The Woes of Levinus Clarkson

I look back now on my early life as a faded pleasant dream, difficult to recall clearly. I remember my upbringing in England as a member of a wealthy family, born to certain privilege. I learned the pass times and manners of landed gentry and cared not for the troubles of a squalid populace. Hunting fox on horseback, teas on fine china in the parlor, and the latest fashions of London were my sincerest interests.

It was in my third year at Oxford University that my pleasant life came to an end. I was studying the classics and enjoying the luxuries and leisures I felt my right as one of the privileged, when I was suddenly recalled home by my father. I obeyed reluctantly, leaving behind my comforts to report to my family’s estate in the country.

My father informed me of the financial disaster which had befallen us. I had difficulty understanding how it could happen. Schooled in languages and literature, I knew nothing of finance and managing an estate. That was for employees, not gentlemen such as myself. My father informed me that there was not enough money to continue my studies and that I was to be enlisted in reversing our family’s misfortune.

I was to travel to the colonies and assist Major Philip Skene in establishing his new settlement at the head of Lake Champlain. I complained and argued bitterly against this course. I was a gentleman after all and not some hireling. My father grew stern and would not brook further insolence; and before a fortnight had passed, I was aboard ship, bound for New York in the distant west.

Weeks later, we sailed up the Hudson River to Albany. I transferred to a smaller cargo boat and continued north up Wood Creek to the settlement. I remember the discomfort of it all. Gone were the fine stone buildings and planned gardens of my home. All was dense forest and tangled underbrush, dotted with the occasional cleared fields where bent farmers toiled, dressed in rags and animal skins.

If Albany was a primitive town, Skene’s settlement was far worse. Scarcely there were scarcely any habitable buildings; the bulk of those being in a fort of the 59th Regiment on the west bank of Wood Creek. It was there in the summer of 1763 that I first met Philip Skene in his headquarters.

Major Skene was a formidable man, still tall and strong even though he was in his late thirties. He gave every bit the appearance of the seasoned soldier he was. He had a deep scar from an old battle wound above one ear which left him partially deaf. And yet I could sense that he was also a skilled leader and organizer of men which explained in my mind how a soldier could aspire to create a civilized settlement in the midst of such wilderness.

Skene bid me welcome and explained my duties. I was to assist him in managing the affairs of the settlement, organizing legal documents and testimonies, inventorying critical supplies etc., in short, anything at all deemed necessary to the success of the settlement. He already had a task for me as soon as other acquaintances arrived.

I settled my belongings in my new cramped quarters and tried to adjust myself to the barbarous surroundings. My father had explained that my reward for service would be to become one of Skene’s select associates in the venture. With the 1000 acres I would be awarded, I could lease out parcels and a rental income could be derived to ease our family debts. To my mind, it scarcely seemed worth it. How could my father so bungle the family’s financial affairs as to put me in such a horrid situation? When would I ever be able to resume my studies and the life of a country gentleman? With no choice, I settled in and helped out with such managerial tasks as I could.

Casual inquiries informed me that all was not well. Skene had settled the area in 1759 with poor families at his own personal expense. The families had largely been refugees returning from Canada after the French-Indian War. Now there were scarcely 15 people left of the original 30 families.

The settlement’s overseer, Mr. Campbell, was less than competent. General Amherst had informed Skene of a complaint he had received from Captain Ormsby at Fort Ticonderoga. Apparently, Campbell had misappropriated the rum meant for Skene’s workers and traded it to Mohawk Indians for venison and furs. The Mohawks had then sold the rum at Fort Ticonderoga and gotten drunk with the inhabitants there making great nuisances of themselves. Upon leaving, the Mohawks took several of Captain Ormsby’s hogs with them.

Apparently, the greater sin in this wilderness was not stealing livestock, but depriving workers of their weekly ration of rum. This lead to conjecture that Mr. Campbell’s days were numbered. Could I be his replacement? I certainly hoped not! The less actual work I had to do to earn my 1000 acres the better. An yet I clearly sensed the hostility from Campbell whenever our paths crossed.

And then there were the murders. Not all of the missing settlers had simply left. Vague stories of a whole family horribly murdered in their cabin the previous January; rendered limb from limb and partially eaten and gnawed by some great beast. But no beast anyone at the fort had ever heard of had ever done this. Individuals also had gone missing in the woods. Traces of blood on the snow and odd foot prints were all that was later found.

In late November, I was summoned to Skene’s office. A glowering Mr. Campbell stood to one side. “My old acquaintances have been found”, said Skene. “They’ll be here shortly. I assume you’ve heard of the killings last winter?”

