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 CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'

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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:56 am



Frankie looked down over the edge of the suspended bridge.
"Yeah, that's a hell of a drop..."

Frankie put his pistol back in his waistband and prepared to cross the planked bridge.
"So all together then or one at a time?" Frankie asked.

As soon as Frankie spoke this he wanted to take it back, the odd sounds in this underground world were wearing on his resolve and was eager to cross the bridge quickly.

"All together then..." The Irishman said as he followed right behind Callum. The bridge moved as they stepped on to it but it seemed stout enough.

"Just who are these geezers that 'tend' to a place like this? Are we talkin' about religious zealot types Callum? You know what I mean Stone Masons or Secret societies and the like."

Frankie was trying not to look down but he wanted to make sure each step was a steady one, he couldn't help but notice the distance down to the river below.

"Back home we would make good use of a place like this, sure enough a place like this could hide a lot of inventory..."
Frankie was watching his feet as he slowly moved forward.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:32 pm



The one thing that Callum wasn't, was afraid of heights. He skipped ahead of Frankie when the Irishman's weight was on the bridge and proved right then and there that it could support them. While the bridge was old, he quickly pointed out that there had been recent repairs done and that many of the chains that supported it, had been replaced by stainless steel ones over the years.

"I've been considering who would tend a place like this." Callum replied, "Honestly, I haven't the foggiest, but I have a theory that the three people who were killed in that warehouse were not part of this cult. I mean, this place should be on high alert, wouldn't ye think? Nah, I believe those three unfortunate bastards were using the power of this place for their own doin' and I doubt they even knew this was here, else the fools would have gone to the source and made sure what ever they called from the other side didn't up and bite them in the arse."

They were mid-way along the bridge now and it was that point that something caught Callum's eye, actually it couldn't really couldn't missed. Above them on the cavern ceiling, engraved in a silver placard was the Masonic symbol.

"Well I'll be damned!" Exclaimed Callum, "Those bloody bastards are everywhere. Well you called it, Frankie, it seems the Masons do have a hand in this, but to what extent is the real question."

Callum reached up and ran his hand along the placard just to satisfy his curiousity, but no hidden doors opened or secret clues revealed when he pressed it. Something unrelated did happen, however, a shadow moved across the passage on the opposite end of the bridge, something that didn't appear human.

"Jesus! Did ya see that, Frankie?" Gasped Callum.

Whatever it was it vanished down the corridor that they were headed towards. It might have been inhuman or it might just have been a regular shadow enhanced by their imaginations, but either way there something or someone down there.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:04 pm



Frankie did see the shadow move in the corridor ahead of he and Callum. The shadow seemed to slither, it did not move like a man or woman.

Frankie retrieved his gun from his waistband, he felt a bit more secure with it in his hand. Frankie moved a little faster now across the bridge, he was focused on the corridor at the end of the bridge now.

" I'm not sure what I saw Callum...I swear I saw something move in the passage ahead, but the way it moved was strange."

Frankie watched for the shape to move a second time as he and Callum came the rest of the way on the bridge. Frankie held his lantern out in front of him as he stepped off the last plank.

"'Ere goes nuthin then..."

Frankie drew in a breath and walked with the Professor into the corridor, the lantern stretched the men's shadows across the earthy walls making them dance twist grotesquely as they moved into the darkness.

"The air sure is heavy down here Callum, none too fresh I say..."

Frankie chattered nervously.

"What do you suppose came this way? A big rat?"
Frankie laughed at his own joke.

There were strange noises ahead, subtle, quiet noises. Something was just down the corridor.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:37 am



The passage had a noticeable slope to it, they were definitely journeying deeper into the earth. Callum smiled at Frankie's attempt to break the tension but he just couldn't convince himself that what they saw was the shadow of a large rat. The shadow, might have been a man and so that's what Callum chose to believe, other than the alternative which would completely unnerve him.

The ground beneath their feet was stoney and as they left no tracks, there was no sign of whatever cast the shadow either. Eventually the ground seemed to level out and they could feel a cool breeze behind them.

"The passage must open up into a larger area up ahead, Frankie." Noted Callum, "The air is being drawn into it."

Sure enough the corridor ended at an archway and before them their lantern light spread out into a vast chamber. It was so large in fact that they could not see the walls, save the one they had emerged and the roof of the cavern was beyond the range of their lantern light as well. To satisfy his curiousity then, Callum took out his torch and shone it about them. The beam touched upon the walls and ceiling, but the were so far away that little details could be discerned.

The one thing that both men did notice was that the floor was comprised of large flat stones. Each square grey rock was roughly six by six feet and the enormous tiles seemed to span the entire cavern. Then, Callum's light beam, struck something that might have been fifty or so paces away from them. A cylindrical pillar of stacked stones that seemed to touch the ceiling of the cavern. "Man made." stated Callum.

The column was something that they could make for and so Callum cautiously walked out into the giant chamber tentatively placing one foot before another. "I think I can make out a door at the bottom of it." said Callum, holding his lantern in one hand and his torch in the other, keeping the beam of light trained on their destination.

They were about mid-way between the archway through which they had entered and the large stone pillar, when something hissed in the darkness. Callum froze and spun around, searching the blackness with his torch, but it was impossible to tell where the sound originated from within the natural auditorium.

"Christ, Frankie!" Exclaimed Callum in a hushed tone, "I dunna think that was a rat!"
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:45 pm

Elsewhere, in Central America....



The doctors were really nice. Or at least they tried to be. Even the nurses and orderlies tried to be nice to her, but Beatrice Chadwick was not really cooperating much. If at all. She wasn’t one to throw fits like she did in the airport that got her here in the first place, but she was rather withdrawn and silent most of the time. When she DID engage in conversation it was to inquire rather the person believed in things of otherworldly existence. This would always bring sympathetic looks and head shakes her direction.

Was it so hard to believe? That things….horrid, putrid things existed just beyond out grasp? In another dimension? That were just WAITING to cross over and reek havoc upon this world? And why did it want her to stop? That’s what didn’t make sense to her. If she was on the edge of discovering something that would aid these….these…THINGS…why did it command her to stop?

Bea would have been satisfied if she were still living in blissful ignorance instead of knowing what lie just on the other side of reality. And there was no doubt what she experienced was real. She could still feel the awful pain of the insects that bit and stung her legs. Even now, as she sat on her cot looking out the iron caged window, she thought how unfortunate these people were as they moved about in their daily lives. It was all going to come to an end. They were doomed.

Sadness engulfed her and Bea seemed to sleep more often than not. When she was awake, she would be visited by the doctors who were trying to evaluate her only to meet a wall of silence. With no immediate family to notify about her….predicament, her investors had been called to see if they could reach her. There were four predominant investors and one minor contributor. All of them came to see her within the first few weeks and of all of the, it was the minor investor that seemed to reach her the most. At least she looked at him when he mentioned perhaps a change of scenery was needed.

The man, a middle aged, bald man of nondescript features, except for his eyes, had been the only one truly concerned of her well being and not the fact he had lost money he dropped in a black hole. He patted her hand as he talked to her with a genuine smile on his kind features.



“The jungle of Guatemala was no place for you to be, my dear. Too many things out there that can hurt you. Why, if the indigenous wildlife and insects aren’t enough there’s more than one plant that can cause hallucinogenic tendencies of it isn’t administered correctly. Not to mention you aren’t used to it and even small quantities could affect you badly. Why…it wouldn’t surprise me if the locals tried to give you something to help you relax and in turn it took a turn for the worse. I wonder if they did a tox screen on you when you first came in and if they looked for the right thing?”

