

Troy attacks it again with his sickle. Something falls off….it limps and thrashes angrily.

Douglas shoots at it again, but the shot goes wide, leaving a hole in the wall.

Clara tries to attack, but has nearly no strength due to her own injury, and is unable to hurt it.

Troy takes it down with the sickle. Blue and yellow ichor spray from it’s wounds…the image shatters.

Douglas and Clara patch themselves up.

The encampment is pretty much what you would expect: there’s a company store, sleeping quarters, and dining hall, as well as a turnaround for the train.

We disembark without the engineer seeing the damage to the car or the fact that Marian’s missing.

We talk to the foremand, Anthony Boyd, giving the story that we’re here to do an article about Skookum Lake. He directs us to the company store for supplies and to get lodgings for Clara.

When we go in, we are greeted by the proprietor. After some conversation about the area, we are told that there are three hunting lodges a small distance away. One is already occupied (by Mulligan and co), but the other two available for use. We purchase a map and some provisions, then limp to our lodge.

We realize that the information on the back of the photograph of the dolmen actually coincides with map coordinates for a location south of the lake. We decide to investigate.

Passing the lodge that Mulligan is using, we see smoke coming from the chimney. There is also a dome-like (geodesic) structure out front which reminds us of the smoke lodge at Gatineau’s place in Forest Grove.

Further on, we hear voices and stop. Troy ventures forward on his own. He sees Mulligan digging a huge pit. The man in sunglasses stands above him, smoking. Another man in sunglasses stands near the prone figure of a man who has been tied to a rock. His face is turned away, but as he struggles, his face comes into view, or rather, what should be his face…it is a mass of tentacles. As Troy looks on in mute horror, a tentacle stretches from the ruins of the man’s face, reaching out and probing the surface of the rock.

Troy sneaks away and returns to the rest of us safely, recounting what he had seen.

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