World of Banished

Conversations => Fan Fiction => Topic started by: Thorgrimm on March 31, 2016, 06:06:51 PM

Title: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on March 31, 2016, 06:06:51 PM
                                   
Prologue


                             
14 November 1932, Los Angeles California


Professor John DeShane looked once more at the obituary he had been sent, which dealt with the unusual death of his room mate from college. Rick Feldman was that colleague, and so happens to have been a good friend of John’s.
 
Rick had been living in Minneapolis and was investigating a small town just north of Duluth Minnesota. The town had an infamous reputation amongst the followers and opposers of occult happenings.

Rick had told John several months ago, in a letter he had written, that he had stumbled upon an old manuscript that had hinted something was about to happen, something that had not happened in one hundred years, in the sleepy village of Two Harbors Minnesota.

John had advised Rick to wait until he was free to join him in the investigation, since it would be safer for him if he had a partner to cover his back. Rick had refused, saying he needed to go before the beginning of Samhain.

Rick’s usage of the Gaelic name, instead of the modern name of Halloween, had given him pause. However, John could not get out of his previous engagement, and so had wished his friend the best of luck and told him to be careful. It seems the last part had fallen on deaf ears.

John put down the obituary and picked up the last letter he had received from Rick before he met his demise, wondering if the two were, somehow, connected.


                                                     
John

It happened on Samhain. The sound of the waves lapping on the shore of Lake Superior told me that I had reached my destination.

The road ahead curved steeply towards the left and right. The road to the right led to the ancient cemetery, which was perched atop the lonely, windswept, cliff-side.

Its crypts and sepulchers were outlined against the silver-yellow waters of the lake, which reminded me of a drowned and blackened corpse’s teeth. It was Samhain, and I shivered at the thought of what lay before me.

All through the long trip from Minneapolis my mind had returned again and again to the task at hand, the same way a person’s tongue will return to the cavity left by a rotted tooth.

As I paused in my long drive the moon, rising, bloated and angry, burst through the swiftly scudding clouds to light the landscape with a ghastly yellow corpse light, which drained all of the color from the nefarious and noisome surroundings. It was then that the first of the torches appeared out of the woods, their destination seemed to be the same as my own.

Once more I struggled forward. I was the last of my family. No more would my kith and kin return after this evening, to help with the ritual that my ancestors had called ‘The Opening’. It is a ceremony as old as time itself, as ancient as the ritual that had taken the sanity, and then the life of my nephew, Blake Feldman.

Blake’s death was the sole reason for my being at this loathsome, and demon-haunted, place. I had sworn an oath to his father, my brother, that I would shield the boy from the horrors of our family’s calling. Failing this, I would take my revenge on those who had brought about his demise.

My nephew had been pulled, half-drowned and nearly dead, from the frozen waters of the lake the day after Christmas, two years ago. When he had awakened in the Duluth hospital he had told a nigh incoherent tale of a gathering that he had attended on Christmas night. The doctors and nurses had tried to calm him, even going so far as to bring to him a copy of the dreaded Book of the Dark Ones.

In the pages of that tome of evil Blake had found a passage that had confirmed his worst fears as to what had befallen him on that fear-drenched night. Instead of calming him down, it had sent him down the path to his incarceration in the Duluth hospital for the mentally disturbed, and his eventual death.

I had visited Blake there, in that ghastly place of eternal screams, shortly before he died and he had told me what had befallen him. Things that he had told me he dared not speak of to his doctors.

What they would not, and could not believe, I did. On the day of Blake’s funeral I vowed vengeance upon those who had brought about his destruction.

The Opening occurred only once every one hundred years, but it was not the only ceremony held in this accursed town. The Book of the Dark Ones told of another gathering, held once each decade, known only as ‘The Birthing’.

Through study, and some occult contacts, I had learned when it would be held and, unfortunately, this year was the time when both ceremonies would happen. These events are something very bad for Humanity, very bad indeed.

The Birthing was to take place on Samhain of this year, as for the Opening, I can only guess as to when that night will occur.

For years I had felt the overwhelming pull of these ancient ceremonies and had managed to studiously avoid them, unlike my father. For even though I am a student of many strange and esoteric arts, there are some things that are better left buried in the past.

Yet, here I was, with a torch giving off a greasy light in my hand. My mission of vengeance was driving me towards a confrontation with those that, I felt, was responsible for my nephew’s death.
As I cleared the curve, the lights of the town appeared through the darkening sky. The lake, driven by the rising winds, pounded against the rotting, wooden pilings, of the town’s wharves.

The dark, eternal Lake Superior, Gichigami to the Ojibwe Indians of the area, concealed many of its secrets from the eyes of man. While brooding over the cold light of the houses was a towering steeple of an ancient church, which spread its mocking shadow over the homes in the sleepy lakeside village.

At the fork in the road I was presented with two choices. To continue on, into the town or turn my eyes right, once again to the cemetery that hung like a vulture to the side of the road. Without hesitation I continued my journey to the right.

