August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Portland, Maine
August, 1928.
Steven Gilbert is a wealthy businessman, a leading exponent of the bourgeoisie of the roaring twenties. He sees his heritage project going up in smoke, when Timothy, his only six-year-old son, disappears.
A group of investigators will try to find his missing son. The group may include:

1) Police detectives
2) Private detective hired by Gilbert
3) Relatives or friends strongly motivated to find the missing kid

But Timothy´s disappearance is not the only gloomy burden weighing on the Gilbert family. Alyssa, Timothy's mother, committed suicide one year ago, and the reason for such an extreme action is still obscure.

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August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby robertod » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:29 am

The Nathan Clifford Elementary School is located in Durham Street, between the Back Cove and the Deering Oaks Park. Constructed in 1907-1909 with up-to-date technology to the latest standards, it is considered a model for schools in the area. It is a three-story brick building in the Oakdale neighborhood. It is a Classical Revival structure, built out of brick with stone trim, set on a granite foundation. It has an H-shaped layout, with projecting wings flanking a central section. A parapet surrounds the flat roof, with a decorative medallion positioned above the main entrance.

Benjamin Oulette is the school principal, and meets the investigators in his office. There are comfortable armchairs placed in front of a large desk. The wall has many framed photographs, representing groups of students of the past years. Oulette is a late fifty bald, short man, with bulbous nose and leather skin. His suit is typical for a middle class man. He is wearing a notch lapel, dark brown wool, three piece suit with coordinating vest and pants. As the investigators arrive, Oulette appears visibly shaken and smiles with little naturalness, clearly simulating. He looks perplexed and worried about the impact on the school's reputation, if Timothy is not found soon.

He shakes everybody´s hands.

"It is difficult for us to deal with that. What happened is terrible. I hope you sirs won´t think this school is not safe for our students. They are like our children for us. We are building their future here.... We are ready to collaborate and hear your questions... also I´m gonna call here Mr. Allen the gymn teacher that was with the kids when Timothy disappeared...."

The gymn teacher is immediately called as the group gets there. He´s a young blond man, with athletic and muscular body. He´s wearing a tracksuit, and a whistle is hanging around his neck. He tries to hide his nervousness. He´s visibly concerned. His voice is sad and embarrassed.

"My name is Matthew Allen, I´m the gymn teacher. I was with the kids when Timothy disappeared. We were here outdoors. I had counted them, then I led them to their classroom. Halfway, I realized Timothy was not there. I came back, but he wasn´t there anymore. He wasn´t anywhere. I can take you there if you want and I´m ready to answer all your questions. The gate was closed. No adult other than the teachers and the janitors has been seen within the school perimeter. The gate and the entrance door are always closed. Even if an adult had sneaked inside here and kidnapped the kid, he surely could not get out easily without anyone noticing him. Our hypothesis is that the boy escaped by climbing over the fence, and did it when no one was paying attention to him. "
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby Mr. Handy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:04 am

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"Yes, I would like to see where it happened," says Kathryn. "It might be possible to pick up his trail. Has there been any change in Timothy's behavior prior to his disappearance?"
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby jp1885 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:29 am

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As she continues to jot down notes, Ivy concurs with Kathryn's suggestions.

"We also need to speak to the children who were with Timothy when he disappeared."
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby robertod » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:42 pm

The gymn teacher takes the group to see the courtyard. A hedge and a wall surrounds the school, including the field in the courtyard. The hedge is four feet and dense with vegetation. The wall beyond the hedge is six feet tall. There´s also a closed iron gate.
The man leads the investigators to a specific point in the hedge where the branches of the bushes are broken, as if someone had passed through. There are leaves on the ground. Beyond the hedge is the stone wall. Here the wall is dotted with cracks and holes, many of which could serve as climbing grips.

The principal also arrives, together with a kid.
"This is Murray. He´s Timothy best friend. Timothy was with him the last time Mr. Allen saw him. "
Murray is pale-skinned child with red hair. He´s wearing a pullover, a pair of knee-length trousers, accompanied by ankle socks and canvas shoes.
Noticing that other adults are present, he gets ashamed and scared, as guessing they could be there because he did something wrong. He would like to hide somewhere or run away. Murray says Timothy was indeed nearby that point of the hedge the last time he saw him.
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby jp1885 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:13 pm

Image

Ivy is no expert on children, but she can tell that Murray is nervous. She does her best to smile, something that doesn't come naturally.

"Kathryn, why don't you talk to this young man alone over there..." She inclines her head to the courtyard. "...while We speak to these gentlemen."

She turns the two teachers' attention to the gap in the hedge.

"Has this been here long? I mean, is it a known route used by children to leave the school and play truant? Could we speak to a groundskeeper?"

While the teachers consider this, she takes a look around the gap, looking for scraps of clothing caught on the hedge, footprints by the wall etc.

Spoiler:
jp1885 rolled 1d100:
71
She searches fruitlessly, another though strikes her.

