The Raggedy Man
Don't you grumble, mustn't sleep, mustn't greet, don't you lie, the Raggedy Man is creeping by. - Children's rhyme, author unknown
When a number of murder/suicides are flagged by Section 13's database, agents are dispatched to the home of those affected, a dilapidated tenement in the Granton Arcology. Block 13 of The McKenzie Scheme is a tenement in a poor state or repair and only twenty or so residents remain, none of whom have lived there longer than a year.
There have been four incidents involving residents of this block in four months:
- 02 November 2084. Theresa Gibbons, a technician at the Ashcroft Foundation. A lifelong arachnophobe, she poisoned herself after believing herself to be covered in spiders.
- 14 November 2084. Alanhi, a Nazzadi mother of two and home-maker, hurls herself from a sixth-storey window, convinced monsters are stalking her.
- 29 November 2084. Alex Kristov, a former soldier, guns down twelve people in the street, claiming that they are reptiles controlling his actions. He is gunned down by police officers at the scene.
- 09 December 2084. Blair Yuan, a security guard at Chrysalis Corporation's HQ on Lothian Road, strangles three executives working late. He claimed that they had to die as the voices told him to do it.
Yuan is quite insane, and when brought to The Basement for interrogation, does little more than babble and sing some form of nursery rhyme.
Don't you grumble, mustn't sleep, mustn't greet, don't you lie, the Raggedy Man is creeping by.
They agents learn little from this and choose to head over to The McKenzie Scheme of tenements to investigate the site.
Block 13 is a square, seven-level tenement overlooking a central courtyard. The ground floor is a shopping arcade consisting of:
- NEG Welfare Clinic
- NEG Recruitment office
- Hassan's FixIT Repairs
- McKenzies Supermarket
- Kirkov's mini-mart/pharmacy
- Mageware shop (closed)
Floors 1-6 are living areas, whilst the seventh is for maintenance (air, heat, power etc.). Elevators are at each corner of the block and are non-functioning. There's not much interest in the agents when they arrive.
After investigating the block itself and the drunken caretaker responsible for the building's upkeep, the group finds evidence that something has built a false partition in one of the flats and appears to be using it to move around the buildings air ducts.
The agents also turn their attention to any events, criminal or otherwise, that relate to Block 13. They discover that aside from a break-in at the clinic on 29th October and a suspected ETB (Enhanced Tuberculosis) earlier in October, there's only the usual litany of domestics and complaints of antisocial behaviour.
When they ask in the clinic, it turns out that only a few blood vials were stolen after tests for ETB. Cross-checks reveal that among the blood stolen was that of Gibbons, Anlahi, Kristov, and Yuan; amongst others.
Back in the block the agents break into the hidden area and discover that something has been using the blood in sorcery of some kind. The area behind the false partition has been setup to enact a ritual of some kind.
A metaterrestial is involved, a Na'athm. These mysterious beings thrive off madness and nightmares and has been using the blood to feed off the residents fear and insecurities. Cornered by the agents in its lair, it is no match for their firearms as they gun it down.