First try, there was no answer. The phone rang four times before eventually going to voicemail. Hanging up, Special Agent David Silas closed his eyes, breathing deeply through his mouth – his nose was still too clogged to draw proper breath. Setting the phone atop the Range Rover, he took a few moments to wipe the muck and gunk from his features with a clean kerchief he had retrieved from an inside pocket.
It was likely the only ‘clean’ thing he had on him at the moment, and did very little good, but it made him feel better.
Blowing hard, he cleared his nose, and while he could breathe more easily, he was suddenly able to smell himself. He wasn’t sure if that was any better. He shrugged out of his jacket, folding it neatly over and laying it over the hood of the car. The shirt beneath was soaked through, and while his teeth were beginning to chatter from the December air, the pungent smell was lessened.
There was no way he was getting in his car like this – he’d never get the smell out.
He yanked the phone from the roof, violently punching the redial and popping it onto speaker phone so he could continue to disrobe as he listened to how his calls were being ignored. The frustration helped stave off the cold. His shoulder holster was shrugged off, and after a moment of consideration, it was dropped in the front passenger seat, his wallet following suit. Leaning in, he tried to minimize how much he dripped onto the floor and seat so he could crank the heater.
Leaving the door open while he disrobed, it would afford some additional warmth – anger couldn’t do it all.
No answer. He hung up, and punched redial again, managing to not throw the phone into the woods. But only just barely.
His shirts were peeled off – both the dress shirt as well as the white tee beneath, each folded in turn and neatly set aside. It was as he was reaching for his belt that he realized something was missing as he stared down at his red sock.
He should’ve known better than to wear his Ferragmos into the field. What had he been thinking? And now the left was lost to the bowels of the swamp. He began to swear a streak that would leave his Navy-father proud.
Which is, of course, when the nun chose to finally answer her line.
“Och, now really, Special Agent Silas,” came the sweet sweet, grandmotherly voice over the line. She sounded, for all the world, like an aging grandmother. Looked it, too, for that matter. With the Irish brogue, he would almost mistake her for his grand-dam.
He choked on the words, his throat squeezing off the words after more than thirty years of learned behavior. “Sister Rhys,” he managed to grit out. “I would like to report that there is no Rusalka in the Bridgewater Triangle.” The swamp had been renown for its supernatural activity for years, but long ago, the claims had been found to be mostly harmless. One would always find activity in any swamp – some were spirits or creatures, yes, other times, it turned out to be human. There hadn’t even been any reports in recent years at Bridgewater.
Until the good Sister had found new evidence which suggested otherwise.
The old woman cackled – outright cackled – in a most ungrandmotherly like fashion. “No?” she managed at last, getting her chortle under control.
“Sister.” Silas couldn’t keep the warning out of his voice has he yanked his shooe off, staring at it forlornly until he hauled back and hurled into the swamp. Perhaps it would find its missing brother. “It is most un-Catholic to lie.”
“Is it?” the sister mused. “Och. I wouldn’t say I lied, son. This ol’ head of mine – I must’ve gotten confused.”
“To confuse a Rusalka with a Pukwudgee?”
He could hear her clapping her hands together, the glee bleeding through her voice. “Ye did do a spot ‘o research before ye went! Such a good lad.”
The growl was bitten back as he yanked his slacks down, gritting his teeth as those, too, were folded neatly over, the socks following suit. “I’ve been at this field office for two years, ma’am. Of course I looked into the local fauna.”
She tsked softly, and he could hear her flipping through pages on the other end. “Don’t s’pose ye brought the little fella anythin’ that would help calm his ire, did ya?”
“I thought I was being sent to investigate a Rusalka.”
“Och. I imagine ya took a bit of a dip then, hm?” He yanked the backdoor open, jerking the gym bag out of the floorboard. “Ya know, it would’ve been worse if it was a Rus-“
“I was prepared for a Rusalka,” he grit out, yanking the sweatpants free and pulling them on, the t-shirt followed suit in quick succession. “Sister,” he forced his voice to be calm, even. “Why did you send me out here after an imaginary Class 3 entity?” The Slavic water spirits had a nasty tendency of drowning the unwary – not something they could simply let slide.
Whereas the Pukwudgee tended more towards mischief or, in his case, a roll and near drowning in the mire. The thing let him up just before he was done in, and while uncomfortable, he wasn’t dead.
The difference between Class 2 and Class 3.
“I think yer thinkin’ about these creatures – these ‘entities’ – the wrong way, Special Agent,” the nun chastised gently. “How long have ye been with the Order?” More flipping of pages.
He dumped the remains of his bag into the backseat, giving it one more shake for good measure before moving to bundle his clothes neatly into the now empty container. “I was recruited at Westpoint, ma’am.”
“Not all of ’em are evil, son.”