Crowded around the mouth of the cemetery, the torches of the robed strangers fluttered and smoked, giving off their dim, greasy light. I was the last to arrive.

Now the ceremony could begin.

At the gate I was greeted by the leader of the group, a tall man dressed in a hooded robe and wearing a hideously carved mask, which looked like a crocodile with six eyes! With a curiously scaled, and at the same time, fleshy hand, he indicated that he was a mute, and beckoned me to follow him into the graveyard.

As I passed through the portal to the cemetery the others fell in behind me, and I could only shudder at the half-guessed reason for their silence. Not only did they not speak, I could not hear any trace of the sound of their footsteps on the hard-packed earth.

Through the ancient graveyard, past the weed-covered tombs and crypts of the denizens of this accursed town, we made our way to a patch of unconsecrated ground.

It was the ‘Potter’s Field’, where the lost, the criminal, and those who had dedicated their lives to the Dark Ones were interred. It was a lonely, miserable place, where the only thing to indicate the presence of the graves was scattered clods of hastily overturned soil.

One of the robed figures had brought a spade with him, which he threw on the ground near my feet. The leader indicated that it was my duty to dig, pointing at a patch of ground that seemed less weed-choked than the surrounding area. Handing him my torch I picked up the shovel and furiously attacked the half frozen sod.

It was hard work. The ground was dry, hard, and constantly turned aside the shovel blade. However, at last I managed to break through the frost encrusted dirt into the softer soil below. It only took a few more minutes before my blade, with a dull thud, struck the half-rotted wood of a cheap casket.

A sudden and disturbing hiss, which sounded like a dozen tea kettles at the boiling point, passed through the assembled worshipers, it was, somehow, more horrifying than their previous silence.

As quickly as I could manage I scraped away the soil that held the lid closed. Before I could raise it to reveal the contents of the box, hands that were horribly scaled, soft, and clawed, grabbed my coat and pulled me from the hole.

I watched in silence as the robed figures crowded around the newly disinterred grave. From the burial place something was pulled out, something that snarled horribly and writhed as if in great pain.

A mask, gloves, and a robe were quickly produced, and whatever it was, was swiftly covered. The huddled acolytes stepped back, revealing a new member who wobbled and stumbled like a newborn colt trying to get to its feet.

The leader came up to me and handed me my torch. He motioned to me that the ceremony was over and that I was to approach the newest member, to give my loyalty. However, in my foolhardiness I pushed past him and approached the new arrival. He had gained some semblance of balance and stood silently in front of me. Before I could be stopped, I stepped forward and ripped the mask from its head.

Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on March 31, 2016, 06:14:49 PM
Due to the 10K char limit this post will finish the Prologue.  :)



Madness rides the night wind... death born from a venomous hunger... unholy things that ought never see the light of day... My screams must have awakened the sleepers of that accursed, demon-haunted town. I staggered back, the bile rising in my throat.

Without thinking I took my torch and set afire the rotten rags that covered its hideous carcass. It went up in flames, a holy fire that cleansed the earth of a hideous abomination.

There are things that walk, things that crawl, and things that slither. A merciful God would always see to it that one does not beget the other.

In the confusion I attacked the robed figures, setting them afire with my torch. They tried to run, but I was too fast for them, and when I was done a dozen smoldering corpses were all that was left.

What happened next I cannot be sure of. I must have staggered out of that abominable reliquary and down to the road, for the next morning I awoke in my car. In the light of day it all seemed a horrible nightmare.

Steeling myself I went back to that graveyard on the cliff overlooking the lake, but there was no sign of what had occurred on the previous night.

Had it all been a dream? I try to convince myself that it was, but at night, when the nightmares come, I know what I saw was the truth. A dark truth that can drive men mad with its knowing.

It’s hard for me to sleep now. Sometimes I feel as if my sanity is beginning to slip away, especially when I think of the horror that may lurk under my very feet.

This cannot be the only place where such rituals take place. On how many demon-haunted nights have similar events taken place? I dare not think about it, or surely I will go mad. This knowledge killed my nephew, but I am stronger than he was.

My only hope is that in other parts of the world there are others who also know and make sure that their demons are burned to a very fine ash, which leaves nothing for the worms to gnaw on.

If only I could forget what I saw that night, what I saw when I tore the mask from it’s hate-filled face, that scaled, six-eyed, crocodilian face, staring at me, that reptilian countenance where there should have been a human one!

John, I beg you to come to Two Harbors and help me rid this town of its loathsome curse.


                             
Your friend, Rick


John never even questioned whether or not if he would go. A friend had begged him for help, and even though that friend was now dead, he could finish the job Rick had begun. He headed out to the railroad station to find out the departure time of the Flyer to Minneapolis.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 01, 2016, 08:07:10 AM
Thor, the myths don't make you a story teller after the brothers Grimm, but this must explain your pseudonym.  This prologue seems to imply an impending Ragnarok of a reptilian kind.  Would make one heck of a horror story.

