Tessa's Call of Cthulhu
Gordon Campbell's diary
July 15, 1923
It’s been ten long years of wandering, and it’s time to put down some roots again, I think. I have started to grow very weary in recent years, and whilst my mind seems to have recovered in some small way from the things that I have seen, I know that my body is starting to fail.
I have thought long and hard about where to settle. In my travels I might have seen many awful things, but I have also seen surpassing beauty and experienced great friendliness. Seeing the alien marine creatures in Scapa Flow and the remains that the archaeologists on Orkney don’t generally show for public consumption was offset by the friendliness of the people of Kirkwall and I was tempted to settle there; the Highland Park whisky in Helgi’s didn’t hurt. But the creatures of the deep hold too much power there; I was not safe.
It was the same in the Great Glen, the Isle of Skye, Glen Affric where something truly horrible lurks which I counted myself lucky to have sensed rather than seen. In Skye the Cuillins gloom, and the winged creatures that sometimes circle in their midst seem to hunt. I was not safe there either; I have come to the conclusion that I am not safe anywhere, merely buying myself some time to find someone to whom I can pass on what I have learned. The minions of Cthulhu and his ilk do not brook mere mortals trying to find out their secrets without extending their tentacles – mental and physical – to ensure that their presence is kept secret. I have had too many dreams of late, dreams of malign things that hover just outside my comprehension, of myriad unlidded eyes that watch. I count myself lucky that my Mairi never knew of what I know that caused my mind to fracture and then caused my expulsion from my Order. It is to my shame, but I see in hindsight that they had no choice.
I have seen the cottage but recently, under the Buachaille Etive Mor in Glen Coe. An odd place for a Campbell to settle, perhaps, but something about the place calls to me. I can be my myself, with my studies and my books, and my dreams, but human companionship is but a few miles away if I wish it. The Kingshouse is a miserable place, the Glencoe Inn dull, but the Clachaig promises lively companionship if I decide I want it. And although the mountains are ominous, I sense little of malevolence; danger yes, but of a natural rather than an unnatural sort.
May 25, 1925
They have seen me, curses be upon them. It cannot be long before they come for me, and I am uncertain whether I have the energy to do anything about it. I am old, and I am not sure how much more resistance I have left in my soul. And the mists are starting to gather.
It was a man from the Fort William Lodge in the Clachaig, of that I am certain. I can’t recall his surname but I have a vague recollection that his first name was Hugh. He had the sort of face one doesn’t forget in any case; dark hair slicked back and a cold expression. He walked through the bar it would seem with purpose and although he was trying to cover up the fact he recognised me it was obvious from his expression.
I suppose it was inevitable. I know too much and those in the Lodge that I suspect no longer are Masons as we would know it realise that I do. This means that I have little time; I must pass what I know on to someone who can deal with it, someone who has the youth and vigour to do what I cannot. I am tired of fighting. The treasure in the castle will call to them as indeed it would call to many; they may think I know exactly what it is, of course.
[drawing of Urquhart Castle here]
They will also no doubt tell my former brethren in Glasgow that they have seen me. This means, of course, that it is only a matter of time until someone from Glasgow comes and finds me, maybe Fletcher or one of his ilk that have interests in secret matters. Maybe one of them will be able to believe me, believe what I have seen and not merely assume that I still rave. Or they will assume once a madman always a madman. But they will come, and I must be prepared.
The mists swirled about me tonight as I walked back to the cottage, tendrils of them wrapping round me as I walked. The mist seems almost to hunt and the mountains – beautiful and dangerous – now hold a palpable air of malevolence. I wonder if I am imagining it but I think not, half hidden glimpses of things that should not be seem to disappear out of my field of vision. I turned round at one point on the way home, sure something was following me in the crepuscular twilight but nothing was there. The wards I have set seem to be almost palpably fading, and my dreams grow worse.
It is 4am; I have started from my bed disturbed by a nameless menace, a sound like the clatter of bones. The mists swirl about the Buachaille and disappear into pools of inky blackness. I must write down what I know, for whoever my former brethren send. I hope that he is a good man, and is able to cope with what I must tell him as well as believe it.