Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chapter 6 part 1

Whew! I think this is the quickest I've ever had a new post finished.When we last left Aloysius and Sylvanus, our protagonist had an almost-too-close-for-comfort encounter with the Order's trapped Deep One. Aloysius learned more about the task he was undertaking and learned some key information about his predecessor. Without further ado, let's get right to the story and i'll bore you with my ranting about writing it afterwards. Enjoy! :)


“I don’t have much to give you by way of hints or clues, but I can give you what I gave your predecessor.  I recovered them from him after the ‘Innsmouth’ incident.” Sylvanus said as they arrived back at the office. He rolled over to a curious looking painting on the wall that Aloysius hadn’t noticed the first time around. It depicted another queer looking family, which he thought could be related to the ones in the paintings in the basement.  It depicted an older man with a crooked, pointy nose, and unkempt hair. He stood beside a woman whose eyes glowed pink and whose skin and hair were paler than death. Both were dressed in tattered fashions of their day, which Aloysius placed around the Victorian era. Aloysius stared at the ghastly woman wondering where he had seen her before. He thought it curious that she seemed so familiar to him, yet he couldn’t recall when he would’ve encountered such a being. On her lap, the woman held what looked like a toddler with a grotesque face similar to that of a goat and messy black hair. Aloysius shuttered and shied away from looking at it and instead turned his attention to the ancient tomes that lined the bookshelves.  
Sylvanus then proceeded to pull the painting from the wall and it swung forward revealing a simple green safe. He quietly muttered the combination to himself .  The safe squeaked as if it hadn’t been opened in ages. Sylvanus rummaged through a few things and began pulling items out one by one and placing them gently on his lap. Aloysius turned when he heard the safe door creak back into place. 
Sylvanus wheeled his way over to where Al was standing. With a shaky hand, he picked up the first item and handed it over. It looked and felt like a very large, weighty and ornately designed silver skeleton key. “The Silver Key? I thought you still needed this?” Aloysius asked. 
“It’s not a key, Cunningham. I suggest giving it another look”. The old man rotated the key in Aloysius hand until his fingers were wrapped around it in such a way that it looked as if he was holding a pistol. Aloysius thought it a strange thing for him to do, but it didn’t take long for him to realize that that was the proper way to hold it! It was a real, working, flintlock pistol! “Wow! This is an impressive piece! Although, I’m not sure I can carry it. I’m not licensed or anything. I could get jail time if anyone catches me with it!”
“Not to worry. That’s exactly why it was designed that way. It’s not a gun at first glance, is it?” Sylvanus said handing him a small velvet bag containing the necessary gun powder and bullets.
“Because carrying a concealed weapon is so much better!” Aloysius replied sarcastically. “What else do you have for me?” He slid the pistol and baggie into his satchel. 
“Be especially careful with this one, Cunningham. It looks innocent enough but it packs a deadly punch!” The old man said as he carefully handed over what appeared to be a simple Kris knife with a bronze handle encased in a brown leather sheath. “This is an ancient athame, dipped in poisons, and enchanted with spells and charms directly out of the Necronomicon. It is to be used on magical creatures and others not of this realm. Great harm could befall a mortal who comes in contact with that blade. That’s real Damascus steel!
“Damascus steel, eh? That’s pretty serious business.” Al said examining the blade with its strangely hypnotic fluid pattern. He put it back in its sheath and carefully placed it with the key in his bag. Sylvanus then handed him a simple black box. “If you’re gonna ask me to marry you, Mr. Wade, I think I might have to turn you down.” he said with a snicker.
“Quiet, you fool! Just open the damn box! I’m trying to help you after all!” The old man snapped again.
“Alright, calm down.” Al said carefully sliding the cover off. Inside was a crystal ring almost ½ an inch wide and 3-inches in diameter. It looked so fragile and old that he was afraid to pick it up. He lifted it gently holding it with the silk cloth that lay beneath it. It glistened and emitted different paths of light throughout the room. Etched around the ring were arrows of different shapes and sizes. 
“Before you make any more smart remarks, this is a compass, except it does not work in the traditional sense. This was among Lovecraft’s personal effects when he died. How we acquired it…is a rather long story.” Sylvanus explained. “It does not point north. It doesn’t react to magnetic poles at all. It was designed to be used in the Dream Realm. A place you will need to circumnavigate eventually in your journey. No matter where you are in the Other World, it will point you home. It is vital that you don’t lose this or else you may never return.”
“Well, that’s encouraging.” Aloysius said sarcastically carefully replacing the compass in the box and stowing the box in his bag. Sylvanus handed over the final item and Aloysius examined it all over. It was nothing more than a simple silver flask. It was just like the one he was offered in the artifact room but with the initials “B.R.W.” engraved on it. He looked at Sylvanus quizzically.      “For…..potions, I’m guessing?” he asked.
“No!  For whiskey, of course! I guarantee you’ll need it doing this job! You saw that thing downstairs. That is just a small fraction of the very real horrors you will encounter. Sometimes a nice swig of some liquid courage will help push you through that squeaky gate or down that long black corridor.”
“Oh! I didn’t think it would be that simple considering the other gifts you’ve given me.”
“And of course you still have the Necronomicon that Charlotte gave you, don’t you?” 
“Yes sir.”
“Good. That is, unfortunately, all I can supply you with.” Sylvanus said somberly. “It’s not much but, I have faith you can get the job done, Cunningham.”
“I will do my best, sir.”
“Work fast, Aloysius. Minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months. We don’t have much time left. The fate of the world is in your hands.” Sylvanus reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a business card. If you need anything or are in trouble, call us. We will help you.”
“Thank you, Mr. Wade. I will keep you posted regarding my progress.” He offered his hand to the old man and the two men shook hands in agreement. Aloysius turned and opened the heavy door to leave, but the old man called him back.
“Just one more thing, Cunningham.”
“You will have Charlotte of course on your journeys.” The old man said with a sly grin. Al let out a groan and an threw an annoyed glance at Sylvanus. “She is quite skilled when it comes to studying Lovecraft. What she lacks in social graces, she makes up for in abundance with her knowledge of the Mythos. Give her another shot. You’ll see.”  Aloysius sighed and rolled his eyes. Closing the door behind him he yelled back.
“I won’t be responsible if something horrible happens to her, Wade! It’s her own fault for tagging along.” He stomped down the many flights of stairs once again, although it seemed a shorter way down than it did up. When he reached the ground floor, he was back in the office again and the strange girl Lavinia was still sitting at the desk, gazing at nothing. He wondered if she had even moved since he went upstairs. Good manners prompted him to want to say ‘Goodbye’ to her, but he wasn’t sure if she had even noticed him at all. As he began to speak, Charlotte bounded around the corner squealing and nearly knocked him to the ground hugging him in excitement “Oh my goodness, Aloysius! I’m so excited that we get to work together!” Aloysius groaned and struggled to break free. He pried himself free as she babbled on and on about the mission. He brushed himself off, grabbed her by the shoulders, and looked her straight in the eyes.
“Charlotte. Listen to me. I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but we are working together for the mission. This means we’re not hanging out personally. We’re not best friends. We’re coworkers. Now, I’m going to give you my cell phone number.”  Her eyes lit up the moment he uttered those last few words. “For emergencies…only! “
“Oh right, of course!! Let me give you mine too!!” She quickly grabbed a pen and piece of small paper off Lavinia’s desk, scribbled ferociously and handed it over to Al.
“Uhh…ok then! I’m going to leave. It was…nice to see you, but I have to be getting home.” Al said slowly making his way swiftly towards the main door, waiting for Charlotte to pounce again.  
“OK, Al!! I can’t wait ‘til we can work together again!” She replied excitedly. Al smiled gloomily at her and began to open the main door.
  “Goodbye, Aloysius.” He heard a small voice whisper. It was Lavinia, who was now looking directly at him across the room. He waved back at her.
“Goodbye, Lavinia! It was nice to meet you! Charlotte, we’ll be in touch….” He pushed the heavy door open and was surprised when he walked outside and was confronted by darkness. The alley lacked any form of artificial light whatsoever. He fumbled and pulled his phone out of his satchel. He couldn’t believe it was already 9 o’clock! How long had he been in that building? ‘What a curious building’ he thought. He was feeling tired and a little disoriented, so maybe all that time really did pass. He used the light from his phone to guide him back to the discreet door leading to the alley. He needed to go home and rest before embarking on the quest he was just charged with. He stepped through the door and out of the darkness. The wooden door closed behind him and he felt a second wind of energy overtake him. He began the short trek back to the train station and his mind raced. How would this journey affect him? Where should he even start? Is Charlotte really necessary to have around? He thought on these questions and more but failed to notice the hooded figure that had followed him out of the mysterious alley. The entity walked slow and kept a steady pace behind him. 

