A Cthulhu Mythos story. Start at the beginning.

A Cthulhu Mythos story.  Start at the beginning.
A Cthulhu Mythos story set in Miskatonic University in modern times. . If you're new, start at the beginning.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Chapter 27

Chapter 27

As Gretchen sobbed on the grass in front of her apartment she heard footsteps approaching.  She looked up and through tear clouded eyes she saw a girl approach.  She was bundled up head to toe but Gretchen recognized those black orbs for eyes. 
It was her little sister, Hannah. 
“What are you doing here?”  Gretchen asked. 
She wiped her nose and tried to regain control of herself.
“I’m going about my father’s business.”
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“I was ordered to come.  Its time you came home,” Hannah said. 
Gretchen stood up and brushed her knees off. 
“I can’t go.  I have too much work to do.”
“Well, it isn’t your boyfriend keeping you here anymore.  I made sure of that.”
Gretchen paused and looked at Hannah.  Even though she wore a scarf covering her face, she could tell Hannah was smiling.  It was that cheerless predatory smile of a shark.
“What did you do, Hannah?”
“Nothing much.  Just put a simple enchantment on that gentleman to make him attack you.  I also put a little spell on lover boy so he’d believe me when I told him you were killing people.”
Blue energy surrounded Gretchen’s hands as her rage built up.  Nyrulth’s Lighting came to her bidding without being asked.  The spell fed off of anger.  

“Oh! Hit a sore spot, did I?”  Hannah said. 
“I should kill you right here.”
“Go ahead and try.  You’ll just humiliate yourself and you’ll still end up coming home with me.”
“I’m never going home.”
“Father said you might say that.”
Gretchen stretched out her hands and sent the blue lightening striking out at Hannah. 
Hannah casually raised one hand and the lightening burst on an invisible shield.
“That all you got?”  Hannah asked.
“I’m older.  I know more than you.”
“But I studied more, at least the things that mattered.  Father taught me things he’d never teach you.  You’re soft and weak.  Always have been.” 
Gretchen let loose a bolt of Dark Fire.  The ball of black fire streaked toward Hannah but she batted it away like it was a tennis ball. 
Then Hanna reached out with one hand and Gretchen was suddenly gripped in the most searing pain she had ever felt.  She collapsed to the ground and pain wracked her body like someone was sticking hot, rusty barbs inside her guts. 
“Now, will you come like a good little girl or shall I continue showing you father’s lessons?  Actually, I’m enjoying this.  I’ll keep you like that for a while.”
Hannah now stood over her with her hand raised in an unfamiliar gesture.  Her black eyes gleamed with the cruel joy of the sadistic. 
“David, is it?  He must be a good kisser if he had you crying in the grass like that.  Perhaps I can go see for myself after I’m done.  I could enjoy his pleasures more than you could.  I’d watch his skin be peeled from his body as I had my way with him.”
“Screw you,” Gretchen managed to say between clinched teeth.  The pain made thinking and speech almost impossible. 
“That wasn’t very nice.”
An old, rusty van from the 70’s pulled up and the back doors opened.  Two men she recognized as some of father’s men jumped out and picked her up.  The pain spell still paralyzed her with agony and there wasn’t a thing she could do to resist.  

