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The Strange Diary of Anna Dupree, and the sequel

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Author Topic: The Strange Diary of Anna Dupree, and the sequel  (Read 223 times)
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Posts: 1603

« on: November 22, 2007, 12:15:38 am »

I have had several requests to put the original Anna story and it's sequel together for ease of reading... so I have created a new thread, enjoy!

Letter From Colonel Fuller to Professor Amsted
November 17, 1864

Dear Professor Amsted

I hope this letter finds you well, my dear friend. I have recently made the most remarkable discovery. It may shed some light on the mysterious devastation of Essex County in 1789. Perhaps what occurred there was not entirely the result of infectious disease as you have so often maintained. The discovery in question has led me to doubt many of my previous convictions as to the nature of our world; the absoluteness of its physical laws.

My once firm resolve that no supernatural or occult forces exist has definitely been undermined, to say the least. Thus have I acquired a new found respect for what I have often characterized as your “impractical scholarly pursuits,” please do forgive me.
My discovery came one quiet Sunday afternoon at the old library off Front Street. As I was leisurely searching through it's familiar historical section. I made my way to my accustomed roost. I accidentally knocked over a precariously stacked assortment of books and documents; undoubtedly left in the middle of the aisle as a sort of trap for unwary old scholars such as myself (to trip over and break their stiff necks). I grudgingly began to re-stack the offending books, (grumbling to myself about the ineptitude of public librarians and the inevitable downfall of society as a result,) when I noticed a very old leather bound diary bearing a singularly impressive family crest, what appeared to be a white lizard-like creature on a black shield, the stems of five red roses complete with thorns encircling it.

Its’ iron lock was detailed with Celtic scrollwork and looked quite formidable. But it had been forced open at some point in the past. The hinges were still stubborn with rust but with some not too gentle persuasion and the point of my penknife it gave way. I opened the book and began to read from it. I was immediately captivated. The morbid narrative contained therein has left me uncharacteristically nervous, and strangely agitated.
I have know doubts as to its’ authenticity, for I have verified the names, dates etc. in the Essex County Registry. Besides as a practical matter who would profit from such an outlandish though imaginative forgery? Too what purpose? I still have reservations as to the author’s sanity. Though I cannot convince myself that it's simply the ravings of a mad woman. But I am getting ahead of myself. Knowing your interest in this obscure subject and desiring your opinion upon the matter I immediately set about transcribing the relevant passages for you. Those passages I have enclosed herein.

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 13, 1789

All is lost father is surely dying. Dr. Albright is giving him morphine for the pain. The look of anguish etched deeply on his dear face tells me it is not enough to relieve his torment, of course he never complains to anyone, least of all me. All these dreadful pallbearers in our home, has made his anguish all the more unbearable for his pride forces him to hide his debilitating pain. There encircling my father was Magistrate Philips, the Vicar Rudolph and all the rest of his fawning attendants standing about staring like crows on a battlefield. I see them hungrily eyeing him, as if in anticipation of some gruesome feast. It makes me sick.
There is something truly unseemly in this… what is it they hope to gain from my father’s death? For I have no doubt that if not for father’s wealth, his prestige and of course a well set table these cringing hierophants would soon be off and about their own petty affair’s. As for the servants they are as silent, distant and unreachable as the stars in a moonlit sky, either unwilling or unable to offer me any solace whatsoever.

Well, except for Mrs. Havers who is always trying to ease my burdens and console me whenever possible, she is such a dear. She has been near saintly in her dedication to father waiting on him hand and foot. I don't think she's slept more than a few hours since his mysterious illness began. Without her warm sheepish smile I don't know what I'd do. Even with all the strain upon, her she is the only ray of sunlight in this dismal old manor.
Oh, the look upon my father's face as he coughed and spat up his lifeblood staining his bed sheets a sickly shade of crimson. I cannot purge the image from my mind. How it fills me with disgust and then with a burning shame for having such disrespectful feelings. Am I such an awful daughter? It's just that he was always so proud, so aristocratic and stately in his dress uniform.

I can see him now standing head and shoulders above the crowd; his head held high, his eyes hard with authority and yet sparkling with a hidden mischief. To see my father, my earthly champion brought to this pitiful state fills me grief and uncertainty. I simply cannot bear to see him this way, wrapped in blankets helpless as an orphaned child in desperate need of a changing.

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 16, 1789
He is gone… I am alone. His last few hours were more peaceful; at least his face had softened somewhat from the steely mask of the past few days. He seemed to realize his end was near and to except it finally. He called me to his side and between painful coughing fits whispered his last words in my waiting ear, “My beautiful daughter, my beloved if only your mother were still alive. I have held on as long as I could for your sake, my little one. You must not mourn me Anna, for I shall soon pass beyond the veil. I shall have peace at last, free from pain, free from the sorrows and trials of this coarse world. You must know that I love you beyond the measure of all things and that I am so very proud of the young lady you have become. You will be alright Anna, trust me.”

His words fell like kisses upon my wet cheek. He had another terrible coughing choking fit, he shuddered and gagged rising up convulsively lifting his arms desperately in the air, his fingers straining toward heaven, then falling back. His eyes stared wildly for an instant then went silent blank. A cold heavy silence filled the room as I bent to close his lightless eyes and kiss his ruby cheek one final time.
What went through his mind's eye in that last awful moment, what specter was revealed waiting upon the threshold of death or was it only a reaction to that last dreadful moment of pain? Such morbid curiosity is unbecoming I know, but I can't help dwelling upon it.

As I lingered inconsolable there holding him and weeping over his lifeless form an eerily inescapable feeling crept over me...  a premonition that his life was somehow intimately bound to mine and his end the beginning my own. Perhaps I'm just being foolish, I must try not to be so hopelessly grim.
Rudolf that fat oily Vicar! After strutting about for days enjoying my Father’s hospitality (especially the aging port in the wine cellar) nearly forgot the last rights in his drunken stupor. He had to be prodded into it by the skinny rat-like priests that are always scurrying about his enormous swooshing tail. If I were a man! Why would God shorten my noble father’s days and give that foppish simpleton a long useless life.

