Though we were anxious to begin deeper investigation into Look to the Future which was briefly linked to the Twilight during our adventure in Boston, and their connection to New World, order of business turned to the Armitage letters and the one lead within touch upon immediately. So, before returning to NY, a single day’s research by Theo and Will got us started, and Atwater and myself travelled to Arkam for a couple days to pay a visit to one of their meetings. I will summarize that subject in the Armitage Files. The others returned to NYC in the meantime on the 15th.
Atwater and I returned to NY on the 17th. Before I detail our major focus, one thing I shall note which seems of no real importance, but yet something intangible about the news trouble me. I can’t put my finger on it, only say that I have a deep feeling something greater and terrible will come of it in the future:
Awaiting Will at home in his mail was a letter from an acquaintance named Jackson Elias, postmarked Shanghai. He has been doing research on a book in Central America and then at some point “stumbled upon a hornet’s nest” by gaining some kind of information on the Carlysle Expedition, and was now heading to Egypt. In this mysterious letter, Elias also asks Will to find a ‘good investigator’ if he can, for he may need a good investigative team. This was all very cryptic, for Will had no idea why Elias was in Shangai nor the reason for his investigating the Carlysle Expedition.
Something about this is…unsettling. Will felt the same, which is the reason he brought it to my attention first thing the morning after our return, moments after he first read the letter. I am going to review all of my articlels on the expedition.
[We are to pick books of Elias any of us have read, especially Will who has to pick 1 book he actually helped Elias do research for.
Recording missed much of this stuff on Elias.]
After some time getting our own affairs back in order, our next plan was Look to the Future, and by chance I received a letter at the office on Thursday the 24th from a David Lee of the city. He wrote a request for help, though he admittedly felt a bit silly and could not possibly involve the police as he has no hard evidence of criminal activity. He had heard of our previous exploits in Boston at Silver Twilight. Lee’s letter explained that he is a member of Look to the Future, apparently headed by a gifted alienist named Mr. Black. This Black believes in releasing men’s creativity by subjecting one’s mind to certain conditions. Attending meetings would apparently assure one of these great discoveries. He stands at a podium while members meditate on geometric designs, handed out on paper to each member before hand. Black then chants invocations meant to bring about the ‘proper subconscious response’ then the attendees repeat a particular chant. It was a particular word in the chant which caused me to sit straight up instantly, though at the same time was really no surprise: ‘Yogsothoth’! This chant was repeated for an hour or so.
This obvious villain Black surrounded himself with thuggish arabs, and a man named Mr. Stanford!. No sooner had we lost him than another chance was dropped in our laps. The organization ran monthly meetings, regulars seminars and guest speakers who typically try to push the members into joining other lodges, having even mentioned in particular, and multiple times over, the Silver Twilight as a wonderful choice!
Lee wrote that Look to the Future deals in strange items, and that his ‘health is deteriorating, since joining the group. It may be nothing but other members have suffered the same. Black has very secretive ways, and his arab security is close to him, suspiciously close.’ Lee wished us to investigate the organization and either expose any fraud or prove otherwise so he could continue to receive these odd artifacts. Needless to say, all our attentioned seemed poised to turned to the eradication of Look to the Future.
I was able to relate some facts about Look to the Future when the others joined me for lunch at Atwater’s house, facts that I had up to this point held to myself, being of no immediate consequence previously:
- They opened their doors about 1 year ago
- One Byron Slim is the founder, having come from unknown territory west, and New World provided the initial investment to get him started
- The primary aim of Look to the Future is to help businessmen and the like
During our spare time over the weekend we spent time gathering further information on the order, though I sent a written reply to Lee that we would meet with him soon. We discovered the following pertinent information:
- Will talked to several other known members who also mentioned the odd artifacts the order has given to some members. One being a simple frying pan (given to our David Lee no less) with a wooden handle. The amazing thing is that whatever you cook upon it simply slides around and can be slid off the surface. It does not stick. Also, a lighter with a small flint on top with some sort of roller which ignites it. Another is a pencil of sorts, housing a thin rod of led which can be slowly released as one uses it up by twisting part of the pencil itself. Absurdly, we all agreed these items seemed of the future. Even more absurd, but for our previous experiences this year, we were quite serious.
- A Mr. Black actually runs the meetings but is never seen outside of the ritual center, nor has he been seen even at the establishment but for directly before, during, and just after each meeting ceremony. Black and Slim have been seen together.
