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(DF) A New Home

 
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2/12/2017 5:38:03   
NagisaXIkari
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Prelude: Previous Occupant

He lived alone in the obscure Darkovian town of Dunwich, generally keeping to himself. It was partially due to his disposition, but also due to a feeling of distrust among the other people in the town. Someone or something had been informing him about the awful things the townspeople were doing or planning on doing.

Sacrilegious and inhuman acts to rival that of the Shadowscythe or the Baron's cult. Unholy rituals to bring forth old gods and demons from beyond the darkness plain. Blasphemous acts between human and beasts. Indiscriminate and taboo acts even among the darkness. No one in the town was safe.

Who started telling him these things? How long ago was it? He wasn't sure, only remembering that he began hearing about the forsaken acts of the townspeople after the darkness that fell over Greenguard had subsided, but he doesn't recall ever meeting someone following that day.

Who or what was telling him these horrible things grew more persistent over time. They even began to interrupt his sleep until it wasn't long that he had began to cease doing so altogether.

The voices lessened the further he got from home when he left to perform errands, but the words it told him remained. Joseph the grocer, kept his wife in the cellar where an otherworldly monster did as it pleased in exchange for commerce. Lagretta, the florist took part in nightly ceremonies to ensure her flowers were everlasting in exchange for time off of her son's life span.

The list went on, each townsperson engaging in more and more horrifying acts.

He wanted to leave, but the voices compelled him to stay even after he took the life of their supposedly concerned neighbor at the behest of the voice telling him he was in danger. The widow, Laura engaging in bloodletting rituals in hopes of finding someone to take away her loneliness.

The voices told him it was an act of defence. He was doing a good thing.

Chapter I: Moving Day

Mom and Dad aren't sure what happened to Grandpa, or they're not telling me. I suppose it doesn't really matter. It's time I found a home of my own and they're okay with me going to Dunwich. Mom would appreciate it if I chose somewhere closer to Amityvale, but this way is a tad easier. Well, other than getting all the way to Dunwich. Only one transport goes that way and it's not cheap. Dad always encouraged light packing.

"Be sure to write as often as you can," the young man's mother said, hugging her son, tears soaking into his shirt.

"I'll be sure to, mom."

The young man looked to his father, expecting a handshake. He wasn't big on displays of affection where others might see. Not even holding hands with his wife in public. To his surprise, his father pulled him into a tight embrace he hadn't felt since he was a child and unaccustomed to the everyday horrors of Amityvale.

"Take care of yourself," his father said.

"Thanks, dad. Take care of mom and yourself too."

With only a few bags, the young man boarded the carriage and set off towards their new home.

The driver resembled a caricature of a carriage driver. Heavy high collard jacket, large hat that combined with the collar obscures their face, so the young man couldn't even tell what the driver looked like if he wanted to. One thing stood out about the driver though was that their clothing seemed wet and fishy smelling.

"So uh, what can you tell me about Dunwich?" the young man asked as the carriage passed the cemetery, the entrance long since walled off.

The driver grunted. Or maybe they did say something. The young man couldn't understand and chose to remain quiet the rest of the way.

He looked up at the moon, not really amazed by it having spent a good portion of his life under its light as opposed to his parents. His mother was especially fond of it, having been fond of the moon ever since she saw it as a child during a trip to Falconreach. His father was fairly indifferent. It was nice to see, but the novelty wore off not long after.

As the carriage moved through the region, the world seemed to get darker even though there were no clouds covering the moon or a thick canopy from the surrounding trees. Did it have something to do with the elements that made up Lore that some parts of the region were darker than others even though they should be like all the others? He didn't know why he pondered these things. They were far beyond his understanding.

He looked around at the surrounding area, this region being entirely new to him. There was an unkempt road marked with a shoddily made sign. He couldn't make out the writing on it either due to being in a language unfamiliar to him or just due to disrepair, he wasn't sure.

There was something especially peculiar about the area down the unkempt road. A black streak moved across the sky like a lighthouse. He was no geologist or an academic of any sort, but he knew there was no ocean nearby and that a lighthouse projecting a black light was counterproductive.

"Hey, do you know anything about what's down that road?"

The driver grunted. Or spoke. He wasn't sure. How anyone found this guy was a mystery.

How long will it take to reach Dunwich, he wondered.

Chapter II: Miskatonic

It's been a long trip so far. I'm not sure how long, I fell asleep a couple times. Hopefully it's not much longer as my knees are really stiff from sitting so long.

There's a town coming up, but I'm not sure if we're going to stop or not. I can only hope we do, if only so I can stretch my legs. Maybe someone there can tell me about Dunwich or even this area in general.


The carriage pulled into a town roughly the size of Amityvale or possibly smaller, stopping at a building marked Miskatonic Inn.

The driver disembarked with a wet thud, but rather than going inside the inn, they went around and beyond it. The young man wondered if perhaps he had friends or family in town. Although that raised the question of how long this stop would be. So much for staying at the inn.

The young man disembarked, his joints popping and cracking. Regaining feeling in his legs, he looked at the front of the inn, noticing a lot of spider webs in various places around the windows and doors. A sight he'd see elsewhere in the town, some of which being a lot larger than those of a regular spider. To say it's an unnerving sight would be an understatement.

The young man walked around the area, taking in the sights. Beyond the apparent spider infestation, it seemed like a regular town although unlike Amityvale, there was no sign of a past Rose occupation which seemed strange given the large structure with the web covered sign reading Miskatonic University. Maybe there was a reason for it, maybe not. He had no way of knowing.

The streets weren't to busy with a few people milling about. Some made eye contact, nodded and said hello, he did the same. He hoped Dunwich was the same way.

He made his way to a building marked tavern, avoiding the webs along the boardwalk and doorway and entered the fairly lively establishment, various delectable scents entering his nostrils while a pianist played wildly by the stage, a dancer troupe performing for a large crowd human and non-human beings alike. He really hoped Dunwich was like this town, although he felt a blush come over his face when he looked upon the dancers.

He found an empty seat at the bar, looking at a chalkboard with various things written on it, feeling a little squeamish at the sight of a spider walking along the edge of the board. That was something he hoped Dunwich didn't have in common with Miskatonic.

"Hey there, partner," a large balding man with a beard that could best be described as scholarly said on the other side of the counter. He wore fairly simple clothes although some of the stitches could be redone. "Haven't seen you here before, new in town?"

"Yes, I'm passing through, sir."

The man poured a drink and slammed it down on the counter before the young man.

"One on the house. We're always happy to see new faces around here. Not everyday someone comes here."

The young man thanked the man who he presumed was the keeper of this establishment and took a sip. He couldn't describe the taste beyond bitter, but his parents always told him to be polite even if he had to fake it.

"So where you headed, if you don't mind me asking?" the man asked, pouring a drink and sliding it across the counter to another patron.

"Dunwich, sir."

"Can't say I've heard of it, partner, but I wish you the best of luck when you get there."

"Thank you, sir."

He wanted to ask about the spiderwebs, but at the same time didn't want to be rude. It wasn't his place to question the ways of this town. At least that's what his father always said.

"So what can I get for you, partner? Something to go with that drink or even someone to go with that drink?"

The young man refrained from choking on his drink at the tavernmasters second suggestion.

"Well, um..." the young man began to stammer, looking beyond the tavernmaster at the chalkboard, squinting to see what was written beneath the webs that could very well be holding the board together. "The second thing on the board there, sir."

The tavernmaster looked at the board, wiping away some of the webs which he promptly wiped on his pant leg. "Great choice, partner. Just hold tight and it'll be in front of you in short order."

The tavernmaster disappeared behind a door on his side of the counter while the young man sipped his drink, grimacing less and less until eventually he could tolerate it. Wouldn't drink it again, but at least he could finish this one.

He looked around at the other patrons as they talked amongst themselves, some sat by themselves, most watched the dancers, but he averted his gaze. His father always said he should only look at a woman in that state if he intended on spending the rest of his life with her.

It wasn't long before a woman around his age brought him a plate and cutlery. He turned to her as she leaned forward, seeing more of her than he expected and quickly averted his gaze, a gesture than didn't go unnoticed.

"Enjoy your meal, cutie," the young woman said trying to avoid laughing.

"T-thank you, ma'am."

Eventually he returned to the carriage, the driver still absent while spiders began to weave webs in the spokes of the wheels.

Should I wait, he thought.

There was always more of the town to look around, but that still raised the question of when the driver would return and if they'd wait or leave without him. For the first time in his life, he felt alone, but he couldn't let himself dwell on it. This was supposed to be an opportunity for him to be his own person.

Chapter III: Arkham

I waited for the driver, sitting on the cold hard ground. The people asked if I needed help and I declined. Some of them were armed and warned me to be careful. I think they were just looking out for me. These are good people and I hope the best for them. I almost want to stay here instead of going to all the way to Dunwich. I ended up falling asleep, the driver waking me up. It has been maybe two days since I left Amityvale and they're still soaked. Just who or what is he? Are they even a he? Should I continue to travel with them?

The young man continued his travels in the carriage, not all too happy about the arrangements he had to sleep in for the night.

The carriage passed an abandoned building, sagging and leaning after years of neglect and abuse by worldly and possibly otherworldly forces. He remembered seeing images of such buildings in books and paintings. Some called them temples, some called them churches. The carriage passed one on the way to Miskatonic, but the young man paid no attention to it. It was the first one he had seen before, but seeing another made him wonder just how many there were scattered throughout the region.

There was a small cemetery nearby, nothing as large as the walled off one just outside Amityvale, but it filled him with a sense of foreboding that came naturally to him due to the everyday horrors of life in Amityvale.

There was a rustling in the brush and the foul stench of rot. The driver sped up the carriage as ghastly horrors emerged, shambling along possibly attempting to harm them. The young man had never seen these creatures before, but the driver seemed to know what they were and wasn't willing to cross them.

The driver eventually slowed down and the trip resumed at a peaceful pace which would've been pleasant if there was anything worth looking at and taking in instead of the mostly lifeless fauna in the eerily dark despite the full moon part of the region.

A weather beaten sign came up with the word Arkham scratched into it came into view and not long after the walled town came into view, time and weather battered Rose banners barely hanging on the walls. The young man was reminded of Amityvale, but Arkham seemed even more fortified with taller walls and battlements. He could see a tower which he suspected was part of the fortifications, but it became apparent when the carriage entered the town that the tower was part of something else. A large walled building atop a hill overlooking the town like a parent watching over their child while the tower was like God looking over its creation.

Like in Miskatonic, the carriage pulled up outside the town's inn, a building marked Callahan's and the driver got off and went somewhere to parts unknown, leaving the young man to his own devices.

The streets had a couple people walking through them, some fidgeting as if they were nervous or restless while others were constantly looking about as if something might be after them among other peculiar movements.

"Excuse me," the young man said approaching a townsperson.

The townsperson, a man around his age froze and moved rigidly as if hoping who had called out was referring to someone else, but upon seeing they were the only one, took off running leaving the young man confused.

Had he come off too strong? Threatening? He wasn't sure.

He looked around to find someone else, but other people on the street seemed to be doing their best to avoid being seen by the young man. Presently Arkham was not as welcoming or pleasant as Miskatonic.

The young man continued through the town observing the townspeople go out of their way to avoid him.

His spirits felt somewhat lifted when returning to the building marked Callahan's where the sound of music poured out of the open door. Inside it looked a lot like the tavern in Miskatonic, various people of different species scattered about conversing amongst themselves, people watching dancers, and some sitting alone and just having a drink.

No one paid him any mind when he entered the tavern until sitting at an empty stool where an older one-eyed man whose face could best be described as having been put through a long series of battles.

"Greetings and well met," the man presumably Callahan said his voice softer than his appearance would lead one to believe. "What brings you to my tavern?"

"Passing through, sir," the young man said trying to avoid gawking at Callahan's face.

"Not many people come to this here town, mind if I ask where you're headed?"

"Dunwich, sir."

"Can't say I've heard of it. So what can I do for you?"

Callahan was friendly enough like the tavernmaster in Miskatonic minus the complimentary beverage which the young man was grateful for.

"Do you mind me asking you about the town? I tried asking someone, but they just ran away. Seems like everyone outside was avoiding me."

"I'm gonna tell you this one thing, since you're not from here and I'm only gonna tell you once. Some questions are best left unasked. In this case, it's best not to ask about the people of this town," Callahan said, a touch of malice creeping into his voice.

The young man shrunk a bit in his seat, ashamed. "Sorry, sir. I didn't mean any harm."

"You're young and not from here, so it's nothing major, but keep that in mind."

"Yes, sir."

"So is there anything not pertaining to the town, I can get for you?" Callahan asked, his tone returning to normal.

"No, sir. I'll just take my leave."

Callahan bid the young man farewell and good luck as he left. This town made him feel uneasy unlike Miskatonic which had the opposite effect. Leaving the tavern made him feel glad to see the carriage driver waiting outside to continue their trip.

Chapter IV: Dunwich

I don't know how many days it's been since I left Amityvale, but I'm finally in Dunwich. I suppose this is home now. I can only hope it's like Amityvale or even Miskatonic. Maybe even better.