They tossed her in the back of the van and before she knew it the doors were closed and the van was driving off. 
The pain ended but her body still shook from the memory. 
Hannah peered back at her from the front passenger seat.  She removed her scarf and tossed it on the dashboard. 
“I thought you’d be more difficult, sis,” Hannah said.
Her gun was in her purse back on the grass.  She should have gotten a concealable holster like David had.  Hannah wouldn’t be smiling with a bullet between her eyes.
“David thinks you’re a psycho killer.  There’s no reason to go back,” Hannah said.
Gretchen curled her knees up to her chin and sat there as the van bounced its way down the road to the highway. 
She had to get out of this.  She didn’t want to go home. 
But why was this even happening?  There were no important rituals scheduled. 
“Why bring me back?”  Gretchen asked.
Hannah’s black eyes widened as her shark mouth grew into a genuine smile. 
“Ah!  Yes, you don’t know.  I’ll call it a surprise party.” 
“Tell me.”
“Make me.”
They were silent for a long time.  The fishy henchmen sat there, dumb and unblinking. 
“You know, I don’t really see what you saw in that place.  How could you stomach all those ignorant outsiders?”  Hannah asked.
“They don’t stink of fish.”
“But you do.  Maybe you forgot that, but you do.  Just as much as I do.”
“I had to eat their weird food.  It was better than public school cafeteria food, but it still tasted of vomit.  Bad food, bad company and useless learning.  Did any of your professors have an idea what the real world is?  Did any of them suspect the fate that will befall the world when the Old Ones return?”
Hannah threw her hands up sighed. 
“We’re the freaks, not them.”
“Yes, we are.  You including.  It’s time you remembered where you belong.  I don’t see why father allowed you to leave. I would have locked you in the attic before I let you leave.” 
“Why are you so sadistic?  Is something broken in your mind?”
“I see the world for what it really is.  The strong rule over the weak. Those people are all mindless fish, ready to be drawn into a net of our making.” 
“Of your making.  I’ll have no part in it.”
“If you say so.”
Hannah turned back around to face the front. 
Neither of them said anything more for the rest of the trip.  
Around midnight the van pulled up in front of the Marsh mansion.  The back opened up and father stood there with two more of his men.  

He was hunched over with a cane and his back and arms were more massive than she remembered.  His changes were coming faster.  That meant his time to return to the sea was growing near.
He wore a dark suit that was obviously sewn together just for him and his changing shape.  His hands were webbed and clawed and he had no hair on his head.  His jaw was square and powerful and by all accounts he had been a handsome man in his youth.
His distorted face with its downturned mouth and black, unblinking eyes faced her. Only hints of his former good looks were left.
“Daughter.  You are needed here.  We have much work to do.”
He waved off the guards that were about to drag her out of the van and waved for her to follow him.
She crawled out of the noisy van and followed father and Hannah into the mansion and took seats in the parlor. 
The mansion seemed even uglier than she remembered.  The carpet was nearly black with stains and holes showed the rotten wood beneath.  Any civilized place would have had this mansion condemned years ago. 
But Innsmouth wasn’t a civilized place.
“I need to ask you questions, Gretchen.  I need you to answer them truthfully,” father said.
Gretchen merely nodded. 
“During your time there, did you have sexual relations with anyone?”
Her thoughts instantly turned to David.  He had touched her but they had not done anything that could produce a child.
Hannah laughed.
“Really?  I watched you for days.  I thought for sure you were screwing,” Hannah said.
“We weren’t,” Gretchen snapped. 
Father held up his hand to silence Hannah. 
“Did you divulge the secret of Dagon and Mother Hydra?”
Actually she had told David all about the cult of Innsmouth and how dangerous it was.
“Have you come into contact with any being that would be in conflict with Dagon and Mother Hydra?”
“Hastur and Nylarthotep.”
“Yes.  Why ask.”
“Then you must be cleansed before we can begin.”
“Begin what?”
Father stood up and began walking out of the room.  Hannah sighed of boredom and followed him out.
“Gretchen, go up to your room and don’t try to leave.  There are worse dangers out there than my loyal men,” father said before leaving her view completely.
With that, she was left to ponder her fate.
There was nothing to do but go up to her room and try to think of a way out of this.  She had to escape.  After seeing the goodness of David and Beth she knew how vile her people really were. 
David.  She wished he was here. 
Damn Hannah.  She had spelled him to fall for her lies.  But those spells were effective and he would believe them.  In his eyes she was a horrible murderer.  Could that ever be fixed or was her chance at happiness forever ruined? 
Her old room was just as she had left it.  Spartan, decaying and lifeless.  The bed had dust on it and a leak of the roof had formed a puddle on the floor. 
She walked over to the window to look out over the ocean.  There was no moon so all that greeted her was a vast nothingness.  

Down on the lawn she saw one of father’s men walking around with a rifle.  Thanks to David she recognized it as an AK-47.  

