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MOOD: a lot


LOCATION: 331 Larkfield Lane - Backyard

TL;DR Otto accepts a new case for the club to solve
lead investigator

Otto is, by no means, a camper or a hiker. Otter’s not even a really outdoorsy person to begin with. It’s just that otter doesn’t like the woods — like, at all. There’s werewolves in the woods! And ghosts! And… well, there’s Bigfoot in the woods! Otto, scared? Never! Otto is just a very cautious person. A very overly cautious person. If he can help it, he’ll avoid the woods as much as possible. But, sometimes he has to go into the woods for the sake of solving a mystery. It’s not that he’s scared of the woods or anything, he’s just not a camper or hiker.

Otto spun around in his chair whilst he sipped on some iced coffee. Iced coffee with whipped cream, peppermints, caramel syrup, chocolate syrup… Otto’s huge sweet tooth is obvious. Whoops, Otto is getting distracted. It’s time to check the club website and see if there are any new messages! Otter proceeded to type in the website's name on otters computer and waited for the webpage to load.

A new message!

Otto clicked on the notification and proceeded to read the message:

Hi there, I stumbled across your website while looking for someone to help me out. I live in a two story house out in the country with a big backyard and beyond the backyard is pure woods. Lately, I’ve been hearing strange noises coming from those woods. Rocks banging against trees, particularly at night there’s loud growls and howls. Sometimes when I’m outside, there’s this horrible, putrid odor that makes me run back inside. I have no idea what it could be but I haven’t seen it in person yet, just the horrible smell and noises coming from the woods. Can you please come and check it out?

There was an address in the message as well: 331 Larkfield Lane.

A new case! Hmmm, what could be lurking in those woods? Highly doubt it could be Mothman. Could it be the Goatman? A Bigfoot? Otto rarely, if ever, turns down a potential case, and this case is no exception. They will take on this case! Otto decided to send a reply to the person, telling them that they will gladly help them out and that they would be there. With that, otter sent the message and finished off the rest of otters coffee.

The others should know about the new case! Otto pulled out his phone and went to the group chat 'the mystery chat' to let everyone else know.

Otto: new case y’all! take a look at the website!
Otto: I accepted the case and told the person that we would be there!

Otto: it’s probably Goatman or Bigfoot lol.

Edard is the designated driver of the RV, and Otto didn’t mind one bit. Edard is a better driver than Otto is, that’s for sure. Because Otto doesn’t have a driver’s license. Otter soon put otters phone away in favor of getting ready for the day.

The ride to the house was a bumpy one. Trees lined both sides of the road and there was nothing but trees and dirt road ahead. Otto had been settled in his seat in the back of the RV, trying his best not to worry about his heart. Any little jolt or bump could make him worry that something might be wrong. How much longer until they got there anyways? Are they almost there yet?

The RV came to a halt as they had reached the house. It was indeed a two-story house out in the country and it sure was a nice-looking house too! From what Otto could see from where otter was sitting, there was a huge stretch of woods beyond the backyard. So far, the person had been telling the truth when they had messaged the club. But the club would still have to see if there was indeed a putrid odor and strange noises coming from the woods. Otto climbed out of his seat and started to make his way towards the RV doors so he could step out. It felt so nice to be able to stretch his legs after being in the RV for so long.

Honestly, Otto did not look forward to going into those woods, especially at night. But it must be done to help solve this mystery. For now, though, it was time to solve this mystery - the first step being knocking on the door and being let into the house by the homeowner. As of right now, otter had no idea how long they would be staying here nor how long it would take to wrap up this mystery. But they had a lot to do - cameras needed to be set up in the woods to see if anything could be caught, audio equipment needed to be set up to get a listen to the alleged growls, howls, and rocks banging against trees, that sort of stuff. Otto began to wander away from the others in favor of heading towards the backdoor that led into the big backyard. There was no guarantee that Otto would see something, but it wouldn't hurt to check.

Anyone was welcome to join otter, of course. The more the merrier.
code by valen t.

A low gravely grunt rumbled out from beneath the bedsheets as Edard cleared his throat. He laid in bed for a moment, contemplating whether or not he should get up today or sleep some more but the decision was always the same. He shuffled out of the covers and began his day, showering, scrubbing his hair twice, shaved and applied some aftershave, brushed his teeth for the full two minutes, some mouthwash too, and got dressed with a usual suit and tie. Cannot forget his cologne. He had a nice collection. Edard stared at the shelf. It's been a while since he put on some Polo. He grabbed it and put some on. The fragrance pleased him so that when Edard looked in the mirror and saw his greying hair and tired eyes, he mustered a small smile.