As with their other stops, the carriage pulled up to the inn, this one not bearing a name other than Dunwich Inn. The young man and the driver disembarked, the young man looking to the driver.

"Thank you," the young man said.

The driver did not answer and instead went elsewhere into the town while the young man sought out his new home. All his parents told him was it was a small house with black curtains. The directions seemed vague, but looking at other houses with their colourful curtains, it wouldn't be hard to find.

He found the house in short order being the only one with black curtains while the attic window was boarded up, the door locked with a simple brown mat in front, something hard underneath which he would discover is a wrought iron key.

Unlocking the door and entering, he was first hit with the stench of stagnant air from the house being vacant and the windows unopened for an unknown period of time.

The interior was simple enough, large front room acting as a living area with its mode prominent features being a writing desk and a large rug with a pattern resembling a series of trapdoors, kitchen, and bedroom, an open door showing the bathroom while a closed door beside it must have led to the attic.

The young man went to open a window, but found it nailed shut. All the other windows were the same way. A lot of work would need to be done. Prying open the windows, dusting, maybe even some repairs, but first he'd write home.

***

The carriage driver drove down the road away from Dunwich, back the way they came three days ago. With Dunwich out of the sight, they came to a stop in the middle of the road where a man stood. His features were plain the only thing setting him apart from anyone else was they were dressed for a formal occasion.

The driver disembarked, producing a black cloth bag from inside their coat, handing it to the plain man in the formal clothing.

The plain man in the formal clothing looked inside the bag and smiled, his teeth white and orderly like a military cemetery.

"Perfect," the plain man in the formal clothing said, closing the bag. "Give Dagon my regards."

The plain man in the formal clothing stepped to the side of the road allowing the driver to continue their journey while he made his way down the road to Dunwich.

***

Dear Mother & Father,

I have arrived in Dunwich today, but I'm not sure how long it's been. I fell asleep on the way from Amityvale to Miskatonic. Miskatonic was a nice place, the people are very friendly. Lots of spiders though.

Arkham was a strange place. Not very welcoming. I hope Dunwich is a lot like Miskatonic.

Grandpa's house is a little strange. All the windows are nailed shut, but that's nothing too big to handle.

I hope you two are doing well and maybe you can visit once I get this house tidied up.

Sincerely, Robert.


He carefully folded the yellowed paper and placed it inside an envelope that was just as yellowed. He'll be needing new stationary if he wished to stay in contact with his parents. Assuming Dunwich has a courier of sorts.

He left his new home to find a courier and take in some fresh air. First thing he'd do and should've done was get those windows open.

***

Resting in a forgotten box in the attic, lied a pair of double-edged daggers with a simple skull motif. The daggers crashed through the window many years ago when darkness overtook the region and began to attune themself to the previous occupant, but were interrupted. With the demise of the previous occupant, the daggers had lied dormant until a new occupant roused them from their slumber. Hopefully this one will make it to final step unlike the previous occupant.

It'll be a long time to get them to fall in line, but this one's young, so it has all the time it needs.

Chapter V-A: Neighbours

Robert walked around Dunwich, taking in the sights for the most part. Some of the people looked at him with what may have been distrust while others viewed him as a tourist if not some ignorant bumpkin.

"Excuse me, sir," he said approaching a man on the street. "Is there a courier in town?"

The man was surprised, having not been paying attention to people on the streets. "Oh, uh yes," the man said regaining his composure. "Just go a few blocks that way and you'll find Rothbard Courier's," he said pointing down the street.

"Thank you, sir," Robert said carrying on his travels.

Rothbard Courier's was a simple building, its most prominent feature being a sign with the business's name on it in the shape of a raven. The interior was also quite simple with a counter where a middle aged woman, presumably Rothbard stood with the faint sounds of wings flapping and the various sounds ravens make.

"Hello, sir. What can I do for you?" the woman who is presumably Rothbard asked.

"I need a letter delivered Amityvale, ma'am," Robert said handing the yellowed envelope to the woman.

It was a quick transaction, but one that reminded him that he'd need to find some employment in the near future. But first he'd need to get his new house in order.

On his way home, Robert passed someone who stood out compared to the other people in Dunwich. He wore formal clothing, but his features were very plain. He tried not to stare, but he found it difficult. Something about this man was the strangest thing he had seen in the past couple of days. Even more weird than the fishy smelling and perpetually wet carriage driver.

Near his home, a young woman about his age tending to some flowers in her front yard. They were strangely lively and vibrant despite the lack of sun.

He had seen the flowers that grew in Crystal Clear Lake, protected by the werewolf, but the flowers she tended where nothing like the one's in the swamp. They looked like one's his mother had pressed from when she travelled to Greenguard when she was younger.

"Hello," the young woman said noticing Robert gawking at her or the flowers.

"Oh um, hello. Those are uh, lovely flowers, ma'am."

"Thank you. Lagretta grows miraculous flowers. No matter how long they sit, they never wilt or die. It's quite wonderful."

The young woman had long auburn hair and a pale complexion much like everyone else in Doomwood. She stood too far away to see her eyes.

"Wow, that's...that's amazing."

"I haven't seen you before, are you new in town?" she asked.

"Yes, I just got into town this morning, I think. It's been a strange couple of days."

"Oh, where did you come from?"

"Amityvale. I've inherited I guess my grandfather's house. It's just next door actually."

Robert gestured to his new home, looking away and not seeing the horror come across the woman's face. She looked away, feigning a cough to collect herself.

"Congratulations, neighbour," she said trying her best to sound level voiced. "I'm sorry to cut this short, but I have to attend to something inside. Good luck with your new house."

"Thank you, ma'am," Robert said oblivious to her panic.

When he got back inside, he realized he hadn't introduced himself, but figured he'd get another opportunity later. So far his first impression of Dunwich was a pleasant one.

Next he'd work on getting the windows open.

Chapter V-B: First Night

It was a bit of a hassle to pry the nails from the windows to get them open as they had been bent in such a manner as to make it impossible to remove. Thankfully that wasn't the case and the room was reborn.

Robert spent the majority of the day cleaning up the house. There was an old pump out back that gave him a view of the neighbour's yard which was filled with flowers as lively and vibrant as the one's in her front yard. She wasn't outside though which he was a little disappointed by.

The pump had gone unused for some time, so the first spurts of water were dirty and rust coloured, not fit for cleaning, but eventually the pump was flushed out and he'd be able to get to work making his new home something to be proud of. He'd be sure to include it in his next letter.

Robert sat on the bed, having gotten the sheets cleaned, feeling accomplished. There was still so much more to do though, but for now he'd sleep.

Sleep came quickly, but it was not lasting. Or at least it didn't feel like it was long lasting.

He awoke to the sound of whispering. It wasn't legible, sounding almost distant, but it was definitely there.

Sitting up he could see the moon's light shining in through the open windows, the curtains gently moving in the breeze.

Thinking the whispering came from outside, he got up, the wood floor cold on his bare feet and looked outside. No one was around nor were there any apparent signs of anyone being nearby.

Getting back to sleep wasn't easy. Whenever he seemed to finally fall asleep, the distant illegible whispering began.

Sleep did not come.

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 4/5/2019 2:08:35 >
DF  Post #: 1
3/2/2017 12:07:55   
NagisaXIkari
Member

Chapter VI: Day Two

I'm not sure how much I'm going to get done today. I'm just so tired after whatever was happening last night. Maybe I'll be able to take a nap. I hope whatever that whispering noise was isn't something major like the house is haunted and maybe it's just in my head or something because this is a whole new experience. I really want to like it here.

The light of the moon stung his eyes as he looked out the window, closing the curtains. Did it shine brighter during the morning hours or was it just because he didn't get any sleep last night?

Robert had a light breakfast partially due to being too tired to prepare more and also due to having limited rations. He figured he could stretch them out for a couple more days until he found some form of employment. Back in Amityvale, he often did odd jobs for the merchants and some of the other townspeople. Mostly just gathering some things or maybe weeding a garden for whatever grows in such a place. Perhaps he can find something like that in Dunwich.

When he left home, he noticed the neighbour lady wasn't tending to the flowers which was unfortunate, but he was also worried that he might be too caught up in her and his not having been able to introduce himself to her. Maybe even obsessed which was strange as he only met her the day before.

He needed a distraction. He needed to find a shop to find stationary that wasn't frail and yellowed with age. He needed to find a job.

In the center of town, he noticed some people were staring at him like perhaps because he's a stranger or they were distrustful of him. Hopefully he could change their opinions and earn their trust.

Robert came to a building just marked 'store.' The sign was large enough to include other text and it looked like it did at one point, but had worn off and probably wasn't worth the effort to repaint.

The shop seemed to have a bit of everything without specializing in anything in particular, but was diverse enough for many people to go to. The closest town being Arkham which was pretty far by carriage, it wasn't like there were really any other options.

He got mixed reactions from the other shoppers upon entering, the door ringing a bell placed above it. Some seemed indifferent while others were wary of him and in a move that Robert found quite painful, but was thankfully only one person had left the shop, leaving what would have been their purchase behind. He didn't stay too long to browse, nor did he ask the shopkeeper about employment opportunities.

Outside the shop, he looked down the street in the direction of Rothbard's Courier, contemplating if his parents sent him a response. He recalled the woman who was presumably Rothbard said it'd take at least three days if not more depending on various condition for a letter to arrive, but he was hopeful. And maybe he could ask her the question he wanted to ask the shopkeeper at 'store' about employment opportunities.

***

The young woman watched as her new neighbour walked passed her house through a crack in the curtains, taking longer than she thought was normal to go by. Was he admiring the flowers or was it something else? She could only hope he was interested in the flowers and nothing more.

Who would move into the house of the monster that had slain Laura? Why didn't the townspeople just burn it down after they chased him to the woods and stop him before he could harm anyone else?

Maybe the man around her age was unaware of what went on in that house? Would it be right to avoid and fear him if he was entirely ignorant of the situation?

She thought of Laura, the widow that lived two houses down from her. The house remained unoccupied except for when Lagretta went to water the flowers every other day. Laura was truly a wonderful gardener. Her flowers was all she had left after the darkness fell over the region all those years ago and her husband went out to fight and defend not only Dunwich, but Doomwood as well.

Maybe I should try talking to him, she thought. He seemed nice. I wonder if all men from...where did he say he was from again? Right, Amityvale. I wonder if all men from Amityvale are as polite as him.

She could feel herself blushing as she recalled how he had called her ma'am.

No one had referred to her like that since her father when she and him used to play store when she was a child. She always laughed and told him that was something you call old ladies. He'd always say 'like mommy,' if she were in earshot.

Her mother always laughed regardless of how many times she heard it before. It was always a convincing laugh, but the look in her mother's eyes said she had grown tired of hearing it.

The young woman shook her head. She couldn't waste the day thinking about things that felt like a lifetime ago, but she missed her parents everyday.

***

Robert waited in line behind two other people. The person in front of him was a woman he guessed was a few years older than he is, but he couldn't be certain and it definitely wasn't something he wanted to ask. Just the thought of it made him feel like the piercing gaze of his mother was boring into him as if she were scolding him when he was a child.

The person at the front of the line was a man about the age of Robert's father who was currently being reprimanded by the woman who is presumably Rothbard about how her courier only accepts letters. Anything else has to be sent by carriage. The man apologized profusely, making no attempt to hide his obvious embarrassment.

When he left, the woman ahead of him gave her letter to be mailed and then came Robert's turn. The woman who is presumably Rothbard didn't ask for a name or anything which he attributed to being memorable although whether or not that was good was a different matter entirely.

"Sorry kid, I got nothing. I told you it'd be three days," said the woman who was presumably Rothbard.

"Yes, I know, ma'am," Robert began trying to collect his thoughts while trying to avoid yawning. "I was wondering if you had any work. Or even knew someone who does."

"I got nothing, but Lagretta the florist has been saying she's been needing help around the shop and house. She doesn't have a husband and her kid is well...I ain't gonna talk about it. Stop on by and tell her Mises sent you, I'm sure she'll be more than happy," the woman who is not Rothbard said.

"Thank you, ma'am. This means a lot to me," Robert said excitedly.

"Hold on a minute, kid. You might want to get some sleep first. Lagretta ain't gonna tolerate someone falling asleep on the job and you look like you haven't slept at all."

"Err, yes, ma'am," Robert began feeling his face turn red. "Right away, ma'am."

He left the courier and began heading home, wondering why the establishment was called Rothbard's if the only person who appeared to be working there was namd Mises. Was it some kind of joke? Maybe Mises is her first name? It didn't seem polite to ask.

He glanced at the neighbour's yard as he passed her house and once again she wasn't outside. Perhaps she's in the back or maybe she does other things not related to flowers. He wasn't sure why he was so overly concerned.

He looked to the neighbouring house on the other side of his own, not sure why he hadn't before. Like the neighbour he had spoken to's house there were flowers arranged in the front, but they were much more abundant and colourful like those of a rainbow and then some. It was almost like a beacon somewhere in Doomwood, visible to those flying above.

Going inside, he placed the fresh stationary on the writing desk and then climbed into bed. Maybe he could get some of the sleep he didn't get the night before.

