*** Spoiler Alert: if you’re planning to play through the (excellent) Call of Cthulhu Starter Set as an Investigator stop reading! ***

Wentworth held the flashlight to his chest, conscious of his rapidly beating heart. Its light had guided them from the Kimball House to the cemetery. With the light off he was more aware of the sounds around them; the gusting wind, the rustling of late Fall leaves and the crunch of footfalls on the gravel path. It was the latter he and Nevada were hiding from at the back of a crypt. 

Whoever, or whatever, was the source of those steps seemed to be moving towards the path they had just taken, the crunching of leaves evidencing their movement. Without the flashlight, however, he could see nothing. There had been a small light above the back porch door, but it didn’t penetrate much into the copse. Dark clouds raced across the sliver of moon in the sky, but even on a clear night it would have offered little light. 

“Should we follow”, he whispered to Dr. Jones. “Yeah, come on, but be careful”, was the response as he felt his colleague move away from their hiding place. “Watch the wall”, Nevada hissed as he put a hand back to guide Wentworth over it. He’d lost all sense of where their quarry was, but guessed the house must be its destination. They crept forward… he was clutching the unlit flashlight and Nevada had a .38 in hand. A twig snap just ahead. They froze… but the crunching footsteps continued.

The wind gusted again, obliterating all other sound. He could feel Nevada tensing beside him. He cocked his head back. “I don’t like this”, he whispered. “Me neither”, but they pushed on. The porch light was now visible intermittently. Occasionally he thought he saw something moving, silhouetted in its weak light. A man he believed. 

They reached the fence and the property’s perimeter sooner than he expected. Then there was a scraping sound, something interfering with wood maybe.

“Will I turn on the flashlight?”, he said in a hushed tone while raising it to point towards the house.

“Yeah, I have my gun ready!”

Click. A circle of light illuminated the brick and wood structure. And something moving at the window of the study. Bang! A grunt. The muzzle flash robbed him of his low light vision. The thing was moving. It was human sized, but was clearly not a human. Nevada was off in pursuit, vaulting the fence. Wentworth trailed, slower over the fence and trying to keep the beam of light trained on the wounded thing. It’s run had started off fast, but soon slowed until it collapsed just at the tree line at the back of the Kimbell property. Nevada had slowed up too, giving Wentworth a chance to catch up. They could now see the thing more clearly… a foul looking humanoid, naked and covered in mud and mould, a bestial face with canine teeth and snout. It snarled and began to stand. Nevada had never seen anything like it, but he didn’t hesitate. Bang. Another shot dropped it.

“What’s goin’ on?”, yelled Thomas from the porch door. Wentworth and Nevada ignored the question and closed further on the thing, the yellowish light showing it more clearly. Its breathing was very laboured, each ragged breath causing a rasping wheeze. They paused, the same thought seeming to come to them simultaneously… the photograph Thomas had given to them… the one of his Uncle Douglas, a bespectacled man with kind eyes and a quiet sort of sincerity. This things face was bestial, but it had an uncanny resemblance to that picture. It shuddered, a breath wracking it with pain. 

The nephew was now at their shoulder. “What is it?”, Thomas asked, as much to himself as to them. “Take care my lad. You may not like what you see”, Wentworth said softly, the sound of the wind seeming absent in this strange moment. Thomas approached it. “It… it… it can’t be”, he said, seeming to want to move to the wounded thing’s side, but not being able to. It opened its eyes, but it struggled to focus. “I’m sorry my lad… I’m so… sor…”, was all it managed with its last breath.

Until next time,