This week’s episode of Hunter, started right where the last one ended.
Our erstwhile psychopaths awoke from a dream of monsters and doom, to a bright sunny day. It took a short time for the characters to learn that they all shared the same nightmare (though Scott, their host did not). It took a bit longer for them to realize that Ethan had gone missing. A quick search turned up Ethan’s unmolested cell phone and footsteps leading through the log arch.
At this point, our Hunters decide to move on with their investigations. They do some research and check in with Grad Student Plonk (the botanist) who shows Michael Rook that the vine has grown and when given weed killer and blood has created a strange red fruit.
Our heroes do some research and take a weed whacker to the vines. Anton, the hit man, attempts to hold up the old people in the house behind while impersonating a pizza man. He robs an old woman of five dollars and then flees. Michael Rook gets a call from Alden’s phone and only hears creepy children’s laughter.
Night falls and just as Scott gets a call form his wife and kids that they’re heading home, a shape appears in the woods. The figure (the same form before) exhibits superhuman strength and preternatural fear abilities before fleeing. The players chase the monster into the copse of trees… and suddenly find themselves in an endless dark forest.
In the dark, the monster reveals itself as a hulking monstrosity with curling horns:
A fight breaks out and DH shoots the monster in the chest with his shotgun, taking it down. Anton shoots Scott in the kneecap out of suspicion. The monster, which can speak, then proceeds to tell the players what’s going on. It tells them that it is Scotty Drummond, the son of Scott and Nancy Drummond, and that it’s been gone for “lifetimes”. It thinks they are working for “him”. It is afraid of the thing that took him away, to its horrible world and turned him into a monster, and it also says that the monster is the Scotty the players have met.
The players, led by Scotty, head back towards the world, but not before having a run in with talking birds which promise that they can find Michael’s son Samuel. The birds lead the party to a clearing with two people chained to a rock in the middle, their bodies bloody and covered with bruises. Michael frees them (with an act of simple will) and the group gets introduced to the inestimable Messrs. Byrne and Downs…
Mr. Byrne resembles nothing so much as a scarecrow, granted, one that would do a passably fine job of frightening away crows, children, and the occasional hardened and grizzled mercenary. His long limbs and cruel, sharp features are exquisitely carved, and his short hair is streaked with grey. He always stands with perfect posture and his nails are impeccably groomed, even after his long incarceration. His smile is disheartening, stretching a little farther than it ought, and revealing far more teeth than should conceivably fit.
Mr. Downs on the other hand, is round and bald as a pebble. His deep set dark eyes are lightless and unblinking, like the eyes of a shark. He let’s his associate do most of the speaking; he is far more a man of action. You very much do not wish to see the actions that he does. He wears a suit which matches Mr. Byrne’s in every way, save for what he keeps in his pockets. You very much do not wish to see what he keeps in his pockets.
The players find their way out, losing the Messrs on the way. Scotty leads them out of the Hedge, where they find the house on fire.
DH saves Nancy who has been tied up inside the burning house, suffering third degree burns. She tells them that Scotty took their infant daughter. The players then hear a child crying and give chase. Little Scotty has his father’s big shotgun and his daughter and fires it wildly. Everyone gives chase and they manage to retrieve the girl and kill, execution style, the Scotty-doppleganger. The doppelganger collapses into a pile of leaves and ethereal giggling… and then the Master appears.
It tears it’s way free of the earth, sending the party staggering. On a thick trunk of vines rests a skull-like face as big as a VW beetle. It rises ten feet into the air, thick massive limbs swinging towards the players, huge terrible claws gripped on their end. Anton shoots one of the hands and it explodes, and Zusa takes out the other. Michael runs and gets the chainsaw, which DH then uses to cut through the trunk of the beast in a pillar of blue flame. The creature collapses to the ground, unmoving and DH sets it on fire.
Scotty tells them that the monster was a body for the Master, a corporeal form through which it reached into the world. The Hunters start to calm down when the creature makes one final monstrous lunge, a hand of thorns and flames reaching for DH.
And the monster explodes, immediately.
In the center of the crater stand Byrne and Downs, who declare their debt repaid. They walk to the police car with the two police from before and everyone waves goodbye as the four drive away…. And the “not fake” authorities begin arriving. The players flee.
And that’s it.
The Drummond family is left in shambles, their “child” dead, their house burned down, their patriarch hobbled, their neighbors harassed, and their son aged to his late teens in the blink of an eye.
The Hunters are each contacted by the authorities, but there is no big inquiry, nor murder investigation. Simple questions about what they were doing there….
And then, the last possible thing, Michael Rook gets a phone call from Alden’s phone. This time, the call isn’t laughter… it’s whispering… “Help… me. Please… come help me….”