We travel back to Los Angels for the world premier opening of the Wide World of Wonders at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Chris gets a telegram from one of the film’s backers and is told the film may be in danger and it should be protected. He rounds up Evgeny and Traicho and heads over to the office where the film is being stored. Once there we wait in the office why they get the box from the vault.
As we are taking the box out we feel something is strange – so we have the box opened. Inside are canisters of film. We drive over to the Chinese Theater to deliver the film. The building is still under construction, but the opening and foyer have already been finished. Charlie and Aaron have run about half of the reels through the machine and will finish the rest tomorrow. We spend the night at the theater guarding the film.
The day passes – nothing happens.
Premier of the Film
We take turns leaving and getting dressed for the event. As the evening goes on the rich, famous, and Hollywood elite begin to turn up. Elena goes down to schmooze with many of the cinema honchos, Traicho goes as well. Evgeny sits on the film crate decrying prohibition with Chris for company.
Before the film begins Chris goes down to the table to join Traicho and Elena for the showing – leaving Evgeny to guard the canisters as they are shown. As the first part of the film finishes and the lights come up there is a blood-curdling scream. Everyone turns around and see a woman standing at the back the of the theater with a blood soaked dress.
When Traicho gets there he sees a man’s body – missing his head and hands. He finds the man’s head beside the table. Several men in the audience grab Elena and Chris who suddenly find blood on their hands and clothing. They are pushed out into the lobby and surrounded by a shocked mob. Chris manages to push himself free, but Elena stays behind.
It is not long before Chris is captured and Elena is shoved into the back of a squad car and taken to the downtown precinct. Eventually Traicho and Evgeny go to the precinct to speak with them. Elena says she knew the man who was killed – he was a thug who was arrested when he tried to upgrade his skills to bank robber.
Traicho and Evgeny chat with the woman who was next to the man during the showing. She is a mark fresh off the bus from Georgia who has been giving private “auditions” to a director. It was the director who gave her the tickets to the showing; although he was sitting somewhere up front.
We break into the office of the director and it is a dead end.
Long dead tales of the dead
Elena and Chris are eventually released for lack of enough evidence to hold them. We all meet up at the theater and give it a complete shake-down. On the chair of the man murdered we discover the remains of a mechanical “device” that was used to chop off the man’s hands and head at the same time. In addition there is evidence that something above the chairs we were assigned was used to drop blood on us. We show this evidence to the cops and after a brief conversation the sergeant tells us that we have requested to come back to the precinct.
At the precinct we are led into the cold storage room where they have kept the body. When they uncover the body we see that it is covered with Chinese tattoos. The tattoos talk about the Greek legend of Pandora’s box. When Chris finishes telling the tale of Pandora it sparks remembrance in Evgeny about the box that Louis left for him. That box contained nothing more than a strip of paper with the word “Hope” written on it.
Elena finally comes clean and tells us that she had a child by the guy who was killed and she was the one that arranged two tickets for him. While chewing that over the watch captain tells us the dead man (Francis Bowling) was wanted for the murder of Father Merrick in New York.
Evgeny is given two letters that arrived at the Aeon Society while he was gone. The first arrived several weeks ago from Louis. He is in San Francisco and is in trouble – he needs my help. The second is from my half-brother and came just two days ago. He reiterates that his father is in trouble and has been taken.
Chris knows that the Tong have heavily infested the San Francisco area – so off we go to more Adventure.
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