Mari Lwyd

It was late on Christmas Eve, and I was staying in the town of Cowbridge, when the strange knock came to the quaint rented house. When I answered it a chill wind filled the air around me, colder than the December night air. There it was, a phantom in a white shroud with a horse skull head, glowing eyes, and a crown of holly on its head. Before I could scream or shut the door it started singing. My Welsh was terrible, after so many years living in New York, but I could just make out the lyrics…it wanted something to eat?  It wanted to come in? Then I remembered tales my grandmother told me…this could be only one thing…a Mari Lwyd! When it was finished singing, I licked my lips, cleared my throat, and started to sing an answer….

Mari Lwyd
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The Obelisk of Teg Suturloc

“Sometimes in Archaeology you come across something that is just a foot note of a footnote with no actual description, just an amorphous understanding that something exists or existed. That is the Teg Suturloc. An old book of mystic or occult revelations from John Dee talked about a scroll that was lost in the fires at the Ancient Library of Alexandria and how it detailed the Teg Suturloc. I don’t know if it was a place or thing or person. I don’t even know if the name is correct because the text was smeared and damaged. It strikes me curious, though.”  

-Dr. Michael Lorraine, recorded quote from Miskatonic University Emetrius professor of Archaelogy, just months before he went missing on expedition in a remote area of Asia.
The Obelisk of Teg Suturloc
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Elliot Montgomery, esquire

In the ancient days procuring sacrifices for the Old Gods was a fairly simple matter. One need only capture them from the neighboring tribe, or perhaps purchase them from a slave trader.

With the dawning of the Victorian era the world became infested with ridiculous notions such as the rights of man, watched over by police forces, and filled up with busybodies who care about the “downtrodden”. Things became much more difficult.

Enter Elliot Montgomery, Esquire, doss house owner, entrepreneur, and procurer of sacrificial victims for any number of diabolical conspiracies.

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Jasmine, Avatar of Isis

She was beautiful, unbelievable, dark brown skin and long, long, flowing back hair. Her every move wafted the sweetness of jasmine flowers. She wore long, flowing, silk skirts and blouse, all hand-dyed in brilliant colors. They swirled at her slightest turn, dancing with her hair. Her eyes were a deep brown, and when she fixed them onto you, she called you, silently, into some ancient and wondrous place.

–Jonathon Oliver: weary, desperate, and half-mad defender of Humanity.

As an avatar of the Elder god Isis, Jasmine occasionally appears to investigators of the Cthulhu Mythos and provides them a small degree of support and comfort.

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The Iconodule, a Blasphemous Creation

“Bring on the multitudes….to nourish the Artist, stretch their skin upon an easel to give him canvas, crush their bones into a paste that he might mold them. Let them die, and by their miserable deaths become the clay within his hands that he might form…”

– Maxwell Brock, Beat poet

Creating a piece of artwork can be like a particularly difficult birth; more so if the act of creation has resulted in the birth of an iconodule, a foul and hateful entity that lives within a piece of artwork.  Iconodules are born of frustration, despair, and envy, fused with human creativity, imagination, and desire to create: a tempestuously fertile ground. Iconodules have been found in sculpture, in paintings, even in the written word, corrupting first the work they hide within, then their creator, and finally others within their sphere of influence. 

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The Looking Glass

I wasn’t sure what I expected when we got the proximity alarm, best not to, anyway. Guy was human in appearance, though, so that was promising. Ticking through my scope options, he showed a normal heat signature. Wearing a suit, damned expensive and tailored at that–not what I’ve seen before on someone trying to break into an Above Top Secret facility–one of our places that don’t exist.
It wasn’t Abe, but his was the card the gate had declined. He’d been dark 24 hours, so all his protocols were suspended. Not sure how this asshole got in. Then I noticed the glint of glass in the light. He was holding  some kind of big glass jug. What the hell?
He moved like Abe, kind of, walked a little the same. He passed right around the spot on the asphalt that would trip you if you weren’t careful, had that weird little OCD thing Abe did with his left hand.
Then he deviated course, just a bit, toward the supervisory area. Abe wouldn’t go that way, none of us grunts ever would.
He knelt, set down the glass jug, took off the lid, and removed a pair of sunglasses I hadn’t noticed before. The fucking jar was full of eyeballs–over a dozen–floating in a liquid. The guy in the fancy suit tilted back his head, reached up, and plucked out one of his eyes, just like a god-damned contact lens. He dropped it in the jug, and started fishing out another.
No more of that shit. I fed the eyeball soup two, quick, whisper kisses from my weapon, I think at least one went through the bastard’s hand. The jar exploded and the guy froze. Then I dropped him with a round through the head. Just for good measure, I put another six in him, just ‘cause. Damn, this job is fucked up.

