Friday, May 19, 2017

The Littman Detective Agency



Not much to start with, but you gotta start somewhere. The generous grant from my new Treasurer made Steelhead Bay an offer I can't refuse. It seems the Marshall isn't a fan of new-fangled gadgets, so my plans for buying one of them horseless carriages are off the table unless I paint it brass and slap a samovar on the trunk.


It seems New Palermo is never coming back. Most of the locals got relocated to a crater out in the Midwest with some secrets of its own. Will they even remember where they come from after the Feds are done with their newsreels? 

It's one of those places where people are afraid of Communists hiding under their bed and the kids ride around on motorcycles playing g-dawful music. One of those places where everyone expects you to be straightlaced during the day who knows what kinda monkey business goes on at night. 

Also found a lady with spunk who wants to join the operation, she even offered to build the placard and badges. Then we can start offering our services to anyplace with at least a telegraph.

So things are looking up.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Doom That Came To Palermo

My muscles burned in protest as I pulled myself towards safety one rung at a time. As I lifted and pushed away the manhole cover my eyes stung from the harsh streetlights.


Simone clicked the safety on her shotgun and helped me out with her free hand.


“What did you find?”


I pulled off the mask and threw it aside. I leaned against the brick alley wall with both hands  stooped over to spit out my lunch. When I was done I got around to an answer.


“It’s spawning...could be the Goat…”


Simone winced. “Oh Christ…”


I kicked off my galoshes and peeled away my leather gloves. “Soon the sewers won’t be big enough to hold them all.”


I kicked the bundle back down the open manhole. Simone opened the briefcase she brought along and passed me a new set of slacks.


“How much time do we have?”


“Not much time at all...we gotta evacuate this town inside of two weeks before the Foundation can send their exterminators. Otherwise a lot of people we know are gonna lose their minds and their lives.”


I was balanced on one foot and fumbling with the belt when I felt a cold piece of rope wind around my ankle.


“OH SHI--”


“HANG ON I GOT THIS!”


She unlocked the safety and fired both barrels down the manhole. Instead of blood and gore the thing dissipated in a cloud of oily black smoke, and I fell to the pavement like a drunk outside the cantina on Cinco de Mayo.


I crawled over and helped her push the manhole cover until the grinding of pavement against metal surrendered to a satisfying Clunk.


“That was a young’un. They’re faster....but they’re not howling like the big ones.”


“How the HELL are we gonna get all these people out? They’ve already been relocated once! They’re not gonna move this quick again!”


I pulled myself up and grabbed a clean shirt from the briefcase.


“That’s really not our call, Sis. As soon as we call Washington the Feds’ll make ‘em move. Especially if they gotta kill all that with fire.”


She sighed. “I was just getting the hang of this place.”


“They might move back eventually. For now they’ll think it’s just another natural disaster…”


I pulled my tie up until it was snug. “I here there’s a suburb of Boston that startin’ to boom...they’re actually lookin’ for workers. I bet a lot of these folks will sit tight there until Noop gets the all-clear.”


I picked up the gas mask and stuffed it in burlap sack by a strap with a pencil and dropped into a burlap sack so I could sterilize it later. Then leaned over the briefcase myself and fished out my trenchcoat with a snap.  


“I met one of our new Steelhead neighbors,” I went on as I adjusted the sleeves. “He’s cagey about it but it’s pretty obvious he’s Lunar’s kid. He’s building a library across from us. One of the kinds we could put to good use. His assistant he referred to sounds like a master of the five-finger discount.”


“Well that’s good to hear. Do we have furniture yet?”


I popped my fedora back on and shut the case. “Yep...I found an old file cabinet…”


She just shook her head. “Priorities, Dave. Priorities…”


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

more than the tiger prowling

Journal Entry - Monday April 24, 1933



After I finished that job in Boston, I caught a flamenco show then hauled it back to New Palermo. When I got back to the room my tux was laid out for me with a note from Simone on it.