I confessed that I had heard the rumors of some terrible beast, but was unsure of the validity of the details. “Investigating those rumors and putting an end to those killings will now be your primary assignment,” he said. “I leave for England this month to petition the King for formal land grants to this territory and to recruit a minimum of 100 families to return with me and settle here. This threat must be destroyed before my return!”

Campbell stood silent. I pointed out that I had no skills as a hunter. “Of course you’re no hunter! With that dandy finery you wear most soldiers here are wondering when the formal dance lessons will begin! You’re a scholar and will employ those skills to solve this mystery!” He tossed me book. “I presume you can read Greek given your education.”

I said that I could and looked curiously at the moldy tome in my hands. “I’ve borrowed that from a colleague in Arkham, Massachusetts. After interviewing a survivor of the attack I consulted him and he inferred that this book may hold clues to our dilemma. You will consult this book and travel with my scouts throughout the area to discover and destroy the source of these killings.”

With wobbly knees, I asked who the scouts were. Skene snapped his fingers and the door opened. Two disheveled characters where pushed into the room by the attending guard. “You two!,” shouted Campbell. I was startled to hear Campbell’s outburst since only seconds ago he was content to see me thrust into an impossible, hopeless task. “You’re the ones who stole Captain Ormsby’s hogs at Fort Ticonderoga”.

I looked closely at the pair. They appeared drunk or at least to be recovering from the previous night’s effects. One was clearly a native savage of these parts while the other was a woodsman of some sort. They both looked sullenly at the floor. “Evenin’ Major Skene,” mumbled the woodsman.

“Yes Mr. Campbell,” Skene smirked, “these are the two who traded for the rum you misappropriated and caused the ruckus at Ticonderoga. They are also two of the finest soldiers to serve under me during the recent war with the French. Not gainfully employed during my absence to the campaign in the Indies, it was no easy matter upon my return to find and enlist them for the task at hand.” Turning to the two truants he said, “Aziel, Oneonta, if you can be interrupted from your present debauchery and thievery, I would like to hire you to track and destroy this beast or murderer to secure the settlement here. Upon success, you will be rewarded with prime farm land. What say you?”

The woodsman, Aziel said, “I ain’t never liked farming. That’s why I fought with you through the whole last war.” His eyes lifted briefly to take in his surroundings. I caught a glint of steely keenness in his eyes which made me think that he might be much more than just a simple, debauch..
“Well here’s a thought,” said Skene, “how about you do this task, take the land, and then rent it out and do with the proceeds what you will, without ever hitching a plow to a horse? I think that’s what Mr. Clarkson here has in mind.”

Aziel seemed to think on it a little, then muttered something unintelligible to his cohort who grunted consent. “We’re in,” he said. “Now where can we get something to drink?”

“Your task, is to assist Mr. Clarkson in first interviewing a survivor of the attack to learn the nature of your foe, and then to hunt and kill it or him. I have given Mr. Clarkson a book which may contain valuable information about this beast or person. Mr. Campbell will assist you as needed with such supplies as the fort can provide,” at this he glowered at Campbell who now looked downcast at the floor, “as well as forward any messages to me at my wife’s residence in England. That will be all.”

We all dissembled and I quickly sought out Aziel and Oneonta. They were both most certainly ungentlemanly savages, but I realized that our lot was cast together and we needed to plan a common course of action.

The woodsman was Aziel Hobart and his comrade in arms was Oneonta, a Mohawk Indian. They had served with Skene under Lord Howe in the French-Indian war. Howe had taught Skene the value of leadership among the soldiers one commanded. He ate and slept among his men as well as fought along side them. Skene learned that the traditional, massed, shoulder-to-shoulder formations traditional in Europe were ineffective in the American woods. At the disastrous battle of Fort Carillon (now Ticonderoga), Skene had been wounded and Howe killed. Aziel had dragged Skene to safety as a general retreat ensued.

Undeterred, the British again advanced on the French fort the next year, but it was abandoned. The French had lit fuses to massive powder kegs to destroy the fort and keep it from being occupied by their enemy. Aziel recalled how Skene had dashed into the fort calling for his men to follow. “The damn place was going to blow, and he runs in and wants us to follow!,” Aziel said. “God knews why, but we did. Skene picked up a powder keg by hisself and says, ‘a guinea to any who does like me!’ So Oneonta and I ran in, hoisted up a keg and follows him out.” Some of the fort was saved and later Skene was promoted from Captain to Major. “I stills don’t know why we did it”.

