I’ve discovered board games quite late, and only thanks to my husband. Before him I knew the classics like Chess, Monopoly and Mastermind. I liked Mastermind as a kid, it was short and felt like being a spy . It was the only game I liked enough to own, after being introduced to it one school camp. The other games just felt painfully long and repetitive and altogether anything but fun. So even though I had inherited some boxes from my parent’s childhood they usually stayed in the cupboard, where I thought they really belonged (my worst experience ever was sitting through a farming game called Squatter, which seemed to consist solely in counting sheep and protecting them from pests).
At 10, during one summer holiday, I discovered Majong and that was very exciting. Crazy rules, difficult patterns you had to learn so as to make a hand and impossible point counting at the end. It was both exotic and exciting like the gambling game it really is. I would have loved to play more, but once back to everyday reality I had to drop it. You needed to be 4 players and no one I knew could play nor were they willing to learn.
Fast forward to when I was 24 and living with my now husband. We were reading the complete works of Lovecraft, like any romantic couple does. And loving it as the masterpiece that inspired all of modern horror, we researched around it. My husband discovered there was a board game drawing from all of Lovecraft’s lore. A board game? For adults? The idea was intriguing. It felt childish to me, but my husband is a big gamer so he absolutely wanted to try. I didn’t really need much convincing and gave it a go. That’s how we got Arkham horror into our hands.
We were not prepared for this.
The shear amount of material, huge boards, hundreds of cards, story weaving and decision making… It blew our minds. A game takes a minimum of 3h and up to 7h if you have 6 players. It is very far from mainstream “introduction” games, but it did the trick. We are now totally addicted to board games. Truthfully, if I had been introduced to anything too simple I probably wouldn’t have pursued board games, I would have continued to think they were only for kids and terribly repetitive. But Arkham Horror showed me I was missing out on a huge chunk of creative works out there. There was a participative story medium I never even suspected and I wanted more.
The board game also inspired me to write my first ever fan fiction: an embelished game report lets say. It is probably not very interesting to people who don’t know the game (especially since it has kind of been replaced by a newer edition), but just in case you are curious, bellow is the story. It’s rough as it was written in just two days and was never meant to be anything other than for my personal entertainment. This is a story based on the actual events of the game . Everything that is written there happened in that very sequence. For those who know the game: Enjoy!
Arkham Horror session report story
When Ancient Gods Rise
Sitting on the cold asphalt of Velma’s diner’s parking I realized I needed to do something, and I don’t just mean standing up. If I didn’t do something very soon the world, or at least the world as we knew it, was going to end. I’d seen it happen. Some horrid creature, all razor beaks, slimy tentacles and coveting blood thirsty eyes would descend on us and reap us up like the vermin it fed of. I shivered. I needed help, cross that out, humanity needed help! I dug through my purse, pushing aside the ridiculously heavy brass knuckle I never found the courage of parting with left from my deceased husband, the flare gun I carried for security reasons, and finally found what I was looking for. I held the business card to the street light and nodded as the name came back to me: Darrell Simmons. He was exactly the person I needed. I clambered to Velma’s, stretching my sore old muscles.
I abhor keeping journals – but in drastic times, drastic measures, right? My name is Gloria Goldberg, yes, the horror writer, and no, sorry, I will have to disagree with you, my stories are not very imaginative. That, for the simple reason that they are all true, no matter how unbelievable they may seem. Those too, I all saw them in visions. Terrible visions. I sat cradling my coffee in my wrinkly hands waiting for Darrell. I’d just met the man at my book signing. He’d asked very pertinent questions about my monsters and now I’d gotten confirmation that he did believe in the ‘other world’. He believed that terrible things were brewing in Arkham and he wanted to be there to meet them. He wanted to fight it all with me.
All evening the phone kept on ringing, from calls about terrorized members of the Sheldon gang running to the police for help, reports on the sky changing color around uptown streets and smells of deep sea invading the woods, I simply couldn’t get a word in. Then again, it’s not as if journalist from the newspaper really listens to me, I’m no more than the photographer. When the famous Ms Golberg asked for me on the phone heads turned. But I was more embarrassed than flattered. I’d made a fool of myself displaying some blurry pictures. Something not right had been going on, just why hadn’t I been able to snap it fast enough! Nervously picking the papers my editor had set aside for me, I took the receiver on the other side of the room.
