Featured post

Welcome to Tales of Terror

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Poisoned Sailor

A doctor is awakened in the middle of a rainy night by furious banging at his front door. If opened, a desperate, haggard-looking sailor will storm in, pleading for help. He rolls up his shirt’s sleeve, offering his horridly bulging arm for examination. Swelled and blackened, it appears to be affected by necrosis. The man begs for help, claiming he was poisoned by a rival.

“Duh bastar’ hates me guts cos my business runs strong, an’ he’s a lazy, warty ol’drunkar’ who can’t keep ep. He’s poison’ me drinks! Help me please, ain’t wanna die, oh Gawd!”

The arm responds to no medical treatment the doctor can come up with. Hospitals have no more success. The necrosis worsens by the hour.

Possibilities

1 The sailor is telling a half truth. The ‘rival’ isn’t simply jealous because of business competition, he’s seeking something the sailor has: an old trophy from a shipwreck, looking like a copper bracelet with intricate designs. The rival, actually a follower of Dagon, knows that it’s a piece of deep one jewellery, and badly wants it. Since the sailor refuses to part with it, the cultist has cursed the sailor, and will later contact the sailor for a bargain.

2 The sailor has tainted deep one blood, but is also cursed. His now-dead (human) mother found the strength of will to break free of the bonds imposed by her monstrous consort.

Furious by such unprecedent behaviour, the deep one asked Dagon to curse both she and any offspring she might have in the future. Any descendant would come to the world doomed to end his life, transformed into a ravenous human-eating monster, one far more horrible than the most degenerate deep one hybrid. Unfortunately for the sailor, the onset time for the transformation is over... but perhaps there is a way to reverse it.

3 The sailor really is poisoned, but it is incredibly potent. A creation of a serpent man sorcerer that the sailor had wronged. But how?

© Ricardo Christe

Pygmalion

A sculptor has been found dead in his desolated atelier, right in front of his latest work. It appears to be a massive black marble statue of a body, though big parts are still unfinished. What irritates is that the body seems to have multiple legs, oversized arms and something that looks like wings extruding from the back.

The other works in the atelier are normal sculptures of people, animals etc., mostly done for commission. The sculptor was considered normal, perhaps a bit reclusive, but within the range of what people expect from an artist.

Possibilities

1 The sculptor was a gambler and in high debt. He got an offer from the leader of a circle worshipping an ancient entity to secretly create a sculpture of this being for a high sum of money. Unfortunately, the criminal elements he owed money wouldn’t wait any longer, it came to a fight in his atelier and he died. The circle leader, when becoming aware of the sculptor’s death, considers this an affront against his cult and has taken measures to punish the murderers while trying to get possession of the statue...

2 The sculptor created the statue after the image of a creature he repeatedly saw in his recurring nightmares. The sculpture became alive by night and started walking around in its unfinished form on its stumps. When the artist realized, he tried to destroy the sculpture, but the being killed him. It still becomes alive at night...

3 If inspected more closely, it becomes apparent that the artist did not try to create a sculpture of a strange creature - but rather there is a creature enclosed in the marble. When the artist started to work on his next sculpture for a rich noble, the creature awakened and, after a short mental struggle, took control of the sculptor’s mind to carefully free it from its prison. Unfortunately, longer mental contact with the creature proved to be deadly for the sculptor. The creature still longs for its freedom...

© Philipp Mählmann

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Attic Window

On the top floor of that long-abandoned house with the shady history is a coffin-shaped window. The house has an ill reputation; its last owner supposedly practised black magic and was murdered in the room behind that curious window 30 years ago. The murder was never solved.

The window itself is supposed to be haunted. It is whispered that the dead owner is sometimes seen in it, and strange lights shine from it by night.

An urban legend says that if you look through the window from the inside, the world outside would look strange and wrong.

Breaking into the house and looking through the window has now become a teenage rite-of-passage. But be careful, for you can go mad if you are unlucky...

Possibilities

1 The windows glass has a strange, but unmagical, ability to store images (and to a degree, sound). The images are replayed from time to time, sometimes long after they were imprinted. Some images are repeated time after time, others appear only once. (This is how the long-dead owner is seen.) If you look through the window from the inside, you can might see the street as seen long ago.