Sleep came to him and while it wasn't restless, it wasn't calm either.

Chapter VII: Three Days Later

Three days have gone by since I came to this place and...I haven't been able to sleep at night since then. I can barely sleep for a bit during the afternoon to make up for it. Am I homesick? It's been maybe a week since I left, but...I don't know.

I got a letter back from mom. I haven't read it yet, but I can't wait.


Robert's eyes were dark and heavy. For three days, something had been whispering and keeping him awake during the night. Illegible and barely there, but enough to disturb him and keep him awake.

He had to go to Lagretta's, but could he do that in the shape he was in? He was beginning to look like one of the undead.

He left the morning light of the moon almost blinding. The letter from home that arrived yesterday sitting on the desk. He'd be sure to read it after going to Lagretta's. He'd been putting it off on account of whatever was the cause of that whispering.

***

In the attic, the daggers rested. They were still too weak to begin a full-scale attack on the one downstair. Over the last couple of days, their power had steadily grown, the blades growing darker as a result. It'll be some time before it can regain the power it had before the madness overtook the previous occupant and the town brought them to what they consider justice.

The spirits inside the dagger continued to hunger. And this time they'd grow without the interference of the town.

***

Lagretta's an older woman about a couple years older than Robert's mother. Her hair still retained most of its natural black colour with a little grey around the edges. Lagretta looked like she wasn't originally from the region with her complexion that was darker than most people within the region. Perhaps she was from the Surewould region.

"Hello, young man, how can I help you?"

"Hello, ma'am. I was told by Mises you might have work."

Lagretta looked at Robert as if evaluating him which didn't help him feel any better about his appearance.

"Can you do any lifting?" Lagretta asked. "Can you count?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"All right, I'll give you a tour and you can start from there."

Lagretta showed him around the shop, Robert wondering just how all these flowers managed to grow and survive even in rooms with little light.

The tour ended with another store room with a padlocked door.

"That's the shop and storage area. Any questions? That aren't about that door."

"What do you want me to do first, ma'am?" Robert asked.

"That's the spirit, young man. There's some pot in the previous room that I need brought outside and filled with soil. We'll continue from there depending on the time."

"Yes, ma'am," Robert said enthusiastically as he set to work.

With Robert out of the way, it was time for Lagretta to prepare lunch. Her boys were hungry although only one required food.

***

With the work day complete and some gold in his pocket, Robert began to make his way home another work day ahead of him tomorrow.

He wasn't paying too much attention, feeling the gold pieces in his pocket while thinking about reading the letter from home and walked into another person.

"S-sorry," both he and the person a woman that he bumped into said locking eyes.

It was the young woman from next door.

"Sorry, ma'am," he said embarrassed.

"No, it's my fault."

She realized she hadn't seen him in three days despite telling herself she would at least learn his name. Was she still avoiding him?

The two stood staring vacantly at each other unsure of where to progress from this point. Robert was about to speak before the young woman opened her mouth.

"I uh, never got your name the other day."

Robert looked at her a little confused. While he had the same feeling, he never considered that this would be how he introduced himself and learned her name.

"Robert, ma'am. Pleased to make your acquaintance," he said extending his hand.

"Likewise. I'm Abigail," she said shaking his hand.

The two exchanged pleasantries and conversed about their day as they walked to their respective homes where they parted ways. During the entire time, Robert made no mention of his sleeping problems and Abigail never asked.

***

Inside Robert took the still sealed letter from home and opened it up.

Dear Robert,

We're so happy to hear you made it to Dunwich safely, we'll be sure to come visit as soon as we can. We apologize if the house is a little strange. To be honest I didn't see or hear from him much after I had met your father and he left Amityvale for Dunwich.

How are you doing so far? We hope you're not homesick and are as healthy as you were when you left Amityvale. We'd love to hear about Dunwich. It's been so long since either of us were there last.

Best wishes, your Mother & Father.


Despite the way the note was written, Robert knew his father didn't write it. He may have suggested things to include, but according to his mother, his father had horrible penmanship. Although he was kind of glad his mother wrote it. It gave him a feeling like she was there with him.

Robert began to write his own letter which he'd send out before reporting to Lagretta's.

Dear Mother & Father,

I've gotten the house tidied up. It was more work than I initially believed, but I think it paid off. I can't wait for you to come and see it.

I've been doing okay. Having a little trouble sleeping, but I think it's just because I'm a little homesick. I miss you both dearly.

Dunwich is really nice. The neighbour lady, Abigail has this really nice flower arrangement with flowers that I don't even think grow in Doomwood, but they seem to be doing just fine. I got a job with the florist Lagretta. Just doing some manual labour like moving pots and digging up places for flowers. Sometimes I water the flowers, but I think that's just something to be done out of habit.

Those two and the lady who I think runs the courier service, Mises are nice. It was Mises who told me about Lagretta needing help. But some people are...I don't know. It's kind of like in Arkham where people went out of their way to avoid me. Maybe they're not used to new people in town.

I hope you're both doing well.

Sincerely, Robert.


Robert folded the letter and placed it into an envelope to be sent off tomorrow morning.

Following a light meal, Robert yawned and prepared for bed hoping that after a hard days work, sleep would come easy and go through the night.

Sleep did come, but it didn't go through the night.

Chapter VIII: Lagretta

It'll be nice having some extra help around the shop. But something about that boy isn't right. Maybe he's just an insomniac that came to town the other day, but maybe he's something else entirely.

While Robert tended to the duties Lagretta had assigned to him, she passed through a door leading to her residence where she'd prepare lunch for her son.

It had started to become a hassle taking care of him, no longer being in a position to eat solid foot, but she need to keep some variance in his now liquid diet in order to keep him alive until the thing she made the pact with was finished. But then what? She made the pact so her flowers were everlasting. She could grow flowers that wouldn't be able to survive in this region under normal circumstances. Would the flowers die with her son?

Ensuring Robert was distracted and out of sight, Lagretta returned to the room the tour ended in. Producing a key she unlocked the door and crept inside, relocking the door from inside.

The interior of the room was large enough that it could have once served a purpose beyond the one is presently has. It was dark except for a lantern sitting on a table in the center of the room in front of a chair where someone sat while up above from the ceiling hung a ghastly creature, looming over the one in the chair like a dark cloud while its appendages hang low, bending like the tentacles of some abhorrent cephalopod, caressing the one in the chair.

The creature paid no mind to Lagretta as she came into the room and moved to feed her son, only staring at her while the light of the lantern reflects off its cold insect eyes.

After the years that she made the pact with the creature, she could not bear to look at it, the atrophied, almost skeletal figure in the chair being a constant reminder of her sins. Lagretta was grateful her son had withered away to the point where he was no longer able to speak, making this task easier, but the burden on her heart heavier. She had gone too far, but the creature was very specific in its contract that it'll only end when her son is no more otherwise it'd take them both.

She'd feed her son to a monster from a realm nothing like the darkness plaine, but she wouldn't sacrifice herself even if it only meant delaying the inevitable. Tears fell as she fed the nearly skeletal figure that passed as her son.

***

Lagretta prepared dinner for herself and her son. She rarely ate much, but she had to do something to try and keep up appearances. As far as anyone in town knew, her son had went somewhere far north. She hated lying to the townspeople, but there was so little she could do. She was desperate. Helpless.

When the plain looking man in the formal clothes came to her, she was unable to refuse.

Who was he? Why did he help her? What happens after?

***

The creature stared as Lagretta fed her son. It seldom spoke to her, not that she understood how it did instead it often made a sound like a ticking clock as if reminding or taunting her that time was almost up.

She wasn't sure if her son could even see at this point, his eyes sunk in and cloudy like a storm was approaching inside of them. Lagretta wanted to smile as he was no longer burdened with being able to see the monster that is his mother.

Like when feeding him lunch, Lagretta wept as she considered telling the monster she had enough. She wanted to free her son and herself from this pained existence, but she was too scared to die.

When she finished feeding her son, she returned to her residence where she barely touched her own meal before turning in for the night.

Chapter IX: One Week Later

It's more than homesickness. Maybe it's not even that. Something is definitely wrong with me. I can't sleep. The whispering grows closer. More coherent. It tells me things about this town. Unspeakable, abhorrent things. Things no one should be saying. I...I want to go home.

Robert looked at himself in the mirror, circles beneath his eyes like the night sky and his eyelids like weights. He figured he'd need to see a doctor or someone. Lagretta would likely know. He'd ask her when he went to the floral shop. She had to know.

A letter from home sat on the desk where he set it the day before. There was no way he could make sense of its contents presently. It saddened him deeply.

Robert squinted and shielded his eyes when he walked outside, the moon's light feeling like the sun to his sleep deprived eyes. He couldn't tell if Abigail was outside, his vision still disturbed. If she wasn't, he was okay with that not wanting to be seen in such a deplorable state.

The townspeople viewed Robert in different ways. Some looked concerned, but not enough to approach him about it while others seemed distrustful or even frightened and went out of their way to avoid him. It reminded Robert of Arkham when he wanted to live somewhere more like Miskatonic. Or even Amityvale.

***

In the attic, the daggers had grown even stronger, taking on a new form. The blades lightened, taking on a more silver colour while the skull emblem grew more detailed and malevolent as the dark spirits fed on the mind of the house's newest occupant. Even the guards took on a more sinister appearance.

But there was still a way to go before the process would be complete and they'd be able to become one with the occupant.

***

At the floral shop, Robert could hear the whispering in the back of his mind as if he were still at home. The whispers told him of what Lagretta did to ensure her flowers are everlasting.

He didn't want to think of what he had heard, he just wanted to do his job. There's no way those whispers could be true. It was just too despicable.

"Are you doing okay, Robert?" Lagretta asked. "You look like the living dead."

"I'm not sure, ma'am. I haven't been sleeping too well since I got here. I think maybe I'm coming down with something."

"I hate to say this, but you should take the day off. I'll manage without you for a day or so."

"I'll be okay, ma'am," Robert said trying to suppress a yawn in an attempt to sound convincing.

"Robert, you look like you're struggling to stay awake talking to me. Take the day off. Go down the street and turn left when you see the grocer. You won't be able to miss the apothecary. Jackson should be able to give you something that can help you sleep. Bit of an oddball though, so be sure to watch yourself."

"Okay. Thank you, ma'am," Robert said sounding defeated.

The walk to the apothecary was like the walk to Lagretta's shop with townspeople viewing him with concern and distrust, going out of their way to avoid him.

Inside the apothecary was like something he had never seen before. It's a well lit shop with shelves of vials, flasks, and all kinds of other containers containing strange plants, fungi, and other things he had never seen before.

"Greetings, young man," said a man who strangely looked like a stage magician said excitedly as he appeared to spring up from behind the counter like a spring-loaded toy. "What can I do for you?"

Robert was taken aback by the strange merchant and had to resist the urge to turn around and leave.

"Lagretta told me you could give me something to help me sleep, sir."

"Ah, Lagretta is a smart one, young man. And by the looks of it, you could really use some sleep."

Robert tried not to show that he wasn't offended as Jackson came around the counter to look over the contents of the various shelves.

"Let's see, some Azure Leaf, Diamond Dust, some-" Jackson covers his mouth to sneeze into his sleeve, apologizing. "A little bit of this, and some Death Powder."

"Death Powder," Robert exclaimed, taking a step back.

"Oh, it's just a name. It's often used to make dyes," Jackson said not doing a good job in convincing Robert as he went back behind the counter where he began to mix the ingredients in a bowl. "Brew a spoonful it into a tea when you want to get that sleep you desperately need. If one doesn't do you any good, try two, but never try more. I'm not kidding around when I say that. And I'm going to be honest, this concoction may cause some weird dreams. If they get particularly frightening, stop taking it."

Jackson waited for Robert to take this new information in. On one hand, he would like to be able to sleep for the first time in a week, but on the other hand, he'd prefer something with less dire side effects.

"Is there something that has less terrible sounding side effects, sir?"

"There is, but they won't do you any good at this point. To be honest, I shouldn't even be making this up for you at this point, but you aren't the first person to come in here looking as you do now."

"Oh...okay, sir."

Robert wondered what Jackson meant by him not being the first person to see Jackson about this sort of ordeal, but he knew it wasn't his place to pry and it's probably for the best if he didn't know in the first place.

***

Near his home, Robert could see Abigail tending to the flowers outside her home. He began to wonder what she could possibly be doing with flowers that did not wilt or die. It was when it became apparent that he was staring too long that she noticed him and smiled which turned to concern.

"Are you okay, Robert?"

"Yes, ma'am. Just a little trouble sleeping. Thank you for your concern though."

"Um, okay. You're welcome. Say uh, Robert. Would you like to come over for dinner some time? When you're feeling better or don't have anything else happening."

Robert's eyes widened for the first time in days while he struggled to find the right words.

"I'd lo- er...yes, that'd be nice. Thank you."

"Wonderful. Let me know whenever you're up to it," Abigail beamed.

***

Feeling revitalized from Abigail's invitation, Robert opened the letter from his parents.

Dear Robert,

We're so happy to hear everything is going well for you. We'll be sure to come visit as soon as we can.

