Call of Cthulhu: Letters from Arkham
Rupert Merriweather's Journal
by Rupert Merriweather
English in single volume. Dated June 1881 to March 1882.
Bound in plain black leather, the journal entries date from June 1881 to March of 1882.
Although the ink is faded, the journal is easy to read. The entries of most interest include:
• A group of friends, playfully calling themselves the Dark Brotherhood, held their first emeting in the early spring of 1881. Rupert Merriweather became the recording secretary. The members numbered six including Marion Allen, the founder and their nominal leader.
• In June of 1881, they purchased an old farmhouse outside Ross’s Corners, a place where they could conduct their experiments in privacy. Representing themselves as a student literary fraternity, they cleaned and furnished the place while Marion Allen carved special warding (protective) signs over the wooden doors and windows. At the time, the others were amused at such precautions.
• A series of experiments, innocent and apparently ineffective attempts to contact the spirit world, are then detailed.
• An entry dated February of 1882 notes Marion Allen’s acquisition of an artifact, purportedly Egyptian, described as a small sarcophagus of gold with a hinged lid. Inside was a large piece of amber entrapping a specimen of some unknown species of arthropod. Allen is excited. The box corresponds to a description he found in an ordinary reference volume in the Miskatonic University library.
• Allen said that in another book, a thick Latin tome titled De Vermiis Mysteriis, is an explanation of some purported powers of the box. The small animal trapped in the amber is said to contain a friendly spirit and guide to the spirit world.
• A date is set to conduct a ceremony intended to summon the spirit creature―a Saturday night in the middle of March in March.
The final entry is the most interesting. Dated march 1882, it reads:
We begin the ceremony as Marion instructed, according to that described in his book, De Vermiis Mysteriis. A fire is set in the fireplace and a pentagram chalked on the floor, marked with the appropriate symbols and illuminated by two black tapers placed near the center flanking the piece of amber with its entrapped spirit. The others sit in a circle while I, the designated “watcher” who guards for malevolent spirits, sit in the far corner of the room.
Marion throws a handful of powder in the fire, producing an evil-smelling smoke and dampening the flames which now burn a sputtering green and brown. Those seated begin the Latin chant Marion Allen has transcribed from his book.
After nearly two hours I see a trail of smoke circling up from the piece of amber. Its surface seems to be bubbling, melting. Could this be it? Have we finally achieved success? I can see a form
It is the following day. We have finished with our plans and have sworn a pact to never speak of what happened last night. We have satisfactorily explained the death of Robert, and in some manner, the madness of Harold. The sheriff accepted the explanation of a carriage accident―we planned it well. Robert’s neck was broken in the fall, we told him. Harold struck his head on a rock when the horse’s leg broke and the carriage rolled. Would it be that it was only that. For the rest of us, we will be forever changed by what we experienced last night.
The thing formed in the center of the pentagram, shapeless, nearly invisible. Its terrible voice should have given us a clue but we were foolish. It spoke, then Marion cast that damned powder on the spirit, the dust of Ibn-Ghazi, he calls it, and that’s when we could see it.
Words cannot describe the faceless thing with a thousand maws. It roiled and bubbled, never fully revealing itself. So terrifying was its aspect that I sat as though frozen to the floor, the pen falling from my nerveless fingers. Cecil and Marion seemed as lifeless as I, while a short, sharp cry issued from Crawford’s mouth. Robert, however, rose to his feet and before anyone could stop him, stepped forward as though to embrace the horrible guest. With arms, or those appendages that seemed most like arms, it took hold of poor Robert and twisted his head as though it was a doll’s head. The lifeless corpse was thrown back in Harold’s lap and that’s when he began that damnable shrieking―the shrieking that hadn’t stopped, even after we handed Harold over to the Sheriff’s men.
We still have a chance, apparently. Marion now believes that if we had kept our wits, we could have reversed the chant and eventually forced back the creature to wherever it came from. But Crawford panicked and, mistakenly believing that it would dispel the creature, reached forward and destroyed part of the pentagram, breaking its effectiveness. Released from that binding symbol, the thing—with a screech that could only have been unholy satisfaction―fled the house, disappearing out the window as a roaring, screaming wind of boiling colors.
Marion believes that the thing could still be destroyed, or at least dispelled, but none of us who remain have stomach for such an undertaking. It is believed that the spell we cast inextricably binds the thing to the house and it is true that when we went back a few days later to retrieve our things, we heard it bumping about in the attic over our heads. The warning signs so cheerfully carved by Marion Allen during better times―times that seem so long ago―apparently are effective and bar the thing entry except into the attic of the house.
Then is a list of names, all in the same hand, but in various inks:
Robert Menkin, March 1882
Harold Copley, August 1882
Marion Allen, August 1883
Crawford Harris, January 1915
Cecil Jones, March 1924
A small newspaper clipping, dated August 1883, is pasted next to the entry marking Marion Allen’s death and reads:
A MURDER AT THE DOCKS
NEW ORLEANS ― The body of Mr. Marion Allen, late of Arkham, Massachusetts, was discovered early this morning near the Gulf & Panama docks. A victim of foul play, the man was identified by local witnesses who said that Mr. Allen had been seen in the locale the evening before. Although robbery was the apparent motive, police report that the victim’s tongue had been cut out. Marion Allen had reportedly gone to police earlier this week claiming that he was being followed and that he feared for his life. He said his shadowy pursuers were after an Egyptian artifact which he no longer possessed.
Finally, is a single, short entry written in a noticeably weaker hand that reads:
I gravely fear that which I and my colleagues have loosed upon this countryside. Nothing of consequence has yet taken place but with my death the bonds will be broken and the thing then freed to come and go as it pleases. Lives and souls not yet taken already lie heavy on my conscience. The method of delivering the thing out of this world is still in that accursed house, the translation made by Marion Allen from the horrid De Vermiis Mysteriis. I am not strong enough to take on the task, but I know of those who perhaps are. Should they fail me, may God have mercy on my soul.
This journal was given to Grover Jones, Thomas Vanderholdt, and Alan O’Shea by Rupert Merriweather on Thursday, September 20, 1928.