Who's a pretty boy then?

Over the Edge
the Call of Cthulhu files

5 brave souls pit their cunning against an evil more ancient than time itself...

What happened before...
Episode I: The Haunting


Episode II: Pickman's Model

A Haunting aftermath
Having barely survived the undead horror in the cellar of the old Corbitt Mansion, Kevin West, antiquarian and ancient languages specialist and Carrie Amick, parapsychologist, decide to lay low for a while, to purge their souls of the nightmare that was The Haunting. Kevin leaves town to stay with his family. Returning to Boston, he finds his antiques shop burgled and boarded shut by the police. After filing a report he enters his shop, now in disrepair. Items are strewn about the place, some broken, though nothing appears missing. The only apparent clue left behind is one of the knives from his shop, which has been rammed through the mouth of a mask on the wall. Later, a dusty boot print is discovered on a mattress in the upstairs bedroom. He quickly deduces that the villains must have been looking for the Liber Ivonis, an ancient tome taken from the basement of a torn down chapel in the Boston's old center. Kevin spends most of the next weeks trying to get business going again with alternating success, even seeking to buy objects from fellow antiquarians. ..., an fellow antiquarian and old acquaintance of Kevin's decides to help him out. He also learns about the fate that has befallen Kevin. Meanwhile, Rod, an experienced archaeologist at Boston University, travels to the Middle East and makes some successful discoveries there. At about the same time, somewhere in New York, Michael Cray, up and coming painter of the bizarre, picks his nose. A lot. Michael has acquired some recognition for his depictions of seemingly ordinary scenes, which nevertheless somehow leave the observer feeling uncomfortable and cold.


Forbidden Tomes
Kevin becomes more and more involved in the Liber Ivonis. He finds it impossible to get into the cryptic, archaic and at times insane writings of the ancient tome. Fearing for his mental health, his friend, Carrie Amick, offers her help as parapsychologist. Later on even Juan becomes involved in Kevin's sanity shaking task. As a precaution photographs are made of the entire book to prevent its further decay. Kevin tries to make as accurate a translation as can be made by mere mortals. Carrie and Juan discuss the findings and tend to Kevin whose health is slowly deteriorating. Meanwhile, Rod reports significant archeological discoveries by his team in the Middle East. He expresses his disbelief at the stories told in forbidden tome; "What is all this talk about cosmic horrors and civilizations that predate mankind? Aren't we men of science?" Kevin, now almost entranced by the task of deciphering the ancient tome, finally completes his task. As the final pieces of this cosmic puzzle fall into place inside his mind Kevin cries out and closes the book in shock which causes it to fall apart even further. The other investigators gather over the catatonic Kevin in concern. He 'wakes' after several days, feeling weak and disoriented. He has trouble recounting what was read, but the emotional scar is very real...

Strange places
Among the finds in the tome are two maps, neither of them familiar to the investigators. A visit to the immense Boston Library reveals the first map to be of ancient Hyperborea, the ancient continent that was to become present day Greenland. The markings on the map don't seem to correlate with any present day settlings. The second map called 'Yuggoth' remains a mystery. Carrie has a feeling she has seen it before when she visited the Observatory in the foothills of the Apalachians north of Boston. When they visit they immediately recognize a mural painted on the inside of the dome: Yuggoth seems to have the same outline as the only recently discovered ninth planet, Pluto. But how could a book that was written thousands of years ago contain a map of the furthest planet in the solar system?

They decide to mount an expedition to Greenland. They contact Rod who has just arrived back from the MidEast. He had conducted some previous research and excavations on Greenland. But despite good efforts and preparation by the whole team the plan strands in international bureaucracy, as the Norwegian embassy refuses to allow access to Greenland on a short term. The investigators briefly consider an unauthorized expedition. Little do they know that a greater challenge awaits in the very city they live in...
But let us first turn our attention south, to New York, where a phone rings in a small artist's garret...

Old friends
Michael jumps at the sound of the telephone after reading a disturbing article in the local newspaper about a former artist friend of his, Nelson Blakely. On the phone is a disturbed and sobbing Penny Tilstrom, Blakely's fiancee, urgeing Michael to come over immediately. Michael arrives at the Tilstrom estate early on the morning of monday 1 september 1924.