Beatrice blinked and actually spoke to him.

”I….I think they took a blood sample…but….I can’t recall.”

The man waved his hand dismissively and gave her another reassuring pat on her hand.

“Bah…..it’s too late now to try and get them to do another. They have most likely disposed of the sample. No worries. We’ll get you out of here in a few short weeks. It will take that long to get through all the paperwork.”

He leaned in a little closer then and locked gazes with Bea.

“In the meantime, if I were you, I’d cooperate and agree to just about everything so they don’t see any reason to hold you any longer. You’ve been here long enough.”

Another pat to her hand and a wink and he leaned back.

“I was thinking you would be the perfect person to take over the dig I started in Egypt. Would you like to go back to the Home of the Pharaohs, dear?”

Bea blinked again and this time nodded as well. It had been a few years since she had been to Egypt. She had a special place for that country in her heart. It was the place she first discovered ancient artifacts that proved civilization had order prior to the Pharaoh’s dynasty.

”Y-yes…..I would love to go back there. You….You can arrange that? Really?”

The man chuckled brightly and nodded then stood up.

“Of course I can. It’s just a matter of signing the right documents. Now….you shape up and we’ll get you shipped out of here soon.”
For the first time since she arrived in this place, Bea felt as though there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it wasn’t a freight train filled with pustule filled, oozing creatures.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:41 pm

Still elsewhere, an introduction

She had two suitcases. She had an economy class ticket on the cheapest flight she could find to Cairo—Turkish Air, with a three hour layover in Istanbul.

Her father gave her a kiss on the cheek, a worried look in his eye. “This isn’t for some boy, is it?” he asked, a bit belatedly. She gave him a look.

Dad, please. I just…want to see the world,” she lied. He looked only a little relieved.

Well, if you need to come home you call me,” he handed her a pre-paid phone card, “And I’ll find a way to get you here.

I have plenty of money saved,” she protested, tucking the card into her pocket.
"Just in case.

Just in case, then.” He nodded, satisfied, and slammed the trunk of the car closed. She shivered in the early morning air.

You have your ticket?

Yes.

Your passport?

Yes.

Your wallet?

Dad, I’ve been planning this for months, I promise I have everything I need.

Of course, of course. Well,” he kicked at the ground awkwardly. “I suppose you’d better call your mother first thing when you land, otherwise she’ll be callin’ me.”

I’ll call both of you.

Have a safe flight Maddie.

She was far too nervous to dwell on goodbyes, and the line to the baggage check was unbearably long. It’s five in the morning, she thought bitterly, why are all these people awake?
Eventually she had checked her bags, found her gate, had a good strong coffee and boarded the plane. After the plane had stopped gaining elevation, she pulled out the journal, tilting it so the child in the seat next to her couldn’t read it. It wasn’t exactly kid-friendly material.
She flipped to the middle of the book, only a few pages from where Uncle Aaron’s entries ended.

I was lucky they had the room, she re-read, second floor, facing the alley. I turned the lights off early, and kept the window cracked. They came at midnight, perhaps thinking themselves witches creatures. I peered over the window ledge, and could see five figures below. They wore hoods; two wore some kind of cloak, like it was Halloween. They spoke Russian, or at least some Russian. Sometimes I couldn’t understand them, which either means I’m getting rusty or they were mumbling. I prefer to think it’s the latter.
They talked about the murder—they mean the one at the docks, I know it. Something had gotten out of hand. One of them wanted to contact “the Egyptian Mother”, wouldn’t stop talking about it. They conversed then in Arabic—or something close; the argument was heated and followed by a long pause. When they spoke again they spoke in English, I think they are going to Egypt. I don’t know when. They began to speak of Saturday, saying they’ll have a chance to make up for it. They are going to make human sacrifice, maybe more. To what god I don’t know, they spoke as though he would be there personally. They switched to Arabic, I don’t know where they’re meeting. I wrote down the phonetics. I don’t think it’s safe to leave tonight, but as soon as the sun rises I’m reporting this to Officer Marks.


Madelin had looked up the murder he spoke of—disturbed by the number of ‘dock murders’ she had to narrow it down from. It took place on the docks themselves, not just surrounding. A girl was found disemboweled and eyeless, spread eagled at the very edge of the very last dock. Thinking of it made her shudder.
The next entry was short:

Marks doesn’t believe me. God help me, I’ve got to stop them myself.

And then

I followed blue eyes, but he knew it. They took me down. They showed it to me. I can not sleep. They laughed.
They took me home, they know where I live. They don’t know I understand them when they speak Russian. They are going to come back for me. They are going to trail me until it is time. I have two days to outsmart them.

If I can’t here is what I know: they have other cults-in St Petersburg, in Peru, in Nepal, perhaps more. The one they speak of most is Cairo—they speak of it like it is a spiritual center, a Jerusalem. They leave for Cairo next month. I think they are 7 in total number, though my count may be wrong. I never see more than 5 together at a time.

I cannot sleep, I see it every time I close my eyes. It knows that I think of it, it feeds and perpetuates my fears… I fear it will come at me from the darkness. I feel like a child. I have turned on all the lights. I wonder if Marks will help me now. I wonder if I’ll be safe in an institution
.


What did you see Uncle Aaron?” she murmured, folding the book in her lap before the entry became too depressing. The child looked up at her, and she reached for her headphones before it could make conversation.

The plane landed, she transferred to another, hoping her bags did as well, clutching the journal to her chest so she couldn’t lose it. She slept on the second flight, waking to the sound of the wheels descending. As the tiny buildings of Cairo zoomed in she had to smile—Madelin Harte, in Egypt.

Both suitcases had made it. Thanking the temperamental airport gods, she rolled out to a taxi and made her way to her hotel. She had a small list of contacts, businesses mostly, to speak with, and was eager to start. First though, she would need to find a more permanent place to stay.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:17 pm



Something hissed in the gloom near Callum and Frankie. The sickening sound was everywhere and nowhere, a hissing followed by a sort of gutteral groan.

"What in bloody hell IS that Callum?" Frankie barked. The Irishman had a death grip on his pistol, his hands were beginning to sweat.

Just beyond the two men a foul and foreign thing laid in the dirt and darkness. The form of a partially formed snake person writhed and whimpered still covered by a slick and slimy membrane as if it had just been birthed. In truth it had, it had been spat from another world and into ours. It was forming well having survived the journey and soon it would possess the strength to burst from the membrane and move about with more purpose. It was a good sized creature, longer than a full grown man and soon it would have it wits about it, soon it would be free.

Frankie stuck close to Callum as they moved forward cautiously, the hissing sound echoed around the chamber. They were through the archway now, and there were strange tracks in the soil on the floor. They looked to be drag marks, they were good sized and they were moist.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:28 am



Callum was sprinting as fast as his legs could carry him. He was spurred on by the thing that writhed in the darkness, but also by the fact that somewhere their lurked another one of the creatures, more complete — more deadly. There had to be another, since the victim in the warehouse above them had been killed weeks ago and the creature they passed had yet to emerge from it's otherworldly cocoon. That was why the sounds seemed to echoe about them strangely. There was more than one!

"Just keep runnin' Frankie!" Breathlessly screamed the Scotsman almost slipping on the mucous underfoot.

