Cthulhu Redux (Masks of Nyarlathotep)

Session 1: The Midnight Reeling

Report to Joe Joseph’s and Division E filed by “VH”.
Tuesday 18 November 1924

Having received an anonymous invitation to a party in Arkham hosted by the Varga family (a name heretofore unfamiliar to me), I decided to attend on a lark. The events that occurred there on my two visits to 863 Halsey Street, and in the weeks prior to my ever crossing the threshold there, were unusual enough to merit filing of this report.

My first visit to the Varga Estate, a mansion that had seen better days, was at 8 p.m. on Friday 7 November 1924. A seemingly mute, ill-mannered servant collected invitations and kept watch on the door. Her lack of training and breeding was unmistakable, though not forgivable. Undaunted by this rude underling, I entered the home.

The party was festive and well-attended by the bohemian set in Arkham, as well as a number of well-heeled and unattached party guests. These parties were apparently weekly affairs, and among the guests in attendance, I recognized an Arkham book collector named Stewart Portman, who is known for his arrogance and pathetically wolfish appetite for young ladies.

Touring the house, I encountered a few young gentlemen downstairs in the basement and politely accepted their offer of a cigarette. The one gentleman, who introduced himself as Eugene Wilcox, seemed agitated and inexplicably drew a derringer from his pocket and recklessly waved it about. At that time, I departed company with Mr. Wilcox and a young man named Gordon Checkley and headed back upstairs to repose in the rather disappointing Varga library.

While in the library, I was introduced to a GW (known to Bureau). GW invited me and a select group of others to a small gathering in the conservatory at 11pm. Speaking with other guests, I met for the first time EG, AB, JS, and SM and learned they comprised the other select guests invited. Prior to the 11pm start of this meeting, GW exited the conservatory having performed a seance for two disappointed young ladies named Lucy and Lorraine. GW appeared upset and hastily slipped an address into my hand and asked the group to stay together and visit him at the provided address at 8pm the next day. GW then left.

At this point, a gong was sounded from another room in the residence and the guests gathered in the foyer while the the hostess for the party, who called herself Ariadne Varga, made a staircase entrance and offered a bacchanalian toast to the evening. She went upstairs with young Eugene Wilcox on her arm. Obliged to my hosts, I warned Miss Varga’s uncle Zoltan that I had earlier seen Mr. Wilcox carelessly handle a pistol. Zoltan Varga appeared concerned and left the room, presumably to see to his niece’s safety.

Shortly after, we heard the report of a firearm come from upstairs. Along with JS, AB, EG, and SM, I moved upstairs to investigate the commotion. There, I observed Stewart Portman attempting to escape out a window very near to wear the shot had emanated. I asked him to remain, but he was most insistent on exiting through the window, so I enlisted JS’s assistance to detain him. There I searched him, confirmed he was unarmed, and briefly inspected him for any visual or olfactory evidence of having discharged a firearm. He did not appear to be our shooter, so I questioned him about what he was doing and observed. Portman confessed to JS and I that he was listening at the keyhole of Ms. Varga’as bedroom hoping to lewdly overhear any amorous sounds between her and Mr. Wilcox. As police sirens approached, we released Mr. Portman expecting he would now remain in the house, like any gentleman would, until the police arrived. Instead, Portman exited the residence.

Inside Miss Varga’s boudoir, SM and EG were already on the scene inspecting the corpse of Eugene Wilcox. Mr. Wilcox was lying face down with a bullet exit wound through the top of the back of his head. Visually following the trajectory of the bullet consistent with the premise that the gun having been discharged from inside his mouth, I found a patch of blood, skull, and brain matter which seemed to corroborate this theory. SM preserved the crime scene and AB collected sample of an odd fibrous substance surrounding the door. This web-like substance would later dissolve and SM’s attempts to analyze the results would turn up inconclusive.

After peering out the bedroom window, EG exited the residence and walked to the area below the window. Ariadne Varga was supine on the ground regaining her poise. She explained that Mr. Wilcox had turned the pistol on himself for no apparent reason and committed suicide. According to Miss Varga, she was startled and mistaken fell 15 feet out the second-story window.

Led by Lt. Detective Ray Stuckey, the Arkham police arrived. Stuckey took the statements of our team members and also of Stewart Portman, who reported his car missing. Mr. Portman was vocal and frustrated that the Arkham PD there at the homicide scene chose to investigate a young man’s death than find his stolen car. The Arkham PD treated Mr. Portman respectfully, but continued their investigation.

