ZZ Metaline Falls

Friday Afternoon
  • After arresting Bernard Renault and leaving the Book House, the Special Agents requested a warrant to search the apartment that Bernard Renault shares with his brother Jacques in Metaline Falls. When serving the warrant, someone slipped out the back window and ran off into the woods. A brief chase ensued but the unknown person got away. It is very unlikely that the fleeing suspect was Jacques Renault, as he is too fat to fit through the window or to run for any distance.
  • A search of the apartment uncovered several suspicious objects: several copies of “Flesh World” and a bloody shirt with the initials “LJ” sown into the collar. Initial tests show that the blood is AB- (not Sheryl Grant’s blood type). In a stack of mail on the counter was a bill for 50 gallons of heating oil—suspicious because the apartment building uses baseboard heat exclusively. Several photographs of a cabin are found in the apartment, with two distinctive features. The first is the red curtains that block all of the windows, strongly reminiscent of Deputy Claridge’s dream. The second is a distinctive mountaintop visible beyond the roof of the cabin. From the shape and angle of the peak, it appears to be Blue Pine Mountain and places the cabin east or southeast of Sullivan Lake, within a mile or two of the abandoned railcar and no more than 3 miles from the railroad bridge where Ronette Pulaski was found. A search of the area is bound to take hours, if not days. As evening draws on, finding the cabin will probably have to wait until the following morning.
Episode 4 (Friday Morning)
  • Special Agent Randolf returned to the Washington Hotel early in the morning and slept through most of the morning.
  • Special Agent Chapman woke up early and ate breakfast at the Washington Hotel, where he encountered Margaret Lanterman, a strange woman who carried a length of firewood as if it were a child. She stopped and told him that someday her log would have something to say to him.

Except for Special Agent Randolf, everyone convened at the sheriff’s office around 8am to discuss the case and share information. Results from the lab in Spokane had arrived, which Special Agent Chapman shared with the sheriff’s department:

  • Contents of envelope found in the diary: cocaine.
  • Sheryl Grant’s toxicology results are positive for cocaine.
  • Fibers from the railroad car match the sample from Sheryl Grant’s wrists.
  • The same twine was used to bind the wrists of the Pulaski girl.
  • Conclusion: Sheryl was tied up twice at different locations on the night of her death. Once around her wrists, and once around her upper arms, with her arms pulled back.
  • Traces of pumice found in standing water outside the railroad car: soap, industrial strength.
  • Identical particles were found on the back of Sheryl’s neck.
  • A plastic fragment was found in her stomach, partially digested, with the letter J visible.

The description of the method used to bind Sheryl Grant’s led Deputy Claridge to recall the details of her dream. She told what she remembered from the previous night, but as the story unfolded she was able to access other memories from the dream she had forgotten. Her retelling of the dream became a shared vision that struck everyone at the table with awe and dread.

  • You see Sarah Grant running down stairs, while a horrible, long-haired vagrant crouches at the foot of Sheryl’s bed. His hair is long and gray, his eyes are feral and his grin is terrible to behold. He wears faded jeans and a frayed denim jacket. Remembering him sends a shiver of fear down your spine.
  • A different man, a one-armed man chants:
    Through the darkness of future past
    The magician longs to see
    One chance out between two worlds
    Fire…walk with me.
  • He continues: “We lived among the people—I think you say, convenience store?
    We lived above it. I mean it like it is, as it sounds.
    I too have been touched by the devilish one; tattoo on the left shoulder.
    Ah, but when I saw the face of God, I was changed.
    I took the entire arm off. My name is Mike. His name is Bob.
  • The terrible vagrant crouches in some room full of clutter like an attic or basement, surrounded by unrecognizable metal objects. He looks around and says: “Mike? Mike? Can you hear me? Catch you with my death bag! You may think I’ve gone insane, but I promise I will kill again!
  • You see a small mound of dirt with a gold necklace on it, surrounded by a ring of twelve candles. A puff of wind; the candles blow out.

After this bizarre experience everyone sat dazed and in silence for some time.