I cannot contain myself. My emotions are running wild. I am seething mad one moment and inconsolable the next I fear the strain is too much for me. At least the Vicar’s herd of braying jackasses must soon take their leave, and then perhaps I shall be able to grieve in peace.

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 20, 1789
It rained incessantly at the funeral, mercifully hiding the salty tears rolling down upon my wet cheeks. It felt as if my poor desperate heart was being strangled. My dear, dear father, you were my life, my life. Whatever shall I do? Oh father, I wish I could follow you... wherever you have gone.
I cannot remember the eulogy, nor much of anything else during the funeral. I stood sobbing at the graveside, as the other attendants faded away with their forgotten condolences. Still I remained, frozen, as if carved in marble another ancient funerary statue in Harper’s Cemetery cracking, crumbling and covered in lichen.

There I stood, until there was only Mrs. Havers and a few of the oldest family servants left in attendance. They crouched and jostled in their black funeral garb trying to avoid the downpour and getting caught in the torrent that gushed over the sides of their umbrella’s, “Come away child, you’ll catch your death!” she said. As she slowly warmly moved to put her arm about me, in a sudden fit I pushed her aside and shouted angrily. “I'm not your child! Get away from me.” She looked at me stunned, almost spoke... then slowly turned and walked away, motioning the others to follow her.
I deeply regret it now. I was so cold, so terribly rude. If only I had left with her then! She didn't deserve my spite, she was only trying to comfort me. It must have broken her tender heart, oh why do I do these things?  I know she loves me. I should have realized she was deeply wounded by Father's death and needed comforting too. My only excuse is that I was in such a frightful state, although, I know it is a terribly poor one.
My mind was simply numb, I watched in mute shock as the men dropped shovel after shovel of dirt on my father's slowly disappearing coffin. I lost all sense of time. I stood alone. A sudden gust of wind woke me with its ferocity, whipping my cape about and nearly blowing my thin funeral veil away. It had me struggling to maintain my balance at the edge of the black abysmal pit that was Father’s grave.

The rain had slowed appreciably and the moon had arisen lending a strangely jaundiced light to the ancient cemetery. It cast long ominous shadows on the statuary and etched the granite tombs in stark relief. With an act of conscious will I forcibly pulled myself away from Father's grave.
In the dim moonlight, I caught sight of the giant willow I knew my carriage to be under. The willow’s branches lashed out frantically, desperately like a cornered beast, clawing back and forth as if fending off some unseen Titan. Loud crackling lightning sent a brilliant shower of light cascading across Harper's Ancient Cemetery, illuminating a vision of horror that stung me with electric fright. Sharp chills coursed through my spine, every hair jolted upright, tense and almost painfully alert. I suppressed a maddening urge to scream.

What I saw there was truly unspeakable; even now it makes me doubt my sanity. Can hallucinations and madness be so real? Do I dare mention it even here in my faithful diary?

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 21, 1789
I must purge myself of these dreadful memories and the only way I know to do that is to unburden myself here, within these pages. So come what may, I have determined to leave as full an account as possible of what transpired. What follows is that awful truth which till now, I have been so reluctant to commit to writing.   

As I made my way to the carriage, I saw naked white limbs were flittering in and out along the ancient wrought iron fence, grotesques with the eyes' of rabid dogs shining eerily in the semi-darkness. A lunatics' nightmare could not freeze the blood so surely as these elongated imps in the guise of men.  Every movement of those malignant revelers screamed blasphemy to my outraged senses, Oh God what horrors!
Mortal fear suddenly transformed itself into utter soul freezing terror as a gibbering cacophony rose above storm filling the night air with a thick sticky horror, that clung there like a heavy shroud. It overpowered my senses. My knees buckled. My hands sprang up instinctively to cover my outraged ears, in the vain hope of escaping that terrifying insane wailing. Their mind shattering screams seemed to burrow deeply into my throbbing skull, echoing there over and over again. I frantically tried to pray, to think clearly. I pleaded to God to let me escape them unnoticed, unmolested.
The horses whinnied and reared against the reins that held them fast to the hitching post. The cemetery had become a lake of black sludge in the driving rain. I tried desperately to reach the safety of my carriage, the mud sucking and clinging to my boots making every movement a struggle.
With the unholy voices still echoing in my mind. I saw the horses with a last desperate effort snap their tethers and the carriage began to pull away. It was too much for my already panic frayed nerves. I lunged forward barely grabbing hold of one of the stallion's reigns. His eyes rolling in fright his nostrils flaring wildly. I tried to restrain him, but he reared up suddenly and sent me sprawling in the slimy muck. The last thing I remember is struggling back to my feet. Why should that be? Why can't I remember?
I haven’t told a living soul about this, for who can I trust? Who would believe me? Now that I am here, safe and warm in my bedchamber, I can hardly believe it myself. My reason flees in terror from such realities. I feel tainted by the mere sight of those leprous forms. My mind is stained with evil, the evil that oozed black and ichorous from their foul cries, the memory of which torments me even now. Could a god of mercy create such horrors?

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 26, 1789
’m afraid. I haven’t slept well in days. Worse yet, when I am able to sleep, my dreams are plagued by visions of the ghoulish imps stalking the old cemetery. Somehow they torment me still, offering up a banquet of unnatural fleshy delights, tempting me, beckoning me to join them in their feasting and soul blasting debauchery. 

My waking hours are a nightmare of a wholly different sort, the virulent disease that killed father is spreading and we’ve lost another servant to it. Several others have quit either from fear of infection or mumbling something about the manor being haunted or cursed, if they only knew.

My nerves are set on a razor's edge. I’ve been terribly short tempered with the servants; anger boils up and out of me unleashing a fury upon anyone nearby. I cannot help myself, I have never known such anger, and am powerless to hold it in check. God forgive me. I am not nearly as prepared to run the estate as I had thought, especially short handed as we are, there is so much planning, so much paper work, so much arguing.

