Ihp's Talebox

Black Autumn 3

The Amityville Triumph

Amityville, Missouri
October 30th

Director Jacobs bit down into an apple as he surveyed the city below him. From the window of his office, he could see all of Amityville, from Strawberry Street School at the southernmost end to Ingram Park right next to the site. The leaves were brown, and despite it being late October, there was snow on the ground.

The snow was a perfectly normal weather phenomenon— several places in the nearby counties had been hit with snowfall. Still, it was deviant enough that he could blame it on the town and its inhabitants.

He'd been looking for an excuse to get rid of Jack Summers. The man was a history teacher, and had been deviating from the Foundation-approved curriculum at Amityville High School. It was one thing to teach students about World War II, it was another to spent six weeks on the Warsaw Uprising and go into detail about the guerrilla warfare that took place. Guerrilla warfare whose tactics were being used against Foundation staff. It was simple enough for right now, just kids throwing homemade stinkbombs in Foundation cars, but it would escalate.

He looked at the clock on his desk. Two minutes to midnight. He thanked god that he wasn't in Sloth's Pit. They were probably dealing with some kind of town-ending crisis, while the worst he had to do was cancel Trick-or-Treating for the seventh year in a row.

He took another bite of the apple and grimaced, spitting it out. He had just bitten into a maggot the size of his thumb.


Down in the town square, Agent Palmer wanted to say it was a quiet night. But he knew better— Amityville had a way of twisting irony against people, and it had gotten hostile in recent months. A friend of his had commented on what a beautiful day it was, seconds before he was struck by lightning. His girlfriend said that the town was perfectly safe, before apartment had collapsed in on itself— she wasn't in it, thank god. And Palmer himself had almost gotten a firework to the face back on the 4th after thinking that it would have been nice to let the townsfolk actually do something fun for once.

The clock tower above the disused courthouse read 11:59. He knew that when it struck midnight, it would sound midnight, despite the fact that they had taken out every part of it that could cause sound two years ago, when they closed the courthouse. People expected the bell to ring, so ring it did.

Sure enough, when the hand hit midnight, the non-existent bells started ringing.

BONG

It took Palmer a second to realize that he could hear something coming from Benedict avenue, right behind him.

BONG

He turned to face it. There was a citizen there. Out after curfew. He was a big guy, maybe six feet, and he was just standing there. Probably trying to look intimidating.

BONG

Palmer raised his firearm. "State your business!" he yelled.

BONG

The figure just stood there, placid. Palmer wasn't even sure it was breathing.

"State your business or return to your home!" Palmer raised his gun.

BONG

The figure swayed. Palmer realized two things at the same time: firstly, that it was coming closer. Secondly, that it had a long, sharp knife in its hand.

BONG

Palmer fired. The crack of the rifle broke through the night, and drowned out the next

BONG

The figure fell over, its head taken off by the round. A gust of wind blew the figure towards Palmer, and it was now that he could see that it was entirely flat. It landed about six feet away from him.

BONG

He crossed over to it. He groaned and rubbed his face. It was a goddamn standee of Jason Vorhees advertising Friday the 13th Part 3. Whoever had set it up had probably taken it from the back room of the old movie theater, as a dumbass prank.

BONG

Palmer's radio crackled to life. «What was that? Do you have contact?» It was Agent Rhodes, his girlfriend.

"Negative," Palmer sighed. "Just dumbass kids pulling a prank. Spooked me. I'll fill out a report for spent ammo tomorrow."

BONG

The sound of the bell drowned out Rhodes's response, and concealed the footsteps coming up behind him.

BONG

Palmer didn't hear the knife being removed from its sheathe.

BONG

He didn't hear the bleating laugh as the goat-headed thing raised its blade.

BONG

He didn't realize something was wrong until the fourteenth

BONG

when he turned. He didn't have time to scream.

The BONG of the clock continued for the next hour.


Director Jacobs had fallen asleep at his desk. His mouth still tasted of maggot, and the apple he was eating had long since rotted. He grimaced, and opened his desk, thankful for the spare toothbrush he kept in there.

