First posted on September 15th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Radio Podcast and Blog - CW post link
November 18, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:
I began this log under the advice of one of my most trusted associates. Call it what you like; archive diary, Etc, but the fact remains that its purpose is entirely singular. In recent weeks I was asked to look into a rather unusual insurance claim placed by a local company regarding one of its salesmen. It seems the gentleman arrived in the town on a routine sales call and just vanished into the ether. Letters were sent to town officials and were met with the response that the man in question did indeed arrive and was quickly run out of town on a rail as the citizens of the town detested salespeople. As this was a regular occurrence in their business, this had happened very frequently and the company insisted that they would have heard from Dr. Minto by now. A claim was submitted to collect on the life insurance policy purchased on Minto but before our company was willing to pay out the Forty dollars; I am to be sent into the town, conduct interviews and investigate to bring closure to this matter once and for all.
November 19, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:
I am currently on a carriage en route to Happy Pines, Iowa and have discovered the most incredible thing! While doing research on Happy Pines, (in preparation for my journey) I happened upon my own family name. It seems that there was a line of my ancestors that branched off some years back. They apparently moved to Happy Pines to pursue business, and shortly cut off all ties with their relatives back east. Several generations remained in the town but I could not find specifics on their whereabouts. Apparently, this trip could end up being of some interest, other than just of the monetary variety.
November 19, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two, Supplemental:
Arrived in Happy Pines the town is strangely silent and I don’t yet know what to make of it. The few people I have encountered all have a strange look to them. It’s nothing I can put my finger on. Just the occasional flash of something…recognition or…I’m not sure but there was something. Additionally, for a place called Happy Pines, the citizens could not be more cold. No one smiles on the street and even the Land Lady at the Inn I am rooming at conducted our business with a severe, ominous tone. Stranger still, at check in she insisted that I have “always been here” and it took some negotiating to secure board for the night. One highlight is that, through conversation with the landlady, I discovered my ancestral home! My family owned a large manor house on the outskirts of town. Sadly no one of my lineage still lived in the town and the house had stood deserted for years. The only people who ever go anywhere near it now are the staff, who’s salaries are paid through a family trust. I will set out tonight to investigate the home and satisfy my own curiosity before embarking on the real business that brought me to the town.
November 20, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:
Incredible! I hardly know where to begin . My trip to the manor house was more productive than I could have ever imagined. The place is incredible and far more ancient than any descriptions gave it credit for. Some of the halls seem almost cavernous, and it’s almost as though the entire place breathes with a life of its own. Everything is as it was left; all of the cookware in the kitchen. The beds are still covered with blankets and the windows with curtains. Inside the most enormous library I have ever seen, are shelves filled with hundreds and hundreds of books. It’s as if there is still someone in residence here, though I know that isn’t the case. In regards to the library it would provide a feast to a bibliophile such as myself. I know that I really need to be getting back to my vocation, but I plan on return tonight to explore this reader’s paradise.
November 20, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two, Supplemental.
A long day spent in town. No one seems to know anything about Dr. Thaddeus Minto or in the very least do not wish to discuss the matter with me. It is the strangest thing since arriving in the town, I have began to feel that at once I am a complete outsider and that everyone in Happy Pines knows me completely. I spent hours walking the streets of the town and the thing that has bothered me the most has been the whispering; which has come in two distinct forms. The first is easily recognizable but beyond my ability to explain; it comes from the people of Happy Pines. Everywhere I go people begin to talk low amongst themselves and it bares more proof of the suspicious familiarity that I have mentioned. The second form of whispers…now that’s something else entirely. It feels as though it’s coming from the town, not the people of the town but the town itself as though its alive. As though it wants something and is constantly beckoning me forward…driving me on. I have been dwelling upon it in the manor house library for hours and still have no answers. I think it’s time to rest my mind and loose myself in a good book or a few hundred. Who knows, it’s entirely possible I might discover some things about my long lost family.
