Jackfish – Day 1

You are in a small northern town, or what remains of it. There are a few ruined homes, now largely reclaimed by the pines, and an ancient dock that you wouldn’t trust to carry your weight out over the water. Lake Superior is calm, and laps quietly at a small beach covered in pebbles. No engine sounds on the horizon, no motor hums. You may be hours from civilization, you aren’t entirely sure.

All seems peaceful, and if it weren’t for the remains of Leroy Perch you might be tempted to relax by the lakeside.

56 Responses to Jackfish – Day 1

  1. Elwood Dulka

    Hi, I’m Elwood and I’m not afraid to admit I’m scared. I don’t know how we’ll figure this out, but I guess we have to try because… I really want to go home to my nice peaceful garden.

  2. Martin

    “I… don’t understand… what’s happening?”

  3. Anya

    “I don’t know. Let me see if there is something on YouTube about it.” She takes out her phone and frowns as she tries to load the app.

    “The signal out here is terrible.”

    She taps a bit more and holds her phone out as if she is taking a video of the scene. “Maybe I can be the first to post it.”

  4. Rick

    “What were they talking about? This can’t be real – I need to get out of here. I need to get home!”

  5. Tim

    “Listen, everyone needs to calm down. I don’t know who this “Hinge” person is – and did that guy Leroy say he was here to KILL us? I think maybe we should take a minute and introduce ourselves.”

    “My name is Timothy” I say, tapping my name tag, “and I’m the bus driver. How many of us are there? The bus doesn’t have a manifesto…”

  6. Natashia Bright

    Namaste, My name is Natasha Bright, may I suggest we all form a circle and meditate for a few minutes. It will help calm us down.

  7. [Hello all: Quick clarification – feel free to vote whenever, I just tally the count at 5PM. No need to be hovering at the keyboard at the appointed time, unless you want to hold your vote till the last possible second.]

  8. Tim

    I take out a pencil and paper and begin to jot down names.

    “I think I heard someone say Elwood? So, we’ve got Elwood, Martin, Anya, Rick and I. And Leroy over there.” I motion to the bloodied remains.

    “…But I don’t think he’s going to be any help.”

  9. Tim

    “Oops, sorry. Didn’t catch you there Natasha. Um….namaste to you to?”

  10. Rick

    “Natasha – I’m all for trying to calm down but if this is real then we need to find out who the FEF are, no time to waste! I know I’m not one of them – I just want to go home. Maybe if we all say something about ourselves it’ll help figure things out? Where were you all travelling from?”

  11. Thomas Blight

    “That was sure something… reminds me of the time I was fishing off the coast of Antarctica, cable at the front of the fishing trawler let go, cut the cabin boy clear in half…..” Thomas looks in to the far away distance for some time, then mutters.. “These old bones aren’t going to carry me much longer…” Then to the group. “Has anyone seen my fishing pole, I can’t remember where I put it down…. it says my name on it, Thomas Blight…. but the B’s scratched off so it actually says light….”

  12. Billy

    “Man, I’ve been in some f**ked up situations, but I have a feeling this is going to be the most messed up s**t of all.” *sigh*

    “You’ve all handed out your names, so I may as well tell you mine is Billy. It’s nice to meet all of you, even though it sounds like I won’t be knowing you for very long.”

  13. Thomas Blight

    “This Yoga stuff bends me the wrong way….. Namastay over there Timbo.”

  14. Anya

    “I was on my way to my Mother’s house before the bus was stopped. I’ve never even heard of the FEF before today. You would think there would be videos about them.” Anya again tries to pull up her Youtube app on her phone and frowns when it won’t load. She huffs in frustration and puts her phone in her pocket.

    “What about the rest of you? Have you heard of them before?”

  15. Billy

    “Yea, they’re a street gang back home. But they started on MySpace so I’m sure you don’t know about them.”


    I’m kidding, I have no idea who the hell they are. But I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t last a day on the wrong block of 8 Mile.”

  16. Tim

    “Alright alright folks, let’s try to keep calm. I don’t know where that heicopter came from but I didn’t see it following us when we left Timmins earlier. Anyone recognize the markings? I don’t see it now, but I’m reticent to get back on the bus and try to drive away.”