They were keeping her here. If she tried to escape she’d either have to face those armed men or her little sister. 
How had she become so powerful in such a short time?  It was also possible that she had been more powerful for a long time.  She had always suspected that they were keeping things from her and it had never bothered her before.  She hadn’t wanted to know what they were doing in secret.  But her lack of knowledge was a severe problem. 
She stripped down and crawled under the thick sheets.  The bed felt like stone compared to her bed back in the dorm.  A smelly, dusty stone.
Gretchen wondered what David was doing.  Would he worry about where she went or would he be glad to be rid of a murderous witch?  Maybe he cursed the day he met her and realized what a folly it had been to make her a friend.  
She awoke to a cold, gray morning.  The house didn’t have heating so she searched her closet for one of her old coats.  She put that on and put the hood up. Then she went downstairs and found one of the servants, a large woman with eyes that were too far apart and too small, stoking the fire in the parlor. 
“Is my father about?”  She asked.
“Yes, man,” the woman croaked and went back to tending the fire.
“Where is he?”
The woman pointed with a webbed hand at towards the dinning room.  Gretchen took a deep breath to steel her courage and walked into the dinning room.  Father, her step mother and Hannah were all sitting down to breakfast, a mushy porridge she despised. 
“Have a seat,” her step mother said.
She was tall, but with a neck that was too long and a face that was too narrow and long.  She had on her Thursday wig.  She didn’t have any natural hair.  Her eyebrows were poorly painted on but she always thought she looked perfect.  She looked grotesque. 
“Are you missing David dearest?”  Hannah asked. 
She ignored her sister’s taunting and took a seat on the far end of the table from the others. 
Another servant, a fishy looking woman with somewhat blueish skin came in with a bowl of gruel for her. 
She ignored the bowl of slop in front of her.
“What do you want with me?”  Gretchen asked. 
“Please eat, you must be famished,” Father said.
“I don’t recall any important ceremonies.  Why was I pulled away?”
“There’s a special situation we need your help with.  It requires both you and your sister,” Father said. 
He was looking at a newspaper while eating.  He hated the outside world so she always wondered why he bothered reading their papers. 
“What kind of situation?”
“A one in a century opportunity.  We need you both and by the end, one of you will be High Priestess.”
“Where will you be?”  Gretchen asked.
“I’ll return to the sea.” 
“Hannah would make a better High Priestess.  Let her do it and leave me be.  I wish to return to school.”
“You can’t.  After the ceremony then you may return.  But for now, I need you here.  This is too important.” 
“Why won’t you tell me what it is?”
Her father continued reading the paper in silence while her step mother looked her usual bored self and Hanna covered her mouth to restrain a giggle. 
She didn’t like the way things were going.  They always hid things from her, but they usually made an effort to hide the fact they were hiding things.  Now they were shoving it in her face. 
Something had changed.    
After the uneaten breakfast she went to the library for something to do.  If father was telling the truth then all she had to do was this one ceremony and then she’d be able to go back home. 
But she didn’t believe it was as simple as that. 
She got an old grimoire from the early colonization of North America to take it up to her room to begin studying. 
As she headed to her room she passed by father’s study.  She heard him talking to Hannah, but the hushed whispers in their voices made her pause and reconsider. She leaned flat against the wall near the door and listened. 
“She’s a dolt.  She doesn’t know anything,” Hannah said. 
“I’ve warned you about that,” father said.
“About what?”
“Assuming everyone around you is an idiot.”
“In this case it’s true.  She doesn’t even realize the significance of the date.  She has no clue.”
“Then don’t say anything to lead her to suspect.  She believes she’ll be going back to that filthy university when we’re done with her.”
“Can I keep her skull?”
“Of course you can.  I never could say ‘no’ to you even if I wanted.” 
Gretchen’s chest constricted and she suddenly fount it hard to breathe.  She slunk away from the door and hurried back up to her room and locked the door. 
They were planning on killing her.  She paced around the room, tried sitting and paced some more.  What was she supposed to do?  David would know. 
David, where are you?”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chapter 26


David pulled up to the parking lot in front of the theater.  Show time.  The play was tonight and he’d finally get it over with and done.  No more play practice.  He would get his evenings back.  More Skyrim, Alice, Asassins Creed and Fallout. 

