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Chapter 13: VIRTUTEM SUPERANDI MORTUIS

June 16th, 2013

Inspector Simpkins,

My name is Jonathan Spencer and I must first explain to you that it was not I who stole your case file on Milo Brecklin. The person who stole it was Tanner Wallace and I’m sorry to report that he is now dead. Every page is accounted for and you’ll notice that I’ve included one additional letter. It is the letter I received from Tanner Wallace requesting my help, dated March 24th, 2013. The reason I include this letter is so that you’ll see that Wallace was already close to uncovering the thing that you were no doubt trying to uncover yourself.  My only knowledge of Brecklin goes back to the original letter I wrote to him at Wallace’s and his behest. Brecklin responded with some vague response that said he may at some later point contact me depending on certain outcomes to information he was looking into. I never heard from either one until Wallace contacted me this past March. Oh that I had never responded to Wallace’s wild entreaties to help. But I was curious about the mad suggestions in his letter and thought that it couldn’t hurt to at least hear him out. How wrong I was.

I will set down here the events of what happened and maybe the holes will be filled, the questions answered, and the whole story explained. It is a mad tale to tell and, while I think we have incurred a major victory over those vile forces of ancient chaos, I believe that the war is ultimately a futile struggle. The reason I tell you this story is so you’ll understand and continue the work that Milo Brecklin went to his grave pursuing. I cannot do it. I have seen things that have shaken my soul and left me despondent, morose, and full of hopelessness. I have become a shell of man who wallows in depression and believes that the cosmos is a bleak and cold place where mankind will meet its inevitable doom. Our time will be brief, meaningless, and forgotten under the tread of forces much too great to comprehend fully. Once you have received this, I will be long gone so don’t even bother trying to find me.

After receiving the letter from Wallace, I replied back and told him I would be interested in meeting with him. We agreed to meet in Boulder at Brecklin’s estate. Of course I was skeptical about him saying I had this power he called Virtutem Superandi Mortuis. But what happened in Fiji was still an unanswered mystery that I had never fully come to grips with. The first thing that Tanner did to bring me around was to produce the case file that you and Division 212 were compiling. You have no doubt wracked your brain trying to figure out how someone broke into your high security facility and stole the files. Tanner said that it was actually easier than you might think. After all, he was in a Special Forces unit that specialized in going into places where they weren’t supposed to be and getting out undetected. After reading the case file and hearing him explain many other questions I had, I began to understand that this was something much more complicated than I had first thought. The fantastic nature of so many things made the talk of strange powers over the dead seem like just another element in a convoluted web of incredible and clandestine conspiracies of dark magic and paranormal phenomena. After talking for quite a while, he told me that he had exhumed Mr. Brecklin’s remains.

Tanner showed me to a room in the basement where Mr. Brecklin’s coffin was sitting on a large table. He asked me if I wanted to look inside and I gave him an emphatic “no”. I wanted to wait until the time was at hand before looking in there. We spent another day waiting on the Devon Schottenreich to arrive because we were clueless as to how to proceed. I had only used my so-called power once and that was completely by accident. Tanner apparently had a similar story. He didn’t even know if he really had the power for sure.

The next day Devon arrived and he and Tanner talked for quite some time while I mostly listened and asked questions. Maybe you expected to find out that Khalid al Fasid to be Brecklin’s murderer but I learned from them that Fasid had been dead for many years. Apparently, it was Devon and Tanner, with the orchestration of Brecklin, who had been Fasid’s downfall. This was all a part of the retribution from the Ain Hith incident and the end result was the death of Fasid, the then High Priest of Cthulhu. Tanner and Devon had also secured the metallic meteor taken from them on that expedition. Then who had killed Brecklin? Tanner and Devon had theories but didn’t know for sure.

I also learned why Tanner was in Antarctica and why he was so affected when Brecklin was killed. Tanner had gone to Antarctica to retrace the path of the Peabody Expedition[i] in order to discover those strange ruins that lay somewhere in the nether mountain ranges of that frozen wasteland. It was another attempt of Brecklin’s to discover answers to the metal and the Spawn of Cthulhu for purposes which none of us could completely figure out. The strangest part of the whole expedition was that Tanner and Brecklin were linked through some strange sorcery so that Brecklin’s mind inhabited Tanner’s body remotely. Brecklin could explore the ruins firsthand but still be back in Boulder. Apparently, whoever killed Brecklin knew that he was vulnerable and chose it as the right time to strike. The resulting sudden abandonment of Brecklin’s mind from Tanner’s body was a psychic shock to Tanner’s mind and that is why it took him so much time to recover.

Devon gave Tanner and I a crash course in magic that left me reeling from the inundation of knowledge I never dreamed existed. I made sure to copy down some of the names of the arcane tomes that he used to educate us in our task of raising Milo: The Book of Azathoth[ii]The NecronomiconGhorl Nigral[iii]Cultes des GoulesDe Vermis Mysteriis[iv], and Las Reglas de Ruina[v]. Inspector, you might be quite familiar with these abominable texts, but if you’re not, I would recommend approaching them with the utmost caution. Their forbidden knowledge holds the key to some of the most deeply disturbing mysteries of our place in the cosmos. To this day, I am still struggling to come to grips with just the limited amount of information that I was exposed to. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can square that knowledge with any worldview that doesn’t leave me wallowing in the depths of depression and I feel the only escape is of a final sort.

Once Devon felt that we were sufficiently prepared, he set about preparing the room where Milo reposed in his coffin. He explained that the use of our powers was augmented by certain signs, symbols, and other artifacts. Finally, the evening arrived when he declared that everything was in order and we adjourned to the basement. I must say that the candles, symbols adorning the walls and floor, and open tomes felt like we were going into the most blasphemous of black masses. What really gave me a shock was the body of Milo Brecklin laid out on the table. He was mottled with discolored splotches and bloated quite a bit. Rigor Mortis had set in and his arms were locked out at wholly unnatural angle. It was my first time beholding a corpse in such a condition and my mind immediately went back to Fiji. I thought of Tevita’s cousin George and thanked the Lord that I never beheld that shambling nightmare that I had unwittingly unleashed on that poor village. I only hoped that Devon and Tanner were right in their assessments of what this mysterious power of Virtutem Superandi Mortuis could achieve. What really left me worrying was the fact that Devon had taken the precaution of placing a loaded double-barrel shotgun near at hand just in case things didn’t go quite as planned.

Devon began by reciting from The Necronomicon and Tanner and I would echo certain phrases that Devon had coached us on – their alien pronunciations were barely expressible in many places and I wondered if the language was even invented by humans. The rhythm and pace of the incantation began to take hold of me and I drifted into some type of hypnotic state – partially aware and partially dream-like. Time took on a convoluted quality and I can’t really say how long this went on for, but at some point Devon gave me the nod to begin my portion. I placed my focus on Milo and began to recite the passage Devon had me memorize. Over and over I said it and a change began to occur with my vision. Everything became blurry and colors started to coalesce together. I reached out a hand and placed it on Milo and a faint light began to radiate from him. It slowly grew in intensity until it filled the room. There was a wobbling kind of shimmer in the light and a low moan escaped from his mouth. And then, suddenly, the moan turned into a great scream of anguish. I recoiled in surprise and my vision returned to normal. I felt weak; drained of all energy and thought I would collapse. Devon was beside me, helping me to remain standing as he yelled at Tanner, “Now, Tanner! Now! The spell!”