We miss you too and hope you get better. And we're confident the people of Dunwich will grow to like you as everyone in Amityvale did.

We're doing just fine and wish you the best of luck with your new job.

Best wishes, your Mother & Father.


Robert threw the letter on the floor in horror, in bold red letters the word furorem over and over again. A word that meant nothing to him, but to find it all over what should have been a letter from home frightened him to no end.

He had to be seeing things. He hadn't been sleeping well after all, so it had to be related to that. The mixture Jackson provided for him would help him sleep. He'd read the letter after finally sleeping. Surely it would make sense then.

He went to the kitchen area, looking through the cupboards. Jackson said to brew the mixture into a tea. Surely there was a kettle or something in one of the cupboards.

He found one. Grey with dust, but it'd suffice. In the same cupboard was a bag much like the one Jackson gave him. Just a simple brown paper bag.

He hadn't spent much time doing anything with the kitchen. He mostly just sorted out a few cupboards and discarded long rotting food. He never looked in this cupboard and right now wasn't the best time to be doing so, but there was a temptation to learn something about his grandfather even if it just amounted to what kind of tea he drank.

First he began by lighting the stove and letting the fire build up. When outside to get water from the well, he felt fear over going back inside, but also anxious to do so. The temptation to go inside was overwhelming and won over him.

While the pot began to heat up, he prepared what would be his tea. It was a strange mixture of red, black, and silver with the black being the most dominant.

He opened the bag that was leftover from when his grandfather lived in the house. It was faded with age, but the mixture inside was the same as what he had been preparing to consume.

Chapter X: Nightmare

Did...did my grandfather have the same experience that I'm having now? I shouldn't have left Amityvale. I shouldn't have come here. I want to go home. I want to sleep without the aid of some bitter drink. I'm...I...

The bitter drink took hold quickly and Robert drifted off to sleep before he could finish his diary entry.

Something was off about the house when he awoke. Or so he thought. The house was darker than usual even for the obscure corner of Doomwood where Dunwich sat.

Looking outside even Dunwich seemed strange. The sky was dark with touches of other colours swirling in the sky. The surreal sight was almost mesmerizing.

There was a knock on the door leading to the attic and a creak as the door opened slightly.

Robert looked at the slightly ajar door, a clear and coherent whisper telling him to follow. There was no mistaking that it was the same whisper that had plagued him since he stepped foot into the house.

Neither door to the outside would open and outside he could see outlines of things gathering around the house. Some were vaguely human while others appeared less than human and more monstrous.

"Follow," said the voice in Robert's ear, its cold breath sending chills throughout his body.

He turned around seeing he was alone assuming the thing whispering in his ear could be seen through mortal eyes.

Thumping sounded from above. Someone or something was in the attic. Perhaps it was a trick by whatever specter haunted the house, trying to lure him into the attic.

He spent most of his life in Amityvale, he was familiar with ghosts and other haunts, but there was always someone who could deal with it. The Rose, the Paladin Order, travelling exorcists, but there was no one this time. He had to somehow solve his own problems. But was this something a regular person could solve?

He looked out the window at the cornucopia of silhouettes surrounding his house and the doors that would not open to the windows that had been nailed shut before he arrived then to the rug with the pattern like a series of trap doors. In this dreamscape, an already foreign house seemed completely alien to him.

The thumping grew louder as if whatever was up there was angry or desperate for Roger's attention. He had no other option, but to go upstairs.

The wood creaked with every step, kicking up dust and filling his nostrils.

The inside of the attic was dark and smelled like the main floor before Robert got the windows open. It took a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the darkness where he could see the faint outlines of various boxes.

Robert could hear something shuffling around in the darkness, its footsteps wet like those of the carriage driver. A wet shambling thing was in the attic with him, hiding within the darkness, possibly hunting him.

Feeling around the boxes, Robert moved hoping to avoid the wet shambling thing in the attic.

"Family," said the voice as close to him now as it was downstairs, the same chill running through his body.

Moving around the boxes, Robert began to hear a low droning sound that seemed to amplify the sound of the wet shambling thing.

"History," said the voice, the chill growing colder.

The droning and wet shambling grew louder as Robert approached a box radiating a faint red aura, flickering in and out of existence.

"Furorem," said the voice sending ice through his veins as he got closer to box with the red aura, the droning and wet shambling growing louder as he did so.

Inside the box, he saw the daggers. the black and silver beginning to take on a blood red colour, the droning and wet shambling ceasing.

Robert could faintly see something in front of him on the other side of the box, a gurgled and wet sound coming from whatever it may be like it was choking on something.

The aura from the daggers progressively grew and died, showing the thing on the other side of the box as it grew and concealing it in the darkness as it died.

The thing was the same height as Robert, its attire torn and dirty, its feature unrecognizable beneath the bruises, blood and filth. It appeared to be trying to speak, but it only gargled as blood trickled from its mouth.

"Furorem," the voice repeated, the freezing sensation growing painful.

Robert stared at the thing on the other side of the box, blood trickling from its mouth as it tried to speak.

"Grand...father?"

The thing on the other side of the box grabbed Robert by the collar and pulled him close.

"In your dreams, I walk with you."

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 4/5/2019 2:09:18 >
DF  Post #: 2
4/7/2017 10:52:16   
NagisaXIkari
Member

Interlude I: The Liferuiner

I'm an irredeemable monster cast aside by the Avatars into a Hell of my own making. I wanted to make this corner of Doomwood that no one dares tread beautiful. I wanted a life of luxury for my work. What kind of person...what kind of mother am I? My own son. Sacrificed for my own selfish desires.

There was a knock on Lagretta's door, interrupting her morning ritual of preparing breakfast for her son and weeping for her son and her sins.

Lagretta wiped her eyes and tried to make herself appear presentable, her red eyes betraying her should whoever was at the door care enough to notice. Despite her work for the town of Dunwich, no one came to visit her. She crafted an appearance and story for herself to try and conceal her guilt from the world around her, but the reality is she only tried to convince herself she was a respectable individual within the Dunwich community in spite of her flaws.

When she opened the door, a man stood outside. His attire looked like he would be more suited for an event being held at the castle in Swordhaven rather than Dunwich. His face was hard to describe. It was quite plain with no real discernible features, but whenever Lagretta was no longer looking at it even if she so much as blinked, it was like looking at it for the first time.

She recognized the man's clothing from the night when she summoned the creature that feeds on the life of her son, but his face seemed new to her as it did whenever it was no longer in sight.

"Good morning, Lagretta," the man said. "May I speak with your guest?"

"My...oh, right. Are...are you here to get rid of it?" Lagretta asked, hopeful, her eyes beginning to tear up.

"Oh no, I'm afraid I can't do that. That is between you and it. I'm here on other matters," the plain faced man in the formal clothing said almost gleefully.

His words hurt Lagretta more than her own actions hurt her.

"Right..." she said, defeated.

Lagretta led him through her home and into the shop to the room where her son and the monster were kept. Unlocking the door, she let him, but did not follow.

A horrifying hiss and a wail soon followed. The man came out of the room soon after.

"Now's your chance, but I will tell you, it's not in the best mood right now. I'll see myself out."

As the man left the shop, Lagretta took a deep breath. Today was the day, she was going to die.

Chapter XI: The Next Morning

What was that dream...that nightmare about? It was so vivid like it actually happened. What if all that stuff in the attic in my nightmare is actually there? Should I look? What if that thing is up there too? And what did it mean by "In your dreams, I walk with you?"

Robert woke up feeling rested for the first time since he came to Dunwich. Frightened and covered in sweat, but rested. The apothecary's tea had worked.

In the bathroom mirror, the dark circles around his eyes were still visible, but a couple more nights of sleep with the aid of that tea should fix that. He thought of the nightmare he had the night before and the bag of the same tea that must have belonged to his grandfather. He needed to know more, but didn't know where to begin. His parents insisted they didn't know, but what if they were hiding something? And he didn't have a name to even ask anyone in town.

He picked the letter from home off the floor, the words legible to him and reassuring. The idea of his parents coming to visit was reassuring. He'd be sure to write back after work.

After breakfast, Robert went outside where he saw a peculiar sight not like that of what he saw in the nightmare. The flowers that decorated the exterior of the vacant house next to his had withered and died as did the one's outside of Abigail's house where Abigail was at work pulling the dead flowers from the earth.

Abigail stood up to wipe the sweat from her brow, smearing dirt across her forehead in the process. Robert figured she must have woken up quite early when she noticed him, forcing a smile.

"Good morning, Robert."

"...Good morning, Abigail. What um...happened to the flowers?"

"I don't know. I just woke up this morning and the flowers inside were all withered and dead. I'll have to go see Lagretta when I'm done here."

"I'll be there to give you hand when you come by," Robert said cheerfully.

Abigail smiled in what seemed like a long time. Robert wondered if that smile is what the sun looked like and felt content to believe that and with a farewell he set off towards Lagretta's, noticing dead flowers all around town.

A crowd was gathered outside of Lagretta's shop, Robert's first instinct telling him it was people upset over their everlasting flowers having died, but as he got closer it became apparent that was not the case.

"A set of men's clothes were found in a chair in that room she always kept locked."

"You don't think she-"

"Who cares what she did with her own time?"

"Didn't she have a son?"

"He's up north or something."

"Said she was shriveled up like a dehydrated fruit."

"That's absurd."

"You don't think it was a vampire, do you?"

"There are no vampires around Dunwich. Besides, they have to be invited in."

"That's preposterous. Where did you hear that?"

Robert tried to move through the crowd, some people moving while others he had to work around. Robert didn't even notice that distrustful looks he was getting from those who willingly moved.

"What are you doing here, kid?" an older man asked, eyeing Robert suspiciously.

"I was employed by Ms. Lagretta, sir."

"Oh? When was the last time you had contact with her?" the man asked, the suspicion never leaving his gaze.

"About this time yesterday. She told me to go home because I wasn't looking well."

"And you're still not. Who are-"

"Give it a rest, Konrad," a male voice shouts from the crowd, others speaking up in agreement.

"Eh, all right. Guess you're out of a job, kid," the man identified as Konrad said.

Robert wanted to ask more about what happened, but it definitely wasn't a good time and while he was curious, he needed to find a new job and there was the manner of what might have been in his attic and the nature of his nightmare.

As the crowd began to disperse, some people going inside the flower shop to presumably remove the body or what was being considered Lagretta's body based on the speculation of the townspeople, Robert turned to go back home, saddened by the death of Lagretta as well as not having the opportunity to aid Abigail in her floral ventures.

Chapter XII: That Afternoon

This town isn't right. Nothing like this had happened in Amityvale. What else could happen? My house is possibly haunted, strange dream, Lagretta dying. Should I just go back to Amityvale? How would I even get there? I can't fight. I doubt I could afford an escort. I don't even think there's a carriage here. Is there really anything I can do? I feel so helpless. I feel so...tired.

Robert lie in bed, thinking about what he should do. Thinking about trying to sleep, but whenever he closed his eyes the whispers began. Coherent and close by, telling him awful things. The cause of Lagretta's fate and what she did to ensure her flowers were everlasting until the guilt broke her.

His eyes snapped open as he sat up, looking around for the source of the whisper. The room was empty, only the curtains of an open window moving in the gentle afternoon breeze.

It's too early in the day to brew any of the sleep inducing tea and the idea of what kind of nightmare may come from it made him wary. It was only something he should do if he was absolutely desperate.

He thought about the nightmare. The thing in the attic. The box with the daggers. Was all of that real?

He looked at the closed door that lead to the attic and wondered if he should go look or not. Since moving in he hadn't gone upstairs at all as he spent more time on getting the main floor in order, but what if the attic had answers to his questions? Although what if the house is haunted and whatever is haunting the house is dwelling in the attic? He needed a break. He needed to think about something else.

Standing up, he went to the door, got his shoes on an walked out, feeling the gentle afternoon breeze on his skin, he began to walk. He wasn't sure where he would go, but he just wanted to be away from home for a bit.

He went by Abigail's house, a pile of dead flowers on tossed to the side of the front yard. Abigail was nowhere in sight, possibly inside taking a break or maybe in the backyard uprooting all the dead flowers there.

Robert found himself staring at the dead flowers, a feeling of sadness coming over him. What did Abigail do to deserve this? At the same time what compelled him to empathize so much with her? He understood it was perfectly normal to empathize with someone during troubled times, how he felt was beyond that.

Robert shook his head. He was standing outside Abigail's house for too long and it made him uneasy like he was becoming a stalker or even obsessed with her. Or perhaps something less off putting and sinister.

***

The crowd around Lagretta's had dispersed while the citizens of Dunwich went about their day, some still whispering about what the possible cause of Lagretta's death was and what the set of clothing seemingly propped in an empty room could mean.

Lagretta was respected in the Dunwich community, but even those of high standing are not immune to having rumours started about them especially once they're no longer among the living.

Robert paid no mind to the people as they gossiped, his mother having always warned him to not pay attention to such things.

He looked towards the floral shop, the various flowers that once lit up the exterior of the shop having wilted and died in seemingly no time at all. He thought of Abigail and how she may have felt upon seeing all the work she put into making her home look beautiful wasted in possibly the blink of an eye.

