You turn and shove the door with your full weight, but it doesn't budge.\n\n"Free me," the stranger says, "And you go free as well."\n\n* [["How did you do that?"|Demanding Answers]]\n* [[Free the stranger|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [[Shoot the stranger|Oh Shoot]]\n<<if $mastery is true>>\n* [["So your true colors come out."|Versus]]<<endif>>
The omnipresent hardwood of the hallway yields to black and white tile, partially hidden underfoot by a fuzzy red bath mat. An old-fashioned clawfoot tub occupies most of the room, but you also see a mirror-surfaced [[medicine cabinet]] above the sink, a narrow [[closet door]], and <<if $ca4 is false>>an unlit [[votive candle|light ca4]] sitting<<else>>a votive candle shining<<endif>> at the frosted glass window.<<if $ca4 is true>> The room smells like cinnamon.<<endif>>\n\n[[Back to the hallway|Hallway]]
This man is quite clearly dead. Judging by his position, he was working at the desk when he started to get up and then collapsed.\n\n<<if $key is true>>You compare the ID with the corpse. The shape of his face matches, and the scar beneath his left eye, but his skin is thin and parchment-pale, and only a few wisps of hair still cling to his skull.\n\nThe ID shows a birthdate of 1952. Edward West was supposed to be in his late forties, not his late nineties.<<else>>[[Search the corpse]]<<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Study]]
It looks homemade. The simple red and white diamonds are decorated with an inexpert wheat-head stitching pattern.\n\n[[Back|Bedroom]]
When you open the laundry machine, you find an [[instruction manual]] tucked into a plastic sleeve. The machine is otherwise entirely empty.\n\n[[Back|Kitchen]]
"Wait," you say. "What's your name?"\n\n"I ... that's not important." The figure's eyes dart back and forth, suddenly furtive.\n\n"What's the last date you remember before you were kidnapped?"\n\n"I don't remember," the stranger snaps, sounding impatient. "Why are you asking such questions while I am still chained up?"\n\nYou frown.\n\n* [["Ok, let's get you freed."|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [["I'm going to get some backup. Sit tight."|Trapped]]\n* [["I'm going to need you to answer my questions."|Pressing]]\n<<if $mastery is true>>\n* [["I know what you are."|Confrontation]]<<endif>>
In the small closet, you find one set of towels - washcloth, hand towel, bath towel - and one set of sheets.\n\nThe sheets are crisp and white. The towels are threadbare and red.\n\n[[Back|Bathroom]]\n
"No!" There is a strange urgency in the stranger's voice. "No. Please do not leave me here, shackled like a beast."\n\nThe stranger looks up at you with dark eyes and shakes its chains. "Please free me, rescuer."\n\n* [["Right, ok." Free the stranger.|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [["I won't be long, I promise." Go to call for backup.|Trapped]]\n* [["Something isn't right."|Suspicions]]
As soon as you return to your car, the radio buzzes.\n\n[["Fischbach here."]]
<<if $hasmatches is false>><<set $hasmatches to true>>A soaked matchbox lies upturned on the hardwood floor. Most of the matches have been ruined by the rain, but a handful remain undamaged.\n\nYou sort out the undamaged matches and tuck the sparse handful into your pocket.<<else>>The remaining matches have been damaged by the water. They're useless.<<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Dining room]]
<<if $ca1 is true and $ca2 is true and $ca3 is true and $ca4 is true and $ca5 is true and $ca6 is true and $ca7 is true>><<set $allcandles to true>><<endif>>It's obvious which key is which; only the old-fashioned curlicued key is the right size to fit in the large basement lock.\n\nYou try it and it fits! The tumblers are heavy but well-oiled, and the key turns easily. You open the door, revealing a set of dark stone basement steps. Dim light shines from below.\n\nThere's a <<if $allcandles is true>>hot, buzzing<<else>>cold, hollow<<endif>> feeling in the pit of your stomach. You've always trusted your gut, and it's telling you now that <<if $mastery is true>>the heart of this matter<<else>>something terrible<<endif>> is down there.\n\nYou shouldn't go until you're ready. Are you?\n\n* [[Enter the Basement|Basement 1]]\n* [[Look around more first|Hallway]]
The metal door shrieks in protest as you pull it open, straining against your force.\n\nThe stench from the room beyond is what hits you first. Then the sight.\n\nIn the line of duty, you've seen some shit. You've seen abusive relationships, the aftermath of torture, and innocent people killed. You've even been forced to kill a dangerous suspect yourself.\n\nBut nothing you've ever seen prepares you for [[what you see beyond that door|Basement 4]].