He had been intending to tint the windows of his office and use them as a makeshift mirror, but when he rose to find the tinting switch, he saw that there was a large, red '5' on the window.

"What the fuck?" Jacobs rubbed his eyes, and made his way towards the window. He saw a large crowd of people gathered outside, and for a moment, thought that the citizens of this shithole town were assembling again. It was then he realized he recognized his secretary out front.

"What the fuck, what the fuck?" The director rubbed his eyes and made his way out of his office, towards the elevator. The buttons were sticky as he pressed the one for the ground floor— probably one of the fatasses from gastronomy experimenting with caramel again.

Jacobs made his way out of the front of the site, and turned to face the front of the building. His heart dropped into his balls as he saw what was written on the front— the '5' he had seen was, in fact, a large, red 'S'.

SEVEN SINNERS SEVEN SKIPPERS
SEVEN SOULS WE SHALL CLAIM
ONE IS DONE, SIX REMAIN
JACOBS IS THE LASt WE SHALL MAIM

It took Jacobs several seconds to realize that the "t" in "Last" wasn't written in blood, it wasn't written at all. It was a human body, its face mangled beyond recognition. On it was a Foundation-issued vest, and he could barely make out the name "PALMER" written on it.

Jacobs went behind a bush and threw up.


At the checkpoint at the edge of the Nexus zone, Commander Wentworth was unaware of the events that were taking place within Amityville. His Porsche— commandeered from a citizen of Amityville, naturally— was fueling up at the last bastion of freedom in the town, a BP station that was barely within the zone, and wasn't usually affected by the anomalies within.

Wentworth lit up a Michelson Light as he began fueling. He had just spent a very, very nice week in Florida, and was on his way back to town, where some cold beer and a big flat-screen was waiting for him. It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was calling to him.

What was also calling to him was the gas station attendant, sticking his head from the station meekly. "S-sir!" He yelled. "P-please don't smoke while operating the pump."

Wentworth removed the cigarette from his mouth to talk. "Son, I've been driving since before you were a cell in your daddy's ballsack. I ain't gonna spontaneously combust now."

Wentworth had failed to notice that a drop of gasoline had fallen on his boot, in the exact same location where a single ember from his cigarette was landing at this very moment. He grunted out a "son of a bitch!" as he tried to stomp out the fire with his other shoe. In the process, he had pulled out the gas pump, while squeezing the handle.

"I warned him." The attendant shook his head, and contemplated calling 911. He decided against it, remembering who, exactly, he was dealing with.


«All citizens, exit your places of residence in a peaceful and orderly manner. A mandatory inspection of all residences is taking place. Refreshments will be provided. Thank you for your co-operation.»

The message had been playing on loop for half an hour at this point. The entire population was on the streets, and the security staff was inspecting everyone, young and old, asking them questions and strongly suggesting that they drink the apple cider which had been treated with a truth serum. A few citizens had been pre-selected for purging— Jacobs couldn't help but grin at the thought of Jack Summers fellating the barrel of a rifle, begging for his life.

Jacobs was driving through the town in an armored car, to meet the mayor. The position was barely a figurehead anymore— the Foundation ruled the town, but elections gave the citizens some illusion of control. It helped that both candidates had been Foundation staff for the last eight elections.

In his office, mayor Henry Dalton put down his mug down next to the microphone on his desk just as Jacobs came into town. "Wentworth was outside the Nexus zone."

"As far as we know. If Sloth's Pit can double in size over the course of a month, then who's to say Amityville can't have grown by a few feet in the last few years?"

"This is insane, even for you. I mean, first you kill the internet in the town. Then, you kill the airdrop privileges, then the right to assembly, and then the fucking wiretaps and bugs. The only reason this town hasn't risen against you is because you're drugging the fucking water supply. And now you're lining them up in the street to be shot?"

"And since when do you have a problem with that?" Jacobs asked.