The next day, the team went to the rendezvous arranged by GW and met JJ, N, C, and V, who recruited AB, JS, SM, EG, and I as consultants.

Police confirmed the coroner’s findings that Eugene Wilcox had shot himself with his .25 derringer. Given Mr. Wilcox’s gleeful state mere moments ago, our team found this conclusion unsettling and consulted with GW.

GW explained his nervousness moments before the murder and can provide greater details of what happened that night and during his consultation with our team. Based on the events of his consultation with our team, our team believed that young Eugene Wilcox had seen a vision (whether real or hallucinatory) in the room with Miss Varga that forced him to commit suicide. EG offered information to the group about what he’d felt during GW’s consultation, which along with AB and JS’s experience suggested something barely imaginable was happening. The team entertained the outlandish theory that Wilcox (whether due to hallucinogenic medicine, hypnotism, or supernatural energy) was being forced to see Miss Varga as a terrifying human-spider creature called Mother and Atlach-Nacha. He collapsed from an inexplicable injury and SM acted quickly to treat, stabilize, and then transfer GW to hospital in Arkham.

Our attempts to uncover any information about Atlach-Nacha were unsuccessful.

AB and SM visited 863 Halsey during daylight hours to speak with Zoltan Varga. EG drove a trailing car with JS and I. Upon arriving at 863 Halsey, we observed Ariadne Varga enter a taxi, so we followed her. She stopped at a florist where she exited with flowers. The taxi then took her to Christ Church Cemetery in Arkham’s Southside. She stopped and placed flowers on two freshly dug graves belonging to Roger Hudson and Bradford Gallagher Taylor.

AB obtained obituary information on Hudson and Taylor, who bore striking resemblances to Eugene Wilcox. All were local young men who died young in town. They were estranged young men who very much fit the profile of guests invited by the Varga family to their parties. A heart attack was consistent with our theory of an overwhelming fright and the fire, we presumed, could be used by killers as a means to hide a true cause of death.

Receiving invitations for the next Varga party on Friday 14 November 1924, the team was appalled and emboldened by the poor taste of the Varga family in hosting a party just a week after a similar event where a young man had died.

The team attended the party planning to prevent Ariadne Varga from causing another young man’s death. The team was alertly waiting in the residence for Miss Varga to select her companion for the evening, so that we could converge in her bedroom, uncover the manner of her killing these young men, and act decisively to save the victim. Before a companion could be selected, Zoltan and Ariadne got into an argument which they took upstairs behind the closed doors of Ariadne’s bedroom. During this argument, the two dropped pretense of assumed Hungarian accents and soon the sound of Zoltan’s screaming brought our team into Ariadne’s room.

Zoltan was found lying on the floor, with large wounds suggesting an impossibly mammoth spider bite. These bites were not entirely inconsistent with mysterious wounds sustained by GW during his consultation with the team. Ariadne Varga was not in the room.

EG rushed crossed the bedroom door threshold first and noticing a window shattered to suggest forced exit, he quickly moved to peer out the window. He was attacked by a gigantic spider leg which caused him to fall out the window into the shrubs below.

JS charged into the room and fired through the walk/ceiling of the house in the presumed location of the gigantic spider. SM urgently and unsuccessfully tried to save Zoltan Varga’s life. Within moments, the sound of shattering glass and splintering wood erupted throughout various points in the house. A large creature that appeared to be a conglomeration of Ariadne Varga and a giant spider ascended the staircase killing a woman with vicious spider legs. [See attached photo taken by AB] The team engaged the giant spider which spoke with a horrifying voice about protecting its “babies”. JS’s effective shotgun fire, AB and EG’s pistol fire combined with SM’s improvised molotov cocktail and my use of cane helped kill the creature.

SM’s cocktail ignited a house fire that quickly began to consume the house. Smaller sized spider/human hybrids began to descend from the ceiling screaming “mama” and converging on the now dead Ariadne/spider creature. AB found this very unsettling and EG and SM worked to calm her, while JS and I helped prepare and cover an escape from the burning building. While hastily finding a means of escape, I opened an armoire in Ariadne’s room and a heavy canvas sack presumably filled with a human body fell out. The team evacuated with the sack, which was left safely on the roadside as police sirens approached. The team withdrew before police arrived.

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SavageCole

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