Brief Note: I’ve taken liberties with this record of the game play because: 1) it was weeks ago, and 2) it makes it easier to facilitate Eon’s missing from Part 2 (his player didn’t show up).
It is so loud, and so sudden, that Grayson Clarke nearly lost his balance. His foot came down wrong on the roof of the old brownstone and for the briefest second he believed he was about to die. He lashed out with his hands, reaching – grabbing for anything, and found himself holding onto a stray pipe chimney sticking up out of the building.
The bell continued to sound its intolerable clanging. He climbed to his feet, shielding his ears against it, his palms pressed tightly against his skull; but still it was so loud.
He did not see the people in the street below until he staggered to the front of the building, desperately searching for the source of this torment. It seemed to come from everywhere; but they didn’t seem to hear it. Three stories down, the people of New York were oblivious to the deafening cacophony around them.
No. Wait. There was one. An urban kid – probably Gray’s own age, with his hands jammed against his ears, leaning against the building opposite this one and looking up at him with a mad grin on his face.
And as suddenly as it began, the ringing in the air stopped. The only clue to its passing was the visibly shaken young man on the street and his counterpart three stories above him, and a trio of passers-by staring oddly and giving the dark-skinned man a wide berth.
“What the hell was that?” Gray called down to the man. Before he could respond, however, Gray stepped to the edge of the roof and vaulted himself down into the alley, easily dropping from window ledge to air conditioner to balcony rail and climbing down to the street below.
He crossed the street, easily dodging the light traffic and offered his hand. “Grayson Clarke,” he said. “What the hell was that bell?”
" Hip Hop’s Eon Jones," the other replied. “And I… I’ve got no idea; but it seemed to be coming from over there. He motioned to the brownstone. What were you doin’ up there?”
Eon looked at the white kid from Utah. “I got a friend who’s daughter went missing awhile back. Helping people is sort of my thing, so,” he shrugged, “here I am.” He looked Gray up and down then added, “It came from up near where you were. Want to go in and investigate?”
A fake portico hung above the heavy double doors of the Macallistar Building – so named by the large, time-worn plaque to the left of the stairwell. Neither man paid attention to the garbage shed beneath it or to the garage ramp to the right.
Overhead a small crew of cheap, concrete gargoyles watched them mount the stairs. Gray tried the door, but Eon just ran his hand down the bank of twelve red intercom buttons. No one replied to the ringing, but the door lock made a buzzing sound and they went inside.
The foyer was a small, marble-floored room lined with a dozen mailboxes and all but covered with old newspapers, sales flyers and pizza coupons. Inner doors opened on a single hallway that ran the length of the building.
“The girl I’m looking for is supposed to be in A-2,” Eon said, raising a hand to knock on the door. “Lemme just check out her crib and we’ll head upstairs.” He knocked four times in rapid succession. When no one answered, he tried the doorknob. The door swung open on a scene of madness.
The apartment was a testament to slow and methodical madness. Nothing in the room was left. Furniture, knick-knacks, boxes, lamps, trash and even clothing was epoxied, glued, stapled and taped to the walls and ceiling in bizarre swirling patterns. That all seem to converge on a small blue box nailed to the wall, just left of center. It didn’t take long to find it.
Gray was the one who opened it. A little, blue felt jewelry box; inside he found a small brass key.
“Hmph,” he said, and held it up for Eon to see before dropping it into his pocket.
Eon took his hand down from the pattern. “So…” he mumbled, “I almost…” He turned toward the door and started out. ‘I don’t know what’s going on here, but clearly Abigail isn’t here.’
“Hello?” The two men turned to see a third standing in the apartment doorway. “Um, are you supposed to be in here?”
Eon approached the man genially. “I’m Hip Hop’s Eon Jones,” he said with a broad grin. “We’re here from the Department of Missing Persons. I seem to have misplaced my ID. Grayson?”
“Left it in the car.”
“The police have already been,” the stranger said.
“Girl’s still missing, isn’t she? What’s your name?”
‘Oh, um… I’m Tom. I live across the way.’
“Tom. Right,” Eon said, pulling a steno-pad from his pocket. “Apartment A-1. And what was your relationship to the – to Abigail?”
“Laura? Uh, no, no. We were just neighbors. She was a free spirit. New York couldn’t hold her. She was nice; but she’s gone now.”
“Where’s she gone,” Grayson asked.
