Subsection: Sunday 22 September 2019 Up Section: 1.03 The Monster Maker Subsection: Tuesday 24 September 2019 

Monday 23 September 2019

The next day, the team (minus Natasha, at work) takes Jesus’ car to see María. Jesus and Jade go in to see her; she answers the door with a small child on her shoulder, looking tired. “You’re more of Jimmy’s friends, right?” Jesus explained that he and Jimmy had a sweet deal going… and she seems even more tired, wondering where his flash new friends are when he needs them. Rent’s not going to pay itself. She doesn’t know much – a combination of tradition and not wanting to be forced to testify. She can name a couple of bars where Jimmy was a regular, but this isn’t anything new. The only one of Jimmy’s friends she saw was a big white guy, tall and wide, looked as if he knew how to handle himself. He dropped Jimmy off in his car a few times… a nice custom job, exhaust stacks up to here. She can give a pretty good description of the car. The last couple of weeks they were getting together every night or two for “planning”. Jade manages to slip María some cash to help with the rent.
At the DMV, Jade tries to trace the car, with a strong implication of how the owner Done Her Wrong. It was sold about a month ago, to a William Dittmar, resident in the area; before that it was registered somewhere in the Midwest.
There’s no sign of Dittmar or of the Cadillac at his house, which is somewhat upmarket compared with Lopez’ place. Getting in presents only a technical problem; the place is extremely neat, and Dittmar clearly collects guns in a big way, the collection includes some serious historical pieces, and is probably worth tens of thousands if sold piecemeal. But all the fixings for the display room are of the same vintage, and fairly recent. There’s also hand-loading kit… but no sign of a ritual space.
A random neighbour comments: “Oh yes, the Sergeant, he’s a nice guy. Been here for years.” As for the car: “Didn’t think it was his style, but he said he’d always wanted one.” He works over in Allendale, at the Coca-Cola plant.
Jesus checks the kitchen. There’s more in the way of herbs than usual, and they’re the same as the ones that were stolen. The fridge is mostly full of health drinks, with some domestic beer.
Over at the Coca-Cola Warehouse the gate guards are suspicious but Jade persuades them to give Dittmar a call. Juan overhears the call as the guard relays the information; Dittmar says he’ll come out to see them. He jogs across the parking lot, a tall and heavily-muscled man, sweating rather less that one might expect. He already knows about Jimmy, and explains that he was trying to do a favour, taking him to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Apparently they met when Jimmy tried to carjack him. He hoped Jimmy would be able to make something of himself with a bit of help, but he guesses he was wrong.
Juan reckons he must put a lot of time into staying fit. And that he’s moving like the Jeep driver from yesterday; maybe they know the same style of martial art. Jade asks flirtatiously – it’s a bit of Ranger hand to hand, some other stuff on top of that. He gets together with some fellow vets, but he won’t talk about where that happens; it sounds like a very closed group.
Juan gives him the information about just where Jimmy is in the hospital, and Jade reads Dittmar’s body language – getting the impression that he genuinely cares about Jimmy. He leaves with Jesus’ card and Jade’s number.
After Dittmar has left, the team considers further. There are two paintball places near Jacksonville, both of them basically outdoor facilities. Jesus leaves a hidden camera monitoring Dittmar’s front door, just in case; and there’s nothing in the way of paper records that might point to the “gym” or meeting place.
Both Whil’s Paintball and Paintball Adventures are welcoming to new potential customers. There certainly are people there who know how to handle themselves in hand-to-hand, but not in that distinctive style.
(22 April 2020)
Natasha joins the group, and they try to work out what might be going on. Clearly Dittmar’s come into money recently. Perhaps he’s a witch; perhaps there’s another witch involved who uses Dittmar as a front in some way.
Jesus gets back to his workshop and puts together a basic tracking bug out of the guts of a couple of cellphones, which Juan plants on a third visit to Dittmar’s house. At the same time, Natasha scans for magic in the house: there’s nothing to be found.
The evening news mentions a mother in Allendale who shot a burglar who broke into her house because “dinosaurs were chasing him”. The team goes over to see what’s to be seen; the police have left, and the window is being boarded up. There’s nothing obvious in that yard, but down the street are claw and tooth marks, and one excellent footprint. There’s also a distinctive scent.
Jade shifts, and she and Juan follow them to a small patch of woodland. Three reptilian forms jump down at Juan, though he’s able to shoot one of them before it lands. The other two hear the noises and move in. Jade leaps in and pins the second; Juan’s second shots go wild, but Jesus hits the last standing creature and it goes down. Jade tears the head off the last one. They take some souvenirs and prepare to retreat. Natasha scans for magic, and sees signs of the Path of Mind; with a bit more probing, she thinks they were hauled out of somebody’s dream.
Leaving the immediate area, and the police, Juan and Jade trace the creatures back to what might well be their origin point – half-way down a piece of open ground that leads to a river. Natasha thinks it might be a slightly weaker spot for summoning than most others nearby – but there aren’t any human tracks visible.
Jesus gets hold of some of the velociraptor scenes from the Jurassic Park films onto his phone, and Natasha tries to sense places where people have thought about them a lot. Yes indeed: the site is right here at the end of the road, on the road rather than in a house. There aren’t any footprints, but there is a tyre track, made by someone leaving in a bit of a hurry.
Natasha sets up a retrocognition… and it’s the jeep, just after sunset, with the same driver. No paintball gun this time, but she’s using magical tools while sitting in the driver’s seat. Her expression is fairly neutral: what happens is pretty much what she was expecting to happen.
The group leaves the neighbourhood and goes to a restaurant to decide what to do next. Plotting the two incidents on a map just shows that they’re both on the west side of town.
(6 May 2020)
There’s no organisation of witches per se, and teaching tends to be direct master to student; and Natasha can’t see an obvious way of binding a witch’s power.
Jesus tracks down the car registration, but it’s attached to an obvious holding company at an office-front address.
Natasha tries to scry for the numberplate, but doesn’t get a hit – it’s out of range, or warded, or maybe something else.
 Subsection: Sunday 22 September 2019 Up Section: 1.03 The Monster Maker Subsection: Tuesday 24 September 2019