Part 2: A discussion over dinner and secrets are revealed

In a private room on the third floor, Rupert Merriweather lay dying wheezing, unconscious, and covered with blood spatter. Outside his room, and the busy activity of the doctor and nurses, the slightly bewildered associates of the doomed man pondered the recent events. It was now almost one-thirty in the afternoon, and the day, made strange by the unseasonal weather, had been made stranger still by what Rupert had told the group. Right before he vomited forth a stew of bile and blood… right before he dropped into a deep coma.

As the doctor ordered everyone out of the room, Father Alistair Begg picked up the metal box off of the bedside table and took it with him as he was escorted outside. Rupert had mentioned it was all the help he could offer for their “task.” A few of those present were more than a little skeptical of Rupert’s ghost story, but the box could offer some clues as to what Rupert had been talking about.

Alistair arrived last into the hall, and he was greeted, as were the others, by Geoffrey, the son of the bedridden man. The sneering young man was obviously upset, though how much it had to do with his father’s worsening condition remained to be seen.

“Are you in the will?” Geoffrey nearly shouted. “He never told me about you! You are not in it! You *can’t* be! Why has he asked you here? You have no right to try and take what is rightfully mine. Well? Why?”

“I am sorry about your husband, and your father. He has been carrying a burden on him for years, it seems. He has asked us to help, to relieve him of that burden. I will do my best to do so, so that he can go to Heaven at peace with himself. Perhaps later we may be able to discuss with you two what task he has asked us, but for now we must respect his wishes. Be assured it is something that will bring no harm or shame to either of you. God bless Rupert, and God bless you both.”

“Now my son why don’t we all say a prayer for your Father?” asked Alistair.

“What…yes…yes.. I apologize for shouting like that. It is just terrible…terrible..news.” muttered Geoffrey. The full impact of his Father’s condition seeming to hit him.

“Thank you all for being here at this time.” said Elise. “My husband will be so grateful you were here. Come now Geoffrey.” she continued. “There is nothing more we can do here.”

Alistair calmly spoke to Geoffrey and Elise. “I am sorry about your husband, and your father. He has been carrying a burden on him for years, it seems. He has asked us to help, to relieve him of that burden. I will do my best to do so, so that he can go to Heaven at peace with himself. Perhaps later we may be able to discuss with you two what task he has asked us, but for now we must respect his wishes. Be assured it is something that will bring no harm or shame to either of you. God bless Rupert, and God bless you both.”

That said Elise and Geoffrey walked back to speak to one of the doctors. The seven strangers stood looking at each other. Each overcome with the recent development.

“Old problems surfacing from out of the blue, interfering with my search” Harald Green muttered to himself.

He turned to Father Alistair and looked at the box he was holding. Harald began to feel strange, as if he had seen a similar one.

“I’ve seen some crazy stuff in my life too…I wouldn’t go thinkin’ that he is a crazy old fool.” Henry stated to break the silence. “I don’t know what an old Coffee can is going to do to help..Plus I am just a poor musician.”

“Quite right Mr LaHaroue.” said Alistair as he introduced himself to the rest of the group. “I am Father Alistair, of the New York Archdiocese. For Rupert to call us together when he was so ill must be important. Maybe we should retire to somewhere more private to look through this box and discuss the matter further.”

Harald gawked at Alistair. “You, a man of the cloth, willing to help Rupert? He is asking us to stand in a circle and replace superstitious saps as his last wish. That house is probably just a hooch factory by now, with a big scary monster to discourage people from going there.”

Harald scratched the back of his neck and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Father. It’s been a long ride and I need a cig. Let’s scram and talk this over. Anyone else hungry?”

Harold Sloan had stepped out of the hospital room and into the hallway, drawing a handkerchief from his pocket and usied it to wipe at the sweat on his brow. Finding a seat he sat down, looking a little pale.

He let the others talk for some time before interjecting, “I’m not sure what had happened to him, but I don’t believe what he said.” he wiped his brow. “Still, there’s obviously something going on, and we should look into it.”

“I agree, Mr. Sloan,” said Father Begg. “I do not yet know the truth of his story, but it is certainly possible Mr. Merriweather unfortunately had some encounter with demonic influences. We have a duty to at least investigate this. I further agree with Mr. Green that we should go somewhere else to examine the contents of this box, such as an eatery.”