The oven is perfectly pristine. It looks like it's never been used.\n\n[[Back|Kitchen]]
You flex your shoulder in preparation to break down the door, when your eye suddenly catches the edge of the latch. The door is already unlatched!\n\nYou push the door the rest of the way open and enter the [[living room|Living room]] with cautious footsteps.\n\nHmm. Was it just your imagination, or did you catch a whiff of...\n\n<font size=+3><strong>Candlesmoke</strong></font>\n//Written by [[Caelyn Sandel|]] and [[Carolyn VanEseltine|]] for Ectocomp 2014//
You are in a small stone room with your Master the God. You have freed your Master and you are proud.\n\n"Your colleagues," He croaks. "Bring them here."\n\n"Yes," you murmur. New converts, to give him power. You want this. "Of course."\n\nWith mechanical motions, you walk back through the hallway and toward your patrol car. A new chapter of your life is about to begin.\n\n<font size=+2>You got the Gaining Religion ending.</font>
Very few of the volumes have titles on their spines, and when you pull out a few books, you discover they are not in English. Titles like "Dyfodiad y Duwiau" and "Pwerau'r Hynaf" make your eyes hurt, and the text is even worse - an incomprehensible sea of y's, f's, and g's.\n\nYou return the books to their places.\n\n[[Back|Library]]
"Are you okay?" You ask, taking a cautious step forward. With its twisted body, it's hard to tell how bad the figure's medical condition is. "Do you need an ambulance?"\n\n"Please free me," it rasps. "The shackles hurt so much."\n\n* [["Yes, of course." Free the stranger.|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [["What happened? Why are you down here?"|Questioning]]\n* [["Stay here. I'm going to call an ambulance."|Getting Help]]
You turn around and try to open the door, only to find that it won't open. You try to unlock it again, but though the lock and handle both move freely, the door seems to be stuck fast. You throw your shoulder against the door hard, but it doesn't budge.\n\nYou're stuck here for now.\n* [[Return to exploring the basement|Basement 1]]
The carpet is almost the same color as fresh-spilled blood, but there is no blood in sight.\n\n[[Back|Study]]
"Let me see if I've got this straight," you say. "People used to think you were kind of a big deal, right? They'd do just about whatever you told them to.\n\n"But West turned the tables. Got you under his thumb. Demanded long life, perfect health. But something went wrong, and now he's dead."\n\nThe figure is silent for a moment, then looks at you with literally blazing eyes.\n\n"Well. You know my secret," it says, its voice impossibly low. <<if $allcandles is true>> "What will you say next, I wonder?"\n\n* [["Begone."|Begone]]\n* [["You Are Mine."|You Are Mine]]\n* [["Nothing." Shoot it.|Oh Shoot]]<<else>> "But you do not have the power over me that West did. My strength is low, but I have enough that you will not leave. What will you do?"\n\n* [[Free it|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [[Shoot it|Oh Shoot]]<<endif>>
Recessed lighting illuminates the undecorated, wood-paneled walls and the matching hardwood floor.\n\n[[East into the bathroom|Bathroom]]\n[[North to the living room|Living room]]\n[[West into the dining room|Dining room]]\n[[South into the basement|Basement check]]
It's like something out of a movie set - the cream-colored upholstery, the glass-topped tables, the artificial plant hanging in the window above a single <<if $ca1 is false>>[[unlit candle|light ca1]]<<else>>glowing candle<<endif>>. No one's cat ever shed on that couch; no one's toddler ever ate chocolate near those pristine white antimassacars. It feels like no one actually lived in this room.\n\n[[West into the kitchen|Kitchen]]\n[[South into the hallway|Hallway]]
ca1 = living room\nca2 = kitchen\nca3 = dining room\nca4 = bathroom\nca5 = bedroom\nca6 = library\nca7 = study