All he had to do was get through this one night. 
As he closed the car door he looked up and saw a girl standing on the other side of the car.  She was short and was bundled up for winter with a puffy, blue coat and an orange knit cap.  She had a white scarf around her face and all he saw were her black eyes.  Her clothes looked like things she had found at the Salvation Army ten years ago. 
“Hey, you’re David, aren’t you?”  The girl asked. 
Her eyes stayed locked on him and didn’t blink.
David moved his hand to be near his gun. 
“Who are you?”  He asked.
“A friend.”
“I know my friends and I don’t know you.” 
“I’m a friend, nonetheless.” 
He pushed the button on his key to lock the door. 
“What do you want?”  He asked.
“Just to give you a kindly warning.  Your friend, Gretchen Marsh isn’t what she says she is.  She’s dangerous.  She sucks the life out of people to fuel her own life.  She’ll drain you one day.  Mark my word.”
She was talking crap and he didn’t believe a word of it.
“And how would you know this?” He asked.
“You’ll see what I mean soon enough.”
Then the girl turned and walked away in a stiff, formal way. 
What the hell just happened?  Some weirdo shows up and tells him his girlfriend is a vampire.  Ridiculous. 
He went into the theater but kept scanning the area for more unwanted visitors. 
Beth and Gretchen were already there.  They were back stage and in their costumes already.  Gretchen just wore one of her old fashioned, bland outfits and Beth wore a dress and a white buttoned up shirt.  He had his suit and tie.  

“While it’s just us three, let me cast a spell of remembrance so we won’t forget our lines,” Gretchen said.
“Sounds good,” Beth said. 
He wanted to tell Gretchen about his strange visitor but figured this wasn’t the time.  After the show. 
Gretchen chanted a few words in a language that didn’t sound wholesome and waved her hand about them. 
“There.  There should be no mistakes,” Gretchen said.
The other actors gradually filtered in and soon Beth was going over last minute instructions.  She liked to stand on chairs to compensate for her height. 
David looked out between the curtains and saw that some professors were already there and a few students; probably other drama majors.  It was part of their grade after all. 
Maybe he should have been a drama major.  Credit just for showing up to a play and writing a report about it?  If film class was like that then he could talk about movies all day. 
“Are we ready?”  Beth asked everyone. 
It wasn’t as if they had a choice.  They had to be ready. 
Once the play started he waited behind stage with the others.  Everyone back there stood silent, waiting for their cue.  He was to come in during a ball scene, walk in looking aloof and arrogant and say very little.  He could do that. 
Whatever spell Gretchen used worked because he didn’t once stumble over a line like he usually did or miss a mark.  If his acting was up to standard, that was a different matter. 
Most of his scenes were with Beth and at the end he had to kiss her.  Gretchen was on stage when that happened and he knew she wasn’t happy about it. 
Once the final curtain closed and the audience clapped, he felt a weight lift off his shoulders.  It was over. 
Beth went around patting everyone on the back and congratulating everyone on a job well done. 
“You were great, Mr. Darcy,” she said to him. 
“Thank you, Lizzy.” 
“Its over.  That was stressful,” Gretchen said. 
“At least you liked it,” Beth said.
“Let’s celebrate,” David said.
“We’re all going out for pizza.  The whole cast,” Beth said.
They all met at the pizzeria and he sat next to Gretchen in a booth. 
“Did you enjoy yourself?”  He asked her. 
“No.  I wasn’t made to be an actor, apparently,” Gretchen said.
“Oh, come on!  You weren’t half bad.”
“The whole thing was silly.” 
Beth leaned across the table at them. 
“The show went great!”  Beth said.
“They laughed at the right spots.  That’s a good sign,” David said. 
“Yes, they weren’t laughing at us,” Beth said. 
“It was all silly,” Gretchen said.
After the celebration he drove Gretchen home.  If she didn’t have a test in the morning he would have suggested some more ‘personal time.’ She did kiss him with a slight bite to his lower lip.
He left her dorm and walked back to his car. 
Sayako was in his apartment playing X-box.
“I thought you were staying at Gretchen’s,” he said, closing the door behind him.
“No games,” Sayako said. 
“Well…turn the sound down, okay.”
He pushed her to the floor and laid down in bed.  Ghosts were far more annoying than they were terrifying.
In the morning he drove to Gretchen’s dorm to walk her to class.  He parked and began walking across the commons.  It was early and the sun was just now rising. 
He saw someone lying down under a tree.  Looked like a man, a football player judging by the jacket. 

