(2018-03-17) PrP: The Three Legged Frog
The Three Legged Frog
Summary: A murder mystery turns into a challenge for Harris - physically and mentally. Eddie and Harris finally meet face to face under some dangerous circumstances.
Date: IC Date (2018-03-17)
Related: None
Player Characters: Harris, Eddie (Audgrim as GM)

Mrs. Johnsons House
There's a long drive up to the mansion-like old brick house, past an iron gate, the whole property surrounded by a tall fence with barbed wire on top. The house is dark, no lights on. It has three stories, and looms down towards the main road - secluded enough that no neighbors can see what is going on here, at the edge of Port Angeles. Build sometime in the early 1900s, it's been well maintained and cared for, but it's never been a pretty house - rather it is dark, square and built of dark stone, more like a medieval castle.

Inside, it is a maze of rooms and hallways, with dark colors everywhere, creaking floorboards and strange art and artifacts; old dusty armor, paintings of foreboding people in the past on the walls, velvet curtains and rugs that mute sounds.

The scene of the murder seemed obvious enough. Sandra Jonsson was found murdered in the hallway right beyond the main entrance. She'd suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head and body - the coroner suggests she probably was hit hard in the head at the top of the stairs and then tumbled down them, dying at the bottom.

The ransacking of the house made it seem like a robbery gone wrong, but it's hard to tell what was stolen as the whole building has art and artifacts on every available flat surface, some of it pure junk, but much of it valuable. The robbers have made a mess though, having ruined some of the valuable items like they were useless to them. Sandra Jonsson might have an inventory with her insurance company, but if she has, it's not been retained yet.

The woman was known as somewhat of a nutcase. She lived alone, and had in the recent weeks complained about seeing people on her property, hearing voices and even tried to report to the police that there was someone calling her phone and then hanging up, or just whispering oddities into her ear. It was chalked up to dementia, as her doctor did agree that she was starting to fade - she was 75 years old, after all.

What struck Harris though, when he was in the house after the cleaning lady found the body, he did hear a voice. Something whispered. ~Find me… Luck can be yours..~

Lt. Harris was examining some of the pictures hanging on the walls—a couple seem familiar to him, cheap mass-produced art pieces he'd seen as a boy. But when that voice whispers in his head, he straightens his spine, squaring his shoulders. "Who's there?" he growls softly, turning and looking around. Four rooms. Well, he was going to complete his investigation of the hallway first, but… four rooms. He takes a couple steps over and leans around the doorframe of the first, peering inside.

The first room is just this generic boring guest room, although it has the same gloomy look to it like the rest. A four poster bed, a dark rug, velvet curtains in brown.

When he peeks through, he hears it again. This time, it's much more clear and much more compelling: 'Yes… come to me. Set me free, and you will be rewarded.' It's an hypnotic lure right in his mind, more than an actual voice. It draws him towards somewhere…. but it's not this room. It seems to be further down the hallway.

Jim pinches the bridge of his nose. "Do not follow the voices in your head, Jim," he mutters under his breath. But he turns and lumbers back into the hallway, leaning into the room that's drawing him. He at least has to know what he's dealing with. And clairsentience isn't in his psychic bag of tricks.

The room where the whisper seem to come from has a closed door, but it is not locked and opens a crack when Jim peeks inside - assuming he does. It's completely dark in there, the curtains of the window are pulled. It's a surprisingly large room - it is at the end of the house where there's "turrets" so this area past the door has first a large open living room sort of area, and then an archway through to what is a bedroom further inside. There's also a bathroom to the right, the door closed.

Though it's dark, it's clear this place is cluttered with items, being half used as a storage room for more of that odd art and weird artifacts. There's boxes, chests and old bags piled up around the walls.

Jim does indeed peek inside—but not before reaching under his jacket to pull his Beretta. He leans in, firearm held at the ready, and peers around. He reaches over to flip the light switch with the barrel of his gun before pushing the door open more fully. He covers the room with his weapon as he looks around. "Who are you?" he growls more firmly, eyes bright and alert as he looks over the bric-a-brac scattered around.

Unfortunately - the lights in here don't work, so he's left in the gloom. It's not totally dark, as some light filters in from the hallway still.

The whisper is insistant. ~I'm here, I will be yours. You will know riches and luck. Touch me, make the promise…~

Perhaps as disturbing is the sound of something scraping against something in the bathroom. The faintest of sounds.