There you have it, folks!It's not much, but hopefully enough to whet your appetite for the  What do you think of Aloysius's items? DO you think they will aide him on his journey? I think my favorite of all the pieces is the key gun! I was inspired after perusing the interwebs and stumbled across a website full of pictures of the amazing pieces of weaponry! I knew Al had to have one considering where his adventures will be taking him! For a better visual of what the gun actually looks like, check out this awesome pic I found over at Gizmodo :).

Be sure to stay tuned for the next installment of The Lovecraft Paradox, coming in the next few weeks!! Til then, CTHULHU FHTAGN!!! ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chapter 5 PART 3!

SO...did you think Chapter 5 was over? Because I totally did too! But my main character decided that was NOT he case! It is Aloysius Baxter Cunningham's story after all, so what he says goes!! I promise the NEXT installment will be the official beginning of Chapter 6. This specific story detail, however, could not be ignored. I hope you all enjoy this impromptu addition to the story!


The Deep One and Aloysius locked gazes for what seemed like an eternity before the creature finally made its move. It leapt hard at the glass leaving a large cracking running through it, though the impact didn’t phase the monster one bit.  Aloysius let out a quick scream while the Deep One crawled to the top of the reef one more time to prepare for its next attack. It let out one more incredible roar before it’s second attempt, but before it reached the point of impact, the old man cried out from the side:

                               “Oneiroi Aphroditays, Airesou Seauto!