I would hate to think that the ribbons tying Fenris to Yggdrasil were beginning to fray.

John.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 01, 2016, 01:42:45 PM
@ A Nonny Moose, my net name comes from a movie I saw when I was a wee lad in my late teens. Can you guess which one?  ;)

BTW, Thorgrimm, Þórgrímr in Old Norse, means Helm of Thor.

Good first guess my friend, but wrong Mythos...  ;)  ;D

As an FYI, this story is a shade over 25K words, and 57 pages in a word doc using the Arial Font at a 12 pt size.

Next section coming up.


Cheers, Thor
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 01, 2016, 02:07:40 PM
Chapter One


John was standing on the edge of Two Harbors watching the taxi head back towards Duluth, the cabbie had refused to take him to a local hotel or boarding house. The hack driver had even refused John’s attempt to pay him extra money to take him into town.

The cabbie had just murmured something about ‘bad mojo’ and sped away, leaving John standing on the edge of the village.

DeShane turned to face the oddly disturbing little town once again. After giving it some thought John felt that the cabbie was right. This burg did give off ‘bad mojo’. Something was definitely wrong with this place.

John sighed, picked up his luggage and headed for Mom’s Boarding House.


***


Kara Rollands was nearly finished with her shift at the First National Bank of Two Harbors when her boss came over to her station.

“Kara, the accounting department has just notified me that they have discovered an accounting error with your account here. The good news is that it is in your favor. The one thousand dollar mistake has been credited to your account.”

Kara looked up at her boss, with a confused look on her face. “Sir, as much as I would love to accept that thousand dollars, I don’t have an account here at the bank. My savings account is located at the First National Bank of Duluth.”

Her boss looked at Kara like she had gone crazy. “Miss Rollands, my accountants assure me that the error is real. They checked the figures three times, just to be sure. Moreover, if that is not enough to convince you, here is the signature card. Is this your signature?”

Kara could not believe what she was seeing. The signature on that card was hers, and there was no doubt in her mind about that fact. The problem was that she knew that she had never opened an account here. She was a part-timer, and as such was only up here in Two Harbors for her schoolwork.

“Mr. Collins, that’s my signature, but I have never…”

“Take the thousand dollars, and be happy Miss Rollands. There’s a depression going on, and many people would love to be in your shoes.” With that her boss spun on his heels and headed to his office, the matter resolved.

Kara continued to stare at the signature card. Not knowing how this account had been opened made her question what was really going on around her in this odd little town.


***


Kara has been a student at The University of Minnesota, the Duluth Campus, for the last four years, attempting to acquire her doctorate in Biology. She had been assigned to Two Harbors to study the reports of strange and unusual plants and animals that have been reported to be found around that town. Although, in her time in this village she had seen not one example of the strange plants and animals that have been reported to be here.


***


John had finally reached Mom’s Boarding House and registered after a brisk twenty minute walk through the center of town, all the while noticing the fearful glances thrown his way. He did not know if those glances were caused by his appearance, or if they were due to the villager’s fear that another stranger was about to disappear.

Before coming to Two Harbors John had done some research on the small town, including any reports of death, disappearances, and strange happenings. What he had found was a real eyebrow raiser.

The Two Harbors area had five times the number of disappearances over any other place like it in the state of Minnesota. This, by itself, should have raised a few questions in the state police headquarters. However, when you add in the reports of non-lethal attacks by strange creatures it should have set off some serious warning bells with the state and local police forces.

However, it had not.

Not a peep, not a paragraph written in the papers.

Nothing.

John could only guess as to why the conspiracy of silence was occurring. He doubted the entire state police force and press was involved in what was happening, but he would bet his bottom dollar that somebody’s palms were being caressed by a few extra greenbacks.

John’s gut instinct was telling him that something was very wrong in this burg, and the furtive glances thrown his way only confirmed it. Now he just had to go about finding the truth, which, he suspected, would involve violence and gunplay.

Mom had been friendly enough when he had registered, even if a bit on the nervous side. John made his way up to his room, on the second story, to freshen up a bit before he got a bite to eat, at Joe’s diner, down the street.

After getting to his room John put his clothes away and began to check the room, for what, he was not sure. The habit of giving his room the once over had become routine, ever since his run in with the Dark One cultists in Upper New York State had nearly gotten him killed, due to the hidden door located in his room.

Ten minutes of searching revealed to John a little cubbyhole that had something wrapped in paper stuffed inside. He grabbed the item and unfolded the paper to reveal a cigarette case.

For a moment John thought that it was just an ordinary cigarette case someone had left behind. Until he saw what the case was wrapped in.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 02, 2016, 05:56:14 AM
Vellum made from human skin, no doubt.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 02, 2016, 06:08:08 AM
A good guess, but wrong!  ;D

You will see what it is in the next section!


Cheers, Thor
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 02, 2016, 06:26:16 AM
“My God! That’s Sumerian Cuneiform! From the Ubaid 1, or Eridu Period, no less!  Only a handful of scholars in the world could understand, much less compose this!” John suddenly blurted out.