They could see the stone spire clearly now by the light of their lanterns and could indeed see a doorway which was much larger than they first anticipated, in fact it was a portcullis. The iron door was not fully closed, it hung open, leaving a two foot opening between the tips of the iron spikes at the bottom and the depressions within the floor that they sunk into.

Callum couldn't even begin to date the structure, it had to be ancient but was in surprisingly good repair. The massive tower seemed to be the center of the giant chamber and it rose all the way up and touched the ceiling. He wished he could take the time to truly appreciate it, but as they neared the partially open gate there was a loud squeal from behind them followed by the sound of slithering tendrils slopping against the stone.

"Don't look back. Don't look back..." Callum repeated to himself as he focused on the portcullis. Unfortunately as the sound increased he threw his head round and saw three huge snake like tentacles, writhing along the floor behind them, supporting the dark slimy form of humanoid torso with a large bulbous head. Where its eyes should have been were small tentacles tasting the air, at the center was a large mouth capable of devouring a full sized turkey in one bite. The sight of it sent a paralyzing fear through Callum's body and as his legs turned to rubber and he began fall, dove and slid across the floor just missing the spikes as he passed under them and into the base of the tower, bare accept for an ascending spiral staircase.

The thing struck the barred gate and as it was too large to pass under it, thrust it's deformed arms beneath it and tried to lift it high. The gate, moved and there was the sound of grinding gears and rattling chains as the counter measures began to roll.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:18 pm



Frankie was just behind Calllum as the slimy horror lunged at them. Frankie's black jacket tore as he slid under the spiked gate. The snake-thing was too large to follow them, it's wet tentacles slapped the floor as it stretched in an attempt to grab at the two men.

Frankie would never forget the creature, it was humanoid but not a man, it's arms and legs were like a snake's tail and it's head...well best not to give it too much thought. Frankie fired at the thing as he and Callum moved quickly away from the gate. If the bullet's hit their mark the beast did not show it, it continued to try to push it's mucous covered girth beneath the gate.

Mechanical sounds were echoing around the two men as ancient security devices fought cobwebs and rust to spring to life. The iron gateway was slowly coming down, it pushed against the snake thing as it closed. The creature retreated and slithered back on the far side of the gate. Hand forged iron cogs and gears turned and groaned in the walls around Frankie and Callum. They had a bit of luck in getting ahead of the snake thing, but the mechanical sounds were a sign of more danger to come.

"What is that sound Callum? What's next?!" Frankie gasped, sweat dripping from his brow.

The look on the Irishman's face said it all, if Callum had any idea what was coming next now was a good time to speak up.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:00 pm


A weathered staircase spiraled its way upward along the inside of the ancient tower, ascending into blackness beyond the light of the men's lanterns. On the first few, sat Callum, hugging his legs against his chest in a most uncharacteristic position. His head was burrowed into his knees as he gripped his legs tightly to steady them as his remaining adrenaline vibrated through them.

He raised his head toward a sickening flapping sound emanating from the portcullis and spied it's source. Flipping about like a fish out of water, a piece of the creature's tentacle writhed about before the heavy iron gate. It must have gotten hooked around one of the spikes then severed by the weight of the iron gate as it sunk into the floor.

Callum watched the remnant jumping about in the shadows. It's black form wiggled with it's remaining life, like a wisp of smoke and as he watched the thing in the dark that was what it became. The severed tentacle faded into the air, disintegrating before their eyes leaving no trace that it was ever there. In fact, as it vanished the Scotsman began to question it's existence. Was it the tentacle of some nightmarish monster or a fish he had seen on the floor? What was more probable?

It became clear to the professor that his mind was attempting to rationalize what he had just witnessed and like any sane man it searched for what it could understand. His own logic was already making him forget. That was the way of the Mythos and those that remembered. Those that could make sense of it, lost a little bit of themselves every time. He would, however, not let himself forget. Even though already his mind had replaced the horrid images of the creature with the scene of a collapsing wall rolling toward them, he would remember that something chased them in the darkness. Something from the other world.

Frankie's voice echoed through the tower it's sound bringing Callum back to reality. Did he remember every detail? The professor would have to inquire later, but for now there was the more pressing matter of following the only route presented to them. The stairway.

Callum grabbed his lantern and stood up. He shone it toward the sealed portcullis but there was nothing there, if in fact there ever was. Much of the ordeal had now been repressed by his psyche and refreshed, the professor looked about them, analyzing their surroundings.

He walked over to a lever in the wall and examined it in the lantern light. There was a hand print made in the thick dust that covered it.

"Apparently, we are not alone, Frankie, and I dunna believe they were trying to help. The gate's descent was halted by a malfunction allowing us to slip under just in time, before..."

Callum's words trailed off as he realized that he was no longer sure what exactly happened, only that they were running for their lives for some reason.

"Well, I do believe our choice has been made for us." Callum said, gesturing to the stairway with his lantern.

The winding staircase had no bannister, it was sheer drop from its edge and there was no telling how tall the tower was. The men could estimate that they were probably fifty meters underground but there was no telling where the staircase would take them. For all they knew the tower could take them inside a hill or maybe even another building. It was a radical idea, but one that made sense to Callum.

"This may sound strange, but I believe that this ancient tower might just rise above the ground, but its hidden. Disguised by something else. An old building perhaps? The Masons are very good at disguising their secrets."

Callum looked over at Frankie, "Shall we?"

The noise of the grinding gears had stopped and the only sound was the shuffling of the men's feet across stone floor and that of an eerie wind stirring through the tower.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:47 am



"Sure enough Callum."

Frankie was smiling again, now that he was was secure in the knowledge that the snake-thing would not be following them the Irishman was a lot more relaxed. Frankie walked up the winding stairs, there was no railing on the outside of the stairs, just a straight drop to the stone below.

Frankie slid the magazine from his pistol, it was half empty only 6 or so bullets remained. Frankie clicked it back into the weapon and slipped the gun back into the front of his trousers.

"I'm beginning to feel like Alice gone down the rabbit hole Callum, I dare say I am no longer overly concerned about mad Russians and a few lost Quid, what with snake monsters and deadly falls from ancient stone stairs and all..."

Where did this strange tower lead to? Frankie hoped it was back to some place familiar, the Irishman had a feeling that he and Callum were not just traveling through New York's underground, the more they walked on the further away from the familiar world Frankie felt.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:11 am


Snake monsters? Frankie's words echoed through his mind and Callum realized that something had indeed chased them and he had already repressed the memories. It made sense. He saw the world through the eyes of an academic. Everything was analyzed and categorized, but Frankie was a free spirit. A man who took things at face value, thus he comprehended and remembered the danger that had befallen them, while Callum's mind simply could not retain what could not and should not be explained.

"This is a spectacular find, Frankie." Said Callum, "Ye should feel privileged. Very few people 'ave ever laid an eye on such a place. Maybe we may yet find somethin' to make up fer ye losses."

Callum dared to take a look over the edge of the stairway. They were high enough now that the lantern light could not penetrate the darkness to the floor below and it was as if they were climbing round a bottomless pit. He quickly moved back to the wall and continued to climb with his back tightly against it.

"Thank, God these stairs are sturdy enough." Mentioned the professor as he kept pace with Frankie's cautious and balanced gate.

They made another revolution, and now Callum was sure beyond any doubt that they had ascended well beyond the distance they had previously descended. Holding his lantern above high above his head he strained his eyes against the blackness above trying to make out if there was any end to the tower and after a few more steps they saw it. Three revolutions above them was a landing and something else suspended beside it.

