3: The Raid on Ju-Ju House

16th January 1925
Ju-Ju House Ju-Ju House

New York City, U.S.A:

15:23 PM:

Having left the Shop I return to our car with Irma, Gupta and Joseph. We watch the comings and goings for a few hours. Gives me time to think, and all the while I’m wondering exactly how rough this situation is going to get. I can’t help but have a really, really bad feeling about this one. The stars are all wrong, only slightly but out of alignment. I know, I checked with 10 different sources. Maybe it was the Hyper Nova explosion caused by the detonation of poor Paul Marijner’s device, maybe it’s a gravimetric variation as yet undiscovered, but something is moving the celestial bodies and that does not augur well for anyone.

Trent worries me too, no longer the big-head, he’s becoming fatalistic and introspective.

Still we need his back-up despite his flakiness and I leave the car and make a call to the warehouse and ask Trent and Simon to bring welcome back-up and the truck full of additional weaponry. I ask them to bring the flamethrower, machine gun and boxes of tear gas and phosphorus grenades.

Meanwhile at the car, a very smartly dressed Negro approaches our car and gestures to Joseph. Definitely seems to know him. Joseph is a little sheepish but talks to the guy. He asks him about JuJu house and the Negro informs him that they have parties there at night, making a lot of noise until late. Sometimes there are women seen entering and even a few white folks. He reckons that there must be a speakeasy somewhere below, or behind the shop, but he’s never been in himself. Sly old dog, Joseph never told us that he frequented Harlem. I knew his bootlegging connections took him round town but didn’t figure he’d run errands up this way. Have to quiz him on that one. I like to know my people. Curiously, Joseph later told me the name for his friend and goes down in Greg’s notebook, “Earl Hines”.

At around 6pm, just as it’s getting dark we spot Silas N’Kwame leave the shop and furtively walk up the road. The old man makes a show of looking around and behind him but we doubt that his sight is that great and we deduce that he won’t see much even if he’s looking in the correct direction. He heads to the nearest drug-store and we observe through binoculars. Silas lines up a pile of nickels and makes 3 calls. We need to know who he has called.

Simon and Trent have arrived in the truck, and making pretence of asking them directions, we tell them our plan to snatch Silas. Greg and Irma follow Silas on foot as he leaves the drug-store. Trent drives the truck alongside him and as they pass him, Simon whips open the back door and drags Silas into the truck. Greg stuffs a handkerchief in the bemused Silas’s mouth and we cuff him for good measure. A tarpaulin is thrown over him too, despite his poor vision. We’re taking no chances and give him chance to cast any spells at us. Oddly, Silas though surprised, is quite docile and doesn’t resist much. This is too easy.

We swap over watches with Trent and Simon getting in the car while Gupta, Irma, Greg and Joseph take Silas back to the warehouse in the truck.

Once there we begin to question him. Greg gets nothing but stares, and when Silas is handed a pencil and paper he just drops it on the floor. The only time we get a rise out of him is when Greg threatens to summon a hunting horror and feed Silas to it. Clearly the man has Mythos knowledge. Greg drugs him, with some brown sugar, and we wait for it to take effect.

Back at the car, Trent and Simon spot six men enter Ju-Ju house. It’s now around 7.30pm. They wait half an hour and when no-one leaves Simon hits the drug-store and reports in.

We agree to wait a further couple of hours to see what we can get out of a drugged Silas and leave Trent and Simon on watch.

Searching Silas we find a notebook with phone numbers in it but no names. As we suspected he’s definitely not illiterate. There are also some keys, including one big brass key that was on a string around Silas’ neck. We ungagged him and stick a gun to his head. Despite our best efforts Silas is tight-lipped. Irma doesn’t even see a reaction when we mention the Bloody Tongue; though Greg thinks he spots a raised eyebrow when we mention The Mountain Of The Black Wind.

Frustrated Greg gives him a shot and puts him under. We then eat, suit up and head over to juju House with a fearsome arsenal of weaponry and thick clothing. It’s bitterly cold and has begun to snow, which a bit of a drag. We wouldn’t be able to hide a trail of half a dozen footsteps leading to Ju-Ju house. Oh well. It could always get worse and would probably do so. Greg was right it did. Much, much worse.

Waiting till nearly midnight we gathered our thoughts and commenced our raid.

17th January 1925

Raid On Ju-Ju House
Raid On Ju-Ju House

The Raid Begins:

00:01 PM

Greg stayed in the truck, as his nerves were getting worse. Hiding his anger, poorly he wheeled around the machine gun and tripod so was pointing out of the back of the truck and set up the flamethrower on the passenger seat.