Beneath the desk, you find a scrap of paper. The handwritten scrawl reads:\n\n<em>Thou wilt light the <strong>three fires of the faithful</strong>:\nThe first for faith\nThe second for worship\nThe third for power\nBut then thou wilt light the <strong>three fires of heresy</strong>:\nThe fourth for defiance\nThe fifth for renunciation\nThe sixth for control\nAt last wilt thou light the final fire, the <strong>fire of Mastery</strong>.</em>\n\nSome of the words are darker and heavier than the others, as if the author wrote them several times over.\n\nWith your mind drifting, you start to pocket the paper, and then you think better of it. You leave the crime scene evidence beneath the desk where it belongs. \n\nYou're left with an odd, lingering feeling. It's probably nothing.<<set $mastery to true>>\n\n[[Back|Study]]\n
You turn to leave, but the metal door swings as though under its own power and slams shut with a loud ''clang!''\n\n''"No!"'' the stranger's voice booms.\n\nYou turn slowly, one hand on your pistol. The stranger is standing now, still emaciated and twisted but possessed of a strange energy that you can feel deep in your gut. Its eyes glow with a dark, cold fire.\n\n"How did you ..." your voice trails off.\n\n"You are not going anywhere," the stranger growls. "Free me. Now."\n\n* [["How did you do that?"|Demanding Answers]]\n* [[Free the stranger|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [[Shoot the stranger|Oh Shoot]]\n* [[Try to leave]]\n<<if $mastery is true>>\n* [["So your true colors come out."|Versus]]<<endif>>
You open the medicine cabinet. It's completely empty.\n\nNo one has an empty medicine cabinet. Everyone at least stocks painkillers, allergy pills, and bandaids... except, it seems, Edward West.\n\n[[Back|Bathroom]]
You flip on the lights for convenience and leave the siren off because there's no need to scare a good neighborhood.\n\nIt's an easy ten minute drive through the settling autumn night.\n\n[[Pull into the driveway]]\n\n
<<set $key to true>>You locate a flat wallet in the right inside jacket pocket. Thumbing through, you find two credit cards, a library card, and a driver's license, all in the name of Edward West. You also find a few dollars and a frequent ice-cream buyer's card for a shop three blocks away.\n\nIn the other pocket, you locate a keyring with three keys. The first is modern steel with jagged teeth - likely a key for the house. The second is larger and more intricate, with a distinctly old-fashioned look to its curlicued handle. The third is small enough to be a handcuff key, and black tarnish covers most of its silvery surface.\n\n[[Those might be useful.|Study]]
"That old man," the stranger moans. \n\n"Mr. West?" you ask.\n\n"He has kept me trapped down here for ... months? Years? I no longer know."\n\n"My God."\n\n"Please," the stranger holds up its shackled wrists. "I yearn to be free again."\n\n* [["Yes, of course." Free the stranger|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [["Wait here, I'm going to go for help!|Getting Help]]\n* [["Hang on. Something's not right."|Suspicions]]
You draw your pistol, aim it at the figure, and fire. It crumples to the ground and becomes motionless. Moments later, the light coming from the intricate circle fades away, leaving the room in almost complete darkness.\n\nTaking cautious steps, you approach the still figure. You kneel and check for a pulse, but there's none. The entry and exit wounds of your bullet show no blood, only a thick black substance that stinks like rotten meat. Something is very wrong.\n\nReturning to the first floor, you head out to your squad car to call in backup. You need a forensics team, and there's no escaping what you did: You went into a house and shot an unarmed prisoner. At the very least, you're likely to lose your badge. But there's this lingering feeling that you dread even more, and you can't quite put your finger on it.\n\n[[A week of administrative leave later|Shoot First]]...