‘Am I finally talking to Darrell Simmons?’
Goldberg had a soft elderly voice. Why I believed her when she said she saw things? I don’t know, honestly it sounded crazy, but I’d seen things too. When she said we had to stop it I agreed. It’s not as if anyone else would believe us. I put the phone back down and smiled at the cutting I’d automatically leafed through, those looked like very interesting preternatural documents, I’d have to get a translation for the De Vermiis Mysteriis, but the parchment about some ancient wisdom sign and the journal where definitely hitting the top of my ‘to-read’ list. As I was ready to leave, so as to join Gloria, the phone stopped me again, this time it’s me who stalled midway through the front door. Something was going on down the Isle, something big. I had to warn Gloria. I got back on the phone.
‘I’m going to the Unvisited Isle then.’ I told Darrell.
He grumbled something about it not being safe especially for an unarmed woman. But what did he have over me apart from good self preserving instincts built up from years of experience? Anyway, I wasn’t unprotected, I had my own little talents. I wouldn’t give in. He let go.
I walked fast no matter my age. And trustfully it’s the only way to really see what’s going on somewhere, using your feet and looking about, judge the air, scrutinize people’s faces and hopefully get a glimpse into what lies beyond the pretty surface. There was only one barge and no one about. I barely hesitated to jump in, paddling disgracefully across the black water. As I got closer to the isle I almost smelt the magic. How can I describe the feeling to someone that hasn’t seen all that I have? Power flowing about, energy descending from the sky and rising from the earth, nature turning savage and telling us all that we are merely a temporal life form on this planet. I staggered and sat back, blinded by another vision. This was turning into just the night… Our world was shattering, cracks opening to let a horrid monster through. Monster? No, this wasn’t just a spooky figure, this was the real deal, so much power… this was some horrific God. I hugged my arms close to my body and let the magic talk to me, tell me more, reveal the plans of the beast.
Arkham was letting spawns from entirely other planes of reality through some kind of holes. Our worlds were colliding and soon would become one. To stop the God’s ascent we had to plug those holes! But what were they? Where were they?
A chilling breeze caressed my face like the fingers of the dead. I jumped. The graveyard! I needed to go to the graveyard and there would meet me a world I hadn’t even encountered in dreams. That too, I simply knew.
How could she think I’d let her run into danger on her own like this? Running out of the building I was met by a terrible wind. I stuffed the papers in my pocket, readied my camera about my neck and fought the elements. I struggled to move forwards only finding it possible to run again around Independence Square. The trees swayed dangerously about showering the plaza in leaves. Was I the only one crazy enough to walk out in this? Suddenly a glint of yellow caught my eye. Amongst all the green it shone as bright as a beckon. Like a big kid I took a bend and ran faster still, desperate to catch it. What made me do it when so much weighed on my mind I have no idea, but once I was holding the price in my hands I knew my panting breath hadn’t gone unpaid. The yellow glint had only been a leaf, but what a leaf! Its veins twisted into a symbol I’d just seen in the old book bouncing against my chest. This had to mean something!
I run faster, ignoring the sudden lights and flashing out of Hibb’s Roadhouse. Tenants of Velma’s were sprouting out so as to have a look and muffled murmurs of horrors reached me. But Gloria wasn’t there anymore, and there wasn’t time for a photograph. She was cavorting around the Isle and I needed to get her out of there before anything bad happened to her.
There is little more sordid than the banks across the Unvisited Isle, we usually called it the Unnamable. Amongst its ratty trees, nights where trouble isn’t brewing are rare. I was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of shame. How could I have let a little woman like that on her own in there. I got to the only boat in view and jumped back in fright. Some hobo had taken residence into it and angrily swung a bottle at me.
‘Git your hown boat!’ he croaked as I ran off.
There was no need to resort to violence. A little further I knew there was a shack that rented what it took to get across. The music in there was loud and oddly frightening. I knocked and walked in. The man was back to me, swaying disturbingly on rhythm.