Day 1
Penny is in tears and she urges to follow her to Nelson's bedroom. As she pulls back the curtain Michael is shocked at the sight of his former friend and colleague; clad in expensive blue silk pajamas, Nelson's face is bloated and darkened. His lips are swollen and black and his tongue protrudes from his mouth. His eyes are closed and his hands are purplish with blackened finger nails. "Nelson, look who has come to visit all the way from New York", Penny says hopefully, but there's no response. When Michael mentions Blakely's condition she looks a bit surprised, then admits that he has gained some weight...
Michael goes to investigate Nelson's studio. It's small, sparsely furnished, with a single couch and chair. Rolls of canvas, paint and brushes lay about the place. In the center of the room stands a large covered painting. Pulling back the cover, he reveals an unfinished painting of an eery lake surrounded by broken pillars and grey skies. It gives him the creeps. He returns to the Tillstrom estate where he calls on his friends to come and assist him.

Day 2
The group is now gathered in Boston. Together they pay another visit to Nelson's garret. On the couch they find strange traces of what appears to be salt water and seaweed. It's almost like Nelson drowned on his couch, but that's absurd, right? They take samples and bring them to the University's chemistry faculty for research. Half under the couch they find a small golden Ankh, which Nelson appears to have been holding.

Michael calls the police station. He is informed that Detective Ehrling who was in charge of the investigation of mr. Blakely's demise is out of town for a two week vacation. Michael decides not to press the issue.

The examining doctor at a nearby hospital, Dr. Abraham Forrest, tells Michael of his findings, but refuses any attempts by Michael to gets Nelson rehospitalised, considering Nelson to be beyond help. He tried to convince his fiancee of this, but to no avail. Dr. Forrest is surprised to hear that Nelson was found on his couch at home, having assumed him to be a regular drowning victim; upon arrival at the emergency room his lungs were found to be filled with water. He succeeded in getting his respiration going again, but fears he has suffered irreversible brain damage.

Penny's sanity is clearly deteriorating by the day. The investigators decide it to be better to keep her away from Nelson as much as possible. Carrie tries to treat her with psycho therapy. The investigators find an Ankh under Nelsons couch. They stay a night with Nelson in his bedroom, putting the Ankh on Nelson's still comatose body for reasons that are unclear to me at this time. During the night Nelson has fits in which he violently coughs up slime. The slime and stench make it almost unbearable for the investigators to remain in the room. When dawn breaks Nelson has only deteriorated. Michael does his best to wipe all the goo from Nelson and his bed.

Day 3
Early next day the investigators, some of whom are now staying over at Nelson's house, receive a phone call from Nelson's landlord. That night there has been a break in in Nelson's garret. The investigators decide to go and investigate before the cleaners arrive. The first thing they notice is upon entering the building is a pugnant fishy smell (and the downstairs neighbours who are complaining loudly about it).

The skylight has been broken. Upon inspection strange 'foot prints' are found. Michael takes photos and prints. When they take these to the biology faculty of Boston University, they are met with scepticism and derision. A passing professor laughingly remarks that these prints must have been made by giant bipedal frogs.

The investigators sort through the paperwork that was found in several boxes in Nelson's garret. Amongst this they find his correspondence with other artists and receipts of the paintings Nelson sold, and was so desperate to get back. The investigators decide to pay one of the people on the receipts a visit, a certain Evelyn Bankcroft who bought the painting 'R'lyeh at Dawn'. The investigators go round her house and are in for quite a surpise: Evelyn is a fruitcake and so are the people surrounding her, apparantly an occult group of some sort. Evelyn herself is a woman in her mid-fifties who carries a foot-long cigarette holder and wears her long silver hair swept up in a bizarre manner. Despite her best efforts to hide it she seems edgy. There's a man wearing a long cape and boots who speaks in (misquoted) Shakespeare, a studious looking man called Zeus who seems engrossed in his books and looks around nervously at Evelyn when any one of the investigators tries to make conversation with him, while a fat woman called Sheila dressed in black silk and carrying a white persian cat keeps harassing Kevin with unwanted intimacy. To top it off, there's Jerry, a powerfully built man with a shaven head and covered in vulgar tattoos, who never speaks, but occasionally grins widely revealing three gold teeth. Carrie notices a small Ankh-shaped earring in his ear. Evelyn proudly shows the painting standing in the living, though she seems somewhat frightened of it.
The painting ' R'lyeh at Dawn ' shows a sea under a bright blue sky. In the foreground is the edge of a large canoe, the perspective is that of a person aboard it. On the horizon looms a terrible black island, oozing slime and seawater as if it had just risen from the deep. In the center of it is a single monolithic structure, its planes and angles defying human description. A dark opening can be seen in one of its walls. Evelyn won't sell it, but she seems very interested in the whereabouts of the other paintings.