//One Hundred and Seventy Six Years Later...//\n\nYou walk through your home's old-fashioned front door, tossing your keychits on the table. More forged paperwork, more payoffs. Faking your mysterious death and transforming into your long-lost niece never gets any less obnoxious, no matter how many times you do it.\n\nDecanting a glass of brandy, you kick off your shoes and pad upstairs. There are some books you haven't reread in a few decades, and you're rather looking forward to returning to them once again.\n\nAs you pass the study, however, you feel a draft. You blink and duck into the room.\n\nOne of the windows has been broken and rain pours in. The candle in front of it has been extinguished, a tendril of heavy smoke trailing from its wet wick.\n\nYou chuckle to yourself as you feel your strength ebb. "Well. It's been a good run."\n<hr>\nA few days later, a lone police officer approaches the house...\n\n<font size=+2>You got the Domination Ending.</font>
The results of the recent rainstorm are all too clear here. One of the [[windows]] at the southern end of the dining room has been smashed, and the tree branch responsible lies on the hardwood floor in a pool of drying rainwater, shattered glass, and [[scattered matches]]. The pale curtains hang limply, and the faint smell of mildew comes from that direction.\n\nIn an alcove to the west of the broken window, a spiral stair winds upward toward the second story.\n\n<<if $ca3 is false>>There's a [[candle|light ca3]] lying on the floor. The branch must have knocked it from the window ledge.<<else>>A single candle glows softly on the window ledge.<<endif>>\n\n[[North into the kitchen|Kitchen]]\n[[East into the hallway|Hallway]]\n[[Up the stairs|Upstairs hallway]]\n
The outside of the refrigerator is completely devoid of magnets and notes. There isn't even a grocery list.\n\n[[Open the refrigerator]]\n[[Back|Kitchen]]
"What was that? Did you close the door?"\n\n"You have no idea what you are dealing with, Miranda Fischbach." The stranger snarls. "No more questions. You will free me from these accursed shackles at once."\n\n* [[Free the stranger|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [[Shoot the stranger|Oh Shoot]]\n* [[Try to leave]]\n<<if $mastery is true>>\n* [["So your true colors come out."|Versus]]<<endif>>
Black and white tiles replace the hardwood floor in this part of the house. Combined with the gleaming black marble counters, broad steel [[refrigerator]], and heavy black [[oven]], the effect is aggressively sterile. The one decoration is <<if $ca2 is false>>[[an unlit candle|light ca2]]<<else>>a glowing candle<<endif>> sitting in the window above the sink. Only the sponge on the sink ledge, the bottle of dish soap beside it, and the faint odor of garbage from a lower cabinet indicate that this kitchen is ever used.\n\n<<if $laundrycheck is false>>There's a top-loading [[laundry machine]] tucked into the wall where you might have expected a dishwasher.<<else>>There's an extremely old-fashioned dishwasher tucked into the wall. It kind of looks like a laundry machine.<<endif>>\n\n[[Search the cabinets]]\n[[Open the drawers]]\n\n[[East to the living room|Living room]]\n[[South to the dining room|Dining room]]\n
"Begone." Your voice seems to echo forever.\n\nWith a loud ''bang'', the metal door slams against the wall. A shrieking wind suddenly fills the room, pulling you toward the hallway. You roll to the side and brace against the door.\n\nThe creature's distorted body seems to distort further, like a sideways-melting candle. It pulls and stretches against its bonds, its grayish-pink flesh stretching toward the door and into the gaping black hole that has appeared beyond.\n\nWith a snapping noise, the creature breaks free of its bonds and is pulled into the hole. With a sucking noise, the fissure closes and your ears ring in the sudden silence.\n\n[[The feeling in your gut is gone.|Exorcism]]
The undecorated walls are paneled in dark, polished hardwood, only a shade lighter than the floor. Three doors open off the hallway, and the spiral stairs wind back down to ground level.\n\n[[North to the bedroom|Bedroom]]\n[[West to the library|Library]]\n[[South to the study|Study]]\n[[Down to the dining room|Dining room]]
The closet contains six identical black suits, along with ties, socks, undershirts, and underwear all packaged neatly in plastic bags. Edward West must not like making decisions in the morning.\n\n[[Back|Bedroom]]
<<if $hasmatches is false>>You could light the jack-o-lantern if you had some matches, but you don't.<<else>>You dig one of the matches from your pocket, open the jack-o-lantern, and light the candle inside. The flame flickers wildly before steadying, giving glowing life to the pumpkin's triangular eyes and jagged smile.<<set $ca5 to true>><<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Bedroom]]
