It’s been one hell of a week for the Shadow family, so they’re grateful for a couple of days in which nothing too eventful happens. On Friday, Arthur and Gwen meet a couple of Rosicrucian operatives in Century Park, handing over the Head of Fludd in exchange for a briefcase full of money – enough to make life significantly easier for a while.
With Thomas off doing his own thing, the others spend Saturday preparing for the next Shadow Market in two weeks, then go out for drinks at Vic’s favourite bar, the 8-Ball Haemorrhage. Arthur is approached by a man trying to sell ‘unusual antiquities’, who had arranged to sell them to the Rosicrucians only for them to cancel the sale – since Arthur has a growing reputation as a rival/foil for the Rosicrucians, he hopes the Shadows will help him find a buyer. Arthur is interested until he realises the man is trading in Nazi memorabilia, and sends him packing. This prompts a discussion about the Rosicrucians as a whole, whether the Shadows know enough about the group and if they really want to set themselves in opposition. The discussion continues as the Shadows eat at Hong’s 24-hour Noodle House and then go back to the 8-Ball Haemorrhage for more drinks, with Charlotte interjecting whenever she finds anything interesting on the Rosicrucians’ Wikipedia entry.
On Sunday, Charlotte heads to New Jerusalem University to go exploring the cloisters with Ned Chan and the Cave Clan (not noticing the tiny wisp-ghost stowing away in her backpack). It’s a small group – just the two of them plus Amy (an anthropology student) and Rat (a grumpy computer science student) – and Ned takes the lead, getting them through secure doors into the old tunnels underneath the university complex. The group treks through old storage rooms and access ladders, Amy photographing 1970s graffiti for her thesis, Rat filming background scenes for a rail shooter, the wisp-ghost tumbling through shadows into the sewers below and Ned bravely claiming that he didn’t mean this as a date despite clearly meaning it to be a date. Fortunately, Charlotte is observant enough to find the other two when they get lost, and fast enough to save Ned’s life with a quick spell when he falls through a broken catwalk!
Ned has fallen into the University’s disused generator complex, a collection of engines, boilers and machines that used to power the whole campus decades ago. It’s all dusty, broken and abandoned now, but there are signs of recent activity. Amy finds chalk graffiti on a boiler saying CALL THE SHADOWS, with a severed skeletal hand still holding the chalk nearby, while Rat finds a patch of greenish blood surrounding a bullet hole on a wall.
Before they can investigate further, the old machines rattle and shake, and a cacophony of shrieks and wails rise from below, as a swarm of maddened ghosts boils up from the sewers, calling Charlotte’s name! She’s the only one who can see them, but everyone knows that something’s wrong, and the Cavers run for the surface as the foamy mass of ghosts pursues them.
Charlotte directs the Clan as Ned opens doors and pushes away obstacles, but the ghosts are close behind and gaining on them. As they get close to the surface, Ned tries to draw the ghosts away to save Charlotte and the others. Charlotte doesn’t want to be saved, and tries to stop him, but too late – the ghosts engulf Ned and draw him back down into the tunnels! Charlotte texts her family, asking them to come help, and then goes back down into the darkness to find her friend.
Back at the antiques shop, Gwen has returned from a day of investigating the child disappearance case, and Arthur from working his connections to learn more about the Rosicrucians. They get Charlotte’s text and prepare to leave, but a stranger comes into the shop. He flashes a badges, identifies himself as Detective Grant Walker from the New Jerusalem police, and says he needs their help to find the missing children – before a Satanic cult sacrifices them to the Devil at midnight tonight!