Creditors have been calling at all hours, I do not no how long I will be able to forestall them in my present state. It seems inevitable that the promise I made to father to keep the estate intact, will have to be broken. I can see no other way out then to sell a good portion of the estate. The vultures gather.
Mrs. Havers showed me an article from the Essex County Gazette reporting that father’s grave had been robbed. She was so angry she swore like a sailor. All the while fuming and puffing, it’s the first time I had ever heard her curse. It was so unlike her, so utterly madcap. I had a hard time not laughing aloud. I should also mention here, a dozen other stories of grave robberies and missing persons within the last several days. The magistrate Philips will undoubtedly be here tomorrow to begin his investigation. How awful, how could someone do something like that? It’s well ...monstrous. Perhaps that is what I saw in Harper’s Cemetery? Grave robbers.

I was terribly distraught over father’s death. No, they were no ordinary grave robbers! They were stark naked hobgoblins dancing to the devil‘s wicked delight!  Maybe I should see a Doctor? Perhaps he could give me something to help me sleep? No, no, no I trust my senses, I am not mad, not in the least. Besides they would only have me locked away. I shall do nothing too disgrace the family name or jeopardize our estates.

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 27, 1789
They have found me. I hear the voices.

By Colonel Fuller
Footnote to transcribed texts:
From here Anna's Diary becomes more erratic, the writing is almost a scrawl compared to the elegant handwriting found earlier in the Diary. Also, the pages now become filled with fascinating drawings. Some of these have a very intriguing character resembling hieroglyphics, not Egyptian or any cultural type I am familiar with but they appear to be some sort of enigmatic pictograms.

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 28, 1789
I found poor Mrs. Havers this morning sprawled upon the garden steps. Oh, the horror, her body gnawed nearly to the bone, patches of grisly meat clinging to the fresh red skull. I wretched uncontrollably, then began sobbing and choking for air, right there in front of the house staff. I had to be dragged forcibly from the garden in my hysterics the servants grabbing hold of my arms and rushing me unceremoniously back to my bedchamber. One of them must have rode off immediately for Mayfair to bring Dr. Albright to me. 

The gentleman arrived shortly before midnight. He tried to cheer me with his usual charming bedside manner but I could see that he was under quite a strain himself. He looked old, drawn and more exhausted then I've ever seen him, his hair nearly all white now. As if the effects of age had somehow been held at bay then suddenly unleashed upon him, aging him over night. He has given me some sedatives and ordered me to bed.
So here I remain trying to sleep, but cannot, even with the sedatives for my mind is a racing torrent of terror and doubt. A relentless tidal wave of emotion floods my mind with grief, drowning me in hopelessness. God help us, the only way I could recognize my dear Mrs. Havers was by her shredded garments and the jewel encrusted crucifix she wore. I never realized how much I truly loved my dear matron or how much I depended upon her and now she is gone. I deeply regret now all my mean-spirited and senseless teasing of her. I dearly wish I could apologize to her for all the petty spiteful things I’d done, but even more I wish I would have confessed my love, while she yet lived. But now it is too late, too late.
I shall never, ever venture to those accursed bloody stairs again as long as I live! The fear of reliving that hellish vision binds me more surely then chains of adamant. It shall haunt me forever. I will not think of it.
Magistrate Philips has just left. He seemed unsettled, and all too anxious to leave my somber bedchamber. He has made arrangements to see to poor Mrs. Havers funeral and for that I am truly grateful. He was reluctant to talk about the circumstances surrounding the desecration of Father's grave. When I insisted he tell me all he knew, his answer was that he suspected some miscreant had dug it up and stolen it. Probably to sell to doctor’s for anatomical research or some such thing.

But if that’s the case why steal one of the gentry's bodies, when so many are dying of this disease? Even more asinine was his suggestion that Mrs. Havers was eaten by wild dogs, wild dogs! Does he think I am a child? He cannot believe such nonsense! If only I dared reveal my secret, but I cannot.
Andre, another of my oldest and dearest servants has left me. As long as I can remember he has been with us. I think he was born here on the estate. I used to sit on his knee and talk with him whenever I snuck away to play in the stables. Andre held his tattered old hat tenderly in his large calloused hands, repeating his apologies over and over for leaving me so soon after Father's death. Making the sign of the cross with each new apology, I could tell he was close to tears.

I wished more than anything this stalwart serf would stay and fight with me! Then his kindly face deeply etched with time and worn by labors became suddenly solemn, staring intently into my eyes he warned me to flee the old manor. Forgetting for one brief moment, that I was his mistress and he only a serving man he almost insisted I leave, because, as he put it, "the very devil himself has laid claim to this land."  I laughed this off with an act of haughty confidence I did not truly feel, "It is all right Andre, never fear, I am more than a match for any bogeyman and God help any who tries to drive me from my land's."

"The Lord Bless, and keep you mum." Andre said almost cheerily, I think I was able to ease his worries and perhaps some of the quilt he felt for leaving me in my dark hour. Why did I not instead plead with him to stay, why must I be so proud? Perhaps I could leave? If Andre has given up then something is terribly, terribly wrong. But where would I go. I don't believe I could hide from them, even if I could leave. They'd find me again I just know it.
Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 29, 1789
The voices beckoned me over and over again till just before dawn last night. If I had answered the call would my body have been found in the garden this morning? All these bloody deaths and the endless grunting squealing chatter will soon drive me insane, if I'm not already. It shall start again soon now. The sun’s light fades.
They are here, I can feel their evil currents stirring, oh dear lord. A sulphorous stench always marks their noxious presence. What are they saying?

“Come… OUT, out, out.”

"You called to us."

Dear God, I understood that, that echoing growling, grunting pig chatter. Dear God that horrifies me, I'm so nauseas, faint... The evil in those voices, the gnawing rasping guttural tones were horrifying enough but to understand it! Dear God, what has become of me? What can it mean? What do you want!