<<if $yupdead is false>>You enter the study and see the dead man immediately.<<set $yupdead to true>>\n\n<<endif>>A thin red velvet [[carpet]] covers part of the hardwood floor and leads to a [[fine mahogany desk]]<<if $ca7 is true>>, atop which a thin taper candle burns<<endif>>. A [[very old man]] lies upon the carpet with his legs draped artlessly on an overturned desk chair. One hand clutches at at his chest, and the other clutches his throat. He is formally dressed in a full black suit, as if he were already laid out in the casket, apart from the indecorous pose. His sightless eyes stare toward something [[beneath the desk]].\n\n[[Northwest to the library|Library]]\n[[North to the hallway|Upstairs hallway]]
At a quick glance, they're mostly encyclopedias - Collier's Encyclopedia, the Encyclopeaedia Americana, and four different sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Some of them look old enough that they might be worth something.\n\n[[Back|Bedroom]]
You crouch next to the figure and fumble with the tiny silver key on the keyring. The key is clearly meant for these manacles alone, and it fits into each neatly. You free the figure's hands first, and it rubs each raw wrist gratefully.\n\nOnce you've freed all four of its limbs, you gently walk the prisoner outside of the strange circle, whose light fades. You sigh. "Well, that's --"\n\nWith lightning alacrity, the prisoner's hands clap against your temples. The last thing you see is its grin: wide, inhuman.\n\n[[Triumphant.|Gaining Religion]]
"Need you for a 10-42 at 20 Douglas Drive, checking on one Edward West. His neighbor Elsa Murdoch called in because he hasn't been seen since the Wednesday night rainstorm."\n\n[["10-4. On my way."|Ten Four]]
The refrigerator is packed with enough food to last for months, assuming that one's diet consists entirely of roaster chickens. All five shelves in the refrigerator are covered in side-by-side roaster chickens, and a couple more have been crammed into the drinks compartments on the door.\n\n[[Who likes chicken THAT much?|Kitchen]]
"I know what you are," you say, filled with a strange sense of <<if $allcandles is true>>power<<else>>foreboding<<endif>>.\n\n"Are you taunting me?" the stranger asks. "Please, just let me go."\n\n"You and Mr. West go way back, don't you? Way, way, way back."\n\n"I don't know what you're talking about." The stranger's eyes flick back and forth furtively. They're a bad liar.\n\n* [["Game's over, freak." Shoot the stranger.|Oh Shoot]]\n* [["You sit tight. I need some help for this."|Trapped]]\n* [["There's something to all that hocus pocus, isn't there? You may not be a God, but you're some kinda weird."|Versus]]
You park your car in front of the old house and stare up at it.\n\nThe investigation is over, your fate in flux. The strange figure that you shot left no corpse, only a pile of ashes and a strong smell like a thunderstorm.\n\nYou haven't been able to get this place off your mind. You dream about it every night. Something is calling you back, and you can't rest until you find out what it is.\n\nYou get out of the car, adjusting your shoulder holster.\n\n<font size=+2>You got the Shoot First ending.</font>
<<if $hasmatches is false>>It's a candle. You could light it if you had some matches.<<else>>You dig one of the matches from your pocket and light the candle. It smells like cinnamon.<<set $ca4 to true>><<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Bathroom]]
<<if $hasmatches is false>>It's a candle. You could light it if you had some matches.<<else>>You strike a match against the candlestick's filigree and light the taper candle. You're sure the late Mr. West would appreciate the gesture if he weren't a corpse.<<set $ca7 to true>><<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Study]]
<<if $hasmatches is false>>It's a candle. You could light it if you had some matches.<<else>>You dig one of the matches from your pocket and light the candle. Its faint light serves only to make the eerie library seem more like an Edward Gorey set.<<set $ca6 to true>><<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Library]]
<<if $hasmatches is false>>It's a candle. You could light it if you had some matches.<<else>>You dig one of the matches from your pocket and light the candle. The friendly little flame makes the room seem less artificial.<<set $ca1 to true>><<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Living room]]