He thought of Lagretta. Robert barely knew her, but she was kind to him and concerned about his wellbeing in a way that reminded him of a mother. He had to keep walking to prevent himself from crying. Father always said it wasn't right for a man to cry in public although mother always disagreed and believed all people should express their emotions whenever they saw fit.

During his travels, he saw a man outside a shop with a few empty stands, sweeping the stoop. The shop was set up similar to Lagretta's, indicating the man may also live in an area separate from the rest of the shop.

The man noticed Robert and stopped sweeping.

"Damn shame what happened to Lagretta, huh?" the man said sounding far too casual in Robert's opinion.

"Yes, sir."

The man looked at Robert as if he recognized him from somewhere before finally coming to a realization.

"You worked for Lagretta, right?" the man asked.

"Yes, sir. For a few days."

"Right, you mentioned that to Konrad, the old fool. Say, you're still new in town and a young man has to eat and I ain't as spry as I used to be, so how about working for me a couple of days a week?"

Robert looked at the man in surprise. "I'd be glad to, sir."

"All right. Name's Joseph, can you start tomorrow morning," Joseph asked extending a hand.

"Robert, sir. Absolutely," Robert said shaking Joseph's hand.

He was having some outstanding luck despite recent events. Luck he would hope continue while he planned out what he'd tell his parents in his next letter.

***

As Robert returned home, he noticed Abigail waiting outside his house. Part of him was confused and worried as he was afraid she may have noticed his staring at her house, but at the same time his heart skipped a beat. He was happy to see her, but he knew he couldn't approach her with a smile. She was probably aware by now of Lagretta's death and it wouldn't be appropriate.

He took a moment to collect himself, thinking that she's probably wondering what he's doing.

"Hello, Abigail," Robert said trying to not appear nervous.

He could feel his heart beating against his chest as if it was a caged animal desperate to escape.

"Hi, Robert. Do you um...mind if I come inside?"

Robert was startled by her question and struggled to find an answer as if choking on his words or trying to keep his heart from jumping out through his mouth.

"N-not at all."

Robert fumbled to unlock the door, apologizing as he did so before finally getting it open. The room was dark in the early evening moonlight or perhaps it was late afternoon. Time was easier to tell in Amityvale than in Dunwich.

Once Robert got a lamp lit, he asked Abigail to have a seat while he took a seat at the desk. Abigail seemed to be staring at the strange patterned carpet, possibly trying to gather her thoughts or possibly judging Robert's interior design choices.

"You heard about Lagretta, right?" Abigail asked finally breaking the silence which Robert was beginning to think wouldn't end.

"Yes. It's very tragic."

"Do you think there's anything strange about this town?"

"What do you mean?"

Robert did think there were strange things about the town, but as an outsider he felt it was best he didn't comment on them to avoid being rude simply because they weren't customs he was familiar with such as the eccentric apothecary or the seemingly misnamed courier service. Or even some of the inhabitants that reminded him of Arkham.

"Like those flowers. Most of them only grew in Surewood, but they grew here where there is no sun with no problem. And then they died in probably manner of minutes," Abigail explained, her voice uneven. "Or how Lagretta seems to have died. Some people are thinking vampires, but there hasn't been a vampire spotted near Dunwich since before I was born."

"What if one came by?"

"One normal vampire couldn't have done and there's no way a vampire elder or something would come all the way out here to attack a florist."

"You don't think it could be something else, do you?"

"I don't know. I hope not because there's no way we could contact someone to get here in time to deal with it and no one here has the skills to deal with. We don't even get bandits out here, we're so isolated. It's just- oh Avatars, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to come here to talk your ears off with my paranoid ramblings," Abigail said, looking away in embarrassment.

Robert resisted the urge to smile. She was clearly troubled, but something about her reaction made him happy. It almost made him forget the feeling of his heart trying to escape his chest.

"It's okay. Say everything you need to say."

"I came here because I uh...wanted to...um, check up on you."

Robert couldn't hide the shock in his eyes even through the bags and dark circles under and around them.

"I don't want to pressure you, but I was kind of hoping you thought about that um...dinner suggestion I made the other day."

"It's no problem. Joseph just offered me a job and I kind of started sleeping better, so how does..." he trailed offed mentally counting how many days it's been since he arrived in Dunwich coming to a conclusion at eight days. "How does five day from now sound?"

"That'd be fine. If you're still not sleeping very well, we can postpone it. You don't have to push yourself for me or anything. Oh, and congratulations of finding a new job."

"Thank you, I'll be fine."

***

"I'll see you later," Abigail said standing in the doorway of her home.

Robert's father always told him a man should walk a lady to her door when it came to travelling at night even in Doomwood where it was always night.

Robert wondered if his grandfather had taught his father these things or if it were someone else, but he figured he should instil the same teachings into his own son should he have one.

"I'll see you later, too. Goodnight, Abigail."

"Goodnight, Robert."

Robert felt like skipping home, yipping and hollering without a care about the other residents in the area. He was overcome with strange and wonderful feelings.

He was in love.

Chapter XIII: Day Thirteen

Today is the day I meet with Abigail. Is this a date? I wish I had talked to father about this kind of thing. It's been awhile since I've written home. Everything going on lately has been so overwhelming. I should do that after my meeting with Abigail.

Robert returned home from working at Joseph's grocer. It was a long day being quite busy and a lot of repeat customers in the sense that some people came by multiple times during the day. People who had come by multiple times the day before.

The townspeople seemed incredibly wealthy despite appearing to have no form of trade with other towns in the region. Just how did people make a living in Dunwich?

Robert counted his earnings from the last couple of days and was startled by how much money he had earned. It was far more than he made working for Lagretta and possibly far more than anything his parents had made. It was quite alarming, but his father had always told him, it was up to the next generation to live better than the previous thanks to the work put in by the previous one.

Robert realized he was getting too lost in thought over something that could wait until later. He needed to get ready and make himself look presentable. He had purchased some relatively formal looking clothing. He would have liked to bring flowers, but there were no longer any in town and he wasn't sure what else would be applicable.

***

Believing himself to be presentable, Robert prepared to walk out the door stopping to look over his shoulder towards the attic door.

Every night he had the same dream about going into the attic and the beaten and bloody figure saying the same words. "In your dreams, I walk with you," it would say and then he'd wake up.

It was an improvement over the whispering, but occasionally he'd still hear it when he was awake. Whispers telling him horrible things about the townspeople and how the town and its people are able to prosper as well as the fates that befell them, most recently Lagretta.

He pushed the thoughts back and stepped outside into the night's light.

The light of the full moon had a strange calming effect on him but it was still nothing like in Amityvale like a thin black sheet was pulled over the area, dimming the moon's light.

The walk to Abigail's seemed to take longer than it should have as he seemed lost in thought thinking about life back in Amityvale especially how the moon shone brighter there than it did anywhere else he had been since leaving. His parents told him of a time when Doomwood was cloaked in perpetual darkness which made him wonder just how dark this area was then.

Standing outside Abigail's door, he shook his head trying to clear these other thoughts away. They weren't important. Not now, not later.

***

Abigail raced through the house to get everything ready for Robert's arrival. She had never been this nervous before. From her first meeting with Robert to everything leading up to this day. She was uncertain what drew her to him. He was an outsider, but she somehow felt like she could relate to him. Maybe it had just been a long time since someone around her age was present in town after everyone else left under different circumstances.

Maybe I should do the same, she thought.

But where would she go and how would she get there? Dunwich was far away from anywhere that could even pass as normal in Doomwood let alone somewhere outside the region. Almost like the town was intentionally built faraway from anything for some sinister purpose.

Abigail shook her head trying to clear her mind. This wasn't the time for questioning her remaining in Dunwich, this was a time for joy after recent events. Perhaps even starting a new chapter in her life. Maybe one with Robert playing a major role.

She felt her face grow hot as she blushed which quickly faded when a knock on the door brought her back to her senses, startling her.

Opening the door, Abigail could see Robert illuminated by the moon's light as if standing under a spotlight. He looked different than usual, his clothing being much neater and formal than the often scrubby clothes she had seen him in usually. It was almost like looking at a different person.

"Hello, Abigail," Robert said with a smile.

Robert looked Abigail over trying to not make himself look obvious about it. His thoughts mirrored her own. From the usual scrubby attire he had seen her in multiple times when tending to her flowers to a modest blue dress. It almost reminded him of one his mother had that she said she got in Swordhaven. For a second Robert almost thought that Abigail looked a lot like his mother when she was younger.

"Hi, Robert. You um...you look very handsome," Abigail stammered feeling her face grow hot.

Robert was taken back, a blush coming over his face as well. "T-thank you. You too...er I mean-"

Abigail let out a small laugh. "Thank you. Please, come in."

***

The two sat in relative silence during the meal. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence, the silence occasionally being broken by idle conversation about what they thought of the town not mentioning Abigail's appearance at Robert's a few days ago.

Robert wanted to ask more about her such as how she sustains herself despite living alone and seemingly only tending to the flowers that were once outside her house, but figured it'd too intrusive.

Most of what was brought up was about Robert's experiences with the town so far which he wasn't entirely sure on how to answer for the most part. It was nice enough for the most part with friendly enough people "and best of all, I met you," Robert had said.

Abigail felt like today was the most she had ever blushed in her life, she was beginning to wonder if she had any blood in the other parts of her body left.

***

Abigail led Robert to the door some time later, the two mainly enjoying each others company until the world outside grew darker indicating it had been getting late although were sure how late having lost any sense of time.

"Thank you for having me over, Abigail."

"You're welcome. And thank you for coming over. We...we should do this again some time."

"I'd appreciate that. Goodnight, Abigail."

Robert turned and opened the door, stopping when Abigail grabbed his hand. He turned around to look at her, her face the brightest shade of red he had ever seen.

With a kiss on the cheek, she let go and looked away, trying to hide her embarrassment, a smile visible on the corner of her mouth. "Goodnight, Robert."

Robert felt like is heart was gonna explode from his chest as he resisted the urge to run home yipping and hollering much like he felt a few days before.

Despite its flaws and mysteries, Dunwich had been good to him. He wanted to repay the town in some way, but he wasn't sure how.

***

Robert entered his home, turning to close the door while butterflies flew around in his stomach to the rhythm of his beating heart, a sensation that would stop cold when he turned around and illuminated by the moonlight coming in from the window, saw someone or something kneeling on the floor of his kitchen weeping over something only it could see.

Whatever he was looking at bare an uncanny resemblance to him like he was looking at an event in his life that has yet to take place.

It looked at him, its face streaked with tears and blood. It looked exactly like Robert.

"What have I done?" the other Robert asked.

Robert stepped and stumbled back, falling to the floor.

"What have I done?" the other Robert asked again.

Robert closed his eyes and gave his head a shake, refusing to believe what he was seeing was real and when he opened his eyes, he was alone.

Chapter XIV: Prosperity

Working at the grocer has been a great opportunity. I don't know how or why, but Joseph was both incredibly wealthy and generous with his money. The townspeople are incredibly wealthy. They could all be nobles in Greenguard, but they stay in this far corner of Doomwood. It's baffling. I wonder what I could or should do with this money. I've never had this much before. I've never seen this much money before. I can't wait to tell mother and father. It's been awhile since I've written them. I bet I could find them a home anywhere in the world. I could be with Abigail anywhere in the world.

Robert concluded his work for the day, Joseph giving him his pay for the day. Joseph also had a small smile on his face whenever he saw the amazement on Robert's face whenever he got his pay.

Robert never asked how the people of Dunwich got their money. As strange as it appeared, his father always told him it was never polite to ask people about their money. Robert knew how he made his money and he knew or at least assumed it was through honest work.

***

On his way home, Robert saw Abigail through her window although he couldn't tell what she was doing, their eyes met and they both smiled and waved.

Robert thought of the money he had made working for Joseph. He heard adventurers often had the same if not more, but it was through days, weeks, months, or even years of travelling and going through various places slaying monsters and aiding people they come across over their travels, but he amassed such a large amount or at least large to him in only a few days.

He thought about Abigail's arrival at his home a few days ago and her questioning him about what he thought about the town.

The town was indeed strange even more so than anything that had ever happened in Amityvale, but was that so wrong? Despite the strange things that occurred in this town, there have been more positives in his life then negatives. He met Abigail and amassed what was to him a large sum of money although as his father said regarding his marriage to Robert's mother, as long as he was with her, he was wealthier than any lord or ruler.

***

Dear Mother & Father,

I apologize for not writing sooner, I've had a lot going on lately. I've met a really nice woman. She lives next door. Her name is Abigail and three days ago I went over to her home for dinner. It was a wonderful time. She's the first and so far only person in town I can really say is my friend.

I've also gotten a new job with a grocer and the pay is...it's unimaginable. I don't know how this is possible, but it's...almost frightening. The florist passed away and with her went the town's beauty.

Anyway, I trust you two are doing well. I hope I didn't worry you with my not writing you back sooner. I'll be sure to write back sooner next time.

Sincerely, Robert.