DeShane, being one of those scholars, could clearly make out the unique Eridu form of this type of Cuneiform. It is vastly different from the Babylonian, Hittite, Assyrian, and Persian forms of cuneiform writing.

Yet, what John read did not make any sense at all. None of the syllables were coherent, or formed into any words that he could see. It was as if the writer did not understand what he was doing and just scribbled down any symbol that he took a liking to.

Although, the longer John looked at the parchment, and that was, indeed, the paper that it was written on, he could tell that this was no simpleton just scribbling away. The parchment was too new, the lettering too precise, and too well-written, to be nonsense. It just did not add up, or make any sort of sense, to him.

Why would a scholar of Ancient Sumeria write such a well-crafted tome of nonsense in a dead language? John thought to himself as he slowly shook his head. He just could not wrap his head around why one would do so.

John figured that he should talk to Mom, and learn what he could about the boarder that had resided in his room before he had checked in. He quickly walked downstairs and found the old girl in the common room.

“Mom, I have a question for you,” John said politely to the old lady.

“Yes dearie, how can I help you,” Mom said as she waddled over to the check in desk.

“Who was the boarder that had resided in the room I am staying in, before me?” John asked as politely as he could.

“Hmm, let me see,” Mom said as she pulled out the guest register. “It was a Mr. Gage Delafield, an English gentleman, of some years.”

“Gage Delafield! Are you sure?” John said as he tried to hide his surprise and excitement from the caretaker of Mom’s Boarding House, lest she become frightened and asked him to leave her establishment.

“Why yes dear, did you know the man?”

“I'm a colleague of his and would like to meet with him to discuss the archeology of ancient Sumeria. Did he leave a forwarding address?”

“No, I'm sorry, dear. He checked out this morning, real sudden like, as if he was in a hurry to leave.”

“Thank you Mom,” John said as he headed back to his room to ponder over what he had just learned.


***


In the field of archaeology all of the known Sumerian cities had been excavated, save one, Eridu. Eridu was the home city of Enki, the Sumerian God of the underworld and water. Enki is, according to the Sumerian Mythos, also the Sumerian God who had created man from clay.

Every archeologist worth his salt has begged the British to allow them to excavate that city, but every request has been denied. A policy that the Ottoman Empire had enforced for decades, and for the British to continue an Ottoman policy unchanged was, unusual, to say the least.

There had been a rumor floating around the archeology community that the Ottoman policy came to be after they tried to run an excavation site at Eridu in 1895. Gage Delafield was, according to the official Ottoman statement, the English archeologist that they had hired to oversee the expedition.

According to the Ottomans the expedition was wiped out by bandits and all of the members of the team had been killed, including Delafield. Yet, here was proof that Gage Delafield do not, in point of fact, die at Eridu.

So why did the Ottomans put up a quarantine around Eridu, and why do the British still enforce that quarantine today?


***


Another set of questions bothered John just as much as the first one. Delafield was an expert on Enki and Eridu, and he had the ability to write well-crafted Sumerian Cuneiform. So why did a man of his scholarly ability write such a finely-crafted scroll of nonsense? Moreover, why here in Two Harbors Minnesota?

Did the death of Rick and the presence of Delafield have any connection? Was Delafield here to observe, help, or stop, the ritual Rick had described in the letter that he had sent?

The more John thought about it, the more he was convinced that both men were here for the same ritual. However, as to their purpose in that ritual, was it the same, or did Delafield have a hand in the death of his friend for ending it in disaster for the bad guys?

John was certain of one thing, he would find out, one way or another, the answer to these questions.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 02, 2016, 11:25:09 AM
Hmmm.  Got me!  Now we have this nice coded/encrypted scroll in ancient Cuneiform.

"Then, I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform
"And tell you every detail of Caractacuses uniform.
"But still in matters vegetable, animal and mineral
"I am the very model of a modern major general."
              Sir William Shenk Gilbert in The Pirates of Penzance.

Guess who played that role?  It's been a very long time, but these patter songs stick to one.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 02, 2016, 01:25:15 PM
To be honest, I have never seen the Pirates of Penzance, so I cannot even guess who played the part.  :(


Cheers, Thor
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 03, 2016, 08:42:13 AM
Well, in my last year of high-school, I did.  Pirates is a usual Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta in two acts with the topsy-turvy approach.  In this one, the hero was born in leap year on Feb. 29th, and his indentures run to his 21st birthday.  Opens with the celebration of his turning 21 years of age, but if one goes by birthdays he is only "five and a little bit over".

If you don't like G&S, or theatrical parody you wouldn't enjoy this.  I, on the other hand, like all forms of live theatre, especially music drama.  I even like most of Richard Wagner's works, but Parsifal puts me to sleep.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: kee on April 04, 2016, 01:49:57 PM
Somebody knows his Lovecraft. Good reading this.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 05, 2016, 09:58:22 AM
I apologize for my not posting, just got out of the hospital.