“Come… out to US, us, us.” 

Why? Why do you torment me? Why?

“Come… out to US, us, us.” 

Shut up! Shut up, shut up…

Anna Dupree’s Diary
October 30, 1789
One voice stands out, more powerful than the rest in its unmatched cruelty, its lewd suggestiveness. It’s so loud, so insistent! It calls out to me; it wants me to go to them. It’s their penetrating into my minds eye, leering at me, that long repulsive face, mottled mushroom white. It burns. It stretches out for me, overpowering me. 

“Come… out to US, us, us.” 

“Fulfill… your BARGAIN, bargain, bargain.” 

Sweet Emmanuel what bargain? What bargain devil! What have I done? What have I done? 

There it is again. 

“Feed on DEATH, death, death … will not DIE, die, die.”

Can no one hear it! 

“Come… out to US, us, us.”

You bloody vultures, Leave me be!
“WILL, will, will…  bare SEED, seed, seed.” 

I shall kill myself before I let you touch me! I must calm myself.
I write now while I still may for unless I am completely and utterly mad this may be the last entry in my diary.

“WILL, will, will…  bare SEED, seed, seed.” 

The relentless voices grow impatient. I cannot withstand them. I must end this torment. If I do not go out to them, they shall soon come for me, I know it.  I feel it. I know you devils. I know your secret, oh yes... You spread the disease that killed my beloved father and then fed upon his freshly interred corpse. It was you who gnawed Mrs. Havers face down to the raw red bone. "

Come… out to US, us, us.”

Fresh corpse’s that’s what they want!

“Fresh… CORPSES, corpses, corpses YES, yes, yes.” You will never ever have me, never, never…

Footnote to the transcribed text

By Colonel Fuller

It may be of some interest to you Professor that Anna Dupree disappeared on the night of October 30, 1789 the date of the last entry in her diary. She was never seen again although Essex county record's show that an extensive search was undertaken over a period of nearly three weeks, (her family was quite wealthy and of the landed gentry) her body was never recovered.
After Anna's disappearance and presumed death the lands passed to another branch of the Dupree family. As far as I have been able to discover since that time the house has lain vacant except for some brief periods. Although suffering from some neglect it is still a grand and imposing manor by all accounts and maintained by a seasonal staff of groundskeepers and other custodians. The estate has acquired something of an infamous reputation in local folklore. But this latest bit of news I shall save for future correspondence.

P.S. I await with great anticipation your reply, as I have become somewhat engrossed in this little mystery and shall not rest until I hear all you have may have to say upon this subject.

Yours Truly
Colonel Fuller
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"There exists an agent, which is natural and divine, material and spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a common receptical of the fluid vibrations of motion and the images of forms, a fluid, and a force, which can be called the Imagination of Nature..."
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2007, 12:21:12 am »

Anna's Tears

Telegraph London Office
November 26, 1864
From Professor Amsted to Colonel Fuller

Situation urgent…Stop
Must see you at once…Stop
Will be arriving by train on Saturday, 9 PM …Stop
Have made arrangements for extended leave…Stop
Yours Truly…Stop
Professor Percy J. Amsted…Stop

Colonel Fullers Journal
November 29, 1864

Caught up in the moment, I watched as the train rolled forward like an unstoppable juggernaut of doom, bellowing black smoke from its fiery lungs. It came to a rolling stop along side the platform and a blast of steam shot forth in a final note of defiance. What would this iron behemoth usher into my life? What strange news was Professor Amsted to bring? What was so urgent that he felt it necessary to drop everything and rush to this rustic village?

Since the day I discovered Anna Dupree's diary my life has been consumed by it, with a need to know and understand her tragic fate. I have spent nearly every waking hour researching the Dupree family history and the rare disease, which seems strangely localized to this community.

The doors of the train opened. The porters began their work in earnest, unloading the luggage and escorting passengers from the train. There at the top of the stairs stood Professor Amsted in rumpled black tweed suit, his thin hair pointing out like the quills of a porcupine in every direction. It always amazed me that this small frail scholar with his glasses perched precariously on the end of a long nose, could inspire such confidence. The sense of foreboding that had hung about me for days vanished.

He greeted me with a wry smile, “Ahh, Colonel Fuller, so good to see you.”

“Percy--old man--how are you!” I said, shaking his hand vigorously up and down. He looked somewhat amused by my lack of decorum. “Tell me Professor, what did you make of the diary?”

“Yes the diary, it helps confirm some things I have suspected for a long time. I believe it's rather serious business colonel. I hope you have no pressing engagements. It deserves our full attention and may take quite some time to resolve.”

“I’m at your service, Professor,” I said.

“I want to get a room as soon as possible. Is there an Inn nearby?”

“Yes, the Green Man is just a block or two away,” I replied.

“Fine, fine, give me a hand with this luggage, will you?”

"Certainly," I said, as grabbed two of his leather and tweed suitcases.

As we entered the Inn, a robust bearded fellow in a beer-stained apron greeted us. He made us feel right at home with his broad smile and his deep voice bellowing out, “Welcome to the Green Man Inn, most welcome, finest beer in the county.”

So the Professor took a room and seemed quite pleased with the Spartan accommodations. I could tell because he sat on the bed, bounced up and down a little, and then gave a satisfied “Hmmm.” The Professor’s room was upstairs, overlooking the village square. After quietly unpacking his things, he said, “Now we shall have a bit of supper and sample the beer the inn keeper is so proud of; I am famished.”

The inn was surprisingly lively when we returned downstairs; it was absolutely filled with boisterous shouts and uproarious laughter. With all the noise, I realized there was no need to worry about being overhead. We took a table in the back. A delightful redheaded barmaid (who’s ample bosom could in no way be held in check by the meager amount of cloth employed to accomplish the task) brought us our supper, a generous portion of roast beef, with boiled potatoes and two quarts of the finest beer in the county.