  • Special Agent Chapman took Deputy Claridge and Deputy Doolitch with him to check the abandoned railroad car again. They found nothing new at the scene, but discovered motorcycle tracks that led them to a secluded grove where a young man and woman, possibly high schoolers, had a rendezvous the night before. They also found shoe prints that matched those of Special Agent Randolf in the brush at the edge of the clearing.
  • Meanwhile, Sheriff Pitt and Deputy Pepper went to find the one-armed man, who turned out to be a real person in town. Deputy Doolitch recalled seeing his truck at the Circle Motel. The one-armed man, Philip Michael Gerard, described his job as a shoe salesman and denied any knowledge of the crimes in town. When asked about Bob, he explained that his best friend in the world was Bob Lydecker, a local veterinarian who was currently in the hospital, comatose, after an assault by a vagrant outside the Roadhouse a week earlier. The vagrant was never found.
  • Gordon Cole called with more lab results, as well as the court order to open the safety deposit box. Reconstruction of the plastic object found in Sheryl Grant’s stomach indicates that it is a fragment of a poker chip. The bites and marks had been determined to be from a parrot or a mynah bird.
  • The safety deposit box contained a copy of Flesh World (a local swinger’s magazine) with Ronette Pulaski’s picture circled, and a stack of money totaling around $10,000.
  • Not long after Special Agent Chapman returned to the office, a biker named Brewer arrived and demanded to speak to the Federal Agent. He told a strange and interesting tale: “You’re going to have to go along with me on this, even if it sounds a little weird. Metaline Falls is different, a long way from the world. You’ve noticed that. That’s exactly the way we like it. But there’s a back end to that that’s kind of different too. Maybe that’s the price we pay for all the good things. There’s a sort of evil out there, something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want, a darkness, a presence, it takes many forms. But it’s been out there for as long as anyone can remember, and we’ve always been here to fight it. Men before us, men before them, more after we’re gone. A secret society. The Book House.
  • Brewer the led the lawmen and women back to the Book House, a gathering place for the motorcycle club on the outskirts of town. Part brewery, part library, surrounded by vintage motorcycles, the Book House was both forbidding and welcoming. In a corner of the bar, in an alcove bordered by bookcases and old logging implements, two bikers sat next to a man who was bound and gagged. Bernard Renault, the janitor at the Roadhouse and the brother of bartender Jacques Renault. He had been intercepted by the bikers crossing the border with cocaine in his bag, and they held him in a citizen’s arrest until the sheriff arrived.
Thursday Night/Friday Morning

After sorting out the Roadhouse, Sheriff Pitt and Deputy Claridge went home, off shift until tomorrow morning. Deputies Doolitch and Pepper booked Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson into the small jail beneath the sheriff’s office. Bobby took advantage of his phone call to call his parents, who are planning to arrive first thing in the morning, with lawyer in tow. His father is a local figure of some note, Major Garland Briggs of the U.S. Air Force.

Special Agent Chapman was up late looking into the new revelations from the diary and the cell phone. No key was available to open the lock on the diary, but a quick snap broke the flimsy clasp and allowed access to the diary.

  • The last entry, dated Feb 23rd, read: “Asparagus for dinner again. I hate asparagus. Does this mean I’ll never grow up?” and ended with “Nervous about meeting J tonight.”
  • The entry for Feb 5 read: “Ran 3 miles today—am I exhausted! Kitty got new collar.” Below that was the inscription “DAY ONE!” and a plastic envelope that contained a key and traces of a white powder. The envelope will have to go to Spokane for testing, but Chapman is fairly certain it will test positive for cocaine.
  • The key belongs to a safety deposit box. Wells Fargo is the only bank in town, but it will require a court order to open. If you submit the paperwork tonight you should receive the court order sometime tomorrow.
  • The cell phone does not receive any signal in Metaline Falls, but it appears to have been used more for pictures and video than telephone calls. There are several pictures of Sheryl and her friends, especially Bobby Briggs and Donna Hayward. There is also a video of Sheryl and Donna dancing in the woods. The person holding the camera is never seen, but during a close-up of Sheryl’s eye you can make out the reflection of a motorcycle. Additional detail might be possible if the image is enhanced. This could take some time if you have to send it out, but perhaps someone in town has the necessary equipment and training.

After returning home, Deputy Claridge went to bed and dropped into a deep but somewhat disturbed sleep. After waking the next day, she could remember one particularly vivid dream, where she met a strange dancing dwarf and a girl who looked like Sheryl Grant in an odd room with a black-and-white diagonal tiled floor and red velvet curtains. The dwarf said several things to her, in a strange and stilted accent.

  • “Let’s rock!”
  • “I’ve got good news.”
  • “That gum you like is going to come back in style.”
  • “She’s my cousin. But doesn’t she look almost exactly like Sheryl Grant?” (referring to the girl in the dream)
  • “She’s filled with secrets.”
  • “Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song, and there’s always music in the air.”

The girl also made one cryptic announcement, in the same strange accent.

  • “I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.”

That’s all that Deputy Claridge can remember of the dream, but she has a feeling that there’s more that she doesn’t remember.

Special Agent George Randolf dozed for some time, and when he awoke he was no longer outside the abandoned railcar, but somewhere else in the woods, disoriented and feeling apprehensive. Several owls hooted, and from not far away he could make out the sound of voices. Moving closer, he saw a couple speaking emphatically, then kiss and ride off on a motorcycle. One was a shaggy-haired young tough wearing a motorcycle jacket, and the other he recognized as Donna Hayward. He could hear their voices, but wasn’t close enough to make out the words.