"Oh, what's on the other side of the wall?"
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:47 am

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Kathryn smiles at Murray, crouching low so that she's down at his level and can look him directly in the eye. She is used to dealing with children, so Ivy's suggestion makes perfect sense. "Hello, Murray," she says in a reassuring tone. "My name is Kathryn. Don't worry, you won't get in any trouble. All we want is to find Timothy, and I'm sure you want that too. Can you tell me if he was acting any differently before he disappeared, and what you remember about what happened?"

Spoiler:
Psychology roll (55% skill) about Murray:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
55
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby robertod » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:29 pm

Examining the broken points, it seems that something has passed throught, going from the field towards the wall lying beyond the hedge. Something of a child's stature. The route throught the hedge must be recent, as many leaves and brenches are still on the ground. On other side of the wall there´s just the sidewalk, the streets. Some houses on the other side of the road are facing the school backyard. Mr Oulette calls a janitor, responsible for taking care of the courtyard and field. A short man appears. The man is embarassed he never realized about these cracks on the wall, or better, he never thought about a boy using them to get out of school this way. This is a high class school. Kids are very polite and disciplined, teachers never had to worry about any of them willing to run away. Timothy was an example of such a polite kid.

"What he did does not make sense to anyone." says Mr. Oulette

Murray wins his shame and shyness

"I saw Timothy going over there. He wanted to hide and make a joke to Mr. Allen"

He indicates a point of the hedge.
"I promised him I wouldn’t tell anybody ... Don´t tell him that I have broken my promise. He... went there to hide.... in the bushes... and he didn´t want the teacher to see him... he was laughing..... Timothy joking... Timothy doesn´t like jokes. He likes boring things, like reading"

He cannot say anything else about what happened yesterday. He followed the others as soon as the teacher called everybody. However, he can say something about Timothy´s thoughts.

"Timothy told me his dreams. He swimming and seing the rocks. Then, there was a cave there, and Timothy wants to go back inside. “Why were you swimming for? Why going back? You been inside a cave, really? Never answered. He made many drawings and gave some to me. They are nice.
"


Murray goes to his classrooms and soon come back. Then, he shows the drawings. These are three drawings representing a beach and lighthouse landscape. They are the same kind of drawings the investigators saw in his home.

"He said these drawings are his dreams. Don´t tell John, because he wants some for him too, but these are mine now. "
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:50 pm

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"Thank you, you've been a big help, Murray," says Kathryn. "Don't worry, I won't tell him."
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby Turstrigo » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:53 pm

Emma staggers a little at the mention of the dreams. To mask this, she turns to Mr. Allen "Sir, have you, or any other teachers noticed any kind of... teasing or bullying towards Timothy from other children? I know your students are well-behaved, but that little spark of childish meanness can sometimes be hard to extinguish completely."
Last edited by Turstrigo on Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby jp1885 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:40 pm

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Ivy fixes a withering stare on the groundskeeper. "Perhaps you'd better fill in that gap, don't you think?"

While the others finish their questions, Ivy decides to walk around to the other side of the wall, cross the street and knock on doors of the houses opposite. Maybe someone had seen the boy climbing out of the schoolyard and could tell her in which direction he went.
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby robertod » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:39 am

As Ivy inquires the people in the houses around, she finds they didn´t see anything, with the exception of an old lady, who gives useful information. The lady lives in the house before the backyard´s school. She´s a tiny old woman, early 70, with haggard appearance and palsied hands. She wears a walking suit paired with a sturdy pair of mid-heel Oxfords. She moves slowly, studying each step for fear of falling. When her cat passes between her legs meowing, she shows the animal a loving smile.
As soon as Ivy approaches her garden, the lady smiles to her with a curious face. When Ivy asks about the boy, the woman thinks for a moment then answers:

"Humm, I saw something unusual last week, and one of the kids came out of school over the wall, right there, where you were standing. He climbed into a car. I guessed that was his parent´s car. I asked myself why he had to climb the wall to meet his father."

When asks Ivy asks for more details...

"I don´t remember what the car looked like. The person at the wheel was quite short, had a long double breasted winter overcoat, one of those with very large notch lapels. He was also wearing gloves, a scarf and a flannel-lined oilskin hat... the one the fishermen use. I didn´t see the face. The kid seemed happy to meet this person, so I thought he could only one of his family. The car took that way.... probably going out of town and north. "

Meanwhile, the others continue with their questions

"No, there was no bullying towards Timothy at all." says Mr. Allen

His face however becomes gloomy, showing embarrassment and indecision, as if he were thinking whether or not to say something he has in mind. The investigators saw a similar expression in the face of Gilbert's housekeeper, when she talked to them soon before they left the house.

