You and Me: Taint of Shub-Niggurath

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Ever since Ana got tangled up in that giant rose bush, she would scratch at that arm.  When Spring came and she began to wear short-sleeved blouses, we were shocked to see the bruise was still visible.

Then the nightmares began.  She would moan and cry out in her sleep.  Soon, she was barely sleeping at all; her eyes were puffy and dark and she would flinch at the slightest sound.

She told us she would dream of walking in a thickly wooded area, among plants that grew either too large or small and twisted, bearing fruit that was bloated or shriveled.  This image was all too familiar.  She would hear a strangled scream, a wet tearing sound, then see a duplicate of herself stride from the foliage, chewing at a hank of flesh it held in its hand.  This creature would look into Ana’s eyes, smile and say ‘You and Me.’

The clipping service we employed to provide us with ‘unusual’ articles began to send more and more stories about murders and cannibalism in rural areas, committed by a woman.  The locations of these, though initially nearly two-thousand miles away, were slowly moving in our direction.  Early eyewitness reports stated she was nude and said only ‘You and Me.’

Soon, the articles indicated this woman was wearing clothing and was screaming disjointed information.  This made no sense to witnesses, but we recognized this was information that the previous victims would know-details about farming, automotive mechanics, etc.

Then this mystery woman killed someone on the street in a small town.  A police officer managed to shoot her twice, and a local reporter snapped a picture while she was tearing a man apart.  The woman in the photo was clearly Ana.  Despite the gunshot wounds, she escaped.  The article went on to mention that this woman subsequently stole a truck from a nearby farm.  The next murder, the following day, was very near us.  She had travelled over fifteen hundred miles in a little over one day.

Knowing a confrontation was imminent, we drove out of town that evening, setting a blockade with our cars, about one hundred feet off the road and with a clear field of fire.  Soon, a well-used, rusted, blue pickup came barreling along the road.  Identical to Ana, the entity lept from the speeding truck and rolled upright, charging without breaking stride.

It was fast.  As it closed distance its back hunched, the lower jaw unhinged and distended and the thing’s face split, making the mouth an enormous, toothy cavern.  Sprouting vines and root tendrils trailed behind the thing and its nails and teeth curled out in the shape of huge thorns.  It leapt our barricade, screaming at Ana ‘We shall be stronger you and me!’

Ana, always level-headed in a crisis, calmly raised her shotgun, said ‘You are not me,’ fired, cocked the weapon and fired again.

The next day, I retired and she took command of the squad.” — Journal entry of Captain Carol Younger, forty years retired, in the care of the Project Catalyst Retirement Facility, location undisclosed.

Anyone who has been pricked, poked and/or has bled in the presence of Shub-Niggurath, her Dark Young and/or an area tainted by Her presence is subject to duplication. A duplicate will be grown, in something resembling an enormous pea-pod, in a warm environment, in an area filled with vegetation. If this locale has not been previously visited by Shub Niggurath or her Dark Young, the nearby plants will be abnormally large and dark, and the area will exude a musky odor.

When the Duplicate emerges, naked, it will be identical to the person it duplicates at the time their DNA sample was acquired. It will appear, including under close medical examination, to be a normal human with an increased level of bodily acidity and higher than average body temperature (99.8̊F).

The Duplicate seeks human companionship, is sexually aggressive, and is generally cooperative. Though initially lacking in human knowledge, it is very intelligent and a fast learner. At first, it can only say “you and me,” which it says frequently.

The Duplicate will seek humans, attempt to be alone with one and offer itself sexually. Whether or not this is consummated, it will then attack: biting, stabbing etc. and eating a portion of the victim. Eating the flesh of humans provides it with nourishment as well the vocabulary and knowledge of those upon whom it has fed.

The Duplicate intuitively knows in which direction its “parent” entity is, and will seek to find the subject of whom it is a Duplicate. It will stalk this person like prey, and attempt to quietly and secretly kill and devour them. This will give it the full information it needs to completely replace them.

Eating the victim requires the Duplicate to distend its lower jaw, open its mouth to seemingly impossible proportions, and generally distort itself in ways which make it obvious which is the human and which is the Duplicate. The eating takes approximately 1 hour, after which the impossibly swollen creature (it just ate something as big as it is) sleeps for 24 hours, digesting its meal. During this period, it is virtually unconscious, and entirely sluggish and helpless. It prefers for this sleep to occur in a warm area. At the end of this sleep period, the creature defecates enormously, and then is extremely energetic and active.

After this, the Duplicate will live much the same life as the person it duplicates, although will be quite keen on gardening, have a large sexual appetite, be entirely fertile, and will form a cult to Shub-Niggurath in the nearest convenient locale appropriately tainted, which may not be characteristics of the original person.

If telepathic contact is made with the Duplicate, it will have thoughts much like those of the original, but they will be distinctly mechanical, methodical and without emotional content.

If either the original, or the Duplicate, should die prior to the Duplicate devouring the original, the Duplicate will immediately go dormant and begin to decay–melting and largely evaporating. This process completes in one hour, and produces a horrible stench of decay, causing a witness 1/1D3 Sanity loss, and a CON x3 roll to avoid sickness and vomiting. If scientifically analyzed, the small amount of remaining material proves to contain elements of many plant species and, depending on the era, the DNA of a large number of humans and other animals.

Human Duplicate

STR 16
CON 16
INT 14
POW 14
DEX 14
*As Original. EDU will start at 0, and rapidly increase with human contact and consumption
**A Duplicate has no Sanity. It will react horrified if the Original would, but “recovers” surprisingly quickly. If it sees no need to pretend, it will not do so.

Damage Bonus: Variable

Weapons: Whatever is at hand, damage by weapon plus any damage bonus

Armor: 6 points of vegetative toughness, impaling weapons do minimum damage and it regenerates 1 Hit Point per hour.

Spells: Any a victim knew

Skills: Any a victim had

Sanity Loss: None in human form, but someone slowly realizing “something is wrong” may lose a few as the action proceeds.

Sanity Loss in monstrous/attack mode form: 1D3/1D8.

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