6: Jonah Kensington Left Hanging

18th January 1925

The Staff Of Nyambe
The Staff Of Nyambe

New York City, U.S.A:

09:30 PM:

Having shot Mukanga dead, Donelly gingerly picks up his staff keeping his hand covered. He then attaches it to his backpack. Trixie, Wes, Joe and Trent then head back downstairs back to the concierge of the apartment block. It’s still dark. Whatever they did was a little more than flicking a switch or removing a fuse.

Meanwhile the other three scan rooftops from their vantage point on the roof of an opposite building. Simon heads downstairs as Greg keeps watch.

Trixie and the other 3 reach the ground floor. They speak with the concierge maintaining their pretence of being power company employees. They tell him they can find nothing in this building so now need to check other buildings further down the road to find the source of the power outage.

He receives a call from upstairs indicating that dead bodies have been found upstairs on the seventh floor. He rushes off. Simon enters the building. All 5 leave, heading back across the road to the offices of Prospero Books.

There is one upstanding citizen keeping watch at the main entrance but the 5 easily talk him round. Heading upstairs they see that the office has been broken into. The door has been kicked in. Joe puts his spare hat on his gun barrel and sticks it through the door.

Nothing happens. He enters finding the reception area empty but showing signs of a struggle.

The door to Jonah Kensington’s office is ajar. Groans can be heard from within. This is the kind of groan a person might make if he or she was gagged yet still trying to shout. Smartly Joe says:

Joe:Groan twice if you’re not alone”.

Good thinking that man.

We hear 4 groans: someone or something is left to deal with. But at least Jonah is alive.

Trixie pushes the door open while Joe rushes inside. A bound and gagged Jonah is indeed sat t his desk. Jackson Elias stands behind him. The same one, the dead Jackson Elias. The bloody tongue cultists must have stolen his body from the chapel mortuary. As it was too cold to bury him he was kept there till spring. Now he was standing ready to lunge at Joe. Two rapid discharges from a trench gun nearly splitting him half. He falls inert once more. Trixie dashes in, unties the shocked Jonah and removes his gag.

The shaken Jonah shows strong resilience explaining what happened. He received a call from someone claiming to be a friend of Jackson’s recently arrived from Africa. Invited over, several Africans arrived with one of their number swathed in a raincoat. The raincoat came off revealing Jackson Elias.

We break out the Brandy as we look Jackson over. He is over his initial shock and ready to leave with us.

After a cursory tidy up we leave. We walk out the front speaking o the concerned citizen once more while Trixie and Jonah leave by the rear exit. Greg and Gupta have brought the truck round. We all pile in, go round the corner to pick up Trixie and head to the warehouse.

On our way back we pass a junction station where some cops stand around a dead body. One of the cultists chopped at a main junction box with an axe. A move that proved fatal. Lucky we’re dealing with idiots.

We head home chuckling.

Jonah Kensington Hires Us To Find Jackson’s Killers:

10:00 PM

As we discuss the matter with Jonah he agrees to tell the cops whatever we want. He’s coming round to the idea that the world is more frightening than he could have imagined.

He’s very taken aback by events, but defiant with it. Good for him. Jackson hears that we have Silas downstairs and insists on seeing him. He yells but after letting off steam he storms out without murdering Silas. Good restraint.

He gives us $1,000 retainer to employ us to get and get them. Keeps us in cigars and bullets I suppose. Greg is beginning to like him.

Checking the license found on Mukanga, we see that he gave his address as Fat Mabel’s. We agree that we need rest but resolve to visit Fat Mabel’s early tomorrow at around 6am as the speakeasy is closing.

Until then we organise our watches and get some much needed sleep albeit for only a few hours.

Before he hits the sack Greg has a thought. That asymmetrical pyramid could be real pyramid in Egypt. There is one of the great pyramids, the red one?

Near Dhashur which could well be what Carlisle dreamed of. Research is required, but not tonight.

19th January 1925

Fat Mabel's Speakeasy
Fat Mabel’s Speakeasy

Closing Down Fat Mabel’s:

05:00 AM

After a short nap Trent, Joe, Gupta and Trixie drive over to Fat Mabel’s taking the truck and a car and four very weighty sports bags. We set up a motorbike in the back of the truck. It’s still bitterly cold so we can wear hats scarves and balaclavas and no-one will be suspicious. Except of course that three of us are as white as the snow we are trudging through and we’re in Harlem.

We park in an alleyway leading to the back entrance. It’s the bottom and basement floor of a five storey tenement. Gupta and Trent go to the front door but have no joy with the locked door so we head to the back a little behind Joe and Trixie.

Fat Mabel’s is already closed. It is nearly 6am after all and even the busiest speakeasies empty around 4. We find a rug and crates in a back room and there is a strange smell in the air. It’s the pungent herb from Africa called Kat.