Jim is already on edge. That voice's insistance is not helping. He pushes the door wide open to let as much light in as he can, and carefully steps inside. He should know by now that guns don't usually work against the supernatural things he deals with, but it's hard to get over the comforting sensation the firearm gives him.

That scraping noise from the bathroom makes Jim startle. His knuckles tighten around the grip of his pistol, and he swallows hard. "Dammit," he mutters hoarsely. He creeps towards the door, every nerve in his thickset frame keening with tension. Reaching forward, he grips the doorknob and gives it a turn. Shoving the door open, he levels his gun, ready to blast whatever's within to oblivion. Not that it actually would work, but he's ready for it.

Perhaps it's surprising, that when Harris opens the bathroom door, he's not facing some sort of enticing succubus or a tentacled monster or anything of the kind. What he does face, is a tall man, dressed all in black, wearing a kevlar vest or something similar, and having a belt of burglary tools around his waist. He has a hood over his head, obscuring his features, but he's definitely both tall and strong. Furthermore, Harris finds himself looking right into the barrel of a pistol - that fires at him, and hits.

At this close range, the shooter /should/ do better. But… Harris can sense something else now. There's something that makes him feel sluggish and more stiff, like he's not as capable as he normally is. In fact, it's even harder to think straight. The whisper is /never stopping/ now. It's constantly in his head, sibilant, enticing, yearning, begging.

The man that shot him? He's carrying a little figurine of a three legged frog in his left, gloved hand.

Whatever it was that Jim was expecting, it wasn't a perfectly ordinary individual with a gun. He blinks, thrown off his guard for a split second. That split is enough to cost him as a bullet zings over his shoulder, misting a spray of blood behind him. "YEARGH!" Well. He's not about to wait to get shot a second time. He swings up his Beretta, gritting his teeth against the pain, and fires off three rounds in quick succession.

Downstairs, a door cheerfully opens up for Eddie so he can just wander into the, presumably, empty house. In fact, it thinks he lives here. Straight ahead is a large staircase leading up - the house is huge. And dark. And gloomy. It's like an Autumn dream in here. Of course, not so much a Winter's dream as two gunshots suddenly ring out from upstairs, seconds after Eddie has entered the house, and then that shout from Harris.

The robber is hit too, his arm spraying blood, and he too shouts out. He drops the little figurine he's carrying on a pile of towels and dives at Harris, in an attempt to go with a fistfight here, rather than a shootout with a possible bad outcome for him too.

Soon as Eddie enters, he can hear a whisper in his head, enticing him to 'find me, use me, make the promise'. But he's not compelled to follow it. It seems to come from wherever those shots are being fired.

When Eddie saw the police tape he should have kept driving, appointment or no appointment. You see that stuff outside a place and you have to figure there's nobody inside who's going to pay you anything, at the end of the day. That's what he told himself when he parked his car, and when he ducked under the tape, and when he went around the back of the house checking for open windows. He told himself a little louder when he didn't, and had to go to work on the lock. Now that he's inside and hearing gunshots and whispers in his head, he's saying it out loud: "Should have kept driving, Brundle. Turn around and leave. The door's still open." He keeps telling himself these things, and others very much like them, as he moves deeper into the house, towards the sounds of bullets being fired.

Jim staggers back as a fist connects to his nose. "Gnnh!" Now his mustache is bloodied as stars dance in his eyes. Shaking his head, he coughs a couple times. "Port Angeles Police! Get on your fucking knees!" he snarls, bringing his gun back up. The robber may have decided to switch to fists. He's not nearly that stupid. "Get down! Do it now, motherfucker!"

The scene of the shootout is happening furthest down a corridor, in a large room littered with boxes. Harris and the robber is fighting it out near the door to the bathroom; the room is mostly dark, only the light from the corridor filters in enough to make it possible to see anything at all.

The robber/presumed murdered has just given Harris a rather good blow, but now he stiffens and stops as the police officer manages to intimidate him. It certainly does not help that everything is sluggish, slow, hard to think, mentally challenging.

And those damn whispers… all the time, in your heads. Cajoling, sibilant.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid," Eddie snarls at himself, pressed up against the wall outside the doorway. He gives one last longing look down the hallway, then hears a cop in the room yelling for someone to freeze, and he can't help himself. He darts inside, a little snubnosed .32 blooming at the end of his hand, aiming it for the one he figures must be the perp—he figures the other guy must be the cop, even before he has a chance to recognize him, just from the mustache —just in time to do nobody any good. Well, shit. He spins the little gun around in his hand, so he's holding it by the barrel, and holds his hands up, nice and easy. "Uh. Officer. I guess you have this under control."