We found Parmille Allen the next day in a hut just outside the fort. He was moving south to Albany before winter set in, abandoning the farm that Skene had given him. He was a witness to one of the killings. I had prepared an orderly questioning about the incident but Aziel Hobart kept interrupting with detailed questions with an occasional consultation in the native tongue with Oneonta.

Allen had seen a neighbor killed one evening the previous winter. Looking out of his shack’s window, he had seen is neighbor approaching through the denuded woods. Opening the door, Allen saw his neighbor suddenly struck from the side by a beast of some sort. Blood sprayed and the victim’s screams were horrible as he was quickly dragged out of sight. Allen said he was so terrified he dared not follow. The body was later found a half mile distant, bloodless and mutilated, having been gnawed by something with huge jaws. When asked to describe what the beast looked like, all he could say was that it moved as fast as the wind, tall but hunched, running on two legs.

After the interview, Aziel, Oneonta and I conferred. They had never heard of or seen such a beast, though they had traveled here extensively. For my part, I suggested that perhaps it was a deranged killer attacking settlers. The mutilation could have been the result of scavenging wolves.

“Whatever it be, the only ways to find it is to go afoot and try and find its tracks. Oneonta’s the best tracker I ever met and from the sounds of it, this killer’s feet are one of a kind.” Oneonta said little as usual. I said that I would peruse the book Skene had entrusted me with for clues and any information which might be of use.

Over the next week, Aziel and Oneonta gathered the supplies and gear we would need. I saw Major Skene off and promised that I would solve the mystery before his return the next summer. Upon his departure it began to snow heavily.

I was not eager to travel in the cold but I knew that I must pursue this matter with utmost diligence, lest Campbell find fault and use it to discredit me with Skene. So, I followed Aziel north through the deepening snow into a swampy region known as the Drowned Lands. My two companions carried knives, tomahawks and long muskets while I kept a brace of pistols in my belt. I felt confident that whatever we met in this wilderness could be overcome with the weapons at hand.

Over the next two days, we headed westwards out of the Drowned Lands up onto firmer ground at the edge of South Bay on Lake Champlain. The snow had lightened somewhat but had still accumulated to a depth of two feet. We found many tracks, but nothing to suggest a fearsome animal until we heard the howl far off to the south.

I cannot now adequately describe the noise. How it chilled our blood and split the cold air with its evil trilling resonance. I asked if it was a wolf, but Aziel said no and I saw a trace of fear cross his hardened features. The ever taciturn Oneonta even looked concerned. It was a noise he had never heard, but similar perhaps to somethings described in old tales.

We camped for the night making a large fire to stave off the chilling air and aura of fear. Aziel and Oneonta talked little but broke out some tobacco and smoked it. The heads of their iron tomahawks, doubled as pipes and made for a curious sight as they puffed out clouds of smoke into the night.

The next morning we traveled south up rising, densely forested terrain just two miles west of the fort. It was there we found the strange tracks. They appeared as massive feet with but a single clawed toe. There was also evidence that some animal had abraded, sap covered, pine trees. What it could be we couldn’t guess.

At dusk something began to stalk us. Oneonta was aware of it moving silently, out of sight to our left. Aziel motioned me to silence as they stealthily split in two directions to try and trap the culprit between them. But suddenly there was a loud snapping of twigs behind. The two hunters were stunned. What could move so quickly and silently in the snowy woods?

We formed together, firearms at the ready and slowly advanced towards the noise. There was now a odd growling or animal gurgling noise and sounds of movement to our right. As the fear rose in my gullet I realized the unseen creature was toying with us! I panicked and fired both my pistols into the brush. Aziel knocked me flat and yelled for me to stay down.

There was a long silence, but for the loud rasping of my terrified breathing. Then behind us was the crunching noise of large footsteps in snow as it advanced out of the brush. We all whirled to face our tormentor. The horror of its countenance and the sheer terror of its presence screamed through my head. Half again as tall as a man with gaunt limbs heavily sinewed and skin the yellowed color of a putrid corpse. Its eyes glowed red and were filled with menacing evil and cruel intelligence!

Rising to my knees, I babbled unintelligibly in terror, utterly unable to act. Oneonta cried out in fear, “Wendigo, the Wendigo has come!” Aziel hesitated briefly, then fired his musket from the hip into the advancing monstrosity.