As we began our dinner the Professor said, “First, let me tell you something about the local folklore. This area, as you know, has been inhabited for thousands of years. The first inhabitants of whom we have historical reference are the Picts. Many of the rolling hills of the Cotswold are actually man-made. They are long barrows used as burial mounds and ceremonial sites.

"The Celts who later inhabited this region report that they drove out a particularly vicious band of death worshiping Picts. The record of this fascinating hero cycle, I found buried in the British Museum, miss-categorized and placed where no one interested in the subject would ever think to look. As you well know, the British Isles are honeycombed with underground tunnels, rivers and lakes. Folklore has peopled this underground world with a variety of supernatural beings. In the Saga, I mentioned earlier, the Celtic Hero not only drives out the Picts but enters the underground to confront the king of death.”

“A very familiar theme in myth, Professor,” I stated.

“Yes, but this particular myth is unusual in many ways. The hero’s people are being eaten by the minions of death and suffering from an agonizing disease, caused by his sorcery.”

“So how does it end?” I said fascinated by what this revealed.

"Come now Colonel, how do these tales always end? The hero conquers death. The last bit of the narrative warns you cannot kill death. Now what can you tell me about the Dupree family history?”

“Well,” I said. “After the death of Anna Dupree, the estate was claimed by Edmond Dupree and his wife Elizabeth who lived there only three short years. Elizabeth became increasingly convinced that the manor was haunted, complaining that the ghost of Anna visited her and that she was hearing the most terrifying voices. As time went on her behavior became more erratic, almost animalistic. She developed the most loathsome habits; they describe her not bathing, eating with her hands, and continually making lewd sexual advances to all present.

This was in stark contrast to her sterling reputation before entering the Dupree Manor. Despite the fact, that by all accounts, Edmond worshipped the ground she walked on -- he was finally forced to have her committed to a mental institution. The records of Elizabeth’s sanity hearing would make even the most jaded of men cringe.

The Dupree Family has made several attempts to take up residence in their ancestral home, each ending in disaster. Francis Dupree and his young daughter Lisa tried twenty years later. She committed suicide. The magistrates’ records state that the only eyewitness testified she jumped from the back balcony at midnight, screaming 'You will not have me!' Breaking her neck on the garden stairs below.

I have spoken with the current head caretaker. He was very reluctant to admit me onto the grounds or even talk with me. Finally, after bribing him with a bottle of brandy, (which he drank enormous quantities of during the interview) I got him to admit that none of his people will stay on the estate after nightfall. They complain of foul whispers on the wind and catching ghostly white images out of the corners of their eyes. How much of this is simply due to the Manor's reputation, I could not tell you. I should also mention that the area has a nasty reputation for grave robbery; Harpers Cemetery is no longer in use as one local put it ‘nothing would stay buried there.’”

“Do you have the diary with you?” Professor Amsted asked.

“No, but I have made tracings of the pictograms; I knew you would want to examine them.” As I continued the professor began examining them in detail and every now and then his head would nod knowingly, as if confirming unspoken details to himself. I found this very distracting, making it hard to continue, as I was dying to know what he thought of them.

“A new cemetery was established in 1827, closer to Shipton. Although, this new cemetery has not been entirely free of grave robbery. As for the disease, it is has made sporadic reappearances throughout the years but never with the same dreadful toll as in 1789. I spoke with a direct descendant of Dr. Albright. The family has maintained their practice here. He told me that incidents of the disease are on the rise again and that he fears another outbreak. I must say, I was very impressed by his professionalism and his expertise on the disease in question.

As you know the disease is still a matter of debate because of certain anomalies. Dr Albright has written a treatise on the subject that was met with general disapproval by the medical community, for pointing out the obvious, namely that the disease’s symptoms mirrored the effects of rigor mortis."

“We shall cut off this disease at its source,” the Professor interrupted sharply.

"What source professor?"

"Patience Colonel," he replied, "All in good time," spearing a small potato and popping it into his mouth.

“Well -- what do you make of those symbols?” I asked.

“They are not merely scrawls or doodles, nor are they Egyptian as you pointed out in your letter. They are more akin to Celtic ruins but antecedent to both. I believe,” he said.

"Antecedent to Egyptian?" I asked, incredulously.

"Yes," He said adjusting his glasses.

From our many debates together, I knew the futility of trying to draw the professor out, when he did not openly share information.

Professor Amsted’s Diary
November 29, 1864

I feel a certain sense of remorse for bringing Colonel Fuller into this; but I have desperate need of an ally.

I must find them;
I must not fail in this.
Lord of Hosts, give me Strength.

Colonel Fuller's Journal
October 1, 1864

This morning as we sat at breakfast in dining hall we were surprised to see Dr. Albright. He looked at us seriously and then said, “It is no secret why you are here gentleman. I have thought it over, and if you are to pursue this then you must be forewarned. What I show you now, must be held in the strictest confidence. This is my Great, Great, Great Grandfather’s journal, contained within these pages is a family secret that I am honor bound to protect. I break that trust now in the hopes that you will be able to succeed where others have failed. I have book marked the pages from where the incident began. Read it at your leisure, but you must promise to return it to me. If there is anything that I can do to aid you, gentleman, do not hesitate to call on me.”

Here I have recorded selected passages from Dr. Albright’s Journal.

Doctor Jeremiah Albright’s Journal
October 28, 1789

As I raced along the winding road that leads to the Dupree Manor; I was overcome by a sense of urgency. The dreadful news that Ms. Havers has died came as quite a shock to me, what Anna must be going through with the death of her nursemaid coming so soon after her father's.

I was preoccupied with these thoughts as the carriage rounded a bend. I saw a white figure in the middle of the road. The horses trampled over him -- it. I felt a thump as the carriage wheels rolled over it. I tried to restrain the horses, but they raced on. “Hoa! Hoa,” I yelled, standing and pulling at the reins with all my might. Finally, the horses came to a halt about thirty yards beyond.

As I got out, I noticed blood splattered on the horses legs and hooves. I walked quickly back to the scene, to render whatever aide I could to the unfortunate victim. Who I felt sure was dying in the road.

