Baby’s engines fired up but wouldn’t consistently fire. Nicky explodes from the Ship Ahoy! Restroom, pants around his ankles. He grabs a crow bar and taps on his car’s window. Earl rolls down the window and stammers, “The Father told me to get out of here fast. He meant for me to take this, right?”
The Father did not mean that. Once Earl got out of the car, Nicky was quick to slam the crow bar against Earl’s arm.
“Everybody calm down,” Father Ryan plead.
“Yeah, he’s offered us five hundred bucks each to clear out his park,” Tony reasoned.
“If this psycho swings that crow bar again, I’m cutting the offer down a hundred bucks,” Earl protested.
Nicky scores fifty bucks on a wager that he can get his boat repaired. Fifteen minutes later, Nicky collects the cash. While Nicky works magic with his tools, Father Ryan tries to help Tony with his ribs. A slip of the fingers later, Tony hollers into the night, in even more pain.
Earl takes off down the lake, and the group gathers on the pier to stand watch over the waterfront, making sure more False Faces don’t show up.
Nicky reminisces about his childhood, when his dad snuck him out of the house late at night and drove him to the shore. They’d watch the passing vehicles, and Nicky’s father made up stories about all the important jobs the drivers were performing and all the places the trucks were headed. “You’re in the best place of all,” Nicky’ father said… “Home.”
The next morning, the group gathers at Claude’s restaurant for breakfast. Claude spends time training Sammy, the great-great niece of the restaurant’s original owner. Father Ryan performs mass and hears confessions. He visits with the widow Jenkins, a neighborhood busy body who lives near the French Quarter. She informs the Father that someone saw Earl Brewton in town… without his family, moving about like a man on a mission. Tony, already a night owl, continues his typical routine. Nicky gives baby a tune up.
The gumshoes meet Earl at 6pm outside the Old Spanish Fort. Earl gives them a run down of the place and opens the gates and gives them the key. He informs them he’ll wait in his car. If any creatures look like they’re coming out of the park, he’ll take off.
The gumshoes pass through the rusted, creaking front gates of the Old Spanish Fort Amusement Park onto Main Street, CSA. To their left is the casino. To the right is the restaurant, Over the Rhine. Further back, they see the Scenic Railway tracks, rising like an alien temple from the vines and trees. In their mind, they can hear the screams from the passengers who rode over it last July 4th. Ahead of them is a Civil War submersible, quite possibly the world’s first submarine. A plaque commemorates the brave crew of the submersible “Pioneer.”
Over the Rhine is a classy German restaurant. The dining room is in a recessed floor. On one side of the restaurant, they see an ornate fountain, water still trickling down the stones into the bowl. It looks like the place could be cleaned and open for business tomorrow. Of course, there’s the horrible stench that assaults them when they step inside.
The investigators see an arm sticking out of the fountain. Claude sees a Betty Boop in CSA naval uniform tattoo on his arm. Father Ryan recognizes it as the tattoo found on all members of Mallroy’s Ironclads, a Confederate Navy Flotilla that’s in charge of the CSA Army Supply Depot in the Lower Ninth. They step closer and find the man has several bullet wounds, all professionally and recently patched up.
After some healing and wrapping the unconscious man in a table cloth, they finally get him talking. His name is Elijah Joyce, and the last thing he remembers is leaving the house two days ago to report for training. They walk Elijah out of the park. Elijah and Earl uncomfortably make small talk.
The gumshoes follow tracks into the hotel-casino and find four bikes ditched in the lobby. The prints lead into the casino, which is eerily silent… to everyone but Antonio. A spotlight illuminates a pale spindly demon with black circles around his albino face. He wears a black and white striped suit and calls from an empty dealer’s table. “New table. Fresh cards! Get a fresh start! Everybody wants to be a winner!”
The dealer looks over at Antonio. “Game isn’t rigged. I keep it fair. How about it, bucko? Wanna belly up to the table, get a little more fire flowing through that ink [bottle/cock cannon]? Call on me, your spells will be more powerful. You’ll be able to defeat any foe, win any kitten’s bacon… why’d I have to say bacon? I’m starving, which brings me to the cost… in exchange for an exclusive seat at my table, in exchange for more potent effects, I just want to eat at the tables you’ve eaten at, without having to deal with splitting the bill or doggy bags. I’ll take the food right from there [he points at Antonio’s belly]. Belly up, big boy! You’ll feel a bit peckish after playing with me, but help yourself to a buffet, get yourself some jambalaya and you’ll be right as rain. Do we have a deal? Let’s shake on it!”
The dealer pulls out a shotgun and blows away a ghoul leaving the casino. “No stealing office supplies, Gus!” the dealer shouts. A dozen pens (most are broken) fall out of the sky. A red one lands in the dealer’s hand. With a wave he produces a contract. “Sign on the dotted line, Tex?”
Antonio signs on the line, and Hungry Jim puts a new tattoo on Antonio’s thigh: an apple with a bite missing.
The gumshoes leave the hotel-casino and make their way toward the ferris wheel, where they find a bench broken and blood on the wooden safety bar. False Face footprints lead into the haunted house. Two clown-like monstrosities come out of the haunted house’s shadows and attack. Tony punches one in the face, knocking its head off, into the air, and it lands impaled on a flag pole. Claude finds an iron bar sticking out of the ferris wheel and attacks the other, smashing it. The ferris wheel, missing a lynch pin, breaks loose and chases Antonio toward the fence.
The attraction wasn’t well cared for the seasons before the False Faces arrived, making it look even more genuine as a haunted house. Now, it’s an accident waiting to happen. The floor threatens to break beneath your feet. Cobwebs fill the interior. Besides the rot and mold, there’s even the smell of a gas leak. Wooden coffins mounted to railroad flat cars serve as the transportation through the house of nightmares.
Antonio casts Dark vision on himself and Tony, who leads the way into the Bird’s Eye room. A giant photograph of New Orleans, taken from a Hellestromme zeppelin, fills the entire floor. The walls and ceiling look like the night sky. Luckily, no one has a phobia of heights.
To the south side of the track, you see a massive guillotine, big enough to chop the head off a giant. A small hill of severed heads lie in front of the guillotine. Then, in front of the tombstones, the graves are open. Skeletons pull themselves out of the ground. Zombies rise from the graves.
Tony nearly falls into an open fake grave. Claude notes the gnawed bones are real… And probably human. As Father Ryan and Antonio reach the far end of the room, two False Faces emerge from a false grave that contains a stairway leading beneath the attraction.
After dispatching the creatures, Father Ryan and Antonio proceed into the next room to secure the upper level, leaving the others to defend the stairs.
The walls, ceiling and floor of the eastern room are painted to resemble hellfire. Fans blow gels in front of lights to create a flickering fire effect. Statues of demons and foul creatures sacrifice innocent victims. As you progress through the chamber you’re haunted by a feeling that some abysmal force is watching you.
Tony realizes the sacrificial victim on the altar seems too life like. He approaches and discovers it’s the corpse of Crystal Turner, eaten alive. Father Ryan backs away and takes off running toward the others. Tony’s heart stutters, his vision blurs, and he drops, coming to thirty seconds later, Father Ryan pouring medicinal brandy down his gullet.