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Thursday, October 15

Owlshead Mountain: Part 1 – The Thing in the Car

Gall's empty car was first noticed by a Herb Hike of 6060 Fulton Avenue, Samson, who happened to observe Gall's wallet lying open on the front seat. Hike, a visiting researcher at UC-Samson, called police because he feared the locked vehicle would be broken into and the wallet stolen. The responding officers took more than casual notice of the vehicle because the viewpoint where it was discovered was little more than fifty yards from a high sea cliff. Several suicides each year took place there, and the officers knew that people driven to suicide frequently left behind wallet or purse as a memorial or marker.

The vehicle, a late-model BMW, was newly scraped and battered in amazing fashion. Because of the extensive body damage, the reporting officer suggested that the driver may have been drunkenly despondent when he reached the sea, and there climbed over the rail and fell to his death among the rocks and pounding surf a hundred feet below.

Hammer flashed his badge at Lester, the owner of Hurricane Towing.

Lester squinted at it. "Feds huh? Well, come on through." He pressed a button and the gate buzzed open. "Don't know why you boys want to look at it again though."

"We may have missed something," Hammer said nonchalantly.

In the background, a Rottweiler barked incessantly. "Cujo! Cujo, cut out that racket!" He turned back, apologetic, to address the agents. "He ain't normally like that."

Cujo paced. Lester hooked his chain up before the dog could come closer.

As Jim-Bean passed, the dog made a running leap at him, only to be snapped backwards by the chain. Coughing and gagging, the Rottweiler retreated.

"It's okay," said Jim-Bean. "Happens all the time."

"The car's over here," said Lester. "Still drivable. The steering column is broken. Has about a quarter tank of gas."

"Great, thanks," said Hammer. "We'll take it from here."

"Sure thing," said Lester, relieved that he wouldn't have to stand around while the agents investigated Gall's car. "Cujo!" Cujo had begun barking again. "Cujo, calm down! Dumb dog's gonna choke himself to death…"

Archive peered at the vehicle. "You think you're really going to find something?"

"I'd like you two to take a look at it," said Hammer while he wormed his way into the back seat with a flashlight.

Archive whispered some arcane phrases. "Nothing magical about it."

"And before you ask, no auras either," said Jim-Bean.

Hammer reached under the seat and tugged. After a moment he was rewarded with a small plastic container.

"Figures. Warner's boys are sloppy."

Hammer held it up in the fading sunlight. There were patches of a strange residue, perhaps dried mucus or gel, staining the plastic container.

"Whatever was in this, it's long gone—" was all Hammer got out before the thing that was in the container burst out from the back seat. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:28 AM


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