Climbing higher, they could make out the object. It appeared to be an a flat sheet of iron cut into the shape of a man and when they were finally above it and in line with the landing, they could see that it had iron shackles to bind a person's arms and legs. It was obviously meant to retrain a body and the chain that it was suspended by disappeared through hole in the tower's ceiling.

Callum didn't want to guess what the device was used for or what the victims had been lowered down to, but even more frightening is that their lights caught the shimmer of fresh blood upon the metal. It had been recently used!

"Com 'on, Frankie. Let's get the hell outta here." Said Callum urging Frankie to keep moving.

Across the landing near the wall was another stairway, but this one was only a few meters tall and ended at a door in the ceiling. A door which was open and emanating through it was a repeating sound like the squeak of rotating wheel.

Callum did not go up the stairs until Frankie motioned for him to follow, then together they entered the room at the top of the tower. There were no exits that could be seen and around the room were old fashioned looking lights.

"What's this then?" Said Callum as he pressed a switch.

The lights came on, so obviously there was a power source somewhere. The fixtures cast a dull glow which was adequate to see by and there mounted above them in the center of the room was a gas powered winch that lowered and raised the iron rack below. What really caught their eye, though was the large disk in the center of the room that was slowly rotating. It had a hole in the middle for the chain to pass through and as it continued to spin there was no sound of a motor, just a persistent squeak of an axle. It had several symbols upon it, which were unmistakably Egyptian hieroglyphics, Frankie even recognized one as an image of Anubis.

On the opposite side of the room from the stairway leading up to it was a very old stone podium and upon it an open book. Just in front of the podium, only a foot away from the large, table sized disc was a small altar and upon it was a bronze bowl filled with herbs and around it were a few small bronze statuettes of Egyptian gods and the disgusting mummified remains of a dog and cat.

Callum didn't hesitate to the approach the podium, his intrigue overriding his fear and better judgement. Half way round the spinning wheel, he took note of an ornate pentacle of some kind engraved into the the floor in bronze. He passed by it concentrating on reaching the book and that's when he and Frankie both heard the distant sounds of voices.

"Shit!" Exclaimed Callum.

The voices were echoing through the tower and seemed to be about midway up, which meant they had a little more than ten minutes before they reached the top. Calderwood, however, continued on to the book. He couldn't explain it to Frankie but he had a theory and he would only have this one chance to test it.

"Try and hold them off, Frankie!" Said Callum as stood over the ancient book on the podium apparently oblivious to the fact that they were trapped.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:00 am


Bea had been released from the hospital in Guatemala a few weeks after Shankar visited her. The doctors were surprised at the turn for the better she had taken after the mysterious man left. What ever he said to her worked. Bea was slowly removed from her medication and when she proved she could function in society normally, she was released, escorted tot eh airport and put on a plane that sent her directly to Cairo, Egypt.

Arrangements had been made for her to stay at the Ramses Hilton on the Nile. A day after her arrival, Bea was once more surprised with a visit from Shankar Mahmoud only this time, he had with him a lovely young lady from America named Madelin Harte, or Maddie for short. Shankar stated Maddie was there to help Bea with what ever she needed help with and he had already secured a dig site for her with all the personnel she would need. He explained it wasn’t very big but he thought she and Maddie would be able to dig at a leisurely pace without running into any issues.

Three days later, Bea, along with Maddie and about a dozen local men, rode out to the desert to the site Shankar had procured. It had been started a little while ago and abandoned. Shankar said it was because the dig manager ran out of funds. Once the makeshift camp a mile away was set up at a lovely oasis, Bea set right to work at taking over where the former dig had stopped.

As it turned out, Maddie was a huge help and Bea had grown quite fond of the young woman. She was a breath of fresh air and she had the good old American can do attitude. While the discoveries Bea made were minute in the least., Maddie seemed thrilled to be a part of something so small yet so important to a nations history.

After a few weeks, Bea had dug enough to realize she had stumbled upon a tomb of some kind. It didn’t appear to be very large so who ever the tomb belonged to was either a minor ruler or the high priest of a Pharaoh. Either way, Bea didn’t care. All she knew was that she was digging and her mind was free from horrific visions.

However, one day the dig took an exciting turn for the better. What Bea had thought to be a minor ruler or high priest turned out to be something more. Much more. But exactly what, she wasn’t sure yet. The tomb, it appeared, went further down into the earth than any other tomb she had experienced before. Most tombs went only so far beneath the surface then broadened out over the expanse of ground. But this one seemed to be deeper than wider.

When the rotating circle was found, still working, Bea and Maddie knew they were onto something more than either of them really knew. It became a challenge for the women then to discover just how deep this tomb went and who the tombs belonged to.

They went deeper one day then they ever had before and after about three hours of exploration they decided it was best to return to the surface and end for the night before it got dark. Bea was talking with Maddie as they moved up the stairway, their voices echoing off the walls of the seemingly endless tomb.

”Well, one thing is for certain, what ever this is, I’m not so sure it’s a tomb anymore. I mean, there are things around to make it appear as though that’s what it is, but how many tombs do you know have rotating discs in them and that lead far underground as this one does?”

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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:03 pm



Frankie turned away from Callum and slipped back through the trap door and down to the stairs below, the voices and footfalls could still be heard coming up. The Irishman had not taken the time to tell the Professor that he was running low on bullets but Frankie had another idea as to holding off the approaching strangers.

Frankie turned down his lantern, he unscrewed the fill plug and poured some of the oil on the stairs below him. The Irishman then went a few steps up and listened for the oncoming strangers. Frankie pulled a matchbook from his jacket pocket and kept the matches handy, he had recently quit smoking but still carried some matches from his favorite Public House from back home.

Frankie sat silently, his pistol in one hand and matches in the other. The strangers still approached, who could these geezers be? What manner of man goes skulking around in these strange and hidden places?

The strangers were closer now, their voices were bouncing around the stone walls and dangerous stairways. There was certainly more than one of these geezers so any move that Frankie made was really going to have to count.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:38 pm


Callum realized that there was no way out and a stand off would be futile, but he also realized what giant bronze disk was. The question was, 'Would he be able to use it?' Quickly he flipped back and forth through the pages, searching and searching while through it all, the shouting was growing louder and the men were getting closer. Frankie could see some of them now at the bottom of the stairway. Three of them came into view but there more. Two of them were wearing black suits and the other was dressed up like some sort of ancient Egyptian priest.

"No! Don't let them get the book!"
Cried the costumed man as he attempted to run up the stairway but was pulled back by another man.

The other two pulled their guns and peered up into the chamber straining their eyes in the darkness, unable to see Frankie.

Callum was still anxiously flipping through the book while Frankie kept his apprised of the situation in a fashion that he was quickly becoming accustomed to. Hopefully he find what he was looking for and maybe he'd become familiar with more of the Irishman's idiosyncrasies.

There loud noises and the sound of gunfire from the other side of the room and that's when, Callum cried out triumphantly, "I found it!" He then buried his nose in the book and continued to read, oblivious of all else around him. The professor, checked the altar before the podium and was pleased to see that all was in order and knew then that who ever those people were below, were about to perform the very ritual he had found. Everything had been prepared and all Callum had to do was make an offering of blood and speak the passage.

"Damn!" Cursed Callum, "I shoulda concentrated on me hieroglyphics a wee bit more." he said as he translated the symbols as fast as he could. "Hold him off as best ye can, Frankie. Just a few more moments!"

