Featured post

Welcome to Tales of Terror

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Buzzing

All day long images have been flashing into the investigators brain: electricity pylons, bee hives, neon lights, electric trains, and air conditioning vents. These images don’t have any bearing on what has been going on around her, but still the images are there.

That night, the investigator’s dreams are filled with the same images but this time a unifying theme is sensed: buzzing. All of the items are buzzing, a constant humming sound fills the dreams. Next morning the investigator wakes with an intense headache and still the buzzing fills her head. In fact, now she thinks about it, the sound has been there for the last couple of days, just too quiet for her to detect consciously.

Possibilities

1 The investigator is psychically sensitive but is ignorant of that fact. Some miles below her house a cthonian has laid an egg, an egg due to hatch in the next couple of days. The buzzing in her head is actually the telepathic communications between mother and young. As the hatching gets nearer the telepathic traffic gets heavier and heavier. When the egg hatches the telepathic blast might push her over the edge.

The parent and young then move on, possibly causing seismic disturbances in the process. The effect stops if the investigator leaves the area.

2 The investigator is carrying the eggs of a genetically engineered creature in her head. The creature has been created by the Mi-Go and planted in the investigator as an experiment. The next stage in the creature’s life cycle is a maggot type larva which stops buzzing but instead consumes the frontal lobe of the investigator’s brain causing her to lose all reasoning faculties in the process. Then it eats its way out of the investigator’s head via her ear. Finally, the creature pupates into a large fly-type creature which will search for more humans to deposit eggs into.

The investigator may feel grateful when the buzzing stops but if she realised what was going to happen next perhaps she wouldn’t feel so relieved.

3 Thinking back a few days, the investigator remembers a strange encounter in the street. A small man in a black suit approached her and asked for directions. He had a strongly oriental accent and appearance. After his brief, and dull, conversation with the investigator he touched her left hand very briefly whilst saying “Thank you.” The investigator had felt a slight itching sensation in her hand for the rest of the day but could not identify anything else wrong.

The oriental was in fact a cult assassin trained in the art of the Quivering Palm. The assassin has set up deadly vibrations in the body of the investigator, vibrations that in a few more days will cause the investigator’s head to messily explode.

© Simon Taylor

A Discarded Parcel

An employee of the local post office, a young man by the name of Michael Stavros, has been found by his colleagues slumped over his workbench – dead! Scattered over and around him was a thin layer of grey dust. A small broken package lies discarded on the floor. The grey dust comes from here, from a smashed jar inside.

The package is addressed to Iain Coussell – a man currently under house-arrest pending trial for multiple cases of ritual murder and witchcraft. His house is surrounded both day and night and he is permitted no visitors. Twice a day an officer visits to confirm his presence. If he leaves his house he is followed by both uniformed and plain-clothed policemen. This escort is more for Iain’s protection than the general publics’, many of whom feel that he should not be permitted a mockery of a trial since the outcome is so obvious.

Possibilities

1 Iain is innocent. He has a passing interest in the occult and was once seen unloading a large number of old-looking books from his car. The claim of his involvement with witchcraft came from an anonymous tip-off, from a genuine cult member.

The real coven leader wants Iain dead so that the authorities will believe the cult is leaderless and therefore less of a threat. He realises that Iain will be cleared of all charges if the case ever comes to trial. Therefore his actions are an attempt to eliminate the risk; he was responsible for sending the dust which should have killed Iain.

The dust is the residue of a compound poison that needs to be inhaled. It breaks down quickly and is now harmless. Unfortunately, the jar accidently broke open while being handled by Michael.

2 Iain is an evil cult leader, he knows that should his case ever come to trial he would be found guilty. After several failed attempts to covertly leave his home or organise rescue from his outside sympathisers he has adopted a new scheme. A number of loyal cultists have been reduced to “essential saltes” and posted to the mansion. They will then be reformed upon arrival by Iain. The plan is to wait until Iain commands a substantial force before launching an assault, both from within and without, on the unsuspecting police.

Unfortunately, one of the jars accidently broke open and the “essential saltes” fell upon Michael Stavros. The cultist was exceptionally strong-willed, even in his inert dust form, and tried to possess Michael. Michael resisted, and the two minds destroyed one another.

3 Iain is a nefarious cult-leader and proficient sorcerer. Michael Stavros, however, was a police investigator and was ordered to find out as much as possible about Iain’s activities.

After pursuing conventional avenues of investigation, he eventually managed (by “pulling a few strings”) to be employed as a mail clerk. This gave him access to Iain’s personal communications. After Iain was placed under house-arrest he used scrying magic to discover the means by which the police had determined his guilt. Iain, realising Michael’s involvement, sent the package to himself knowing it would be intercepted. Michael opened the package, examined the contents of the jar and succumbed to the effects of its contents: poison.