Tanner rushed over and clutched Milo while he chanted a different incantation that he had memorized. The screaming subsided and slowly Milo began to change. His body morphed, undoing the process of decay in just mere moments. Devon had assisted me to a chair and I sat there in my enfeebled state staring in disbelief at the transformed Milo Brecklin. His eyes fluttered open, he gazed around the room in bewilderment for a few seconds and then a huge smile spread across his face followed by peals of deep, full laughter. The laughter was infectious and pretty soon Tanner and Devon were laughing too; I just stared with my mouth hanging open and wondered if I had just lost my mind.

Later, we sat around Milo’s large dining room table listening to him recount the last weeks of his life as he gorged himself on a dinner fit for a king. His resurrection had left him famished. Milo explained that it was Saul Lupov who had replaced Fasid as the new High Priest of Cthulhu and the two were in a battle to accumulate as many of the Star Spawn of Cthulhu as possible – Lupov wanted them to hasten the awakening of Cthulhu and Milo wanted them to prevent Lupov’s mad plans. From what I gathered, the Star Spawn of Cthulhu were artifacts which act as a gateway for consciousness of the ancient Deep Ones. These Star Spawn came from the deepest reaches of space in some long forgotten epoch of time with the Deep Ones. They appear in various guises but most people would mistake them for strange metals.

Milo thought he was winning the chess match with Lupov because he had managed to secure many of these artifacts, but Lupov was well aware of Milo’s location and chose the opportune moment to attack him and take the artifacts from his mansion. Tanner asked Milo if he had any idea where Lupov might be taking them. I don’t know how he knew it, but he replied, “The Wetumpka impact crater.” And within the hour Milo, Tanner, and I were driving to a local airstrip where Milo kept his private jet. Devon remained at Milo’s estate to pore over those accursed tomes in search of something Milo had instructed him to find. We flew to Alabama and landed at a small airport just outside of Coosada. On the way Milo laid out his plan to us. The plan seemed insane to me but the previous forty-eight hours of my life had been one madness piled atop another. I asked him what made him so sure that Lupov would be there. He explained that he had learned why the crater was so important to the Cthulhu cult. It was the location where the Great Cthulhu and his Star Spawn had landed on Earth in the dark, distance past. He further explained that if his assumptions about the moon phases were correct, Lupov would be active this night – it was the 25th of May; a full moon.

Milo had an SUV waiting for us at the airstrip. Before setting off to Wetumpka, Milo phoned Devon and the two conversed for nearly a half-hour. The entire time, Milo wrote copious notes filled with strange words, symbols, and diagrams. It took us less than thirty minutes to snake our way through the backwoods of Wetumpka that led to the caldera of the impact crater.  Tanner drove and we navigated by his GPS. Milo directed Tanner to pull over at the bend of a dark road and we all got out. Tanner rummaged through a backpack with God knows what gear in it and produced two flashlights. He also pulled out a machete and a pistol. Milo said, “We’re going to need a different sort of weapon tonight.” Tanner didn’t even acknowledge the comment as he shoved the pistol into the small of his back and thrust the backpack at me. With me carrying the backpack, Milo carrying his notes, and Tanner leading the way hacking the foliage with the machete, we set off into the thick woods.

After what seemed like an eternity of steady progress through the thick forest, we eventually saw a light emanating through the woods in the distance. Milo ordered us to quench our flashlights and we began to creep forward as quietly as possible. Painstakingly slow and stealthy we inched forward until we could finally behold a small fire burning atop a large stone altar. The flickering light from the fire illuminated what could only be the figure of Saul Lupov draped in a large cloak. He was kneeling before a large, ornate book reciting some foul spell of conjuring in the wispy, hissing syllables of a grotesque dead language. As he chanted, he rocked back and forth with his hands raised to the night sky.

Scattered about Lupov were numerous objects of various shapes and sizes. All of them appeared to be metallic and many of them reflected the firelight in shimmering dances of light which had me mesmerized; colors that no man had yet seen or named. These were, of course, the Star Spawn of Cthulhu. And, as I watched, I saw these strange metallic objects begin to change and morph and even move across the ground as if imbued with life!

We watched from the cover of the trees for several minutes and then Lupov reached up to the cowl covering his head and pulled back the hood. What I beheld sent a shock through my body and I reflexively gasped in horror nearly giving away our position. Where there should have been hair upon his head, there was a mass of writhing, churning tentacles. They were long and slimy and the skin was lumpy and venous. Each one ended in a sort of rudimentary mouth that seemed to suck or grope the air as if searching for something to latch onto. The effect was made all the more nightmarish by the flickering lights cast by the fire, the shimmering colors of the metallic objects and the sickly, yellow glow cast by the full moon high above.

I stared bewildered by the shock of what I beheld and tried to control my nerves, but things suddenly took a drastic turn for the worse. Suddenly, my attention was drawn to another figure entering the circle of firelight and I realized that it was Milo Brecklin. He had heard something in that alien babbling that had alerted him to the fact that it was now time to strike. The only recognizable words I could make out were “Cthulhu” and “R’lyeh” from Lupov. Milo held the notebook beneath the beam of one of the flashlights and began to chant a different but just as alien phrase while casting what appeared to be a fine powder before him. I felt a tugging at my back and spun around in fright swinging wildly. Tanner ducked the haymaker I had sent his way and grabbed me shaking me to my senses. He was merely trying to get the backpack from me. While removing the backpack Tanner and I were startled by a piercing shriek. It was Lupov howling in fury like some wild monster. He had finally seen Milo.

Lupov left off his chant for a moment as the rage spread across his deformed face. He started up another phrase that was thick and low, apparently trying to counter what Milo was conjuring. Then he broke into a full run and slammed into Milo, smoothly tackling him and driving him to the ground. Tanner leapt away towards them pulling something from the backpack that looked like a large, cruel dagger of some unknown substance.

It was at this moment that I first noticed the smoke. It was low to the ground and seemed to be forming a great circle around the stone altar. Dark and sinuous, it began to coalesce and swirl in an increasing counterclockwise motion. Lupov drove several strikes into Milo’s face but Milo continued to chant the weird phrase through the blows. Then Lupov lowered his face to Milo’s and the tentacles shot forth and latched onto Milo’s head. Milo howled in tormented pain. Tanner arrived just then and grabbed Lupov by the back of the head and raised the dagger high. The smoke had begun to thicken considerably and the last thing I saw of the three men before the smoke completely enveloped them was the Star Spawn of Cthulhu wash over them like a liquid, metal wave and Tanner driving home the dagger into Lupov’s back.

It’s hard to say whether it was Lupov or Milo who had succeeded in their respective spells because whatever demon that crawled forth from the abyss at that moment didn’t choose sides. All three men were taken indiscriminately back into the void from which it crawled. The smoke had formed a huge pillar that completely shut out the firelight and a loud rumble announced the arrival of the beast. It was as if the earth were violently heaving forth some massive behemoth. I wasted no time in hanging around to behold much more. I ran out of primitive, naked fear through the dark woods not even noticing the briars and branches that tore at my body. A cold wind rushed past me and I glanced back one last time to behold a malformed, giant appendage emerge from the smoke. It had to be nearly ten feet long and looked like the antennae of a giant insect. At the tip of it was a massive compound eye that scanned the darkened woods and I swear to God that it locked on me! But then I heard the final cry from Milo Brecklin through the chaos of the blackest insanity I have ever known. “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!”[vi] And then I ran and never looked back again.