It took over an hour for Randolf to find his way back to the railcar and resume his stakeout. There was no sign of any new activity at the crime scene, nor did anything else suspicious happen throughout the night.

Episode 3 (Thursday Evening)
  • As night fell, Special Agent Randolf staked out the abandoned rail car. The night was quiet and uneventful, although there seemed to be an unusual number of owls in the area. After a few hours on watch, Special Agent Randolf fell asleep for an known length of time. When he awoke it was still dark, and he had a vague recollection of a disturbing dream.
  • Sheriff Pitt and Deputy Claridge visited the Grant house to see if Sheryl’s parents, Leland and Sarah, could provide any insight into what befell their daughter. Their questioning added no new information but confirmed some of what they had learned from Donna Hayward. A search of Sheryl’s room revealed a hidden compartment beneath a floorboard, which held a locked leatherbound diary and a cellular phone. Both of these items were taken into evidence.
  • Deputies Doolitch and Pepper made their usual patrol rounds, until a routine stop at the Roadhouse revealed trouble in progress. Deputy Doolitch arrived just in time to see Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson confront Ed Hurley. A moment later knocked to the ground. A brief skirmish ensued between several of the regulars and members of a motorcycle group known as the “Book House Boys.”
  • As Deputy Doolitch radioed for backup, the impending brawl dispersed and several patrons and suspects left the scene by car, truck, and motorbike. Deputy Doolitch noticed one helmetless motorcyclist leave with a passenger, but they were too far away to identify. A similar pair was spotted minutes later in Metaline Falls by Special Agent Chapman and deputies Pepper and Claridge. Claridge attempted to give pursuit, but the motorcyclist quickly eluded her.
Episode 2 (Thursday afternoon)
  • Deputy Claridge interviewed Bobby Briggs and Donna Hayward at the high school. She learned that Sheryl Grant had two jobs: one at Horne’s Department Store and one delivering food for Meals on Wheels. She had recently quit the job at Horne’s Department Store.
  • Special Agents Chapman and Randolf went to the hospital. Ronette Pulaski is in ICU, catatonic and suffering from shock and hypothermia. Her hands and feet are bandaged to treat the early stages of frostbite. She also has several visible wounds: bruises on arms, rope marks on wrists, forearms and ankles.
  • Special Agents Chapman and Randolf also spoke to Doc Hayward and Dr. Fielding, who were conducting the post-mortem on Sheryl Grant in the morgue. Time of death estimated between midnight and 4am. Cause of death was loss of blood from numerous shallow wounds, no single one serious enough to have caused death. She had bite marks on her shoulders and on her tongue—that one probably self-inflicted. She had lesions on wrists, ankles, upper arms where she was bound. Waiting on toxicological tests for drug use. Within the last 12 hours she had sexual relations with at least 3 men—waiting on lab results for that as well.
  • Sheriff Pitt and the deputies led a search that uncovered the scene of the crime: an abandoned Pullman rail car on a spur about a mile from the Sullivan Creek Rail Bridge. While the sheriff’s dept secured the area, the FBI agents conducted a search of the premises.
  • Outside the car were several footprints: two distinctly different bare footprints, probably belonging to Sheryl Grant and Ronette Pulaski, and another set of prints wearing men’s work boots. The prints leaving the car were deeper than those entering.
  • Inside the car they found bloodstains on the floor and walls, along with bloody rags and scraps of clothing. There was a rubber mallet and a retractable box cutter, both with blood. Twine near one of the chairs matches the second type of twine found on Sheryl Grant.
  • In the center of the car was a small mound of dirt. On top of the mound was a gold chain and charm pendant in the shape of half a heart. At the base of the mound was a torn piece of newsprint with words written in what appears to be blood: FIRE WALK WITH ME.
  • After returning to the Sheriff’s office, Special Agent Chapman received a call from SAC Gordon Cole. He asked Chapman to examine the nail of the left ring finger of the deceased girl.
Episode 1 (Thursday morning)
  • Pete Martell found Sheryl Grant’s body early on the morning of Thursday, Feb 24th. He was out fishing on the Pend Oreille River as he often does before work.
  • Doc Hayward estimated the body was submerged for 2-6 hours based on the body temp, but couldn’t provide a more precise time of death.
  • The body was wrapped in 4 mil plastic of a common type found in home improvement stores.
  • Visible wounds on the body include bruises on the arms and face, abrasions on hands and knees, rope marks on wrists, forearms and ankles, and strange gouges or bites on the left clavicle.
  • Another girl was discovered crossing the Sullivan Creek rail bridge at the Idaho border. She is suffering hypothermia and shock, and is currently catatonic.
  • Special Agents Chapman and Randolf flew in from the Seattle office to assist (AKA take over) the kidnapping investigation. As the kidnapping appears to be tied to the murder, they will probably take the lead on that investigation as well.

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