Gilmore LaVey was deeply embarrassed as he sheepishly entered the back of the room. Normally the punctual type he muttered “My apologies to you all, my delay was caused by the uncooperative nag of a Hansom, please forgive me and please don’t let my late arrival impede the proceedings.”

Gilmore quietly took off his coat and slowly scanned the room and the people about him. After a few minutes of silence he offered: “I must say, that box is very particular and indeed we should investigate but I dare say that an eatery might not be the best place for such an endeavor. Lord knows what that box contains and I, for one, am not interested in opening such a device in a public place. We know not what the box contains, it may have simply papers in it but knowing Rupert it just as likely contains some mystery from some dark corner of the world.”

He paused and then continued “Given that demons are involved it may be wise to simply burn the box unopened but I don’t think any one here will spare the curiosity for that. At the very least we should open it somewhere far away from the general public. An empty room or outdoors at the least.”

“But then this is Rupert we are talking about and it’s just as likely to contain butterflies but let us not take the risk, shall we?”

Helena Hecate had been speaking quietly to one of the nurses before returning to the group as they walked towards the exit of the hospital.

******

Outside dark clouds had drawn across the sky making the streets dull and depressing. It matched the mood of the group as they walked slowly along the sidewalk.

Gilmore LaVey looked closely at some of the buildings they passed. It had been a while since he had last eaten and, despite the dreadful site of his old friend in the hospital, he needed something to eat.

“I do say, it seems that some of these restaurants are rather empty, I think they are devoid of coustomers enough that we could safely conduct our business therein. I also have to say I have not eaten in several hundred miles and the food available on the train left much to be desired and perhaps we can satiate both our curosity and our stomachs in one place.”

The group made their way across the street to a moderate looking establishment called “Warwick Club”, the group was lured in as much by the look of the place as the scent of fresh baked bread emanating from within.

Inside was dark and cosy with a fire blazing in the hearth and candles dotted around the various booths and tables.

They were greeted by a pleasant woman. “Hello there, my name is Mary-Anne. Sit wherever you wish and I’ll bring over some hot coffee to take away the chill of the day.” The were only a few other customers all lost in their own thoughts or the days paper.

Removing their coats and gloves the group sat down in a secluded booth near the back of the establishment. Gilmore, feigned a soreness in his neck and took the chair furthest from the box. “One of the other individuals with more steel and bravery takes the box and presumes to begin opening it,” he thought.

Mary-Anne was soon at the table with cups of steaming hot coffee. She quickly took their food order and hurried off to greet some other customers who had just entered.

Harald Green looks around and appeared to be uneasy at the restaurant. He kept pocketing his left hand and felt around for something.

“Alright. I think we’ve been spooked about this whole damned box for long enough now” He grunted to no one in particular. He pulled out a cigarette, lit it and took a drag. The smoke he exhaled swirled around the box, sitting in the middle of the table. “How about you give it a go, Father Alistair? You seemed to be more worried about it than anyone else.”

Lefty took a seat with his back to the wall, looking uneasy at the other individuals. He pulled out a guitar pick, lint, and a dime from his left pants pocket, looked at them, and quickly put them back in his pocket. ” I would just rather we get this opened and go about our way. Y’all are making this out to be more than it is. A dyin’ man wantin his life to mean somethin when he is gone. I’ll open the thing and then we can get on with our lives”.

The silvery metal of the box was worn and tarnished with age, but it may have been an expensive piece in it’s day. Gripping the corners of the low, flat lid tightly, Father Begg opened the mysterious container.

Inside, a yellowed envelope, a small gold-colored rectangular box like a small sarcophagus, complete with a lid and hieroglyphics traced around the outside, and a slim book bound in worn black leather rested.

Father Begg bowed his head in brief prayer, then picked up the book. Bound in plain black leather the book turned out to be a journal. A quick look through it showed the entries date from June 1881 to March 1882. The ink was faded and the text dense and detailed. It would take a few hours of study to find out all the secrets within.

As Father Begg leafed through the journal the a waitress arrived at the table with their food. They all began to eat and with more coffee, brewed cider and cigarettes they all felt a little more relaxed.

Gilmore LaVey examined some of the contents of the box. Opening the yellowed envelope he pulled out an official looking piece of paper, and a small metal key. “Mmm. Deed to a house. A farm near Ross’s Corners. This must be the key, too.”

Helena, putting down her long cigarette holder lifted up the golden box. Heavy and obviously gold, it was like a small sarcophagus, complete with a lid and hieroglyphics traced around the outside. “I’ve not studied Egyptian history well enough to know what period it belongs to. I wonder if it’s authentic?” she asked those around here.