–Cpl. Grant Rice, Facility Security, Location CC-Z-29.
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The Weaver: a Mi-Go Device

We finally got to what we assumed was the mi-go lab. We were all half nuts by now, just seeing the damn things. Frickin’ wasp, lobster, crab, whatever the hell. Getting electrocuted and half frozen to death by their weaponry didn’t help much either. 
We’d already lost the Professor, and our team Wizard. The rest of us were pretty beat up too. 
Getting in was easy enough. A door just slid open, silently, as we walked up. The thing didn’t look like much at first: a big, black, metal cylinder with some sort of rollers, supported by braces attached to the sides. They had varying amounts of some sort of fabric on them, like rolled carpet. The place smelled bad, like chemicals and ham. 
On top of the thing was a brain in a glass jar, typical. 
The cylinder had metal beds attached all around, covered with glass domes. They looked kind of like escape pods, or cryo-crypts. 
Then I got close to one. Inside, there was a woman, nude, floating in some sort of pink-tinged solution. She had a mask over her face, like a scuba mask. It had a tube, and a bunch of wires running into the cylinder. But that wasn’t the bad part. 
Extending from the cylinder into the tank, was a little mechanical arm, with a tiny tip that could rotate in any direction. 
The arm was running that tip all over her body, damn fast, pulling off her skin in strands, like yarn, which was being drawn into the cylinder. Most of her muscle tissue was exposed, and completely intact. She didn’t react at all, and I think that was the worst part of it. 
I snapped, I know what that feels like. I leveled Suzy up and started firing. One already under the hammer, five more in the chamber. The stuff sure wasn’t glass, at first I didn’t even scratch it. Twelve gauge at point blank range. 
Then, I got some chips, then little cracks. On my last round the thing blew open. The fluid was slick, I fell when it got under my feet. She started convulsing, the mask pulled off, the breathing tube drew out of her throat, a bunch of wires jerked out of her skull, and she landed right on me. 
She was screaming, screaming like I never heard anyone do before, and still thrashing around like hell. I tried to get hold of her, keep her from hurting herself, but the damn pink stuff was so slick, and it got all over me as well. It tasted salty. 
She finally calmed down. Her head drooped onto my shoulder, and my gaze fixed on her dead eyes.

—Charles McPherson, Captain, United States Marine Corps (Ret.), Security and Combat Specialist for the Manchester Foundation.
The Weaver  (Art by Rob Carlos)
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Plague Matyrs

“Where is Doctor Norris? I heard he didn’t make it.”
“He’s in the refrigerated trailer outside, there wasn’t any more room in the morgue.”
“No one was out there when I checked.”
Just then the alarm went off, and screams could be heard from the COVID-19 isolation ward.
Police were called, but none of them dared enter without protective gear.
A nurse came running out and explained what was going on….
Dr. Norris had returned for his Tuesday 18-hour shift. 

These tragic undead have appeared countless times in history.  In ancient Rome, there are accounts of them appearing during the Antonine Plague; they appeared several times across Europe during the various waves of the Black Plague; they appeared in the Americas and Caribbean during the waves of Yellow Fever; then again during the Spanish Flu pandemic.  Unfortunately, with the rise of COVID-19 in 2020, they are appearing once more.

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Book Lurkers

Jessica did not look so well so I sent her home early. Our cataloging of the library donations was almost finished and I did not mind staying late. This set of books came from the home of a recently deceased local recluse named August Taylor. Seems his nephew had no interest in keeping his library when sorting out the estate.

It was midnight by the time I had everything recorded and sorted, but when I left, Jessica’s car was still in the parking lot, underneath the light post closest to the front doors. She sat slumped against the driver’s side door. Her skin had gone a sickly gray, and her pale green eyes were glazed over in a yellow film. A sharp wheeze rattled from her throat as she struggled to breath. By the time the ambulance arrived, she was gone. That…thing had already emerged.

Her head cracked open like a brittle egg dropped on the pavement. Something moved amongst the black sludge that drained from the opening. It was a sleek, inky looking thing about the size of a tennis ball. A myriad of tiny eyes glistened in the soft glow of the parking lot light before it rolled or sloshed off into the night.

I had collapsed into hysterics before the paramedics got to the scene, and when they saw Jessica, one of them remarked, “looks like another one. Just like August Taylor.”

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Parasitic Shoggoths

“Stop or I’ll shoot! Don’t take one step closer!” I called out, leveling my revolver, but it had no effect. As the shambling form came closer it started moving faster, raising its arms and making a choking, chortling noise. When it stepped into the moonlight I could see that it was, it had been, Truman Nalfree, the missing scientist we’d traced here. He had to have been dead for a week maybe, judging by the level of decomposition. I fired three times, hitting twice, both through the torso, but it seemed to have no effect. It was almost on top of me so I took a deep breath, aimed for the head and fired. The creature’s skull exploded, but with much more forces than expected, showering me and my companions in gore. That’s when things got really horrifying….

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