Once I was out of that accursed forest, I entertained the idea of contacting the local authorities, but what would I tell them? So, I just drove. After a while I decided to call Devon and explain to him what had happened. After hearing my frantic retelling of the night’s events, he told me that there was no use contacting the police. He assured me that they would find no trace of the three men.

I suppose that there is nothing more to tell. My testimony, along with this box of documents, gives the entirety of the tale. I trust that you will have the fortitude and the resources to take this information and continue the work of Milo Brecklin, for now I see just how important his work was.

And finally, as for me, don’t bother trying to find me. The chaos and the fear have enveloped me to the point that I can longer escape their sway. By the time you read this, I will have ended this madness!

Good luck and Godspeed, Inspector!

Jonathan Spencer


[i] This is a reference to At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft.

[ii] This is a reference to The Book of Azathoth Tarot Deck created by Nemo.

[iii] A Cthulhu Mythos invention by Willis Conover and used by Lin Carter.

[iv] A Cthulhu Mythos invention by Robert Bloch that translates to “Mysteries of the Worm”.

[v] A Cthulhu Mythos creation by Joseph S. Pulver which translates to “The Laws of Ruin”.

[vi] A reference to The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe and At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft.

Chapter 12: LETTER FROM TANNER WALLACE

24 Mar 2013

Jonathan,

You may not remember me but I sought you out on behalf of Milo Brecklin in order to encourage you to write him and tell him the details of your brush with the paranormal while in Fiji. I’m not sure whether or not you and Mr. Brecklin stayed in touch with each other but Mr. Brecklin passed away this past December. The things I’m about to tell you may or may not come as a surprise to you – depending on how much Mr. Brecklin has told you – but I believe that your help could be of the greatest importance to stopping something that could unleash untold horror upon the world.

To begin with, I believe your experience in Fiji was not the result of the old witch on Bat Island. I’ve come across information that suggests it was in fact you who caused (albeit unintentionally) the resurrection of that drowned Fijian. I also believe Brecklin suspected this and that is why he sent me to seek you out. I worked for him for many years and failed to realize that he was seeking out people like you (and now I see I’m one too). There were others he had recruited who knew of their power and I witnessed them use it. What is this power? It’s called Virtutem Superandi Mortuis, or The Power to Control the Dead. There were twins girls who had it and I knew them. They were murdered back in 1989.

I’m not completely sure what sort of power I possess but I believe it is similar to yours. There was an incident that happened to me back in the Army during the early 80’s. I was a part of a highly specialized Special Forces unit. On one particular mission a good friend in my squad accidentally caught our Captain selling valuable, Classified intelligence to a known terrorist. It was an elaborate mission in Yemen in an area where we weren’t supposed to officially be operating. The mission was supposed to be to assassinate this terrorist leader. Tuck burst in on the Captain to tell him that we had enemies closing in and witnessed the dirty deal going down. The Captain turned his pistol on Tuck and shot him. That’s when I came in and found Tuck bleeding and thought he was dead. I rushed to his side and, miraculously, he came to and was apparently completely healed. Not a scratch on his body, but still covered in blood. So he comes to and begins screaming about the Captain shooting him and that he was selling State secrets and all kinds of crazy stuff. I was confused and panicked because the enemy had begun to engage our guys outside. The Captain, meanwhile, is claiming that Tuck is out of his mind and that it was the terrorist leader that shot Tuck. We had to get the hell out of there right then and there and as we’re making it to our egress point, Tuck gets shot again. But this time I wasn’t able to get to him. We had to leave him. After that I was confused about what happened. I didn’t realize until just recently that Brecklin suspected that Tuck was telling the truth and the Captain really did kill Tuck only to have me cure him.

I don’t think I can heal anyone that’s been dead too long, though. Looking back on it, I think Brecklin suspected this too. If I am right, you can bring the dead back to life, but they still are in the condition they were in just prior to being resurrected. It’s like you can call their life force back into their body. I, on the other hand, can restore the dead, but only if a certain amount of their life force remains in them.

Jonathan, if I’m right, together we can bring Milo Brecklin back to life and he can finish what he started.

I NEED YOUR HELP!

Desperately,

Tanner Wallace

Chapter 11: NEWS OF THE BIZARRE

News of the Bizarre – July 27th, 1996

Priest Claims Meteors Cause of Demonic Possession

Father Jonathan Baldwin[i] is a priest with a hobby for stargazing. The amateur astronomer claims that his interest in the starry void began when he heard the story from a death row inmate of how the murder the condemned was accused of committing was really caused by an alien that had taken possession of his wife after a meteor strike in their backyard.

Father Baldwin admits that the story was a tough pill to swallow, but it spurred him to investigate the occurrence of reported possessions by demons that followed the occurrence of meteor sightings. The data was what was too compelling to ignore. After years of collecting data and building charts and tables of such possessions and meteor activity, the priest turned astronomer is convinced that some sort of alien intelligence is tampering with humans in an effort to study them.

Most interesting of all the discoveries was the fact that a meteor shower immediately preceded the outbreak of the Salem Witch Trials. Mere coincidence? One can only hope.


[i] This is a reference to the story entitled “The Juggernaut” I wrote in Tome of Horror.

Chapter 10: LETTER FROM JIMMY YELLOWBIRD

February 24th, 2006

Dear Mr. Brecklin,

You inquired about the brass plates used during the Green Corn Festival and whether or not they were still in the possession of the Creek Nation. Two of the brass plates are here at the reservation housed in the Creek Council House Museum[i]. Our history of these revered artifacts reaches far back into our tribe’s past. There are numerous legends about their origins, but the one most commonly believed to be the truth is that they were acquired from the Spanish Conquistadores when Hernando de Soto trekked through the Creek lands in what is today the state of Alabama during the 1500’s.

Plans were in the works to relocate one of the plates to the Creek exhibit in the museum at Coosada University in Coosada, Alabama, thus bringing them back to their home for the first time since the Trail of Tears brought them to Oklahoma in 1834. We were working with Professor Miller Hall in the Archaeology Department at Coosada University who was the one who initially began the project. Unfortunately, he has since passed away and the University has dropped the efforts to acquire it for their museum exhibit. This was some twenty years ago or so.

We no longer use the two brass plates for any ceremonies. Replicas have been created and they are the ones used in the ceremonies currently. If you would like to visit the museum I would be happy to show you the two plates; they are truly a marvel to behold.

Jimmy Yellowbird

Curator, Creek Council House Museum 

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

Okmulgee, Oklahoma


[i] While it is true that the brass plates were transported to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears, it is not true that they reside at the Creek Council House Museum. The whereabouts of the plates are a mystery.

Chapter 9: LETTER FROM DR. NICOLAS STEIGER

12 August 1991

Gershom Asylum for the Criminally Insane

Wetumpka State Penitentiary

Dear Mr. Brecklin,

I have to say that when I received your first letter and read of your theory of a shared delusion amongst the inmates of Gershom Asylum, I was quite skeptical. I don’t think I have ever heard of a case of group delusion existing within a community of the insane. Most of the mentally deranged live in a world of their own fabrication or a warped sense of reality that prevents them from seeing beyond their own narrow perceptions, however distorted, of reality. In other words, they are withdrawn and lack empathy for the perspectives of others that they might adjust their perceptions to match societal norms. Even if one were to hypothesize that one influential member of the community had somehow infected their own ideas into all the other inmates, I wouldn’t think that it would have much effect beyond maybe one or two weak minded individuals. Now, however, I have to report to you that certain things witnessed by me and my staff have caused me to return to your letter of several months ago and reevaluate the situation.