Pacing the ornate box on the table she opened it. The lid flipped open. Helena peered inside while the others looked on vainly to get a glance at the interior.

“Well? What’s in it?” said Bobby, looking mildly disinterested.

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” Helena turned the box towards them to show them it’s empty confines. Empty save for the strange runes carved on the interior walls of the vessel. These symbols were completely unlike the Egyptian script that decorated the exterior surface. They were unfamiliar to everyone.

As they pondered the small golden box over their food they all discussed their memories of Rupert and all got to know each other a little better.

****

As the hours rolled by Father Begg had been reading the book.

During a lull in the conversation Father Begg spoke.

“Okay, I have got the gist of what Rupert and his friends where up to. Poor, poor Rupert. What have you done?”

“Well go on Father,” said Gilmore, “don’t leave us in suspense.

“Okay. Here is what I have found out. The entries date from June of 1881 to March of 1882. A group of friends, calling themselves the Dark Brotherhood, held their first meeting in the early spring of 1881. Rupert was the recording secretary, thus he kept this journal. The membership numbered six including Marion Allen, the founder and their nominal leader.” Alistair continued. “In June of 1881 they purchased an old farmhouse outside Ross’s Comers. It was to be a place where they could conduct their experiments in privacy. Representing themselves as a student literary fraternity, they cleaned and furnished the place while this Marion Allen fellow carved special warding signs over the wooden doors and windows. At the time, the others were amused at such precautions. The journal goes on for some length, describing a series of experiments – innocent and apparently ineffective attempts to contact the spirit world. The most boring part of the read, really, but-”

“Father Begg, please continue.” Harold spoke. His face was serious, and his steely gaze forced Grant back to his informative narrative.

“An entry dated February of 1882 notes Marion Allen’s acquisition of an artifact, purportedly Egyptian, described as a small sarcophagus of gold with a hinged lid. Inside was a large piece of amber entrapping a specimen of some unknown species of arthropod. Allen became very excited, for the box corresponded to a description he had found in a reference at the Miskatonic University library. Allen said that in another book, a thick Latin tome titled De Vermiis Mysteriis, there is an explanation of some purported powers of the box. The small animal trapped in the amber was supposedly said to contain a friendly spirit – a guide to the spirit world. This is when things get interesting. The fellows set a date to conduct a ceremony intended to summon this spirit creatures. One cold Saturday night in the middle of March, they were successful. I’d better read you the actual passage from the journal. I’m afraid my memory cannot do justice to all it’s gory details.”

Flipping through the journal, Father Begg began to read when he found the appropriate page. “This entry is simply dated ‘March of 1882.'” Clearing his throat, Father Begg’s rich voice soon held the others enthralled as his words wove a picture too grotesque to be real, too horrible to have happened, yet too detailed to be the rantings of a madman.

“We begin the ceremony as Marion instructed, according to that described in his book, De Vermiis Mysteriis. A fire is set in the fireplace and a pentagram chalked on the floor, marked with the appropriate symbols and illuminated by two black tapers placed near the center flanking the piece of amber with its entrapped spirit. The others sit in a circle while I, the designated ‘watcher’ who guards for malevolent spirits, sits in the far corner of the room.”

“Marion throws a handful of powder in the fireplace, producing an evil-smelling smoke and dampening the flames which now burn a sputtering green and brown. Those seated begin the Latin chant Marion Allen has transcribed from his book.

“After nearly two hours I see a trail of smoke curling up from the piece of amber. Its surface seems to be bubbling, melting. Could this be it? Have we finally achieved success? I can see a form -”

Father Begg turned to everyone. “His handwriting differs here. He is clearly writing with a shaking hand.” He then went on.

“It is the following day. We have finished with our plans and have sworn a pact to never speak of what happened last night. We have satisfactorily explained the death of Robert, and in some manner the madness of Harold. The sheriff accepts the explanation of a carriage accident — we planned it well. Robert’s neck was broken in the fall, we told him. Harold struck his head on a rock when the horse’s leg broke and the carriage rolled. Would it be that it was only that. For the rest of us, we will be forever changed by what we experienced last night.”

“The thing formed in the center of the pentagram, shapeless, nearly invisible. Its terrible voice should have given us a clue but we were foolish. It spoke, then Marion cast that damned powder on the spirit, the Dust of Ibn-Ghazi he calls it, and that’s when we saw *it*.