@ A Nonny Moose, Never did get into G&S. But I am glad you like it. The more variety of entertainment there is in this world, the better, IMO.  :)

@ Kee, yep, this is my homage to HP Lovecraft. Also my first attempt at Gothic Horror. I normally write sci fi stuff!  ;D

I will post the next section ASAP.


Cheers, Thor
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 05, 2016, 10:31:03 AM
John had decided to wait for morning before he went to investigate the cemetery where Rick said the Dark One ceremony had taken place. He knew that he needed to keep his investigations quiet and, as such, he had decided to walk instead of getting a cabbie to take him to the site of the ceremony.

John approached the cemetery, his nerves on edge. It seemed that the color and sound of the world around him faded into some sort of perpetual twilight-like gloom the closer he came to the graveyard. He could imagine just how much this place would give him the heebie-jeebies at night. It was definitely oozing with 'bad mojo'.

This dark and foreboding patch of land was not a plot one would seek out as their final resting place. Only the damned, doomed, and destitute, would ever end up here in this filth encrusted garden of stone.

The rusted gate to the cemetery was covered in dead vines, giving the white-painted metal a skeletal feel while the dead vines provided the impression of the remnants of desiccated flesh.

When John pushed on the gate it gave easily, but at the same time it let out a screech that chilled John to the bone. He could have sworn that it was the same as the Bane Sidhe he had come across in Kilkenny Ireland.

It had the same effect on John that the wailing spirit had, it chilled him to the core of his soul, and he was sure that it had alerted anyone, or anything, in the graveyard as to his presence. He would have to be doubly careful now.

As John crept into the cemetery he knew that it was daytime, yet his instincts told him that it was night, and it damn near felt like midnight, on a moonless, and dead air, night. Nothing was moving. There was not one hint of a breeze moving in this dark, dank place of the damned, even though there had been a very brisk wind blowing in off of Lake Superior just outside of the graveyard’s entry gate.

In point of fact, there was not a sound, at all. No breeze, no insects, nothing. The highway was no more than fifty feet from the gate, yet John could not hear a thing, even though he could see the cars passing by. It was completely silent.

“Hello, is anyone here?” John said in a quiet tone. He could tell that his voice had carried no more than five feet. It simply had no ‘energy’ to carry it any further. It was as if he had crossed some sort of boundary that dampened all forms of vibratory energy. For what purpose this barrier should exist, John could only hazard a wild guess.

John continued his search of this forlorn place. He came across a maintenance shed that had an odd symbol painted on the door next to the mowing machine storage bay. It looked like a Caduceus, it was pearly white and had two serpents coiled around it.

The staff itself was one foot long, although the serpent heads rose a good foot and a half above that, and it was crowned by a pair of wings while an inverse swastika topped off the staff.

John was amazed. He had never seen this combination of Sumerian and Sanskrit elements in the same artifact before. He noted that there were also traces of Norse elements in the design.

Even with that the strangest thing was that the paint looked like it was centuries old. It had the look of great age to it. Yet, the peeling of the paint never completely broke the design into fragments. It, somehow, remained whole.

John jotted down a reference to the caduceus in his notebook and continued his search. He was about to move on when he heard a low moan coming from the back of the maintenance shed. He ran to the back and noticed an old man laying on his stomach.

The man was trying to crawl away from the shed, but John could see that he was severely injured. His right leg was bent in the wrong spot and he was dragging his left arm along, as if it were useless.

“Hey old timer, I got you.” With that John steadied the man and helped him turn over on to his back. DeShane immediately recognized the man, it was Professor Gage Delafield.

“Professor Delafield, what happened to you, and why are you out here in this...” John could not help himself as he looked around this unholy ground, “boneyard all by yourself?” John said with a sense of increasing worry.

“It was a trap, *cough, hack choke*, servants of the Dark Ones caught me bloody unawares. I was trying to set up a barrier to keep the demon from entering our world, but its servants were waiting for me.”

“Where did they go?” John asked as he, instinctively, spun around, suddenly on alert as the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He definitely did not want the Dark One cultists to get the drop on him.

“They heard the muted warning from the gate and fled before they could be found out, and left me out here to die, bastards.” The professor said in a blood-choked snarl.

“Professor, I have to ask you, what is that parchment you left in your room back at Mom’s? I recognize the Sumerian script, but the words make no sense,” John said as he could not stop himself from looking around the cemetery.

He got the feeling that something was trying to suppress his senses. John could not hear a thing, he smelt nothing, even though he could see rotting logs and driftwood.

However, the thing that bothered him the most was that it felt like he was looking at a post card. The sights of the cemetery were flat somehow. Nothing had any depth, and John could only ascribe that to the lack of any shadows.

Beyond the deep feeling of unease, due to his senses not being up to snuff, John was sure that something was watching them. The hairs on the back of his neck kept standing on end.

John turned back to Professor Delafield as he began to speak, “Something I found in Eridu, a ward of protection.”