The large assailaint, still wearing a hood over his face, slowly raises his hands up in the air and drops his gun. He's bleeding rather heavily from his upper arm and it's clear he has problems raising it up. When Harris seemingly gets reinforcements, he stiffens and stares at Eddie for a moment, white eyes gleaming in the gloom. "Can't you hear it?" he says, gravelly voice growling it out. "Let me go and I'll give you money. Loads of it. I'll be richer than you can imagine."

The voice nags on. ~You will be rich. Your fortune will be vast, for many years. Just promise, you will come to me…~

The whispers, that feeling in your head - it's coming from the small three legged frog figurine that rests, seemingly innocent, on some towels in the bathroom.

Jim pants for breath as the man surrenders. Training the gun on him, he reaches to his hip pouch for a pair of handcuffs. "Shut your fuckin' mouth," he snarls. "You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up your right to remain silent, anything you say will be used against you in any an' all legal proceedings." And so he goes about Mirandizing the man. Letting the familiar rhythm of the words become like a mantra. Anything to help drown out the voice from that thin on the towels. Once he's got the guy cuffed and secured— that's when he sees Eddie. His eyes bug out of his head. "Who the fuck are you? This is a fuckin' crime scene!" He darts his gaze between Eddie, perp, and frog. With a furious snarl, he jerks his radio off his belt. "P270 dispatch, I have a suspect in custody at (insert address here). And I'm gonna need some medical assistance. Dumb motherfucker opened fire on me." Once the call is made, he turns his attention back to Eddie. "Wait. I've seen you before. You're…" His eyes snap to the perp and trails off. "Never mind. You got about three minutes before my backup gets here." And he plans to make use of those three minutes. He doesn't holster his sidearm—Eddie is still an unknown quantity. But, he starts pushing past the pain. Reaching out with his rarefied senses. Seeking the perp's thoughts.

Eddie does holster his gun, slow and careful, pulling aside his coat so that Harris can see what he's doing. He holds his hands out again when he's done, to show that they're empty, and otherwise stays out of the way while the cop does what cops do. He narrows his eyes a moment, now that he's got time to get a better look at the guy. Maybe recognition. "Eddie Brundle, private investigator. Papers are in my wallet," he says. "Mrs. Jonsson called to set up an appointment, yesterday. You'll probably find my card, around." He clears his throat at that warning about the backup, and his eyes drift over toward the bathroom, and that frog. "Call it a hunch, but maybe you should throw that thing at the wall before they get here."

The mind of this robber is a maze of insanity, by now. Even if Harris doesn't outright ask the question, it's screaming at him from the robber's brain, all he can think about is touching that frog, to make that promise to it. Did he murder Sandra Jonsson? Yes, he did— he clubbed her over the head with his pistol, she fell down the stairs and died, after he broke in and she caught him in the house. He avoided notice simply by not being here when they did the search - he snuck back in through a back door, using the tools at his disposal, and just got up to this room a few minutes before Harris did, desperate to find the artifact before anyone else did. He gave in to the whispers—he was in the house looking for the artifact to begin with. His purpose was to find it.

Being read his rights, and handcuffed, the man's eyes turn desperate. "Fuck you," he hisses, and tenses up, looking almost ready to risk being shot—he looks back at the little figurine, longingly. He looks at Eddie, hopefully: "Shoot him, I'll pay you. We still have time!"

~Touch me, free me… you will be rewarded, I will aid you, you will be rich, you will have fortune and luck - all you have to do is to promise to come to me after many years…~ The whispers continue, and everything is still sluggish, like the air itself is stifling everything you do. The figurine pulsates out temptation and the promises of the best of lives on this planet. But what happens after those years are up?

For Eddie it's crystal clear. There's a True Fae calling. And it just keeps calling, and calling, and calling…

A threelegged frog, sitting on a base of coins and with a coin in its mouth.

"On second thought," Eddie adds, quickly, "maybe don't touch it." He looks around for a good heavy paperweight or a dictionary or something, though he keeps his feet planted where they are.