“I’m off to the New Seraph Club. Go to the Tea Party tonight. Watch for shattered cups.”


The holster was laid out on the tux.


It was the weekly Monday Night shindig. Rum and Coca-Cola. Hidey Hidey Ho. All was Charleston until that Malachi guy showed up. Who the hell brings a book to a tea dance? What ever he was mumbling from it made the hairs on my neck raise up like they were getting mugged in an alley on Walpurgisnacht.



It’s gotta be that same damn book those crazy rich bastards are killing each other to get. I was standing there, trying to figure out if it was crazier to jump him or pull my barrel in front of everybody when the local bankers started getting into it.


Everybody felt it. I think I was the only one who knew what it was, but the rest of them - they reacted to it as sadness. Fear. Anger. Jealousy. Suddenly the rage everyone keeps in blew up stronger than all the tunes and booze and scandalous dances can keep a lid on.


The local wiseguys who got the most covered up got warped the hardest. This just threw gasoline on the sparks. Who’s eyeing up whose dame. Who needs a hospital bed. Who needs some new holes in their necktie.


Soon somebody swats a teacup out of somebody else’s hand. The whole damn crowd and the whole damn orchestra froze as it spun up and out and landed with the faintest crash on the ballroom tiles.


And then of course they all rushed for the exit, clutching their cocktails and Cuban stogies for dear life. Priorities. I raced to the door first and held it open so nobody got crushed to death, namely yours truly. I got a couple drinks spilled on me and somebody singed my eyelash with particularly nasty Casa Vega. By the time I got out myself Malachi was faded past the crowd into the shadows.

I found myself once again standing outside the building I used to live in, wondering why I always lose a break so fast when I find one. Wondering who else besides Simone and I knows how high the stakes are. Wondering how I can measure what part of this cursed book business is real and what part’s shared delirium when the damn yardstick keeps melting.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Simone, you bet on the WHAT?

"Dave! I went to watch an underground fight up in New York and you won't believe what they did!"
"It was brutal! I can't believe they brought that critter up from Australia just to throw punches at it!"
"No seriously! I had a couple drinks but I know a damn kangaroo when I see one!"

"You don't believe me? Fine! See if I care!"

Friday, March 24, 2017

Back in the swing

I'm not going to tell you about how I was walking down the streets of New Palermo got thrown in the trunk of a car by some fishy faces and driven back to Innsmouth. And I sure as hell won't tell you what happened there that got the whole place quarantined and how I escaped in the chaos. When I tell you there's things you don't wanna know....seriously, you don't wanna know.

I figured my rent expired. Sure enough when I got to the top floor the door wasn't even where it was. They'd remodeled and subdivided. I warned my sister I was being trailed. I hoped she'd be more relieved than angry about.

It was easy enough finding her at the speak. Simone didn't even give me side glance. I asked her how she was making ends meet since I was gone and she pushed a couple c-notes in my hands and told me to shut the hell up.

Hell I was gone so long some people thought I was new. The old guard recognized me at least. I even got a job doing legal research on night shift at the courthouse. Busy town. Cultist murders, arson, the usual. I even got to nap in the corner a couple hours before the sun comes up.

Yesterday Simone passed me a letter. Address was from "Steelhead Bay". From the Marshall.


"Bloody hell...they rebuilt it!"

Monday, September 28, 2015

The angles of time

Innsmouth, Massachusetts - 186X


Darien and I bolted down the cobblestone streets, dodging terrified townsfolk and maddened horses with empty carriages skittering behind them. That's when we saw it. Several not-eyes spun towards us as it ripped a rib from the carcass of a fallen horse it was crouching over. The bone snapped loudly between its horrendously large jaws.


"What the Hell kind of dog is that!?" I screamed.


"Tindalos!!! Shoot it! Shoot it!"