‘Excuse me?’ I said, trying to be heard over the racket, shuffling from one foot to the next.
But the man didn’t seem to hear.
‘Sir!’ I almost screamed, walking around his chair so as to face him.
His eyes were close and his face blank, hands close tight on a radio post.
‘Sir!’ I was annoyed but still didn’t get an answer.
This was a matter of life and death! Rudely ripping the radio from his hands I threw it on the floor before realizing the cord had been cut. As the radio shattered I got violently knocked back into the wall as blue blazing swirls exploded out of it. Dazed, I stayed on the floor a couple of minutes until the man helped me back up with a warm smile.
‘How could I ever repay you? Darn thing had enchanted me or somethin’. My name’s Eric Colt.
‘I need a boat, I’m looking for a woman that went across to the Isle’ I whispered weakly.
He frowned asking how Gloria looked, and nodded as I described her.
‘I’ve seen your missus, she nicked a boat when I was so indisposed, but she left now, saw her ran off on her little legs, brave thing, she was talking aloud to herself about the graveyard. Let me help you, old chap. I believe I’ve seen enough of what’s going on down here.’
He supported me for my first steps out. Whatever had been in the radio had truly knocked me around. But some fog had settled itself over the city, losing us in some unexplainable plane. Where were we? How long were we in there? It felt as if we were lost… lost in time and space.
A fly flew above my head and I waved a hand derisively when I realized what the insect was in the distance. Was that a giant insect buzzing away from the graveyard? I stopped walking horrified to see it fly into the sky. This wasn’t reassuring, a brisk walk in front of the caves and I’d be there. It was a while now I was walking in the dark and in such times this wasn’t very comforting.
I heard a growl from one of the wide mouth of the caves. Was it my mind playing tricks on me? I gulped, quickening my pace. Don’t look back, just don’t look back, I thought to myself, shuffling through the dying leaves. It’s by pure luck I avoided a gaping pit suddenly opening itself under my foot. I truly don’t know how I saw it in pitch darkness but I was glad to reach the graveyard’s gate as I heard something crashing through the horrible hole in the ground.
I pushed the gates, thankful for the forgetfulness of the grave keeper. The graves were alit with mystical glow. Above an angel stone shone a great misty hole; a gateway between worlds! Avoiding the potted flowers I stepped onto the marble tombstone and hoisted myself up. Only once suffused by light and standing on a white stone path into that other realm did I wonder if it was completely safe. I could feel the world lock into my thoughts, trying to find its limits and its weaknesses but I felt I had an advantage. Somehow events seemed to shape around my mind and perhaps, I thought, I could change the course of things. Immense towers rose up in the distance, large steps bringing us up. I started to climb trailing my hands over the mottled green stone feeling the weight of time and the presence of old civilizations crushing me down. Knotted twisting figures sculpted into the stone suggested immense pain and torture. All here was just too big and foreshadowing such violent thought, I had trouble staying upright and breathing. Oh I was scared.
Colt held me at the arm, vigorously pulling me forwards in the fog.
‘Do you have any idea where we’re going?’ I asked.
‘Not a clue, lad, but I’d say we better keep goin’.’
Odd colors flashed about in the distance and at one stage I thought I glimpsed Rivertown streets. But that must have been an illusion as it was full of people marching down torch in hand as if ready to alight bonfires. Colt was as lost as me, and I decided to take rein. I only had a vague idea where the cemetery might be in that fog and walked blindly waving my arms forward.
‘Say aren’t that the witch’s house?’ Colt asked.
Mortified I realized I might have to agree, I’d led us completely the wrong the way! Light shone at the windows and the only solution now was to ask for help. Perhaps someone would be kind enough to give us a lift. The light was blinding by the door and it’s eyes closed that I walked through the porch.
‘I believe there’s a problem, lad.’ Colt said, ‘I’ve no idea where that is we are.’
I looked about the heavy bookshelves covered walls taller than the eyes could reach to no avail. I had no idea where we were either! All about long shadows busied themselves over books. Colt familiarly reached out to grab books and look at covers and I was about to do the same when one tall man in heavy winter coats and elegant top hat took my arm. He smiled kindly.