         The creature hit the water just before he administered another blow to the surprisingly tough glass that separated it and Aloysius. It’s horrific, unblinking, eyes, slowly closed as it began to sink slowly out of view and back into the black abyss from where it came. Aloysius’s heart pounded so hard he thought it would beat right out of his chest. He collapsed down to the floor and could feel himself shaking with fear. Sylvanus wheeled himself over, pulled a silver flask out of the inside of his jacket and handed it over to Al. “Drink this, it will help.” He said. Aloysius grabbed the flask and stared at it for second unsure of its content. He took a careful swig of it and recoiled as the liquor burned going down his chest. “Oh my God, Wade! That is some strong whiskey!” 
“It has to be when you’ve seen the kind of things I’ve seen, Mr. Cunningham.” Sylvanus said putting a hand on the young man’s shoulder. 
“What did you say to it just then? It just seemed to stop.” Aloysius said breathing deeply and trying to regain his composure and not taking his eyes off the tank. 
“It means ‘Dreams of Aphrodite, seize him!’. It’s not much, but it’s the best we could find in the Necronomicon that would satiate it. They are lustful creatures, after all.”
“Where did you get it?”
“Not too far from here, off the coast of Ipswich. In an effort to locate the artifacts we need as a matter of fact. That’s how we knew we were on to something.”
“On to something?” He turned and looked at the old man terrified.
“Come with me over here, I will explain.” Sylvanus turned and Aloysius got to his feet slowly and followed as they headed to the opposite side of the room. Aloysius observed three empty glass cases with bronze nameplates on them that were already inscribed. He read them out loud as he went by each one 
“Pnakotic Manuscripts…Zann’s Fiddle…The Silver Key?” What do these have to do with a Deep one?” he asked.
“If you’ll direct your attention to the case before those, I can begin.” Aloysius turned his gaze to the next occupied pedestal and his jaw dropped. The object contained within was one he had only seen in his mind, that he only thought existed in Lovecraft’s stories. A crown worn by the priests of Dagon. The shining silver tiara glistened under the spotlight above it. The front of it spiked high towards the sky, came swooping down near the center and back up to a sharp point. The sides were so narrow, it looked like it couldn’t possibly fit a human head. Aloysius chuckled a little to himself when he realized how much it resembled the crown of a bishop. “I’m sure that as a fan of Howard’s, you can recall what this item is.” Sylvanus said.
“Yes sir. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t flabbergasted by all of this.”
“The story of how we acquired the Deep One goes hand in hand with this crown. The crown will play a crucial part in the ritual to seal the portal to the other realm when the time comes. We needed it but were unsure where to start looking for it. Our last…investigator…before you was on a mission to find it. He was determined to find one as he was completely devoted to the project. One day he chartered a small fishing vessel and went off sailing up and down the coast of the North Shore. He sailed from Salem, up to Rockport and Gloucester and back again, looking for any possible signs of ‘Innsmouth’ or ‘Devils Reef’. That evening, it was nearing dusk and too late for him to return all the way to Salem. He proceeded into a small inlet near Ipswich thinking there had to be somewhere to dock that was safe. As he went through the inlet, he dropped his fishing net in hopes of catching something to eat for the night. He slowly cruised through the murky water and marshland and came upon a long, moldy old dock. It wasn’t much but there was space for him to make port and it was free. He slowly drifted over to the dock and tied off his boat. He stepped onto the dock to stretch his legs and noticed that the dock led to a main road lined with a few abandoned and broken down buildings strewn alongside it. He thought maybe there was a bed he could sleep in in one of them. He walked down and heard distinct chatter coming from one of the buildings. He described it as looking like a former town hall. The front door was partially opened so he peered in out of curiosity. What he found was almost unspeakable.” Aloysius hung on the old man’s every word. The terror he felt when he first encountered the Deep One began to creep up once again. He took another swig from the flask and encouraged Sylvanus to continue.
“Good God, he found the ruins of Innsmouth. He found him there…didn’t he?” he asked.
“Not quite, I’m afraid. It was a whole pack of them. Mostly hybrids. He snuck in, hid in the shadows and watched as they performed their hideous ritual and croaked their horrible chants. He was daring and brave though. He would stop at nothing to obtain one of the crowns worn by one of the, well, I guess you could call them Elders. He worked out a plan to snatch one off a nearby head and sneak out one of the broken windows as fast as he could. When the creatures seemed to be deep in chant, he made his move and snatched the crown that was closest to him. As soon as he did every creature broke free of the chant, as if a crucial piece of their puzzle had been removed. As he clamored to make his escape, they let out their hideous roars and gave chase. He pulled himself through the window so quick that the jagged edges of the leftover glass pierced his side and left a long gash. He held his side as he ran and still clutched the crown with all the strength he could muster. He just barely kept a pace faster than the creatures, as they hopped and slithered and gnashed their horrible teeth at him. He ran across the dock and fumbled back into his boat. He grabbed a knife, cut the rope that was securing it, hit the motor and sped away as fast as he could to the open ocean. They jumped into the water after him. On his way back, he called us. He was babbling incoherently about Innsmouth and we couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying so I, and a few of my associates, met him at the dock at the Willows park just up the road from here. By the time we got to him, he was still furiously muttering to himself in the cabin of the boat. He had a small notepad and it looked like he was trying to recall what happened, to no avail. We couldn’t get a word out of him that made any sort of sense. It wasn’t until later on when we got the whole story. We got him safely ashore and sent him home to rest. A fellow member of the Order commandeered the vessel. It wasn’t until then, that we noticed a rope hanging over the side. It was tight and caused the stern of the vessel to dip down almost to the water line. It took 3 of my men to turn the crank attached to the rope that revealed our Deep One tangled in the fishing net.” Aloysius stood in silence staring at the magnificent crown. He had gotten himself roped into something so real and terrifying he questioned if he would be able to fill the shoes of the previous investigator. There was no escaping his fate now though. He turned back to the old man. 
“So what happened to him?” he asked quietly.
“Who? Our last investigator?”
“Oh, he decided after that encounter he needed a rest and decided to retire. We honored his wishes and that is how we came about hiring you.”
“Is there anyway I can speak with him? It may help with my own investigation.”
“Oh no, I’m afraid not! That is out of the question!” Sylvanus replied abruptly. “He left and we haven’t heard from him since. Noone knows where he is.”
A curious expression came over Al’s face as he processed what the old man had just said.
“Whatever. Anyway, what are the rest of these things you need?” Al said gesturing towards the 3 empty display cases. 
“The remaining items work in conjunction with the crown. We assume it will act as a form of offering to The Daemon Sultan to appease him while we perform the ritual to seal the gate. We know the key elements we need for the ritual, just not how to use them together as of yet. The most important piece of the puzzle will be the discovery of the Pnakotic Manuscripts. The Manuscripts will further outline the steps we need to take.”
“Where are these things? The Manuscripts are supposed to exist only in the dream realm.” The old man let out a somewhat sinister chuckle at his question.
“Ahhh, therein lies the dilemma, Mr. Cunningham. We don’t really know. All we have to go by are Lovecraft’s stories. That’s how we found all the rest of these things and that is how we plan to find the remaining three.” Aloysius let out a bit of a laugh and folded his arms.
“So what you’re saying is I have to comb through all of Lovecraft stories looking for clues so that I MAY find a manuscript that only exists in the dream realm?”
“Well, that could be just a metaphor. Innsmouth was successfully located, was it not? Those paintings you see over there? Recovered from the exact spot Lovecraft described Pickman’s residence to be. Do those reliefs on the wall mean nothing to you? We had a deal, Cunningham!!” The old mans face grew red with rage.
“Ahhh, OK!  Calm down, Mr. Wade. We still have a deal. I was just trying to grasp the size of the task I’m undertaking! I just learned all of this today! It’s a pretty huge deal and I’m basically starting from scratch if I can’t talk to the guy before me. I have nothing to give me any sort of clue where to start! Is there anything at all that you can give me that will help me out a little?” The old man paused with a sort of quizzical look on his face before he answered.
“I unfortunately don’t have any of our previous investigators notes or clues. But I do have a few trinkets that will help you keep your wits about you and survive this ordeal, if you would accept them.”
“I will take anything I can get, sir.” Aloysius nodded. Sylvanus turned towards the door and gestured for him to follow. They walked back through the giant steel door, which closed heavily behind them on its own and seemed to shake the small corridor they walked through to get back to the rickety old elevator. “Back to Sylvanus’ office once again” Al thought. 

I really hope everyone enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed writing it! We all know for certain that Lovecraft's stories were completely fictitious, but it certainly is fun to speculate, isn't it? Tying Lovecrafts mythos to events and places in the real world has been such a joy for me (even if it may be driving me a little bid mad!). Going on my own Lovecraftian adventures through Salem and Providence have given me so many horrifying ideas for this story! Where will Aloysius go to find the lost items? Does Lovecraft really give clues in his various stories and poems? Find out in the next installment. Chapter 6 is coming soon! I promise ;). As for my closing photo, i'm not sure who is responsible for it but I thought it was fitting! Whoever you are, what a hilarious job you've done! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chapter 5 Part 2

My apologies once again, readers! The story is really beginning to take off now and I want to make sure everything is perfect! Even though this is only the first draft, I still want to make it fun and entertaining for you all! So please, enjoy the exciting conclusion of Chapter 5!! 