“Words cannot describe the faceless thing with a thousand maws. It roiled and bubbled, never fully revealing itself. So terrifying was its aspect that I sat as though frozen to the floor, the pen falling from my nerveless fingers. Cecil and Marion seemed as lifeless as I while a short, sharp cry issued from Crawford’s mouth. Robert, however, rose to his feet and before anyone could stop him, stepped forward as though to embrace our horrible guest. With its arms, or those appendages that seemed most like arms, it took hold of poor Robert and twisted his head around as though it were a mere doll’s. The lifeless corpse was then thrown back in Harold’s lap and that’s when he began that damnable shrieking — the shrieking that hadn’t stopped even after we handed him over to the sheriff’s men.”

“Even then we still had a chance. Marion now believes that if we would have kept our wits we could have reversed the chant and eventually forced the creature back to wherever it came from. But Crawford panicked and, mistakenly believing that it would dispel the creature, reached forward and destroyed part of the pentagram, breaking its effectiveness. Released from the binding symbol the thing — with a screech that could only have been unholy satisfaction — fled the house, disappearing out the window as a roaring, screaming wind of boiling colors.” “Marion believes that the thing could still be destroyed, or at least dispelled, but none of us who remain have the stomach for such an undertaking. It is believed that the spell we cast inextricably binds the thing to the house and it is true that when we went back a few days later to retrieve our things, we heard it bumping about in the attic over our heads. The warding signs so cheerfully carved by Marion Allen during better times — times that seem so long ago —apparently are effective and bar the thing entry except into the attic of the house.”

Father Begg closed the journal and looked at his ashen companions.

“Jesus…” muttered Helena.

“Not quite,” Chase retorted to Mahoney’s remark.

“There are a few more things of interest in the journal. Then we can discuss our options, such as they may be,” said Father Begg. He opened to near the end of the book. “The next entries are the names of those belonging to the Dark Brotherhood, followed by the dates of their deaths. All by the same hand, but in various inks.”

“Robert Menkin, March 1882″
“Harold Copley, August 1882″
“Marion Allen, August 1883″
“Crawford Harris, January 1915″
“Cecil Jones, March 1922″
“Rupert Merriweather -”

“A small newspaper clipping, dated in August of 1883, is pasted next to the entry marking Marion Allen’s death.”

Father Begg read aloud again.

“A Murder At The Docks”

“NEW ORLEANS – The body of Mr. Marion Allen, late of Arkham, Massachusetts, was discovered early this morning in the dock area. A victim of foul play, the man was identified by local witnesses who said that Mr. Allen had been seen in the locale the evening before. Although robbery was the apparent motive, police report that the victim’s tongue had been cut out. Marion Allen had reportedly gone to police earlier this week claiming that he was being followed and that he feared for his life. He said his shadowy pursuers were after an Egyptian artifact which he no longer possessed.”

“And lastly,” Begg said in somewhat tired tones, “we have the final journal entry: I gravely fear that which I and my colleagues have loosed upon this countryside. Nothing of consequence has yet taken place but with my death the bonds will be broken and the thing then free to come and go as it pleases. Lives and souls not yet taken already lie heavy on my conscience. The method of delivering the Thing out of this world is still in that accursed house, the translation made by Marion Allen from the horrid De Vermiis Mysteriis. I am not strong enough to take on the task but I know of those who perhaps are. Should they fail me, may God have mercy on my soul.”

All sat around the table were silent as the last words bit them.

Part 1: A meeting at St. Mary’s Hospital

St. Mary’s Hospital in Arkham was an unusual building for the size of the town. The architecture style was strangely dark and gothic. Gargoyles peered from every corner of the old stone building, and vaulted archways pierced the building in numerous places. Inside a private room on the third floor Rupert Merriweather lay dying of cancer. His wife and son stood quietly nearby as the door to the room opened.

An orderly came into the room, and spoke softly to the bed-ridden man. “Mr. Merriweather, the people you sent for yesterday are here.”

His eyes brightened visibly, and he struggled to sit up in bed. “Ah, excellent. Show them in. Show them in! They’ve traveled far to see an old fool, so don’t keep them waiting!” The orderly nodded, turned towards the door and motioned for the small crowd gathered at the threshold to come inside.