‘You will excuse me,’ he said, ‘I believe you are lost, let me guide you to the exit.’
Colt eyed him suspiciously but such a distinguished man’s presence could only be reassuring. Couldn’t it?
Panting I’d thought I’d never get back up, but I was shocked onto my two legs by a stooped figure. He’d appeared directly from a wall and now smiled up a friendly smile from under an earthy hood.
‘Mr. Skin’s the name, investigatin’s my game,’ he said twinkle forming in the corner of the eye.
So why did I feel my flesh crawling from my bones as if he wanted to eat me and a scream gurgling in my throat?
‘You’re lookin’ and I’m-a findin’,’ he further jumped by my feet and I stumbled back. His teeth gleamed in the glary sunlight. Why was it daytime here, when the night beat down on us back in Arkham? What was he going to do to me?
‘Scared the lady? Pretty then I’ll be!’ He laughed again before throwing his cape to the wind.
His stooped figure stretched out and his camped posture slimed. Suddenly where he’d been standing was an athletic young woman.
‘Erica Carlyle,’ I whispered, amazed.
She was exactly how I’d imagined her, down to the green leather boots. Did I know that smile and curve of hair! I’d written a dozen books about her. She was the heroine of a bestselling series of mine! A pure product of my mind, always ready to fight and with a nice array of spells up her sleeve; this was exactly the person I needed! I could feel my imagination working up new adventures for her. I had to contact my agent as soon as I was out of here. I mean I had to think of what happened after I saved the world didn’t I?
Erica pointed at a mural behind herself. On the porous stone, atrocious beasts went about the methodical destruction of a fortress. A figure walked onto their path, blocking the way by drawing symbols into the air. This time panic grew in the flank of the monsters. One by one they melted off and got swallowed by a closing mouth into the sky. Grabbing Erica by the hand I made us run down the steps back into Arkham. I’d seen all I needed in here. I had no idea if it would be what was needed but what else was there to try? Holding onto the mental picture I hoped it would be enough.
Thrown back into the night of Arkham cemetery, Erica cartwheeled elegantly as I crushed against the first tombstone. She held me upright as I gestures signs I only wished would close the gate and prevent it from coming back. The misty hole shimmered into the night, outlines growing fainter and I gained confidence. I chanted louder, Erica joining in with an oddly gravelly voice. Finally we had the satisfaction of seeing the glowing gap diminish and fad to a popping pinprick. As safe measure I drew into the dirt the symbol I’d seen repeatedly on the mural: some sort of pentacle with an eye in the center. The gate was gone but in the air hang a heavy sent of magic. I drew a shaky breath.
‘They saw it.’ Erica said.
I shivered, unease settling in my stomach. She did have a man’s voice.
‘Who saw what?’ I asked.
‘A follower, he saw you cleansing the soil. He’ll try to destroy your work, he’ll tell the others from the cult to open more gates – faster. He’ll spread dangerous ideas through town and add to the ancient one’s wrath!’
Goose bumps ran over my flesh.
‘What shall we do!’ I shrilled, ‘for the love of God, what can we do!’
I do not know how long we walked for, nor how far for that matter, but suddenly I realized that we were back in front of the witch’s house. Behind us was an oddity in space leading directly back into the wooden shelved world. I blinked at the sight, uncomprehending. Colt even walked around the gap, just to understand how it could have led us to that other place but to no avail. I t was utterly unexplainable.
‘We have to close the gates between our worlds,’ our guide said, ‘it isn’t safe.’
Only then did I understand that this had been the very thing that was sprouting monsters onto our street.
‘But how!’ I yelled.
‘I’m here to do it.’
Kneeling down he muttered and prayed. Both Colt and I took the same positions, but we couldn’t follow, we didn’t understand. When the other world blurred over and its lights faded, I knew we had achieved something important.
‘Now please do show me your world, I do not know it,’ said the guide as he got up brushing his knees of the dirt.
‘Bit pressed for time, lad,’ Colt laughed.