© Hadley Connor

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Loving Spoonful

A friend has just got married to his childhood sweetheart. One of the wedding gifts is a beautiful Welsh love spoon, but it has no label to indicate who may have sent it. Carved from a dark wood it is about a foot long with a delicate bowl and elaborate carving all along the shaft.

Unlike traditional Welsh love spoons (which have carvings of ivy, hearts or other romantic, entwining images), this spoon is carved with strange random shapes. Looking at the shapes for any length of time is quite disturbing as they seem to shift slightly. Despite being nearly-imperceptible and attributable to an overactive imagination, there are occasional changes in the shapes. Some weeks later the shapes have definitely transformed…

Possibilities

1 The shapes have resolved into figures engaged in an energetic dance. Studied for long enough it is obvious that the figures are genuinely dancing, that is they are changing in form and pattern over time. The figures cavort and dance in all kinds of strange and frightening forms with many sexual encounters occurring between the figures as well as more traditional folk-dance type movements. The figures represent an ancient cult dance used to summon Dark Young of Shub Niggurath. Sure enough, and unless something is done soon, the Dark Young will appear to cause havoc and devastation at the newly-weds home. The sender remains unknown.

2 The shapes have resolved into a representation of the body of a humanoid figure. This body is largely human in appearance but is covered in ivy and other vegetative growths. The face is made up of interlocked leaves and has a very pagan feel to it. The image is that of the Green Man, one of the many forms of Nyarlathotep.

The Green Man was imprisoned in ancient times by certain druids. The owner of the spoon feels drawn towards the Green Man’s burial place: Stonehenge. Once there he feels compelled to destroy the stones that keep Nyarlathotep’s form incarcerated. If he succeeds in destroying the circle, the Green Man will be free once more to reoccupy the woods of Great Britain and from there to toy with the human inhabitants of the island as he did before his imprisonment.

3 The shapes have transformed into a depiction of a tree with markings on its bark. The marking is a simple vertical line crossed at right angles by five more lines. Further research reveals the tree to be a yew and the markings to be the Ogham letter, Idho. Yew trees and Idho were evil omens in Celtic times, often symbolising death.

The newly-wed’s luck changes for the worse: everything goes wrong. Relatives die, close friends develop illnesses, pipes spring a leak, accidents happen and life becomes a misery. The spoon’s owners must pass the spoon on, otherwise they remain cursed forever. Once passed on their life returns to normal and the spoon is once again carved with nothing more than random shapes. But not for long . . .

© Ric Norton

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Little Death

Prayers are said, vigilance kept, but still it is not enough. Still they die. Some body is mutilating children. Naked, nails through both feet and one hand, heavily mutilated and wildly contorted, at least one tiny corpse is discovered per week. It is a terrible way to die, and the police are doing their utmost to catch the perpetrator. So far they have had no luck.

Possibilities

1 The children are murdered by a gaunt, white haired man. They are found in cheap hotels and derelict buildings, and enough eye-witnesses have appeared to give the police an accurate picture of the killer. However, they have yet to apprehend him, he seems to be able to stay one step ahead of them.

The man is a fortune-teller, selling his services to the highest bidder - often the underworld. He kidnaps the children, drugs and nails them to the floor. The child then dances a self-mutilating dance, and in it the man can see the future. His clients pay well for the service, which is unerringly accurate, and are able to line up further clients. Within the dance, the man can see his adversaries (including the police), and where they are due to strike next. Thus forewarned, he is able to flee.

2 The children were Dreamers, sacrificed in their sleep by a cult in Dylath-Leen. They are found dead in their bedrooms with no sign of a break-in, having mutilated themselves. The police have no leads at all, and there is nothing obvious to link the children.

The investigating authorities will soon discover that the killings are worldwide. The cult is making sacrifices at a rate estimated at one a night.

The sacrifices continue until the cult is somehow disbanded.

3 The police know the killings are ritual, but have yet to identify it. All the children have been dark haired and brown skinned, and the police have narrowed their search to the cults of ancient Polynesia.

The killings are the work of one man, the sole survivor of an expedition to an unchartered Polynesian island - home to a blasphemous temple, an ancient cult, and unimaginable horror. He stayed far too long, the experience emptying his mind of any lasting reason and sanity. In their place insatiable red demons took up residence.

He returned to civilization some months ago, barely able to function in society. He kills regularly in a vain effort to satisfy the bottomless hunger within his skull.

© Steve Hatherley

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Plague Row

It is known locally as “Plague Row”, although there are no historical records of plague in the area.

Instead, it is a run-down row of buildings, all in a poor state of repair. Those living nearby are ill, and what little vegetation there is, is twisted and diseased.

Nothing thrives on Plague Row.

Possibilities

1 Plague Row was once marked by a stone circle that was originally erected to protect against an ancient evil. The stone circle was removed in 1750s when building work started on the site. Over a period of decades the evil influence returned, contaminating everything.

The source of the evil influence is a monstrous demon imprisoned in the ground, deep below. The demon is still securely bound, but it’s malign influence seeps upwards to contaminate everything above.