It’s hard to say which patient was patient zero – and I know you adamantly contend that the cause cannot be traced to any one patient, but I refuse to believe that. I must maintain the view that there is one patient influencing all of the others because I cannot believe that the source is some manner of pseudoscientific or fringe belief such as ESP or channeling or some such nonsense. There must be a perfectly rational and natural explanation no matter how unlikely the outcome.

Tracing things back to patient zero has been fraught with problems but I think a likely candidate is one patient I will simply refer to as Percy. I’m probably skirting the lines of confidentiality just by writing you and describing the phenomenon; I certainly don’t want a complete breach of patient confidentiality. You should understand this, but I do think that you deserve a description of the circumstances since it was you who first brought it to my attention. How you first caught wind of this is still a mystery but I shall explain some of the things we have witnessed.

One of our staff recalled the earliest known incident between Percy and another inmate. The staff member couldn’t recall the specifics of the things Percy was saying, but they’re pretty sure that it was quotes from that abhorred book you sent me. This particular inmate was so distressed by the things Percy was saying that he attacked Percy. We were forced to move the patient to solitary confinement. Unfortunately, the patient died shortly thereafter so I can’t interview him at this time.

After we began monitoring the things the patients were saying more carefully, I had the staff write down specific phrases that possessed common themes. I collected these notes and compared them to the copy of the Necronomicon that you sent me. As I said, that book is an abomination and I can only surmise that Percy must have memorized the damned thing. The patients mentioned many of those devilish names: Yig, Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath, Nyarlathotep, Dagon and Cthulhu. They mentioned many of those strange places: Carcosa, R’lyeh, Leng, Irem, and The Nameless City. They would quote random snippets of lines, phrases, and passages from the book as well.

In response to your specific inquiry into mentions of Cthulhu and his Star Spawn, yes, these were the main gibberings and phrases being uttered by the inmates. There was much talk of the “Metallic Children of Cthulhu”, the “Multihued Seeds of Cthulhu”, the “Star Spawned Metalloid Ones” and other such phrases and references.

The most common phrases were the following three, which virtually every inmate had apparently memorized through sheer repetition:

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”

“Eternal is the power of Evil, and infinite in its contagion! The Great Cthulhu yet hath sway o’er the minds and spirits of Men, yea, even tho’ He lieth chained and ensorcelled, bound in the fetters of The Elder Sign, His malignant and loathly mind spreadeth the dark seeds of madness and corruption into dreams and nightmares of sleeping men.”[i]

“In dark places we shall banish to the deepest recesses of strife, but their kind shall never vanish for even in death, there is still life.”[ii]

There were two incidents that struck me as the most bizarre and unsettling. The first occurred one night when Percy was found in his darkened cell, huddled in the corner. He was reciting the following passage over and over in a rapid whisper:

“Many and multiform are the dim horrors of Earth, infesting her ways from the prime. They sleep beneath the unturned stone they rise with the tree from its roots, they move beneath the sea and in subterranean places, they dwell in the inmost adyta, they emerge betimes from the shutten sepulcher of haughty bronze and the low grave that is sealed with clay. There be some that are long known to man, and others as yet unknown that abide the terrible latter days of their revealing. Those which are the most dreadful and the loathliest of all are haply still to be declared. But among those that have revealed themselves aforetime and have made manifest their veritable presence, there is one which may not openly be named for its exceeding foulness. It is that spawn which the hidden dweller in the vaults has begotten upon mortality.”[iii]

The last incident occurred one late night when the orderlies called me. I was on duty that night and they roused me from slumber in my office. When I entering the cellblock, I heard all of the inmates chanting in unison the following atrocious phrase:

“Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”[iv]

I wouldn’t have known how to spell the horribly alien sounding words if not for the book you sent. I know not what it means, but I copied it just as it is written and there is no mistaking that this is what they were chanting.

And there you have it, Mr. Brecklin. I’ve reported it just as I’ve observed it and I await your response to explain how it is you knew about the mass delusion. More importantly, I hope the information you provide can help me further the research I’m conducting because frankly, I’m currently at a loss to explain just how it is that Percy can so thoroughly affect a community of people who should not be so easily corralled into participating in his mad delusions.

Looking forward to your response,

Dr. Nicolas Steiger


[i] Written by Lin Carter in “Dreams from R’lyeh: A Sonnet Cycle”.

[ii] This is another reference to “The Cave” in Tome of Horror. This epigraph actually has several references within it. The term “In dark places” is a reference to a song by Crimson Glory entitled “In Dark Places” that recounts the luring of a man to a watery death. The term “still life” is a reference to the song “Still Life” by Iron Maiden which is eerily similar to “In Dark Places” in that it also recounts the luring of a man to a watery death. The entire epigraph is very similar to Lovecraft’s famous Cthulhu couplet.

[iii] Written by Clark Ashton Smith from “The Nameless Offspring”.

[iv] From “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft. Translated as “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”.

Chapter 8: SEATTLE TIMES ARTICLE

The Seattle Times

Wednesday, August 16th, 1989

SLAIN TWINS IDENTIFIED

Investigators released more information regarding the slain bodies of twin females found savagely mutilated Saturday at Hicks Lake in the Shorewood area of southern Seattle. The bodies were those of identical twin sisters Jalenne and Janelle D’Amato, 27 years old. Investigators haven’t released any details about the conditions of the bodies, but reports of eye-witnesses claim that the bodies were mutilated and displayed in some bizarre, ritualistic manner. Authorities are working to quell fears that a serial killer might be on the loose in the Seattle area…

Chapter 7: TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN MILO BRECKLIN AND JALENNE D’AMATO

The following recorded telephone conversations took place between Jalenne D’Amato and Milo Brecklin at various times between 1986 to 1989.

Milo: Hello?

Jalenne: Hi, Mr. Brecklin, this is Jalenne.

Milo: Jalenne, how are you? Did you find Tharpe?

Jalenne: Yes, sir. We found him just where you said he would be. Of course, Janelle helped pinpoint the exact location.

Milo: What was the condition of the body?

Jalenne: Pretty bad except for his head. It was the freakiest thing I’ve ever seen. Where his hair should’ve been he had a mass of tentacles. And the thing is, they were still moving and writhing. Wallace said he looked like Medusa. He was a bit shook up but Janelle calmed him down while I talked to Hamilton.

Milo: He’ll be just fine. He needed to see it. How was the conversation with Tharpe?

Jalenne: Very interesting. He’s serving some purpose for Cthulhu that he wouldn’t elaborate on. He said that our conversation must be important since there were three Virtutem Superandi Mortuis[i]’ that were sent for him. Was he wrong about Wallace being the third or is he one too?

Milo: Interesting. I suspected he was but this confirms it. Something happened during his service in the Army – a mission he was on that made me suspect he was. It’s part of the reason I recruited him. The problem is, I don’t know exactly what his power over the dead is. He certainly doesn’t even realize he’s VSM. What else?