Callum began to speak in an ancient Egyptian tongue. It was difficult to remember but it was coming back to him. As he spoke the words an eerie wind began to swirl in the room and the giant bronze disk began to turn. It rotated slowly at first, but as Callum read more it spun faster and the wind picked up throwing dust and debris about the round chamber.

When he done, reading the passage, Callum picked up the ceremonial knife on the podium and without hesitation ran it across his hand. Blood gushed from his open palm and the Scotsman, held it over the altar letting the crimson stream pour onto the mummified remains. He then grabbed the book and backed away in horror as he wrapped his hand with a strip from the white shroud atop the podium. His eyes were transfixed on the mummified dog and cat as they began to move! They writhed about like birthing butterflies, their spindly legs bursting from their cocoons!

Above them the ceiling became a storming sky. Clouds swirled and lightning flashed. Callum could hardly believe his eyes and would have fallen into a paralyzed stupor if were not the voice of Frankie pulling him back.

"The pentacle." Muttered Callum, pointing weakly to the far side of the room where the bronze pentacle that was set in the floor was beginning to glow. He staggered toward it, the only had a few seconds to make it, but make it they did and once inside all went white.

Callum awoke to searing heat upon his face, and blinked in the bright light of the sun. White sand clung to his perspiring skin as he stirred and rose to a sitting position. He was atop a high dune, in the middle of a great desert! The book was beside him and to his amazement the cut on his hand had healed, there was barely a scar. Quickly he reached into his bag and fished out his iPhone. No signal. It would probably be the same for his laptop. Rummaging around further, in his bag, the professor was thankful to find his water bottle that he toted everywhere with him and though he didn't need a drink at the moment, he soon would.

Standing up, he looked around for Frankie. He should have teleported along with him, but there were not tracks. Maybe he ended up somewhere else? Perhaps on the other side of the dune?

"Frankie!" Called Callum. "Frankie, where the hell are ya!"

Where the hell was he?


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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:36 pm



Frankie could see the men approaching, 5 of them at least and Jesus if one of them was not dressed like an Egyptian boogieman. They could not see Frankie in the dark but they fired all around in an attempt to flush him out of his hiding spot.

Frankie fired back, the men had the bigger guns and Frankie moved from his spot and began to back up to the trap door to the tower's top. There was no way the Irishman was going to wait to light his lamp oil trap when the strangers were blazing away.

"Shit..." Frankie growled as his pistol clicked empty. Frankie tossed it down the stairs in anger and pushed his way up through the small door and into the room where Callum was.

Callum was standing before a large bronze disc and speaking in a strange language, the disc was turning and stirring up dust and small debris in the room. Frankie was shocked to see Callum cut his hand and let the blood flow onto the strange altar.

There were sounds at the door, the strangers were trying to bust in.
"Time to pull the rabbit from the hat Callum!" Frankie yelled as the disc turned faster and the strangers pounded at the bolted trap door.

Callum seemed to be in a trance but he reacted to Frankie's plea and pointed to the pentacle in the floor, it was glowing and Callum and Frankie moved at it. The ceiling of the tower vanished, sky and clouds spun overhead, lightning crashed the whole room rumbled with the storm's power.

Callum crossed the edge of the glowing glyph and vanished before Frankie's eyes. The Irishman was one step behind him, he cried out "No!" as the Scotsman vanished and then Frankie crossed the lines of the penetacle as well.

Frankie heard no sound and saw only white as he passed through the glyph and was transported.

An instant later Frankie was falling, from where he did not know. He landed hard on the hot sand, a high sun burned overhead as a hot wind blew across Frankie's face.
"Fughing ouch!" Frankie barked as he lay prone in the sand.

He could hear Callum calling for him nearby, he got to his feet and looked out onto a sea of dunes. A row of golden dunes away he could see the rippling figure of the Scotsman standing on the sand.

"I'm here Callum!" Frankie hollered "But where in the hell is here?"

The Irish gun expert had found himself standing on Egyptian sand with no gun wearing a black Armani coat.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:24 pm



None,” Maddie admitted as she and Bea made their way out of the tomb, each step bringing them fresher, hotter air. “But this is the first tomb I've ever been in, so that’s not saying a whole lot.” Bea smiled, she often asked questions about the artifacts they found, though she knew Madelin didn’t have a background in archaeology. Maddie appreciated it all the same, it allowed for a lot more conversation. “I wonder if Shankar knew this wouldn’t be an average tomb,” she said idly. They pressed on, both tired after a long day.

Though she had made little progress on what she was actually here to do, Madelin had come to enjoy Egypt immensely. From the moment she met Shankar, she knew he was someone who could help her accomplish her goals—and having a native (a wealthy one) on her side was a surprising relief. He did not have all the answers but he had promised to help her keep an eye open and an ear to the ground, and had in the meantime found a way for her to earn a living…digging tombs. Honest to goodness, Egyptian tombs.

For the job Shankar had introduced her to Bea, whose accent was altogether too charming but who sometimes affected such a look of fright that Maddie’s own heart stopped. After a time or two (or six) of this, and of realizing that there wasn’t anything around for either of them to be afraid of, she began to suspect that Bea was on the run from something terrible. Terrible enough that even alone in a vast sea of desert she would hear a small noise, and fear it had found her. Madelin pitied her, but grew used to the interruptions, which grew less and less frequent as the dig progressed.

Bea was a real archaeologist, and knew all sorts of interesting things about the items they uncovered. All Madelin knew was that it was the best treasure hunt of her life. And as Bea began to express her awe at the depth of the tomb, both girls felt the thrill of a discovery was just around the corner.

They walked out of the darkness, the sun a hovering disk over the horizon. Maddie welcomed the light and the heat, for though she didn’t want to admit it, exploring the tomb put her on edge even as it delighted her.

Do you want to get a drink?” She asked as she opened the back hatch to begin packing up the truck. “I haven’t been out much, but the hotel barkeep shakes a pretty mean martini.” She winked. “Unless you’ve got other plans?

The drive back to the hotel was fun, as usual. Though she knew it was silly, Maddie just couldn’t get enough of driving off road. It was so freeing, no lines, no other cars…sure, there was a little road, and it was a lot easier to drive on that than in the sand…but unless she was in a hurry she didn’t see any reason to stay on it until they actually got close to town. If it ever bothered Bea, she didn’t show it.

Singing along to the rock’n’roll tape she had purchased for the car rides, Maddie glanced in the rear view mirror. It was more habit than anything, but in that instant she saw a light flare in the entrance of the tomb, and shadows cast onto the dunes around it. She slowed the car to stop, turned off the tape and leaned out the window to get a better look. Bea’s curious head popped out her window to see what her driver was looking at.

She blinked. It wasn’t there anymore…but that didn’t mean anything. It could have been a torch, lit in the entry then brought inside. “Did you see that?” She asked of her new friend. “There was a light in the tomb. You don’t think…grave robbers?” In her mind she rifled through the contents of the truck. Shovels, chisels, brushes, buckets, water and a cooler with snacks. No weapons except the pepper spray in her backpack.

She swore under her breath. They’d been working on this for weeks now! She was damned if she was going to let some punks wander in and make the discovery that was rightfully theirs. She hadn’t even seen them come up—they must have been camouflaged around the area.

