London: Dancers in an Evening Fog
January 3 - 9, 1923

You arrived in London a day before the lecture and checked into your hotel, which was within walking distance of the Imperial Institute, where the Challenger Lectures were held. The next evening, you made your way to the Institute, and listened to Professor Smith talk about hauntings, and dimensional gates. At various times during his speech, Julian gave each of you a knowing look. The talk ended with a hearty round of applause, and you made your way to the podium to talk with your friend. Julian greeted you warmly, and introduced you to an old American friend of his, Professor Miranda Vaughan, whom he'd also invited to London in the hopes that she would join you as part of your proven "team". Smith then told you he had a few loose business ends to tie up, and would call upon the five of you in a few days. As you wished him a good night, you noticed a dark, mustached man closely observing you - you thought he was probably Persian. The strange man saw that he had been observed, and made a gesture of apology, then disappeared into the crowd.

The next morning, after a late rise and an even later breakfast, a peculiar article caught your eye, for the events described therein took place on the previous evening in your very hotel! The headlines read "Man Dies Three Times in One Night", and the article explained that three Turks, all bearing the official identification papers of Mr. Mehmet Makryat, were stabbed to death in a hotel room. The article went on to say the Mr. Makryat owned an antique shop in Islington, and the man whom shop keepers described as the real Makryat was not among the three slain. As distressed as you were to read of such an event happening in your hotel, you were even more distressed to find, hidden in small type several pages into the same paper, the headline "Professor's Home Burns". The professor was Julian Smith, and both he and his servant, Beddows, were still missing.

You made your way to Smith's house to find a constable standing at the front door of a brick building gutted by flames. The constable was of little help, and even when Miranda sneaked into the house via. the back door, nothing of interest was found. Dejected, you returned to your hotel to find a message waiting for you from Professor Smith, urging you to come see him at once. The address on the note lead you to a low class area of London, where you entered the designated apartment building, and made your way to the correct number on the door. Beddows let you in, and when your eyes adjusted to the darkness, you saw your friend, Julian Smith, lying in bed, severely burned.

Smith told you that the real reason he brought you to London was to assist him in collecting and destroying an occult artifact of great evil: the Sedefkar Simulacrum. This statue was last owned by a Counte Fenalik, but had been taken apart around the time of the French revolution, and the different components were dispersed across Europe. Smith told you the only way to destroy it was to collect all of the pieces, and find the Sedefkar Scrolls, which told of a ritual with which the statue could be destroyed, once it was returned to the "Shunned Mosque", in Constantinople. He had intended to accompany you in this quest, but last night, Turks cultists attacked he and Beddows at his home, and then tried to burn him out. He and Beddows escaped, but without his notes on the subject... he hoped the Turks didn't get them. Smith then handed you a written note, which he said should give you access to the Reading Room at the Museum of Natural History. Beddows also handed you a briefcase filled with 200 five pound notes, for use on your journeys across Europe. Smith also recommended using the Simplon Orient Express, because of its comfort, speed and reliability. He then bid you farewell, as he and Beddows had to make good their escape from the Turks.

The next day found you at the Reading Room of the Museum of Natural History, but Smith's pass only allowed one of you to enter, and after much discussion, Mac went in to research the Sedefkar Simulicrum and Scrolls. Unfortunately, after spending most of the day searching the catalogs and references, the only reference he could find was for the Bibliotheque Nationale, in Paris. As he was leaving the nearly deserted read room, Mac noticed a man, oddly slumped over an open book on a table. As Mac walked up to the figure, it fell over from the chair and onto the floor, revealing that, except for his face, the man had been skinned! Even worse, Mac recognized the face as that of Beddows!

Returning to your hotel, you pondered over Professor Smith's words, and noted that the Turks whom attacked Smith's home, may be the same as those involved with Mehmet Makryat. Thus,you resolved to sneak into Makryat's antique shop in Islington that night. Access to the shop was easy, through the back door, and you quickly moved about the shop, looking for any incriminating evidence. Upstairs, you found the living chambers, which showed signs of hasty packing, but little else. Likewise, in the shop downstairs you found little of interest, except that the last entry in the shop's ledger was for a train set, from the estate of Albert Alexis, whom Mac recognized as part of a notorious family of cultists. The entry in and of itself was strange, because all of Makryat's other ledger entries were for the typical Turkish antiques sold in his shop.

London (and parts unknown): The Doom Train

Having arrived at an apparent dead end on the previous evening (no pun intended), you took breakfast at the hotel, reading through the newspaper. At the back of one of the papers of less reputation (the kind Miranda and Mo enjoyed reading), you found an article about a man, Henry Stanley, disappearing from his room in a cloud of smoke. The headlines for the article also linked the disappearance of Mr. Stanley with the triple murder case of Mehmet Makryat, because a train set was found in Mr. Stanley's apartment that was purchased from Makryat's antique shop. You quickly took a train to Stoke Newington: Mr. Stanley's home.