Jalenne: Well, I asked him about Ain Hith and he said he knew that it was a place with special power. Again, he wouldn’t say why. He also said that those small towns in Alabama that used to be Indian villages were special too. He laughed and said that you were missing a key piece to the puzzle there, though. They aren’t too worried that you’ll solve the riddle before all of their preparations are made.

Milo: What was his response to the question about Cthulhu’s Star Spawn?

Jalenne: He said that the answer to that lies not in the Language of the Dead, but in the Language of the Mad. Oh, and that they are already calling to you. Does that mean anything to you?

Milo: [After a long pause.] Hmmm, I’m not completely sure, but it might be a reference to a certain lunatic or asylum.

****

Milo: Hello?

Jalenne: Uhm, Mr. Brecklin, it’s Jalenne. I have some bad news.

Milo: Bad news? What is it?

Jalenne: They took the meteorite. This morning we were held at gunpoint in our rooms while they took it. There was nothing we could do.

Milo: Who took it? Where in the hell was Wallace and St. Pierre? Why didn’t they stop them?

Jalenne: It was the Minister of Antiquities. That guy Khalid al Fasid and his men. There was nothing that anyone could do. The whole thing was a setup. They were in our rooms without a sound.

Milo: Al Fasid, huh? That sonuvabitch! Are you okay? Was anyone hurt?

Jalenne: No, he said to tell you that he was playing nice. He could’ve killed us but decided to let us go. He also said that if you try to get the meteor back, he won’t be so nice next time.

Milo: Did you see Devon?

Jalenne: No.

Milo: Get out of there and get back here as soon as possible. I’ll figure something out about dealing with that bastard Fasid.

****

Milo: This is Milo Brecklin.

Jalenne: Mr. Brecklin, this is Jalenne.

Milo: Jalenne, how are you and Janelle holding up?

Jalenne: Everything is going fine. We’re being very cautious and staying hidden. You know, it’s actually very easy for a female to hide in a Muslim country.

Milo: True. I suppose it is, but you can’t be too careful when you’re dealing with people like Fasid. Have you found out anything worth reporting?

Jalenne: Well, that’s why I’m calling. He’s definitely one of them; one of Cthulhu’s priests. He bears the sign on his ring. I got close enough to see it. I also had a chance to pilfer some of his mail. I only had time to take photos of the letters and wasn’t able to open them. I don’t want to risk taking any for fear that it’ll make him suspicious.

Milo: Good. Don’t get too risky and keep playing it smart. What did you find?

Jalenne: One letter was from a Saul Lupov. Now, that’s very telling.

Milo: Interesting.

****

Milo: Hello?

Jalenne: It’s me, Mr. Brecklin – Jalenne.

Milo: Jalenne, My Dear, what have you got for me?

Jalenne: Devon and Tanner have arrived. We’re ready to execute when you say it’s time. Fasid left Riyadh this morning.

Milo: It has to be tonight. Execute tonight.

Jalenne: Yes, Sir.

****

Milo: Hello? This is Milo Brecklin speaking.

Jalenne: [Crying] It’s me, Mr. Brecklin. He has us! Fasid has both of us! [More sobbing with sounds of deep laughter behind it. Sound of a sharp slap. Screaming and more sobbing.]

Milo: You dirty bastard, Fasid! If you hurt them I’ll kill you myself!

Fasid: You have something of mine, Brecklin. I warned you what would happen. I will have what is rightfully mine. [Dead line.]


[i] “Power over the dead”. An invention of mine.

Chapter 6: BIOGRAPHY OF MILO BRECKLIN

Biography Sheet of Milo Brecklin contained in case file of Agent Deborah Simpkins of F.B.I.’s Division 212.

Name: Miles Alexander Brecklin

Alias: Milo Brecklin

Born: 2 Dec 1948[i]

Died: 21 Dec 2012

Early Life: Oldest son of Dennis James Brecklin and Hannah Susan Brecklin nee Dodds. Milo Brecklin was born in Roaring Springs, Texas. In his early years he lived and worked on a ranch with his father. At the age of 18 he joined the Army and served in Vietnam with the 525th Military Intelligence Group as a battlefield intelligence collection specialist. He separated from the Army in 1973 and via contacts made in the DOD Intelligence community procured a job with DARPA.

DARPA years: His work with DARPA is believed to have been working in a Top Secret branch that investigated claims of Parapsychology, ESP, and other paranormal abilities and how they might be used as weapons or tools of intelligence gathering by the US government. During these years he began to amass a great collection of antiquarian, rare, and occult books as well as becoming a collector of rare artifacts that have links to paranormal claims.

Shortly before leaving DARPA in 1983, Brecklin was engaged as a consultant on an archaeological dig somewhere in the desert of Australia’s Outback[ii]. Virtually nothing is known about the nature or exact location of this dig. Whatever was found there is believed to have been a contributing factor to Brecklin’s breaking with DARPA and becoming a freelance entrepreneur.

One significant mystery about this period of Brecklin’s life is his sudden accumulation of significant wealth. There is no clear source for where this wealth came from. Some believe that it was his savvy in dealing with rare books, some say it came from a discovery (possibly the dig in Australia, and others say it was hush money given to cover up things learned at DARPA).

Post DARPA years: Whatever the case of how he gained his wealth, Brecklin took his fortune and started a couple of companies that have since been recognized as fronts for his continued interest in paranormal and occult investigations around the world. One company is Adventures Unlimited which claims to be an adventure vacation package for the wealthy. Trips include safaris, jungle river treks, high altitude mountain treks, deep sea explorations, etc. The other company is Aura’s Children. It is an outreach and support organization for children and young adults who are parentless or put out and who also possess rare gifts and psychic abilities.

From 1983 onward Brecklin continued to delve into the occult and paranormal all over the world. Apparently, he saw himself as a champion of Good trying to counter various plots, cults, and cabals.

Later years: Brecklin’s base of operation and home for the people in the Aura’s Children program was in Boulder, Colorado. In later years, from about 2000 onward, Brecklin seems to have become a bit of a recluse as he didn’t take in any more children but did retain a small staff of assistants. It was at his Boulder estate that he was found murdered on 21 Dec 2012. (Details are included in the Forensics Report Case #936729 attached.) Cause of death was determined to be strangulation but there were also many strange marks on the body. In numerous places there were circular patterns arranged in such a way as to suggest suction marks as if by tentacles. Bite marks were found encircling the neck and had no breaks where a hinged jaw might be. Investigators were baffled as to what manner of creature or device might inflict these types of marks. Suicide was ruled out.


[i] Brian Lumley was born December 2nd, 1937 and when he created his character Titus Crow he gave his birth as December 2nd, 1916. I was born December 2nd, 1969 and followed suit by giving my Crow-esque character Milo Brecklin’s birth as December 2nd, 1948 – a difference of 21 years in both cases.

[ii] This is a reference to the location of the ruins in “The Shadow Out of Time” by H.P. Lovecraft.

Chapter 5: CHEMICAL REPORT FROM MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY[i]

Miskatonic University

Chemistry Department

June 23rd, 1882

Description: Unknown specimen of probable metallic substance. Substance’s initial appearance is a hot, viscous globule approximately golf ball sized. Specimen was retrieved from the property of one Ammi Pierce. Mr. Pierce claims the object’s origin is a meteor that struck his property on or about the June 20th, 1882. The remarkable feature seems to be that the original specimen obtained from Mr. Pierce’s property was approximately baseball sized and was observed by no less than 5 people to have shrunk.