The five investigators move soundlessly to the door of Ju-Ju House. Trent unlocks the door with the keys found earlier and Irma steps in. A throwing knife like a cross between a boomerang and a triple handled blade flies out of the dark interior into Irma’s chest. Only his Skin of Sedefkar saves him. Joseph tosses a tear gas grenade through the door and closes it while the others don their gas masks.

They are good. There were no windows and we made no sound, not during the approach and not when we opened the door yet they were on us in an instant. He had to have been waiting poised at that door for ages. That takes discipline. Not your average lowlife punks then. Trent opens the door and the after effects of the tear gas drift out into the chilled air. A Negro rushes out of the door wielding a Pranga. Trent shoots him dead with his trench gun. He peers into the shop and espies three more men suffering from the effects of the gas behind the counter. Joseph passes Trent with Irma behind him and they enter the shop.

We all hear one of men shout what sounds like “Jakota”. Trent shoots from the doorway winging one the men. Irma shoots him dead with his .45. Joseph shoots another and Trent then leaps up on the counter and shoots down on the remaining man. He jumps down onto the floor and notes a hollow sound. There is definitely another floor below the shop. He pulls up the cheap, threadbare rug and finds a trapdoor in the floor. Its large lock is just the right size for the key that was hanging around the shopkeepers’ neck.

Gupta and Simon enter the shop and Joseph and Irma reload while Trent gets the key out and opens the heavy trapdoor. A long staircase recedes below ground quite some way. An industrial sounds like a pulley and chain can be heard from down below. Perhaps it’s a sluice gate of some kind, or a portcullis type barrier?

No time to ponder.

Dimly Trent sees a door at the bottom of the stairs and Joseph, Trent and Irma descend. Gupta and Simon take position at the top of the stairs. The door opens and a cultist attacks Joseph with a Pranga. Joseph dodges and leaves Trent a clear shot to shoot him but the thug is strong and stays on his feet. He blocks the doorway and is a large man and so prevents us from seeing within.

Impatiently Joseph glares at Trent and shoots the man dead with another unerring shot from his .45, Seconds count. Trent can’t afford to be off the boil. Trent drops back to reload and Irma joins Joseph at the doorway. A bestial howl reverberates around the room and four badly dressed men attack from within the room. But wait, those men all have horrible wounds and scabrous rotting flesh. They’re corpses and they’re walking. Irma is momentarily shocked but Joseph’s army training kicks in and he shoots his .45 straight in the head of the Zombie. It keeps coming. Irma shoots with his shotgun but it keeps coming. Tough indeed. A second blast puts it down.

Joseph hears the last man inside sought something. Joseph shouts out that we need to enter the room and stop whatever the man inside is up to. Something about releasing the souls.




Trent fearing that they’ll be overwhelmed charges the door and pushes it almost closed holding it with Irma. Gupta descends with a grenade ready and at a signal drops it inside as Irma and Trent open it a little wider. The explosion echoes around the basement but we can still hear the groans of the Zombies. But they are hard to put down. The door is now quite damaged and we can see through cracks in it into the room beyond.

Joseph shoots a zombie through the door but his bullet has little effect. We need to use shotguns or grenades. Joseph takes up Irma’s trench gun and shoots it dead. Always was a quick learner. There is a well or pipe in the floor of the room. The chain pulley sound was the mechanism raising the heavy lid open. A charnel house stench of rotting putrescence fills the air.

Then the thing appears out of the well. This was the “Jakota” though we didn’t know it yet. It was slimy surging quasi-amorphous worm thing of iridescent evil. Shapeless yet dimly cadaverous, dead faces peered from up and down its ghastly form. They have lost their humanity but not their lives. Irma gazes at their torment and comprehends evils true face. He numbly throws his phosphorus grenade into the room before going into shock. Even in his greatest personal anguish he fights. Admirable. Trent and Joseph also hurl their grenades into the room and then the three surge up the stairs. With Gupta, they race through the upstairs trapdoor and all stand on it while Trent locks it.

He then races out of the shop to get the Greg’s dynamite and the phosphorus grenades. Greg has heard the commotion and wordlessly hands Trent the bag he needs, the flamethrower and then sets to work starting the truck and backing it up to the shop entrance.

The Jakota or corpse-worm or whatever-it-is has crawled up the stairs but the three phosphorous grenades used earlier have burned it to the core and its horrendous mewling death cries puncture the cold night. Trent opens the trapdoor and dowses the thing with the flamethrower. The mass stops pulsating and slumps into still silence. The stench is excruciating but Trent and the others, barring poor Irma, go down the stairs once more into the room. Remarkably an alcove in one wall still has a curtain hanging from it despite all the blasts and explosions. The Investigators find:

A Robe of Shimmering Coloured Feathers.