Bea…what do we do?
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:32 am


"Damn thing. A lot a good a GPS App is when ye cannot get a signal." Grumbled Callum as he trudged through the sand to Frankie's location while lazily waving his iPhone about. He reached up and took the Irishman's hand, accepting his help to the top of the dune. "Ain't ye a sight." Callum commented in regards to Frankie's attire. While he himself wasn't exactly fitted for desert travel, his casual attire was a little more suitable than the Irishman's flashy suit.

Callum turned around, desperately staring off in all directions as if expecting the scenery to change from the top of another dune. He then chuckled to himself when he recapped the series of events that had brought him to this desolate and at the same time, beautiful world. Here he was with a man he barely knew, a gun runner no less, and they had arrived at their present location via an ancient spell. An actual incantation! He couldn't wait to tell Ravenwood, that was of course if they survived the passage.

"I'm terribly sorry I got ya into this mess, Frankie." Callum apologized as he dug into his bag for his water bottle, took a small swig then passed off the three quarter full, one liter container. "I can tell ya, though that if I die a tomorrow, I'd die happy knowin' what I know now. D'ya believe we actually traveled through space and time, Frankie!"

Despite their current situation, Callum was still on a high after experiencing real magic and it was then that he discovered another amazing fact when he attempted one last time to get a signal. "Christ, Frankie!" he exclaimed as held his phone before the Irishman so he could read the display, "Look at the date."

The date on the phone was two months later. They had just traveled two months into the future in a matter of seconds! "Incredible!" Callum shouted to the sky, unfortunately it was a discovery he would not be able to share with the world and as that reality set in, the Scotsman quickly began to sober and come to terms with the reality of their present situation.

Callum utilized the position of the noon sun to determine north and looked eastward to a short ridge of dark peaks on the horizon. "Looks to be a days walk. Probably our best bet, eh?" he said staring out across the vastness of the unknown desert. It was so far away, and little did the two men realize at that moment that just beyond the distant ridge was an archaeological dig that had been in progress now for a few weeks.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:42 am


Bea absolutely loved Maddie’s enthusiasm. While she knew the young woman had not a clue as to what an archeological dig would be, she didn’t mind the task of digging to discover the different artifacts. It only took a few moments for Maddie to catch on for the proper way to dig through a site and after that, the young woman was off an running.

Bea was certain if it hadn’t been for Maddie’s presence on several occasions she would have fallen into the despair of the nightmare she went through in Guatemala. A memory would flash before her, a noise would sound in the tomb or she would hear what sounded like a strange whisper just behind her and Bea was instantly set on edge. Ready to bolt at any moment to flee the horrid creatures she knew were coming after her.

Thankfully, the young woman’s calm demeanor and go get it attitude was just what Bea needed to help her push the terrible memories away and concentrate on the task at hand. Maddie was such a good influence to Bea that there were less and less instances where Bea seemed to drift away and get that terrified look in her face.

But as both women noticed the flash from the area of the tomb and Mddie pulled the truck to a halt, Bea felt that all familiar, horrified fear start to creep back into her life. Poking her head out of the window of the truck, the archeologist looked back towards the tomb and didn’t say anything to Maddie right away.

Grave robbers didn’t use flashy devices. It would give them away and alert others in the area. No. What ever had caused the flash was definitely NOT grave robbers. So what DID cause it? There was only one way to find out. And while Bea didn’t want to know the truth, if it were those terrifying creatures, she knew she had to at least know for certain.

Turning around and sitting back in the truck, she stared down at her lap for a moment knowing Maddie was looking to her for an answer to the question, Once more she heard Maddie’s voice penetrate her mind.

”Bea….What do we do?”

Blinking and snapping herself out of her fear infested trance, Bea turned her head and looked over at Maddie then nodded.

”Turn around. We need to make sure the dig site is secure. And perhaps find out what caused the flash.”

Bea tried to sound much braver than she felt. The last thing she needed was to frighten Maddie. Even though the young woman seemed to be quite fearless. Still, if something HAD happened to the dig, what were they going to do? They were two women, alone, in the Egyptian desert. The only thing they had for protection was the .9 MM gun Bea had stashed in her backpack in the back of the truck.

Aas Mddie turned the truck around and headed back towards the dig, Bea turned around and reached over the seat to dig into her backpack and pull out the weapon. Pulling the barrel back to load the gun and ready it for firing, Maddie glanced over with a shocked look on her face.

”Where the hell did you get that?”

Bea didn’t look over at the young woman as she answered her question.

”I’ve had it for a while. You can never take chances at a remote dig. Safety is a must. And personal safety is at the top of that list.”

Maddie cautiously approached the dig and when they reached the area she pulled the truck to a halt and put it in park. As the women got out of the truck and started looking around, there was no sign of any sort of explosion of anything. In fact, the dig looked to be untouched. But….upon closer inspection, Bea saw their footprints from where they had walked form the tomb earlier had been wiped out. Almost as though a strong wind came along and just removed their presence from the face of the earth.

”Odd.”

When Maddie asked what was odd, Bea explained the footprints, or lack there of, to the young woman. Bea stood and looked all around, covering her eyes with her left hand as her right still held the gun ready for action. All around them were high dunes that created a ridge like affect. Something nagged at Bea and finally she looked over at Maddie.

”Let’s get a better look, shall we? Get us to the top of that high ridge up there so we can have a look around. Just to be on the safe side.”

Bea knew Maddie’s appetite for adventure would propel her to do what Bea suggested but Bea also knew Maddie wasn’t careless and would approach the situation with as much caution as she was excitement.

As the women returned to the truck and started for the large dunes Bea was a little more on edge than previous occasions. There was no doubt there was a deep rooted fear within her that was forcing itself to the surface once more and as she sat, almost stiff backed in the passenger seat of the truck as Maddie had the vehicle lumber up the side of the large dune, it seemed as though Bea was preparing herself for something on the other side she really didn’t want to find.

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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:41 am



Frankie and Callum walked on, Frankie had his coat at his waist now, he had sweat through his crisp white shirt and was none to happy.

"Two months!? Ye got be kidding Callum, this is a fine holiday we're on my friend. I don't mind a little sun but it should come with tropical drinks, bikini clad lasses and a pool."

The only thing that was keeping Frankie from going into full whiny diva mode was the fact that he had some sunglasses in the pocket of his coat they were a small comfort but a comfort none the less.

Frankie looked out onto the dunes, ripples of heat were drifting up from the sands and making it difficult to trust anything they saw in this desert.

"Have ye got your gadget working yet, any idea about exactly where we ended up?"

Callum was tinkering with his iphone in an attempt to get some GPS information.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:18 am


"Well at least you cannot say, 'I ne'er take you anywhere', now can ya?" Callum quipped back to Frankie's 'holiday' comment, and even as the Irishman inquired about his GPS was already fighting with the device. After a few more strides, Callum gave up on the phone and trudged on, content for the moment to try and guess where they might have ended up. All evidence pointed to Egypt, since that's where the incantation and the great bronze wheel had originated but the professor did not want to jump to any conclusions.

The blazing sun had neared cooked the two pasty skinned Celts, by mid-afternoon they were unable to travel any further and the low sun offered them refuge in the shadow of a great dune. They rested and near consumed what water they had before they continued for the ridge of rock when the sun began to set.

A cool night wind, soothed their hot skin and renewed their strength as they made for the rocks, which were not as far away as they had seemed before they literally collapsed from the heat. When the sun was but a faint red glow on the horizon they reached a narrow pass that appeared to cut straight through the tall rocks and having little to lose the men decided to take it. It seemed then that fate had finally decided to smile on them, as the narrow pass indeed did take them through the rock face, unfortunately there was nothing but more desert stretching out before them.