“She’s moved upstairs. Sixth floor, I think. She moved up there with some no-account chump who sells encyclopedias.”
“When was this?”
“I don’t know,” Tom said, “I think the last time I saw her was on the 28th – going away party in the Smoking Lounge.”
“Where’s the smoking lounge,” Eon asked with his back to the other two. He was looking through the patterns on the walls. He pulled a handful of pages from a manila folder on the wall.
“Fourth floor,” Tom replied.
Grayson cocked his head. “Fourth floor? There are only three floors.”
Tom laughed. “I don’t know what you’re on about, friend; but maybe you oughtta’ check out the stairs.”
“I guess you’re right.” He turned to Eon. “What do you think?”
Eon was reading the pages he found. “Yeah,” he said, absently. “Right behind you.”
They stepped out of the apartment and started down the hall towards the stairwell. They went up three floors and came to a door marked “Roof.” Eon looked to his newest companion and shrugged.
“Take a look at this,” Eon said. “It’s…” He passed the pages to Gray as he opened the door.
SCENE: The Smoking Lounge, a large parlor on the 4th floor. In the room are THE DOG, ROGER and MICHELLE.
ENTER MARK ROARK.
MARK: Abigail is gone, she moved upstairs today.
MARK: I miss the kid.
MICHELLE: Her dad, that pig, came around. She doesn’t like you Mark. No one likes you. Anyway, she ran off with that salesman, everyone knows it.
MARK: Fuck you, cunt.
ROGER: Come on guys… come on…
THE DOG BARKS.
Someone is heard coming up the steps, a loud racket reverberating up and down the stairs.
MARK: Who is that?
Everyone stops to listen.
MICHELLE: Who could be down there? Who is that?
MARK steps to the doorway and leans to look down the stairs.
MARK: Hello? Hello?
ENTER THE DOCTOR.
As he read the words, Grayson heard the voice from the top of the stairs: “Hello? Hello?”
Eon was the first to reach the top of the stairs. He was greeted by a portly man in a horrible wig, smoking a cigar and nursing a drink. His attire seemed to be from another era. “Hello,” he said. ’I’m Mark Roark. Are you new tenants?’
“There are no new tenants,” the woman said.
Looking around, Eon said, “bitches gonna’ have to get out my TARDIS.”
The Dog barked and ran down the stairs. Eon watched it go by, but Grayson paid it no attention.
“That’s not…” Eon said, staring down the stairwell. “Impossible.” He hurried back down the stairs.
Grayson stalked into the Smoking Lounge. “How is this possible,” he said to no one in particular. Approaching the stairwell, he asked, “how far up does it go?” He didn’t wait for an answer.
Eon reaches the bottom of the stairwell. He can’t see the dog.
There it is. It hurts to look at it. An old, very old German Schnauzer; but it’s not. It’s metal. It’s a… a robot? A droid.
“I was looking for a droid once,” he mutters. “But…”
The schnauzer/bot runs through the door, A-3. “But…”
“Wait,” he cries. “K… K-9?”
There is a voice from behind the door, playful, metallic, reverberating in the madness, “Master?”
On the fifth floor, Grayson’s mind strained against the impossible. The fifth floor appeared to be a hotel, a hallway – much too long to fit into the Macallistar; and there were doors.
So many doors. A dozen at least. It’s hard to focus long enough to count. At the opposite end of the hallway there was a mirror; but there’s something wrong with his reflection. He approached it cautiously, drink in hand.
Wait. That’s not right. In the reflection, he is holding a drink. There is a multi-colored fez on his head, a garland of impossible flowers and he is surrounded by party-goers. His reflection waves with one hand and offers a toast with the other.
That’s when the elastic of Grayson’s mind snapped just a bit. It’s simply too much. All of it piled up on top of this stupid image in the mirror. With no other way to cope he did what he has always done.
Grayson Clarke ran. He spun on his heel, taking two steps on the wall, then sprinted for the stair, leapt into the stairwell and landed with ankles and hands on the rails, sliding down to the Smoking Lounge.
His mind didn’t even have a chance to wonder “where did everyone go?” He dropped the length of the roof stairs, and rolled to a stop, turning and bounding down to the third floor, the second, the first.
“Eon!” he screamed. “Time to go!” But there’s no Eon to be seen. Where did he go? What the hell is going on here? What next?