The bullet wound impacted, but the monster advanced unaffected as the wound closed itself. Oneonta screamed in a strangled mix of fear and hatred dropping his musket and charging with drawn tomahawk He slashed its side but the creature seemed to smile evilly, completely unhurt as the deep wound immediately closed itself. The answering blow was anything but ineffective. He snatched the Mohawk from the ground with long-taloned hands and buried his sharp fangs in his throat.

As the blood spewed across the snow I sprang up and fled through the woods. Blind with terror, I ran heedlessly through thickets and brambles cutting my hands and face. Of my comrades, I could not think as I ran on and on. I was suddenly struck from the side and held face down in the snow, my mouth muffled and unable to scream any longer.

Aziel’s harsh whisper told me to lie utterly still or the creature would quickly find and kill us! Whether it could not find us and prevent our escape or it decided to allow us to escape out of some perverse torment, I do not know. But escape we did after lying for over an hour under loose leaves and snow.

I was utterly numb, both in body and spirit; devastated by freezing cold and violent terror. Together we sneaked back to the fort. Aziel often took sudden turns aside in order to avoid a direct path which might prove too easy to predict by a cunning predator. Once inside, next to a fire, I fell unconscious.

I awoke late the next day still emotionally numb and physically exhausted. I learned that Aziel Hobart left the fort earlier with a mule and had just returned bearing the corpse of his comrade. A small gathering of soldiers and I watched in horror and disgust as the corpse was laid out and examined. It was mangled and torn. A large creature had obviously eaten a good portion of the flesh. But unlike a bear or mountain lion, which would have efficiently eaten the choicest parts of a kill, this creature appeared to have devoured and lacerated body parts in such a way as to inflict the most terror on those who would find it.

Aziel set the remains on a canvass tarp, and wrapped it securely with rope in preparation for burial. How he could function so normally after the previous day’s attack I could not fathom. I myself could barely speak coherently.

Before bearing Oneonta to a burial plot in the woods, Aziel confronted me. “We needs to speak about this. I’ll find you first thing in the mornin.”

I could not sleep that night. My quarters did not feel safe knowing that creature was out there. That evil creature which delighted in slaughter and shrugged off fatal wounds. I decided that I would flee this wilderness the next day. I would return to England. There would be shame and perhaps a life of poverty ahead, but at least I would not die horribly so far from home at the hands of a demon.

When the sun’s light first came through my window, I immediately started packing my belongings. I would contact Mr. Campbell and arrange passage on the next boat south to Albany. “Where you think you’re going?,” a voice said from the door. I whirled and saw Aziel standing there.
“You ain’t going nowhere. You’re going to help kill that thing like promised! You can start by telling me what that thing was from out of that book Skene gave you to read.”

There was nothing to do but confess. I had started the book but found it utterly blasphemous. Its evil accounts and strange incantations had caused my mind to swim in nausea. The incomprehensible realities it told of, I simply could not bear. So I had quickly put aside the old tome in fear and disgust.

Aziel thought for a second, then turned and grabbed me by the throat; pinning me against the wall, drawing his knife menacingly. “We had no idea what we was up against until it was too late because you was disgusted with a book! My friend’s dead by that thing he called a Wendigo, and you ain’t going nowhere ’til you’ve read that book and find out how to kill it. If you tries to leave afore then, I a swear Oneonta’s corpse’ll be positively handsome compared to yours!”

So I began the thing which damned me; which forever damaged my sanity…. I studied the Pnakotic Manuscripts. Over many days of reading, I learned horrible truths of ancient peoples and lands now lost beneath oceans and polar ice. I read of the Elder Gods and the Great Old Ones who came from the stars eons ago to enslave primordial Earth, and about abominable religious rites which were invoked in worship of these heathen gods. And, I learned about Ithaqua and his Wendigo.

At the end of a week of such readings, my sanity was teetering on the brink. I often awoke screaming in strange tongues, frantically clawing the air about me. Aziel showed no pity, his hardened, soulless eyes boring into mine, he would allow me no respite until I learned what was needed.

At last I found passages which I surmised dealt with the Wendigo. How it was originally a human transformed in likeness to the elder god Ithaqua, thriving in the cold snow but endlessly hungry for mortal flesh. I told Aziel in detail about the rites and invocations involving the Wendigo and from there he formulated a plan.

“You memorize that there binding spell,” he said. “That ways we can trap it and prison it forever. Regather your strength cause we head out day after tomorrow.”

And so we set out into the snow. The residents at the fort looked askance at us as my appearance had become very bedraggled. The vacuous look on my face also drew comments behind my back. I think they were not sorry to see us leaving.