- Slim lives nearby in a 2 story house with several of his arab guards. It seems to be difficult to tell their numbers, for no one arab is with him for any extended period of time, as if they are being rotated in and out.
I, in disguise as but a street walker, cased the hall on Saturday, day of their ceremony. The hall is an old warehouse, and is guarded almost like a fortress by the armed arabs, though they try not to be obvious about it.
Additionally, Atwater found in discussions with some of his collegues that 3 people who have gone to these meetings over the last year have died. Some strange and unexplained disease from which they could not recover, even in the hospital.
On Sunday the20th, Atwater and Jack accompanied me to interview Lee.
Jack “I think the 3 of us should join this order.”
Myself “Is this going to become our modis operandi? We join evil organizations before destroying them down?”
Myself “Hopefully Stanford doesn’t walk through the door. That would be quite the scene.Perhaps I should be in disguise.”
When we arrived we found Lee a sickly man, cheeks sunken. He was not well, and Atwater instinctively examined him.
Atwater “He has been eating, but is suffering from a total lack of energy. He hasn’t gotten any worse of late.”
Jack “That’s because he hasn’t been going to those meetings.”
He really could tell us no more than in his letter, except that he hasn’t been feeling nearly as bad since he stopped attending.
Myself “And others have suffered from this?”
Jack “People died from this?”
Lee “Died yes, but not from this. They suddenly get a fever and must go to the hospital. They then seem to get a bit better, then take a turn for the worse yet again. After hanging on for a few more days they die. 3 in the last year.”
Jack “That’s not very unusual. There are lots of sicknesses around that kill people like that. What if one of them had been travelling in South America and brought Malaria back?”
Atwater “It’s nothing like malaria.”
Lee “As well, the deaths happened months apart.”
Myself "Is this a social club at all, or just the ceremonies?
Lee “There is a social side, yes. Before the ceremonies. Then Slim leaves and returns soon after with Mr. Black. Slim then leaves before Black stands at the podium and it begins.”
Myself “How long had you been taking part before you first started feeling these effects?”
“I felt it from the very first time, looking back on it now. At that time I thought nothing of it, of course. The next meeting is in a week, I should tell you.” The same saturday of the seance, as it turned out.
Myself “Are there a lot of members who do not suffer any effects?”
“Any member I have spoke to has felt at least somewhat sick after these things.” Atwater offered to see him regularly for the near future.
We all met over dinner at Friday’s that evening, joined by Roosevelt, and we informed them of our exploits in Boston and what he had on our plate now.
Will “Maybe Slim and Black are targetting individuals, whether the choice is by design or by chance. That could be why although everyone feels some minor effect from the ritual, only some end up dead.”
Atwater “Lee hasn’t gotten any worse since he stopped attending. He also hasn’t gotten any better.”
Friday “Speaking for the police, we have come across nothing suspicous about them.”
Teddy “I’m sorry, I really can’t do anyting for you. We can’t just raid this place” he of course jumping straight into the idea of ‘action’.
Myself “We have no intention of simply raiding it. What we could use is any information you can get from your position. Civic records, building plans…”
Teddy “Ah, as far as building plans I can tell you now, no. The plans were quite private. The building was remodelled, by a company connected to New World. The first floor should be one large room, with stairs to a basement or somehing in the rear. This sublevel was not original. What it is, I have no idea.”
Friday “I woud be happy to inteview some of the attendees.” He would do so in the next couple days, and find out the same we already have about the sickness.
Myself “They sem to be sucking energy from the members. I fear to keep someone or something alive, or bring some grotesque unspeakable thing forth.”
Teddy “It appears you will have to risk attenting a meeting.” To my dismay, this seemed to only course of action. Friday volunteered to send his best undercover man to a meeting first. A det. Striebeck.
I also showed the others an ad I had come across in the paper during the day for open minded individuals desiring an experience in the supernatural to take part in a weekend at a haunted house in NE. The ad guaranteed results for the $50 fee.
Jack “Does the fee include transportation? And food?”
Myself “Yes, the carriage and caterring. And the guarantee of seeing a ghost it appears.”
Jack “I say we do it.”
Myself “If so, Jon should as well. The afterlife is right up his alley.”
Jon immediately volunteered for the chance at a ghost.
Myself “Will, you could do a story on it for the paper.”