"Damn!" Cursed Callum as he wiped the sand off his lips, "I really thought we'd find something here.", but then just as he was about to give up hope something caught Frankie's eye.

There was a cave entrance in the face of the rock not to far from them and outside of it was a covered table.

"Hello!" Called out Callum before Frankie could silence him. Even after all they had been through the professor continued to throw caution to the wind, but thankfully there didn't seem to be anyone around that meant to do them any harm, or so it seemed.

They lifted up the tarp, to see if there were any canteens under it, and Callum immediately recognized that the broken shards of pottery and other items neatly categorized were signs of an archaeological dig in progress. He immediately relayed this fact to Frankie then mentioned that their will most like be some supplies at the site, unfortunately that meant exploring yet another creepy cavern, but they had little choice. Just inside the cavern were some torches and lantern, with a lighter beside them.

"Ever get that feeling you've been here before." Joked Callum as he lit up the lantern, "After you, Frankie."
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:14 pm





They pulled the big truck around to hide behind the dune; there was nothing there but more sand.

Eyes wide with excitement, Madelin leapt from their dusty vehicle and grabbed her pack. Sure, it might not have a gun like certain other packs in the car, but it held a few handy things. Like her phone—and its camera.

After casting a jealous glance at the fine looking weapon Bea was holding, Maddie told herself firmly that she’d only get herself into trouble with a gun; and more importantly, Bea and her gun were on the same side she was. It gave her a rush to know her friend held a weapon—to know that strange, scared Beatrice had her covered.

Unless…

No. There would be no episodes tonight. She felt embarrassed for even thinking about it. It was time to focus on their work, their discovery, their dig.

C’mon,” she urged in a whisper as her companion flicked her head from side to side, searching. “What are you looking for?

Bea thought before she answered. “Clues,” she murmured. “Anything to tell us where they might have come from.” She seemed preoccupied with this whole foot print business.

Okay.” Maddie said, and paused before she continued. “Bea, I think that’s a smart idea. And a cautious one. But we might not have much time here. If they come back out, we might be able to chase them down in the jeep, or they might have their own getaway car hidden behind another dune. On the other hand, if we block their exit, they aren’t going anywhere.

But they might kill us to escape.” Madelin blinked. Distinct possibility.

Okay, fair point. How about you take up a sniping position here at the ridge, and I get closer to try to pick out some more information?” Bea almost snorted with laughter.

Maddie…first off, I may not be a gunslinger, but at least I know this is not a sniper rifle. Second, you’re crazy if you think I’d let you walk in there alone while I sat here with the truck.

Soooo….” Maddie’s cheeks were only slightly flushed. “That means you’re coming with me then?




They stood at the entry, listening. After only a moment they could hear voices inside the tomb, and strangely Bea seemed to relax at this. She nodded at Maddie and leveled her gun. Maddie lifted one of their torches—the lantern was missing—and fussed with her lighter until she had it lit.

Each step in made her reconsider her choice. She began to realize that she could be getting them both into serious trouble. What if the robbers were heavily armed, she wondered. Was that likely, or would they be too busy hauling up artifacts? In movies wasn’t there usually one bad guy with one of those giant leg-sized guns mounted on his shoulder, watching their rear? How bad would it be if they met that guy?

Pretty bad,” she answered aloud.

What?

Oh, nothing.” The exchange had been in careful whispers, but the other voices fell silent. They’d been heard. A tense pause held in the cool dusty air, and then--

Hello?” a male voice called out to them in a heavy accent. The light from the stolen lantern became visible as it turned along a corner, along with two men—both Caucasian, roughly the same height, one blonde and one dark. The shorter of the two was wearing a very nice—and very dirty—suit; though he had draped the jacket over his arm.

Stop!” Maddie called, in as cop-like a tone as she could manage. “Drop your weapons and any items you’ve lifted, and then take three long steps backward.

“’S a long way from bikini’s Callum,” said the man with dark hair dryly, and an Irish accent played musically atop his words. Maddie wasn't entirely certain she had heard him correctly, as it seemed a very odd thing to say.

Please, I think ya misunderstand. We haven’t taken anythin’.” When neither woman moved, Callum—his accent was Scottish, she thought—looked to his partner as he dropped a satchel on the floor in front of him. “Go on and drop everything ya’ve got then, Frankie.

I haven’t got anything,” said the Irishman, even more bitterly than before. He shook his jacket to prove nothing would fall out.

After they had stepped back, and Bea had them trained in her sights, Madelin lifted the bag and rummaged through it. Harmless items met her fumbling hands, one after another. It might have been a school bag. She looked at Bea, perplexed.

When she turned her attention back to the intruders, her eyes took in what she should have noticed before. Both men seemed weary, and their clothes were sandy and torn. If these men were grave robbers, they were so out of desperation. Madelin could feel pity attacking the rush of adrenaline she had felt before. She took a deep breath.

Who are you?

I’m Callum Calderwood, an’ this is Frankie…” Callum made a reaching gesture, then gave up and dropped his hand. “this is Frankie.

My god,” Bea spoke and lowered her gun, and she did both these things very slowly. “Calderwood? Professor Calderwood?

Madelin had a feeling that things were about to take a very strange turn.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:23 am


When the Englishwoman spoke his name with familiarity, Callum raised his lantern a little higher so that he could see her face clearer. The coincidence was unbelievable! He had only seen a picture of the woman from the Oxford biography that Ravenwood had shown him but it had to be her.

"Miss Chadwick?" He said with an incredulous expression, "I dun believe it. Of all the people ta run in ta."

It was at that moment then that Callum recalled the moment when he and Frankie had first met. His iphone had notified him of an incoming message and the Police's 'King of pain' alerted the Irish gun runner of his presence. So much had happened that he had completely forgotten to check it.

"Excuse me for just a moment." Said Callum moving his hand cautiously into his breast pocket, "I'm jus' reachin' for me phone." he assured the women, especially the younger one who he was glad did not have a gun else she might have shot him right then and there.

Callum checked his messages and there it was. Dated over two months ago, was an email from beatrice.c@oxford.edu which read:

Professor Calderwood,

It appears as though you have in your possession an artifact that predates any known, previously recorded artifact. I would be most interested to know where you discovered it and if I could be permitted to look at it, in person, for myself to authenticate its origin. I am currently in Guatemala and will be returning to London in two weeks. Please let me know when and where I can meet you and I shall be there.

Respectfully,
Beatrice


"I'm so sorry I never got back to ya, Miss Chadwick, but my friend and I 'ave been... preoccupied of late." Apologized Callum, "I do, however, have something ye might be interested in settin' your eyes on."

When, Callum and Frankie had discovered that the cave ended at a single chamber and no one was about, they turned around. Heading back, the Irishman's keen senses had heard the two researchers and it was only under the professor's advisement that he didn't shoot first and ask questions later. Before they were set up, Callum had time to tuck the large grimoire in the back of his trousers beneath his coat. It was well hidden as long as he didn't have to turn around and thus far he had remained facing Beatrice and the other he assumed was her assistant.

Callum tucked his phone back in his pocket.

"Now, I'm gonna reach behind me. Just so ya know, I still dun have a gun." He informed them, then reached behind him and with a few wriggling adjustments took out the ancient Egyptian manual that contained the incantation that had transported he and Frankie through space and time.

