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!