He looked at his watch. 6 AM. Just in time for a cup of coffee. Edard walked out of his room and made his way down the hardwood stairs of his home. The glass panes of his dining room gave a wondrous view of his carefully cultivated yard just as the sky began began to show signs of a sunrise. The solemn walls of his home stood at silent attention, decorated with paintings of all manner of subjects. Fruits, birds, fish, and the occasional southern Mediterranean homestead by a coast. Edard walked over to his kitchen and began to brew his cup of coffee. Black and just a little bit of sugar. He grabbed a newspapers, walked out into his yard and sat down at the rocking chair placed just on the porch.

His phone buzzed. Edard fished his pocket for it and flipped it open.

Otto: new case y’all! take a look at the website!
Otto: I accepted the case and told the person that we would be there!

Otto: it’s probably Goatman or Bigfoot lol.

He sighed. Edard saw the entry already. In all truth, most requests were nothing more than the odd ramblings of paranoid people with unrestrained superstitions. He wasn't the leader however. His job was simply to research the phenomenon. In this case, he would be digging for a Goatman or Bigfoot figure. Still, the case felt untenable. One or two questions about a case was healthy. 10 or more made it unreliable and far too vague. Regardless, many members of the club do not start their day for a few hours from now. Instead, he would spend time loading his equipment into the RV. First, came the essentials. For a large bipedal primate adjacent creature, he would need something fairly powerful. Edard got up from his chair, folding his paper despite being partway through a story about a stock market report and walked over to his garage.

The lights flickered on, revealing multiple safes and shelves of equipment from holy water and crosses, to silver bullets and stakes. Bigfoot and Goatman were in the humanoid cryptid category. Flightless. Wooded environment. Suitable for cameras and blinds. Edard opened a large cabinet with a copious amount of carefully maintained bear traps. He took several of them and loaded them onto the RV. He took out a suitcase at the bottom of the cabinet and checked his miscellaneous materials supplies. In the scenario that they were mistaken and that the creature is something else, they needed some means adapting. A small bottle of holy water, a couple stakes, some salt, one magazine of silver bullets fit for a revolver, nice for creatures big and small. Everything appears to be in order. He took it and loaded it as well. Edard grabbed some tracer bullets from a small shelf and opened a safe that revealed an array of hunting rifles. .300 Winchester should do the trick. A box of ammo alongside the tracers should do the trick for both tracking and eliminating the target should the need arise. He loaded that into the RV and locked it behind a specially made compartment with a passkey: 0315. He returned to his house and walked over to his office. Most of his computer equipment was stored there.

The room was spacious and quiet, filled with bookshelves and accompanied by a grand piano that he occasionally dusted off and played. Multiple locked cabinets sat in the corner, obscured by shadows, filled with files from his days in the CIA. Next to them were cabinets filled with all manner of wires, equipment, cameras, radars, and devices. Edard set aside a box to carry to the RV and began selecting his necessities. He would need to make sure he can maintain satellite connection so a few antennae were in order, alongside a laptop, a few radios, and a GPS. Much of the equipment were a bit past their prime but were state of the art in the days he still worked a real job. This equipment needed to be set up at the helm of the RV so he could readily access them as needed. It took some time but fortunately, he had time to spend. By the time he was done, the others were ready to meet and head out to the house of the individual who made the request.

The drive passed without much trouble. When they arrived, Otto jumped out to meet the homeowners. Edard did not join him.

"Report back what they tell you. I'll stay with the rest of the equipment and start onboarding everything for observation," he said. "Just don't get too hasty out there." Edard stepped out of the RV with a few antennae he hoped to hook up in order to set up a satellite connection.


the assistant








talking to Otto


Mentions: Edard, Jax

Bigfoot was not one of Nikhil’s favorite urban legends. As far as mysteries and urban legends go, it was pretty low down on his list of monsters and ghouls that he’d love to prove the existence of. But hey, it didn’t hurt to investigate (most of the time). Who knew? If they actually managed to get definitive footage of it, or even better, capture the creature itself, their reputation would skyrocket. Perhaps we’d even make some money, Nik thought, seeing dollar signs.