Will “I was thinking the same. I’m going to research this whole thing tomorrow.”
I will make this tale its own entry, after this one, and move on with the Lee case and Look to the Future. Suffice to say, all 3 returned safely from a harrowing evening.
We decided that Jack being a businessman and union man had an easy in since Look to the Future cattered to business men, as did I with the detective agency and Atwater with his private practice. We three were the perfect half of our group to stay behind and begin, and that solidified how we would split our forces. The question would be, would it be safe to even attend a meeting.
Saturday morning the 26th, Will, Jon and Theo accompanied by Cassandra departed for their haunted sleepover.
Theo of course requested “Jack, stay out of trouble” as we saw them off.
We met with Friday’s man Striebeck the following Sunday and he reported a terrible headache after his attendance at The Future the day before, and strange details of the chanting just as Lee informed us "Sure enough this Black started the ceremony, chanting nonsense syllables which the congragetion repeated some 45 minutes. Black stood changing, gesticulating and making strange noises. The man that seems to really run things is the man Mr. Slim, but he does not stay for the ceremony itself.
Theo “What is the general mood of those there?”
“During the whole thing, some seem bored and others very excited. Afterward, many are lethargic and suffer from headache.”
Theo “Whatt’s the sense of the inside?”
“But for a room behind the speaker’s podium maybe 10’ a side, it is all one large room. If they have anything to hide it’s downstairs. When it was all over, I was invited by Slim personally to dinner, him having noticed I was new.”
AAtwater “Did yo ugo?”
“Yes. He was definately trying to pump me for information.”
The others returned from Corbus Wood.
On Monday, Friday gave us sad news: Striebeck had become very ill, very fast.
Theo “Great Buddha. So quickly?”
Friday “Yes. Not ill like Lee and the other attendees. He has a bad fever, chills, vomitting…”
Atwater “It could be the food at Slim’s dinner this time.”
Myself “Is he in the hospital?”
Friday “Yes. They say he wasn’t poisoned, he’s sick with something they have never seen before.”
We made straight for the hospital, and Atwater made a detailed examination of Striebeck. He said it was certainly an unknown disease.
Jack “He’s turning into a ghoul!”
Atwater “No, it is not ghoul fever. I will try all the tricks I know.” Striebeck seemed to respond positively over the next few days to Atwater’s treatment. Friday was extremely angry, wrathfully so. Not at us, but at whatever was going on at the Future. He insisted we take it down as fast as possible, get him anything he could use to hit it.
Jon “Do we just want to raid it?”
Will “I think breaking in would be foolish, it being one large room with only one entranceway. The only way is to attend. Perhaps we should check on Slim where he lives? At his home.”
Jon “Go straight to the house, break in there.”
Jack “We don’t have time to wait long to make some kind of move.”
Will and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday taking turns casing the house. We quickly picked up on Slim’s pattern of going to the temple at the same time each day. 3 arab guards always accompanied him, while 3 others come from the temple to his house leaving 3 at his residence at all times. He had no visitors at all, not even Black. He must be seen be no one at all but for prior to worship. The house is a 4 square, 2 floors each with 4 rooms.
On Thursday afternoon, Halloween, we made our move while Slim was away at the temple. I was the first to approach the builing, Theo with me. We circumnavigated the house first, seeing through the uncovered windows all 2 arabs: one in the entry room where the stairs up were, sitting in a comfortable chair with a strange looking rifle (it had a handle on top of it, was shorter than other rifles); another was cooking something in a pot in the kitchen; the last came downstairs as we watched, carrying pile of clothes into the kitchen which he dumped into a basket, then proceeded to sit in the living room playing a one-man game of cards. The cards had unusual symbols upon them. Soon the riflebearing guard yelled to him and they switched places, the former guard dozing on the living room couch.
Jack “Me, Wang and Father Jon can take out the guard with the rifle. You other 3 go in by the kitchen. Hopefully we can take them out quietly enough that the arab sleeping doesn’t wake up.”
Obviously, we didn’t follow Jack’s advice.
Myself “We can use the trellice to get into the upstairs and search while they are all downstairs.”
Will “Who should go inside?”
Jack of course volunteered, joining myself and Theo. Will kept watch at the front of the house while John watched at the corner should Slim arrive unexpected.
After climbing up the trellis as stealthily as we could, Jakc and I entered through the window into the second floor hall while Theo stayed at the window in reserve.