        “Make it $10,000 and we have a deal. ”Aloysius stood and offered his hand to Sylvanus. 
“Done. 10,000 it is. ” Sylvanus shook his outstretched hand. The deal was done. Charlotte squealed and threw her arms around Aloysius excitedly. He rolled his eyes and glared at his new boss. Sylvanus sighed. “That will be quite enough of that, Charlotte! Now, help Lavinia downstairs and quit eavesdropping like you were!” Charlotte let go and hung her head.
“My apologies, Mr. Wade.  I’m sorry Aloysius. I’ll leave you alone now.” She said as she slowly walked out of the office and closed the door behind her. Aloysius opened his mouth to speak but Sylvanus held up his hand to stop him from starting prematurely. Once he heard Charlotte’s heavy boots clomping down the stairs, he put his hand back down.
“Proceed, Cunningham. I just wanted to make sure we wouldn’t have to worry about anymore interruptions.”
“Thank you. I really do appreciate that. So let me get this straight: The Mayans and Lovecraft both believed in terrifying alien gods?”
“Most definitely. Archaeologists have discovered reliefs all over the Mayan ruins of giant beasts and terrifying creatures, but they try very hard to keep their findings under wraps. Look how the mere thought of the 2012 prophecy is affecting the masses, if the world knew what was really going on, chaos would reign supreme. Luckily for us, the members of the Order come from all backgrounds and walks of life, including some of the scientific persuasion. We have actually acquired some of those recovered pieces. Would you like to see them?”
“Absolutely. I’m willing to give it a shot if it will help with whatever case you’re taking me on for.” He wasn’t exactly sure what he would see in the ‘artifact room’ but he didn’t see the harm in it.  He wasn’t sure how this meeting could get any weirder. “So where do you hide an artifact room in a facility like this?”
"In the basement, Cunningham.” Sylvanus said wheeling himself out from behind his desk. Aloysius cocked his head to one side and raised an eyebrow. Aloysius hadn’t noticed his wheelchair before now. Although he did find it strange that he didn’t get up to shake his hand at all. It was a strangely ornate motorized wheelchair almost as if it had been ripped out of a bygone era and modified to ‘blend in’ with modern society. He didn’t notice an elevator in the building. But there almost had to be in order for Sylvanus to get to and from his office, let alone the basement. Al couldn’t help but wonder just how old Sylvanus was. How did Sylvanus become the head of this organization? Why did they need him to do this again? “It’s the only space big enough to house our collection.” Sylvanus continued on breaking Aloysius’ train of thought.
“Soooo, how exactly will you get to the basement from here?” He asked. He watched as Sylvanus wheeled himself over to the far corner of one of the bookshelves. 
“It’s simple, really.” The old man said as he pulled down on one of the ancient texts. The sound of squealing gears turning filled the air as one of the panels of bookshelves began to swing forward slowly. Once it was fully opened, it revealed an archaic looking elevator complete with a bronze gate for a door and two hand cranks on the inside. Its walls were made of dark wood and it looked rather slim on the inside from what Aloysius could see. ‘What is this? The Addams Family Mansion?’  he thought to himself. Sylvanus began to wheel his way into the elevator. “Well, are you coming, Cunningham?” 
"Right behind you sir.” He said running in. Surprisingly, the car was a lot more roomy then it actually looked. Sylvanus pulled the hand crank closing the gate behind them and used the one opposite it to propel the elevator into motion. The elevator rattled as it slowly descended further and further beneath the ground. The journey down to the basement seemed to take twice as long as the run up the stairs to the office! Soon the glow emanating from Sylvanus’s office was nothing but a small speck of light in the blackness above them. They passed several doors leading to the different floors in the building and Aloysius wondered when they would ever reach the bottom. All of a sudden they hit the ground with a thud. “OH!” Sylvanus cried out. “I always misjudge how long it takes to get down here. Sorry for the crash landing, Cunningham. Here we are though.” He let go of the operator crank and opened the gate. In front of them laid a short cobblestone tunnel lit by two flaming torches and lead to a large steel door. The door looked like it belonged in a bank. The ominous wheel on the door looked impossible to move. As they approached the door, Sylanus grabbed Aloysius sleeve and pulled him down closer to him. “Now, Cunningham, the things you’re going to see in this room are confidential. I would advise you, for your own safety, to keep this between us. We have plenty of enemies outside these walls, and you will too once you get started. ” 
“I think you can count on that, sir.” Aloysius replied nodding. After all, noone would believe him anyway. Sylvanus rolled closer to the wheel and gripped it with both hands. “Are you sure you don’t want me to do that, Mr. Wade? It looks awful heavy.” 
“Stand back, son. I’m not as helpless as I look.” The old man hissed. Aloysius threw up his hands and took a few steps back as Sylvanus began to pull down and the iron wheel began to slowly turn. The clicking of the gears echoed loudly off the stone walls of the tiny corridor they were standing in. Sylvanus made one full turn on the wheel and the door popped open releasing a small puff as if the room was tightly airlocked. Aloysius helped Sylvanus push the door all the way open to reveal a room that looked nothing like the hallway they were standing in.
     It was reminiscent of a museum gallery. The wide room in front of them had high maroon walls and a marble floor. In the middle of the room was a large glass case, which to Aloysius looked like an oversized aquarium the size of a swimming pool. It seemed to house a giant pool of dark water that extended far beneath the floorboards with a monstrous looking brown reef sticking out just above the surface revealing sharp jagged edges. “What’s in this case, Mr. Wade?” he asked.
  “Some of our artifacts are of the, how should I put this, the aquatic variety. It’s best if we leave it undisturbed for now.” Sylvanus said quietly. Surrounding the aquarium were ivory pedestals with glass cases atop them, each housing a different strange item, whether it was an article of Lovecraft’s clothing, first edition issues of his Weird Tales magazine where he was published, and even the long-lost death journal Lovecraft wrote while on his death bed.  In between some of the pedestals hung grotesque paintings . Paintings that showed a seemingly normal human family aside from the hideous dog-like child that joined them. There were family portraits  with everyone posing like statues and other scenes of family Christmas’s and dinners, all marred by the presence of the disfigured child.  On the walls above them hung large stone reliefs all arranged in sequence depicting monstrosities of different shapes and sizes at different stages destroying the small human figures carved into the stone. Horrified, Aloysius slowly walked around the room looking at the collection. Every so often he thought he heard splashing and bubbling coming from the water in the terrarium behind him, but never could turn in time to see what was making the sounds. He walked back to Sylvanus, who stared silently into the dark abyss in the aquarium. “This is an incredible collection you have here, Mr. Wade.”
“It took many, many years to acquire it all. It took just as long to put all the pieces together. Everything points to the world coming to an unfathomable and horrific end at the end of this year I’m afraid.”
  “Now, I’m not an expert at these things Mr. Wade but it looks like those carvings are arranged to tell the story?”
“That is absolutely the truth. The sequence of event goes like: It all starts here with Nyarlathotep.” The old man pointed to the stone slab above his head. “The Crawling Chaos will bring the first reign of terror and destruction to the world. Corrupting the minds of men and driving them to near insanity. You can see that it has begun all over the world. Men, women and even children are killing each other for reasons and motives unknown. All driven mad by the charismatic and terrifying voice of Nyarlathotep.” At that moment, something clicked for Aloysius. The creature in his dream was none other than Nyarlathotep. How had he not seen it before? He must’ve grown visibly shaken enough for even Sylvanus to notice. “Are you alright, Cunningham?”
“Fine, sir, go on.”
“And then it gets worse from there. Yog-Sothoth will begin to open the gate causing all manner of horrible beings to manifest from the other realms. Night Gaunts, Shoggoths, Flying Polyps, you name it. Even before then there will be those things that have always dwelt beneath and beyond the cracks in mans dominion over the Earth. We haven’t received any reports of strange attacks recently, but there are plenty of eyewitness accounts of strange creatures, even cryptozoologists can’t identify. Just a few days ago, the Salem News printed an article about an abnormally large white rat prowling around the streets at night. ” Aloysius’ eyes widened with shock, as much as he tried to concentrate on what Sylvanus was saying, he still couldn’t take his mind off of what could possibly be inside such a large tank. It wasn’t until the old man’s latest revelation that things started making sense in his head. They couldn’t have what he was thinking of. It was nearly impossible. 
"Mr. Wade…what are you hiding down here? I don’t think that’s a normal fish tank.”
“When the stars begin to align, much closer to the actually date of December 12, 2012, The Great Old Ones will emerge and begin to wreak their havoc and damnation upon the earth…”the old man carried on as if Aloysius hadn’t said a thing.
“Mr. Wade, I asked you a question…”
“And then finally, the gate will be permanently opened ushering in the age of Azathoth, the Lord of All Things and the bringer of Ultimate Chaos. Noone will be able to escape once he is released. The End of Time will be upon us….”
“MR. WADE! What the HELL is in this room with us?” Aloysius yelled interrupting the old man. The room grew eerily quite and a furious bubbling came from the tank. Aloysius turned around slowly and noticed a silver shape slinking through the water moving faster and faster as if it was feverishly looking for a way out. It sent the water in the tank into a frenzy as it splashed violently against the glass. Quicker than Aloysius could blink, the creature emerged from the black water, perched and sat on top of the devilish reef and stared at Aloysius with a blood lust in its black, wide, unblinking eyes that Aloysius had never seen before. The fluorescent light from the ceiling sent a horrible shimmer over the scaly grey skin of the monster before him, while it’s webbed hands and feet gripped the reef so strongly that it almost sent cracks through it. It opened its mouth and revealed rows of jagged, sharp teeth and let out a hellacious cry that sounded like a demon screaming and trying to disguise its voice as that of a croaking frog. He couldn’t believe his own eyes. He could no longer deny the strange beliefs of the Miskatonics. He had living, breathing proof right in front of him. The Miskatonics  had somehow acquired A Deep One. 