Driven by the potential promise of capturing the hairy Sasquatch, Nikhil found himself in an unfamiliar shop, his eyes fixed on a medium-sized, metal cage as he evaluated its dimensions, pacing its length with a hand on his chin. How big even was Bigfoot? The cage didn’t look large enough to fit a 5 foot tall person standing up, much less a, what, at least six to nine feet tall cryptid? The thought occupied his mind for several minutes until a salesperson approached him, attempting to be helpful.

“Can I assist you with anything?”

"Yes, actually,”
Nik replied.
“Do you have anything larger? Perhaps something that could fit a nine feet tall mons - person?”

“Nine feet? Wow - uh - I’m so sorry, but we don’t have anything larger in stock right now,” the saleswoman apologized. “Perhaps I could interest you in something else? We do have spread bars and some very sturdy rope…” she continued, trying to redirect Nikhil’s attention to the other products displayed on the wall, but his mind had already wandered. Even if they’d managed to lure Bigfoot into the cage, it’s probably freakishly strong enough to bend the flimsy bars and escape. What if it got mad and attacked them? He wasn’t sure any of the other mystery club members would be able to stand up against the creature in a fair fight. Some of them probably wouldn’t even want to.

“Do you happen to carry tranquilizer guns?”
Nikhil interjected abruptly, cutting off the salesperson as she tried to upsell a pair of fluffy, pink handcuffs. Bigfoot’s wrists definitely wouldn’t fit into those. He momentarily glanced at them, then raised his cool gaze to meet the saleswoman’s bewildered expression.

"Um... no, I'm afraid we don't."

Disappointed, Nikhil let out a sigh.

“Do you at least have larger handcuffs?”


Nikhil spent the ride to their designated location fretting over the equipment. Batteries needed charging, cameras required thorough checks, and microphones had to be in perfect working condition. Of course he had already finished those tasks, but it didn’t hurt to double or even triple-check. He mentally ran through the checklist, picturing each item in his mind and physically verifying its status. This investigation might not call for the EMF detector or the ghost box, but Nik's excitement was focused on the shiny new thermal scanner they had acquired recently. He rifled through a cardboard box labeled ‘Crypto Crate’ - wait, who put a half-finished bag of chips in there? Without a second thought, he tossed the offending object over his shoulder, disregarding its presence as he finally located the coveted thermal scanner.

“Found it!”
he announced.
“Just letting everyone know that this thermal scanner was annoyingly difficult to acquire and very expensive, so please don’t break it.”
His words totally weren’t meant for some of the clumsier members of their club. Nope.

With the scanner now securely in his possession, Nikhil turned his attention to the other smaller equipment that would accompany them on their investigation. He was sure Edard had taken care of most of the heavy-duty equipment, so it was up to Nik to organize the smaller stuff. Flashlights for each member were neatly arranged, alongside a stash of glowsticks—those had saved them from darkness more times than they cared to count. He even added a head-mounted torch, and a few water bottles also found their place. Staying hydrated was very important. Nik couldn’t be the only one with great skin around here.

He paused, raking his eyes over his boxes again as tried to figure out what else his friends could carry with them during their investigation. He moved to another box labeled ‘Possibly Haunted’ and fished out a baseball bat, setting it beside the flashlights. Jax may not appreciate that one, but he was sure someone else would like a fighting chance against Bigfoot. Too bad the tranq gun was a bust.

Satisfied with arranging and rearranging things, Nikhil’s next course of action was to sync some of the cameras to his laptop for the live feed and that was what he spent the rest of the drive to their location doing, barely noticing when the RV finally rolled to a stop.

His cue to start setting up the equipment around the perimeter was up. But first, he trailed after Otto. It had become their unspoken ritual, Nik carrying something or other in his arms while his forgetful best friend led the way.

“Hey, wait up!”
Nik called, carrying a head-mounted camera, a torch and a backup glowstick. Wordlessly, he helped Otto secure the straps of the camera around his head and pressed the flashlight and glow stick into his hands. Checking to make sure that the camera was flashing red, he threw otter a thumbs up and a smile.

“Okay, you’re good to go now.”
Nikhil declared, yet he lingered for a bit more, eyes taking in Otto’s face. Otter had been uncharacteristically quiet on the ride, or so Nik thought. He might have been a bit busy focusing on their equipment, but he was pretty sure he didn’t hear Otto’s voice in the background.

The normal thing to do would be to just ask how otter was doing but instead

“Hey, what do you call a sketchy looking Bigfoot?”

♡coded by uxie♡
--Another bump under the RV's wheels jolted Crowley awake, his eyes snapping open in surprise. He blinked sluggishly for a moment, bemused, and then frowned at his reflection in the window, raising a hand to the red-dime mark left on his forehead where it had rested against the glass. It seemed he'd dozed off at some point during the ride.