Aziel led us south along the east bank of Wood Creek. The snow still lay 18 inches deep except in places where the wind had created drifts up to three feet. The skies were solid, overcast gray mirroring the mood of our doomed mission. I had little hope that I could successfully recite the incantation perfectly, much less in time to stop the Wendigo before it slaughtered us both.

But hope was meaningless to me at that point. My mind and soul were numb from the terrible knowledge I had read in that accursed book. If we succeeded or failed, it mattered little to me.

So I trudged after the cruel woodsman for five miles. I became aware that he was now choosing a path that was erratic and often circled back to a large rolling meadow surrounded by gloomy woods to the west and a short rocky cliff to the east.

It was about 3:00 pm when he stopped in the meadow at the base of the low cliff where a spring trickled out of the ground. He scanned the terrain and listened intently. He dropped his pack in the snow, filled his water bottle and suggested we rest for awhile. It wasn’t long before we once again heard the otherworldly howl pierce the air across the meadow to the west.

The sound froze my blood as before. All the more so since I knew now what beast it belonged to. How could we possibly survive such an evil, so powerful and invulnerable to our weapons?

I fumbled quickly in my pocket for the written notes I had made. I grabbed a stick and quickly traced a 20 foot circle in the snow around us. If we were to trap the Wendigo, it would have to be drawn into the precisely prepared circle just as the final words were spoken.

A movement across the meadow drew our attention. It was the beast, head low to the ground examining one of the many sets of tracks we had traced across the ground earlier. Aziel drew out his musket and fired it into the air. The Wendigo’s head shot up looking directly at us.

“Well Levinus,” he said, “It’s time you git acquainted with the monster and pay Oneonta back for not being prepared last time. If you work real fast, you just might trap it. Me, I’m headin out south to Albany, maybe find myself a tavern with rum”.

At that, he turned and quickly scaled the rock cliff behind us and disappeared. I turned in horror to see the Wendigo moving toward me, striding effortlessly over the top of the snow.

In panic, I scribbled the required runes along the outside of ring. My brain was boiling in terror as I finished with the beast just ten feet from me. I leaped back and screamed out the foul words that would finish the rite and seal the trap.

The Wendigo stopped in the circle looking down at me in manic glee, slaver dripping off the fangs of his gaping mouth. Just as I was saying the final phrase, it suddenly turned and erased several feet of the arcane circle. A puff of reddish vapor appeared and fizzled. The trap had failed!
In a slow movement that perfectly conveyed its malicious contempt, the Wendigo turned back towards me. I fled northwards across the meadow towards the fort. Aziel had abandoned me and the trap had failed.

I heard a foul, gurgling, wheezing sort of laugh. I could not possibly out run this monster and make the fort five miles away, but I ran on anyway in mindless panic.

Heart pounding and lungs screaming for air, I plunged up into the sloping woods to the north. As I burst blindly through a patch of thick brush, I entered a small rocky clearing. Twenty feet away, directly in front of me stood the Wendigo.

I scrambled, desperately trying to reverse course only to succeed in losing my footing and falling to the ground. I screamed and whimpered in fear, tears streaming down my face, as I was lifted into the air. I was help helpless, face-to-face with an eldritch nightmare!

Suddenly a harsh, high pitched scream of rage shattered the night just feet away. I was dropped as the Wendigo half turned in surprise to confront the intruder.

Aziel Hobart continued his war cry as he slammed into the beast, his tomahawk slicing down into its shoulder. Bouncing off, the woodsman tumbled backwards and was instantly on his feet defiantly wielding his weapon.

The Wendigo howled in return and stumbled. And then I saw it! The shoulder wound was not closing up. A putrid yellow liquid was bleeding out!

The monster screamed again, but this time in pain as well as rage. It lunged quickly at its adversary, but Aziel dodged and brought is tomahawk swinging across, catching the Wendigo across the back of its knee, crippling its leg.

It screamed again and tried to back away but Aziel leaped into the fray, a man possessed by sheer rage and hatred. The Wendigo dealt a backhanded swipe with its terrible claws and caught Aziel across the face sending him flying ten feet across the clearing.

Blood now streaming from a ragged gash on his left cheek, Aziel stood up and drew a second tomahawk from his belt. The Wendigo crouched and circled left. I could see that its confidence was shaken. Here was foe able to wound it and still fight on after suffering horrible damage.

