Episode 4: Walker
A series of grave robberies has everyone concerned. Diligence speculates that all the graves were of relatives to the old Whately clan; a trip to the Whately residence seems in order. Billy sneaks out and goes there by himself; he runs into a dozen lean, furry rat-humans who chase him out, and he gets bitten in the process. He runs out and brings back help.
While Billy sneaks up to the house, Juliet runs around to the other side and confronts half a dozen ratmen sneaking away. She attacks, and scatters them all, but a big black wolf-shape leaps off the roof and chases the rat guys as well. She pursues and meets Walker, a werewolf who’s chasing a tribe of were-rats. Werewolves don’t like wererats much – almost as much as they hate vampires.
Diligence goes into the Whately house and discovers a bunch of reanimated zombies in the basement. Once he knows the trigger word – “Whateley”, he can make them do whatever he says. Seems they were reanimated from a pile of essential salts, made out of corpses. The house contains dozens more bottles of the stuff, enough to raise an army of the undead. Diligence visibly considers becoming an evil mastermind.
It is well that he does not succumb to temptation, however, as evil masterminds tend to come to a messy end here in Arkham. Witness, for example, the endlessly elongating horror which comes oozing up out of the Whateley house’s old well in the basement, threatening Dr. Armitage and Juliet. The others have all gone off to track down the rat-men, using Walker’s superhuman sense of smell, and have found an old VW van which he swears is theirs. He’s right, too – six of them show up and try to take our heroes hostage. Diligence hides, Alexandra hides too, and Walker takes them on solo while they run off to find their buddies.
Juliet and Billy fight the Hunting Horror, but it’s just too strong, and they don’t think they can stop it before Dr. Armitage can send it back to where it came from. So Juliet hefts a full propane cylinder into the center of the coiling mass, and Dr. Armitage uses a fire spell to ignite it. The flames can be seen as far away as Kingsport, and Juliet, Billy and Dr. Armitage come to hours later, being bundled into ambulances by concerned firefighters. There is absolutely nothing left of the Hunting Horror, and precious little of the old Whateley house.
Now it’s time to track the escaped ratmen; Dr. Armitage suggests that the Hunting Horror must have been sent by a wizard, who will undoubtedly try again. The gang heads up toward the abandoned brick factory in Barryville, and runs into Walker, sitting at a bus stop with tire marks on his shirt and back and a serious case of five o’clock shadow. Werewolves heal very fast, he says, but it takes a lot out of them. He’s barely able to totter forward, but gamely goes along.
Barryville is an abandoned town, barely discernible as grassy mounds among the gullies. One of the gullies, formerly a water-powered mill race, is where the wizard William Whateley has set up shop, with the aid of the ratlike Boucher clan. Yes, they are indeed Billy’s disreputable relatives, who have always been were-rats but didn’t tell him before he ran off. Whateley has three of the kids hostage in one of the buildings; he plans to wait until dark, when Aldebaran rises, and summon Hastur the Unspeakable to the Earth!
Billy and Juliet beat him up and threaten his life; he admits where he’s holding the kids, and Walker gets them out, although they bite him a lot. Walker then falls into a dimensional limbo, from which Dr. Armitage rescues him using a voodoo ritual to enchant a rope so it will follow him into the spirit world. However, Dr. Armitage isn’t very adept at drawing blood, and faints. Fortunately Walker can return the favor by bandaging his wound when he returns from the Outer Dark.
Whateley makes a break for it as Aldebaran dawns and Juliet cuts off his head with a sword selected for her by Marshal and Dr. Armitage. The severed head floats, then falls upward into the sky, drawn into the blazing yellow eye of Hastur, which closes with an explosive flash. The rest of Whateley’s body crumbles into blackish-green essential salts.
On the way back to town, Walker exults that this place is way more exciting than New York – vampires and demons around every corner! He figures he’ll settle in to stay, maybe call some of the pack to help out. The others greet this news with trepidation, but what Dr. Armitage says makes the prospect of half a dozen werewolves partying the town down look positively quaint. Whateley crumbled into essential salts, which means he was resurrected with the spell found in the Whateley house. Who, then, brought him back from the grave?