Temperature: 420 degrees F. 215 degrees C.

Texture: The metallic substance is a malleable, viscous substance of a soft, gooey texture lying part way between a solid and a liquid.

Color: Multiple colors; some colors defy categorization into known spectrum when heated before the spectroscope.

Testing Results:

1. Substance shows high affinity for silicon.

2. Substance produces no occluded gases when heated on charcoal.

3. Substance is wholly negative in borax bead.

4. Substance non-volatile at any producible temperature, including that of the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe.

5. On anvil substance appears highly malleable.

6. In darkroom substance’s luminosity is very marked.

7. Substance mysteriously loses mass while maintaining heat. Heat loss doesn’t appear through usual mechanisms of conduction, convection, and radiation. After 24 hours the sample had been reduced from a 1-inch diameter globule to a quarter inch diameter globule in a span of 22 hours. The temperature in that time went from 420 F to only 400 F.

8. Testing in crucible with reagents yielded marked invulnerability. The lab used the 16 reagents from von Fehling’s Reagent List but none produced any significant reaction beyond Nitric Acid, which yielded mild hissing and Nitro-Hydrochloric Acid, which yielded mild hissing and spattering.

9. Magnetic tests were positive at 7 gauss thus indicating the metallic nature of the substance.

10. Faint traces of the Widmanstatten patterns were found similar to those found on octahedrite iron meteorites and some pallasites on the specimen after immersion in acid bath.

11. Further tests were unable to be conducted due to the specimen’s complete dissipation.

Professor Charles R. Browne


[i] Everything in this chapter is a reference to “The Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft.

Chapter 4: THE VAMPIRES OF AIN HITH[i]

The following interview was conducted on February 5th, 2013 shortly after the mysterious death of Milo Brecklin. Brecklin was found savagely mutilated at his estate in Boulder, Colorado on December 21st, 2012.  At the time, Tanner Wallace was a long-time employee of and had become the closest confidant of Mr. Brecklin. Although Wallace was working on an assignment for Brecklin in Antarctica at the time of Brecklin’s death, he suffered an immediate nervous breakdown at virtually the exact moment of Brecklin’s death. Wallace was institutionalized in an effort to properly treat his condition. The investigators tried numerous times to question Wallace with no success, being that Wallace was unresponsive. Slowly, Wallace began to emerge from his condition after several weeks. What follows is a transcript from a cassette tape of the initial interview that Agent Deborah Simpkins, an agent of a special unit of the FBI, conducted with Wallace while he was still recovering at Napa State Hospital. Simpkins planned on doing several days of interviews but the day after this interview, Tanner Wallace disappeared from Napa State Hospital[ii]. He hasn’t been found yet.

Simpkins: How did you first meet Milo Brecklin?

Wallace: I met him back in 1985 shortly after being discharged from the Service. I was in an Army Special Forces unit but was discharged for an incident that occurred involving a botched operation. It wasn’t my fault, but I had information that they were trying to sweep under the rug and decided to “do the right thing”. Only no one gave a shit about the right thing and I was black listed and eventually kicked out. It was shortly after that incident and I was sitting in some podunk bar outside of Bragg nursing my pride with copious amounts of alcohol when Brecklin found me. At the time I didn’t realize just how connected Brecklin was. I thought it was just happenstance that he found me. In reality, he was recruiting me. He knew people in high places and apparently, they knew that I was right after all. I couldn’t be protected from within, but Brecklin needed my skill set and was informed of my situation.

Simpkins: And just what did he need you for?

Wallace: Well, at first he was extremely vague about that. He made it sound like it was a shame for the government to put so much effort into my training only to let it go to waste. He said he needed someone to work security for him on various adventures around the world. I took him to mean that he would be going into countries where the governments were corrupt or unstable, you know, on things like mountain climbing expeditions, safaris, river trips, you know, things like that. I mean, he was obviously a rich man and I just assumed he liked to throw money at these adventurous trips.

Simpkins: What made you assume he was rich?

Wallace: Oh, he just exuded it. Brecklin was a larger than life fellow. He carried himself that way. He spoke with authority and had an amazing charisma. He also smoked the finest cigars, drank the top shelf liquor, wore expensive clothes, and never hesitated in paying for things with cash – you know, a big, fat roll of it on him at all times.

Simpkins: So, what did he really need you for? When did you suspect that his adventures were, ah, quite eccentric?

Wallace: That actually started to hit me with the very first assignment he gave me. See, I had nothing tying me down in North Carolina. No wife, no kids, no family, no home. He immediately offered to relocate me to Colorado, put me up in an apartment, and pay me a retainer until I could do a couple of jobs for him to see how I thought I would like it. He was a slick guy, real suave and super intelligent. He knew what he was doing alright. If he could just get me to agree to the initial trial run, I would stick around. After moving what little possessions I had out to Colorado, he sent me on my first assignment to interview a prisoner who was serving in a prison for the criminally insane in Alabama.

Simpkins: Do you remember where exactly in Alabama?

Wallace: Oh, sure, it was the Wetumpka State Penitentiary in the town of Wetumpka. The inmates name was Charles Kordish. At the time, I was wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. The assignment was nothing like I thought it was going to be. To me, at the time at least, the Kordish guy was just plain crazy and I kept thinking that maybe Brecklin had a few screws loose too. Brecklin wanted the interview conducted in a very certain way and warned me that the guy would be saying things that were outlandish but to stick exactly to the questions he had prepared.

Simpkins: And just what did the guy tell you?

Wallace: He was incarcerated for murdering several people – they had taken up residence next door to him – after he believed them to be grave robbers. Two of the people were professors; one was a local professor at Coosada University and the other was some Brit. Both were archaeologists who specialized in ancient cultures. The other guys that were killed by Kordish were a couple of hired hands. Anyway, this Kordish fellow starts telling me about all of this occult crap the men were into and how he had discovered them robbing graves and performing black magic rituals with the corpses. Only they weren’t just going through the motions, the spells actually worked and he walks in on them summoning these creatures and proceeds to go nuts on them and kills everyone. But, of course the creatures disappear along with the body and the cops just find him and the four dead bodies – you know, the professors and the hired help. So I’m thinking this guy is crazier than a cuckoo clock and his whole story is suspicious as all hell. But here’s the best part, the guy was a shaky fellow, all nervous and scared because he believed that the creatures that were summoned were still out to get him. In his mind, he was convinced that he was being stalked by these ghouls.

Simpkins: Ghouls? Did he use the term ghouls?

Wallace: Yeah, he used that term. He also knew their real names: Chaklah’i.

Simpkins: Chaka – what?

Wallace: Look, do you know the kind of stuff Milo Brecklin was really into?

Simpkins: I know that he was heavily into occult lore and esoteric history; however, I don’t know nearly enough to know why. I’m trying to piece together his work.

Wallace: You mean, you’re not investigating his murder?

Simpkins: Murder? No, I mean, we don’t know that he was murdered, first of all, but, that’s only a part of my investigation. I’m investigating his life’s work, which also includes how he died, I suppose.

Wallace: I’m sorry, I thought you were… What exactly are you, anyway? Who do you work for?

Simpkins: I work for the F.B.I.’s Division 212[iii] – the division that investigates Fringe Science. We investigate any significant crime such as terrorism, murder, or any malicious plots that involve credible ties to incredible things. Look, Mr. Wallace, can we return to the topic of the ghouls?