Robert brewed some of the tea to aid his sleep. He remember Jackson saying to stop drinking it if the dreams got too frightening, but so far they weren't or so Robert told himself. A single spoonful was still enough for him to sleep soundly in spite of the dreams. Perhaps the next day he'd try to sleep without the tea. He thought about it, but at the same time was also too afraid of what would happen if he didn't. The voices would undoubtedly persist again.

***

As with every night he drank the apothecary's tea, sleep came easy to Robert, but the dream was different this time around. It wasn't his house that he found himself in. It was a palace compared to the home he was born in and the one he lived in in Dunwich.

Despite the differences, it still felt like home. But there was more to it than that. Unlike the dream that took place in his home, it didn't have the strange dark film over it like it was in an entirely different domain.

He found himself in a large bedroom in a bed big enough for two, one side looking as if someone had been sleeping there but slipped out. The room was decorated with images of landscapes of places he was certain he had never been to and likely would never travel to. The room was pleasant, but there was something unnerving about it. A shadow was cast over the room almost like a web or a bird cage.

Leaving the room he came to a short hallway with portraits of his parents and people he didn't recognize along the walls, the same web or cage-like shadow cast along the walls. The hallway led to a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room all of which had the same shadow cast over it and in the living room was Abigail.

Abigail wore a dress he believed the noblewomen of Swordhaven wore. To him, she had never been more beautiful.

"Good morning, Robert. Did you sleep well?"

"Yes."

A Robert felt bashful over the implication that the person who was next to him in the bed was Abigail. Something he was certain would not happen for a long time.

"Um...Abby," Robert began the name Abby coming to him naturally. "What is all this?"

"All this? What do you mean?"

"This house, your dress, everything in this house. Where did it all come from?"

Abigail looked confused by Robert's words. "It came from you. Because of you. The fortune you've amassed through your hard work in Dunwich. It let you do what you've wanted to do. Be anywhere in the world with me away from that strange place."

"That's..." Robert took a step back, trying to wrap his head around all this. "Excuse me."

Robert turned down the hall, shaking his head and rubbing his eyes.

This is all a dream, he thought. A very real feeling and tempting dream, but still a dream.

Robert entered the kitchen. It seemed like the right thing to do, but would getting a glass of water really have the same effect in a dream as it does in reality? He didn't know and wouldn't have a chance to find out. Something was shambling down the hall, bumping into the walls.

Robert figured it was the beaten and bloody thing from his previous dreams. He was expecting it, but this was something else. Something sinister that perhaps even those within the Darkness Plain would forsake.

The thing looked as if it may have been human as its body below the neck suggested, but he couldn't see its face. Its head was turned up as if so the horrific black and tarnished gold double-edged daggers protruding from it had to be pointing straight up.

The thing bumped into door frame. Even in a dream, Robert worried about Abigail. He tried to call out to her, but couldn't. The words died in his throat.

The things head dropped to look directly at him, horribly snapping and popping noises coming from the thing as if every bone in its neck had to break in order to look forward. Robert could barely make some of its features out, the things face tarnished with black ichor like tar and dried blood, but he recognized some of its features as his own.

He backed up into the counter as the thing approached, staggering. The daggers protruding from the things eyes, but somehow it was able to walk directly towards Robert.

"I walked," the thing said in a voice Robert could never mistake for anything but his own. "All I could do was walk."

Robert tried to move out of the things path, but no matter what direction he tried to move in, the thing was always coming directly towards him. He turned around, hoping there was a window behind him he could flee from. It was his dream house after all. Whatever he could want should be present, right? His back wasn't to the thing. No matter how he move, the room seemed to move with him in such a way that it always kept him lined up with the thing.

"Finding a me that wasn't me, walking in front of myself," the thing continued.

The thing grabbed Robert by the neck, his eyes meeting the points of the daggers that still stuck out from the thing that almost looked like him but sounded exactly like him.

"The only me is me," Robert found himself saying for reasons he could not fathom.

The pain was sharp, but was soon over and before long all Robert could feel was cold as the life left his body. It was just a dream, right? None of this was real. But it felt so real. The sharp metal of the daggers as they pierced his eyes, the warmth of his blood washing down his face, the chilling touch of death. It all felt so real. The last thing he heard was the thing speaking "Are you sure the only you is you?"

Chapter XV: Insomnia

I can't drink any of that tea because of the nightmares, but I can't sleep because of the voices. I'm slipping back to how I was previously. It has to be the house, but what if it's the entire town? Abigail thinks something is wrong with the town. What if she's right? I have money, I can leave this place. Abigail and I can go anywhere and start...a...new life. Just like in the nightmare...

Joseph had commented on Robert's appearance about him looking scruffy and it overall not being a good look for working with people and even went on to recommend the local barber.

He went to the barber for a trim, but turned down a shave. Cutting his own hair and it being presentable was beyond him, but he could shave. Or so he thought having to frequently dab at his face when the razor took some skin. Robert figured he might be out of practice or his current state kept him from doing a proper job of it.

Robert let out a small hiss when his razor once again cut him. Looking for the cloth he used to dab up the blood, he could see the small hairs that had come from his face in the basin in front of him. With a gasp, he stepped back as the hairs morphed into tiny bugs and began to crawl out of the basin.

Giving his head a shake, the strange sight was no more.

Washing his face after finishing, Robert looked his face over for any missed spots or still fresh blood in the mirror, the monster from the nightmare appeared in the mirror prompting Robert to fall backwards, shaking the room and causing the mirror and the lone rusty nail it hung to fall, shattering the mirror.

Robert panted, staring at the broken glass his reflection swapping between himself and the monster from his nightmare speaking in his voice.

"The only me is me," the thing said although Robert could feel his mouth shape the words. "Are you sure the only you is you?"

***

Robert hadn't opened the letter from his parent that arrived the other day, having feared it would be like the last time he tried reading a letter from them in such a state, the word furorem being repeated over and over again.

He had to leave this house for a day or so. Maybe longer. Maybe even forever if it were possible. The house was haunted if not worse.

***

Robert walked around the neighbourhood pondering what he should do. He couldn't stay outside the entire time, but going home wasn't a good idea. Maybe get a room at the inn for a day or two?

He wasn't sure. He had been more and more uncertain about what to do and what was happening since he had come to Dunwich.

Abigail had her own concerns about the town, so perhaps he could confide in her, but was he ready to open up about his own fears and insecurities with her? He recalled the nightmare that featured him and her living somewhere away from Dunwich together, but in what way could that have any bearing on reality? He wasn't really sure how dreams worked, but he knew he wouldn't be opposed to the idea, but at the same time dreams and reality were separate things. Or at least he thought they were. He wasn't entirely sure anymore. Maybe he was never sure to begin with.

His wandering always brought him back to his home. He looked to Abigail's home, not seeing her anytime he came back home.

He hoped she was all right.

***

Robert finally went home once it started becoming apparent it was nighttime, the voice he had gone sometime without hearing clearly speaking of vile and abhorrent things the townspeople were doing such as Joseph and how the town was as wealthy as it was.

The voice was so clear, it sounded to Robert as if whoever or whatever was talking to him was speaking directly inside his head as if some kind of parasite had crawled in with the purpose of driving him to insanity.

Through the open door to the bathroom, Robert could see the mirror that had broken earlier had somehow been repaired and returned to its place on the wall, but upon closer inspection it appeared as if the mirror had never been broken in the first place.

"You seem upset," Robert's reflection said to him.

Robert closed his eyes and shook his trying to dispel what he was seeing. The mirror would be broken and he'd only see a fragmented reflection of himself on the floor, but when he opened his eyes, the mirror was still intact.

"You're not a child anymore. Closing your eyes and wishing for something to go away won't make it happen."

Robert nearly stumbled out of the bathroom and back into the front room repeating to himself that what he was experiencing wasn't real. He caught sight of his reflection in one of the windows.

"I assure you, this is very real," his reflection said.

Robert pulled the curtains closed and stumbled to close the bathroom door, doing everything in his power to hide from any reflective surface in sight, but it did no good. Even if he couldn't see himself, the voice inside still spoke as clear as day.

"You can't hide from your problems, Robert. You can't hide from the darkness that this town has brought upon itself."

Robert haphazardly went about the room, grabbing what few things he felt necessary. Money, his journal, and the unopened letter from his parents and fled outside, putting his back to the door as soon as it was closed. The house wasn't haunted. It was evil.

"You can run, but you'll come back," the voice inside his head said as clear as it was in the house.

Robert ran from the house and kept on running until he could no longer hear the voice and ran some more until exhaustion got the better of him and he fell to the ground. He could no longer hear the voice. Maybe it wasn't inside his head, but it was the house all along? He thought of Abigail. Would she be safe being so close to the house?

***

In the attic, the daggers nested in the box they had been abandoned in for many years, their shape beginning to change as the dormant spirits inside grew stronger as they fed on their new host. They were so close to being complete, but more time was needed.

Their current prey was more lively than the last one they tried to attune with. It made the process longer, but also gave them more time to wear it down and break it just right so as not to repeat the same mistake they made before.

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 4/4/2019 13:57:14 >
DF  Post #: 3
6/21/2017 10:06:49   
NagisaXIkari
Member

Interlude II: In Hiding

I've been staying at the inn for a few days and...it has been a vast improvement. I can sleep soundly without having any nightmares. No hallucinations. I should stay here and away from that evil house.

Robert sat on the bed of his room at the inn opening the letter from his parents. His mother wanted to come visit, but there was no way he could allow her or his father to come to this town or be near that house.

Dear Robert,

We're both so happy to hear all the good news and can't wait to meet her. We've already begun discussing when we'd like to travel to Dunwich and visit you.

Are you doing all right? Losing someone you know even if you weren't close to them can be difficult. It's okay if you need some time as long as we know you're doing okay, so don't worry about how frequent you write home.

Best wishes, your Mother & Father.


Tears dropped from Robert's eyes, staining the letter and causing the ink to run. They were so happy and hopeful for him, but he was miserable in that house. What joy was brought to him in this town seemed small in comparison to the horror and misery.

Someday he'd need to return to that house if only so he can prepare himself to leave town. Hopefully with Abigail. He began to write.

Don't come to Dunwich. This town isn't right. There's some evil about it. Something evil about the house. I'm plagued by nightmares and hallucinations. Voices that tell me of all the horrifying things the townspeople do to maintain their way of life. I'm going to leave this town and come back home. Just whatever you do, don't come to Dunwich.

Chapter XVI: One Month Later

It has been one month since I moved to this cursed town. All the money in the world couldn't keep me here, but the lack of carriage can try. Trying to go by foot sounds like it'll only end badly, but I need to try something. I need to get out.

The plain faced man in the formal clothing walked through the house, looking through drawers at old letters and through cupboards at the identical bags of tea. The apothecary made for a useful pawn not once, but twice. Be it wood, steel, or the human mind and spirit, with enough bending they all break, but it seemed the boy was smarter or at least luckier than the old man.

He climbed the attic stairs already knowing what he'd find, but it was still nice to see and he'd need to give it a little push in the right direction.

He picked the daggers up, feeling the spirits inside thrashing violently, wanting to feed and grow like a child. They had come so far with the old man, but the plain faced man in the formal clothes often forgot when it comes to mortal creatures being old does not necessarily mean it is the strongest and they could not finish and soon withered and grew weak. The boy was smart to leave as the spirits weren't strong enough to reach him from outside the house although the plain faced man in the formal clothes suspected it was more to do with fear and luck.

The daggers began to radiate a dark light as the spirits were fed, their shape changing enough to bring them a step closer to completing their evolution before they would be strong enough to completely attune to the boy and the ritual could be initiated.

He put the daggers back in their resting place and left. He had business to attend to with Joseph.

***

Robert sat down in the living area of Abigail's home, Abigail sitting across from him, a concerned expression of her face.

"You haven't been home lately."

"No. I needed to get away from that house for awhile. Really I think I should just get away from this town and go back to Amityvale. Or just go anywhere."

"Oh," Abigail looked disappointed. "I see."

Robert looked confused. It wasn't long ago she was at his residence talking about how abnormal the town is even by the standards of being in Doomwood. Did she think he was planning on leaving her?

"You can come with me if you want. I'd...I'd actually like it if you did. You were right there is something strange about this town. Something evil about it. And my house. I can't stay in it. You've lived in Dunwich your whole life, right?"

"Yes, why?"

"What do you know about the previous occupant of the house I'm in?"

Abigail's face turned a shade of white that to the casual observer would make them believe she were a ghost.

"He...he was a kind man at a time. But then something happened and he...changed."

Abigail stopped feeling her heart racing and tried to collect her thoughts.

"Changed how?"

"There was something darker about him. Like he was becoming a different person and not for the best. Then he...he..."

Abigail trailed off, fighting back tears.

"You don't have to say anything else."

Robert was far more curious about who his grandfather was and what happened to him, but it was clear to him Abigail could not and possibly would not explain further. Part of it frightened him as it made his grandfather sound like some kind of monster.

"If I were to leave this town, would you come with me?"

Abigail wiped her eyes and looked at Robert, her eyes still wet.

"Yes."