When I came to scene I could see a trail where something had dragged itself into the woods. I suffered bitter pangs of remorse, as I followed the blood trail.

I am not a timid man by nature but as I entered the woods I immediately felt as if I was being watched. Over the years, I have learned to trust this primitive instinct. I moved on cautiously. An unnatural stillness pervaded the air; I came upon it suddenly.

There upon the ground lay a twitching thing of nightmares. It still lived though mangled horribly. Its eyes glowed in the darkness with a fierce wicked intensity. It screamed horribly, and an echoing chorus answered the scream in the night. I panicked and ran, swatting and jumping limbs that blocked my path.

I gave a silent prayer of thanks, as I reached the road. I bent over supporting myself with my hands upon my knees, breathing heavily. I heard the strange voices again, drawing nearer. They meant to kill me, of that I have no doubt. I got to my carriage as quickly as I could in my winded state. The voices had a disturbing effect upon me. I cannot explain it. But I am haunted by the memory of their abominable cries. I am afraid they have left a black stain of evil on my mind. It is maddening.

I was still shaking as I reached the Dupree Manor. A servant brought me directly to Anna’s room, nodded to me, and then walked away. The door was open. She sat at her dresser combing her luxuriant black hair in an unconscious motion. I could see her blank expression in the mirror. I was stunned once again by her dark beauty. Her eyes sparkled like black diamonds; a small trail of tears trickled slowly down her face. She looked far too thin and pale.

She wiped the tears from her eyes as she turned. “Oh, forgive me, doctor," she said, "I didn't see you there.”

“Anna, I am so sorry about Miss Havers. How are holding up dear?” I asked.

“I am fine.”

“Don’t lie to your old doctor. I helped bring you into this world you know.”

“Why?” Anna asked gravely.

“Anna,” I said, as soothingly as I could. “You know I am just a doctor, not a philosopher.” She laughed softly, which I took as a hopeful sign.

“How long has it been since you have slept?”

“I don’t sleep much anymore,” Anna admitted.

“You listen to me young lady, I want you to take this syrup and climb straight into bed,” I said sternly.

“Very well -- doctor?”

“What is it dear?"

"Never mind, it was nothing,”

"You know you can tell me anything, Anna."

"No, really, it was nothing," she said. Her face was expressionless and she began combing her hair again in that disturbing mechanical fashion.

“I’ll be back to check on you as soon as I am able. In the meantime, I want you to stay in bed and get as much rest as possible.”

Anna suffers from complete mental and physical exhaustion. I must try to get back to see her soon.

Doctor Jeremiah Albright’s Journal
October 31, 1789

I was awakened, early yesterday morning, by a loud banging on my front door. I rushed downstairs. It was Magistrate Philips with a group of serious looking armed men. One man held a pair of bloodhounds that strained anxiously at their leashes. “What happened?” I asked.

“Lady Dupree is missing,” Magistrate Philips replied.

“Dear God!”

Magistrate Philips grabbed my shoulder and said, “Arm yourself and meet us at the Manor, Doctor.”

A group of us men stood around waiting for the search to begin. Magistrate Philips had an article of Anna’s clothes, which he bundled up under the hound’s noses. He waved his arm in a forward motion, and we moved off following the dogs. The woods were overgrown, we found ourselves having to chop our way through the dense underbrush.

We began to hear the strangest noises as of souls crying out in pain and ecstasy. But underneath it all was a maddening primitive rhythm. We all stopped, and I saw reflected in the eyes of my companions the same terror, which rose unmercifully in me. Magistrate Philips was a stout fellow he waved us forward again.

We broke through the underbrush at the top of a small ridge. Below us was Harper’s Cemetery transformed into a scene from Dante's "Inferno."  A group of white leprous devils sprang, pranced and undulated around a single female form.

“Oh Lord,” I thought, "It's Anna." I watched as she danced in her torn and shredded nightgown, a defiant madness blazing in her black eyes. It was then I noticed the Vicar, fat, plump and oily, he sat gulping from an enormous wine jug. Sitting beside him was one of the loathsome creatures, its’ teeth ripping strips of gray muscle from a half-eaten corpse.

We watched silently, the insane chorus rose to an unbearably insistent crescendo. The Lady Anna grabbed the tattered remains of her nightgown and in a twisting motion ripped it open, revealing her firm white breasts. Suddenly, the chorus stopped. She stood her head held aloft, her arms flung out, legs spread wide, panting. The madness left her eyes. She tried desperately to cover her shame. The hell-spawn stared at her intently; half crouching their arms outstretched they crept ominously towards her.

The bloodhounds bayed, breaking the spell that held us in check. We rushed out of the woods in a blood mad frenzy, firing our muskets then discarding them quickly, to fight hand to hand. The dogs were the first to grapple with the enemy, fighting as a team they brought down one screaming white devil after another, ripping out their throats.

With incredible leaps, the hell spawn met us halfway down the hill. I saw a man eviscerated by the long claws of a demon. The head of one flew past me, its' eyes bulging from the sockets.  My cutlass buried itself in the gut of another. One of the men, perhaps smarter than the rest of us, had remained on the hill and was reloading and firing rapidly taking a deadly toll on the enemy.

Laughing madly Magistrate Philips grabbed one of the creatures by the throat as it ran past. He lifted it off the ground in one hand, he shoke it like a rat terrier shakes a rat. I saw Anna being dragged away by the Vicar's men. I tried desperately to cut my way through that unholy horde to reach her side. These creatures had no stomach for a fight against armed and determined men. They began slinking silently off into the night one by one.

The bloodhounds followed the trail of Lady Anna, but lost it near the downs. We shall begin the search again tomorrow. We have all agreed upon our honor not to discuss what happened. I will kill the Vicar with my own bare hands, if ever get ahold of him.

May God have mercy on our souls.

End of Transcribed texts

Colonel Fuller’s Journal
October 3, 1864

Dr. Albright’s journal was a Godsend for us. He left detailed maps of the areas they searched, particularly of value we thought was the map that showed were the bloodhounds originally lost the trail.

