Nicole Baxter works for Baxter & Gordon, a funeral directors in Manchester. Her father, George Baxter, founded the business with William Gordon who died 5 years ago, but the two founders fell out in later life. She works with her cousin, Josh. Nicole tends to work with clients, as George has become less sociable in his old age.
Although she worked with various care homes, Nicole liked Ivy Meadows the most, as the patients there were very friendly and lively. The building used to be a country house and homes around 30 people appointed by the state.
In mid-August, Nicole received a call from Alenka Cowsel to say that Bertrand Miller had "taken ill" and passed away, and was about to say more before she was cut off. Nicole and Josh drove to the house to find that Hannah Ramirez, the lady who ran the home, had left 3 months earlier. When they arrived at the home, there was no one around and no cars in the car park. The door unlocked remotely and the Baxters entered.
Inside, the beige walls were dirty with dark marks about hand height. The bell on the reception desk was covered in a greasy residue. When Nicole rang the bell, a tall man stepped out from a side room. He wore an ill fitted brown suit, had pale blue eyes and dark messy hair. He introduced himself as John Amherst, offering his hand to Josh, who was unnerved when a fly landed on John's face and crawled across his eye without a reaction. John asked who they were and why they had come. When Nicole explained about the phone call, John sharply asked who the call was from, but Nicole responded by saying she didn't know.
John led them to Bertrand's room, asking for a standard affair with no ceremony, and the ashes be returned in a brass urn. Inside the room, Bertrand's body lay, dead for only a few hours, but covered in a thick creamy yellow rash and Nicole could smell the faint smell of some dark taint. Although John said that the disease was not contagious, the Baxters were very careful to make sure they didn't touch the body. Nicole's left hand brushed the rash and she muffled a cry, even though she wore gloves. When she got home, she cleaned her hand until it bled.
Josh and Nicole explained to George what happened and he quickly got the cremation underway and disposed of the ashes.
Two weeks later, Alenka called again, repeating "Come quickly, we've taken ill. We've passed away." Nicole returned to Ivy Meadows, but couldn't go near the house for the smell. She heard a tapping, and when she followed the source she found Alenka pressed up against the window covered in the terrible rash in a room with black smeared walls. As she screamed a swarm of flies flew from her mouth.
Nicole fled, but bumped into a man with unblemished pink skin and a young tall woman with close cropped hair and a scar over her right eye, who carried a large canvas bag. They said leaving quickly would be a good idea and Nicole obliged.
Post-Statement Follow-Up Edit
Ivy Meadows Care Home was closed on July 2011, a month before this case started, and it burned down on the 4th September 2011. There are no records of Bertrand being burnt and his death certificate said he died on the 19th July, before the Care Home was decommissioned. Only 7 transfer records could be found, leaving 22 patients lost in the system. There is no record of Alenka.
Hannah Ramirez moved to Briton and there are no records of John. The Baxters had no follow-ups when asked, but Nicole's left hand has been lost in a "work place accident".
Jonathan Sims mentions that the old man reminds him of Trevor the Tramp from MAG 10.
Tim Stoker then interrupts to ask if Sims has had any time to take stock of the delivery brought to the Institute for him several days prior (at the end of MAG 35). Sims recovers the first item from his desk: an old-fashioned lighter with a spiderweb pattern on it. The second item, Tim says, has already been placed in Archive storage, and is a table with a fascinating pattern on it. From that description, Sims seems to immediately recognize it as the table that was in Graham Folger's flat in MAG 3.