_Peach had always taken after her grandmother-independent, free-spirited, and strong-willed. Her grandmother was the sort of woman who always carried around her old-timey pearl-handled revolver. When Peach was 11, her grandmother died. There was a fire, and the funeral was closed casket. She was buried out at the family plantation, in accordance with her wishes, although Peach’s mother scoffed at it.
In the days after the funeral, Peach wandered the old family grounds. She stumbled upon the old plantation, which had been abandoned since it was razed in the Civil War. Exploring the area, she nearly fell into a collapsing floor while she tried to search an old desk. She also found a signal lantern she thought was from the Underground Railroad. Exploring the cellar, she found a tunnel hidden behind an armoire. Down the tunnel she found the desk, and a small lock box, which she took with her. Further down the tunnel, she took a left and came upon a large chamber. By the dim light of the signal lantern, she made out several pairs of yellow eyes glinting at her. She tried to escape, but was pulled back. She heard some horrid chittering, meeping noises, then she was picked up and held against a body. As she lost consciousness, she thought she heard her grandmother’s voice whisper in her ear, “There, there, my little Peach. It’ll be okay.”
She awoke in a shack, where a black woman greeted her. She explained she had found her at the crossroads, and brought her back. She gave Peach a tarot reading, predicting a dangerous choice and something she called a “rougarou”-the black dogs. When they got to the crossroads, the woman pointed Peach on the road back and handed her a bundle she said she found with Peach. When Peach opened it up, she found a familiar pearl-handled revolver…._
Karl Davis, having mostly recuperated, started looking into the missing kids. He learned that they mostly vanished from the poorer, immigrant neighborhoods. From them, he learned they seemed to vanish at night, from their rooms.
Simon Clough, having avoided his home, has been staying with his wife’s uncle, Bryce Fallon. He enlisted Davis to go with him, since his son was asking about the stuffed bunny, which he referred to as “Mister Jessey”, that Peach had brought home from the Hobbhouse Manor. Inside, he packed up some clothes and his books and headed back to Fallon’s. Davis stayed behind and went to the basement. He found no trace of the tunnel, and even smashing out the wall revealed only dirt. With that, he burned the house down. Cause that’s a thing you do. The police notified Simon Clough (and might have been suspicious….)
Peach, exhausted from the long hours between work and helping Karl and Simon rest, has felt drained. But she has felt like she has been watched…followed…things just at the edge of her vision, scuttling about. That night, she woke up to a…thing on her windowsill. A pair of yellow eyes in the dark that hearkened back to her childhood….
She spent the night at Davis place (making him sleep on the couch). The next day, they continued researching. Simon discovered there was at least one Jessup in the Hobbhouse family. That night, Davis stayed awake and kept watch by the window. The things showed up, and he gave chase, telling Peach to stay behind. She did, but one of the things got inside. It looked at her and ran. She wounded it and followed the trail of blood into the sewers. From there, it led into tunnels similar to the ones she had found as a child. She came across three of the things feeding on the corpse of Lucy Stone. She also found a familiar green lock box.
One of the tunnels led to Abner Wick’s shop. When he was questioned, he provided some information and opened the box. When Peach read the papers, she discovered that to smuggle escaped slaves out of the South, her family had made a deal. They helped feed the rougarou, and her great-grandmother had bred with them. Her grandmother had been the fruit of that union….
Davis tracked the thing he chased to a house, where it snagged Clifford Clough. Simon, discovering his son was gone, ran out after it to find Davis shooting it. Davis injured it, but it kept running. They followed it to a car, where a man took the child and the thing ran off. Davis shot a tire out and shot the driver. Simon took his son home, while Davis disguised himself and drove to a location on a map in the car. The driver, he realized, had no eyes, not even sockets.
At the place, a barn in a desolate area outside of Arkham, he saw another car with a normal looking guy at the wheel. A man similar to the one Davis had shot (and stuffed in the trunk) came out of the barn. There was a fight, and Davis killed the man, while the other car drove off, although Davis got the license plate, which he tracked to Emerson Imports, in New York City.
Peach and Karl went to NYC, while Simon stayed behind. He did an autopsy on the man Davis had killed and found a crab-like thing attached to the brain.
Arthur Emerson was not helpful, so they broke into the warehouse after hours. They had to knock out (and frame) a night watchman, but found the name of the driver. They went there, and the driver, after a few failed shots, told them he didn’t know what was in the packages-just that he was well paid to deliver them to a dead drop. Davis had the man drop him off instead of the abducted child.
He ended up in the basement of a butcher’s shop. The only person there panicked when threatened, and told him how he was trying to cure the children of a brain parasite. The parasite turned the human hosts into strange creatures, and he had not found a way to remove it without killing the host, of which he was one.
Realizing Clifford likely had one of these things, he called Simon to come and help this odd doctor, Francis Schmidt, find a cure. Although his methods were definitely…extreme, it might just be the only way to save Simon’s son.