    Tim takes a long look at the group of people huddled together on the shore of Superior.

    “So we’ve got Elwood, Martin, Anya, Rick, Natasha, Tom, Billy and I. That’s 8 people. And if we can believe what the late Leroy said, then there are at least three FEF in our midst; this Hinge person and two others. That means some of us here aren’t who they appear to be…” he says, narrowing his eyes.

    “Tom, you said you brought your fishing pole? Where exactly were you headed to?” Tim asks. “….Because this bus wasn’t scheduled to stop anywhere near this lake.”

  17. Thomas Blight

    “It’s Thomas, please and thank you. As for my pole, I take it everywhere, never know when you can get a chance to cast a line. I remember a time back in 1952.. the summer if i recall, when I was the only young man with out my pole, and the great salmon run hit our spot on the river, that was three agonizing impotent hours, of me standing there and watching the boys bring in fish after fish….. those were the days…….” Thomas fades off thinking about his past.

  18. Thomas Blight

    “FEF sounds like one of those new words, like gif and lol….. I expect my grand nephew to use words like that….. is there a payphone around, i could call my nice and and see if the boy’s around….. he might know the answer….”

  19. Martin

    “The bus driver doesn’t want to drive. Can’t say that I blame him with those thugs up there. But if he were part of these FEF wouldn’t he want to try to get away? I’m gonna place my bets that Tim isn’t one of them. “

  20. Anya

    Anya raises an eyebrow at Tomas’sresponse and shakes her head. “What about you Martin? You have been awfully quiet. Where were you headed to?”

  21. Thomas Blight

    “The last person I heard of with the name Anya, was a vengeance demon….. are you a demon Anya, or should I call you Anyanka!?”

  22. Anya

    She puts her hands on her hips in anger, “My name is Anya. I don’t even know what a vengeance demon is, old man.”

    Anya points a finger at him and scowls, “You are probably that Hinge person, you certainly seem unhinged to me. Maybe the black helicopter wants you because you are crazy. You probably know some kind of secret and they don’t want you to tell anyone what it is.”

  23. Tim

    “Hey, don’t get me wrong Martin. I want nothing more than to drive away from this right now…but I don’t trust that helicopter to stay gone.” Tim mutters as he eyes the sky above the treeline.

    “I suppose Thomas isn’t the only geezer to ever carry around a line just in case. Can’t really fault him for that I guess.”

    He scans the surroundings, rights his jacket and heads determinedly down to the beach.

    ‘Well, if we’re stuck here we might as well get comfortable. I’m going to see what I can do to start a campfire. Maybe you could toss your pole off that dock and see if you can fish us up something, Thomas.

    “I don’t really know who to trust right now, but we need to start considering what’s going to happen after the sun goes down. I think we’re in for a long night.”

  24. Rick

    “This isn’t a game- that voice sounded serious about us voting. We need to know more about each other so we can get out of here alive. I just want to go home, I never wanted to get mixed up in anything crazy. I was heading home from a tournament in Toronto, it took a long time and I’m exhausted.

    So here’s what we know – Elwood wants to go home to their garden, Tim was driving the bus, Anya was on her way to her mother’s house, Natasha hasn’t spoken up much. That leaves Martin, Thomas, and Billy who haven’t told us where they were going. That kind of information could help if we’re going to trust you.”

  25. Eddie Mitchum

    “Eddie Mitchum,” a guy off to the side introduces himself in turn. “Hey, lay offa Thomas, would ya? Can’t blame him for being all wound up, considering. Truth be told, I could use a drink myself, take the edge off.”

    “As to destinations, I’m going home to Boston myself. Or was. How do you figure /they/ consider it as sure thing’ that Hinge is taken out?” He glances up at the helicopter and shakes his head.

  26. Billy

    “I’m actually just heading….wherever. I just picked a bus and got on it. I needed to get out of my hometown for a bit. Let things back there…..calm down a little bit.”

  27. Billy

    “And where DID the nameste lady go? She seemed REALLY relaxed for someone that might end up dead before dawn.”

  28. If no one votes one last-moment ballot could be a killer.

    However, if everyone abstains maybe you can buy yourself one more day?