Whew!! What a fun ride Chapter 5 has been! I can only hope you loved reading it just as much as I loved writing it! In the coming chapters, you will all finally get to follow Aloysius as he begins his trek to find the missing artifacts for Sylvanus! He has a big job ahead of him and will be encountering difficulties, including a group of antagonists along the way! My image for today is actually of a book that I actually bought for any future children I may have. I think its a great addition to any Lovecraft fans library!
You can purchase your own copy of "Where The Deep Ones Are" from a site like Amazon  or from your favorite Lovecraftian retailer!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chapter 5 Part 1

Sorry for the delay!! Part 1 of Chapter 5 is finally here! You're probably wondering (I hope anyways) what the hold up was with this chapter! It's really quite simple: Ever since the anniversary of Howards death, I have witnessed an outpouring of love and devotion to his work. After attending a tribute service in Providence, I realized that people do take him very seriously, and I really admire that! In an effort to appease the super fans, i'm trying to take as much time with the rest of the story as I can. I will work hard to create a piece that is worthy of the Cthulhu Mythos! So without further ado, here is the continuation of The Lovecraft Paradox!


            “Excuse me?” Al said raising an eyebrow and taking a sip of his drink. He thought maybe he had misheard him, or maybe he was too tired to comprehend what Sylvanus just said. He also started to notice a strange odor overtaking the room. He couldn’t quite place what it smelled like or where it was coming from, but it was starting to mess with his senses. This trip to Salem was getting more bizarre by the minute! “Esoteric Order…of  what now?” he asked trying to politely cover his nose.   
            "Oh, I forgot about the smell up here! This building is so old and musty that some people just can’t handle it. I guess I’ve grown rather accustomed to it over the years.” Sylvanus replied pulling an incense burner out of his desk drawer and lighting a stick. “Now back to business, Mr. Cunningham. Our name isn't important as such, however our work is and it is in that arena that we require someone of your talents."
            “What talents do you think I have, Mr. Wade? I’m just an office drone, and a sub-par writer on the side.”
            “But you’re far more than you realize, Aloysius! You’re a budding Lovecraft historian, which is what we need for this organization.”
            “What exactly do you need me for?”
            “We here at the Order are part of an ongoing project to preserve what Lovecraft gave us, and protect the world from the nightmares of his stories.” Al sighed and buried his head in his hands. There was an entire group of people who believed that Cthulhu and the Elder Gods were real.
            “What exactly is there to preserve? How do you know it’s all real?”
            “Each member of the Order came to the conclusion in their own way. I believe you’ve had your own experiences that would alter how you feel, am I right?” Sylvanus inquired while raising an eyebrow. Aloysius got an uneasy feeling in his stomach. He knew what Sylvanus was talking about. The past few nights of horrible sleep had been plagued by some nightmarish monster that he would almost swear was real. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead just thinking about it. 
             “I’m not expecting you to believe any of what I’m about to tell you, Aloysius. I simply need a fresh mind and sharp eye to help our cause.”
            “Keep talking, I’m listening.”
            “The many works of Lovecraft have been interpreted and misinterpreted over the years since his death. Most feel that the monsters and the horrific environment he created are mere reflections of how he felt about the world he lived in. For example, it is believed that ‘The Horror At Red Hook” is a reflection of Howard’s feelings of prejudice and racism towards the large wave of immigrants coming to the United States at the time. The literary scholars and critics of the world call him the greatest horror writer of the last 100 years. However, recent discoveries made by the Order have led us to believe that the stories and ‘weird tales’, so to speak, are not as far-fetched as they would seem. His nightmares that some believe “inspired” his stories, weren’t nightmares at all. They were visions, Mr. Cunningham.” Aloysius listened and simply sipped on his drink. It was the only thing he could do to keep from laughing.
            “Go on.”
            “By now you’ve heard the phrase ‘When the stars are right’ I assume?”
            “Yes sir, I have.”
            “Mr. Cunningham, I’m afraid that day is rapidly approaching. The Ancient Mayans predicted a galactic alignment will occur on Dec 21st , 2012. Many believe there will be a magnetic pole shift that will bring about the apocalypse causing widespread destruction and chaos. We at the Order have discovered there will be something far more sinister at work.” Aloysius raised an eyebrow and scoffed.
            “What could possibly be worse than the apocalypse?”
            “The return of the Old Ones! The rising of Rl’ yeh from the depths!  Yog-Sothoth opening the gate!!! Azathoth…”
            “And that would be my cue to leave.” Al interrupted him before he could go any further. “I’m sorry Mr. Wade, I don’t think I can help you with this .” He stood and headed towards the office door. As he opened the door to leave, Charlotte practically fell into him. He helped her back to her feet and turned back to Sylvanus. “Does she ever go away?” he said.
            “Not this time I’m afraid. She’s very excited to be a part of this project.”
            “Are you going to help us, Aloysius? Oh please, say you will! We really need all the help we can get with this! I think you’d be perfect! ” She said enthusiastically.
            “Well I don’t think so……”
            “Mr. Cunningham before you decide, I feel the need to tell you once again that I don’t expect you to believe this. I just need your expertise. All you would have to do is find a few artifacts for me, nothing more, nothing less. ” Sylvanus pleaded with him. “I can pay you handsomely, and in any currency you like. How does $5000 to start sound?” Aloysius paused and thought it over. What’s the worst that could come from helping these people? A few more nightmares, maybe? Being forced to hang out with Charlotte? $5000 would be enough for him to take a leave of absence from work to focus on his “mission”. That alone should’ve been enough to convince him to do it, but there were still a few things he was unclear of.
            “Well Mr. Wade, you almost had me with the $5000. But I do have one question for you: Why me? You keep saying you need my ‘expertise’, but I don’t understand why you don’t just use one of the members of the Order? Since they will obviously know what to look for.”
            “That’s exactly part of the problem. To put it simply; the best way to describe the members of this Order is to compare them to somewhat overzealous Christians. As a Christian would see Jesus appear on a piece of toast, a dedicated Miskatonic will see Yog-Sothoth in the bubbles on a tube of toothpaste. They will have difficulty deciphering a Night Gaunt from a gargoyle atop a church. We need you to give us a fresh perspective. Actually, not believing will probably make it easier for you to finish this task. Keeping an open mind about it will be in your favor.”                                                                                                      “What are you looking for?”
            ‘I’m afraid I can only tell you if you accept the job, Mr. Cunningham. I know I’ve already come off as somewhat of a lunatic to you, so I would rather keep the details to a minimum until I know you will take this seriously.” The old man sat back in his chair and folded his hands, Aloysius weighed his options. He could walk away right now, go back to his ho-hum life at C.D Ward and never be bothered by any of this again or accept the job Sylvanus was offering to him now. As much as he wanted to refuse, something inside of him wanted to know the truth. It was as if something had latched on to his mind and soul and wouldn’t let up until he knew what the Miskatonics were after.
            “Make it $10,000 and we have a deal. ”Aloysius stood and offered his hand to Sylvanus.
            “Done. 10,000 it is. ” Sylvanus shook his outstretched hand. The deal was done.

I usually have something fun or witty to add to the end of these posts, but I think I will just let the post and this photo do the talking. The stars are right, folks.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In Memoriam: "I Am Providence"

75 years ago today, the city of Providence, Rhode Island bid farewell to one it's native sons, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, one of the greatest literary minds of the last century. Although it would take a few years before the world knew his name.

To be honest, it was only very recently that I myself discovered the genius that was H.P. Lovecraft. I had always heard his name mentioned and would hear little bits about "Cthulhu" here and there, but never really paid it any mind until recently. In my mind, Edgar Allen Poe was the end all when it came to strange fiction! It wasn't until a very good friend lent me a copy of  "Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft" that I actually delved into the strange world created by Mr. Lovecraft. I remember reading "The Statement Of Randolph Carter" and being hooked almost immediately. I came away with a sense of fear I had never felt before merely from a story. I wanted to know what happened to Harley Warren! What did he see? Why did he go down there in the first place? From there I went on to discover "The Outsider", "The Silver Key", "The Dunwich Horror", and his most well-known piece "The Call of Cthulhu", amongst many others. The mind that created those stories had become my new favorite thing in the world, and still is to this day! His old world style of writing and his choice of words (for example: gibbous, eldritch, and cyclopean to name a few) truly encapsulates the genius shining through in his work. 

As with any new thing I discover, I found myself beginning to do research on the Old Gent himself and what I learned fascinated me more than any of his stories ever could. It was no secret how Howard felt about the changing world around him. His stories certainly reflected the time period in which he was living. Although he was never commercially successful in his time, he wrote tirelessly. His extensive collection of work consisted of short stories, journalistic essays, poetry (when he was just a child!) and a vast network of correspondence with fellow writers who would later come to be know as "The Lovecraft Circle".  He literally wrote about 20,000 letters in his lifetime!  I think my absolute favorite piece by Lovecraft is his essay entitled "Supernatural Horror In Literature". When I printed it out to read it, it was a total of 32-pages! 32 pages just about writing supernatural horror! He even kept a journal during his battle with cancer at the end of his life. He wrote until he could no longer hold a pencil. As I'm sitting here struggling to write this post and trying to make it worthy of Howard, I can only hope that one day I can reach that same level of passion with my writing that he had for his. 

Howard understood that "the oldest and strongest emotion of humankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest fear is fear of the unknown". That, coupled with his famous line, "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents" proves that he truly understood not only his craft but he also knew that the world and the universe were full of mysteries and horrors that were yet to be discovered. He created an entire mythos to fill that void.  

