Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #1331145
Don't go up to the castle!
The Gloucester Gazette
DATELINE: GLOUCESTER, Massachusetts, Monday, December 6, 1993--A backpack apparently belonging to Professor Robert H. Brewer was recovered among the rocks below Dunmoor Castle over the weekend. The following is an excerpt from a journal found therein:
Thursday, October 28, 1993
Strange things happen at Dunmoor Castle, or so it is told. Several unexplained disappearances fuel the flames of superstition about the evil character of the castle sitting high on the precipice overlooking the black waters of the Miskatonic River. Old Silas MacGregor had gone up to the castle in search of stones to shore up the dilapidated walls of his chicken coop and never returned. Then there was young Jerod O’Malley, who went up on a Halloween dare, never to be seen again. Folks in the region always admonish visitors, “Don’t go up to the castle if you value your soul!”
Being of a scientific mind, which puts very little stock in such superstitious quackery, I determined to make the region more attractive to tourists by quashing these rumors once and for all.
Friday, October 29, 1993
Went to the land registry office to trace ownership of the property and then to the library in search of whatever information was available about the history of the castle and its owners. The newspaper archives revealed that the original owner, an old patriarch by the name of Ezekiel Van der Hoffen, had been questioned by authorities with regard to the disappearances of several people in the region, but no substantial incriminating evidence could ever be found. Several of his descendants were also investigated under similar circumstances. The current cestui que trust hasn’t been seen or heard from in over a decade.
Saturday, October 30, 1993
Spent the day gathering implements and other provisions needed for my scientific expedition. The shopkeepers are all aghast at my callous disdain for the advice of caution they so strongly expressed. Upon my persistence, they became very brusque in their dealings. Turning in early to get a good night’s rest in preparation for tomorrow’s venture.
Sunday, October 31, 1993
Packed my supplies in a sturdy backpack for the trek up the mountain and was on the trail by mid-morning. The path was severely overgrown with vines and brush, which combined with the steep, rocky terrain to make the going extremely slow.
By the time I reached the clearing at the top of the mount, the sun was low on the horizon, and only the occasional screech of a seagull broke the silence. Stopped just long enough to take some photos of strange undecipherable runes depicted in the iron framework for the main gate.
I’ll be making contemporaneous notes from here on, rather than relying on the caprices of recollection.
The walls of the castle block out all rays of the setting sun, engulfing the entire courtyard in dark shadow. Using the flashlight from my backpack to light the way, I circumvent an array of empty livestock pens situated around the perimeter of the main enclosure.
Evening shadows soon turn to black night, but a full moon on the rise promises to provide sufficient illumination to continue my survey.
At the south end of the enclosure, there is an apparent assembly area with an altar adorned with numerous ritualistic regalia.
As I approach for a closer look, a light breeze starts to whirl around the castle enclosure. A huge figure with a human form suddenly appears standing upright on the rampart overlooking the courtyard, silhouetted by the rising moon. The light of my flashlight on the creature reveals unhuman features. The head is that of a large raptor with a great beak. With a loud roar, it raises its arms--no, make that wings--and the breeze intensifies into a wailing windstorm, making it difficult to maintain my stance.
There is no shelter from the suction of the maelstrom. I’ll have to dispense with my note-taking for the time being in order to hold my grip on this fence post.
Professor Brewer taught behavioral sciences at Miskatonic University until his mysterious disappearance in late October of this year. He was noted for several articles debunking a variety of superstitious myths and had recently been installed as chairman of the tourism committee for the Gloucester Chamber of Commerce. The search for Professor Brewer himself is still ongoing.