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The Best Laid Plans

an obese middle aged man who's had a few too many telling tails in an empty bar to a beleagured bartender

When you tend a bar, you soon learn that the later it gets, the weirder it gets, and I have had my share of weirdoes. There was that vampire romance writer a few years back – a writer of vampire romances, not a romance writer who was a vampire – and then the guy who claimed he was a special ops agent fighting monsters, and of course, the old lady who drank absinthe and crocheted quotes from Nietzsche onto throw pillows.  Then there was this guy, our latest creeper, just before we got shut down.  He sat at the dark end of the bar, by himself.  He was tall and thin, with exaggerated features, what people used to call gaunt – a real Ichabod Crane type, but with this weird pot belly.  He was a quiet sort, nursing his third scotch as we approached the last call.  He hadn’t said anything about himself, didn’t really have to, the faded, crude tattoo of digits on his arm spoke volumes.  I had been in the business, and in this town long enough to know when to talk to people and when to leave them alone.  They all come around to talking, eventually.  It’s like a church confessional, with booze, and without the guilt.

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The Angels of Pestilence

a ww1 soldier sobs in a fox hole as an ghostly insectoid thing hovers above him

Prologue:  The Madness of Herbert West

Madness is a terrible thing, and an even worse thing to be accused of, particularly if one knows for a certainty that one is truly not mad.  I suppose it is the nature of madness to deny being mad, but this was the situation in which my colleague Herbert West found himself.  I did what I could to defend him, but the military tribunal would hear none of it, and threatened me with arrest as well, suggesting that I may have not been a simple bystander, but rather a co-conspirator in the rampage that left one of our colleagues dead.

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A Man to Purgatory, A Woman to Hell

About the Scenario – This adventure takes place on the island of Martinique, in early May of 1928. The story begins in the capital of Fort-De-France and should end in the mountains to the north, along the road leading to the city of St. Pierre. The title refers to a Martinique proverb, “L’homme est pour le purgatoire, la femme pour l’enfer”, which translates to “A Man to Purgatory, A Woman to Hell.” This means that men are punished for their sins but women are dammed for them. It involves a missing man, his vengeful mistresses, his wife, their secret, and La Diablesse, a creature of Martinique’s folklore.    Continue reading »

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Wrong Turn at Albuquerque

Scott Roche continues his Golden Age serial, The Curse of Azathoth’s Amulet, with Part Two! Told in the arch style of the Republic Serials of the ’30s and ’40s, there’s no telling where this is going until you get there … and it is HORRIBLE indeed.

Read Part One, “Down in Mexico.”

It all went downhill for Doctor Taylor as soon as he visited the Ancestral Pueblo site just a few dozen miles from his home in Albuquerque. A colleague knew he’d been researching symbols used by the Anasazi, as they were known to some, and their relationship to other symbols used by equally ancient people groups the world over. There was no known connection between these groups, and it was thought by some that they spawned from a collective subconscious or from some other psychic network. Taylor, of course, believed all of this was complete hogwash. There had to be a better explanation. The desire for that better explanation was why he found himself in a kiva, a sort of pueblo holy site, that had only recently been discovered. Doctor Samson assured him that the site dated back to at least the eighth century BCE. That certainly wasn’t the oldest bit of evidence that had been found, but this was supposed to be in pristine condition.

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