Writing this post over the past few days has made me stop and think about Howard's final days. He died alone in a hospital and most likely in pain. The Howard we know today should have been surrounded by friends and loved ones. If you're not a fan of his work, at least remember him for that reason alone. Continue to rest in peace, Mr. Lovecraft. You're name will live on forever. We will make sure of it. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chapter 4 part 2

Well, I must say: Chapter 4 has been a grueling process, but not in a bad way! I just wanted to make sure it was picture perfect for my readers! This is where the story is really going to get down to the nitty gritty, so every detail counts to make it flow the way I want to. So without further ado, here is the conclusion of Chapter 4:

Several cups of coffee later, Aloysius got ready and left the house to go meet Charlotte at the train station. Now that he was a little more awake, he couldn’t believe that his stalker was actually about to prove him wrong. He wasn’t even sure where they were going but he knew that it was going to be an uncomfortable trip.
            By the time he got to North Station, it was 9:55. He hoped their train wasn’t leaving at 10 because he didn’t have the strength to run for it. He walked through the gigantic lobby and kept his eyes open for Charlotte, who was sure to stick out like a sore thumb. He meandered through the crowd and couldn’t find any sign of her. After a few frustrating minutes of searching, he paused and sighed. He decided that if she could find him once to follow him around, she could find him again with no problem! He gave up the search and got in line to buy a ticket for the train so at least he would be prepared for when they did finally meet up. He got nearly to the ticket window when he realized he couldn’t actually buy a ticket yet since he had no idea where they were going. “Dammit!” he muttered to himself. He turned around sharply and nearly knocked over his stalker who was standing only a few inches behind him. “YIKES, woman, you need to wear a bell or something so you don’t sneak up on me anymore!” he said. Charlotte merely chuckled and started digging into her pockets. “So, where are we going? I need to buy a ticket.”
            “No need.” Charlotte said. “I’ve already gotten one for you.” She handed him the ticket and they began to walk towards the boarding area.
            “Where are we going anyway?”
            “To Arkham.” She replied cheerily.  Aloysius stared at her blankly. He blinked a few times. She really just said they were going to Arkham, a fictional town that Lovecraft created and based off of Salem.
            “So you mean we’re going to Salem?”
            “No. We’re going to what people believe is Salem. It’s actually Arkham.”
Aloysius let out a quiet laugh, which then escalated into full blown hysterics.
            “Oh my God, what?? Do you honestly believe that Salem is Arkham?” He said in between guffaws. Charlotte looked at him and sniffled.
            “It is Arkham! I can show you when we get there! I can at least start on the train ride if you’ll let me!” Her face turned bright red and tears began to roll down her cheeks. When Al finally regained his composure, he realized that maybe he could’ve been a little nicer. He really was too tired to deal with crying Charlotte.
            “OK! OK! I’m sorry! Please stop crying! I didn’t mean to make you upset. Look, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. That book did cause me to have some messed up dreams and that’s why I’m here, for answers.  But let’s get one thing clear. That is the ONLY reason I’m here. Understood?” He asked handing over his handkerchief to her. She sniffled and nodded silently, while wiping the tears from her eyes. It was about then that a voice came over the loudspeaker and announced the track for the next train to Salem. “Oh look! We can be on our way to Ark…I mean…Salem now!” Al said trying to lighten the mood. They made sure they had all their belongings and made their way to the train for what was sure to be an uncomfortably strange train ride.

