My name is James Webster, I used to be a professor at Miskatonic University. Three weeks ago my life unraveled into a state of hallucinations and delirium. From professor of philosophy to a rambling lunatic screaming about monsters the likes of which have only been dreamed in the heads of the soft minded, the artistic, and those with apparent psychic connections to such great and malevolent beasts. During this period of general lucidity I am able to collect my memories for a short period in this imaginative chronological space that we call time.
Let’s go to the beginning of my journey into the depths of insanity, before I ventured into the dark secluded underground dens of people who have long since given up there ability to rationalize the surreal with clear reasoning. It was the 13th day in March, I was grading papers for a lesson on religious leaders and their charismatic presence, when I heard a scream coming from the hall outside my office.
I proceeded to investigate the scream. Opening my office door, I found a young woman across the hall laying on the floor in a pool of what my best guess was blood, which must be seeping out of the body from a spot on the individuals abdomen. I made this deduction when I noticed the student’s hand grasping the wound. While my brain made sense of the situation I rushed over to the aid of the victim. I asked how badly she was hurt, but she did not speak.
With her available hand she pointed down the hallway. I turned my head in the hopes of spotting the suspect responsible for this atrocity. I only caught a glimpse of the despicable culprit’s hooded cloak and muddied shoe. As they turned the corner of the hall I yelled out “STOP” but it made no resonance with them. I turned back to the scene of the crime and the young woman was not moving, so I reached down to check her pulse, she was now a murder victim.
In my panic, I looked around the hallway trying to decide the next logical course of action. During this moment of anxiety I discovered a small blade of about nine inches with a serpent like pattern, etched into the blade were symbols. As a professor of philosophy and religious studies I’ve seen many dead languages, but nothing like these. The characters looked a little like pictogrammes, but none that matched any from the far east, past or present. On the hand guard was some sort of creature, if you could call it that. There was something anatomically incorrect about the creature, parts from different biological classes of animals. It was unidentifiable with the knowledge I possessed. I came to my senses with a snap and telephoned the police from my office.
The police arrived within ten minutes of call. During my wait, as I tried to cope with the cruel reality that I witnessed, I drew a copy of the knife in one of my journal. As well I made note of what I had only just observed, from the audible scream to the suspected culprit fleeing the scene. I wrote down as many details as I could pry from my mind because, I did not want my fallable human memory to recollect any incorrect information when explaining my account to the police. As the officers took my statement, one of them, he will remain unnamed so as not to implicate him, told me in confidence that there have been a string of murders over the last four nights that fit the same modus operandi. Until tonight they had no found a single clue leading to the person responsible. They said it was probably my quick reaction that caused the killer to drop the knife in panic at being caught.
After the police left I went back to my home, a one bedroom apartment downtown. It was only a couple of blocks from the university, but I decided it best to take a cab tonight. I paid the cab driver and made my way up three flights of stairs to my apartment. I got in and placed my coat on the rack, then placed my notebook on the coffee table and prepared dinner.
As I ate, so too did my thoughts eat at me; the sight of a murder, the cryptic language on the knife, the creature that should not even exist in the minds of man. I began to lose my appetite but became insatiable for answers. I started looking through my books for any resemblance to the characters I had seen on that knife. There were many books of various breakout versions of Judaism that used pictographic letters in their rituals, but none matched. Neither did the blood rituals of ancient Mayan and Inca cultures. The symbols were nothing like those of ancient Egypt and far from the characters found at the Jiahu site in China.
I fell asleep in my chair with books all over my small living room. As I got up I knocked over a glass of wine hidden underneath various papers on dead languages. I scrambled to clean it up, grabbing towels from the kitchen. When I finished cleaning up I noticed one paper, I must have overlooked it the previous night. It was a study on a language that has never been pin pointed to a single location or period of history. The only information on it was from a case of mass hysteria that ended in the mysterious death of a professor at Miskatonic more than 40 years ago. The death was officially ruled as natural causes and the case was closed, and the study was kept from the public by the professor’s sole inheritor.
I went to the school that morning with the intention of letting the police do their job and dropping the entire subject. Sleepless nights were something I could not afford with my own study getting close to approval for grants. However, I failed to uphold my intention when I handed the drawing of the knife to one of the archaeology professors. Professor Thomas Ames has studied ancient artifacts for the better part of 20 years. After looking at the drawing with an inquisitive expression he responded with “let me get back to you.”
After the rest of the day went by with no response from Professor Ames, I had hoped, at the time, that might mean the end of my obsession. Little did I know, I was sorely mistaken.