We unloaded both our pistols into it. To call it a dog doesn't come close to describing it, really. Maybe a malamute put through the meat grinder and squished back into shape with some insect parts thrown in and an extra helping of fangs.


It yiped and turned its long spiked eel of a tail to sprint down the streets of Arkham.


"Did the silver shot help?" I asked. Maybe he'd tell me it was best to let the thing crawl into a hole somewhere and finish bleeding out.


"Not particularly. That's a whole month's bar tab in his gut!"


I chased it for three blocks. I could hear the blood clicking in my ears. My heart was trying to break free from my chest. But the monster seemed to be slowing down in its obscene gait.


"Reload first you fool!"


"Details!"


I pulled my saber, hoping reach the silver first.


"What..?"


It dashed up a hill? No, the road goes downhill! Soon it was over the rooftops.


"It FLIES too?!?"


I traced that trail it left...a sickly color I can't describe because I can't find it in any rainbow on this Earth. I could only stare as it veered up to the top of the lighthouse and vanished with the glare of the spinning beams.


My sword clattered as I threw it to the pavement.


"It got away! Bloody hell it GOT AWAY!"


Darien laid a hand on my shoulder.


"It caught our scent. It's going to lick its wounds then come back for us."


He pulled off his rubber gloves and ripped off his mask.


"This is my fault," Darien said. "This is all my fault."


I looked up at him, fully expecting another rediculous plan.





We were back in the lighthouse where its lantern battery was also powering his so-called revolutionary invention. I was helping double check all the cables on his galvic something or other plugged into the spotlight


"Galvanic Tesseractor."


"Yes whatever you call it, Darien. How are we going to kill this thing?"


"We have to make sure it doesn't surprise us first."


As he pulled a lever I could feel the hairs on back of my head rise up.


"It's going to double back after it heals to this very spot, and from there hunt us down to the ends of the Earth. The only way to survive this is to split up."


"How far do we have to go?"


"Out of this timestream."


"You're joking."


"I wish I was."


He turned a dial and the stone around us began to vibrate.


"Massivitus levels balanced..."


"Darien. Where are we going?"


"If we go together it will still hunt us down anywhere, anywhen. Like I said we need to split up."


He pulled the lever up and down a few more times, measuring the pulses on a clipboard.


"Fine, where do I meet you and when?"


"Where is right here. I haven't figured out how to move through both time and space yet safely for humans."


He grabbed the beer bottle next to the voltaic pile and finished it, tossing it off the tower.


"Look, David...when you come out there will be a ripple effect. Time will readjust itself like a lady's ruffles after she..."


"We're not discussing Atlantic City again! Alright...I won't remember going through. We...won't be a team anymore."


Darien nodded hesitantly. "Well... Not like this."


"And why do I have to go? I mean if you built this damn thesis experiment in the first place then you should..."


"Exactly! If I go through then this thing was never built! Time can’t fix up a hole that..."


We both heard that sickening growl again.


"Hurry! Step into the Qlippothic Projector!"


"The what?"


"The LIGHT you idiot!"


"But I..."


I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and told him what I was afraid to tell him since we first met in freshman orientation. Then half a minute of being too close for words. That's all I had.


"I know, David. Me too. I'm so sorry."


The growl again, I swear I caught wind of its unearthly stench. He pushed me as hard as he could with both hands and I fell backwards into the blinding heat of the lighthouse lantern.


"GO!"



"Where am I? What the blazes are you?"

"I am Aeon. You're inside the Clock."

"What am I doing here?" 

"Didn't the Doctor send you? I have to readjust to put you back. Someplace wound a bit tighter, but not too tight. There will still be room for the little gears to spin their magic, when you find them..."

"I don't understand..."

"You haven't had your hour yet. Go back through the lantern. Things will be different when you get back. Forward a century. Gears rearranged, but still the same. With one replacement."

"I must be dreaming."

"Perhaps you are. But this isn't any less real than the lantern house, where you shall return in 3...2...1..."