They have more luck in finding a scholar to research the samples they have collected from the couch on which Nelson was found. A young chemistry major is eager to help them in their research. The green material turns out to be ordinary seaweed. The dried up salt like substance found where Nelson's head was on the couch turns out to be a surprise. It does appear to be sea salt, but not from the Atlantic. In fact, further investigation of the substance reveals evidence of traces of elements unknown on earth...

They hire a bloodhound from the local hunter's club. The hunter is somewhat reluctant when he realises what he's gotten himself into, but the pay is good. Following the trail from Nelson's garret leads them through the broken skylight and onto the roof, scaring away a flock of seagulls that were attracted by what seems like traces of fish slime. The trail leads down the fire ladder to the narrow streets below and finally to a stormdrain that empties via an impressive sewer system onto the nearby Atlantic. The bars of the grate have been bent out of shape long ago. Whatever came through it must have been no more than human sized...

The investigators receive a large sum of money from Penny after they convince her they need to buy back Nelson's painting to cure him. They obtain the painting Elder Yuggoth from an occultist called Adrian Stimson. He tells them how he once entered the painting in his dreams after self hypnosis, but he got scared and left. Later he produces a english translation of the Book of Eibon given to him by Nelson and gives it to the investigators. Good riddance. In it they discover new spells, as well as some interesting new text.

Day 4
During the late evening and early night the investigators try several times to enter the painting of the nameless lake. Lying down on a sofa near the painting first Juan, then Michael is hypnotised by Carrie.... Through hypnosis they try to enter the painting dreaming, but something seems incomplete, as if the world they try to enter is yet unfinished. They discover that they can 'take' some items into this other world, but not the other way around.

Penny's mental health deteriorates. She now claims that she hears thing moving around the house at night. Upon inspection of the grounds the investigators come upon a body literally torn to pieces. The strange Victorian costume identifies them as the remains of one of Evelyn Bancroft's occult sect. The whole scene is accompanied by pieces of slime and again that horrible fish smell.

A Deep OneThat night they set up torches and traps. Carrie stakes out the street from the car. Both Kevin and Michael eventually succumb to sleep in the kitchen. After several hours a small group of glistening humanoid creatures are seen forcing the east fence. They enter the Tilstrom property. Juan and Carrie start blasting away at the slow moving creatures. One of them starts a horrible chant. Juan feels the hairs on the back of his neck rise, but nothing further seems to happen. Several of the giant amphibians have reached the front doors and tear them off there hinges with ease. Michael and Kevin who were just moving towards the door from inside are now suddenly faced with the intruders up close, and Michael goes into shock. Kevin emerging behind him kills the last one with an expert shot that barely misses Michael. They find a trap with a torn off foot and follow the slimy trail to a nearby stormdrain. The last one has disappeared. They return to the Tilstrom estate and hide the disgusting smelling bodies in the shed.

Police who have been alarmed by the fires and shooting arrive at the scene. They demand to know what's going on and ask to see miss Tilstrom. Miss Tilstrom however, has been drugged to calm her nerves. The police have no search warrant and are sent off the property by Juan. But the investigators will have to come up with a letter from miss Tilstrom the next day. Police cars are regularly seen patrolling nearby that night.

Nelson continues his gross transformation. By now he must weigh over 600 pounds. Heads with razor sharp teeth seems to move under his skin, emerging to eat of the surrounding blackened meat of Nelson that simply seems to grow back. The investigators come very close to killing the Nelson-thing, but finally decide against it.

The pieces of the puzzle are finally falling into place. Kevin and Juan come dangerously close to the truth about Nelson. They suspect that part of Nelson entered the very world he painted and is somehow still there, unable to return while his former body goes through a terrible transformation.

Day 5
More time passes, and the Blakely-thing continues it's malicious growth. Penny's condition is bad but stable.

Through hypnosis Michael enters the painting 'Fate'. Pulling back the curtains he faces a bed full of rotting corpses, twisting and falling apart. Behind the stone door is a large body of water in which he can see faint silouettes moving.