Chapter XVII: The Golden Goose

Am I a good person? Some would argue no because of what I've done to make a living, but what I've done has also allowed people to have money and food. This town would die if not for me and the choices I've made. Is one life worth more than the lives of the people in this town? I don't think so. My wife may never forgive me or see me as anything other than a monster worse than the thing in the cellar with her, but everything I've done, I've done for Dunwich. It has always been for Dunwich.

The plain faced man in the formal clothes let himself in to Joseph's home, the owner being less than enthused.

"Our deal isn't up."

"No, but I need to speak with your 'golden goose' for a moment."

"So it can do to me what it did to Lagretta? She wanted to make this town beautiful and now she's just a shriveled up body buried on the outskirts of town. Everything we did was for this town and now Lagretta's dead and you expect me to do the same?"

The plain faced man in the formal clothes smiled, his teeth appearing more unnaturally white than usual.

"Is that what you and the others tell yourselves to justify your actions? If what you did was for this town, why isn't you in that cellar? The being summoned doesn't discriminate if that's what you're worried about."

Joseph felt himself falter, some part of him knowing the plain faced man in the formal clothes was right, but there was no way he could admit to that. Not to himself and certainly not to the monster in the form of a man that stood before him.

"Who are you to decide what I do is right or wrong? What is best for this town and myself?"

"I wouldn't have aided any of you in your selfish goals if I were opposed to them. Not that I approve of them either."

Joseph looked at the man in confusion. What kind of monster would aid people in committing unspeakable acts for reasons known only to them?

"I'll show myself to where our mutual friend is while you ponder on that thought."

***

The basement of Joseph's cellar was covered in strange black vine-like tendrils, gold bulbs lighting up every now and again showing a room stained with blood, bile and ichor. At the center of the mass was a creature whose body resembled that of the various appendages and bulbs spread across the ceiling with similar appendages spreading across the floor, caressing a woman whose body was darkened by various scars and wounds.

The creature's tendrils pulled away from the plain faced man in the formal clothing as is afraid of him while the woman tried to move towards him before being pulled back by the monster.

"I need one of your bulbs."

Unlegible clicking, screeching, and wailing came from the creature. The woman did not understand what the creature said, but recognized its tone and wept as if on command.

There came the tearing of flesh and sinew accompanied by an inhuman screech. The plain faced man in the formal clothes got what he wanted and a little extra when the monster tore its toy to pieces in a fit of rage, further damning the town to die.

***

"It has been a pleasure, Joseph. You'll be glad to know, we'll never meet again," the plain faced man in the formal clothes said as he showed himself out of Joseph's home, leaving him to await his final fate.

Everything I did, I did for Dunwich. Today I'll die for Dunwich.

The light of the moon began to dim as the creature in the cellar began to seek compensation. It did not care that it was not Joseph that did it harm and it lost its temper and lashed out, but it knew he was the provider of its entertainment in exchange for mass amounts of wealth.

The next day it would be believed that Joseph was found based on it being his house with walls painted in gore.

***

Robert would try to operate the store as much as he could, but eventually the money would run out preventing him from restocking forcing him to decide between keeping the store operating in spite of the townspeople running out of money.

Chapter XVIII: Collapse

Why does this keep happening? First Lagretta and now Joseph. It seems like almost everyone I come in contact with here dies horribly. It's not my fault is it? What does this mean for Abigail? Will...will the same thing happen to her? No, I can't think like that. I won't think like that.

The townspeople grew more suspicious of Robert, accusing him of being behind the deaths of Lagretta and Joseph and the sudden decline in peoples income. They came to the grocer demanding he redistribute the money back to them. He didn't argue and instead left as they fought over the riches accumulated. Not once did anyone question how so much money had entered Dunwich or got into the hands of the people, but they knew they not only needed it, but wanted it.

It had been awhile since a letter from home arrived, but with the recent events Robert hadn't had an opportunity to read it. He could only imagine how distressed his parents would be. Even Mises eyed Robert with suspicion whenever he went to send or receive a letter. It only made him further regret ever leaving home.

Dear Robert,

What do you mean something isn't right about Dunwich? It is because of that florist? Is it something else? If you feel you need to come back home, that's okay we support you and we always will. Please stay safe.

Best wishes, your Mother & Father.


Father must have wrote the letter. It was too brief and almost calm to be his mother. Robert worried his mother would try to come to Dunwich to get him herself. He didn't know what to say. He didn't want to explain more and give her more reason to worry.

A knock on the door came. It was light and not followed immediately by whoever announcing themself. Robert tensed up imagining an angry crowd outside ready to force him out of town or worse.

"Robert?" said a soft and familiar voice from the other side of the door.

Robert was relieved to hear Abigail's voice, but still hesitant to answer. What if she was being used to lure him out?

"Are...are you alone?" Robert asked feeling ashamed of his paranoia.

"Yes," Abigail said sounding confused.

That brought some relief to him.

"I'm sorry," Robert said letting Abigail in.

"You don't have to be. Nothing that has happened is your fault. It's just this strange and messed up town."

"Y...yes, I know. But the things people say when they probably think I can't hear them or the looks they give me. I'm not sure what I'm more afraid of anymore."

Abigail takes Robert's hand and stares directly at him as if looking into his soul. "Whatever it is, I'll be right there beside you."

"Thank you, Abigail."

***

On the outskirts of Dunwich lies a most peculiar sight. Large tracks of farmlands where all sorts of produce grows. Not many people come by as it is a tad out of the way and like all good things in Dunwich, it is the result of something sinister.

The only person who ever really visited was Joseph as part of a way to make Dunwich a haven for its people and make them exceptionally wealthy not that they ever wondered why being the wealthiest in a small town in a far corner of Doomwood mattered. It was Joseph who even introduced the farmer and his two sons to the plain faced man in the formal clothes who had come to pay a visit.

"Hello, Conrad. How are you and the boys?"

Conrad, a middle aged man in disheveled and dirt covered clothes eyed the plain faced man in the formal clothes with as much suspicion today as he did on the day Joseph introduced him.

"What do you want? Come to tell me about Joseph and how our arrangement just fell through?"

"Oh no, this is a social visit. And we never had an arrangement. That's between you and our friend in the barn."

"And I want your company why? Everytime you come to one of us, we end up dead and the town suffers for it."

"Lagretta has been the only one to not hide behind some belief she was doing anything for the town. She acknowledged that her making this place beautiful was for herself, but you and Joseph seem to think you're doing the town a favour all while filling your pockets with money that only ever goes back and forth between the two of you."

Conrad thought for a second, forgetting the face of the man that stood before him. He was right. What purpose did the money serve when it was always the same amount, never growing, but also never really declining?

"What reason do you have for telling me this? Why would you care about this town?"

The plain faced man in the formal clothes shrugged. "I just need to keep myself amused for a little while longer. Got big plans and this town has a role in it."

Conrad stepped forward, fists clenched. "What more could you do that you haven't done already?"

The plain faced man in the formal clothes smiled showing teeth whiter than the surface of the full moon. "Let me show you," he said stepping forward.

With a single touch, Conrad collapsed to the ground overwhelmed by visions of indescribable madness, chaos, and destruction. Sights that were pure in comparison to what himself and other townspeople had done. With a single touch, he was broken.

Chapter XIX: Preparation & Tragedy

We need to leave. Today is when Abigail and I will get ready to leave this forsaken town and go to Amityvale or anywhere else. I can only hope we can leave safely.

"We should get ready to leave."

"How are we going to go anywhere? Aren't there monsters outside of town?"

"There are. I don't think they'd be any worse than what's going on in this town is. Maybe someone in town knows when the carriage is coming or how to contact it."

"I could try asking at Rothbard's if you think she wouldn't help you."

"Thank you."

***

Robert entered his house for the first time in what felt like forever. Even after lighting a lamp, the interior still seemed dark, reminding him of the nightmare he had long ago when he had first come to Dunwich.

"Furorem," came a voice from somewhere around him, clear as though the source of it was speaking to him directly.

Robert looked around for the source of the voice, seeing nothing capable of speech, but in a corner of the room barely touched by light he could see two spiders. One larger than the other, backing the smaller spider against the wall as if to extort it. The spiders paid him no mind as the larger spider viciously assaulted the smaller one, moving in the manner a human would by slamming it against the wall, striking its abdomen like it's throwing punches.

Robert watched the larger spider brutalize the smaller spider, embodying human savagery.

"Furorem," said the voice.

The light of the lamp flickered, the larger spider disappearing into the darkness leaving behind the battered, broken, and still twitching body of the smaller spider behind.

"What have I done?" came a voice from the kitchen area. Like before, it was Robert's voice.

What is going on? Why is this happening?

"Furorem," said the voice.

"What have I done?" said the other Robert.

Robert walked towards the other him, the voices repeating over and over then other sounds, glass breaking as if the bathroom mirror broke, the whistling of the kettle, the shuffling of something moving in the attic.

"Furorem," said the voice growing louder as though the source of the voice were closing in on Robert.

The front door creaked open and with it came the horrific sight of the monster from the dreamed turned nightmare.

"Robert?" asked the creature as it inched its way towards him.

Robert backed away until he felt a counter at his back, just like in his nightmare. It wouldn't end the same way as it did then, Robert needed to be strong. He needed to be able to protect not only himself, but be able to protect Abigail.

"Robert?" the creature asked again, its voice sounding more concerned, gradually changing to a different voice that was not Roberts.

Robert felt for a handle, pulling open a drawer. The creature's movements started to slow down, fear entering its voice.

"Furorem," said the voice in Robert's ear as he withdrew a knife from the drawer, the creature beginning to back away.

"Robert?" the creature asked a final time, its voice becoming recognizable far too late to make a difference.

"What have I done?" asked Robert, kneeling in the kitchen, face streaked with tears and blood.

Chapter XX: Furorem

I...I've become a monster. I took the life of Abigail. I...I'm so sorry. It should've been me.

Robert threw the knife away, staring at the blood on his hands and the woman lying dead on his floor, face frozen in fear and sadness.

"Furorem," says the voice, hissing in his ear.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up," Robert pleaded covering his ears.

"Furorem," the voice persisted inside his head.

Robert crawled across the floor to retrieve the knife. There was no other option for him. No way to escape this, but to avenge Abigail.

He picked up the knife and turned it on himself. The blade shattered like glass and left him unharmed.

"Why is this happening?" Robert wept. "What did I do to make this happen?"

The sound of footsteps in the attic came. Something shuffling around in the dark amongst whatever was up there.

Deep down Robert knew what was up there and what was making the noise. He seen it all in a dream. There was no difference between a dream, a hallucination, or reality at this point.

Robert clapped his hands over his ears as the voice repeated the single word again and again.

"Shut up! Leave me alone."

The footsteps grew louder as they drew closer, coming down the stairs.

Robert crawled across the floor to distance himself from the attic door and whatever was coming. He wanted to leave. To run and hide, but where would he go? The townspeople hated him and he had no way to go back to Amityvale. But how could he go back home after what he did?

The attic door opened and out shambled the battered and broken old man from the nightmare emerged, slowly approaching Robert as he tried to back away.

"Stay away," Robert pleaded.

"In your dreams, I walk with you," the thing said.

Robert backed into a wall. He remembered the small spider, backed against a wall, ravaged and broken by the larger spider. He was afraid of what was to come, but he believed he deserved what was to come.

The thing bent down and fell atop of Robert, but it was not death that came next.

***

The inside of the house was much like it was when Robert moved in, although cleaner and being viewed through eyes that were both Robert's, but also not his own.

"Furorem," said the voice, but it seemed to be speaking to someone else.

The eyes Robert was looking through focused on someone else. A woman who was approximately old enough to be Robert's mother, but vastly different traits. She looked more like Abigail down to the same expression that was a mixture of fear and sadness.

"What have I done," asked a voice that was not Robert's looking down at the body of the woman who may have had some relation to Abigail.

The scene visibly shifted as if Robert was watching the passage of time through the eyes of another. The body remained in place, the person who Robert was peering through the eyes of continued to descend further into madness and would only pace around the attic, a pair of daggers visible pulsing while the word 'Furorem' repeated.

The one who Robert was peering through the eyes of descended the attic stairs. Standing in the doorway to the house was a little girl. Robert recognized the features of the girl as Abigail's.

"Mommy?" she whimpered, gazing at the body on the floor. She let out a scream at the sight of the monster that had descended from the attic and fled.

Robert begged the one whose eyes he was peering through to stop when they gave chase. Robert knew what was to come next. It was the fate he was expecting for himself.

Robert saw many familiar faces as their fists and other implements struck the one whose eyes he was peering through until everything went dark.

"History repeats," said the voice of the thing from the attic. "History repeats, my grandson."

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 4/4/2019 14:07:24 >
DF  Post #: 4
10/5/2017 0:53:21   
NagisaXIkari
Member

Interlude III: Waiting

The spirits grew frantic. Through the aid of The Dark One, their strength grew and they clamored to finish what they had tried with the previous occupant of the house. This time they would succeed, having finally broke him.

The attunement would be complete.

