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In Search of Nothing

The Bridge

As you have been traveling through the outskirts of what must’ve been a massive city, you come to what was probably once a beautiful river. Choked to the brim with black ash and sludge moving under a slick of oil, the “river” is occasionally given to spurts and trails of flame. It’s also about ten to fifteen meters across, however, looking up the river, you can see a bridge! It’s a massive thing of stone and metal, with bits of masonry chipped off by gunfire, with a length that easily spans the river. Except, the bridge part seems suspended twenty feet above walking, or in this case railway level, as train tracks seem to lead up to the bridge before abruptly stopping. There’s a small shack next to the bridge.

If the Dolls Approach the Bridge to look across.
Approaching it, you can see down the tracks before you see some giant beast of metal, lying dormant on the far end. Probably the last visitor to the bridge, before you.

If the Dolls ask about crossing the river other than the bridge.
Looking at it, this river is far too wide and deep to ford across. You’d need to be made of steel to walk along the bottom without getting swept away, not to mention you might catch fire and whatever you’re wearing would be forever ruined. There’s always the option of going upriver to find a more narrow crossing, but that will take a significant chunk of time. If the Dolls Choose to go around, skip to The Barricade.

If the Dolls investigate the “Shack”
The shack has a door on the opposite side from the bridge, and a thick plexiglass window that was shot to pieces a long time ago. The metal door squeals as it swings open, but you notice it was propped open by a thick tendril of black rubber that runs into the shack, and into the nearby buildings. Inside the shack, there’s the remains of a skeleton leaning against one corner, probably the owner of the dried blood on the wall. There’s a console, which is home to plenty of little complex buttons. You see some like “emergency stop” “emergency drop” “radio”, but they’re all dim and dusty.

If the Dolls investigate the wire.
Following the shack’s tail, you’re led to a ghastly skeleton of a building. It’s tall, crooked, and looks capable of falling over at any moment. Dusty and dim, you can’t even see much further than the entrance, as the windows have been boarded and nailed shut. The doorway is peppered with pockmarks and holes, and there’s a heavy, thick iron smell in the air. There’s scuff marks and old, dried blood on the floor, and you haven’t even entered yet.

If the Dolls go in.
Inside it’s obnoxiously dark. There’s signs of a struggle so old that dust has settled over it, and flies flit through the windows like home invaders. Somewhere, you can hear a soft, repetitive thumping, but it seems like it’s coming from higher up. Thmp. Thmp. Thmp. However, you notice the dust disturbed by… footsteps?

In the corner there’s a door torn off it’s side, peppered with holes, and the doorway seems to have been gouged by… something. Beyond it, the stairs, faintly lit by the open door. Twisting around them, the thick tail of the small house wraps.

Up the First Stairs
The stairs moan and groan under your weight, but somehow hold themselves up. The second story seems to have been barricaded shut, but the tail seems to have been fed through a hole. Peeking through the hole punched through the door and the gashes left by something dragging something else through it, you can’t see anything.

If the Players ask about the thumping, if they hear anything on this floor
The thumping is coming from even higher up. On this floor, all you can hear is the frantic buzzing of flies and the drip of… something.

If the Players continue up Remember to ask who is in front.
As you make your way up to the third story, the stairs creak and whistle. Halfway up one of them gives out with a thundering crack, and DOLL IN FRONT feels her leg plunge through it!

As they climb up
You’ve noticed, the thumping is getting louder, and not just because you’ve gotten closer. It’s picked up in speed too. The third story opens up, and the stairs have been blocked up by debris. The room up here seems a lot more lit up, but you almost wish it wasn’t. It’s a mess, what appears to have been… maybe a long time ago… a home. A ragged mattress with an ominous brown stain in the center and running down one of the sides, covered in fleas, and a small table, overturned. The ground is covered with dust, footsteps, and… blood. It’s dried in most parts, but some of it is still an oily blackish red.

As They Investigate
You can see the blood leading through the rooms, where the walls are stamped with hand prints and gashes. Finally, you find where the bleeding… thing…. escaped, or chased. A window, shattered open, leads to a fire escape. There are bits of cloth attached to the glass, which has been stained red and brown by blood. Of note is a faint, almost cream-colored patch of burlap.

