how everyone is connected
Born in 1917 in Manitoba, Canada, son of Abraham and Mary. Rembrandt is the only child between three branches of the same extended family and is thus adored by all.
At the age of 10, his aunt Annie made a deal with the Black Bottle Man to conceive a child. His father, Abraham, and uncle, Thompson, re-challenged the Black Bottle Man, throwing their own souls into the pot along with Annie's and setting the condition that winner takes all. Rembrandt volunteered to join his dad and uncle to save the family's souls. At the age of 11, his dad was killed and at the age of 15 his uncle died. He traveled across North America as a hobo, using hobo signs mixed with bodily fluid when he needed something. When he did this, they magically became true. At 16, he met the Evans family in Oklahoma and fell in love with Leona. With a renewed vigor and desire to end the Pact, he sought out and trained champions, including his other uncle, Billy. All of these champions failed. From age 19-90, he lived as a hobo on the street, until meeting Gail Brewer in a Salvation Army homeless shelter.
A young pianist and elementary music teacher by training, dreaming and working to become a composer. She had recently won a composition contest when Andrew Franklin Moore took Gail and her students hostage for 56 hours. During that time, Gail stayed awake to protect the children and contracted Stockholm syndrome -- feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor. The hostage crisis was followed on networks across the country. When Police Officer Slack, Officer 359, went to fire his gun at the abductor, Gail warned him. The result was that one of her students was hit by the bullet and later died. Gail was placed under sedation to help her recover, during which time her husband, Ray, went on radio and talk shows assuring the public that his wife was a living saint, and would do anything for her school children. Meanwhile, Officer Slack was on those same shows telling the public that the reason it escalated was because of Gail, and the reason the child died was also because of Gail and her actions. When she awoke, camera crews were there and caught her first question, "Where's Andy?" The resultant media coverage frenzy elevated Officer Slack and denigrated Ray and Gail Brewer. Gail tried multiple therapies, but in the end decided to become homeless to save Ray from the continued embarrassment and her damage. She was in a stairwell until tit became too cold, and she went to a Salvation Army homeless shelter, where she met Rembrandt.
Sister of Thompson and Abraham, wife of Billy, Annie is one of the two women of Three Farms. Though without children, she desires to have a baby and loves her nephew Rembrandt deeply. She writes her cousin in Montreal, a doctor, monthly when it is clear she has not conceived a baby. One day, she received package from a friend of her cousin that included a bottle full of black liquid and an instruction manual to use the ink in the bottle to draw on the bodies of the man and woman prior to consummation, claiming that in so doing one is guaranteed pregnancy. The price of this action is one's soul. After a night when Billy got drunk, Annie followed the instructions, consummated and conceived a baby with Billy. Not too long after this, the Black Bottle Man showed up at Three Farms, ready to take Annie. Her brothers and nephew stepped in, renegotiated the wager with the Black Bottle Man and set off on a quest to find a champion to defeat the Black Bottle Man. Annie had a baby girl, Bridget. After Three Farms was sold, she and the baby moved in with Mary and her father in Montreal.
Husband of Annie, uncle of Rembrandt and father of Bridget. Veteran of the Great War, Billy is an alcoholic. It seems his addiction was manageable, but the pain of 8 years of infertility drove a wedge between his wife Annie and him. When the package arrived from Montreal, their whole world changed.