The landscape changes almost instantly when they arrive within the borders of Kansas. The destruction from the ghost rock bombs is much different- horrifying for sure, but it leaves much more standing. This place has been ravaged. Everything, down to the dirt itself has been bombed into oblivion. What little they find left standing comes in the form of piles of rubble, or burned out, crumpled wrecks.
The utter obliteration is coupled by an eerily still calm. Their only company on the drive is a bit of flickering wind. While this is unsettling, it at least makes for a relatively safe drive toward Wichita.
If they had not know there was a city here before, there would be no reason to believe that one had existed. The main section of town looks more like the craterous surface of the moon.
They are actually surprised to see that a settlement has sprung up here. A makeshift wall outlines the small town. There is a gate at the North side which is manned by a few people. There are small grouping of folks outside the walls, and a decent trickle of them flowing in and out through the gate.
The posse parks the van a good distance outside town and exits. During the walk up to the town they notice there are very few guards. On top of that, the few guards that are there do not appear to be heavily armed. This is curious, but the crew chalks it up to the fact that they are in such remote location.
Upon arriving at the gate they are greeted by a “friendly” man. He has a slight European accent. He notes that they do not appear to be locals, and inquires is they need help getting around town. He introduces himself- and asks for their names.
Ben – “Jack Thomas”
Hammy – “Chuck Bronson”
Nigel – “Nigel”
Ben and Hammy give Nigel a look. He whispers something to the effect that his accent is liable to give him aware regardless.
The posse asks for directions to a pub and to the town center. The friendly man obliges. They also ask about places to stay. While there are no rooms for rent, the posse can – and should – camp out within the walls of the town. The crew asks about about the – should- part of that statement. Apparently there are terrible things out there in the dark of night, and it is safer to stay within the walls.
Ben hatches a scheme to find out about “monsters” in the area. This way they can find out if anyone has seen the Pumpkin King.
They arrive at the town center and approach. They are greeted by some armed goons. The muscle at the door asks what their business is with the boss. Ben instantly jumps into his scheme -
“Jack Thomas, reporter and investigative journalist for JunkYard News. We are doing a documentary on the monsters of the Wastelands. We’d like to get an interview about monsters in this area”
The chumpy fellow blinks for a moment. “Oh, one of ’dem librarian guys. Lemme go tell the boss.” The goon arrives back a few moments later. “You can come in, but only you Mr. reporter man, your friends stay out here.” Ben agrees. Just before he enters, Hammond places his hand on Ben’s shoulder “Have a good interview Jack- remember we’ll be right here” wink Ben gets the hint and mind links with Hammond so they can listen in on what is happening.
Town Center – the "Mayor"’s office
The “Mayor” answers some of “Jack Thomas”’s questions, until he starts to ask about the Pumpkin Kng. With a little prodding the “Mayor” reveals that the legend of the Pumpkin King is just that, a legend.
As the story goes, a group of survivors were out scavenging for supplies near an old cemetery. Although there had been many undead there, one of them stood out. As best as they could reckon, the zombie must have fallen and landed face first on a pumpkin. His head was lodged in the gourd and it managed to get up and shuffle about.
The image of the pumpkin headed zombie, coupled with the lost of many of the scavenging crew that day, gave rise to the Pumpkin King legend. “But enough of your questions” – the “Mayor” notes.
The leader of Near Witchita then begins to show his hand. He calls Ben by his real name, and indicates that they knew exactly who they were from the moment the posse entered town. The black widow on top of the van gave it away- and the 3 men fit the basic descriptions.
Exterior Hammond whisper to Nigel that they may be in trouble, and fills him in to what is happening inside the house.
The leader has heard of their involvement in places such as Kingman and Junkyard, and does not wish to see anything of the kind in his peaceful town. They will not be assisted and will be under a watchful eye during their stay here. Ben is allowed to leave peacefully.
The posse meets back up. They grab a quick meal at the pub. Afterwards they head out to the van.
The night is closing in an they will have to stay withing the town. However, while they still have sunlight, they reassemble the ultralight. Ben pilots the small craft up in the air to get a good survey of the nearby areas.
There are places of interest in each direction, but the 2 of top interest are an old farm house, and a corn field.
They make camp within the town and head out in the morning in the direction of the farm house.
Old farm house
The yard of the house is long overgrown. Some kind of vine has enveloped most of the house. they approach the front of the house and find that the front door area is clear of vines. In face, the door seems to be basically untouched.
They open the door. Despite the exposure to the elements, and lack of maintenance- the door opens without even the slightest creak. The posse enters the farm house.
Inside they find a foyer with a large staircase heading up. There are doors to the left and the right. Next to the stairs is a coat rack. Three coats sit on the rack – one typical of a man, one a woman, and one which looks like an adolescent’s coat.
They take the door to the left and find a dinning room. The table is set with plates, but has clearly been in disuse. On the wall they find a photo of the house, as well as one of a tornado.
Next they venture into the kitchen. The smell within this room is that of old, rotted blood. There is part of a deer carcass resting on the counter top. Sheer morbid curiosity causes the posse to open the fridge. Within they find some of the parts of the deer, but more disturbing- there are bags of blood.
They find a door leading outside. Hammond tries to open it, but the door is so thickly covered in vines that it will barely budge.
The crew presses on into the next room. This looks like a study. There is a fireplace at the center back wall. Inside the fireplace, a small electric fake-fire emits a soft orange/yellow glow. Several feet out from the fireplace are two wingback chairs.
As the posse moves farther into the room, they see that there are dessicated corpses in each chair. The hands of the two bodies have been forcibly twisted to interlock, as if they were holding hands.
Hammond comments – “Why would someone put them in that position?”
A voice chirps out from behind them -“Because that is how they always sit, side-by-side, hand-in-hand.”
They turn and find an adolescent girl with long scraggly dark hair, dressed in a distinctive blue gingham dress. She peers at them with large eyes. At first they appear orange from the reflection of the fire- but then they take on a distinctive red glow. The posse instantly recognizes this as vampire vision.
“I’m glad you’ve come to play with us!” She lets out a high pitched whistle. Bursting forth from the door on the right side of the room is a large dog/man type creature. Storming in from the kitchen side is a massive hulk of a man- or rather, several men stitched together.
Unbeknownst to the posse, out in the yard of the farm house there is a well. The cover of the well lifts off slowly. From within the dark hole emerges a webbed hand. A scaly fish-man creature climbs out from the well and heads toward the house