The War of Summer's Ending

Chapter 5: Stay Out of the Basement

A Macabre Scavenger-Hunt

Place: Dolphin Mall
Time: The following afternoon

Unexpected, conflicting obligations prevent most of the motley from attending the rendezvous, so Caden and Jack show up on their own in the courtyard of Dolphin Mall in western Miami. They lounge around the food court for a while, waiting for Jay to get out of his classes and come to meet them. Hours pass, and still no word from Jay. Caden’s not getting any calls, and calls to Jay go straight to voicemail.

After a while, the two of them notice a small knot of people gathered around the window of an electronics shop, watching something on the news. Caden and Jack walk over to investigate, and see that the Slender Man has struck again: a young man has been found dead in his basement apartment in Hialeah. When his picture flashes on the screen, both changelings recognize him instantly as Jay, from his appearances in the Marble Hornets videos. Copying down the address from the news report, they catch a bus to Hialeah.

A few hours later they arrive at Jay’s house, and find it swarming with police officers and cordoned off with yellow tape. Jack makes use of his first Contract of Vainglory to convince the officers that he is a police investigator, and he and Caden slip through without incident.

They walk down into Jay’s basement apartment, and find a dank, unfinished, mildew-infested hole, where no person in their right mind would live, if they had a choice, and any intention of remaining in the area for long. (Furthermore, basements are not a good idea in a city where the water-table is mere inches below the ground. There’s a reason the rent here was so cheap.) The signs of a struggle are evident, though the body has been removed. By this time, the sun has started to go down, and none of the lights work (the power lines have been cut), so Jack uses his Goblin Illumination to light their way.

Caden and Jack search the basement, and recover several pages of a journal which jay had been keeping for some time. The pages are hidden away in all kinds of crevices and disguised locations, and each one reveals a different observation on the Slender Man, his habits, and his abilities.

From the information in the shredded journal, they realize that the Slender Man is not a True Fae at all, but a changeling, and a member of the Autumn Court as well! As they prepare to leave the basement, a dark figure steps out of the shadows, bows to them, and says “It would appear zat we are on ze same side, n’est pas?”