“Dude, a little early in the morning to be drunk,” he called out. 
The figure didn’t stir. 
He walked over and tapped him with his foot. 
“Yo!  Wake up.”
He rolled the body over with his foot and saw a pale face with eyes wide open. 
He stumbled back and looked around.  No one was in sight. 
David bent down and examined the body.  No wounds. 
After calling 911 he sent Gretchen a message on Facebook (the only modern way to get a hold of her.) and then called Beth to let her know what was going on. 
He had seen bodies before, many in worse condition than this one.  The guy got drunk and froze to death or something similar. 
The police arrived and asked him questions with the promise of more to come. 
“Don’t leave town,” the cop said. 
Due to it all he was late to class.  He took his seat next to Gretchen.
“What kept you?”  She whispered. 
“I found a body?”
“Anyone you knew?”
“Then don’t worry about it.” 
Her coldness surprised him and despite himself he thought of the message from the creepy stranger.  He wasn’t in a habit of taking creepy strangers seriously, but her words came back to him. 
David had to find out how the guy died. 
After school he went to the police station and asked.  They insisted that they couldn’t tell but he did get out of them that they didn’t really know and they were going to do an autopsy. 
They couldn’t tell how the man died.   


She waited for David outside the pool.  She had beaten everyone’s times by a wide margin and received dates for the first competition.  The coach said she was set to win.
Where is he?  David’s never late.
Finally his car pulled up and she walked over to the door.  When she opened the door Sublime was playing almost too loud.  Once seated she turned the volume down.  

“Sorry I’m late,” he said.  “But went to the police station to find out what happened to the football player.  They didn’t know.  Gretch, do you have a spell that sucks out someone’s life?”
She felt her throat constrict and it became hard to breathe.  How could he possibly know that? 
“I do,” she managed to say. 
He nodded his head and thought for a moment.
“Have you used that spell on anyone at school?”
“Why are you asking, David?”
“Someone told me that you’ve been using that spell.”
“I don’t know.  But you don’t deny it?”
“I’ve used it once and it was to defend myself.”
“Just once?”
She paused to examine him.  She didn’t like the way he was looking at her, like she was under interrogation. 
“Just once,” she said. 
“I’m starting to wonder if you trust me.”
“I trust you, but I have to be sure.  Finding that body was no coincidence.”
“You don’t trust me.”
“I do!”
She folded her arms and looked out the window.  She didn’t know what was going on, but someone was interfering with her life. 
They didn’t speak as they drove to Taco Bell for lunch and neither of them said a word until they sat down in the corner seat.  

