The Call of Cthulhu: Nyarlathotep's Mask

Secrets of the JuJu House

The Sacrifice of Marilyn Cooke (and Harry)

The JuJu House is a place of many secrets. Concealed in a Harlem alleyway across from an abandoned pawn shop, not advertised in any news periodical, the store does not so much exist to conduct business as to conceal it. The steady influx of negro traffic would indicate that this business reaches far more than the proprietor, Silas N’Kwane, and his mysterious African contact. If there is any outflow traffic at all, our investigative team has not witnessed it.

Our objective is to trac down the Cult of the Bloody Tongue, a mysterious African sect that our friend, Jackson Elias, died trying to expose. The trial led us to Silas N’Kwane. When asked about blood cults, he became surprisingly defensive.

Taking up positions across the alley in the abandoned pawn shop, we observed that the JuJu House received plenty of visitors after the posted closing time, as well as the delivery of two crates large enough to contain a man-sized antique of some sorts.

Which of us first posited the idea of entering the building I cannot recall, but Willy and I agreed that it needed to be investigated. Rosalyn, still constrained by the centuries-old shackles that bind our sex to subservience, refused to accompany us on account of her nerves. It would not have been wise to bring Evie into a place like this, for my friend has not the fighting spirit of her forefathers. Harry, dear Harry would just as soon have stayed behind, but in the end, he was unwilling to allow me to go without him.

Some would say it was folly to go through the trap door into that hidden basement, but I maintain that we could have triumphed, had we entered in armed force with fire in our bellies and lead in our hands. I suppose such speculations are pointless, at this stage.

The sound of many drums emerged behind a massive pair of oaken doors. Opening the doors, we witnessed an orgy of such ferocity as to eclipse the blackest Voodoo. A horde of naked negroes swarmed around a massive vault sunk in the basement floor as a a score of drummers drove their frenzy beyond revelry and into bloodlust. A man in priestly vestments presided over the dark sacrament.

We would have called the police, had there been any phone in the shop. News of any white woman trapped in a basement surrounded by denuded black men would have brought the Blue Thunder running, and they would have flown had they known the aforementioned damsel was none other than famed author Marilyn Cooke!

We had no time to hunt for a telephone, however, for the content of the crates became suddenly apparent. Two white people, man and woman, were brought into the rave and forced to kneel before the monstrous shaman. Using a pair of wickedly bladed gauntlets, the priest carved marks into the foreheads of the victims as a massive crank was turned, opening the subterranean vault.

Would that we were greater in number, or accompanied by one of the heroes of legend. We could have set upon the savages with violence and delivered their captives to freedom. We poor, soft, civilized fools instead watched helplessly as the prisoners were cast into the vault.

It is then that I found my courage. My inaction in Vermont allowed the crab people to summon a creature that did not belong in our world, and an entire village lost their lives. Were it only my life on the line, I would have stayed and witnessed! I had never known how much there was to see in this universe! They may seem horrors to my eyes, but think; how monstrous must we appear to them, crawling hairless apes bound to only four dimensions and constrained by only 5 very limited senses? We must seem so small.

However insignificant these apes must be in the eyes of the cosmos, they are mine. I am a human. This is my species, and this is my planet.

Our species and planet must be protected, and that means this ritual must be stopped. If no hero is here to do that job, then a foolish young girl with a pistol must suffice. The priest must be mortal. If I could get close enough I could end his life with a single bullet.

And so I run.

I am tackled from the side, pinned down by a mass of stinking flesh. I fire my gun. I cannot say where the bullet went. I hear the sound of further gunshots. I am dragged before the priest, and I know I will fuel the ritual rather than halt it.

The priest is hit with a slug, and his shoulder explodes in a red spray. He reacts, notices the injury, but he ignores the pain and carves into my forehead, intoning the monstrous name of Nyarlathotep.

Harry is next to me now, and on his forehead is carved the symbol of the Bloody Tongue. Oh Harry, you brave fool. I see now I should have loved you from the moment we first met. I spit in the face of the high priest. He must know that he will not go unchallenged, that there will be others to stand in his way.

Over the edge we go, and then we are consumed. The noise. The screaming. The suction. And so many faces…

Harry and I are together now, and our screams join the choir of wordless misery.



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