If the Dolls Step Out
Stepping outside, you’re almost taken by vertigo. Three stories up, you see the garbage and the crumpled remains of… something. It looks like it was once human, maybe, but no longer. However, you can see the building’s tail, creeping up the side of the building. Seems something, or someone? managed to pull it all this way and up to the rooftop! You can see the black edge of a box? peeking over the side. And along the fire escape, going up, you can see more of the semi-dry blood. And up and in, the thumping grows louder. THUMP, and something cracks.

Going Up
Going up, the fire escape ends at a smashed window, and the thumping is so loud it’s like it’s on the other side of the wall. There’s another window, but you would have to get off the fire escape and shimmy several feet to see what’s inside, risking a four-storey drop.

And In
Inside, the scenes of a fight are obvious. Something is in here, probably in the room that you can see barricaded shut, and with every strike, you can hear the door crack and the chairs and tables shudder. There’s a rug on the floor, stained black and brown, and on the far end, a doorway leading onto a thin balcony.

Investigating the Noise
To do that, you’ll have to move some of the chairs and tables in the way.

As you move aside some of the barricade, you can see the hole that has been made. Inside, a mottled fist is crashing against the wall, but as you approached it, you could hear whatever it was inside groaning and snarling, gnashing it’s teeth with rage.

Inside, there’s a single undead, dressed in black body armor and hammering it’s bloodied fists against the wall. It’s been peppered with shots and there’s a solid crater in it’s chest, exposing the blood and weeping pus of an undead. Thankfully, it’s misshapen, grotesque face is mostly hidden behind a gas mask, but the holes and skin around it weep with gross, clumping blood and flesh.

Stepping Outside.
From the veranda you can see the city stretching out, a graveyard of graying and collapsing buildings. From here you can even see the river, and the bridge! Looking around, you see a ladder right next to you, screwed to the side of the building, leading to the very top.

Climbing up.
Up the ladder, you finally reach the peak! There’s two spread wings, catching what little sun there is and glistening like glass, and attached to them, a curious gizmo, about the size of your chest. The thick tail ends here, at this gizmo, which has some instructions written in a language you don’t even understand. Possibly. However, there are two other wires, seemingly split and lying alongside the machine, which you can recognize as a generator.

If you want to power this machine, you’ll need someone, something not “dead”, to act as a conduit.

Realization: If the Dolls don’t kill the undead, they can use it for this. In that case, imply that they should figure out what to do with the undead first. If they kill it, one of them needs to use their own body. If not, they can use it, but the vision of the city will give them madness instead.

The Joining Memory
As you take the wires and press your thumbs to the end, there’s a sudden, shocking feeling, and your body gets a rush of… something. You feel your mind, if it can be called that, boil, and a memory bubbles to the surface.

A vision, of something flickering and glowing in the dark. A box, flashing vivid images and pictures, and the feeling of something soft and warm covering you. Something heavy on your arm, and looking to your side, someone with long hair tied up and to the side, curled up against you, hands holding yours. But the more you think about it, the box flickers and goes dark, the blanket growing cold and heavy, and the person, their hands curdling and curling, clutching and clawing at you, their face rotting and exposing wriggling maggots where the eyes once were.

Everybody Else
To the rest of you, the little gizmo box coughs and comes to life! Except, it just putters and flashes a little. A moment later, your companion doll, of no will of her own it seems, lets go of the wires, but the box keeps chugging. Whatever this generator is powering, it’s probably awake now, which means the control booth might be working!

When the Dolls return to the bridge
Returning to the bridge, you can see the control booth. It’s alive, it’s alive! Or at least powered. There’s plenty of complex buttons, but one of them stands out even to cursory inspection, since it’s now glowing red: “Emergency Lowering”.

Activating the Lowering
Pressing the button causes it to blink twice, prompting for another press. There’s a roar like a waking demon, and a shuddering feeling all up your undead legs! Outside, you can see the river swell as the bridge shudders down, revealing the tracks on it’s length, crossing the length of the river!

When the Bridge is finished, or skipped, go to The Barricade.