“I’m sorry,” he said. 
She began to eat her grilled stuffed burrito without replying. 
“Hey, this is all strange to me.  This weird girl shows up and says you’re killing people with some evil spell and then I find a body outside your dorm.”
“So you assume it was me?”
“No, but I want to know what’s going on.”
It was a quiet lunch after that. 
Afternoon classes went by slower than usual.  The entire time she kept thinking of what he had said to her and what she wanted to say to him.  As many different conversations ran through her mind she couldn’t come up with what to tell David.  If there was one person’s good esteem she didn’t want to lose it was David’s. 
After her last class she walked back to her dorm room. Sayako wasn’t there; probably over at David’s.  They would all meet there later on as usual.  But tonight she didn’t want to.  She just wanted to be alone. 
But then she’d have to make an excuse and she was no good with lying. 
After eating microwaved burritos she began walking towards David’s apartment.  It was only five thirty but it was dark already. 
She buttoned her coat as she walked and tightened the scarf around her neck.  Her black beanie hat was pulled down over her ears.  Her breath puffed around her as she walked. 
All she could do was think about David.  Did he really disbelieve her or was he just confused?  She trusted him with everything but she wanted those feelings to be returned.  Why were things going wrong now?
If someone was doing this to her on purpose, she’d find them and put a pain curse on them so they’d live the rest of their lives in unbearable agony that would drive them mad.
“Hey there,” a male voice said behind her. 
She turned to see a man standing there.  He looked too wild to be a student.  He had one of those puffy coats that rap gangsters liked to wear and a hat pulled to the side.  He didn’t look healthy and stared at her with a vacant, hollow stare.
“Don’t come near me,” Gretchen said.
The stepped forward.
“Or what?  Little girl?  You going to hurt me?”
“Yes I will.” 
“Then you’ll have to hurt me.”
He lunged forward and grabbed the sleeve of her Navy coat.  She pulled away but he held her tight.  He still had the vacant stare but his arms were fast and strong. 
She tried to hit his face but he blocked her pathetic blows. 
Next she tried to get the gun in her purse but he grabbed her purse and yanked it away, tossing it into the grass by his feet.
“I’m going to have a good time with you,” he said.
He pushed her down to the ground and his large mass almost crushed her.  He had her pinned and neither her arms nor her legs could do much of anything.  
“What you going to do now?”  He asked. 
She knew the spell to use.  She muttered the words for the stun spell and when she pronounced the final syllable there was a flash of blue light.
But the man was still holding her.  It hadn’t worked. 
She tried it again and still nothing.  Either she wasn’t doing it right or he was immune to her stun spell. 
He bent down and began licking her neck and cheek.  The man began to describe what he was going to do to her and they were things that rivaled the Esoteric Order of Dagon’s dark rituals. 
This was a horrible man that wouldn’t stop. 
There was only one thing left to do; she had to kill him or he’d make it wish she were dead. 
She began to say the words of the Leech Life spell and when he let go of one of her hands to undo his belt buckle, she reached up and grabbed his throat.  She finished the spell and she began draining his life away. 
He grew weak and collapsed to the ground. 
She crawled out from under him and straddled him. 
“Are you enjoying this, human scum?  Is this what you wanted?  You’re getting what you deserve!”
This was justice.  Like the football player before him, he was a wicked man that saw her as easy pray.  Now that they were dead they’d never bother anyone again.  She was ridding the world of villains and she was glad to do it.  Why should she refrain from using the power to do good?
“Gretchen!”  Came David’s voice. 
She let go of the man and turned to see David standing there. 
It was the look in his eyes that horrified her the most.  He was staring at her with disbelief and disgust. 
“Wait, David.  It’s not my fault!  He attacked me.”
“Just like the other guy?”  He asked. 
What was he doing here, anyway?
“No, he attacked me.  I had to defend myself,” she said.
“How many people have you had to defend yourself from?”
“Just these two.”
He didn’t believe her and he saw it in his eyes.  Why had he come at the exact wrong moment? 
“Why are you here?”  She asked. 
“Got a text message.”
“From who?”
“I don’t know, but they were right.”
“What did they say?”
“Doesn’t matter.  You’ve been lying to me.”
“I haven’t! He did attack me.  David, please believe me.”
“I don’t know what to believe.”
Then he turned and began walking away. 
She picked up her purse and ran after him. 
“Twice in one semester?”  He asked without looking at her. 
“I can’t explain it.”
“You’d better try.”
She couldn’t.  She realized that from his point of view the whole thing was suspicious looking.
“I know how it looks,” she said.  “But it was self defense.  Look at me, David.  Haven’t you trusted your life with me before?  You know me.”
“I thought I did.  I have to think about this,” he said.    
He left her there standing in the cold grass.  She watched him go and couldn’t think of anything to say.  Everything good about the outside world was crumbling around her. 
She fell to her knees and wept. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chapter 25


Gretchen enjoyed the dinner very much.  The stuffing here was much better than the cafeteria’s.  It had been enjoyable except that David’s brothers were just like the normal people from high school.  They had the same “anything different must be bad” mindset.  It was their condensation that she detested the most.  They spoke with her as if they assumed they were superior and that she accepted that as fact.  The idea that she could possibly think them to be idiots never crossed their minds. 
His father hadn’t been much better. 
Still, she’d take idiots over evil cultists for family any day. And the food was infinitely better.  It wasn’t just fish and boiled potatoes. 
After the Thanksgiving feast (she hadn’t asked what they were giving thanks for) David’s family went to the living room to watch football.  David and she stayed in the rear of the room for a while and eventually snuck out. 
He took her outside to their backyard which was filled with trees and piles of dead leaves.  It wasn’t a large backyard and was surrounded by a tall fence.  Her house back in Innsmouth had no fence, but then again, no one would dare trespass on Marsh property.   Her yard also didn’t have any trees, just cold swamp. 

