From the Journal of Dr Rynhold Beck: 17th September 18ζΞ

17th September 18ζΞ

Will this hellish week never end? I seem trapped between the monster and its vile murders on one side and the Tong’s endless violence on the other. I shall come to the Tong later, but for now the issue of the devil that is beheading people all across town looms large in my worries.

After the Town Hall Meeting I think people are finally waking up to the danger that confronts them. Who can blame them for not seeing it until the bodies began to pile up? Not I. I who was so convinced the dreams were mere mass hysteria caused by some unknown poison in the town’s water system. If only we – I – had listened to the sensitives in town, those folk who feel the subtle vibrations of things unseen and unheard. Maybe if we have all stopped and listened to their panicked cries and warnings we could have saved the lives of the poor wretches this monster so callously took. Mayor Lunar has ordered the setting up of a morgue next to my surgery so many are the dead. The last of the victims we have found, the poor girl everyone took for a nun, has moved me greatly. Out there in the town is a father grieving for a lost child, just as Xan & Xao grieved for their own and I for mine.

Xao… Oh god what do I do about Xao? She has lost everything and now, with the explosion that brought the Dragon Lady’s rail car crashing into the lagoon, she has lost her husband as well. How can there be a god looking down on all this loss and suffering? How can people like Xan & Xao find comfort in such the dream of such a god? I’ve given Xan’s sister, Meili, some extra sleeping draughts in the hope Xao will remain calm enough for her heart and mind to heal enough to be told about Xan.

Speaking of Meili I am sure she helped me back home from the den last night. I hadn’t realised it but she is one of the pipe girls, one of the Dragon Lady’s retinue who saw the explosion I hear. I was lost last night. I could not find the usual relief from my memories and instead my mind tormented me with things I’d rather forget. I breathed in deeply, too deeply, in an attempt to black out the whiteness and I remember nothing more until I awoke this morning to the scent of roses and fresh tea. I could have been in no fit state to get home myself and can only assume I had help. That, the scent and the fact my clothes had been removed and folded means I can only assume a kindly feminine hand was at work. That poor girl is all the family Xao has left now – and god help her, Xao is all she has left; less a family more a life sentence of domestic care. Maybe I can write and implore the Dragon Lady to release her into my employment? But then, what can I offer her? What little I earn flows out of the door in rent and supplies. If it weren’t for the kindness of some of the town’s folk I don’t know how I’d survive here at all. I have nothing – and that is what I have to offer Meili & the Dragon?

Talking of my survival here, and my anonymous benefactors, a very curious thing has happened. On my small table, by the new microscope I found outside my door a few weeks back, someone has left me a gift. A gift I am at a loss to explain. The kind soul who donated the microscope (and I know it to be the same person due the same calling card and wrapping paper) has left me a small, wooden box containing six precious or semi-precious stones. I have no idea how they got in without damaging my locked door or, more importantly, why they would leave me such things. What am I supposed to do with them? Pawn them? Sell them? What if it’s a mistake? What if they were meant for someone else and they ended up here? Should I tell the sheriff? Maybe I’ll run them by Miss Blackheart and seek a valuation first. God, can you imagine what the Tong scum would do if they knew I had something of worth here?

Ahhh the Tong. Why is it none of my entries can go without the Tong creeping in? They are a cancer at the heart of the slums and if the explosion was indeed an assassination attempt by them then the cancer is seeking to spread its malign influence out of the slums and into the rest of Shanghai. I wonder what the Dragon Lady’s next move will be, that is assuming the warehouse fire last night wasn’t it, of course. I must speak to my patients tomorrow, they know the street gossip and trust me enough to give me snippets and warnings, despite the risks they run. I need to know if the Tong and the Dragon Lady are about to go to war – if they do so whilst this Steal Head monster is prowling I fear the sheriff’s resources will be diverted and the creature will be free to kill again and again – and it must not be allowed to!

****{}****

To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.
5) The gift of the stones is detailed here.
6) The Tong warehouse fire is detailed here.
7) A sensitive struggles with visions here.

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