"Since I decided that you are literally insane." He looked at his mug. "…you drugged the cider, didn't you?"

"It masks the taste better than coffee or soda." Jacobs shrugged "Besides, you're the one who put a bullet in not one but two of the Summers siblings. I think it's time we finish the job."

"—inish the job."

Jacobs blinked. "Is… has there always been an echo in here?"

Outside, there was an explosion. A car was overturned. Guns were fired, and agents were routed.

Dalton looked down at his mug. He had left it resting on the microphone's broadcast button.

The former agent didn't even have time to beg for his life before Jacobs produced a pistol shot him in the mouth once, twice, and then another ten times for good measure.


Jacobs ran between shattering glass and bullets. The Foundation had installed dozens of safehouses throughout the city that were meant specifically for situations like this— radiation-proof, below-ground, ten redundant reality anchors, and enough food and water to keep someone supplied for six months.

So, naturally, it didn't surprise Summers to find the nearest bunker in flames when he arrived, the contents looted. The same was true at the next two he visited. The next-best thing was an army surplus store at the tail end of the commercial district, long since gutted by the Foundation. He had a key to it, in the form of a brick through the window.

This part of the city had already been subject to several riots, and another broken window wasn't going to draw the mob's attention, or so Jacobs hoped. He sat out of sight of the building and took out his phone, and called the site. Then, he remembered there was no signal outside of the site, thanks to all the scramblers they had set up around town. A certain song about rain on one's wedding day came to mind.

"Fuck this shithole town!" He yelled.

"In there!"

The window was broken open even further, and in it poured half a dozen citizens, bearing what was clearly Foundation-issue weaponry. They all aimed the guns at him haphazardly, and Jacobs just laughed.

"What's so funny?" One of them hissed through his teeth.

"For one, you have godawful trigger discipline. For another, those are our guns. Try shooting me, I dare you."

There was a click of a trigger, followed by a massive

BANG!

and a crash of glass as the former holder of the gun was rocketed out of the building, through what was left of the window, and impacted on a brick wall across the street. The gun laid where the citizen had once stood, before breaking apart with a puff of smoke.

"Huh." Jacobs stood. "I knew it killed you, but I didn't know how. R&D likes slapstick, I gue—"

Jacobs quickly learned that R&D did not account for knocking out someone with the butt of the rifle.


"Sir? Sir!"

Jacobs awoke to find his tie in his face. It had been pulled over his head in some haphazard attempt at a noose; he could feel his neck bruised. He was bound to a chair in a very, very dark room. "Who's there?" He hissed.

"Agent Smythe. Is that you, Sir?"

"Jacobs will be fine." He grunted. His head was splitting. "Where the hell are we?"

"I don't know. We got overwhelmed by citizens on Elm street. They flipped our transport over. I ran and ended up falling into a fucking pit trap."

"They've been planning this." Jacobs gritted his teeth. "For years. Ungrateful pieces of shit."

In the darkness of the room, an array of red lights appeared.

83bfca5126.png

"Jesus Christ." Jacobs swallowed. "Is that—"

"I think that's a bomb."

Behind Jacobs, light shined through. He looked behind him, and saw that a door had opened. "They're taunting us."

"I-I think I can get to my knife." Smythe was partially visible, bound in a way similar to how Jacobs was, except his hands were behind his back. He dropped the combat knife he had taken out. "Ah, shit!"

"Kick it to me if you can!" Jacobs's hands were bound in front of him. "I'll cut you out once I'm done!"

The timer started counting down.

7d986a4dda.png

Smythe kicked the knife to the director.

[55 seconds]

Jacobs strained to pick it up, clutching the blade in his fingers.

[52 seconds]

His fingers bled.

[49 seconds]

The knife was sharp, and the ropes were weak.

[i45 seconds]

Like light through glass.

[41 seconds]

His legs were even easier.

[39 seconds]

He crossed over to Smythe, and tried hacking at his ropes.

[32 seconds]

They were much harder to cut, some kind of woven plastic.

