Disclaimer in table of contents
Three days passed since I last thought about the murder outside my office. My work on the study of influential cults and how to spot them before any lives were put in danger was still on the verge of not receiving funding. I was stayed at the office for two nights now, sleeping on the brown leather sofa that sat by my book shelves. The plant I kept to remind me to open the blinds was withering from pouring cold coffee into the soil when I delved into the books and forgot about the rest of the world.
It was late, close to eleven, when I received a call at my office. Professor Ames felt it necessary to contact me right away. He said “can you come down here? I have some information on your knife.” I told him I would be there immediately. I grabbed my keys off the desk and made for the door. I locked my office as I left, I did not want my research to be tampered with while I was gone. I headed down to the Archaeology Department with haste.
When I arrived Professor Ames waved me over to the archaeological display room, where the university kept memento’s of dig sites that were funded by the university or donated by alumni. Ames showed me an open unmarked drawer that looked as if it had not been opened in ages. Inside the drawer was an unpublished research paper. At the top of the first page I noticed the words “Sleep Study.” I asked the good professor why this was in the archaeology department. He responded with a shrug and confused “I have no earthly idea.”
As I read through the papers I discovered that there was more than one author. From our very own Miskatonic was Professor Albert S. Logan and from Brown University, in Providence Rhode Island, a Professor George G. Angell. I remembered seeing some of Professor Logan’s work in my research into cults, I also remember learning of his demise. Though it was listed as natural causes, the media at the time could not piece together any logical answers as to what exactly was natural about it. I read the journal thoroughly but it did not result in much more than some nonsense and an old photograph.
The photo was fading at the edges, but I could still make out the details of the focal point. It was what appeared to be a stone or clay object with characters on it that looked similar to the what I remember of the knife. As I held the picture, Ames handed me the drawing I had scribbled together. The character were identical, the two items were the same, a knife that was used in a murder less than a week ago and photo from over 50 years ago. I was speechless, my jaw hung open as my mind pieced together the idea of a cult performing ritual killings for the past 50 years. Worst of all this had gone on unnoticed the entire time. I read the journal in it’s entirety and noticed that there appeared to be parts missing from Professor Angell’s work on this piece. I knew that there was more to this, but it was long past midnight and I needed to perform a lecture in the morning.
I cannot be sure if it was the fatigue or the curiosity, but against my better judgement I made a call to Brown University to see if I could find out more about the late Professor Angell. After getting to the point of my call it seems we were cut off. I called back again, and again after I mentioned the name George Angell I seemed to lose my connection with the administrator. This happened twice more; it was then that I was about ready to give up.
It was lunch time when I placed one more call to Brown. An administrator that was a former student of Angell’s answered. When I spoke of the late professor the gentleman began to reminisce about his time working with Professor Angell on research. However, he did remember over hearing a phone conversation the professor that had taken the professor’s attention. The thing he could remember most was not really words, but more like sounds. At the time he thought it was just Hebrew, but when he spoke it to me I knew it was not. The words that were heard made the sound “cthulhu fhtagn.” The professor proceeded to spelled it out for the recipient of the call.
I thanked the gentleman for his time and assistance with my “research” and he told me to be careful. Saying he never believed the reports that the late professor died of natural causes. I hung up the phone and looked at the letters that I had written down. “Cthulhu fhtagn.” I continued to search for any clues into what these strange assemblage of characters could mean, but found no further information in any of my books.
The next day I awoke in the armchair of my apartment. I fell asleep looking through old books and research notes from various professors on ancient texts. I got dressed and made some coffee to start my day. I looked at the clock and realized I was going to be late. I bolted out of my apartment and started walking at a steady pass towards the campus. I was passing by my local newsstand when a headline caught my eye. “Fifth Victim in Ritual Killing Spree, Police No Closer to Identifying the Suspect.” There were two pictures accompanying the headline. The first was a body covered by a sheet and the second was like knife I had found tagged as evidence.
Upon further reading, the article stated that the body was found around midnight on the campus of Brown University, the first of the ritual killings found to take place there. The police were not releasing the name of the victim, but the reported made the assumption that it was a faculty member at the university. My mind was already connecting dots that were not yet manifest. I already believed that this man was the very gentleman I spoke to on the phone. What kind of conspiracy was going on. I began to look over my shoulder, thinking to myself, would I be next?