First was Alistair Begg. It had been a many years since Rupert had seen Alistair last. Rupert was glad to see he had grown up to be a tall, handsome man. He still had the slight limp caused during when he fell out of a tree as a child He had heard Alistair had become a Catholic Priest and had read with interest the letters Rupert’s Uncle had sent telling him of Alistair’s work as an Exorcist for the Church.

Alistair was followed by the delectable form of Helena Hecate. The beautiful young woman had lost some of her sparkle since Rupert had been on the road with her, but that was to expected with all the strange and wonderful adventures she managed to get herself involved with.

Both Alistair and Helena greeted Rupert warmly as he motioned for them to sit and wait.

Next was Harold Sloane. Thought they had met only a few times Rupert considered Harold a true friend. Over the years their correspondence regarding the various artifacts Rupert had come across during his travels had led to great conversations regarding all manner of subjects.

The same could be said for Gilmore H Lavey although his work as a librarian covered many different fields of interest.

Rupert heard his next visitor before he entered the door. As usual Henry ‘Lefty’ LaHaroue was humming one of his many tunes as he walked in. Rupert thought the elderly black man was looking older than the last time they had met. He was closely followed by a young man dressed slightly shabbily who looked around the room nervously.

“What is this negro doing here?” whispered Rupert’s son Geoffrey.

As usual his small minded son let his mouth work before using his brain.

“Please do be quiet Geoffrey. Henry is one of my oldest friends” Rupert said as Henry moved to his bed side to shake hands. “We had quite the time back in New Orleans didn’t we and who is your friend?” asked Rupert motioning to the young man.

“This here is Bobby Clark,” said Henry, “he is one of the drivers for the club I play at and he was good enough to drive me all the way to see you.”

Bobby smiled as he looked around the group. “I had a couple of jobs to do up here in Arkham so it was on my way.”

Finally the came a perplexed looking Harald Green. He had come to St. Mary’s looking for his friend Justin. Upon enquiring with the ward sister he was told that no-one of that name was present in the hospital. Feeling confused he wondering what had happened to his friend Harald was on his way out of the hospital when he had heard a familiar voice as he passed one of the private rooms.

“Rupert? What the devil are you doing here?” asked Harald.

“My dear Harald. It is so good to see you. I am afraid it is the devil indeed who has caught up with me.” said Rupert as he held the hand of his beautiful Wife, Elise. Now that everyone was here he could relax. Time was running out for him. He could feel the cancer taking his last reserves of strength.

Rupert sighed, and addressed the group. “I’ve asked you all to come today because there is a grave task which needs doing. You are the most reliable, capable, and trustworthy I could think of for the dire situation at hand. I fear this cancer within me will soon claim me, so I must be brief. I have little strength for idle conversations. Let me speak my piece, then I will answer what I can. First, thank you all for coming on such short notice. You have every right to refuse what I now ask you, but if you truly understand what it is that needs doing the humanity in you will not allow you to walk away.”

Flecks of blood were evident on Rupert’s lips, his breath was shallow, and his eyes were dim. It wouldn’t be long now.

Rupert laid back on his bed. He spoke softly, and each had to strain to make out his words. “You must set aside your modern notions of reality. What I will ask you deals with dark forces man was not meant to experience. In the days of my youth, some fellow students and I became involved in what we thought was innocent exploration of the occult. Led by a slightly older man named Marion Allen, six of us purchased an old farmhouse a few miles west of Arkham near the village of Ross’s Corners. There we were able to conduct seances and other psychic research in privacy. One night, however, we were more successful than we ever dreamt possible — we accidentally summoned some evil force into this world. It was a frenzied thing, and drove us all from the house. Instead of returning and trying to dispel the thing we fled headlong into the night, insane with what we had seen. Marion was convinced that the wards and magicks which brought it to this world would also serve to bind it to the vacant house. We decided to leave well enough alone and all went our separate ways.”

The others had now all moved close around the bed as Rupert’s voice was now little more than a whisper.

Rupert stopped, reached weakly for the glass of water at his bedside, and wet his lips. “I can see you are interested, at any rate,” he said to everyone. “I haven’t told you the bad news yet,” he chuckled. “The spell that summoned the thing bound it to the house — but only so long as the casters lived. I am the last of the six men, and now I am dying. The spell will be broken! I fear that a great evil will be loosed on the countryside when I expire, and it haunts me to think my foolish actions of youth will bring unspeakable harm to others.”