<<if $hasmatches is false>>It's a candle. You could light it if you had some matches.<<else>>You pick up the candle, locate the little silver candleholder, and set up both on the window ledge. You have to strike the match three times before it takes, but the candle is lit now.<<set $ca3 to true>><<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Dining room]]
<<if $hasmatches is false>>It's a candle. You could light it if you had some matches.<<else>>You dig one of the matches from your pocket, strike it on the side of the counter, and light the candle.<<set $ca2 to true>><<endif>>\n\n[[Back|Kitchen]]
You knock. There's no response.\n\nYou knock a few more times. Nothing.\n\n[[Force your way in.|Splash Passage][$key to false; $ca1 to false; $ca2 to false; $ca3 to false; $ca4 to false; $ca5 to false; $ca6 to false; $ca7 to false; $hasmatches to false; $yupdead to false; $allcandles to false; $mastery to false]]\n\n
//One day later...//\n\n"From what our forensic boys could tell, something literally pulled those cuffs open. Wonder what West was keeping down there."\n\nYou shrug. "Whatever it was, it was long gone by the time I got there."\n\n"Guess we'll never know," the chief says. "Sometimes I feel like we're better off that way."\n\n"Yeah," you mutter. "You're telling me."\n\n<font size=+2>You got the Exorcism Ending.</font>
Unsurprisingly, the cabinet that smells of garbage contains a garbage can.\n\nThe garbage can is overflowing with pizza boxes, styrofoam cartons, and crushed drink containers. Every delivery driver in Galesburg must have the route here memorized.\n\nYou check the upper cabinets and find that the cabinet above the dishwasher contains one plate, one bowl, one mug, and one glass. Every other cabinet is empty.\n\n[[Back|Kitchen]]
There's a sheet of paper in the typewriter. You take a moment to read it.\n\n<em>"The Dominion of the Apostate"\n\nThe Apostate laughed, then, and said:\n"An thou'rt a God, call upon thy faithful!\nWilt thou not smite me where I stand?\nHast thou none who would kill for thee?\nHast thou no power, no dominion?"\n\nBut the Apostate knew that the God could not, for His faithful had been slain by the Apostate's machinations. The God's power lived now through the faith of the Apostate alone, and the Apostate was protected from the God's control by ritual. The God knew then that the next words from the Apostate's mouth, be they "Begone" or "You Are Mine" -- would seal its fate.</em>\n\n[[Back|Bedroom]]
Through the window, all you can see are the looming shapes of trees and the distant hedges beyond. It would be nice to think West's neighbors would have called sooner if they had known about the damage to his home.\n\n[[Back|Dining room]]
The light past the door comes not from candles or lamps or even strange suspended glass and wire globes. It comes from the ground -- more precisely, a blood-red circle filled with strange symbols and lines whose throbbing carmine light fills the whole room. It reveals more symbols on the walls that don't glow as well as small bones strewn across the floor, some with bloodless meat still clinging to them.\n\nIn the center of the circle is a huddled figure: naked, emaciated, deformed. It is bound with old, black metal shackles at the wrists and ankles, each of which leads by a chain to a bar up against the wall.\n\nThe figure turns its hollow, dark eyes up at you when you enter.\n\n"Please help, Madam," it croaks.\n* [["Oh my God! Are you all right?"|RUOK]]\n* [["What are you doing here?"|Questioning]]\n* [[Run for help!|Getting Help]]\n* [[Free the stranger|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [[Draw your pistol and shoot the stranger|Oh Shoot]]
<<if visited() < 2>>As the heavy door swings shut behind you, the feeling in your gut intensifies. There's some kind of presence down here.\n\n<<endif>>The stairs seem to be made of solid stone, worn down in the center from many years of use. The walls further down are larger, rough-hewn stone forming a hallway.\n\nThe light by which you can see is a soft orange glow, nothing like either electric bulbs nor fire.\n\n* [[Return to the hallway|Nope]]\n* [[Descend the stairs|Basement 2]]
Shelves of leather-bound [[books|Library books]] rise from floor to ceiling on every wall, interrupted only by the door and the single window, where pallid curtains frame a<<if $ca6 is false>>n [[unlit|light ca6]]<<else>> glowing<<endif>> candle on the sill. A plush red chair sits in the middle of the room, but the opulence of the velvet upholstery seems shabby and dim beneath the oppressive shadows of the bookshelves.\n\n[[Upstairs hallway]]\n[[Study]]