The landlord, Mrs. Atkins let you into the room (after charging 3p apiece), where you found signs of full size train tracks on the carpet, as well as smoke stains on the ceiling, and wallpapers that appeared to have been blistered from steam. Asking Mrs. Atkins about the train set, you found the local police had taken it, thinking it had electrocuted Mr. Stanley. When you checked with the police, however, you found that the set had been sent to the London Train Spotter's Club, for an expert analysis. Back in London, you found the phone number of the train-spotters, and gave them a ring. A Mr. Arthur Butter answered the phone, and agreed to an interview that afternoon. At Mr. Butter's, you found out that the train set was modeled after the ill-fated London to Liverpool express of 1897, which plunged from a bridge into a river, with much loss of life. The cab, tender, and first two cars were never recovered. Mr. Butter asked if you'd like to attend the Train Spotter's annual dinner, that very night, to get more information about the train. You said you would, which delighted Mr. Butter so that he allowed you to temporarily take the train set, until the Police asked for it.

With train set in hand, you made your way back to the hotel, and set it up in Mo's room. Later that evening, with all thoughts of attending the Train Spotter's delightful dinner dismissed from your minds, you gathered in Mo's room, as she set the train in motion! It ran round and round the track for a few minutes.

Nothing happened.

Just as you were about to give up, a shimmering track appeared on the carpet, and the sound of a shunting locomotive filled the room, as the cab and tender of 1897 Liverpool Express pulled through the hotel room. The first car appeared as the train stopped, and passengers stepped off, wearing old, shabby clothes from the 1890s. The passengers quickly gathered around Mo, and hauled her onto the train, as it began to move again. Quickly, the two Miranda's and Ian jumped aboard, to find Mo struggling with her captors. Before help could arrive, one of the passengers held Mo's face and kissed her - all color drained from Mo's face as she dropped to the floor. The passengers then turned on you, and you had to fight to keep them at arms length.

Suddenly, the curtain the separated the first car from the second opened, and a voice called out for the you to step inside. Pushing past the groping zombie passengers, you passed through a doorway with bizarre symbols engraved around it, but through which the zombies did not pass. Standing before you, was an elderly man dressed in 1890's garb, who bowed before you and said, "Welcome to the 9:15 to Liverpool, although we are running, um, rather late. My name is Randolph Alexis."

Alexis lead you through the sections of the car, where you found Henry Stanley, rather nervous, and very quiet. In the last section, a grisly collection of human entrails and organs form a circuit, like that of the train set you left behind in the real world. Alexis began to explain how he was attempting to reopen the gate, and send the train back to the real world, when you heard the sound of the engine, followed by the slowing of the train, as it once again stopped in Mo's room. You piled out of the carriage, with Alexis holding onto Henry Stanley, and yelling that he could not leave that way.

Mac had not been idle after the train pulled out of the room with his friends aboard. He turned on the train set again, and waited for a moment or two before the train once again appeared, and his friends... all but Mo, that is, jumped off the train, followed quickly by the passengers, who tried to gather around Mac! All of you fought off the passengers, but as the train pulled away, the passengers vanished, as did Mac.

On board the train, Mac luckily dodged the groping zombies, and stumbled into the second car. After looking around, he found Randolph Alexis busy at his circuit of human flesh. Looking up, Alexis told Mac what he was attempting to do, but he couldn't understand why it wasn't working. Mac pointed out that the track on the train set had different levels, but the meaty circuit before him did not. Alexis quickly picked up bits of bones, and with Mac's assistance, adjusted the circuit, then began to move a rotting human heart around the track. At this moment, the passenger zombies began to invade the second car, by climbing on top of the roof, hanging over the edge, and swinging through the window. Henry Stanley screamed for help, and began to fight off the zombies, as Alexis cried out with joy. Suddenly, the train shuddered, and the sound of wheels over real track filled your ears. The zombies fell to the floor, lifeless, and in the distance, the sound of a train whistle madly blowing filled the air. Alexis pulled open the window, and leapt from the train, followed by Mac and Henry Stanley. Mac broke his leg in the fall, and Mr. Stanley his arm, but Alexis was unharmed, and disappeared into the darkness. Moments later, a bright flash filled the sky, followed by the tumultuous sound of two trains colliding. Mac and Mr. Stanley managed to stumble into a nearby town, and find a doctor for treatment.

That morning, Mac found a phone, and called the rest of you in London. He then took a carriage back to the hotel, and rested for the remainder of the day. On the following day, the newspapers were filled with the story of the crash - some even suggesting that it was the work of terrorists. Mo's body was found on board with her passport, and it was said that she, and her acquaintances must be responsible for the wreck. The rest of you wisely bought tickets for Paris, and left London that day.

Next chapter.