But both of us knew we were indebted to the stranger. Speed tourism through utter chaos is all he was about the get, I was afraid. Our worst fears were confirmed as we walked through town. People flew in cars, packing their luggage high. Odd colors flashed far in the sky and unpleasant like smells of sweat, smock and fear hung into the air. Could Gloria still be in the graveyard? I led our small party into the streets but there were too many people about. What was going on?
‘How ‘bout taking the bus?’ Colt asked as we saw twin light coming close.
Our guide was very interested by the proposition and truthfully I couldn’t think of a better idea. We might go faster. The streets run along our eyes and I kept my eyes open for the stop at the general store, that had to be the closest drop off point leading to the graveyard.
We found ourselves blocked in Easttown streets end I fumed. Angrily pulling the journal my editor left I skimmed through the titles. Damn it, Gloria would have time to die twice and over before I got there! What was going on outside? And got up to have a better look through the window and suddenly felt as if my pockets were lighter. I looked about myself. I was sure I’d lost something. The guide smiled a knowing smile. My journal was gone … and other stuff from the newsroom. Colt was reading them aloud at the back of the bus, out an open window.
‘Lads!’ he yelled so as to quite the mob outside, ‘those are rumors I’m telling you. There is nothing evil at the graveyard. Just look about yourselves.’
And he handed he papers over through the window. I was about to complain when I noticed people had suddenly grown silent out, reading and moving away from the bus. The guide suddenly pulled my sleeve and I turned to him.
‘Don’t be upset, I have books too,’ he smiled before handing over a heavy volume entitles The book of Believers. Bewildered I stared at the cover but I had no time to dwell on the event. Finally we were moving again!
I ran after Erica. She assured me another gate was in town, in fact they were popping all over the place, she said. Horrified I followed her lead realizing she was bringing me back to square one – almost that is. Next to Velma’s I distinguished the recognizable gate glow covering Hibb’s place. As I tried to catch up with Erica I slipped over a little object baring the exact symbol I’d drawn earlier in the dirt, the pentacle eye! I could feel this was going to be handy. Adding it to my already heavy purse I followed her into the orbiting gate. I must have been mad.
About us stretched beautiful greenery, forests and grass beyond measures. Red blossoms cascaded over trees, shrouding the floor in pungent petals. It was beautiful! Like a dream! Erica looked appreciatively to the horizon. But as I followed her gaze I realized it wasn’t the crimson flowers making her smile, but the dust cloud coming towards us.
‘Grab onto one of them!’ She screamed over the roaring noise or galloping hooves.
Zebras run past and she pushed me forward. I stumbled back. I was too old for this! Digging my neck into my shoulders, covering one ear I barely managed to grab a handful of mane before being bumped back. They zoomed past. I’d missed my chance. Erica shook her head.
‘They’d have gotten us where we wanted’, she said, ‘we’d have been faster.’
Sorry didn’t seem like the appropriate word. I knew time was of the essence. But did we truly need to move? I’d felt it before, those worlds weren’t as solid as mine, or at least not in my head, I could bend things, I could understand things here, I knew that.
‘Youth is too rash,’ I told Erica, ‘I’m sure we don’t need to move much away from here to know what we have to do about that place.’
I sat under a tree. But something pocked into my back. I turned to look. Something was in the shrubbery. Tentatively pushing my hands through the leaves I felt something stuck in the tree truck. Wasn’t that what I’d been waiting for? I reached lower but found myself unable to grasp at the thing as if it was melting into the bark. It’s then I know I had to do everything to retrieve it.
‘Erica! Help me!’
But it was too late, whatever the thing had been it slipped through my fingers only leaving behind a tingling sense that all this was useless.
‘Let’s just get back out.’ I told Erica.
‘What’s that thing?’ Colt was about to push us back into the bus, but it was too late. The door had already shut and the engine gurgled away.
Some moaning creature advanced on us, ragged cloth hanging from its body. Could that be what I thought it was? But I didn’t look any closer, already the Guide pulled me to the General store as if fascinated by the content of the shop window. Seeing the movement Colt pushed us through the door. I looked out the window. Maybe I’d just imagined it move? Maybe the Egyptian expedition had come back? Maybe this was an innovative exhibit from the university?