  29. Two women in the corner appear very quiet: One, Elenore, wears combat boots and her hair short. The other, Nina, carries a large case that appears to be full of paintings.

    Is their silence suspicious? It’s hard to say.

  30. The folks currently trapped in the ruins of Jackfish:

    Thomas Blight
    Eddie Mitchum

  31. I’m going to wait till 6PM tonight, just for this first vote, because I’m hearing from folks who want to check in still.

  32. Elenore

    Well this is akward, I know of the FEF, and they are going to be the last person you suspect them to be, like Namaste Natasha over there ready to meditate. I’m Elenore, but most people have called me Brill over the years. I guess I can be thankful we ended up on a beautiful lake like this but man I thought I had escaped this type of $h!t. Meditating isn’t going to help any of us, that’s for sure.

  33. Tim

    Tim stands and dusts the sand off his trousers as he addresses the group.

    “Alright, now that I’ve got the fire going, let’s settle the matter of who we have here and who’s spoken up.”

    He takes his notepad out of his pocket and starts listing off names.

    “We’ve now got Elwood, Martin, Anya, Rick, Natasha, Tom, Billy, Eddie and I. That’s 9 people. I know we had 11 on the bus, so who here hasn’t said anything yet?” he asks as he scans the gathered crowd. “Awfully suspicious if you ask me. But let’s ignore their silence for a moment. Leroy’s death was a pretty big shock and that can take a while to wear off. Let’s focus on what we know about everyone.”

    He checks his notes.

    “-Elwood wants to go home, but hasn’t said where.
    -Anya is on her way to her mother’s house.
    -Eddie is on his way home to Boston and looks like he needs a drink pretty bad.
    -Rick is going home from a hockey tournament in Toronto.
    -Anya says she hasn’t heard of FEF, can’t get a cell signal and isn’t a fan of Thomas.
    -Thomas curiously had a fishing pole despite not knowing we’d stop at a lake, but says he always has it with him.
    -Natasha hasn’t spoken up much except to suggest we do some meditating
    -Martin has been relatively quiet except to note the actions of others (mentioning nothing about himself)
    – and Billy who just….got on this bus for no reason? No reason except to get away from his hometown until things “settled down”? Dunno ’bout you guys but if that doesn’t sound cagey then i don’t know what does.

    “Then we have those two ladies over there who haven’t spoken up. Maybe they’re still in shock? I’ll go check on them while you guys discuss what we know.”

    Tim turns away and starts towards the lone women. Over his shoulder he calls back to the group, “I think we ought to consider tying the most suspicious character to the trees over my the ruined buildings. That way we can sleep at night without worrying what they’ll get up to. It’s getting dark, though. I don’t think we have much time….”

  34. Tim

    “Glad you hear you speak up Elenore, or should we call you Brill?
    What can you tell us about FEF? I can’t recall hearing the name in the news at all? Also, what do you mean when you say you thought you had “escaped this shit”?”

  35. Billy

    “While I’m not sure I trust any of you yet, I also don’t feel comfortable possibly condemning one of you to die either. I’ve learned the hard way that when you jump to conclusions, you usually jump too high.”

  36. Tim

    Tim nods sagely.

    “I understand your reticence, Billy, but if we don’t start sussing out the FEF then they’ll SURELY get one of us during the night and I, personally, am not excited about them winnowing down our numbers.”

  37. Tim

    Tim raises his hand.

    “I’m leaning towards keeping Nina apart from the group. It’s almost dark and she hasn’t said anything yet. Shock or no, things are getting serious and she’s still a loose canon.”

    “Does anyone else agree?”

  38. Rick

    “I think we’re starting to jump to conclusions – maybe we can buy one day before accusing anyone to get to know each other. We’re all on edge from what happened, I vote we take the evening to talk a bit if the guys in the chopper will allow it”

  39. Elenore Brill

    Learned the hard way eh Billy? How’s that?
    Call me whatever you want. The only thing I know about the FEF is that most people don’t know them, and don’t ever get the chance too, until it’s too late. But it’s all based on rumours, nothing concrete. Still not the people I think any of us want to have against us, especially if they’re already in our numbers.

  40. Anya

    Anya looks over at Nina and nods, “I think that might be a good idea. Tim, you sure seem to have a good handle on things. Have you done this before?”