Wallace: Do you believe in such things? Do you believe that Milo Brecklin had uncovered things that ought not to exist in a sane world?

Simpkins: Yes, I do. But we are at this time completely in the dark in having a clear picture. And that’s why we need your help in understanding what Milo Brecklin was searching for.

Wallace: I see. I returned to Boulder struggling with whether or not to quit. I mean, it was some nuts-o stuff but it was also easy money. Brecklin met me and I debriefed him on Kordish. I asked him if he really could help get Kordish out and he laughed and said he could but that he had no intention of doing it. When I asked why he said that it would be better to let the Chaklah’i get him so that no one would know the truth. Then he proceeded to bring up what was on my mind. He knew I was thinking this whole thing was complete hogwash and he couldn’t blame me. He told me to just suspend my opinion until I could do one more job for him. He promised that after this job I would understand.

Simpkins: And what was that job?

Wallace: Well, it was really a series of jobs; but it was all carefully calculated by him to show me things.

Simpkins: Which was?

Wallace: It began with a trip to England. Really it began with me meeting the D’Amato Twins.

Simpkins: The D’Amato Twins?

Wallace: Yep, Jalenne and Janelle D’Amato. They both had paranormal abilities giving them the ability to locate and communicate with the dead.

Simpkins: Locate and communicate with the dead? And could they?

Wallace: Turns out, they could. Brecklin needed me to witness their abilities to bring me on board with his work. The first leg of the trip was to Bathley Moor in England[iv]. We went there to retrieve the body of a man who was murdered there in October 1961. The man’s name was Hamilton Tharpe and he was a Priest of Cthulhu. You ever heard of Cthulhu?

Simpkins: Yes, I have. He, or it, is a mythological deity that supposedly came to Earth from a far off dimension or another planet and was trapped beneath the ocean in a sunken city like Atlantis or something.

Wallace: Hmmm, close, but you get the idea. Anyway, the story that was related to Brecklin was that Hamilton and his brother Anderson ran this carnival that was really a front for Hamilton’s occult activities. He collected occult antiquities and hid them amongst the other strange oddities of the carnival freak show. A pretty clever tactic, I must say. The carnival was in Bathley Moor in ’61 when their little operation became jeopardized. Apparently, Anderson was largely unaware of Hamilton’s activities in the cult and once he found out there was a confrontation that cost Hamilton his life. Anderson buried the body in Bathley and the carnival skedaddled right on out of town. Yeah, so I find myself out in the middle of some cold moor, soaking wet from the rain, watching these two pale, freaky girls find the grave. Janelle, the one who can locate the dead goes into this trance and begins to walk in these jerky steps back and forth. Occasionally she’d take several rapid steps then begin to pace around again and, bam, she’d be off again. Finally, she comes to an abrupt halt and snaps out of her trance and says, “he’s here”. Here I am again wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into, but a part of me was curious to see what was buried there. So I began to dig. Brecklin didn’t prepare me at all for what I found. I don’t even think he knew what condition Hamilton Tharpe would be in.

Simpkins: So he was there? You found the body?

Wallace:  Oh, yeah. We found him alright. He was mostly just a skeleton with a few places where there was tissue left. His head was mostly decayed with large blotches of mummified skin still present. The skull shown through most of the head, but where his hair should’ve been, there were snakes. That’s right, just like Medusa. I started to inspect them to see if my eyes were playing tricks on me and the damn things started to move. The friggin’ snakes were still alive! Well, needless to say, I flipped out. So while Jalenne went into her trance and began to ask the body of Hamilton Tharpe a whole bunch of questions that Brecklin had prepared for her, Janelle led me away and talked to me to calm me down.

Simpkins: What was Brecklin trying to find out?

Wallace: I don’t know. I was too busy trying to come to grips with the crazy shit I had just seen.

Simpkins: Did the corpse actually talk to the girl?

Wallace: No, not like we’re talking. Whatever it said was all in the mind of Janelle. I wasn’t too concerned given my state at the time.

Simpkins: I see. So, what did you do with the corpse?

Wallace: We doused it with kerosene and burned it. Once the snakes were dead, we reburied the body.

Simpkins: So, that made you a believer, huh?

Wallace: Well, it sure made me start questioning things real hard. I realized that Brecklin wasn’t just interested in safaris and mountain hikes. But that was only the tip of the iceberg for that trip. We had one more place to visit in England before going to Saudi Arabia – that’s where the real trip was to. Before we flew out of London, we went to the Highgate area of London to the former residence of Henri-Laurent de Marigny[v]. He passed away many years before but in the early 50’s he had gained possession of an object.

Simpkins: What kind of object?

Wallace: It was a mirror that once belonged to an Egyptian Queen named Nitocris. It was believed to have special, occult properties. Apparently, Marigny had a close call with it and decided to destroy it. He shattered the glass and melted the metal of the frame down. I don’t know how Brecklin knew it, but he found out that Marigny buried the metal in his garden, so we went to find it.

Simpkins: And did you?

Wallace: Oh, yes. It wasn’t really that hard.

Simpkins: Why was Brecklin so interested in the metal?

Wallace: He wanted to conduct certain tests on it.

Simpkins: Tests?

Wallace: Yeah, he was investigating the property of different metals trying to determine if they had commonalities. He had come to the belief that extraterrestrial metals were acting as a cancer to the planet.

Simpkins: What prompted him to think this?

Wallace: I can’t say when he first came across the idea, but it was the basis of everything he was researching. As a matter of fact, it was the reason we were going to Saudi Arabia. After we discovered the lump of metal that used to be the Mirror of Nitocris and before we left England, Brecklin had an extensive conversation with me. After seeing the thing in the ground that used to be Hamilton Tharpe he felt sure I was receptive to an even crazier sounding idea, so he told me about the plague of vampires that was currently infecting Riyadh. It was a tough pill to swallow, but he explained that these weren’t the typical vampires of myth and pop culture. Vampires have been portrayed as creatures that anyone would love to be – immortal, supernatural powers, mysterious charm. In reality, he said, vampires are a despicable and degenerate lot. They are virulent creatures forced to shun the light of day and live off of blood. That’s about where the similarities end. In pop culture, vampires have been portrayed as possessing traits of the bat, but they really are closer to the rat.

Simpkins: He wanted to see if this plague of vampires was caused by an alien metal?

Wallace: That’s right. Actually, to see if a meteor had impacted the desert somewhere near Riyadh and was affecting or mutating people.

Simpkins: Seriously?

Wallace: Dead serious. Look, I know this all sounds crazy. I mean, in your line of work, haven’t you seen things that defy rational explanation?

Simpkins: Would I be here if I hadn’t?

Wallace: No, I suppose not.

Simpkins: So, did you find it? Did you find the meteor?

Wallace: Let’s just say that after that experience, there was no going back to a normal life. Brecklin wanted to be sure that I had the meddle for the trip. I convinced him I was all in and so it was off to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to visit the Ain Hith.

Simpkins: Ain Hith?

Wallace: I didn’t expect there to be such a vast cave system right in the middle of the Arabian Desert. Ain Hith is the name of the largest entrance to the caves. It lies south of Riyadh just off the road to Al Kharj. It’s an amazing site, these huge cliffs that just rise up out of the dunes of the desert. People go there to climb them, but very few go there to go cave exploring. A few people have died in an attempt to explore the caves adding even more to an aura of uneasiness about the caves. Brecklin was convinced that in some bygone geological age, that part of the Arabian Peninsula was hit by a meteor and created the terrain features that morphed over the eons into the mountains of today. He believed that Ain Hith was the nest of the vampires.