“A what?” John asked, doubly confused now.”

“A spell of protection. It will keep you safe from the servants of the Dark Ones.” Delafield said as he suddenly broke out in a fit of coughing that had John convinced that the old man was not long for this world.

“Professor, I have to know, what happened to your expedition in Eridu, in 1895?” John suddenly asked Delafield. The Archeologist in him had to know what happened, even as the civilian in him was screaming for him to pick up the professor and run.

“That is of no import. You must stop the portal from being opened tonight. You must take these spells and use them to close the portal before the demon steps through. If you do not, then you must defeat it and then close the portal.

“The boundaries between our world and Gehenna are exceedingly thin. Evil things are slipping in through the cracks in space and time, in preparation for the arrival of their masters, the Dark Ones themselves. The more portals that open, the closer doom is approaching our world.

YOU MUST CLOSE THEM!” Delafield suddenly shrieked out, nearly breaking John’s eardrums. DeShane suddenly glanced over his shoulders positive that the professor’s screams would have alerted whatever it was that was watching them. Yet, the man’s shrieks never went past a couple of feet from them. The dead air, once again, sapped the very energy out of the words.

“Here, take these,” Delafield said with great pain in his voice, “One will close the portal and one will banish the demon back to Gehenna.” With that the professor handed John two more pieces of parchment with the Sumerian script written on it.

“Professor, I need to know what happened in Eridu. Nobody in the Archeology Community knows what took place there.” John just could not put Eridu out of his mind, even with Professor Delafield’s apparent injuries. “What did the Ottomans try to hide, and why are the British doing the same thing?”

“John, you must forget about Eridu, it is of no import. What is about to happen is a greater danger, to all of mankind, and you must stop it.”

The intensity, and fevered look in Delafield’s eyes made John realize that something more important than Eridu was about to begin. He finally looked at the parchment he had been given.

“Professor, how do I use these? I cannot make any sense out of them.” DeShane said, desperation creeping into his voice.

“Just read the syllables, as written, out loud. However, be careful Mr. DeShane, if you are not ready for their power they can cause you irreparable harm.”

John was stunned, Professor Delafield must know his name! Twice now the man had called him by his name! “How do you know who I am professor?” John asked, feeling as if he was in a fevered dream.

“Rick told me of his asking you to come with us to stop the ceremony.”

“Rick never mentioned you in his letter.”

“That was my doing. I needed to keep my name out of any possibly intercepted writings.”

“Professor, what happened to Rick?”

Delafield immediately took on the look of a heartbroken man. “I arrived too late with the ward of protection. The servants had found him, and killed him. So I left the ward for you to use, to help you avenge his death.”

“How did you know I was coming to Two Harbors?” John asked, not knowing what the dying man would say.

“I was the one who sent you the obituary. Rick had told me of your character, so I used that information to bring you here Mr. DeShane. I am too old to continue the battle anymore. You must carry on the fight to keep humanity safe from the blackest of evil that is scratching at the door, trying to enter our world.

“One last thing Mr. DeShane, seek out the Ea-Su. They are the protectors of this world, for they are the allies you will need to purge Two Harbors of its gateway to Gehenna, forever.”

With that, Professor Gage Delafield, of late a professor of Archeology at Oxford University, leader of the only expedition to Eridu, sighed once, and died in John’s arms.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 06, 2016, 05:54:13 AM
“Who the hell are the Ea-Su?” John said out loud. His words failed to reach the ears of any living thing. The power of the dead air overwhelming them.

John could only wonder what he had stumbled into, and whether or not he would survive to see Christmas.


Two Harbors Police Station


As Kenneth Meadows entered the interview room he reflected on the fact that it had to have been a pretty surprising suspect to pull the Chief of Police out of his office for another one of the frequently found dead in this town. On the other hand, he had finished the normal stack of paperwork an hour before.

Meadows had been flipping through the fishing section of the Sears & Roebuck catalog when Lieutenant Anderson had come in. The Lt. had told him that they had arrested some guy carrying a body out of the old potter’s cemetery, south of town.

Meadows just sighed when he had been told this. It seemed to be the perfect culmination to the series of events that had been the height of town gossip for weeks, ever since Halloween. As he got a look at the culprit he was more than a little surprised.

‘Some guy’, indeed.

As he sat down across from the suspect, Chief Meadows tapped the autopsy file, a few reports and pictures of the crime scene inside a manila folder, were lying on the table.

“You know,” Meadows began dryly, “We get quite a few ‘jelly beans’ who are all wet wandering into town, gumming up the works for folks, folks who have taken offense to these crumbs one too many times. We just haven’t ever gotten one who was a ‘Joe Brooks Abercrombie’ college type before, Professor DeShane.” Meadows said as he dropped the file he had picked up, in front of John, a police file that had a transcript from a telephone interview with the Dean of UCLA stapled to the front.