Well, it couldn't be helped.

Crowley was known to keep odd hours. His work had kept him up late through the lonely, dark hours of the previous evening, pouring over his latest assignment- a draft for a rather dull period piece- with his usual single-minded focus, until the sun rose and he finally conceded to rest. And then Otto's text. His last cup of coffee had been his fifth, but he was flagging now, suffering from lack of sleep.

Crowley breathed a quiet sigh and lowered his hand from his temple to smooth out the pages of the copy of Carmilla that laid abandoned in his lap. Where had he left off? Miles of dirt road and rolling wood blurred together like a half-remembered dream, and he could not say with any certainty how long he'd slept, but soon enough, the forest broke, and the elegant facade of 331 Larkfield Lane crept into view ahead.

As the RV slowed to a stop, Crowley tucked away their novel and rose to retrieve the gear Nikhil had arranged for them: Flashlights, glowsticks, bottled water- Crowley's lips twitched in a fleeting, ghost of a smile. Quite the mother hen. They flicked the light on and off to gauge its brightness, and then, with their equipment secured, stepped out of the vehicle. A chill autumn breeze stirred up fallen leaves, sent spinning in a silent waltz, and pricked goosebumps at the nape of Crowley's neck. They reached up to sweep a few errant strands of hair, fallen loose from the tail they wore, from their face. How bothersome.

While the others scurried about to set up equipment, Crowley leaned back against the body of the RV. From their satchel, they withdrew a brown paper parcel, which they unfolded to reveal one half of a chocolate croissant, procured from the quaint little bakery a block down from their apartment that morning; Their lunch. The other half had been their breakfast.

Not that anyone else needed to know that.

He nibbled on the flaky pastry as he craned his head back to survey their destination through narrowed eyes. 331 Larkfield Lane, the two-story country home, with all its historied charm, unnerved him, the shadowed eaves and windows like dark, hollow eyes reminding him, uncomfortably, of the house he'd lived in as a child.

"Dear Sagittarius, the moon in your sign squares off with Neptune in Pisces, finding you feeling especially nostalgic: Connect with loved ones and honor your past..."

Tasting bittersweet chocolate on his tongue, Crowley wrenched his gaze away to follow Otto and Nikhil- always so dogged at otters heels- as they approached the backyard, and the encircling treeline beyond which their quarry- supposedly- dwelt.

"Do you suppose," Crowley mused, adopting a tone of utter seriousness, "that the plural of 'Bigfoot' would be 'Bigfoots' or 'Bigfeet'?"
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Otto: new case y’all! take a look at the website!
Otto: I accepted the case and told the person that we would be there!

Otto: it’s probably Goatman or Bigfoot lol.

Bigfoot wasn't altogether unexpected, they'd have to do something other than hauntings eventually but Nate couldn't deny he wasn't thrilled by the prospect. Walking around the woods, woods filled with branches and roots that always seemed to hate him seemed far more dangerous to his health than an angry spirit but needs must. He was banking on Bigfoot instead of Goatman but he'd take either of them over a bear, fuck, he hoped Nikhil had bought bear mace. Then again it was Nikhil so it had probably been purchased months ago before it had even been something they'd need. Never mind Eddard's worryingly large arsenal.

He hadn't exactly expected a case to pop up when it had but really that was more fool him, cases popped up whenever they wanted to regardless of any of their plans. It was a good thing the club was his entire social life otherwise he'd likely pissed people off with the amount of hypothetical plans with imaginary people he'd have had to cancel on. He could imagine it now; sorry no can do I've got to go hunt down Bigfoot. He loved his job, he loved helping people but he couldn't help but marvel at the absurdity.

But what had been interrupted was a baking session; golden brown, fluffy, studded with blueberries and cranberries and chocolate chips with cinnamon sugar dusting. He'd been preparing to descend upon the sugary goodness and then give the rest to his neighbours should he somehow not finish them but it seemed his friends would now be getting his spoils instead. He was sure he had a tupperware box somewhere. He'd just have to convince them he was better at baking than he was at cooking; nearly giving everyone food poisoning after an attempt at soup wasn't his best moment but he'd never claimed to be a chef. Well, not a good one anyways.

Hell, maybe he could give the muffins to their client. Butter them up with some baked goodies. It would make a change from the puppy eyes and earnest promises that yes whilst they were rather young they were experienced enough and no sir we are in fact professionals I promise.