            After 10 excruciating minutes of waiting for the train to move away from the platform, the conductor finally shut the doors and they began to chug on their way. Al decided to break the tension and ask Charlotte about ‘Arkham’. “So…..what makes you think Salem is the real deal?” he said trying to keep a straight face.
            “It’s hard to explain until you see it. But I’ll show you the maps if you want.”
            “By all means.” He tried to sound enthusiastic. From her messenger bag, she pulled a folded white sheet of paper and a tattered older piece of paper that had been rolled up and tied with a piece of twine.  She untied the twine and unfolded the younger looking sheet of paper and handed both pieces to Al.
            “The plain paper is a current street map of what you call Salem.” She explained. “The older paper is a map of Arkham as it was envisioned by Lovecraft himself. Do you see anything similar between them?” Aloysius examined both maps carefully. He could see the train tracks running along the Miskatonic River were almost in line with the tracks on the Salem map running to Newburyport. He noticed the location of “Hangman’s Hill Burying Ground” linked up almost perfectly with the supposed location of Gallows’ Hill. He looked at these and brushed them off as merely coincidence. He handed both papers back to Charlotte with a shrug. “They’re not too far off from each other, I’ll give you that. It’s clear Lovecraft used one of these maps to model the other. I wouldn’t necessarily say that means Salem is actually Arkham, though.”
            “Those were just our tip-off’s” she said.
            “Tip-offs?” he asked.
            “Yes. You’ll see the biggest piece of evidence when we get there! Oh, they’ll be so excited that I was able to bring you!”
            “They? Our? Who are you talking about?”
            “I will explain when we get there! You have to see it to believe it!” Charlotte said carefully returning the papers to her bag. Aloysius had never considered himself a crazy man but at that exact moment he was just about ready to jump out of the moving train! What was Charlotte getting him into? Who was she talking about? Was there actually a group of people she was taking him to meet? Was she just luring him into a trap filled her stuffed animal “friends” that she talks to? He racked his brain trying to figure out who they might be! The creature in his dream mentioned “them” as well! Maybe there was some significance to it and he was just too tired to realize. His head was starting to hurt so he shut his eyes and rested his head against the window while his mind raced. Before he knew it the conductor was announcing their stop! They gathered up their things and shuffled off the train. They walked across the seemingly endless parking lot to the staircase that led to the main street level.
            Despite living fairly close his entire life, Aloysius had only visited Salem a handful of times on class trips as a child and on drunken Halloween excursions as an adult. He was relying fully on Charlotte to show him around. For all he knew she could know where she was going. Or she could be luring him into her torture chamber. Who could say? They crossed the busy intersection they had come to and before Al could even get the question he was going to ask out, Charlotte chimed in with an answer. “We’re not going too far off the beaten path to get to Church Street. It’s just the next street down. But there’s a certain way you have to go to get the full effect when I show you the map again.”           
            “I have no doubts you know where you’re going.” Al replied with slight sarcasm.  She turned and giggled excitedly at him. ‘There’s still time to run, Al. The train station is still close enough….” He thought to himself before Charlotte spoke again. “Now, I don’t think you want to go running off, Mr. Cunningham. We have work to do.” With that he decided that he really DID want to run, but he was afraid of what would happen to him if he even attempted it. Did she read his mind? Was she even human at all? He could feel himself starting to sweat.
            “Why would I run?” he asked nervously. “I’ve already come this far, haven’t I?”                                                                                                                               
            “True. Just wanted to make sure, that’s all. ” She replied           .  He followed along quietly as Charlotte led him down a small side street. ‘This is it. We’re walking down a shady street. I’m done for! I never even got a chance to say goodbye to my family…” Al thought bracing for an attack. They walked by a place called Lyceum, which Al assumed was a restaurant and then in between two red brick buildings, and eventually they came up to a rather large parking lot where Charlotte stopped and began rustling through her bag again.                                               
            “So where do we go from here?” Al asked, trying to hide the terror in his voice.      
            “OK, now before we go any further, take a look at the maps again. Now you’ll see they have a common denominator in the middle of the map.”
            “They do?”
            “Yes they do. Right now we’re on Church Street. Can you find Church on both maps?” Al took the maps and looked at them again, while still trying to stay on guard. He couldn’t believe it. It was on both maps! And almost in the exact location where they were standing! “Well, well, well…” he said. “That’s pretty impressive.” He was about to hand the maps back and Charlotte stopped him.       
            “Wait, you’re not done with those yet! Do you see what else they have in common?” She squealed. Al compared both maps yet again. He really didn’t notice anything else. It wasn’t until he looked back at the Arkham map that he noticed the “Miskatonic University Quadrangle” was almost identical in size and shape to the parking lot they were standing in front of. He looked back and forth between the map and the lot several times and was stunned beyond words. It still didn’t prove that Salem was ACTUALLY Arkham by any means, but he could certainly see how a loony toon like Charlotte would believe it. “Do you see it??” She said grabbing the maps out of his hands.