John just smiled at the policeman’s attempt to insult him. He leaned forward, putting his manacled hands on the metal table. “Why, thank you Chief, I am rather smartly dressed, but alas, I do not know everything, otherwise I would know who killed my friend Rick and Professor Delafield.”

Meadows ignored John’s attempt to provoke him into revealing any information. “So, why’d you do it?”

John looked at the middle-aged man as he pulled out a metal flask marked Old Number 7. He knew that the flask was not filled with water, he could smell the Tennessee Sippin’ Whiskey from where he was sitting.

DeShane continued to look at Meadows with a gaze that mixed deference with surprise in the face of seeming insanity. “Chief, I assure you I had nothing to do with his death. As a matter of fact, I dearly wanted to speak with him about the Ancient Sumerian City of Eridu.” Chief Meadows just rolled his eyes at this.

“Are you telling me that you think that I killed a man with my bare hands, even though I was packing heat, and then walked out onto the highway with his body in my arms?” There was surprise in John’s voice, along with a touch of bitterness.

Were these people so stupid that they did not recognize a threat, one that lurked in their very midst? John thought to himself with building incredulity.

“Look DeShane, I don’t know what’s going on, but I know I’m going to find out before you leave this station, or head on over to the Minnesota state big house.” Meadows said as he walked around, switched on the sun lamp, and hovered over John. Even at 5’11”, the sight of him leaning over the archeologist should have been intimidating to the man.

Then Meadows began asking more questions. “What were you doing in that cemetery?”

John had to squint to keep from going blind from the sun lamp the Chief had turned on, to make him sweat. DeShane knew that if he told the Chief the truth he would, in all probability, be locked up in the Duluth state nut house.

“I have been told that there were some civil war era graves up there, and since I am in town investigating my friend’s death I figured that I would indulge in my civil war history hobby by collecting some more American Civil War era names.”

“Did you meet Delafield in that cemetery, to buy or sell something, and the deal headed south? We all know how you archeologists are nothing but tomb raiders.”

John just laughed at the insinuation. “At all times I adhere to the standards required by the international conventions for the protection of antiquities. As for the second part of your question, Professor Delafield was already dying when I found him.”

“Or is this because Delafield found out a secret of yours and was going to bleed you, until you fit him for a Chicago overcoat, by beating him to death?” At this John’s face had the look of utter incomprehension plastered across it.

“Look, I realize that when someone is trying to bleed you that bad blood will abound. Never-the-less, you have to realize something too: this is America, we do not follow vigilante justice, and we follow the law. As sure as God made little green apples, you should have reported his attempt to bleed you.”

It was then that realization suddenly dawned to John. The people who had killed Rick and Delafield had mandated secrecy... apparently they were very good at keeping secrets.

With a look that held a touch of fascinated bewilderment and, especially in his grin, the hint that he was not totally around the bend, John asked a question that infuriated Kenneth Meadows. “You have no idea what is going on, or who is behind all of these deaths and disappearances, do you?”


***


John had been bumping gums with the Chief of Police for several hours before they finally let him go. Insufficient evidence they had said. Although, John would have bet a sawbuck that Julian, the Dean of UCLA, had something to do with it.

Julian James had contacts within the FBI. Moreover, John was sure that ‘ole JJ’ had dropped a few hints about having a few G-Men show up to take over the investigation.

One thing John knew about small town police chiefs, they despised the thought of the Bureau getting in their way and taking over their investigations. However, as much as John smiled at the thought of the chief sweating over that possibility, it did nothing to help him figure out what was happening in this town.

Once John was released he had returned to the cemetery to retrieve the notebook Delafield had had in his pocket. Some sort of journal the man had used to keep track of his evidence.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 06, 2016, 09:49:53 AM
I am not a Lovecraft fan, but my son is.  This certainly has all the elements of that demonology, including the "deluded" local police.  I guess this story is going to be a bit of a romp.  We now have three sets of runes against evil, but I wonder if they will ever be used.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 06, 2016, 03:37:50 PM
@ A Nonny Moose, only time will tell...  ;) ;D


Cheers, Thor
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 06, 2016, 09:32:40 PM
Who knows what weevil erks in the soul of man ... Cthulhu knows ....
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 07, 2016, 12:37:10 PM
John started to go through Delafield’s notebook, trying to find some clue as to what was going on. Most of the data in this notebook was rambling and would take time for him to decipher it. One of the images Delafield had drawn was of a creature, the likes of which John had never before seen in his life.

It was humanoid in its basic appearance, but it had some sort of metallic-looking arms that ended with claws on its hands, large dragon-like wings, and a reptilian snout, not unlike a crocodile with six eyes. Its outline was done in crude pencil while the picture itself was inked in, in some sort of weird homage to obsidian as the color. Beneath the drawing was written the words: ‘The Dark Ones’.

John’s initial thoughts on this drawing were that the image was simply a figment of Professor Delafield’s fevered imagination. However, as much as he tried to dismiss it and look elsewhere, something about the creature depicted on the page forced him to continue looking.