And at some point, if you are looking in from the outside, you will eventually see the murder.

2 The window is not made of glass, but from an unknown material made by a pre-human civilisation. It stores images over a nearly infinite time. Under normal circumstances, it looks like a normal window – but things can look wrong (as latent images beneath the surface merge with the normal view).

Looked through in certain angles and light it shows aeon-old images of the laboratory that created it.

The former owner found the glass and learned much forbidden knowledge by looking through it. Unfortunately, he attracted the attention of one of the hounds of Tindalos...

3 The former owner dabbled in black magic and as a side effect trapped a weak astral entity in the glass. The entity is bored, and hates humans. It has learnt how to alter and corrupt the view through its glass prison and uses this ability to confuse and scare humans.

© Stefan Jonsson

The Crate

A character receives word from the post office that they have received a package and need to come and claim it. It is a large rectangular crate; six feet long, two feet wide, and quite heavy (it weighs about 250 lbs.). The crate is well-packaged and there is no shipping label or return address.

Possibilities

1 The crate contains a mannequin; a perfect wax copy of the character. It is a flawless duplicate of the original, but its origin is a mystery. Then, when the character has been left alone with it, the wax figure animates and attempts to kill it’s “twin.” If it succeeds, it comes to life and replaces the original.

2 The box contains a body, still fresh and well-preserved. The face is that of a stranger, but who sent it and why was it sent to the character?

3 The box contains a body, remarkably well-preserved. The face is unfamiliar, and the cause of death is not readily apparent. When the sun sets, the vampire awakens and seeks sustenance after its long journey from Europe.

© John Grigsby

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Preacher Man

Seemingly from nowhere, a preacher shows up in town, easily noticeable on the street with his filthy black cassock and white collar, living off the charity of passers-by.

Nobody knows where he came from but one day he just started showing up on street corners preaching about the end of the world. It has also been noted that the priest seems to have some obvious mental problems and some very odd ideas about Christianity.

Possibilities

1 Benjamin Corwin used to be a priest until he turned to the worship of the Outer Gods. Becoming a cultist, Corwin decided to try and enlighten the public about the Cthulhu Mythos by simply telling people about it on the street. Corwin has a mystical ability which allows him to plant the seed for mind control in anybody who passes by and makes eye contact with him.

2 The priest was once Benjamin Corwin, an investigator of the supernatural. Corwin became an investigator after one of his practitioners asked for help (which lead to discovering that the next-door neighbour was sacrificing children in his attic to something awful). Since then Corwin has been investigating the occult wherever he can find it.

It was on his last outing that he encountered something so horrific it shattered his sanity and reduced him to a homeless, rambling derelict. In his mad ravings, clues to his final investigation can be discerned by a careful listener.

3 One night the homeless priest is murdered and left dead on the street. It is not long after that more priests start turning up dead, and it appears a serial murderer of holy men is operating in the area.

© Paul Hebron

Footsteps

You are staying in a small rural hotel. You awaken at night to a strange sound, slow, even footsteps. Bright moonlight streams in through the partially open window. Bright enough to penetrate the thin curtains and illuminate the face of the alarm clock. It reads three o’clock, you rise and peer through a gap in the curtains. Below you, crossing the cobbled yard at a slow, almost funereal, pace are two men.

Both men are dressed in dark clothing, their faces muffled. They carry what appears to be a coffin, and for several heart-stopping moments you watch them as they make their slow way across the hard surface. They stop, their backs to you, as if aware of prying eyes, then their heads turn towards you. Still unable to see their faces, you feel a cold wave of fear run down your spine as one of them points in your direction then motions toward the coffin.

Possibilities

1 You are seeing a premonition of your death. How and when? There is no clue.

2 The two figures are smugglers moving a wooden crate of illegal goods. They are unaware of you and are merely gesturing to an accomplice at a window further along.

3 The ‘coffin’ contains the gagged and bound body of an investigative journalist who got too nosey. The ‘gesture’ is a warning that you have been seen, and that if you know what’s good for you, you’ll go back to bed and forget what you’ve seen. The ‘coffin’ is being transported, with its cargo, to the small cliffside cemetery where it will be disposed of.

© Andrew Parfitt

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Tales of Terror 1990 - Contents