Chapter XXI: And I Dreamt of You

How long has it been? How long since that nightmare? That's all it was. Just a nightmare. I made the mistake of returning to that house and I had a nightmare. Abigail's still alive. She's at her home and I made the mistake of returning to mine. It was only a nightmare.

Robert woke up in a bedroom that having only seen it once before in a dream was familiar and welcoming to him. He found happiness in the thought of a future with Abigail that wasn't like the nightmare where she died by his own hand.

The decor was the same, pictures of people and places he had never seen. Even the foreboding claw-like shadow cast over the room was a welcoming sight compared to the horrors of the world outside.

Each room he passed, it reminded him of a future that could and should be as opposed to a present that wasn't.

He came to the living area where he saw Abigail once before in a dress he believed only noblewomen in Swordhaven wore, but she didn't look happy to see him. She looked terrified.

"A...Abigail," Robert stammered, stepping forward.

"S...Stay away! You killed me!" Abigail shrieked, backing away from Robert.

"No! No, that was only a dream. A nightmare. You're still alive, right here."

Abigail stumbled, her dress beginning to tear and turn red.

"No, Robert. This isn't real. That's real," Abigail said pointing to a spot on the floor where her bloody body lay. "That is your fault. You did this to me."

"No. I would never do anything to hurt you," Robert pleaded. "Please, believe me."

Abigail slumped over and dropped to the floor in a heap and Robert found himself in the kitchen staring over the body of Abigail.

How long has it been?

Abigail looked the same as she did before.

Robert laid down beside her and held her close, her body cold.

"Goodnight, Abigail."

Chapter XXII: The Dark Man

Abigail is still here with me. She's still alive, beautiful, and so full of life. She'll live forever. I'll live forever. Together with her forever. Together we'll live forever.

Robert greeted Abigail as he did every morning, her face gaunt, flesh stretched, and eyes sunken. To the outside observer, Robert had gone mad, but to Robert everything was fine. Like the sun he had heard so much about in stories was shining upon him for the first time.

Robert went about washing his face, going through the routines as he normally would. He looked as Abigail did, wasting away. He never questioned why he went about his life as if he were preparing to leave the house. He had no job, the town of Dunwich was dying outside his door, for all he knew he and how he saw Abigail were the last living people in town. He didn't even hear the voices anymore.

A knock came on the door, but it wasn't the front door, it was the attic door.

Robert stumbled thinking of the monster in the attic then shook his head to drive away the thought of it. It wasn't real, only what he wanted to see was real.

The plain faced man in the formal clothes opened the door and stepped into the room, a look of disinterest on his face.

"Hello, Robert."

"Who are you? Why are you in our house?"

"Who I am in unimportant. Why I am here is everything."

"What does that mean? Just leave us alone."

The plain faced man in the formal clothes took a look over his shoulder up the stairs and considered that perhaps the spirits did too good of a job then looked back at the cowering mess of a man that is Robert and stepped forward, Robert backing away.

"Stay away!"

Robert backed himself into a wall, open to the touch of the plain faced man in the formal clothes and like with Conrad, a single touch was all it took to restore some clarity to Robert. Just enough for him to see what he has become, but still damaged enough to be vulnerable to the plain faced man in the formal clothes.

"Wh...what is this? What happened?"

"A terrible tragedy. A murder to be exact."

"How? Who?"

"That's not important, but what is important is I can fix it. Make your dreams a reality," the plain faced man in the formal clothes said extending a hand to Robert.

Robert looked away from the plain faced man in the formal clothes, catching a glimpse of Abigail's decaying body, he gasped.

"It's not a pleasant sight, is it? Your future snuffed out before your eyes. By your own hand no less. But I can turn that all around."

"How?"

"Just take my hand and follow me."

Robert looked at the remains of Abigail before taking the hand of the plain faced man in the formal clothes and standing up.

"Where will we go?" Robert asked looking away from the body of Abigail.

"Not too far," the plain faced man in the formal clothes said, leading Robert up the stairs and into the darkness.

"What's going to happen?"

"All your dreams will become reality."

Chapter XXIII: A Brighter, Bleaker Future

I have never been happier. Together with the love of my life for the rest of my life. No, our lives. There are so many things we can do, so many places for us to go, but something about Dunwich doesn't make me want to leave with her. Maybe it's because it's where our hearts became one. Maybe it's because the rest of Doomwood is a terrifying place and Dunwich is all that's there to protect us. None of it matters anyways. What matters is we're together.

The plain faced man in the formal clothes held firmly to Robert's hand whose grip tightened as his sanity began to slip further away, the brief respite given to him fading.

Scribbles of various colours appeared on the walls as if a child was scrawling over them. From meaningless scribbling came symbols that Robert had never seen before, but as he fixated on them, the world around him started to blur, but the symbols remained clear. Eventually the walls began to move and ripple as if they were made of water.

"You did this to me," Abigail's voice cried to him from all around, the walls taking on the shape of her face as it began to protrude and reach out to him, teeth gnashing.

"No, no you're still alive. So full of life and beautiful."

"I'm only alive in your broken and frayed mind, Robert. You killed me. You drove a blade through my heart and took not only my life, but my love for you."

Robert didn't notice the hand of the plain faced man in the formal clothes slip from his grip as he fell forward, tripping on the stairs.

"You're still alive. So full of life and beautiful," Robert said pitifully, sobbing into the cold and dusty floor of the attic.

"Almost there. Unless you need a moment," the plain faced man in the formal clothes, boredom in his voice.

"I'm...I'm okay," Robert said his voice free of conviction as he dragged himself up.

The attic seemed brighter somehow despite the only source of light having been sealed up long ago. Robert could see everything. All the boxes, every spec of dust, the daggers that seemed to metamorphosize into double ended short swords, a black skull on what would be the pommel of any normal weapon, and the monster that he believed to be his grandfather.

"What's going to happen here?" Robert asked, his voice shaking at the sight of the monster, blood trickling from its mouth.

"As I said before," the plain faced man in the formal clothes began. "I will make your dreams a reality."

"How?"

The monster shambled around the room, lazily approaching Robert.

"I'm so..." the monster began, blood spilling from its mouth. "Proud of you, Robert," the monster finished in Robert's voice.

The plain faced man in the formal clothes picked up the daggers, feeling the spirits inside shudder from his touch which brought a smile to his face.

"Goodbye, Robert," he said raising the daggers, plunging them into Robert's eyes, his head rising as he howled in pain. "Hello, Furorem."

Robert's screams ceased, the blood from his eyes darkening and turning into a substance that could only be compared to tar.

The monster gagged as if disgusted by the sight that unfolded before it, spitting up blood. "I walked. All I could do was walk. Finding a me that wasn't me, walking in front of myself."

The thing that was once Robert looked at the bloody and beaten monster, its neck popping and cracking as the daggers sunk deeper into it, the points of the daggers meeting the gaze of the monster that was somehow another version of his former self. "The only me is me," the thing that was once Robert said.

Chapter XXIV: Happiness

Dear Robert,

We haven't heard from you in awhile, we hope you're safe and doing well. Your father wants to go to Dunwich to check on you personally, but that's easier said than done. There are no carriages that go there. When we ask others in town, they either say they never heard of it or go quiet and leave. Please be safe, Robert. And no matter what happens, we will always love you.

Best wishes, your Mother & Father.


"Good morning, Abigail," Robert said cheerfully as he woke up to the rising sun entering the windows of his and Abigail's bedroom.

"Good morning, Robert."

The two rolled over to face each other, their lips meeting, a touch of pink coming over their faces.

"Why did you do it, Robert?" Abigail asked, her bright and youthful face being replaced with the decaying face of the corpse in the house in Dunwich.

"Do what?"

"Bestow this amazing life upon me," she said her appearance as it was the day the two met.

"Fortune smiled upon me in more ways than one and there was no one else I would rather share it with than you."

"But how long will it last?" she asked, her face again appearing decayed.

"Forever."

***

The plain faced man in the formal clothes led the monster formerly known as Robert now dubbed Furorem through the dark and treacherous woods of Doomwood.

Figured in purpled hooded robes wielding intricate scythes joined them, Furorem lost in its own world, did not notice them, but the plain faced man in the formal clothes seemed annoyed by their appearance.

"I'm amazed he still has followers given his record of failures."

"We have nothing and nowhere to go. He is all we have. He gives us purpose," a hooded figure said, anger and sadness in its voice.

"Pitiful creatures. You never had a purpose, but you're too blind to see it. He has done nothing for you nor himself. He his a mockery upon creation."

"Hold your tongue," a hooded figure said raising its scythe.

The scythe rapidly rusted and fell apart as if time suddenly caught up to it and the robe fell in a heap, its wearer disappearing.

"What happens next is because I will it. The one you say gives you purpose is nothing. He is nothing to me, He is nothing to even the lowest of lifeforms on this infant star. Pretend all you want that He will lead you to victory or whatever it is you seek. He is weak and all of you are weak, that is why you flock to Him. What becomes of Him will be because of what I do. Never forget that."

***

The cage-like shadow flashed in and out Robert's sight, but Abigail seemed unphased by it as if she didn't notice it or it just never appeared to her.

"Have I ever told you what the happiest moment of my life was, Abigail?"

"Only a thousand times," Abigail teased. "But tell me again."

"It was the day I met you."

Abigail blushed, setting Robert's heart aflame. "Have I ever told you the worst day of my life, Robert?"

"Pardon?"

"Have I ever told you the best day of my life?"

Robert stared in confusion, whatever words he wanted to say dying in his throat.

"It was the day you killed me, Robert. The worst day of my life was the last day of my life."

"P...pardon?"

"It was the day you asked me to start a new life with you far away from Dunwich."

Robert shook his head involuntarily, a series of spasms running through his neck to the rest of his body. What was happening? Why was Abigail saying these horrible things one moment, but saying only the most wonderful things the next?

Robert's body spasmed as he tried to grapple with the contradictions unfolding before him. Had the man lied to him?

Abigail's appearance flashed between the beautiful woman he fell in love with and the corpse of the woman whose life he took in a fit of insanity repeating the words "You killed me," and "I love you."

***

In a corner of Doomwood so dark not even the light of the full moon reached, the robed figures surrounded a pile of wood, their hoods obscuring the wrathful expressions of the living amongst their numbers.

"Now then, shall we begin?" the plain faced man in the formal clothes asked no one in particular.

No one answered except for the groans of Furorem which caught his attention.

"Is that resistance I detect?"

His curiosity was peaked as he watched the monster created only a few hours ago groan and spasm, clutching his head.

"Why...me?" Furorem begged, his voice cracked and broken. "What...did I do?"

Furorem reached for the daggers protruding from its eyes, its limbs resisting, but something pushing them to try and succeed.

"There is one thing admirable about your kind. You always seem to find strength in the bleakest of times. Of course that strength is meaningless against forces greater than even the Avatars of this infantile star."

***

Robert wrapped his arms around Abigail one last time, feeling the warmth of her skin against his and the softness of her lips against his own.

"I'm so sorry."

Warmth gives way to cold as her flesh decays and the softness of her lips gives way to dry, cracked, and stretched skin.

***

"I love you, Abigail," Robert says, tears of black ichor running down his cheeks as his hands fall away from the daggers and what was left of him fades away leaving only the soulless monster behind.

"Now then, where were we?"

Epilogue: The Ritual

The ritual pyre roared to life, bringing light to the dark corner of Doomwood, illuminating the plain faced man in the formal clothes more than anything else.

As the robed figures chanted, the man produced a dark bag, dripping with what could only be presumed to be blood.

"A tendril of the liferuiner," he began throwing a withered black tendril on the pyre. A bulb of the giver," he continued throwing a gold bulb on the pyre, the colour of the flames changing with each object added. "An eye of the provider," he said tossing a red oval shaped object extracted from the thing in Conrad's barn.

As the man continued with the ritual, Furorem stared blankly at the sky or perhaps forward with new unseen eyes. It's mind a vortex of darkness overcome the spirits inhabiting the daggers that took over Robert's body like a parasite. It knew nothing of its purpose or why it was born. It was merely a blank slate or a lump of clay to be molded by whoever it saw fit to give it a purpose.

"The symbol of the Carcosan king," the man continued dropping a symbol resembling triskelion or some kind of tentacled creature into the fire. "A piece of an Elder One," he said throwing in a piece of black cloth into the fire that even for him was not an easy feat to find after the last time one was used in the very same ritual many years ago. "And lastly, the final piece to bind it all together," the man said producing a stained fragment of something that may have been white at one point in time.

The pyre erupted, the flames turning many more colours before turning black, blanketing the ritual grounds in darkness before expiring leaving behind only ash.

The chanting of the robed figures grew more and more intense with each object added before all fell silent as if their lives had spontaneously come to an end.

"Rise," commanded the man. "Rise!" he repeated.

The ash began to pulse like a heart until it slowly began to rise and take shape.

"Rise!" the robed figures began to chant, their chanting becoming more intense as the ash began to take on a shape familiar to them until the one they swore eternal devotion to stood before them.

"Welcome back, Jaysun Valtrith," the plain faced man in the formal clothes said, a wicked smile spreading across his lips.

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 12/1/2018 8:40:32 >
DF  Post #: 5
Page:   [1]
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