It was the eyes of the monster that entranced him. John could feel himself becoming hypnotized as the thing, whatever it was, drew him into the page with its penetrating stare. Those eyes, they seemed so alive, so real…

And then John was no longer in his room. He seemed to be standing amongst a vast field of structures constructed with black stone. On each stone was etched a form of writing, of the kind he had been pondering over, just a few short hours ago, Sumerian Cuneiform, and they were all covered in dust and debris.

Somehow, John knew that he was standing in Eridu, looking through Delafield’s eyes. Seeing what the Professor had seen in 1895.

The standing stones, or stele, seemed to go on for miles; their writing was very strange, made no sense, and was disturbing in the extreme.

I must be dreaming, John told himself, this can’t be real. Yet even in this knowledge, the sheer beauty of the place engulfed him. John/Delafield began to walk slowly around the stele and their associated structures, being careful not to touch the writing on the surface, while he desperately tried to wake up.

Then John/Delafield saw it, the monster in the notebook and it could only be described as a truly diabolical creature. However, this time it was not a picture, but an enormous, and living, monstrosity.

John/Delafield was rooted to the ground in fear as he/they stared at its huge form, which seemed to tower above them, encased in what seemed to be glass. It’s ebon-colored, scaly skin, had a sheen that one would usually associate with obsidian, its thick, leathery wings and its crocodile-like head, were unmoving.

However, what John/Delafield heard was a disembodied voice emanate from the creature, as if it were being projected into his/their head, “We are the Dark Ones, serve us and live, oppose us and die.”

John/Delafield was still unable to run and the clawed, leathery hands of the monster began to wrap themselves around John/Delafield, all the while that demonic chant getting louder and louder until it felt like his/their head was about to explode.

John/Delafield was picked up off of the ground and brought up to the monster’s head. It looked at him/them with one of its evil red eyes and the fear became too much. John/Delafield began to scream hysterically, writhing uselessly in the grip of the creature.

As suddenly as he had been whisked away, John found himself back in his room, breathing heavily and sweating profusely. He was lying on the wooden floor and remained in a fetal position for an unknown amount of time, his mind needed time to process what he had just seen.

All the while, John stared into the darkness and reminisced on the terrors of the waking dream and the creature that he had seen, while also remembering the words of the creature: “We are the Dark Ones.”

Who, or what, are the Dark Ones? John thought in rising terror.

Suddenly John jumped to his feet and picked up the notebook, and just as suddenly he jumped backwards in fright, only barely managing to stifle a scream. John was certain that the image in the notebook had moved, although his rational mind had scolded him, and told him that the notion was ludicrous.

The scaled arms had seemed to extend out of the page towards his face. However, John was sure that he had tricked himself into believing that the picture was moving and it had done so only as a result of his exhaustion.

Real or not, John needed to steel himself, if he was to stop the portal from opening later this evening. If he did not, he was sure that he would flee this town, and never look back, allowing the evil to fully manifest itself, to the detriment of all of mankind.

John cautiously picked up the notebook once again. This time the picture remained inanimate. He continued on with reading the notebook, but most of it seemed to ramble on, not making much sense, until he came across the following: “The Ea-Su, they are our only hope, and they are here, in Two Harbors. I MUST FIND THEM!!
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 07, 2016, 05:27:24 PM
"Ea Su"  Koine "Gia Sou"  "thank you".  Hmmmm!
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 07, 2016, 08:10:53 PM
Ea-Su means Servants of Ea/Enki.

Enki was known as Ea to the Babylonians and Akkadians, which is why Ea is more known than Enki. By the time Babylon and Akkad arose, Eridu and Sumeria were nothing but legends to them.

Eridu, arguably the oldest city in the world, was founded around 5000 BC. This is calculated by how fast the Persian Gulf is silting up today.

Eridu, 120 miles from the current Persian Gulf was, when it was founded, on the Gulf coast.  :)


Cheers, Thor
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 08, 2016, 06:15:08 AM
Thanks.  The archaeology of the eastern Med has never been one of my great interests.

John.
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: Thorgrimm on April 08, 2016, 05:34:33 PM
I love studying about Sumeria because you hear all the time about Egypt, China, and India. However, I have never seen anything about the first civilization on this planet. A shame if you ask me. :(

Here is another small, but interesting factoid, the Sumerian language is not related to any other language found on this planet! It is completely unique and has never been replicated by any other culture, including the ones who replaced them.


Cheers, Thor
Title: Re: John DeShane & The Terror of Two Harbors
Post by: A Nonny Moose on April 09, 2016, 05:54:50 AM
Whatever floats your boat.  I have been mostly caught up in the Roman era leading up to the Imperium and somewhat past that.  The overlaps are interesting with respect to Greece and Egypt. 

Interesting that my pharmacist is a real live Egyptian from the Alexandria area who happens to be a Roman Catholic.  He dispenses the stuff that keeps me alive and I am sure I contribute a big chunk to his mortgage.  He is a rather interesting conversationalist.