‘We need weapons!’ Colt yelled out, back against the door to a terrified shopkeeper.
I jumped around with a little yelp. He’d startled me out of my engrossing fascination with the creature outside. Suddenly I had to agree with Colt. We were terribly ill equipped to fight whatever was going on outside. I advanced towards the counter and started looking about. Maps and ancient artillery wasn’t what I needed, though.
‘We might be able to do something with that bottle and a little cloth, hey lad?’
Colt smiled pointing at the keeper’s personal stack of whiskey. But I shook my head. Perhaps the saber over the mantel could come in handier. I looked through the window again, but all was quite. Colt signaled we might want to leave while we could. I bought the saber before walking out, trailing our smiling Guide. Baring the sword in front of us I shirked back from something with way too many legs. Something else whooshed past on my left. The creepy crawlies weren’t gone!
We bolted to the first door to find it shut. But lights shone in through the closed blinds. They had to let us in! I shook the lock and Colt had stopped knocking and was literally banging the door with a fount root.
‘They’re not going to open, it’s the crackpot Lodge, yee know?’ Colt said.
I squinted at the silver plaque on the door. He was right, it was the only private club in town, but even the prestigious members of the Silver Twilight lodge had to be humane enough to let us in! We wouldn’t stop knocking before someone opened! Suddenly a window above our head opened, some hooded figure appeared.
‘Please!’ I screamed in vain.
‘Leave, or you shall regret it,’ they said.
I kicked the door in frustration. Had they any idea what was in those streets? Had they no heart to protect other man?
‘I warned you,’ they said.
And under our feet a gaping mouth opened; horrifying tentacles sweeping us through! Had we not seen enough horrors already?
Certainly we weren’t meant to hear or see such things! I screamed.
The gate closed over the same way as the other one had. The gestures needed had almost been the same. But there was nothing I could draw a symbol on the floor with. Hibb’s Roadhouse was carpeted and no way could I either carve or write anything. Still, we didn’t have time to linger, barely hesitating to leave the place unprotected, I let Erica lead me to the next crack in reality, or at least try to.
I staggered as flashes of color swept through the sky, momentarily blurring my vision. What was it again? Rubbing my eyes and poking my hand to Erica’s shadow lumbering in front of me, I suddenly pulled back as I felt her odd gritty coat.
But as I opened my eyes once more, I screamed. Standing in front of me was the most horrid skin-on-bone rugged individual I’d ever come across! I tried to dodge its grasp as it moved forward, jumping on the side and running off. Cowering I got in front of the general store, but a wooden panel barred the door. Written onto it was the even scarier: ‘Leave town if you still can! Everyone is!’ But it was too late for me, the mummy got my leg and pulled me back into itself. I felt my sanity sway as it breathed onto my face. Spirits help me keep it together! And from the sky descended a blue storm of withering figures; my vision guides! They enveloped the mummy driving it away from me for a second.
‘Wait! I’m coming!’ Erica jumped into action, suddenly appearing from nowhere.
Waving my purse, I must have dropped it in the confusion, she knocked the head off the creature, making it roll in a corner. The mummy fell on its knees, unmoving, brass knuckles are awfully heavy things. But still creatures kept coming for us in the street, swooping down from clouds. I recognized the giant insect from earlier in the night but this time we were ready. Erica jumped on its back as it swooped down, blinding it in an easy move. The blue spirit glow grew steady once more and hit the monster full blast. The thing produced a pathetic scream before its flesh melted of its bones and amongst the putrid goo an object glistened.
‘Some kind of statue.’ Erica said, digging the protruding object from the slime.
I grimaced at its odd alien form, but didn’t dwell on it. We needed to move on! Those streets crawled with monsters slowing us at every step. I heard the police siren blaring through – only they weren’t coming for us. They drove past higher into town. Worst of all it started to rain! Cursing them and all the elements combined, I gripped my coat tighter and grabbed Erica’s arm so she’d help me walk through all this without slipping and breaking my neck.
‘Will this ever stop?’ I asked no one in particular as some form of specter descended on us in the middle of Independence Square.