            “Oh I see it, alright…” he replied.
            “That’s how I found them! Come on! They’re looking forward to meeting you!” She grabbed his hand and rushed down passed a small office building until they came to a wooden door, which seemed to be heading down a small alley. Al took a deep breath and gulped.  He looked up at the imposing two-story turret that seemed to cast a darker shadow then the rest of the buildings surrounding it. Charlotte giggled and ran ahead to open the door. She unlatched the lock and pulled the door out and gust of cold air rushed out towards Aloysius.  It made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. It reminded him of how he felt in his dream with the creature. “Well, come on silly! You’ve come this far, right? She smiled eerily and Al nodded and slowly walked forward. Through the door, he followed her down a few small cement steps. On the left was another door with a faded sign hanging above it that looked to be about extremely ancient. Al could barely make it out but from what he could tell it seemed to say “Miska Tonic Soda Co. Est: 1920”. Charlotte rang the door bell and opened the door when it buzzed. Al reluctantly followed her in. The entryway was nothing more than stark office. The blonde, bespectacled secretary, who Al thought was paler than Charlotte, typed away on her computer and only looked away from her monitor when Charlotte addressed her. “Hello Lavinia!” she said. The distracted girl slowly turned her gaze towards them and responded slow and monotonously, almost like she was in a daze.
            “Hello, Charlotte. I see you brought him. I’ll alert Mr. Wade. You can head upstairs now.”
            “Thanks a bunch, hun!” Charlotte replied merrily once again grabbing Al’s hand and leading him up the stairs next to the desk. Every so often they would pass a landing with a door and Al would hear various sounds from machinery running to indistinct chatter in some foreign language that he had never heard before. They seemed to walk up a dizzying amount of steps, when Al knew for sure it only looked to be about two stories from the outside. Eventually they reached the final landing and Aloysius couldn’t believe his eyes. It was the same door he had dreamt about the night before. He gulped as Charlotte knocked on the ornate door.  They heard a voice call from inside. “Come in.”
            “This is it”. He thought. “Too late to run now. This is how I’m going to die….” . Charlotte pulled open the heavy door and Al sheepishly stepped in and breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed the interior of the room looked completely different than he was expecting. The walls were lined with bookshelves that stretched all the way up to ceiling and the books that filled them looks like they would turn to dust if anyone even breathed wrong around them. There were two large, brown, leather chairs sitting in front of the desk and a few scattered around the room. The large mahogany desk was as ornately decorated as the door. Behind the desk sat a stately looking gentleman dressed in a suit that looked it came straight from the 1920’s. He stood up, smiled and outstretched his hand towards Aloysius. ‘Welcome, Mr. Cunningham. My name is Sylvanus Wade. Please have a seat” 
            “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Wade.” Al said shaking his hand and then settling into one of the leather chairs. “Do you oversee the operations here?” he asked.
            “I do! Would you like to try some of our Miska Tonic Soda? We largely specialize in ginger ale and birch beer.”
            “Yes sir, the ginger ale sounds fine.” Al said, fearing what might happen to him if he said no.       
            “Perfect! Charlotte, please fix our guest a drink.” Charlotte nodded and disappeared quicker than Al could comprehend. He decided he couldn’t wait any longer for answers.                                                      
            “So Mr. Wade, from your sign it looks like you’ve been in business a good amount of time. I’ve never seen your products though. What exactly is it you do?”
            “Ahh cutting right to the chase I see. You are a smart man, Mr. Cunningham. That’s exactly why I had Charlotte bring you here.” Before Al could respond, Charlotte had already returned with his drink. “You’ve done a fine job, Charlotte, thank you. Now I think Lavinia could use some help in the office. Go and help her, won’t you?”
            “Yes, Elder- I mean- Mr. Wade.” she said. With that, Charlotte turned and showed herself out of the office.  
             "Now, back to what I was saying, Mr. Cunningham..."                                                                                                                                            
            “Please, just Cunningham will do. No need for formalities with me.”
            “OK. Well Cunningham, I suppose since you’re a fan of Mr. Lovecraft you’ve heard the word Miskatonic thrown around more than once. But not many people know where that word comes from.”
            “I always figured that it was just a made up word.”
            “Cunningham, what I’m about to tell you is very different than what you’ve learned about the world of Lovecraft. Are you sure you’re prepared to hear it?”
            “I wouldn’t have come here if I wasn’t.”
            “Well then let me re-introduce myself. My name is Sylvanus Wade and I am the leader of the Esoteric Order Of The Miskatonics, protectors of the works of Howard Philips Lovecraft. Welcome to our headquarters.”

...AAAAAAAND i'm spent! I hope you all enjoyed that! It was on a recent trip to Salem myself when Fred and I realized just how closely Lovecraft modeled Arkham after Salem, which of course added fuel to the fire when I was "mapping" out the plot for this story. In case you ever want to take your own Lovecraftian adventure in Salem, this was the map we used.

Keep your eyes peeled for Chapter 5 coming soon!! Hopefully it won't take as long as Chapter 4! As always, please share this with you friends, family, any other Lovecraft fans you may know, etc. I'm always looking for feedback! 

P.S. Am I the only one pulling for this in December? Cthulhu/Dagon 2012: The Stars Are Right!! ;)