This afternoon we stood at the base of long earthen hill the professor was setting up his survey equipment. He was just about to take some measurements when one of the workmen we hired shouted out “I found something.”

What he had discovered was a depression in the side of the hill the corner of what appeared to be cut stone jutted out. “Well done, well done, old chap,” the Professor said, patting the workmen soundly on the back. After several hours of digging, we uncovered the rest of the crude stone archway, but the opening was still blocked by rocks and loose earth. When this debris could be cleared away, we observed a long dark tunnel stretching into the interior of the hill. By this time, the sun’s light had begun to fade, and the professor recommended that we wait till morning to renew our efforts. The professor paid the workmen, and we settled into camp for the night.

This evening I watched as the professor sat before the fire. A strange intensity of attitude was fixed upon his features. A haze of white light seemed to surround him. It must have been my eyes playing tricks on me (refraction of light from the moon or some such thing).

Professor Amsted’s Diary
October 3, 1864

I was visited by the most beautiful... spectre last night. She appeared quietly out of the night in a dark lacy funeral gown, a century out of fashion, her raven black hair flowing as if blown in a strong breeze. Her soft almond eyes had tears in them. Her full lips quivered in that way that rips a man’s heart from his chest.

She spoke, “Do you know me Professor?”

“Yes, Anna,” I replied.

“And -- you know what it -- what it -- what they did to me?”

“Yes, dear,” I said.

“Avenge me Professor -- for I cannot rest.”

“Yes, Anna,” I said. I cried.

Colonel Fullers Journal
October 4, 1864

The Professor fumbled with his pack squatting down and trying to get his arms through the loops, “Here, let me help you with that,” I said.

“Not necessary, not necessary my good -- my good man,” the Professor mumbled.

Despite his objections I helped him lift the burden as he stood. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I noticed him using the Enfield rifle I gave him as a prop. So there we stood two aging explorers ready to step into the depths of the unknown.

Shifting the lantern from left to right, I explored the interior of the cavern. It appeared to me to be of natural origins, for I saw no signs of stonework inside. We made our way through the dark interior sometimes squeezing sideways to fit through narrow passages sometimes having to crawl. Finally after several hours of struggling deeper into the depths of the cavern, we were stopped in our progress by a rockslide.

“We shall have to go back Professor and hire workmen to help clear the passage.”

“I shall not go back my friend until we have made a trial of clearing this debris ourselves,” said the Professor.

“The sun must nearly be down now; we must start back soon in any case,” I said.

“I shall not leave this cavern, until I have completed my task. You may go back my friend, for I see now, that this task was appointed to me. I have no right to ask this of you.”

"Professor!” I said, "You insult me. Do you think I could ever leave you here? Besides old friend, I would simply die from curiosity in any case.” There was nothing for it, but to try and make ourselves as comfortable as possible in the narrow confines of the cave until morning.

Colonel Fullers Journal
October 3, 1864

I was stiff, the efforts of the day before and sleeping upon the hard stone had taken its toll upon my old bones, and I can only imagine what affect it had upon the Professor. I set about to break through the rockslide with a short pick; that I brought along for just such an occasion. To my relief within perhaps twenty minutes, we had cleared a space big enough to allow us to pass through.

We walked silently amidst the gloom of the cavern; I began to notice that it was widening as we proceeded. Soon it was wide enough that I began to worry about missing a fork in the tunnel. After several hours, I noticed that a small trickle of water was running along the cavern floor. I determined are best coarse would be to follow it; at least then we would have water.

“Shine the lantern over here,” said the Professor.

“Why... these markings are just like in the diary!” I said.

“Just so, just so,” replied the Professor.

“Can you tell what they mean, Professor?” I asked.

“No, that is beyond me Colonel, but we are on the right track,” he said.

“I should say so; I suggest we follow this stream.”

“Lead on, Colonel,” he said. We walked for several more hours until the passage opened up onto a circular room with several exits and a walled pit lay directly in the center of it. The stones of the pit bore the same signs we had found earlier in the passage. “Notice here,” said the Professor, “the iron rungs for chains, the fittings for torches on the walls, this place has been used within historical times.”

“Used for what?” I said baffled.

“Come, come, you are an intelligent man, must I spell it out for you,” he replied.

“Human sacrifice?” I said.

“Just so, but the pit itself is far older. I recommend we stay here for the night. We shall need all our strength in the morning."

“I shall take the first watch Professor.”

"Very well, I am dreadfully tired Colonel.”

Colonel Fullers Journal
October 3, 1864

A foul rotting odor arose from the pit as I lowered the lantern into the depths. By the amount of rope it took, I determined the drop not more than fifty feet. The light of the lantern did not reveal much, but it was enough to show there was sound footing below. So we lowered our packs then climbed into the waiting darkness. I was terribly worried that the professor would not be able to make the descent, but he scrambled down the rope like a monkey. I however had a dreadful time being rather heavy myself. I gave a silent prayer of thanks, as my feet hit the bottom. I retrieved my lantern and began to survey our surroundings.

The floor of the pit was littered with human bones; large, white rats with glowing, pink eyes flew in all directions to escape the light of the lantern. Upon closer examination, the bones revealed deep teeth marks, and some had been broken to extract the marrow. There were pools of stagnant water amidst the jagged rocks, much of the floor and walls of the pit were covered by yellowish lichen that had a faintly iridescent quality. As we took up our packs and began our journey again, here and there we could see signs of life. I saw little white crabs and frogs sitting still as death upon the stones that rose above the fetid water.

We explored the pit trying to avoid the pools of stagnant water, after perhaps a half-hour of this we found a broad, crude stair. As we descended the stair, I began to hear the most disturbing noises, hard to describe but the sound set my nerves on edge. “What is that dreadful noise, Professor? I asked.

“Steel your mind, Colonel, for it is their first line of defense and their greatest weapon.” As we continued, the sound got louder and more distinct, impossible to ignore. If evil had a sound this was surely it.