It was something they had preached, the whole point of the different classifications. While not all were overtly evil, they were all dangerous to varying degrees. “Yes, ma’am,” he intoned.
“Then maybe ya gotta start spendin’ more times with the rest of ’em t’really understand this. Ye’ve been huntin’ the baddies fer too long now. Time t’get t’know the gooduns.”
“I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say any were ‘good’, ma’am.”
“Ah,” she breathed. “But some truly are, son.”
He sighed, dropping the wet clothes into the floorboard and slamming the door shut. “Yes, ma’am,” he managed again. “And me getting into a rumble with one of these ‘good’ ones – what was that supposed to accomplish?” The aggravation was peeking through again.
“A lesson in manners,” she answered easily enough.
He fell silent, his mind churning. Surely she wouldn’t be holding a grudge from…
“Ma’am,” he said carefully. “Are you still upset about All Hollow’s?”
“Ye mean the day ye burst int’the school, guns all a’blazin’ when there was nothin’ at’al the matter, then proceeded in lecturin’ me ’bout bein’ in a haunted place on the Day of the Dead in front of two new potentials? Whyever would I still be upset ’bout that, boy-o?”
He somehow felt that she was upset…
Silas cleared his throat, searching for the words as he kept his temper carefully in check. “I don’t know, ma’am. I’m part of your protection detail, and-”
He still wasn’t sure what was she had been thinking. Even now, spirits crawled the halls, but she still refused to fully cleanse the school. “Ripe training grounds” is what she called it. On the day in question, he had found her holed up in the nurse’s office with two students, spirits crowding the wards of the room, but none passing over the threshold. The three of them had been safe, but for how much longer?
“I understand,” the merriment had evaporated from her tone, leaving it sharp. The Catholic school boy flinched, back straightening, despite it being nearly twenty years since he was in a classroom. There was that special tone of voice that, he swore, only nuns had managed to perfect over the years. It drove fear into the heart of every school child. “But a reminder to ye, m’boy – I’m perfectly capable of handlin’ m’self. And I think it’s time ye learned yer lesson.”
“That… that you can handle yourself, ma’am?”
“Nay, lad. That not all the things that go bump in the night are evil.” She sighed softly, as if he hadn’t been listening at all. Somehow, he felt that he had missed part of the conversation. “Now mind yer manners – ye still need t’make amends with yer new friend. I’ll send Special Agent Samson off after ye in the mornin’.” She signed off the line without another word.
More than a month… Good God, that woman held a grudge.
He stared at the phone, his emotions going between guilt, rage, and confusion, each vying for dominance. Rage won at last, and he shouted into the night, “It was for your own damn good!” He slammed the passenger door shut. “How am I supposed to protect you in a haunted school?” He snatched the phone up off the roof, bellowing at it, “On the Day of the Dead!” That felt minutely better. He expelled a frustrated breath, stomping his way around the car towards the driver’s side, and tried to yank the door open.
It was locked.
Something rustled in the underbrush, a low, distant laughter bouncing off the trees, growing dimmer by the moment.
At least it left his shoe on the hood before it took off.
Date: December 13-14
Location: Bridgewater Triangle, MA
Agent: D. Silas
Anonymous source reported potential Class 3 activity located on the edge of the swamp. Dispatched out to deter ascertain nature of entity and confirm. Arrived on site at 19:21 hours.
Explored the edges for roughly 2.5 hours before entity made contact.
It tried to drown me but failed. Barely. We should burn the entire swamp down, douse it in gas and just be rid of the entire damn thing and all the creepy crawlies living within.
$600 Ferragmo shoes, Black
$800 Brooks Bros suit, Gray
$70 Shirt, White
$50 Calvin Klein Tie, Red
My Pride – Priceless
The entity locked me out of my car while I was distracted, and I was forced to chase the damn thing through the swamp for an indeterminate amount of time.
There are also roughly five (5) dryads (class 2) living in and around the swamp (NOTE: It is possible there is only one (1) Dryad who just kept appearing before me). Do NOT take directions from dryads.
Came across a single Will-O-Wisp, but it was too busy chasing frogs. Note: There is some concern that frogs were still active this far in the winter. Worth investigating. Need to keep an eye on this entity due to their reputation, but this was deep in the swamp. Would recommend regular drone surveillance.
Finally had the blasted thing cornered. Confirmed to be a Pukwudgee – he prefers to go by ‘Harold.’ Was invited into his stump for drinks and cards, and we drank and played until dawn. Turns out the Dryad(s) were ex(es) – even he was uncertain if it was 1 or 5. This was not reassuring. In the process, I’m fairly certain I gambled away something I’m going to miss, but with the hangover, I’m still
Reports: Greatly Exaggerated
Bridgewater Triangle may have a few entities lingering about, but I came across no threats.
Recommendations: No additional investigation needed at this time