A GhoulNext, they enter the graveyard scene from New York at dusk. The ghouls turn to attack, but hold back as they see the Ankh. In their strange half-human like voices they invite them to follow them to Pickman, Blakely's one time mentor. The journey takes the investigators straight into a long tunnel, leading ever deeper from one of the graves.

After long travels through the dire tunnels they look out over a world of greyness. Standing on a plateau they see the underworld; a vast range of colorless mountains dotted by ghoul burrows under a dark overcast sky that seems to burn. In the distance is a large rift filled with bones.

Pickman tells them how when he last saw Nelson, he was heading for the sterile lake, much against his mentor's advice. He believes Nelson has fallen victim to an evil entitity known as Ghadamon that has lain at the bottom of the lake waiting for a dreamer to come along, a vessel to pass into the waking world. To reach Nelson they will have to pass the minions of Ghadamon residing in the same lake. Across the rift a long dead sorceress holds the secret to protect one from the minions.

The tunnel to the otherside of the rift seems endless. The dreamers travel for days before they reach the other side. There they see a vast cemetery of crumbling tombstones stretching for miles in all directions. In the center, like an island in the silvery mist, is a low hill. On top of it stands the sorceress' tomb. Cautiously they cross the cemetery and enter the tomb. It contains a block off obsidian with a glass topped coffin containing the sorceress'corpse. She is dressed in rotting rags. Her face is a ruin with empty eye sockets and she has a tail, long claws and hooves. Above the coffin is a shelf holding the sorceress' grimoire. But as one of them tries to take it the sorceress 'awakens', smashing a clawed hand through the glass straight at the throat. Clutching the tome the investigators make a mad dash away from the hill. As the sorceress' voice echoes across the graveyard, ancient corpses start to rise all around, many clearly not human. Kevin is pulled down by a multitude of corpses and suffers a nightmare effect. He awakens screaming in Boston. Rod manages to make it to the southern end of the graveyard, safe from the clutching undead.

Translation of the tome poses no problem for Rod as it is written in dream symbols. Besides many spells and rituals, it contains the information they need; to pass the minions of Ghadamon they need to find and eat a certain type of mushroom from the Fungus Forest, not far to the south. The mushroom is hard to distuinguish from a poisonous variety however. Rod's biology knowledge is limited, and he decides not to risk it.

Meanwhile in the waking world things are heating up. Feeling that Nelson is now beyond help, the investigators decide to move him away from the house in a truck, and dispose of him, although the method is unclear. Dodging pseudopods they drag the Blakely-thing to the truck, bed and all. At the gates of the estate a strange mist has formed. Then they hear the croaking voices of Deep Ones coming up the driveway. Frantically they force the Blakely-thing in the back of the truck and jump behind the wheel. Carrie steers the truck straight through the mist, heavily colliding with the Deep Ones. But she keeps going. The truck bumps around, hitting bushes and smashing part of the fountain, but they make it to the street. The car doesn't handle well now and at a safe distance they stop to check on it only to discover that they have lost Ghadamon. Weapons drawn they run back to the compound to find Ghadamon slowly dragging himself west towards the ocean. He is guarded by the Deep Ones. A battle ensues in which finally all the fish-being are killed, but not before Ghadamon has managed to drag Rod towards his gaping maws. The others desperately try to free him, risking their own lives many times, but to no avail and Rod is killed. Carrie runs to the garage and gets as much petrol as she can find. Pooring it over Ghadamon they set fire to it. Uneartly howls of anguish escape its multiple maws and it releases its victim as it continues to burn. The investigators stand back, unsure what to do for a moment, when suddenly one of them sees an enormous winged shape coming from the direction of the ocean. It towers over the buildings as it lumbers in their direction. Mad with fright, Juan screams and runs into the house to hide in the basement. The investigators have had enough horror and decide to flee. Michael runs into the house looking for Juan, but Juan doesn't want to be found. He runs back and with screaching tires three investigators drive away into the night. In the house, Juan can now feel the tremors caused by the approaching colossus and passes out...

The investigators hide out for a nervous and restless night. Have they slain the entity that is Ghadamon? What kind of nightmare came from the ocean? And what happened to Juan?

The headline in the newspapers the next day curiously reads 'Tornado hits Beacon Hill district'...