  41. Natashia Bright

    I love how Tim is trying to control everyone in the circle, but I am a little leary of anyone with control issues, no matter how well meaning. After all, what if he is MIS-leading us? Anyway, I have a pinner, but I am more than willing to share.

  42. Tim

    “Look, I can’t speak for everyone, only for myself. I don’t know what kind of control ANY of us has, but I know that we can’t all be trusted.”

    Tim looks back at the bus consideringly. “Maybe I’ll spend the night in the bus. If I keep it locked at least someone’ll have to break a window to get to me.”

    Looking back at the group, he shrugs. “I mean, you can’t ALL be FEF, so if anyone hears a window break they’ll know something’s up, right?”

  43. Natashia Bright

    Elenore’s boots disturb me, I am sorry to say. They remind me of that song, Fairies wear boots by Black Sabbath. I am not SaYinG that she is suspicious,but … I am sorry Elenore. Elenore?

  44. Natashia Bright

    Tim, I do think that might be worth a try.

  45. Tim

    Tim turns to Anya and shrugs again. “I’ve see of lot of crazies on the bus over the years, m’am. It pays to keep a sharp eye. Remember a few years back when that guy cut that other guy’s head off on the Greyhound?”

    He lets out a low whistle. “Not on MY bus, m’am.”

  46. Nina

    FEF? What’s that like FBI? Why would they want to kill us? Why did you take us here Tim?? Is this part of the plan?

  47. Tim

    “So it seems to me we’ve decided that we’ll stay together tonight? We’re not kicking anyone out of the group?”

    He nods in resignation. “Well, good luck tonight folks. I’m keeping to myself in the bus. I hope to see you all again in the morning.”

    And with that, he wanders back over to the bus and climbs aboard, closing the door behind him.

    • Martin

      “Me? I’m an academic. I study old books – really old books. Mostly things before mass production made … anyway. Where am I going? I heard there’s an old book shop at the end of the line….”. I look about. “Are we really going to throw accusations around?”

  48. With one obviously selected by the group, the black dot that hovers above – or is a different dot? Did they switch out while you weren’t paying attention? – holds its fire.

    You all survived the day – but will you make it through the night?

    [I will leave this thread open till 9AM for further conversation, then I’ll post a fresh day to begin Day’s 2 voting.]

  49. Elenore Brill

    Thanks Tim! leave the rest of us out here why don’t you!
    Looks like it is us and the stars tonight. By the way these boots you are so suspiscious of, the only thing they have ever done is helped save people.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Tim was hiding something in that bus… or if it mirculously disappears tonight.

  50. Elenore Brill

    We can’t just leave… ugh what was his name?

    Leeroy? Yah, we can’t just leave Leeroy’s body lying here, I wiss I had a shovel right now. I mean he practically sacrificed himself to not have to kill us. We can’t just leave him here it wouldn’t be right, even if he was sent here to kill us, plus he’ll start to smell before too long and I won’t be able to sleep knwoign he is lying here like this. Anyone want to help?

  51. Tim

    Tim cranks open the side window.

    “Y’know, I can HEAR you from here.” he shouts.

    “The whole point was to stay within earshot, remember?” he huffs.
    “And to answer your question, I don’t KNOW where we are! That helicopter ran us off the road, and I’ve never been down this way before.”

  52. Anya

    This was the longest Anya had ever spent without looking at her phone. She pulled it out of her pocket and began to walk around the area, holding it up to see if she could get a signal. Still no luck. It was a good thing she had downloaded a few of her favorite videos and music.

    She looked over her shoulder at Elenore and nodded before walking over. “I’ll help. I watched a video on this once. We can use a chunk of wood as a makeshift shovel and stack rocks on top of him to make a cairn.”

    Once the body is taken care of, Anya finds a comfortable place to watch her saved videos and sleep for the night.

  53. Natashia Bright

    Sure Elenore, put some of this under your nostrils. (Natasha digs in her big macrame bag pulls out a tiny bottle that says patchouli oil, and waves it under Elenore’s nose) After this I have some granola we can share. I was saving it for the protest but, no better time than now.

  54. Thomas Blight

    I fell asleep….. so tired these days….