Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Kidnapping Pt 2 - A Ransom Note

This is the second part of our Trail of Cthulhu adventure 'The Kidnapping'. <Part 1>

It's easy to be misled by a grieving parent. In kidnapping cases though, the trail often leads you right back to where you started.

Careful First Steps

Jacob Cornelisz met them at the door, inviting them to join Col. Ellis and himself in the drawing room for coffee. He was a cool enough character, but a missing toddler is enough to shake any man and Dr. Mallister noted that he was showing signs of significant stress under that cold exterior. His wife though, a Harriet Cornelisz, stayed offside. Probably for the best, this could get messy.

The Corneliszes
Early details suggested that person or persons unknown had snatched the Cornelisz boy (Adam) sometime in the night. The housemaid, a Polish woman called Olga Lesek, had gone to check on him in the early hours, only to find his bed empty and the window to his ground-floor nursery open. A short-time later the family alerted Col. Ellis who contacted the bureau, counter to Jacob's wish to keep the authorities away. It was vital to keep this one under wraps and out of the papers.

The physical evidence was sparse. A few foot prints outside and no clear signs of a break-in. So as McPhearson checked the gardens, Dr. Mallister and Agent Gibbs questioned the maid to try and understand why the window apparently hadn't been locked.

Olga (left) with her sister
Olga's English was poor, but it was clear from her inconsistent responses that she was hiding something. Finally she broke down admitting that she had helped 'Thomas' and another red-headed man to take the child. The Corneliszes were 'devil-worshippers'. The child was in great danger. She had to do it.'

What she had done was beginning to dawn on her, so she handed over a diary 'from the last housemaid, Maria'. The diary was mostly in Polish and would need to be translated, so the doctor gave Olga a sedative in the hope that some sleep would help.

Agent Gibbs decided not to arrest Olga, at least not for now. There was more to find here and they didn't want to tip his hand too early in the investigation.

Strange spiralled carvings
Meanwhile in the gardens, McPhearson had uncovered some strangely carved flat stones. These stones were dotted around the house and seemed to bare a passing relation to the carvings described in a book found in the infant's room. It's folklore referred to stones marked with spirals being placed at the borderland between the mortal world and the underworld.

McPhearson collected some physical evidence for Agent Gibbs to have tested.

The Ransom Note
The Ransom Note

A short time later a note was delivered to Jacob demanding $50,000 for the safe return of his boy. The money was to be dropped off at the 45th St. train station under the Lucky Strike poster at 5pm that afternoon. McPhearson followed the man who delivered the note, but found him to be a farmer heading into town to sell his produce. He described the two men who had given him the note to deliver...


“I…I.. just delivered a note mister.” “Nothing more ain’t that right Will?” The other man nods. “Yeah, just like he says.”

He goes on to describe a young, stocky gentleman with slicked back black hair and a flat nose. Probably Italian. “He paid me a quarter to deliver it to the big house.” "The other fella had red hair but we didn't speak with him."

Jerry Grant
McPhearson left the two farmers and headed back to the house. He now had a description of the men they were looking for and knew that it was just a matter of time before he tracked them down.

Mr Jerry Grant

Later that morning, having concluded their search of the house and gardens, the investigators were introduced to Jerry Grant, a contact called in by Jacob Cornelisz to handle the money drop. Grant came across as an unpleasant, oily sycophant and they noted that Olga was especially nervous around him.

McPhearson was certain that Grant would have some sort of criminal background and intended to follow-up his hunch by running his name by Sgt Fairfax, a friend of his from the NYPD. For now though, Grant was running the show and would deliver the ransom as requested in the note. The investigators would just be there to observe and provide back-up if needed.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, this was exciting. Do you plan to finish it?

    I'll be running this adventure with my group soon.