The glow in this hallway comes from some kind of decorative light fixture, a sphere of wire and glass hanging from the ceiling on what looks like twine.\n\nAt the end of the hallway is a metal door. This one is significantly smaller than the door to the basement, so much so that you suspect that a tall or portly person wouldn't be able to fit through it at all.\n\nThe door is a solid slab of pitted, rusty metal with a strange design crudely carved into the center.\n* [[Go back up the stairs|Basement 1]]\n* [[Open the door|Basement 3]]
The heavy mahogany desk is in pristine condition. A leather mat with folded corners sits in the center, but the calendar tucked in it reads 'January 1985' and is unmarked.\n\nThe only thing on the desk that seems to have seen any use at all is the <<if $ca7 is true>>burning<<else>>[[unlit|light ca7]]<<endif>> taper candle in a filigreed silver candlestick.\n\n[[Back|Study]]
"Listen, I'll get you freed, but I'm just trying to understand--"\n\n''"No!"'' the stranger's voice booms.\n\nA loud noise causes you to whirl in place. Behind you, the metal door swings as though under its own power and slams shut with a loud ''clang!''\n\nYou turn back, one hand on your pistol. The stranger is standing now, still emaciated and twisted but possessed of a strange energy that you can feel deep in your gut. Its eyes glow with a dark, cold fire.\n\n"How did you ..." your voice trails off.\n\n"No more questions," the stranger growls. "Free me. Now."\n\n* [["How did you do that?"|Demanding Answers]]\n* [[Free the stranger|Unleashing the Beast]]\n* [[Shoot the stranger|Oh Shoot]]\n* [[Try to leave]]\n<<if $mastery is true>>\n* [["So your true colors come out."|Versus]]<<endif>>
The woman waiting must be Elsa Murdoch. She has the kind of bright scarlet nails that you can't have on the police force and the kind of breath where you'd stop her from driving.\n\n"Officer," she bubbles at you, and then as you step out of the car, "Miss - "\n\n"Officer," you say firmly. "Miranda Fischbach. What seems to be the problem?"\n\nMs. Murdoch's bubbling loses some effervescence now that she sees you properly, but you get the gist: she's worried about the nice middle-aged man who lives here.\n\n"He always lights candles, every night, and he hasn't lit them since the rainstorm. And his lights have been on the whole time! I think something must have happened to him."\n\n"Thank you, Ms. Murdoch."\n\n[[Knock at the door.|Knock Knock]]\n
A homey red and white [[quilt]] covers the wooden bed, which is only wide enough for one person. There is no dresser; instead, a flimsy-looking writing table supports a heavy-looking [[typewriter]] on the far side of the room. Bookshelves line the walls, each topped with another row of leather-bound [[books|Bedroom books]], all pinned in place with heavy brass bookends shaped like horses or dragons or wave crests.\n\nIn deference to the season, a [[pumpkin]] sits on the windowsill.\n\n[[Check the closet]]\n\n[[South to the upstairs hallway|Upstairs hallway]]
<<set $laundrycheck to true>>It explains how to use your Brand New Youngstown Electric Sink. A little further reading indicates that the laundry machine is in fact a 1953-era dishwasher.\n\n[[How odd.|Kitchen]]
Caelyn Sandel and Carolyn VanEseltine
"You Are Mine."\n\nThe moment you utter the words, your body fills with a fiery energy. The pain is overwhelming and you collapse to the ground, but instead of a scream, you hear a manic laughter tear its way out of your body.\n\nWhen you climb up from the floor, you stare down the suborned God with the same fiery eyes that it once turned toward you. It avoids your gaze.\n\n"West," you murmur, "Was an amateur."\n\n[[You break again into unhinged laughter.|Domination]]
<<if $ca5 is false>>Closer examination reveals the pumpkin to be an [[unlit|Light the jack-o-lantern]] jack-o-lantern. The carved face is turned toward the window, grinning endlessly out toward the neighbors to the west.<<else>>You turn the jack-o-lantern around briefly to meet its shining triangular eyes. Then you turn it back the way it was, grinning endlessly out toward the neighbors to the west.<<endif>> \n\n[[Back|Bedroom]]
You try the handle to the basement door, only to find it locked.\n\nThe door is quite sturdy; if you want to get through without a SWAT entry team, you'll need a key.\n<<if $key is true>>* [[Try using the keyring]]\n* [[Look elsewhere for now|Hallway]]<<else>>\nMaybe there's a key somewhere around here, but until you find one you'lle have to [[look elsewhere|Hallway]].<<endif>>
The drawers are mostly empty, but you find one drawer that contains one fork, one butter knife, one serrated knife, one small spoon, and one soup spoon.\n\n[[Back|Kitchen]]