"We acquired this book in a ritual chamber within a real masonic temple. Not the one's made visible to the public but a true abode of the secret society." Explained the professor.

Callum didn't believe now was the time to go on about their traveling two months into the future and being transported in the blink of an eye from New York, to...

'Where the hell were they anyway?'

The items that Beatrice had been excavating had a middle eastern look, but while, Callum's expertise allowed him to comment on the cultural significances presented by ancient relics he was hardly an expert them. From the few samples he had seen he still couldn't be sure where they were, but an educated guess told him they were in the Sahara desert. Where specifically, however, he hadn't the foggiest.

As Callum passed the handed the book to Beatrice, he looked over at her young assistant.

"And who might you be?" He asked.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:10 am


Bea furrowed her brows as she listened to Caulderwood. She was still stuck on the fact it was him. But how could that be? He was reported missing two months ago. No one knew where the hell he was or what happened to him. Finally her brain caught up with what he was saying and doing and as he reached behind him, she raised her gun again just to be on the safe side.

Of course the fact the wiry Irishman was eyeing her carefully told Bea he was more than what he appeared. Her gun slowly eased form Caulderwood to the Irishman then back again. Maddie was holding her own and as the Professor held out the book for her to examine, Bea slipped her gun back into the back of her trousers and took hold of the book.

That fearful look Maddie had seen on her face returned, ten fold. Bea could tell there was something….different….about this book. Almost as if she could feel the power it held within the pages. Her hands trembled visibly and she dared to open the book. Recognizing some of the hieroglyphics and drawings, she realized it was older than anything else she had ever seen before. Finally her fear filled eyes raised to look at Caulderwood.

”Get rid of this book as fast as you can. If you value your life, even though there may be some strange occurrences in it, you’ll heed my warning and get rid of this thing and pretend you’ve never seen it before.”

There was something about the tone of her voice that made everyone stop what they were doing and stare at her. Even Maddie found her reaction to the book strange and glanced at the two men strangely before looking back to Bea. Leaning in a little closer, she lowered her voice as she spoke to Bea.

”Bea? Are you alright?”

Bea turned her head towards Maddie and looked at the floor as she hissed at the young woman.

”Do I look alright to you?”

It was the first time Bea had ever talked to the young woman like this and it made Maddie blink and glance at the men again. Bea snapped her head to the men again and shoved the book back at Caulderwood.

”You’ve put us all in jeopardy, Professor. You should have left this thing where you found it. Now they will stop at NOTHING to get it back. And don’t think you can hide from them either. Every time you close your eyes, they’ll come for you and then you’ll know there is no escape….”

She wasn’t making any sense and she knew this, but the overwhelming urge to drop the book and run was almost too much to resist. Even now she shifted her weight from one foot to the other as she seemed to grow more nervous each moment. Her eyes darted around in all directions and each little sound she heard made her jumpy.

____________________________________________________________________________________
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.
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PostSubject: Re: CTHULHU - Chapter I - 'Dark Shadows'   Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:15 pm




Maddie stared at her, and then looked at the two men. She didn’t know how, but something in the book must be related to the woman’s past. Callum reached for the book and Maddie put her arm around her friend, who was still shaken but allowed it.

Madelin waited a few beats, expecting someone to call her friend crazy. When no one did, it sent shivers up her spine. They weren’t ignoring her. They weren’t making fun of her. Both looked warily at the book, and didn’t seem at all surprised that it had elicited such a reaction.

She was overwhelmed with the desire to grab the book from Callum and begin flipping the pages immediately. But the fear in the little corridor filled the very air, and she wanted to leave even more than she wanted to satiate her curiosity. I’ll look at it later, she promised herself.

Can you put that away?” She asked Callum softly, indicating the tome. He nodded numbly and seemed glad to get it out of his hands as he placed it in his pack. “Why don’t we go and get everyone situated back at the hotel, we can have a hot shower and a drink. Alright?

What say we make it five drinks, eh?” Frankie said, and earned a small smile from Maddie, who’d learned enough about the world to know that some stereotypes were well deserved.

She didn’t want to turn her back on the two men….but there was very little choice if she wanted to keep her arm around Beatrice. She trusted she could reach the gun if she needed to, and with only a small reluctance she turned and headed for the exit.

When she stepped out of the tomb and into the night she felt Bea relax a little, which was a great relief. She dropped her arm and regarded the strangers. “You don’t have a ride, do you?” It wasn’t really a question, but they answered anyway.

No.” said Callum. Frankie looked as though he’d have liked to add a bit more to the topic but was too tired to do so, and simply nodded.

Okay.Weird. “We’re this way.” She was too distracted by her thoughts to ask any more questions right now.

Still feeling the need to comfort her friend, she helped Bea into the truck before getting in herself. As soon as she turned the key her 80s rock blasted from the speakers. No point in pretending she wasn’t a secret rock star…though she didn’t remember it being that loud when they were trying to hide behind the dune. She dialed the volume down a few notches.

In no time at all they had pulled up to the place the women were currently calling home…at the expense of Mr. Shankir.

When the engine stopped, she turned somewhat awkwardly in her chair to speak with her passengers.

By the way, I’m Maddie Harte.

American,” said Frankie.

Well yes. By way of New York.” Frankie and Callum shuddered in unison. “What?

Jus’ a bad time,” the Irishman said uneasily.

Oh. When were you two there?” This earned her another stare. What did I say? Bea opened her door and the others quickly followed suite.

Let’s talk about it over that drink, eh Maddie?” Callum said to her as they gathered themselves.

Right," Maddie said, letting the word draw out. "Bea, I can freshen up in your room, right?” Beatrice, still looking disturbingly distant, nodded.

Good then.” She deposited her hotel key into Callum’s hand. “Room 523. Should be clean. There’s nothing there worth stealing, either.” That earned her a look from Callum; Frankie seemed too busy eying his surroundings to be offended. That or he felt it was fair comment. “I’m just making a point. I wouldn’t offer at all if you were a little bit cleaner.” As she said it she could see a very small smile tug at the lips of her coworker, which brought a grin to her face, too. “Bea and I will meet you in the bar.

Sounds like a fine plan,” Frankie said.




Sorry for inviting myself in.

It’s no trouble. I’m sure they’re glad to have a place to freshen up.”

“How well do you know Callum?”

“I’ve never met him in person before.”

“Oh.”

“We’re just colleagues. He works at Omenwich, in London.”

“Bea…”
but she didn’t know how to say it, and her voice trailed off strangely. There was a long pause. Beatrice sat on the bed and began brushing her hair, and offered up nothing. Maddie pulled off her shoes and dirty socks; then went in to the bathroom to wash her face. After all the dust was gone she still felt grubby, and rinsed her short hair in the sink. Then she rinsed her feet in the tub.

Feeling much more like herself, she came back out, prepared this time.

What happened?” She tried to ask it as delicately as her voice would allow. “What happened to you?

Whatever she had thought, Madelin had not been prepared for the story. But she listened. And she tried to believe. What had she been expecting? Some violent war story maybe, or gangs or abuse. Not nightmares. It didn’t surprise her that Beatrice had spent some time in a…well, a facility. That Shankir came for her, that was interesting. How did he know she was there? And why did he want her? Bea had stopped talking, and was staring at her feet.

I’m sorry,” Maddie said. It seemed like the right thing to say.

She knew Bea wanted to ask if Maddie believed her. Instead she nodded, got up, and went to shower.

Madelin was glad she didn’t.
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