We were getting close to where Darrell worked and I hoped he was fine. The hunting presence slid through Erica making her snarl at him. But not to worry, my weapons were as intangible as his own. Listening to my inner voices I opened y mind up fighting with all my will, if not my body. When I opened my eyes only a handful of gold coin littered the floor.
‘Good work!’ Erica smiled, ‘here’s to something new.’
She pointed her thumb at yet a new otherworldly gate and I shook my head. Would we ever manage it? Could we actually manage it? She pushed me through.
Fighting our way out we eventually cut the tentacles keeping us into the dark pit that was this other world. We crawled out escalating the flesh of the beast. The Silver Twilight’s door was still fast locked as we reached up. The guide kneeled by the otherworldly door but I did not join him. I could not be that calm and poised. I could not allow such infamy from my fellow man! I hit the door hard:
‘Are you responsible for this! Open up!’ I yelled at the lodge’s dwellers, ‘we’ll stop you! You can’t do this in all impunity!’
But Colt elbowed me in the stomach.
‘You’re too loud, lad! We’re wasting time. He can’t close the door in those conditions, poor bloke! Just stay still a second.’
He was right. Not knowing what to do with my hand I fiddled with my pockets and dug out the book our Guide had handed over earlier in the bus. Leafing through it I saw how important its information were. I wasn’t in the mood to really read it, but I cornered one page nonetheless. It revealed the recipe for a spell that might come in handy, the power to wither it was called.
It took us twice longer to close this door than last time. Huddled against the door Colt and I witnessed some long legged creature walk past and away. Oddly it ignored the Guide on the ground and continued along. This was a real nightmare. How could my colleagues ever doubt that something wasn’t quite right in Arkham? It was time to really weapon up!
Running as if all hell had broken loose we directed ourselves towards the curiosity shop only there would they have oddities enough to protect us! I’d always wanted to see what was behind the windowfront of that little place hidden in the shadow of the newspaper building.
This world was thick with fog. I could hear water lapping somewhere and a boat horn.
‘Hurry!’ Erica encouraged.
Puffed I shook my head. How old did she think I was? Those were thin weak legs under me! I vaguely saw the steamer ship brush past. We were wallowing in the wet and mud and I was getting moody. But then I saw something I recognized across the bay, the Innsmouth shore! Its ghastly outline was unmistakable! I grimaced.
Obviously they had to be mixed in with all of this, their fishy hide never straining far from trouble. And there I noticed something glow in my pocket. Where it shone fog shirked. I took it out and immediately recognized the object I’d picked up earlier: the star-eye.
‘I’ve seen all we need!’ I smiled. Directing myself with the object I found the exit back to Arkham. We were going to close that door and live through it all. For the first time I had hope for us.
Kicking the leaves in mounts back at Independence Square I placed the pentacle-eye right under the gate. But my hand felt stuck to it, my mind thrown in an invisible stream to the beyond. I screamed as I saw the hideous figure of the evil god turn and thrash. Somewhat what I was doing was slowing its progression towards us, but the energy pulled at my mind. I clutched my head, feeling hysteria lacing my thoughts, I had to manage this! I had to slow the apocalypse down! I pushed fought with all I had. The gate blinked in and out of existence for a couple of minutes but then evaporated into thin air. Sprawled on the ground I couldn’t move as I hear Erica say:
‘Gloria? Gloria can you hear me?’
My eyes closed on their own.
The shop was hardly lit and smelt dank. Rows amongst rows of oddities littered the place. But I had enough books weighing me down already and jewels were very low on my list. It’s the glint of a little knife that caught my eye.
‘Ah, the Gladious of Carcosa,’ nodded the shopkeeper knowingly. I told him I’d take it.
‘This one too,’ Colt added brandishing another knife bearing a small tag.
I smiled when I saw the scribbled ‘enchanted’ written on the blade. I paid the lot and earth shook.
Was that the end? I ran out not caring who followed. Further up the street a hideous red rip into the sky let through tendrils of monstrousness. Was that Gloria walking towards it and disappearing into the open wound? I rushed behind her.
‘Where am I?’ I’d awoken with a start and people had refused to answer. I was relieved to see Erica appear.
