John's Journal

Stuff seems to be happening around here worryingly often, and not the good kind of stuff. Memories are not to be relied on. Things happen, but don't. At least not for others. Some other times, things happen that everyone else remembers, but you don't. I've got the suspicion that this is just the start, so keeping some kind of a journal seems to be a better and better idea. In case of, well, a certain type of odd stuff happening, this will allow you(/me, but I'll keep to calling me you, hopefully I won't mind, heh) to catch up.

On the other hand, things are certainly becoming interesting.

Of course, some of this is written a good while after the actual events, so I may miss some details, but I believe that earlier events are less important in detail and more important as creating the path I later walked.

The Moths and the Tree

It all began in a park. Or actually, it all began in San Fran, not long after my arrival, but these specific events happened in a park. Moth Park. Not a particularly pleasing name, but on the other hand, the events were not really pleasing either. On my walk towards the business district (trying to spot some marks, much too early to try to hook any yet, but I was considering some short cons to pass the time until a proper job cropped up) I happened to pass through the park. It was more pleasant than walking the streets, and also, it was on my route. At least nearby. I was in no rush.

That was when I saw her. Walking parallell to me was a girl. I don't know why I spotted her, but once I did, it was hard to look away. Got no clue why. Not particularly good looking. However, once I passed the next tree, she was gone. At the time, I believed it to be nothing but just a trick of perception. Later I've come to recognize my mistake.

I'll pass by the rest of the day, as it was not really important. This journal has the purpose to record my more… strange experiences, not my day-to-day life, since I'm not stupid. Exactly why I'm writing this, I'm not sure, but with all the strange mojo running around, one should not rule out a case of memory loss, in which case this might help. If so, well, your current name is John Marbory. Take the journal, drop everything else and run the hell away. Get safe, then catch up on what's happened. Will try to keep this current, so you don't lose too much.

Either way, during the night I had a rather unpleasant experience, involving branches and leaves, something which I seldom keep in my flat, for understandable reasons. I also later saw the girl again. Something was leading me towards the park again.

I decided to do some basic reccy of the park, and spotted no less than four others who were clearly trying to look around while seeming inconspicious. Of course, as amateurs, they failed badly, rawing more attention to themselves than if a marching band had marched through the park, playing "We are sneaking around here", whatever that may be. At least to those of us used to blending in a bit better. Bit by bit they gathered together (at least a few of them did, with the last ones joining up a few minutes later), at which point I decided to introduce myself by name. John Marbory. At once they seemed completely unconnected. Two were rather young, male and female, (a couple? Later corrected, both in relationships, but both with someone else. Neither knew each other), number three, slightly tall, uncultured, probably with a practical bent, the last had the look of an academic. At least those were my first impressions. They were later confirmed. The first two were Andrea Holm, a foreign student, Norwegian, Jian Li (Unsure where he is from. Asian?), Mr Average Joe is actually an Average Josh (and runs a scrapheap, Full name Joshua Trenton) and then we have Professor Pliskin. First Name: Chris. Try not to forget it again.

Either way, each of us had been experiencing these rather unpleasant events, and after they did not stop, we decided that something had to be done. The first two, having a rather occult bent (Jian Li practices some kind of asian mumbo-jumbo) jumped onto a spiritual explanation more or less at once, with the rest of us keeping to more reasonable explanations. Of course, we were wrong, but that's not something I'm prepared to shout out too loudly. I must admit that I've kind of admitted the existence of the supernatural later. Not doing so would be stupid.

Either way, some research did lead the book squad to the fact that quite a number of murders had been happening in said park before, it all leading back to Moth himself.Some chatting around the park led us to find some crazy hobo (Why is it always hoboes?). He asked us to return at night, wherupon he told us that it was the tree itself that was behind the killing. Just great. Josh ran the hell away, screaming about the tree trying to kill him, with the rest just getting out of there. Pete also showed quite a lot of lucidity all of a sudden. Interesting disguise. A little further research led to the assumption that either finding out the reason for the entire situation or burning down the tree and it's saplings could solve the situation. We decided to check out the saplings, which were conveniently planted near by Moth's only living descendant. We also thought out some possible plans to burn down the tree, which was made quite a lot easier due to the fact that the Prof knows a fair bit of explosives, with "a fair bit" meaning that if you need something smaller than a nuke, he's the guy to go to. If you need something bigger, he's the guy to run the fuck away from.

Either way, a quick visit to Moth Farm showed us that the farm itself was being invaded by the saplings (which were at this point full-sized), Moth himself had problems clinging to the mortal coil, and his nurse would have few problems conducting an invasion of Poland single-handedly. We managed to talk to Moth a bit, who mentioned the tree having become a family curse. Moth (the original) used to love the tree, sleep under it and all that guff. However, the the wife had ended up hanged on the tree by the gardener (if I recall correctly) and it kind of turned sour at that point. Odd, that. At that point we were more or less thrown out by the nurse, having put Mr. Moth in contact with something more real than a morphine drip, and we were forbidden from talking to him further. She was also ever so slighly obstructive to our investigation of the house, which was filled with various occult stuff, including an example of the symbol. Luckily I managed to charm(/distract) the nurse while my compatriots took a look around the house. I think this is the point where Josh nicked the parchment with the symbol.