Aziel moved in and out quickly, taking advantage of his enemy’s lameness. He slashed again and again with a tomahawk in each hand, wearing his enemy down with numerous cuts. The Wendigo tried to counter attack to no avail. The woodsman was to quick in close quarters combat, able to dodge and slash. At last, just when the monster stumbled, he delivered the final blow, burying a blade in its throat. The Wendigo fell gurgling in it own fowl blood.

As it lay face-up writhing in agony, Aziel leaned down and wrenched out his tomahawk. He then held the other tomahawk before its face and said, “See this cod breath! This belonged to my friend. The friend you killed and et last week.” He screamed his war cry again and brought Oneonta’s tomahawk down into its face with all his strength.

Aziel stumbled back and sat down in exhaustion. “I think you can make yer magic trap now Levinus Clarkson. But make it a little more permanent than just scratches in the snow. Afore that, do me a favor and hold this polished tin for me.”

As I held the polished tin mirror, he took out a needle and thread from his belt pouch. He then used the reflection to crudely stitch his cheek wound closed.

I did as he asked and drew out the circle once more, this time with small piled rocks. After I said the incantation, the red mist formed again but this time it filled the circled and then seeped into the ground, leaving it a dull rust color. “This won’t hold it forever,” I said. “If the circle is disturbed or the creature grows much stronger with the waxing winter, it will escape.”

Over the night’s campfire, we discussed our course of action. We agreed that we must guard the evil burial spot and strengthen the containment circle. Also, we should surround it with a massive rune which would serve to continuously drain and weaken its prisoner. As long as we built it durable enough, the Wendigo would never be free.

Then I asked him how he was able to wound it? “I used you as bait,” he chuckled. “I knew with you panicked and all the crossing tracks it could never knowed I was coming after it while it chased you; then I could cripple it with this.” He showed me his tomahawk in the firelight. I saw the sacred metal folded into its cutting edge. The same metal mentioned in the Pnakotic Manuscripts. “That wasn’t easy to come by at Skene’s fort, but I found someone willing to sell an old family trinket. Then I had the blacksmith melt it down and put it into the blades.”

We returned to the fort the next day and reported that the beast was a mountain lion which we killed. No one needed to know the truth. If they were even able to believe us it would surely damage their minds as it had mine; and we could not risk anyone disturbing the Wendigo’s prison and unwittingly freeing it.

Many were skeptical, but Mr. Campbell was all too ready to believe. Any success he could report to Skene would reflect some credit upon himself as well as us and perhaps secure his continued employment. When no new attacks were reported for the remainder of the winter, everyone finally believed that the threat had past.

In July, Skene returned with sixty people and 100 families. He was pleased to hear that the problem of the winter killings had been solved and the new settlers would not be terrorized or driven off. As promised, he awarded me the 1000 acres as a full associate. He was surprised when I took the parcel farthest from the fort; a somewhat isolated parcel, mostly wooded and rocky except for one large rolling meadow.

I was only too glad to be rid of the evil book; Skene returning it to its owner in Arkham. But its knowledge is still in my fevered mind along with the horrible memories of the encounter with the Wendigo.

In my deteriorated condition, Aziel now manages my parcel as well as his own becoming what he hated most when we first met; a farmer. Our tenants think it odd that he has built all the rock walls into such an odd shape which does not lend itself to clear property lines, but they dare not question him openly about it.

My father visited in 1765, pleased that I was able to restore a portion of our family’s fortune. He did not ask me to return with him…. I was too much changed. The sudden gray streaks in my hair, my nervous stuttering speech and odd mannerisms alienates even my own family as well as neighbors.

I’ve taken a small house in the newly built village of Skenesborough rather than build a cabin on my land where the evil Wendigo lies. Aziel, however, is only too glad to live there not 100 yards from the very spot. The hatred and rage in his eyes has turned into a cold flame which fuels his fanatical commitment to building the walls and seeing our enemy imprisoned in its tormented state for all eternity.

As for me, I am of little use to the community here. I spend hours sitting on my porch looking across the farmlands along the creek. It often seems that even the brightest colors of summer, the green grass, red clover and blue sky, shimmer and fade into sickly hues. My vision is often shaky and I am unable sometimes to decide if this world is but a false fair dream and perhaps I shall soon awake into a nightmare world ruled by the Great Old Ones where all is insanity and damnation.

At dusk the whippoorwill birds call to each other. In their song I think I hear the confused babbling of voices that would reveal to me even worse secrets than those in the Pnakotic Manuscripts. Though it is a losing battle, I hold on to my sanity with every weakening breath so that this story can be secretly recorded and someday told. Told to those who must someday also fight such evil as the Wendigo….. even if it costs them their very minds.

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