After seeing the yard David played in as a child he took her up to the study.  There was a glass case where his father kept some guns.  Most of them were old hunting rifles but there was also one David called an “FAL.” 
They eventually settled in the library and remained there for most of the day.  They talked about the books they found there and a lot about history, mostly Virginian history. 
David was very proud of his state.  Back in Innsmouth she had only been barely aware that Innsmouth was a part of the state of Massachusetts. Anything outside simply hadn’t mattered.
“The humans and their petty kingdoms they think are so important will one day be swept into the sea.  A day not too distant,” her father used to say all the time.
She had only heard about the Iraq war because the morning news in high school.
She spent that last night curled in David’s arms. 
The next morning they began their ten hour drive back to Arkham and Miskatonic University. 
She borrowed David’s phone and texted Beth.
“I hope you had a good Thanksgiving,” she wrote. 
A few minutes later she got a reply.
“That U G? U only 1 to use proper English in txt,” Beth wrote. 
“See you back at school,” Gretchen replied. 
“What did you think of Richmond?”  He asked. 
“I liked it.  Parts of it were run down and broken, like my hometown, but other parts were very nice.  I liked Williamsburg and the actors dress as historical people.  Especially Thomas Jefferson.”
“Good old TJ.” 
She had bought a tricorn hat to remember Williamsburg.  She also thought they looked nice.  She reached in the backseat, grabbed the tricorn hat and put it on.  Why not?  No one was watching and David probably thought it was cool as well.  

They talked and talked until they got back to Miskatonic University and David pulled up to her dorms.  It was around dinner time and she didn’t want to part company. 
“Would you like to come up to my room, order pizza and make out?” 
“That’s really hard to say no to.”
“So don’t.  Besides, maybe we can get to fourth base.”
“There is no fourth base.”
“Home run.  The only thing left is the home run.”
“Is that what I believe it to be?”
“Oh.  Okay, no home run then.” 
She definitely wasn’t ready for that.  She knew how it was done, she’d seen it plenty of times during the Order’s rituals, but there was more to it that she had learned from Health class.  She didn’t want and STD or a pregnancy.  The chances of ruining her life were too great. 
They watched “Geisha Assassin” on Netflix while they ate pizza.

Then she heard a noise and she quickly paused the movie on her laptop. 
“What’s up?”  He asked. 
“Did you hear something?” 
They both stayed silent for a while.  She was thinking about resuming the movie when she heard it again.  It sounded like a scraping sound, like fingernails on the door.  She looked over to David and he nodded that he had heard it as well.  She pulled out her Beretta Px4 and he pulled out his broomhandled Mauser from his shoulder rig.  He had claimed that it was far from the most practical gun and holster in the world, but it was “too sylish” to not do it.  
They got off the bed and followed the sound of the scratching.  It was coming from her bathroom door.  The door was closed and the light was on.  She always kept the lights off when not in a room. 
She didn’t want David to know that she was worried so she prepared a spell in silence.
David went to the side of the door and put his hand on the knob.  He counted to three and then quickly opened it. 
She expected to find nothing there. 
Instead she saw a girl there.  All she saw was long, black hair and a white dress covered in blood.
“Mother Hubbard!”  Gretchen blurted out. 
The figure struggled to get up and slowly rose to its feet.  Her and David backed away with their guns trained on the strange creature. 
The bloody figure looked up and for a second Gretchen was confused because the thing looked familiar. 
“Sayako?”  Gretchen asked.
The pale face with the dark rings around the eyes nodded.
“I found you.  It took long time,” Sayako said in a voice that sounded as if each breath was the death rattle, the final exhale as the lungs gave out.
Sayako walked with a jerky, halting motion into Gretchen’s living room and looked around on a neck that moved as if broken. 
She was glad to see Sayako again but was still annoyed because her timing had been horrible.  Still, it was good to see a friend again. 
“Nice place,” Sayako said.  “I no interrupt love making, yes?”
“None of your business,” David said as he holstered his gun. 
“You no look like fish,” Sayako said to Gretchen. 
“I noticed.”
“What are you doing here?”  David asked.
“Where else I go?”  Sayako said with wild, angry eyes.
The type of ghost Sayako was, was a vengeful spirit and prone to anger and violence.  She did not want an avenging ghost hanging around her apartment killing anyone that annoys it.    