‘The asylum,’ she said, ‘I dragged you here, thought something was wrong with your head. Wasn’t too far from the truth actually, they’re telling me you’re a hysteric… not much they can do about that, though.’
‘Well let’s get out of here!’ I yelled, not liking the place at all, ‘we have things to do!’
Grabbing my purse from Erica’s hands I walked out. There was nothing wrong with my head, it was just the body that refused to follow. I swayed by the exit. Catching onto a protruding stone, I held myself upright against the doorframe of the establishment, breathing slowly. My husband had always believed I could cure him with my hands. Feeling an odd smile curl my lip, I rubbed my arms. Was it just me or did that feel better? I took a tentative step without so much as a wobble. I had to hold on to this as long as it lasted!
‘Come on!’ I urged Erica.
I wanted to check that everything was holding in Independence Square before closing the next gate. A woman ran past, almost knocking me over with her large swaying skirts, and did not stop when I called out to her. But before I could warn her tremors run up my legs. This time I knew it wasn’t my body playing tricks on me.
The sky opened up, crimson spilling out. This was what I’d seen. The end drew near. Grabbing Erica’s arm I walked to the final gate. We had failed, the god was upon us and now all we could hope was to hurt it enough for it to go away.
‘Gloria!’ I yelled having jumped into the gaping hole, ‘Gloria!’ and she turned around.
Supporting her small carcass was a young dark haired woman. But I did not dwell, nor did I ask her name like the gentleman I am should have. Instead all my attention was grabbed by the hideous creature in front of us.
‘Rhan-Tegoth,’ the young woman whispered in awe.
I back peddled but caught my foot in whatever lay on the misty ground. Suddenly the beast was on me. Palpable and yet more, it invaded my mind and fed off me! Weakness invaded my limbs as the vampiric creature sucked my blood. I fought, kicking legs and arms but nowhere did I connect. It engulfed all my vision, greater in size than all that surrounded me. I felt my lifeblood drain. We hadn’t even been able to surprise it! But just as I thought my life was over the monster pulled back, red staining its gill covered razor sharp mouth.
I crawled back a little more, finally able to witness the younger woman’s effort to poke at the flanks of the beast with whatever came at hand. Somewhere up by what seemed to be the horror’s head was a figure in capes whispering words I did not understand. The woman’s jabs did little damage, but the beast suddenly looked annoyed. In a frightening, swaying, movements it tried twisting around so as to grasp at her. Gloria, on the other hand, had jumped at my side, tears in the eyes.
‘Darrell, you can’t leave us now, you’re our only chance, I’m too old, this is a god, an evil god and you have to kill it!’ She was patting my face clumsily.
Her hands felt cold and warm at the same time, glowing in blue. Was it actually possible? As I wandered I felt my strength building, body knitting back together. Sitting back up I thanked her. Whatever she had done I felt better now. But the beast was tired of the girl’s jabs and finally swatted at her, catching Gloria in the same movement, through the middle. They screamed one scream and crashed in the distance.
Thoughtlessly, I jumped on the god, penetrating its hide with both enchanted knifes. The creature wailed as the blades dug into its flesh with something more than just my strength pushing them in. To my utter horror it lifted a still moving Gloria Goldberg to one of its beaks. I tried to carve deeper into the beast, hoping it would let her go! But already the sharp pincers clasped onto her stomach spilling blood. Gloria screamed as the horror drained her away only letting go when all the blood was gone. This could not be! Her white cadaver collapsed onto the ground and with renewed terror I attacked more savagely.
Hitting at the creature like a fury I chopped tendrils and tentacles, but they kept on growing back. When I thought I found a weaker spot the knifes bend and skidded across the thick hide. Hacking at slime was useless, I fought as it picked me up again in a squishy embrace. But there was nothing I could do. Darkness enfolded my vision as the blood run from my veins to his.
I had given all I could. We had fought with all our strength. Already cold inhabited my body and my eyes closed over oblivion.
Yes, after almost 4h of playing with my husband, we lost. It was a real disappointment to us too. But we had a huge amount of fun as everything went crescendo. Do you play board games?