If one more old lady pinched his cheeks he'd end up with permanent dimples.

Once he'd shoved everything into his bag; laptop, highlighters, notebook, lighter and various odds and ends he shot off a text to the group that he'd meet them at the RV.
Nathaniel made a terrible passenger. It was an unfortunate fact of reality that when confined in a small space with nothing to do he went a little stir crazy, whilst his phone had had service it hadn't been too bad as he enjoyed some music and played battleship online with strangers but as they drove through roads surrounded by sprawling forests it had promptly gone to shit. And despite the love he was sure everyone carried for him there had been little enthusiasm towards his suggested game of I-Spy when every answer was likely to be a member of the group or the trees around them. Crowley had drifted off mid book and whilst Nate had been tempted to wake him he was not prepared to deal with an even more sleep deprived Crowley, his bags were starting to develop bags of their own.

He had ignored the rather pointed comment about the thermal cameras, he'd only broken one camera and it had been a perfectly ordinary one that he had paid to replace. He'd broken more things over time than that admittedly but only one camera. And it had been a whole case since he'd last broken anything so he was on quite the roll.

Maybe he should have tried to drift off.

As Nate started to debate the merits of stealing Crowley's book or offering to help Nikhil with the cameras they pulled into their destination.

331 Larkfield Lane was a painfully typical house full of old charm and likely dozens of stories; layers of paint and paper each lovingly placed and then painted over when the time came, housing generation after generation - it just needed a white picket fence and it would be the idyllic house typical of so many of the terrifying situations they found themselves in. Maybe creepies and crawlies just also had an aesthetic taste that seemed to match up with homely america. How many times had he had to watch Malachi and Maisie face mortal danger in places just like that, he hoped he wouldn't have to again but that was like wishing for pigs to fly.

He had prepared his questions on the drive once it had become clear he had no chance at any entertainment, without more details it was the standard survey; Could you please describe exactly what you saw? Do you have any reason to believe you were being targeted? Is there somewhere else you can stay whilst we carry out this investigation? How new is the strange odour? Have any of your neighbours reported hearing noises at night? It was admittedly harder when they were investigating something that wouldn't need a personal history but he was going to put his best foot forward anyways. From the veritable arsenal Eddard was bringing and the variety of objects from Nikhil he had not even wished to question he was just going to go along with the flow and trust they'd find themselves headed in the right direction. Maybe a little snooping would make it easier for him.

Once the RV had come to a stop he hopped out alongside the others, helping offload their equipment from the van for Nikhil and Otter to carry whilst the pair readied the cameras. He slinked up alongside Crowley once the pair seemed to be sorted and he eyed the croissant and wondered if he could pass some muffins onto Crowley, lord knows they could do with eating more. Creamer was not a food group even if you consumed it religiously.

But his cunning plan was interrupted by what he was sure was an entirely serious question.

"Bigfeet feels better but fuck knows, fishes is correct despite every part of me hating it." Nate shrugged, adopting a similar pensive tone though with an easy grin on his face alongside it, "Either way he'll be needing big shoes, maybe that's what we ask the client about-" He straightened up and adopted the tone of voice he only ever used when he was doing his best to reassure clients how very seriously they were taking their problem and how very sorry he was. And he truly was on both counts but Nathaniel's natural easy-going tone tended to rub their more senior clients the wrong way so he'd learned to adapt. "Any shoes gone missing? Maybe we should take a photo, wait, pho-toe of the closet just to check." A self satisfied grin flashed across his face as he laughed at his own joke, "Don't want to drag our feet and have to come back and do it later." He'd given Crowley his peace for the entirety of the ride, he'd earnt the right to make at least two jokes. "You should use some of these in your article, I won't even demand writers credit."

Otto and Nikhil were practically joined as the hip per usual as Otter led the charge and Nikhil followed so closely behind and he craned his head around to call out to the others, "Bigfoot or Goatman, what's the betting?" Personally Nate hadn't heard of either producing strange smells but that was why it wasn't his job to research. He pulled off one of the straps of his backpack so he could unveil the prize to getting this question right, "The winner, or winners I do believe in you all, can get a muffin." He really needed someone to take them. Jackson or Eddard had to know, as the resident nerds of the group, although it almost felt like cheating for Eddard to win with the decades he had on the rest of them. If he won he'd get half a muffin. That seemed fairer. "Of course if you're Benny you get a muffin upon it being neither of those creatures but I do not like those odds."

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