November 21, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:
It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. I had to add another entry into this log. I am very thankful that the idea of a journal was given to me as I believe it will prove to be invaluable in sorting out the events I have experienced. The faceless, wordless whispering has increased to a deafening level. It began while I was pouring over the tomes in the library. I was in the midst of discovering some strange occurrence that undertook my family. The reports are sketchy, made up of diary entries and half-torn newspaper articles. There were stories of caves. Of lights from the night sky…lights from the stars and of a terrible scandal. I was beginning to uncover some evidence of the whereabouts of my ancestors and suddenly I was struck by overwhelming pain like an echo inside my mind. Then just as suddenly as it started it ceased, and was replaced by a powerful sense of purpose as if I had to carry out a long standing obligation. I was moved to explore the manor home further and discovered that more than a few secrets lived within these walls. Inside a pantry in the lower level, I discovered a false wall and after some gentle pressure I was able to get it to give under the strength of my shoulder. What was behind it I can hardly believe myself. As if I was in a serialized novel, a hall stretched before me. A hall of bricks winding into the distance, lit by torches bolted to the wall. I had no choice but to enter and to see where it led. As I began to turn what I felt was the final corner, I finally came back to myself. The cold hand of fear gripped me immediately and I beat a hasty retreat to the relative safety of the house proper. I really need to get back to my work but the events of that last few days have been a grand adventure indeed, and one I will remember to a ripe old age.
November 21, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two. Supplemental.
I have spent all morning at my desk in the hotel. Despite my full dedication I have found it impossible to work. Despite every sense of logic and common sense, I must go back to my ancestral home. I have to find out what happened to my family. The work will have to wait I wont be able to set my mind to it until I have answers.
November 22, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:
I finally walked the length of the hall last night and the whole thing was like a dream. The hall seemed to narrow and darken the further I traveled, and the whispers at once grew louder and somehow more clear. I walked and upon rounding the final corner it opened into a vast cavern. The room was impossibly large and it almost seemed as though you could look far enough up to see the very stars in the night sky, although the fact that I was hundreds of feet beneath my family property this was obviously impossible. Either way, this was not close to being the most remarkable thing in the room. The most remarkable thing lay at its center, nearly filling the entire room with its incredible enormity.
Image courtesy of Sketch O Rama
There was a beast…a monster laying upon the stone floor. Its size was impossible to describe. But its appearance was amazing. It was covered in red and blue fur with huge sharp yellow teeth protruding from its closed mouth. Its leathery hands and feet flexed and released in unconscious movement displaying the black and blue nails on the tip of each finger and toe. Atop its head was a shock of purple hair and two long horns. It had clearly been asleep for a long time. Asleep for ages. The entire body of the creature was covered in a heavy layer of dust, spider webs and soot. Though it lay not alive and not dead something seemed to stir as I approached, as if something within me brought life to the creature. As if I was what it had been waiting for, all these years. It began to move then and that was when I noticed the chains. Around each wrist and ankle was a shackle made of an orange material that was clearly not of this world. Imbedded in the surface of the shackles was arcane symbols of some variety. The shackles led to chains of the same bright orange color. The beast’s huge arms strained against the massive chains, forged of such heavy material no man could have created them. The longer I stood in the beasts shadow the more it seemed to waken and I noticed a weakness in the links of the chain. At the center where each shackle connected was a link that was not perfectly formed and as the beast pulled against them the chain began to separate. I was so mesmerized by curiosity and fear it was almost too late when I realized the creatures eyes were now open. As I looked up I stared into two ancient yellow eyes that tore away every pretense of every frail and pathetic façade of authority I ever falsely claimed to possess and at that moment I felt a devastating sense of servitude and loyalty to this magnificent being. Slowly a sound that words would lend no justice to began to emit from the being’s mouth; it was a call, a command and I knew that I was intended to respond. My feet began to carry me, slowly at first and then I began to run, I ran across the stone floor toward the light of the torch lit hall. I ran across bones; both human, and belonging to beings that never lived upon this planet. I ran across dirt and insects and strips of clothing and blood scattered around the destroyed remains of what used to be a Boglins sales kit. I ran until no breath could reach my lungs and no thought ignited a spark within my mind and then when I could run no more. I ran.
Whether it was mere moments or hours or days I can not say with any certainty. All I do know is that I am afraid. I am terrified of what I saw. Of the signs of death, of feeding and of course of the unearthly beast hidden deep with the very caverns under the house of the people who’s blood courses within my own veins. Beyond everything else I am afraid of what I know I have to do. I now know what became of those that came before me. They fell. They fell because of their own weakness. They were unable to do what was necessary, unable to carry out our responsibility. But I now know what is expected of me and I know how to take care of things. All of the things I used to think were so important I now realize were meaningless. All that matters now is that I am the caretaker. The caretaker of this estate. The caretaker of everything…of Him. And I always will be for while it may wear chains this monster is not my pet, I am his. We are all pets of the Monster.