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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Dead Man's Bluff

The above letter arrives for one of the characters on the Thursday of the appointment.

If they check the address they can confirm that Czeminski is listed as the owner. Apart from that, for official purposes, the man simply does not exist. He is not on the tax department’s books, no birth certificate exists for him, no passport or immigration papers, no police record, no phonebook listing. Nothing.

If they go there during the day, number 117 is a dark stone house set away from the road. An unleashed Doberman in the yard discourages them from entering the property.

If they go there at night, Czeminski answers the door. He is quite handsome. He does not shake hands. The house is dark and dusty and there is an odd smell about it. He leads them into a well-stocked library, pours them a drink, motions them to be seated, and begins. “My good people, I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet you. My name is Alexander Czeminski, and I am a vampire.” He is.


1 Czeminski is a collector of esoteric books and paraphernalia. He asks them to bear him in mind if they ever have anything of that nature. He will pay handsomely. He bears them no malice.

2 He has heard of them and guesses that eventually they might track him down, for being what he is. He has asked them here to strike up a more civilized arrangement: they leave each other alone. If he can’t, then he will attempt to kill them; maybe tonight, maybe in the weeks that follow.

3 He wants to make a deal. He lives on the dark side of normal existence and is aware of the dark things that dwell there; be they monstrous creatures, or crumbling undead, or gibbering ghouls, or ancient godlings. He is privy to information, the rumours and gossip that travels along the telegraph wires of the dead, unheard by mortal ears. He offers to fence information in return for their protection against vampire hunters, clergymen, and others. If the bargain is struck Czeminski will appear in the future, giving odd tips, translating old documents, and scaring the hell out of them with sudden appearances.

© Mark Morrison

Saturday, 29 April 2017

A Death in the Family

For one of the characters, Florence Hasket is a name tinted with emotion. Their families were very close and the two of them grew up together. They were almost brother and sister. Marriage was on the cards. Then, something happened. Florence met, fell in love with, and married, a soldier. She kept in contact, but eventually the letters stopped altogether. She has not written in years.

But a letter, even one concerning such sad news, is a welcome sight. Her father, Simon Hasket, has died and she invites the investigator to the funeral. It will be an opportunity to meet friends and relatives, and to talk to Florence.

The funeral is a quiet affair, marred by only one incident. An elderly gentleman approaches Florence’s brother and draws him aside. They talk earnestly before the man stalks off. At the entrance to the churchyard he turns and shouts “I know how he died! It’ll get you all!” Then he climbs into his car and leaves.

Two years ago, Professor Hasket returned from an archaeological visit to Venezuela. His studies have been erratic since then. He became increasingly preoccupied with a number of obscure legends and myths.

His death was particularly bizarre. He was found terribly mutilated in bed, in his room. The corpse was such a mess that it was barely identifiable, as if it had been put through a meat grinder.


1 On the trip to Venezuela, Hasket found some notes taken from the Necronomicon. From these he pieced together enough information to talk to some sort of ‘strange being.’ He tried this and inadvertently contacted one of the Hounds of Tindalos.

Belatedly realising his terrible mistake, he visited Professor Michaelson and together they tried to stop the Hound. They failed, but in the process Hasket had a dream - the Hound was talking to him! His attempts to foil the Hound had cost it dearly in time, it would pay the professor back by taking his family as well.

The Hound has taken Hasket. It will return for Florence and her brother one day soon.

2 Professor Michaelson accompanied Hasket to Venezuela and tried in vain to dissuade Hasket from taking sacred Indian relics from the ancient temple. The Indians, upon discovering their loss, cursed Hasket and his family. Finally their vengeance has arrived. Only by returning the relics will the curse be lifted.

3 The two men have pieced together from the fragments of an ancient Venezuelan inscription a spell for calling Nyarlathotep. Unfortunately, Hasket had a mild heart attack during the spell, ruining it. Nyarlathotep was angered by this and, once Hasket had recovered, disembowelled him. The knowledge is driving Michaelson mad.

© Ian Bond

Fire Victim


1 Poor Hedda is the victim of spontaneous human combustion, a rare occurrence but not without precedent. Often the victim will be burned beyond recognition, in some cases without disturbing the surrounding environment.

2 Hedda has fallen prey to a cluster of Fire Vampires who find the city of New York populated with easy prey. Prey often too slow or weak to fight back. Investigators will find many such fires in the ghettos of New York.

3 Tesla is in New York demonstrating his new machine. This generator produces immense electrical charges which are then discharged to earth. Occasionally his machine produces ball lightning, which targets victims totally at random. The fires will stop when he takes the machine to Boston. There they start again.

© Perry Okerstrom

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Black Anna's Bower

This is not the first spate of disappearances in the area. A similar series is recorded in the Parish Records for 1760 when five children disappeared from forest dwellings in an area known as Black Annis Bower Close where the Lord Mayor's celebrations took place each Easter.

Black Annis Bower Close, where Leicester forest once bordered the old city along the Dane Hills, is now covered by the Dane Hill Estate but there are no records of this.

Black Annis is another name for the Celtic earth goddess Danu, wife of the sky god Ludd. She dwelt in a round cave about ten to twelve feet across and five feet high. Known as Black Anna’s Bower, she is said to have dug it out of the sandstone Dane Hills with her own fingernails.

There Black Anna waited in the branches of an old oak growing over the mouth of the cave waiting for children to come past. She would then scratch them to death and drink their blood, hanging their skins out to dry.


1 Black Anna’s Bower is an entrance to subterranean caverns inhabited by the descendants of the ancient Druids. They once used the cave for their sacrifices to Danu, and tended to the Children of Danu – Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath.

They normally sacrifice their own young while saving a breeding stock of their hardiest children but, occasionally, run short of sacrifices. They are then forced to risk their secrecy and raid the surface world through Black Anna’s Bower which is hidden in the Dane Hill Estate rubbish dump.

2 Black Anna’s Bower is located directly under 17 Shakespeare Drive, the home of Stephen Johnson. Since moving in he has been possessed by a malign dryad trapped in the Bower since the tree over the cave was cut down. It has grown weak and forces Johnson to sacrifice children so that it can leave the cave for a new oak in the field beyond the estate. If it is not stopped children will regularly go missing, and their skins found hanging in the branches of the oak.

3 The Bower is a gateway to the land of the faerie, renowned in legend for stealing human infants for their own. Only the innocent are allowed there, those that have not been corrupted by the adult world of humans. All three children were maltreated by their parents and have been granted sanctuary by the faeries. The Bower is guarded by Black Anna against the evils of the outside world.

© Garrie Hall