Chicago Cthulhu

Game 3: The Thing in the Well

Boston, Massachusetts

A week prior a package arrived at the Dorchester club and was delivered to a room in which they had all gathered.

There was a short note attached to a wire recording that read:

“Friends,

I’ve made a recording of some of my dream sessions, as mother has told me that I speak in my sleep. I listen to these tapes during my waking hours, and I have heard many strange things as a result. This particular recording I think was of interest, and I believe that it may speak of some tragedy to come, though it is scarcely sound material that any investigating authority would take seriously, not believing in the things we have seen. Even if they investigate, they will only look to the mundane, their eyes being firmly closed to the world that we know exists.

Since you proved so adept at investigating the situation at the Tannerhill House last year, I thought you might look into this for me out of the goodness of your hearts.

Yours truly,

Paul.”

Using equipment available at the clubhouse, they were able to play back his recording. It was a short recording, lasting only a few minutes. Much of it was incoherent mumbling, though he intermittently referred to a “great beast” and “children.” The last thing he said was crystal clear even if its meaning wasn’t immediately apparent:

“The children will die…the children will die…it’s the trail of the Beast…in Boston. It’s happened before….it will happen again…”

At that point in the recording, Paul trailed off once again into incoherence.

Not knowing what action to take, nothing was done. Then a newspaper arrived at the club. Gerald strode into the room with a grim look on his face, holding up a copy of the Boston Globe. The headline on the front page read “Three Children Murdered” and proceeded to describe three young children murdered on the streets of Boston, all from the slums and on the street late at night when the atrocity occurred. The murders were committed separately, one every other day over the span of a week. Police urged the parents to keep their children in at night as they continue their investigation.

Doing some research, the group was able to discover a few things:
- The bodies were found in a terrible condition with inexplicable suction wounds that sucked out partial organs and in cases broke bones.
- The bodies of the victims were found initially covered in some kind of mucus or slime that dried in the sunlight.
- A witness reported that the slime led off on a trail through the streets to the foot of the high stone wall surrounding the Cornwallis mansion.
- Obituary dated July 4, 1891. The deceased was an infant boy named Jeremy Cornwallis, still-born to Dr. and Mrs. Ambrose Cornwallis. The obituary stated that the body was to be interred in the Cornwallis family crypt in the All Heart’s Cemetery in Boston.
- An article on a double murder at the Cornwallis Mansion dated September 15, 1891. Details were not provided, but the story speculated that the still-birth of their first child some months earlier may have led to the tragedy. The article said that the couple was to be interred in the family crypt at the All Heart’s Cemetery in Boston, and that Dr. Cornwallis was survived by his sister Sarah.
- An article dated November 16, 1891. It stated that a graverobber was arrested by the police while attempting to break into the Cornwallis Family crypt in the All Heart’s Cemetery. Police speculated that robbery was the motive despite the claims of the culprit. He stated that he believed the recently deceased Dr. Ambrose Cornwallis was a warlock, and he intended to turn his body face-down.

They visited the All Hearts Cemetery and went to the Cornwallis Crypt. Written around the door frame of the family crypt, in Latin was the following motto: “To son, to father, to son, to father, to son, to father…”

They looked in the coffins, finding the body of Dr. Cornwallis face down. They opened Jeremy’s coffin and found it filled only with rocks.

Next, they went to the Cornwallis Mansion grounds. It had been reduced over the decades to a small yard surrounded by an eight foot high stone wall. The only entrance to the grounds was through the old wood carriage gates found at the end of a narrow street that wound uphill through the slums that now comprise the neighborhood. As they approached the gates, they creaked slowly open and a young boy that looked about thirteen years old with red hair and freckles emerged.

He was Ted Ryder, a delivery boy for a nearby grocer. He made a weekly delivery to Miss Cornwallis that consisted of bread, milk, and other staples, along with a standard order for seven stewing chickens. “I guess she must really like her chickens, though I can’t imagine how she eats a chicken a day. The guy that worked this route before me, he said he’d made the same delivery to her for years,” he said upon further inquiry. He revealed that Miss Cornwallis was a bit daffy, but tipped well.

Once inside the gates, they found that the house looked like it was decaying. It was surrounded by a weed choked yard. The mansion was dominated by a three-story tower located at one end of the structure, and its diamond-shaped windows looked out over the city. Traces of the drive that served the home circled the disused well in the center of the yard and then extended to the old carriage house, long collapsed, at the far corner of the property.

Looking into the well, they found a chicken bone lodged between the rocks. The carriage house was collapsed. They went to the house and were greeted at the door by old Sarah Cornwallis, who invited them in and cleared a spot for her visitors to sit down and wait while she made them tea.

She spoke of her brother Ambrose with pride, but when asked about Jeremy she broke down into mad gibberings. They had to tie her up and restrain her for her own safety, intending later to have her hospitalized.

In the meanwhile they explored the house, finding the rotten chickens in the kitchen as well as the good. They found a tub in the basement lined with deposits of what they surmised could only have been algae. On the second floor, they found a locked door that led them to the third floor tower.

The tower contained a strange laboratory filled with strange apparatuses. The room was lit by a diamond shaped stained glass window. A stuffed alligator hung from the ceiling by wires. On the desk there was a journal, along with two letters and a box.

The journal revealed the following:

  • Dr. Cornwallis was once a member of a secret “Brotherhood” that dates back to ancient times.
  • This Brotherhood awaited the birth of one referred to only as “the Child.”
  • The Brotherhood was headed by a Baron Hauptmann, who resided somewhere in the Transylvania region of Romania.
  • Cornwallis discovered the birth of “the Child” in 1880 and immediately notified Hauptmann.
  • In 1890 “young Master Edward” came to live with Cornwallis for several months before Hauptmann arrived in America. Hauptmann returned to Europe and took “young Master Edward” with him and left a special gift for Cornwallis – a pair of ‘magical’ spectacles.
  • An entry dated October 23, 1890 told of a mysterious accident involving Cornwallis’s wife and the spectacles.
  • Cornwallis told of the birth of Jeremy on July 3, 1891. He talked about his attempts to keep him alive in a tub in the basement.

The letters were written by Hauptmann and were in Latin also, postmarked from Klausenburg, Romania:

  • The first letter congratulated Cornwallis on his discovery, indicated that Hauptmann was sure the Child was the One, and sent the lineage as proof. He said “He bears the mark, and the stars are right” as well as “Praise Shub-Nigurath.”
  • The second letter said that everything was going according to plan, said he was going to come to America on May 27th to retrieve young master Edward. He said he had contacted the parents, and they understood the interest and purpose and he didn’t expect them to interfere. He indicated that the boy’s father was a typical short sighted man of business and that the man’s company was already benefiting from his decision. He promised to bring a gift of a pair of spectacles and instruct Cornwallis in their proper use.
  • He closed each letter with “Hail Yog-Sothoth.”

The box contained a pair of strange looking spectacles. Bailey put them on and they took her to an alien world where a giant arachnid crystalline sort of creature attacked her and harmed her badly in the real world. Edmund repeated the same feat, also being hurt. Eventually they leave alone the possibility of returning to that strange world to defeat the creature and return to what they were about.

They went to the well and discovered Jeremy within. They fed him chickens, but eventually decided that they must destroy him, which they do using fire.

In the coming days, no more child deaths are reported.

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