Rupert gestured to a small metal box on the bedside table and said, “Take the box. It’s all the help I can offer. You must find a way to send the thing back to the oblivion from whence it came. You must see that this is done… you must!” Face twisted, Rupert suddenly shot upright and coughed out a great gout of blood and tissue.

Visibly shook up by such a violent expression of his disease the group looked on in horror as Rupert collapsed back onto the bed, wheezing, choking, and covered in blood.

“Doctor!” cried Rupert’s wife. The room quickly filled with nursed and doctors, and the shaken group were escorted out of the room. They were still absorbing what they had heard and seen when Geoffrey and Elise approached.

“What’s happened? What have you done?” Geoffrey snapped. “Why has he called you here?” The young man was shaking his walking stick at the group, sneering his query through clenched teeth. It’s mine! He’s willed it all to me!”

“Now Geoffrey, calm down,” said Elise. She turned to the group, “He can be so excitable — like this father. I’m sure Rupert’s business with them was private or he wouldn’t have asked us to leave.”

Harold Sloane, Alistair Begg, Helena Hecate, Henry LaHaroue, Gilmore H Lavey, Bobby Clarke, Harald Green exchanged looks with each other and wondered what they would do next.

Introduction – Part 2

From the Diary of Helena Hacate.

“Since the death of my estranged father, I have been travelling far and wide in my search to uncover the truth about his death, and the odd practices he seems to have become involved with before his death. I will not lie: the artefacts and ramblings found with his body unsettle me, as does the fact that I appear to be on some form of hideous wild goose chase. With every new lead, every clue, every name, leading to death or mysterious disappearance. Again, all I see around me are these otherworldly signs and symbols. The ravings of madmen. The words of fools who have strayed from the known path. I worry that this quest will be the end of me. Lord knows I wish I had never begun it.

I have been accosted by strangers with features not entirely human, and followed by shadows. Someone is watching me. I know that now. If it weren’t for the goodwill and friendship of performers I have met throughout my short life, and the wits instilled in me as a child, I know I would already be dead. My great uncle always warned to stay on the right side of magick, and never turn to the dark. Now I know the dark has felt me touching its web, and readies itself to ensnare me.

I will not let it bleed me dry. I who escaped the dungeons of an Egyptian prince, the jaws of a lion, and the confines of a London prison, and all before my twentieth birthday. No, I am stronger than they bargain for. What are these carvings? And why do they fill me dread? I will not let those who destroyed my father destroy me.

Dear, dear, Grecian Peter – the strongest of strong men I have ever known – has given me word that I must return to America, so I know that for now my travels are over. We must both travel with urgency, as our friend and mentor from our original troupe is gravely ill. We leave at dawn.

I hope I will leave this feeling of dread behind when I go, and I pray to the forces that be….don’t let the darkness follow me home.”

Harald Green

The police seemed to forget the entire disappearance of Justin, saying it was trouble from the past and didn’t pursue an investigation. The next few weeks were hazy for Harald. It was only when Professor Litz pulled him aside one afternoon after class that his head cleared.

“It hasn’t been good, Dave. Things just aren’t good.”

“I don’t think they are going to get any better.” He hands Harald a letter.

“From Justin?”

Dave nodded. In it is nothing more than simple pleasantries, Justin saying he had an accident and was doing fine, resting at a hospital in Arkham, Massechussets. He wanted Harald to come visit him and bring a small lock box.

“Look, I took the liberty of reading that letter because Justin’s disappearance was too strange. By all means go see him, but know that the box he wants was gotten under some strange circumstances. I saw it once when he first got it and never since.”

They both went to the library later that night to search for the box.

It was underneath one of the bookshelves near Justin’s desk. Odd, Harald thought. What is in this and what the hell happened to Justin a few weeks ago?

Dave and Harald said their goodbyes and Harald made his way home, the lock box tucked away in his coat pocket. He explained to Anna where Justin was and that he had to go see him. There was a strong silence between them, as if they both knew Harald wouldn’t be coming back.

The memories of bootlegging were resurfacing. He gathered up his things, kissed Catherine goodnight and was heading out the door when Anna stopped him. She handed him a picture of the three of them and a necklace. He kissed her and walked out the door.

The 12:05 arrived and Harald got on it. He was crying the whole way up to Arkham.

Introduction – In which a number of the players receive a letter

It sat and gibbered in the darkness. The bonds it had felt for such a long time had weakened and the last ribbon was almost ready to be cut.