Simpkins: Nest?

Wallace: That’s right. He had collected enough information that he was sure that remnants of the meteor were affecting people – drawing them to the source. He was sure that we could wipe out the vampires and get a sample of the metal.

Simpkins: Did you?

Wallace: Me and the twins arrived in Riyadh and were met by another group hired by Brecklin. Roger St. Pierre was their leader. Ever heard of him?

Simpkins: Sorry, No.

Wallace: Famous cave explorer and cave diver. He discovered and mapped caves in Mexico that are among the most extensive in the world. Anyway, it was him and a group of his cave explorers. There was also a meeting with a Saudi Arabian official named Khalid al Fasid and several of what appeared to be his bodyguards; also present at the meeting was Devon Schattenreich[vi], although they all didn’t actually go down in Ain Hith.

Simpkins: Now, him I’ve heard of. Very mysterious occult figure who has a large following. He’s believed to be a magician or wizard or something.

Wallace: You might want to add him to your list of people to find out a lot more about if you’re going to understand Brecklin. Cthulhu should top that list, by the way. Anyway, Schattenreich is a huge deal in magical circles. He is also like a walking encyclopedia of occult and magical knowledge. He was there to get us all up to speed on how to deal with vampires.

Simpkins: Garlic, silver bullets, stakes through the heart?

Wallace: Ha ha, very funny. I told you that all of that is just myth and pop culture. Although vampires do have an insatiable appetite and a blood lust to match, they aren’t immortal. They can be killed with normal weapons, but they do keep coming at you even after a normal person would’ve been dropped dead. There are other certain things that slow them down.

Simpkins: Like what?

Wallace: Like magic.

Simpkins: Seriously?

Wallace: Oh, I’m dead serious, Lady. After meeting with Schattenreich we were ready to go. The twins went with us to the caves but they only went as far as the underground lake. Not really a lake, but more like a pool. See, Ain Hith descends for quite some ways underground until it ends at a pool of water. From there, you have to don SCUBA gear and proceed to another network of caves. We were leaving a guideline to help us ensure we found our way back out. The twins stayed there.

Simpkins: How did the vampires get in and out? Through the water?

Wallace: No. There was another entrance but we didn’t know where it was. Hell, it could’ve been anywhere in those canyons and mountains. By going in through the main cave entrance of Ain Hith we were hoping to come at them through a side tunnel and hopefully surprise them. But it didn’t work out that way. No, we came out of the water and no sooner got our SCUBA gear off than they were upon us. Brecklin was right, they were vile creatures that no man would choose to be. They were small, pale and hunched over – crawling like rats over each other. They were degenerate little monsters who had become accustomed to the depths of the dank, dark cave. They reeked of rotten meat or sour blood and were covered in filth. It was all we could do to hold them back as we fired round after round into the swarm of them. We just barely survived that initial onslaught and there were numerous times I thought for sure we were goners. There was a break in the attack and we realized that they had retreated. Probably a hundred bodies lay strewn about the cavern and the blood was thick and fetid in the still air. There were ten of us initially and we lost one during that fight.

Simpkins: Did you leave?

Wallace: Leave? We had just begun.

Simpkins: You mean, you kept going into their nest?

Wallace: I know it sounds like madness but St. Pierre rallied us. We took inventory of our ammo and he made me formulate an attack plan while one of his other men, Fowler, I believe, began conducting a bunch of magical chants from that damn book Schattenreich had brought us. I didn’t know it then, but now I can tell you that is was the infamous Al Azif– the Necronomicon. I thought it was idiotic at the time and so distracting. I mean, I was trying to get everyone to move in a close formation and here’s this guy chanting a bunch of mumbo jumbo magical baloney! But I’ll be damned if it didn’t work better than any gun ever invented by man! We groped along prepared for another stand and he kept that singsong chant echoing ahead of us. The vampires were terrified of it! They shrunk away from us but you could see that they were struggling between wanting to rip at our flesh and the terror of the meaning of those chants. It was hypnotic, suggestive, repetitive and pretty soon we were all singing it – The Hymn of Doomed Carcosa. It was sheer lunacy going deeper into their hive; there were so many of them. If something broke the spell of the chant then there was no way we had enough ammunition to fight our way out. We went on like that for some time. Finally, we arrived at the heart of the nest. And there we beheld a sight so incredibly monstrous that everyone fell silent except for Fowler, who was literally in his own world with the chanting from the Necronomicon. It was their queen.

Simpkins: Their queen? Like an insect? An anthill?

Wallace: Sort of. She was humanoid – had once been a human, I suppose. Vast, though. Fat, bloated, corpulent and oozing some viscous liquid like blood from her body. She was foul and grotesque. We opened fire out of a primal urge to destroy that which should not be on this Earth. Hatred, repulsion, fear, I don’t know the words for it. Our faltering of the chant, the eruption of the gunfire, and an instinct to protect their queen was all enough to break the spell over the vampires. They surged and St. Pierre was there screaming orders at us to stop firing and renew our efforts at the chant. The queen was writhing in great spasms and a couple of the men had lost it – one wept like a small child on the ground and another had broken and ran only to be engulfed by a swarm of vampires. The rest of us took up the chant and St. Pierre began to dispense the charges. We blew the queen up until she was nothing but charred goo. With their queen gone, the rest of them were confused, lost, disoriented. We continued to assault them even as they scurried off into the dark depths of the desert.

Simpkins: What about the metal? Was the meteor there?

Wallace: Oh, yes. It was right there where the queen had been. She reposed upon it like a giant, fat spider on a large egg. It was no larger than a basketball and quite light for all of its appearance. It contained so many colors – the strangest metal I’d ever beheld. We retreated back the way we had come, continuing the chant the whole way. I don’t think we even needed to, though. The vampires were almost indifferent to us now.

Simpkins: Was the queen breeding? Was she like an ant queen?

Wallace: No, it wasn’t quite like that. I’m not completely sure just what power she exerted over the vampires in the nest, but apparently they brought her food – victims. There were corpses strewn all about the central chamber.

Simpkins: So, did you get the meteor back to Brecklin?

Wallace: Actually, no. We returned with it to the hotel and were due to return the next morning back to the States. That night, we were awoken at gunpoint and Khalid al Fasid and his men took the meteor. We went through all of that for nothing. We were pissed but Brecklin was beside himself with rage. He vowed revenge but that’s a story for another day.

Simpkins: Which is a good thing because my time for today is up . . .


[i] Ain Hith is a real cave system southeast of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I explored the cave during the first Gulf War and made it the central piece of my story “The Cave” in Tome of Horror.

[ii] Napa State Hospital is really a psychiatric hospital in Napa, California founded in 1875.

[iii] An invention of mine with a loose reference to the story I wrote called “212”.

[iv] This is a reference to the story “The Fairground Horror” by Brian Lumley.

[v] This is a reference to the story “The Mirror of Nitocris” by Brain Lumley.

[vi] This is a reference to the magician and slight of hands/flourishes expert known as De’Vo Vom Schattenreich (a stage name). I had the pleasure of working with him in the Air Force when his career as De’Vo was just starting to take off.