A Pair of Claws That Can Fit Over a Man’s Hands.

A Wooden Mask With a Devilish Face

A Copper Bowl, With Runes.

A Headband of Grey Metal, Also With Runes.

The Missing Book From Harvard University, “Africa Dark Sects”, With its Green Binding and Gold title Embossed on its Spine.

The investigators grimly climb back up the stairs with that paraphernalia. At the top Greg sees that two groaning cultists lie on the floor of the shop. He shoots them both in the head without breaking stride. There were people writhing in that worm thing. People trapped, fully cognisant of their own private damnation and not allowed to die. And these scum worshipped the beings that put it here! They had just forfeited their right to life. The Hippocratic Oath was for human beings. They had ceased to be that long ago.

No time to hang around the locals will have called the police and even in Harlem they will show eventually. Avoiding difficult questions we leave promptly with all the items and head for the warehouse by separate circuitous routes. Greg notes that Irma is not in a good way. His childhood stammer has returned with such completeness that he is unable to speak audibly. We pass the drugstore but elect not call Chief Poole and just leave.

Trent watches Irma in the truck. He is barely aware of anything around him. Not another loss. Wasn’t Janey’s fate enough? And Heather and poor doomed Paul. How many more? Should have been first. Time to step up and take the bullet meant for someone of worth. How many more people are going to die instead of me? I have to step up. Stop the good ones going.

Greg sees Trent’s introspection and sees an expression he’s not seen in Trent before. This is different. Does the man have a death wish?

The truck stops.

Back To The Warehouse:

04:17 AM

Everyone piles out and somberly enter the warehouse. Greg goes up on the roof with a rifle. He needs to check the stars again anyway and wants to think. Gibson, he can help Irma, he’s a soldier and has seen trauma before. Shell Shock they’ll call it. Greg resolves to call him. No expense will be spared. He’ll need to hire a couple of nurses too. Not the bruisers that they have in state sanatoria but healers. Nurses from real hospitals like the one where Violets was looked after. And a guard too. Maybe two. A busy morning lies ahead.

Meanwhile the others examined the tribal artefacts. The robe is actually kingfisher feathers. Not just European these birds are also prevalent in Africa. The claws are those of a lion. The mask is wooden and we are able to discern that it is Congolese. Belgian Congo. It is light and grotesquely, has real human teeth inset within the mouth. The face of the mask has no ears.

We also examine the book “Africa’s Dark Sects”. A small hardback with a green cover and the title in gold lettering on its spine only. Someone has written brief scribbled notes in the margin. We check our research books and see that it is Swahili.

Irma’s final act was to take a picture of the worm thing. Although too traumatised to do anything but sit in a corner, his photography has been exemplary, and his tutelage of Joseph excellent. Joseph careful studies pay off and he is able to develop a very clear image of the worm. Something we can show Silas when we question him again.

Silas is ungagged and roughly revived. We show him the photo of the worm thing. Silas grins evilly and says:

Silas N’Kwane:

“Mukanga made the Jakota. He has great Ju-Ju.”

“He will send my god as black wind in the form of “The Bloody Tongue” and destroy you all.”

“Mukanga has the great Ju-Ju and will find you and kill you. He created the Jakota”.

At his repetition of that name, we remember that in the hotel room, two of Jackson’s assailants had said to the cannibalistic one:

Silas N’Kwane: “This is not for you, this is for the Jakota.”

Oft evil will evil mar.

Perhaps even in the hideous act of eating Jackson’s heart, the cultist had inadvertently prevented Jackson becoming part of that burned monstrosity we left stinking on the cellar staircase.

He taunts us saying “You are missing something. That means they will all come!”

When shown the mask he can’t hide his eagerness to wear it. An act? Or is some hideous way of transforming the wearer into a monstrous beast? Greg can’t see we’ll ever know but is tempted to experiment. However the others discourage him. He’ll have to wait until they go out before he can use the skinning knife kept from the cult of the skinless ones.

Disappointed he distracts himself by skimming Africa’s Dark Sects. Nigel Blackwell’s prose is meandering and purposeless. He traveled in East Africa, Belgian Congo and the Niger River basin. Part of the text looks like instructions on how to perform an incantation to create a Zombie.

Further cursory research confirms that Blackwell died in 1919 and his family opposed publishing due to its blasphemous contents which was thought might damage the family name. Blackwell was no academic and had no affiliation to any university or learned institution.

It showed in his writing technique.

As the others sleep, Greg checks his records and notes down the contact numbers for the nurses and for Gibson.

He’ll need his black suit again too. It’s Jackson Elias’ funeral at 03:00 PM this afternoon.

Yegor Gaidar

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