[25 seconds]

There was a metal core.

[20 seconds]

The bomb started beeping.

[i15 seconds]

The core was being cut through.

[10]

But not fast enough.

[9]

Jacobs ran.

[8]

He was inside of some disused house, one the Foundation had condemned years ago.

[7]

He made his way to the front door, and flew out of it

[6]

A horrendous noise originated behind him, and he ran.


[Segment where Jacobs and Franklin get chased by some Goatman-looking motherfucker, transitions to the final confrontation]


"Summers." Jacobs hissed.

In front of him, Jack Summers adjusted his glasses. It was the first time Jacobs had gotten a good look at him. He expected a wiry schoolteacher, with arms the same diameter as the pencils he used to write detention slips, and a stutter in his voice. Probably balding, like his idiot brothers.

Instead, standing before him was a well-built man, blood soaking a bandanna he had tied around his forehead as a form of makeshift bandage. One hand was on a Beretta look-alike, the other was under a torn jacket, clearly nursing a wound. "You son of a bitch." Summers panted. "I should kill you for what you've done."

Jacobs's eyes went to the gun. He let out a laugh and shook his head. "You'll have to come over here to do that. That's Foundation-issue."

"And?"

"Only a Foundation agent can fire that. They're genetically locked otherwise, with at least twelve redundancies—"

A bullet hit off the wall beside Jacobs's head. The director yelped and cowered, staring as Summers stood to his full height, pulling his hand out of his coat and revealing a badge with the insignia of a fox's head, surrounded by nine tails. "What the fuck?"

"Epsilon-11. Got approached after your grunts shot up my family. Did you know they can download training into your mind, fucking Matrix style? That was a trip!"

"Wha— how—"

"I was authorized to, and I quote, 'use any and all means at your disposal to arrest Director Jacobs'."

"You killed at least half a dozen personnel!" Jacobs protested. "They're never going to take me to trial!"

"You killed Dalton. Saved me a bullet or fifty. Scumbag."

"What about Wentworth?"

"Wentworth was a freak accident. I think the town was just playing along."

"Palmer?"

"In a secure location. We borrowed a stiff from the county morgue and skinned him before crucifying him on the building."

"Smythe—"

"Fake bomb, good sound effects."

"A-and-and Franklin?"

"Come on, seriously?! The Goatman is a Sloth's Pit thing, it was a costume! We needed to capture all of you so you could stand trial for the deaths of… literally dozens of citizens. Including my brothers." Summers pulled back the slide on the pistol and approached Jacobs. "We just decided to have a little fun."

"Y-you don't want to do that!" Jacobs sounded more pathetic than he would have liked. "W-wouldn't you rather have me rot in prison for what I've done?"

"I'd be doing you favor. They're considering making you D-Class." He aimed the pistol right at Jacobs's head.

Summers pulled the trigger.

It clicked on an empty chamber.

Jacobs screamed, and curled up into a ball.

"You tried taking over a town that loves this kind of thing— superstitions, subversion of expectations, that kind of thing." Summers grinned and came right up to Jacobs's ear. "What. Did you. Expect?"


Site-87

"The situation at Site-59 seems to have… resolved itself." Agent Ewell contemplated going down to his locker and raiding his stash of 5-Hour Energy. "Whose idea was it to recruit from the townsfolk to take down Jacobs?"

"You remember how in 2920's file, there's an agent who tried to smuggle in supplies to the citizens?" Weiss nodded. "Her name's Mei Lee, and after her transfer, she raised a stink with anyone who would listen. Epsilon-11 eventually caught wind of it, and the rest is history."

"D-Class is too good for him. Fascist piece of shit."

This statement got Ruby Williams odd looks from the rest of those in the situation room.

"…forgot who I was working for for a second. Sorry."

"Let this be a lesson." Weiss shook her head. "You can only kick the hornet's nest so much before you get stung. Now, tell me… where else is the world on fire?"

An Exciting day in Boring, Oregon

[Critter Profile goes here]