I pause now to assure who ever reads my journal; that upon my honor, the events, I shall describe are true.

The scene that opened up before us at the bottom of the stairwell was a shallow lake in the center of which was a raised stone mound with pillars surrounding it and broken causeways leading away from it like the spokes of a giant wheel.

As we ventured out on the causeway, I looked up and to my horror saw that the roof of the immense cavern was covered with bats, among them clung humanoid figures by their hands and feet. Their yellowish white skin was mottled with brown spots. The creatures' bodies where long and slender, a thin membrane stretched from their ribcage across to the tips of their unnaturally elongated fingers, so much like the wings of the bats with whom they shared their roost. These figures were damnably hard for my eyes to focus on, as if covered in fog or like they where somehow shifting in and out of time, out of reality.

The further we moved along the causeway the more menacing the noise became, louder, harsher it grated upon my senses, making it hard to stay focused. I began to notice movement in the water, waves formed as if things were moving just below the surface. I saw a hand with long, webbed fingers break the surface, moving slowly purposefully like the legs of a spider the fingers reached out and grabbed the edge of a rock. It pulled itself up out of the water and sat there toad-like. Its gilled head swiveled incredibly quickly; staring directly at me, it’s round eyes bulging out. I shouldered my Enfield to put a quick end this new monstrosity, when I felt the professor’s hand upon my shoulder; “Not yet,” he said. More slimy frog creatures crawled out of the dark waters to sit, wet shiny and leering atop their rocks.

I have always considered myself a brave man. I have stood in the face of enemy fire, fought bayonet to bayonet on many fronts. On this day, I faced a fear, like none I had ever known. For as we neared the central mound, I saw one of the creatures emerge from a deep pit on the central island. It was larger than the rest; a set of tremendous wings sprouted from its back, it had long, horn-like knobby growths upon his elongated head and limbs. An immense aura of evil radiated from it, like heat from a furnace.

The Professor addressed this grotesque, “The Vicar Rudolph?”

“Yes, yes, yes... he became tiresome in the end screaming for the God he had abandoned, abandoned, abandoned..." it replied. It was then I noticed a curled up skeleton near the central altar, wearing the robes of the clergy.

“Anna?” The Professor asked.

“She was strong one, worthy of becoming queen of the dead, dead, dead... You should have been here Professor! To watch my little ones eat their way out of her engorged belly, belly, belly. . . Such delightful squeals of agony, agony, agony. . .

“But why do ask so many questions, to which you already know the answers, answers, answers. . . When there are so many more profound questions for which you have sought answers all your life, life, life. . .”

“I have not come to learn vermin! But to exterminate, I have come as the right hand of God and to fulfill his wrath.” The cavern was filled with a wailing, shrill screech of voices crying out in pain, in hatred, and in rage. I fell to ground covering my ears, the rifle falling beside me. From that undignified position, I saw the creatures drawing closer; we were nearly surrounded by them.

“What know you of God's wrath little man of flesh, flesh, flesh...Think, on it, even if you could destroy me what wisdom would pass out of the world forever, forever, forever...” I watched from my knees as a battle of wills played out between them.

The Professor began to falter. I arose, quickly grabbing my rifle on the way up. He seemed to take strength in this. I saw his arm suddenly shoot out; something flashed through the air. The handle of a throwing knife was jiggling between creature’s eyes. I put another shot in its' heart as it staggered, it fell convulsing violently on the ground.

We were swarmed from all sides, the creatures where capable of prodigious leaps and incredibly fast. I fired off round after round trying to take down as many of them as I could before they got to us. The professor was still trying to unshoulder his rifle when I saw one of the creatures flying through the air directly at him. I caught it square in the jaw with the butt of the rifle, the force of the blow flipping it in the air and snapping its neck.

One caught me in the back of the legs knocking me down, but by this time the Professor had his rifle out and put a cartridge point blank into its head, its blood and brains splattering us both. I got up and was hit again, the long claws of a creature ripping through my backpack. I turned just in time to fend the next swipe and smash the creatures nose into its brain with the butt of my rifle.

“We must make it back across to the stairs; we can't hold them here!” I screamed. It was then I noticed the creatures hung back from Professor, circling and wary. But they came right after me, which was jolly fine by me, because by this time my fighting blood was up. We had a hell of a time getting back across the causeway to the stairs. They followed us relentlessly, our rifles taking a terrible toll on them.

Every so often, one of those buggers would come flying up out of the water or drop from the ceiling near us. Once inside the stairwell we could easily pick them off as they came.

They soon gave up on a direct frontal assault. We checked ourselves for wounds; we had some nasty deep cuts and bruises but nothing serious. The professor went ahead while I walked backwards behind him. They made a couple of half-hearted sorties up the stairs then gave that up.

I'll never forget the light of vengeance blazing in the eyes of the last one standing at the bottom of the stairs, as it turned and hopped out. I stood guard as the Professor scrambled up the rope. I had a bloody hard time trying to climb up the rope; I only got about halfway then had to lower myself back down. The Professor called out “Just hold on. I have an idea.” He rigged up the rope pulling it through one of the iron loops on the wall and twisted it around the torch holders as he took up the slack hauling me up like a sack of potatoes.

Colonel Fullers Journal
October 6, 1864

You just can't imagine my relief when I stood beneath the open sky, breathed the fresh air and saw the sun once again. The Professor said, “Our work is not done you know, we must exterminate them, burn their bodies and block off all the entrances to the pits.”

“Very well Professor, I shall go into town and hire some men,” I said.

“No, my friend, we must do this ourselves,” he said.

“But Professor here is vindication for all your life's work,” I said.

“I know colonel, but do you really want to drag the world into that pit, let them walk in sunshine while they still may.”

© 2007 Wayne Peake
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"There exists an agent, which is natural and divine, material and spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a common receptical of the fluid vibrations of motion and the images of forms, a fluid, and a force, which can be called the Imagination of Nature..."
Elphias Levi
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