There is one apartment on the lower floor and we pick the lock and storm in. Poor Mabel is in bed and gets the shock of her life as she wakes up to two gun barrels pointing at her face. Threatening her not to scream we begin to question her. She tells us they had around 12 people at their meetings. Mabel also says Mukanga has his room on the first floor and we head over after locking the terrified Mabel in her apartment.

We sneak over and listen at the door but hear nothing. Trent picks the lock and lets the others in. It’s empty. We search the place and find some ledgers going back to 1919, which is before Roger Carlyle left for Africa. There are some good bottles of Irish whiskey as well as some London Gin. Probably imported from Kenya.

Trixie rifles a desk finding receipts for several telegrams. There is also another phone book but like Silas N’Kwame’s book it only lists numbers, no names. Cautious bunch, these cultists.

We grab the papers, tell Mabel it’s time for her to close up permanently and leave separately via our usual circuitous routes back to the warehouse after making a call to N.Y.P.D to inform Poole about the Mabel.

Trent tries to study the ledgers but he’s too tired. He’ll try again after grabbing more shut eye.

More Research & Being Tailed:

10.01 AM

Simon and Gupta stay awake, have a hearty breakfast and decide to head over to New York library to get the Swahili notes in the margin of Africa’s dark sects translated. They also transcribe the writing on the staff taken from Mukanaga.

As they drive off, Trent watches from the roof noticing that we are being watched. Two guys in a car are taking an unhealthy interest in us. Trent and Joe head out the back way managing to surprise the two watchers. Looking down the wrong end of military ordnance is a great persuader. They tell us they were hired by Dunston, Whittleby and Grey the law firm of Erica Carlyle. Their identification shows them to be members of a high-end detective agency. They have details of all 8 of us as we have all been mentioned in Irma’s newspaper stories at one time or another. Cuttings services, you gotta love them. We relieve them of their small side arms and tell them to get lost. Trent angrily resolves to visit their office latter.

Finding out about the watchers, Joe and Wesley make plans to reconnoitre the Carlyle residence later in the day.

Simon and Gupta find the right people in the library. As the notes are brief they are swiftly translated. They are no more than barbed asides, mocking the ignorance of the author.

One says: “Fool, The Mountain of The Black wind is no place for an unbeliever.”

Another says: “to invoke the power of Nyambe properly, you must be in contact with ground.”

Oddly this relates to the staff which had “Nyambe thy power is mine” written on it. A spell? Invocation? Who knows!

Greg checks his blasphemous books for references to Nyambe but is interrupted by a phone call. The coroner’s office wants him to go down there as soon as he can. Probably an ambush by Poole but Greg is tired of dodging the law so heads down there.

Greg also receives a telegram, which is only read after he has made the poor delivery lie face down on the ground palms up. It is from Tommy of Scotland Yard in London, confirming he will investigate the Penhew Foundation.

Meanwhile Joe and Wes reach Carlyle’s place. As before they note the 12 feet high spiked iron fence all around the grounds. In addition they spy two armed gatekeepers with watchdogs. Troublesome but not insurmountable. They drive back to the warehouse. Another time.

Sleepless Trent studies the ledgers. At first he sees nothing but a list of deliveries commencing in 1919. Then he sees a pattern. Objects from Illinois, California and Pennsylvania are sent to London in August 1921. This was about a year after Roger Carlyle had gone to Africa.

Gupta has a brainwave and takes the telegram stubs from Mukanga’s apartment to the sending office. A small bribe helps him find out they were sent by an African guy to London. Sometimes replies came back. The most recent message was around a week ago, which would put it just before Jackson Elias was due to arrive in New York.

Still angry Trent wakes from another too short nap. He stomps off to the garage and drives over to the detective agency for a professional chat. He even calls first to make an appointment.

Trent rampages through the detective agency offices, which turn out to be surprisingly big. He tells the boss in no uncertain terms to lay off the warehouse or his operatives will risk being killed. He then tells the boss to call Erica Carlyle as she is the real client, not the law firm, to tell her that Trent Duxford has warned them off.

Driving to the coroner’s office Greg does indeed find Poole waiting for him. Poole has put it together but is unimpressed that gangsters are doing the work of the N.Y.P.D for them. Greg tells him to write up the attacks on Ju-Ju House, Fat Mabel’s and the shoot out near Prospero Books as a turf war between bootleggers. The cult of the Bloody Tongue is broken so will commit no more murders. It’s a good thing that is best put to bed.

Poole reluctantly agrees but both know that people have been locked up for life with far far less evidence.

He heads home, quite relieved.

Back at the Warehouse that evening Trent still can’t get any sleep.

He’s woken up by Carlyle Industries, who put him directly through to Erica. Trent tells her he has important information regarding Roger and must speak to her. He arranges for a party of 8 to be admitted to see Erica.

The appointment is for Friday 23rd January.

Thinking he is finally getting somewhere Trent hits the sack.

Greg cleans his syringe, grins and settles down to take watch in between stargazing. There is still much to think about.

Lots of research to be done on the expedition. He also has to find a new warehouse. Maybe Prospero Books can found a new book depository.

Yegor Gaidar

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