It moaned as the scent of nourishment reached it. Moving slowly it readied itself for the hunt.

Harold Sloane

“What?”, Harold Sloane asked, his bowtie hanging partially noted around his neck as he watched the two cats weave in and out of his legs. For the dozenth time in as many minutes, he resisted the urge to kick out at the cats and tried to focus on what his wife was saying.

“The Cantwells.”, his wife repeated. Harold glanced up at her, and immediately focused in on a cat hair which dangled from the end of her nose. It swayed as she spoke, like a conductor leading an orchestra. “They invited us to dinner. We can’t cancel again – people will start to talk about us.”

“It’s work”, Harold insisted. “They will understand. It’s not like I /want/ to go in tonight. There is a new exhibit of insects from Africa coming in tonight, and if I don’t set up their habitat, they will expire.” He finished tying his tie, and stepped away from the cats, careful to not let them trip him, having learned from many incidents in the past. He grabbed his hat and headed downstairs, his wife following him down.

“Harold.”, she protested. “You /always/ work. /Always/. You leave me at home…”

“I know. I’m sorry”, he said as he grabbed his hat and opened the door. He grabbed the stack of mail on the table next to the door, then headed for his car.

—-

The museum of Natural History was cool and still, when Harold let himself inside. He passed by the main exhibits, getting nods from the cleaning staff who were trying to look busy. He swung by the Africa exhibit, and checked on the insects – already home in the exhibit. He smiled to himself, then ducked into one of the doors in the wall and went down into the private area of the museum. He passed a few offices with lights on, then found his way to his office.

The mail was dropped on the desk, and Harold turned his attention to some recently acquired tribal masks, studying them under his microscope and making notes in his book.

Several hours later, the masks were categorized, classified, and prepared for display. Harold sat at his desk, eating a sandwich, feet up on his desk. He idly glanced through the mail, when he came across a telegram. With a quick flick of a knife he kept on his desk, it was opened. He swung his feet down to the floor as he read it. He sighed, taking off his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose. The telegram was from a childhood friend of his, who was sick in the hospital up at Arkham.

Harold left a note for his staff indicating he would be in late tomorrow, then checked the time. His wife would be asleep, which meant it was a good time to get home.

He had to get up early in the morning…..

Alistair Begg

The place: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, seat of the New York archdiocese, in the spartan office of Father Alistair Begg, official Exorcist of the archdiocese.

Father Begg, in standard black clerical ‘collarino’ shirt, shoes, and pants, sits across from John Talbot, reporter from the New-York Evening Post.

“Thank you for your time, Father. Is there anything else you would like to add?”

“You are most welcome, Mr. Talbot. Yes, I would. When I returned to America from the Vatican, I had the Pope’s blessing. He told me: ‘America is the biggest battleground. There is a war of the spirit going on.’ Mr. Talbot, the tentacles of Hell are far more widespread than is usually imagined. The cruelty of theses practices – human sacrifice, cannibalism and the sexual abuse of children – we have discussed today puts them beyond the civilized pale. Not in far away countries long ago, but right here now in New York. I could point out places only minutes from here where black masses are being celebrated. We deny this at our peril.”

“I will pass this background information on to my editor, Father, but I cannot guarantee it will be used in the story,” said Talbot. “The murder itself was gruesome enough.” As Talbot left, a junior priest entered and informed Alistair that he had an urgent phone call.

Alistair listened with sadness to the news that an old colleague of his was dying in a hospital up in Arkham and had called him to his bedside. Alistair said a silent prayer when off the phone. He then asked the church secretary to please call him a cab, and also to to send a message to Father O’Donoughue that he would have to find another partner for tonight’s bridge foursome.

Alistair walked across the Cathedral grounds to his Church assigned single apartment in the rear area and gathered his things. Unsure of whether he was to administer the Last Rites or just provide spiritual comfort, he prepared for both in the pockets of his heavy black raincoat. Taking his silver-headed, heavy polished oak walking stick as always, he left the Cathedral, entering the throngs of people that seethed through the flume-like streets.

Lefty LaHaroue

In the dark, smoky 12 Bar Club in New York the illegal booze flowed freely as the latest bribes had been paid to the boys in blue.

On stage was the Lefty LaHaroue. The slim, elderly black man, slowly picked at the strings. His eyes were bright as he looked around the crowd. On stage he felt truly at home. He had just received word that an old friend of his was ill up in Arkham. It meant getting up early for the train, but he owed it to his friend to be there.