Either way, we saw the girl walk into a field. Following the way she had taken led us to a locked up well. Returning to the farm to borrow equipment, some rope and such, we then sent Jian down to check around. We found a painting, which kind of, well, morphed. It and some hints dropped by Moth the Living led us to the realization that it was probably Moth the Croaked that had started the curse by hanging the gardener (who was having an affair with Moth's wife, big surprise there) off the tree. This meant that the Pete fellow could do an exorcism. Also, checking out a book about exorcisms, we found that the author was none other than Pete himself. Fallen priest? Intriguing.

Abandoning the Pliskin Plan (which would have led to the park becoming a crater), we went for the Exorcism plan, which involved us joining a ritual, Pete mumbling latin, Jian going insubstantial (His main contribution being returning later and almost croaking, which was just, well, great), and then dogs attacking us. This was the point where I discovered that my love of dogs stops abruptly once those dogs are big, slavering and trying to kill me.

Luckily I had brought my gun (how I hate that thing), and there were some various other improvised armament in play. The Norwegian was pretty badly savaged, but we got through. I had a gash down my arm, but it was barely a flesh wound, and it hit no veins at all, so the damage was negligible.

Either way, this lasted a few hours, at which point old man Moth showed himself. Literally. Luckily, the Norwegian beat the ectoplasmic crap out of him with Pete's crusifix.

Speaking of crusifixes, I had gotten hold of two (one affixed to a bat, in case of a worst case scenario) and one for general protection. I was also (apart from Pete) the least injured. The two carrying most holy objects being the least injured? Perhaps there is something in this religion thing.

Either way, after Moth was banished, the tree was hit by lightning, at which point we got the hint that the ghost had been sent the hell away.

Either way, that's just the start. Things got worse.

The matter of the kidney.

About two weeks later, I had the worst awakening of my life. Bathroom. Bath. Ice. Been operated on. Someone had operated out my kidney, then left me here with nothing but a phone, a message telling me to call 911 and some occult rune written in my own blood.

All in all, I've had worse hangovers, but generally the worst place I've woken up. Stuck in a hospital bed for a while, not surprisingly. I took a few calls around and got hold of the people I met during the freaky tree incident. What else could I do? It's not like I've found someone else I can trust in this city yet. Of course, knowing America, that may be a while. Either way, they agreed to take a look around.

After a couple of days of varying level of consciousness, I was discharged at last. The rest of them had found out that I'd ended up with some woman in a red dress (Seriously, when you are on th job, stay away from women and drink. That ends badly. Also, make sure to pick up your own stuff. Remember last time you drank? Just don't). Yep, sounds like a con all right.

So,with my kidney out there somewhere, nearing it's use-by date, we hit the streets to find about where organs are sold in this town. An operation this professional (Apart from the "evil runes" as Josh would have put it) must be selling somewhere. Of course, that assumption was correct.
The "Red Dawn" gang was running their operation out of a disused bowling alley in the Tenderloins. I've not been here long, but I've understood that it isn't exactly a good area.

Either way, we used the prof's car and got up there. After a bit of to-and-fro with some lieutenant, w got to chat with their boss, a mr. wossname. He talked about a doctor who got out the kidneys, but getting the information out of him wasn't exactly easy. He wanted us to sell some product for him, but I challenged him to a game of single-draw five card stud, which through luck (yeah, right), I won.

Either way, we ended up with the doc, who lived in some apothecary in chinatown. Of course, he apparently had some mumbo-jumbo going for him, so we brought with us Jiuan's mentor as a counter. Of course, what I then thought to be mumbo-jumbo I now believe in, so, well, at least I've learned a bit. Or, if I'm wrong, become more stupid, but things are far too freaky for stupid right now.

Either way, the confrontation was…odd. This guy claims to have been living off other people's kidneys for some hundred years, while working on making his method universal.Of course, he thinks that the price, quite a lot of people heading towards an early grave, being worth it. The fact that he sells the rest of the kidneys to make drugs don't exactly make it better. Jiuan actually considered letting him continue, but in the end we decided to make an end of it.

We reentered the shop, in my case considering murder. Luckily (?) the task was taken out of our hands. A man from "the agency" showed up, there to take him away and make sure he did not continue what he was doing. I did get some bizarre contact information out of him, though (Dumping a blue post-it note in the bin at a Macdonalds, preferably one around *insert place here*).

After getting back my kidney, we headed to the hospital, where I spun some absurd story about having found my kidney back, but since it was healthy (and according to the mad doc, "filled with chi"), reinserting it worked. Of course, spending a couple of more days in the hospital isn't exactly fun, but it's better than going off without a "full set".

Either way, now I owe this crowd a favour… brilliant.

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