The teacher lowers the tone of the voice and continues

"I noticed something that maybe might help in the investigation... but something happened one year ago ... a few days after Timothy's mother committed suicide. That day I noticed that Timothy had marks around his neck, as if something had wrapped around it tightly. I thought it could have happened while he was playing with his classmates. But then, the same day, Mr. Gilbert came to pick him up after school. Before taking his hand, he lifted the collar of the child's shirt, staring at the neck ... as if... as if he wanted to hide the marks from someone´s else view."

He pauses.

"I never said anything... I didn´t want to charge Mr. Gilbert with an accusation. Anyway, the marks passed and nothing similar has happened again since that day... Well, I don´t know if this has something to do with the disappearence.... but I feel so guilty for what that happened, and I would do anything I can to help. In general.. I had the impression Timothy was not happy in his family."
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby jp1885 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:39 am

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"Thank you, that's very interesting. You must see a lot of parents driving to the school to pick up the children. Had you seen the car before?"
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby robertod » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:13 am

"Humm..." now that you said that... "No..." "The car was not familiar to me..."
answers the old lady
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:07 am

Mike has mostly been standing aside, listening to the witnesses.

"Now we're getting somewhere. This is either a kidnapping or a kid running away with the help of an adult. Thank heaven it doesn't yet look like suicide, although the boy isn't out of danger yet."

He gets the best description he can of the driver and the car from the elderly woman. It sure sounds like somebody trying hard to avoid being recognized. Might even be a woman.

"Mrs Rivers, did Timothy have any adults other than his immediate family that he was close to? Somebody he would have trusted?"

Once he finds this out he'll give the description of the driver and the car to the station, have the force on the look for anybody matching it. It's a long shot, but we gotta go by the book.

"Ivy, when we have a chance, I wanna talk to somebody at the harbormaster's office, see if the sketches of the lighthouse match any place around here. Might be a hideout, if the boy was planning this for a while. Let's hope he's OK."
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby jp1885 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:29 am

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After thanking the old lady and leaving her with a card, Ivy returns to the others, allowing them all to compare notes. She nods to Mike's suggestion.

"I agree - there's no point rushing around the coast until we know exactly where that spot is."

"I think we also need to speak with Mr. Gilbert again about the argument and the marks around his son's neck. I don't care how rich and powerful he is - he's hiding something."

"It might also be useful to locate Mrs. Gilbert's former boyfriend. Maybe he has an interest in the boy, if he was still close to the mother even after she was married."

She pauses, collecting her thoughts.

"I also want to go through the police records about Mrs. Gilbert's suicide - especially the coroner's report. Something doesn't feel right about that whole business..."

Ever the organiser, she scribbles down some notes.

"If I go back to the station to look through the files, perhaps you could speak to Mr. Gilbert again Detective O'Shaugnessy. Kathryn, you could speak to the harbour master while Emma, you could look into the ex-boyfriend - you are family after all."

If the two ladies are taken aback by Ivy's bossiness (Mike is no doubt well-acquainted with it), she doesn't notice it (which is usually the case!)

"I think we can achieve more in a shorter amount of time if we split up. We can meet up back at the station later."
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby robertod » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:47 pm

"Mrs Rivers, did Timothy have any adults other than his immediate family that he was close to? Somebody he would have trusted?"


Not really, Rivers knows the family was rather closed to other relationships. Steven has always been totally dedicated to his business, while Alyssa and Timothy lived in their own microworld.


If I go back to the station to look through the files, perhaps you could speak to Mr. Gilbert again Detective O'Shaugnessy. Kathryn, you could speak to the harbour master while Emma, you could look into the ex-boyfriend - you are family after all.


Is everybody ok with this plan?
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:13 am

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"All right," says Kathryn. "I have a theory, but I didn't want to say anything in front of anyone outside our group. What if Alyssa's former boyfriend is really Timothy's father, or at least he believes he is? Maybe he got Timothy to believe it too. It sounds like the two of them planned his disappearance together, and now they've run off. Really, that's probably the best possibility. If Timothy did run off with him, and he believes himself to be the boy's father, he's not likely to harm him. We can find out when Alyssa was seeing him and compare that with Timothy's birth date."
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:21 am

"Jake with me," Mike says to Ivy. "Gilbert isn't telling everything he knows. I'll see if I can scare the truth out of him.
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby jp1885 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:01 am

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Ivy rolls her eyes at Kathyrn's candid suggestion of the boy's parentage.

"Well that was what I was hoping to imply, without having to spell it out... But I agree, expanding the research of the boyfriend into the timeline of Timothy's birth is a good idea. I can also see what we have on file at the station."

Spoiler:
Just writing in character here - no criticism implied OOC :)
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Re: August 17 - 2.30 PM - Nathan Clifford Elementary School

Postby Turstrigo » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:59 pm

"Well... Timothy was born only five months into their marriage, though by that time Alyssa has already known Steven for half a year.... By the time they married, I mean. They've first met soon after she graduated in 1921. I can't really tell you much about the boyfriend, though maybe her former classmates might know something."

OOC: Was Alyssa close with her classmates during and after her stay in Gorham?
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