“You’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like,” Gretchen said. 
She hoped Sayako wouldn’t want to stay long.  She wanted to be alone with David.  She didn’t think she could ‘make out’ while having an audience.
Gretchen remembered reading something about Japanese ghosts.  They tended to be a bit more solid than their western counterparts.  Sayako did look solid.
“Wanna go over to Beth’s place?  She’s not there but you can watch all the movies you missed in the past three decades,” David said.
“Yes!  You’ll love those movies,” Gretchen quickly said. 
“Movies….yes.  Movies,” Sayako said.
They ushered Sayako into David’s car.  She felt solid but cold.  David had Beth’s spare key, something she didn’t quite agree with but had no concrete reasons to object to.  He opened the door and sat Sayako on the couch. 
“This long way from Japan,” Sayako said.  “Take long time to get here.”
“How you even find us?”  David asked. 
“Have connection.  Share dream so I follow you dream.” 
She’d never heard of something following a dreamer back into the real world.  She dreamed of many things that she didn’t want to see in the real world.  But then Sayako existed in the real world so perhaps that made it possible.  She’d have to do some research. 
After David showed her how to work the Blue-ray player, and put in “Princess Mononoke” for her, they backed out of Beth’s apartment and hurried back to her room. 

As soon as the door was closed he picked her up and carried her to the bed.  She liked it when he carried her.  He threw her on the bed and jumped on top.  There was nothing sweet and gentle in their making out.  It was more like two wild animals. 
The next morning they went to Beth’s room and found Sayako still watching movies. 
She borrowed David’s phone again and texted Beth.
“Beth, Sayako has appeared and is your apartment watching movies.” 
“WTF??!!”  Beth responded.


He had survived Thanksgiving with his family; only slightly less difficult than facing Elder gods.   Now he just had to deal with a cockblocking ghost.  He was glad to see Sayako though.  She had kept her word and helped them.  Perhaps she had just been eager to see her own kind.  Sort of.  They were all a little weird, but at least they were living. 
Gretchan, Sayako and he sat in his room playing X-box.  The video game seemed mesmerizing for Sayako and she stayed glued to the TV. 
“What do we do with her?”  He whispered to Gretchen.
She shrugged.
“Nothing.  She won’t harm us unless we make her angry.”
“Oh, that’s all?  What makes her angry?”
“If she thinks we’re trying to hurt or betray her.” 
So, they had a potentially psychotic ghost staying with them for who knows how long. 
Beth came back later that day.  She walked into David’s apartment without knocking. 
“So it is Sayako,” Beth said.
“Konichiwa,” Sayako said without taking her eyes from the video game. 
“I assume she’s staying with you,” Beth said.
“I don’t think that would be appropriate,” He said.
He hated that word, “appropriate.” It sounded dishonest and weak. 
But right now he had to use every weapon in his arsenal.  There was no way this ghost was staying with him.  He doubted Gretchen would approve: even if Sayako was dead.
“She can stay with me,” Gretchen said. 
“You sure, Gretch?”  Beth asked.
“I’m more accustomed to such things,” Gretchen said. 
“But you no have video game,” Sayako said. 
“I have a laptop,” Gretchen said. 
Sayako sighed and continued playing. 
David was glad when classes started back up.  It was nice to get some normalcy again.  He had had a very strange semester so far and hoped things would calm down. 
The play practice was getting more stressful than fun the closer the deadline came.  Just one more week of rehearsals to go and it was show time.  A one time showing in front of the professor, the class and any student who wanted to come.  They were keeping with contemporary clothing so at least he wouldn’t have to dress in silly hats and pantaloons.  

The next morning David walked across the commons to class when he heard someone calling his name.  He turned to see Dan Tillman jogging up to him. 
“Hey, Dan.  How’s it going?”
“Not bad, not bad.”
“Any luck on your project?”
“More than I thought possible.”
“That sounds promising.”
“I’ve been able to detect certain energies I didn’t know about.  It’s…wonderful.”
“Wonderful?  What is it?”
“I can’t tell you.  At least not yet.  As soon as I get more evidence I’ll show you.  More experiments first.”   
“I’ll be waiting.”
“Okay, bye!”
Dan hurried off, holding an armful of books.  David had no idea what he was talking about.