Jim's eyes glass over for a moment as he finds the thoughts he's looking for. "I knew it. I fuckin' knew it," he growls softly. "So we'll be addin' murder to your charges." He looks back over at Eddie. "You know what this thing is." It isn't a question. Finally, his gaze goes to the frog. He lumbers over and kneels by it, his furious gaze trained upon the thing. "I don't know what you are," he growls. "But I only have one thing to say to you." He scoops up the towel holding the figure and brings the frog to eye-level. "Get thee behind me," he snarls. He glances at the man in cuffs. "Say goodbye to your friend," he growls. Eddie gets a glance, before he wraps the towel up into a wad around the frog. With a snarl, he brings the butt of his pistol down on it with all his strength. Jade may be hard, but it's brittle and breaks easily. He doesn't let up until he's sure the thing is crushed to powder.

"No, don't!" The robber protests, sinking to his knees and staring at Harris as he starts for the figurine. "You're stupid, don't do it. You can get all the money you want!"

The whispers turn louder in Harris' mind but he's resisted the temptations so far, and he still is. When he wraps it up, it does get slightly muted, but not much really. The first hit with the pistol, there's a sharp crack—and is that a green light seeping through the towel? The second one… there's a sudden scream in their minds, a wailing protest, obvious anger.

The figurine cracks into pieces. And something else breaks, something that kept the figurine in this world while the call came from Faerie itself. The wall breaks between the worlds, a whirlpool forms under Harris' feet, small at first but rapidly growing larger and larger, spreading out over the floor, sucking in the sink, the toilet, the bathtub.

And from beneath the whirlpool rises a figure, a hauntingly beautiful woman of pure jade, her mouth opened as she screams in rage, reaching a hand out towards the policeman, furious and insane.

Harris barely manages to jump back, to avoid being sucked in. The robber is rolling away on the floor and is in no danger. Eddie? Has to hastily step backwards or risk falling in too.

And then with a sudden snap, the portal just disappears. But that bathroom is now just a big hole down to the first floor.

When the cop's eyes glass over, there's another little flash of recognition on Eddie's face. He's seen this kind of thing before, maybe, at least enough to suspect what's going on. "I know it's bad news, anyway, whatever it is," he half-admits. "Shut up," he says to the robber, as Harris goes to smash the frog, and he's about to add something on top of that when— well, when all that happens. He shouts a curse and jumps backward and nearly takes off running for real this time, but it's all over before he can make it to the door. He stands there, stunned, then holds his hands up for a third time, palms out.

"I swear I didn't know about that part," he promises, cross his heart and hope to die.

As the portal begins to swirl open under Jim, he throws himself backwards onto his ass and scrambles back. "Jesus fuckin' Christ!" He stares, mouth agape at that thing which could easily be mistaken for a woman. But he knows that, whatever that thing might be, it is nothing even remotely human. Thankfully, whatever angel that's been sitting on his shoulder sees to the thing's disappearance, however. When it's all over, he's left resting on the floor, his hands white knuckled on the floor behind him as he stares where the thing once was. Giving himself a shake, he heaves himself to his feet, gritting his teeth as he pulls his jacket open to holster his Beretta. "Yeah. She was gonna give you the world, wasn't she?" he growls to the perp. "Bet she was gonna give you the keys to Fort fuckin' Knox. You God-damn moron." That's when the sound of sirens begin to filter in from the outside world. Jim gives the perp one last scathing glare, before turning that glare on Eddie. "You wanna get the fuck outta here," he growls. "I know who you people are, and for whatever reason, my boss thinks you guys are okay. So that's enough for me." He hooks a thumb over his shoulder. "Go on. Beat it. I'll be in touch." So Eddie isn't to be arrested today. But those ominous words— 'I'll be in touch'—coming from the Bureau agent, might be just as bad, if not worse.

The murderer has crawled into a corner near the door, his mouth agape and eyes wide with horror. He just blinks at Jim and is in fact starting to regret his life choices. He slumps.

Eddie hesitates for one flat second, then gives a nod that's equal parts appreciation and apprehension, and he's out the door. If he hurries, maybe he can make it back to the right side of that police tape before those sirens get here.

Jim watches Eddie go as he digs into his shirt pocket for his Winstons. He lights one up and leans heavily against the wall. The pain of his injuries, coupled with the stresses of the events, are taking their toll on the big man. "I'm gettin' too old for this shit," he growls around a gust of smoke.

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