However, Plague Row is just one of several locations where the wards imprisoning the demon have been removed. Someone, or something, is destroying them, and the demon is growing stronger...

2 Behind Plague Row is a deep well in which a cold, alien intelligence has made its home. The alien intelligence absorbs the life essence from organic matter, which results in malaise and decay.

3 Plague Row is not far from the site British Ordnance Factory No. 7, constructed in 1940 to manufacture munitions. The factory produced explosives for shells and artillery rounds, as well as phosphorus and other chemical weapons.

Although little remains of the site above ground (it is now a business park), the factory’s underground chemical storage tanks were never fully decommissioned and they have leaked, contaminating the land now known as Plague Row.

© Steve Hatherley

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Dirty Curtain

Sat at home doing nothing much, the investigator hears a light tapping at the window. Upon drawing back the curtains to see what is causing the noise the investigator is greeted with . . . nothing. No sign of what caused the tapping is visible. Perhaps it was the wind?

When he closes the curtains however, the investigator sees an image ‘burnt’ into the material. The image of a face. The face is human, non-descript and not completely clear but is definitely there. The image is reminiscent of the Turin Shroud. The face appears to be that of a human male, clean-shaven, hawk nosed and bald. There is no discernible expression except possibly an air of expectation.

Possibilities

1 The image is impossible to remove. The night after its appearance footprints start appearing on the carpet. Footprints very similar in style to the image in the curtain; bare feet, definitely human and nothing more than a dark stain on the carpet: a stain impossible to remove. Night by night the footprints disappear and reappear a little bit closer to the investigators most prized possession, be it a picture, a tome, a pet or a child. If no action is taken this most prized possession goes missing along with the footprints, but not the face, never to be seen again.

2 Recent investigations have left the investigator more than a little paranoid. This severe paranoia combined with a windy night and a few condensation and smoke stains have driven him to believe that the face is real. Nobody else sees it as clearly; “Yes, there’s something there,” they say. “A faint stain but nothing to be worried about. It’s just your paranoia, relax, stop worrying, it can’t do you any harm.” Can it?

3 No matter what the investigator tries the face cannot be removed. It can’t be washed out and stain removers don’t work: it’s there permanently. If the investigator replaces the curtains, the image reappears in the new curtains. Even if he removes the curtains completely the image just comes back, but this time in the glass. Worse, the investigators work against the Mythos starts to go downhill. Every move he makes the cultists seem to be expecting, they always know what the investigator is going to do next. It is almost as though the investigator is being watched…

© Ric Norton

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Odin Disc

The Odin Disc is a monohedron; it has only one side. It can be felt, and if moved glistens slightly – but is otherwise invisible (although the Powder of Ibn-Ghazi will make it apparent).

Compounding the problem of actually finding the disc is its size – typically no greater than a large coin. A sorcerer can spend Magic Points to enlarge the disc, which has a maximum size (for humans, anyway) of about 10 feet.

The disc is actually a portable Gate spell. Anyone standing on the disc (which needs to be of a suitable size) will be transported to whatever location they have in mind (with the usual penalties). The disc follows the (last) traveller, ready for the return trip. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to find once through the gate, as it invariably returns to its natural size.

As well as mere travel, the Odin Disc has another effect. Each time the disc is used,
Yog-Sothoth is summoned to the location that the traveller just left. Yog-Sothoth’s mood on arrival seems to be directly related to the distance travelled through the disc; the further afield the traveller journeys, the greater the number of sacrifices Yog-Sothoth helps itself to. (It should be said that a rigorous, scientific study has not been made, given the obvious limitations.)

Worse, as there is a time-lag before Yog-Sothoth appears, travellers may not realise that it is their operation of the disc that causes the Outer God’s appearance.

Possibilities

1 A cryptic reference to the disc can be found in the handwritten marginalia of a section in a mythos tome dealing with ‘The Opener of the Way’. It ambiguously states that not only the traveller can use the disc, and that the disc is ‘at hand’. The disc is bound into the cover of the book (one side is raised, the other has no apparent rise or depression), and the cover of the book must be destroyed to retrieve it. Pulling the cover to pieces activates a fire-warding spell which destroys the book and may burn the house down. Of course, the disc will be very hard to find in the cinders.

2 The investigators find a brief description of the Odin Disc and details of how to create one. The spell requires a 3” gold disc, about ten pints of fresh blood, and the sacrifice of a baby. While the investigators may not create a disc, if the spell falls into the hands of cultists they will not be so squeamish.

The spell description forgets to mention that this spell also acts to summon Yog-Sothoth.

3 The investigators return home one night to find a sorcerer (one they have encountered before) stealing their mythos-related bits-and-pieces. Realising he has been spotted, the sorcerer activates the disc and escapes; quick investigators may be able to follow him.

Meanwhile, Yog-Sothoth will be paying a visit.

© Charles Ross