Reminded of the old times Lefty decided to talk to the audience before going into his set.

“My name is Henry “Lefty” LaHaroue. I am not the youngest cat in town, but I have seen enough things to make your eyes bug out. My mama was a mean woman. She used to beat me with a wooden spoon when I acted up. Which was quiet often, being a young man in New Orleans in the 1800’s. My papa worked in a cotton field and kept my mama pregnant. I have 8 brothers and sisters, me being smack dab in the middle. So when I got attention, it was not the good kind. One night when my papa and momma were workin’ on a another child, I snuck out of the shack in the Bayou for a walk. That is when I had my first look at Black Magic, or Voodoo as we call it here.”

“I watched as they danced and sang and conjured up some zombies out of the ground. I ran back home as fast as my feet could take me. But you didn’t come here to hear about that, you came here to listen to my music and enjoy yourselves ladies and gentleman. So let me play a’little tune for you.. I started playin’ the blues when I was about 15. One of the other workman sat down to play a guitar one night he had made. When he started singing a blues song out it hit me right in my big old heart. I listened to him until I fell asleep right there under the stars.!

!The next day I began to plunk around on the guitar and found out that I had a knack fer playin’…Except I played it Upside down..Which is how I became Lefty. A few years went by and I became better and better at playing the guitar. Then one night similar to the first time I saw the voodoo folk, a massive storm come up quick. We all runned inside to our shacks, but the storm it was a comin’. It started whoppin’ and wappin’ against our shacks.”

“Then the screams started, a bloodcurdling scream that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. My mama looked out the door and turned to us with terror in her eyes. She quickly pushed us under the bed and put a blanket over the top of us. The screams continued..I heard my papa fighting with someone..or something…then silence. When I crawled out with 2 of my siblings from under the bed, I saw more blood than I knew was in a body…There were odd scratch marks on the walls, and nothing was left of my pa. I grabbed my guitar and made way out of New Orleans as quick as I could..That’s how I ended up in New York City, ready to make my fame and fortune. Here is another little number I call “the Voodoo Blues”. ”

Cthulhu PBeM

I am planning on running a Call of Cthulhu RPG PBeM. It will begin with one of the scenarios from the main rulebook.

The idea is to run through each turn in a week or two weeks which will then be written up and the next turn will begin after that.

This blog will be used to share information, images and the story as it progresses.

I am looking for 4 – 6 players so send me your new character (1920s) to phil@liveforfilms.com

If you do not have access to the Call of Cthulhu RPG Book send me as much detail of the character that you can – Physical Description, Education, Job, Friends / Family, Personality, age, what they always have on their person, etc.

New York – Where it begins


Coming for the first time upon the town, I had seen it in the sunset from a bridge, majestic above its waters, its incredible peaks and pyramids rising flowerlike and delicate from pools of violet mist to play with the flaming clouds and the first stars of evening. Then it had lighted up window by window above the shimmering tides where lanterns nodded and glided and deep horns bayed weird harmonies, and had itself become a starry firmament of dream, redolent of faery music, and one with the marvels of Carcassonne and Samarcand and El Dorado and all glorious and half-fabulous cities. Shortly afterward I was taken through those antique ways so dear to my fancy-narrow, curving alleys and passages where rows of red Georgian brick blinked with small-paned dormers above pillared doorways that had looked on gilded sedans and paneled coaches – and in the first flush of realization of these long-wished things I thought I had indeed achieved such treasures as would make me in time a poet.

But success and happiness were not to be. Garish daylight showed only squalor and alienage and the noxious elephantiasis of climbing, spreading stone where the moon had hinted of loveliness and elder magic; and the throngs of people that seethed through the flume-like streets were squat, swarthy strangers with hardened faces and narrow eyes, shrewd strangers without dreams and without kinship to the scenes about them, who could never mean aught to a blue-eyed man of the old folk, with the love of fair green lanes and white New England village steeples in his heart.

So instead of the poems I had hoped for, there came only a shuddering blackness and ineffable loneliness; and I saw at last a fearful truth which no one had ever dared to breathe before – the unwhisperable secret of secrets – the fact that this city of stone and stridor is not a sentient perpetuation of Old New York as London is of Old London and Paris of Old Paris, but that it is in fact quite dead, its sprawling body imperfectly embalmed and infested with queer animate things which have nothing to do with it as it was in life.

– H P Lovecraft