2nd City

If That Railroad Train Was Mine


On a warm summer day in 2004, four young people sat around an apartment in Evanston, pouring over a series of old documents, each one with a few of the pages. The pages had post-its on them to indicate what order they’d come out of the folder in, but given that sentences were cut off at the end of pages without getting picked up on the next, it seemed that pages were missing, and it was possible it didn’t matter what order the pages were in anyway. They took notes in composition notebooks, sharing what they discovered, trying to work out the underlying principles. At one point, the girl with pink hair looked up and read out loud:
“Through pyramidal geometry, Egyptian priests assimilated the essence of the gods into the resonance, directing destiny itself.” She looked up at the others. “What the fuck does that even mean?”
A few nights later, Ethan stared at Simon Ellsworth’s reflection in the window of a Blue Line train as it hurtled towards O’Hare. “Listen…” the image said, its voice created by the sound of the passing wind and the rattling of the trains on the rails. “You understand now, don’t you?” Ellsworth told them that he had ‘called them,’ and that they had come. He told them that Burgess, who he admitted to having killed years before, was still around, and had killed him. Not out of vengeance, but to stop him from mucking up Burgess’ plans. “He treats people like property… hollows them out… wears them like clothes.” He then explained that to stop Burgess, they’d have to enter his house (“The hideous monstrosity of his in Gold Coast”) locate his casket or urn, and deface the images on it.
The quartet plied him for as much info as they could get out of him, but soon the train passed out of his area of influence and he was gone. The characters retreated to Elsa’s Logan Sq. apartment to discuss plans. They had the approximate location of the house, so they decided to go by it and scope it out. They did so, and Tycho identified the specific building by his pocket watch, which reactivated near the home.
The four returned to Evanston for further planning and sleep.
The next day they purchased a bunch of equipment from the hardware store: sledgehammers, rope, a hatchet, flashlights, duct tape, flares, a crowbar, a cordless drill, and more. That night, around 1 am, they returned to the house, entering via the back. They’d been worried about the floodlights with motion sensors that were around the house, but someone had come before them and broken the lights out. So the group used the crowbar to break into the back. They made their way through the house, experiencing a haunting phenomenon or two, before Ethan was struck by a flying piece of art when he moved a sofa. As they moved up the stairs to the next floor they were assaulted by a man of plaster who tapped the walls and floors with its fingers to find its way. They managed to take it apart between the three of them, only to have another attack them from the direction they came. They overcame this one, and found themselves face to face with the man from the Burgess agency sign. He told them to leave, and they grandstanded a bit, saying they would defeat him. He pointed out that Ellsworth was manipulating them, that Ellsworth had murdered him, but they were set in their course. He threatened Don’s sister, and offered up the remaining parts of the Chicago Working Folio, but they wouldn’t budge, attacking him instead. He immediately went limp.
The quartet went upstairs, fairly worse for wear from their brushes with the plaster creatures. On the third floor, they fought another monster, then came upon an older woman dressed (and with hair styled) exactly like the agent form downstairs. (“Did no one ever tell you that it was rude to rifle through another man’s wardrobe?”) The Agent attempted to make another plea, refusing to abandon the woman when they attacked. They held her down and Tycho slipped past, opening a closet in the bathroom she’d been guarding and finding a spiral stair into the depths.
The stair was narrow, so the group was forced to abandon most of their belongs before the descent. On the way down, they heard tapping on the far sides of the wall and coming up from the depths. The woman they left above began dropping their own equipment on their heads, cracking open Elsa’s skull with their cordless drill. They managed to get off the stair just before the crowbar hit the ground behind them.
In the basement they found more of the pods that created the minions and fought four more in brutal combat that left them nearing death before they managed to dispatch them. They located Burgess’s sarcophagus and began defacing it as more minions began pouring from the walls. A minion grabbed Ethan and pulled him to the ground, choking him, as another grabbed Elsa. Finally, just as all seems lost, the minions crumble to dust, and the tapping throughout the house ends.
Ethan gets up, and the group opens the sarcophagus. They find a corpse, like you do. Tycho uses a flare to burn it, and then checks his watch to see if its still running. It’s not. It’s broken. The group makes its way out and into the night in search of medical attention.
As they round the corner, a tall figure in jeans and a hoodie peels off of the shadows, a crowbar in hand. It looks to a nearby man in a trilby, who tips his hat. The figure nods in return, and the two walk away in opposite directions.
A few days later, after the agents have woken and gone to the police with their experiences of lost time, Burgess Real Estate collapses. Apparently there’s no one to prosecute, no one to sue. Then, one day, the sign on the Burgess sign on the church in Bucktown is replaced with a new sign from a different developer:
Walsh Industries.



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