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[personal profile] tikific
Title: The Shadow Under and Slightly to the Left of Innsmouth
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale
Author: tikific
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Pairings: Cecil/Carlos
Warnings: Cursing.
Word Count: 9600
Summary: Cecil and Carlos vacation in a charming New England village. Is it their fault it turns out to be full of tentacle-bearing Elder Gods?
Notes: Notes at the end.





“…when asked to comment, the mayor simply muttered, “Comment-comment-comment-comment,” over and over and over in a piercing, high-pitched voice for a period of no less than 15 hours. Several members of the press were hospitalized, and the Night Vale Daily Journal reporter resigned her post in order to pursue a life of crime.

“The Night Vale Elementary School has announced it is seeking sponsors for a new fund raising event for their annual class trip, the previous fund raising event having been canceled when the virus escaped from the lab. Citizens still suffering from mutations are urged to run screaming through the night, where even the darkness is no cover for your new and horrifying facial features.

“In other news: listeners, I’m going to be broadcasting from the road next week. We’ll be recording my shows on tape and then sending them here to you via Night Vale Community Radio's extensive stable of homing pigeons, so Intern Algernon may play them for you. I’m so excited, I have to confess: Carlos and I are going on vacation. Together! He and I. I and he! Both going to the same place at the same time. It’s almost too romantic. We’ve found a charming little B&B in New England, located in the historic town of Dunwich.”



“Waiting for the bus in the rain, in the rain, waiting for the bus in the rain....”

“You really like that song, don’t you?” Carlos smiled good-naturedly at Cecil, who had been enthusiastically (if a bit tunelessly) singing along as they drove. Although it was early fall, as evidenced by the roadside vegetation dappled in fine shades of red ochre and vermillion, the weather was fine today, so Carlos had put his hybrid sports coupe's top down and donned a pair of stylish aviator-style sunglasses. His wind-blown hair was perfect. By contrast, the melanin-poor Cecil, who was a bit more sun-sensitive, today accented his cream-colored linen suit with a Panama hat that had been specially crafted of toquilla palm, carludovica palmata, and jipijapa palm by weavers in New Hispaniola.

Carlos turned down the volume on the music just a scoche as they passed through the stone gates of Miskatonic University, pulling up outside one of the old, ivy-covered buildings. Cecil, who had been eagerly snapping photographs of the scenery all day with an antique Brownie camera, paused to take a quick shot of a grinning Carlos as he emerged from his car. After checking on the gaggle of cooing homing pigeons that were situated inside a crate the back, they began to walk together, up the deserted pathway towards the ancient building now looming over them.

“So this is your alma mater?” asked Cecil.

“Actually, I was across the river at their sister, school, the Miskatonic Institute of Technology.” Carlos chuckled warmly with the memories. “We used to have such fun! We would come over here to hack the Misk U people!”

Cecil's unearthly pale face lit up under his broad-brimmed hat. “Oooo! With axes?”

“Er, no. I meant we would play harmless pranks on them.”

“What kind of pranks?”

“Well, for one, we would take all the furniture out of someone's office, and reassemble it all up on the roof!”

Cecil stared at Carlos for a long moment. “Oh,” he said. “Yes. That sounds … harmless.”

“Anyway,” said Carlos as they crossed the hallowed threshold into the cool, dark interior. Cecil paused to take photographs of the suits of armor that flanked the doorway. “I thought we could stop by and see an old friend and colleague here. He's a sort of a local history buff. He'll probably have some ideas about interesting sites to visit around Dunwich.” They started up a broad staircase. “Oh, there he is!” said Carlos, hailing a stern-appearing elderly man in a waistcoat who stood at the bannister, consulting a pocket watch on a slender golden chain. “Dr. Armitage!”

Armitage nodded, extending a hand. “Greetings, Dr.-”

“Oh, just Carlos is fine,” said Carlos, shaking his hand. “And this is Cecil,” he added, pointing to the same, who was photographing the ghastly medieval torture device that was displayed on the landing.

Armitage paused, subjecting Cecil to a most intense scrutiny. “Is he … a research subject?” he whispered to Carlos. “Some kind of inbred mutant?”

“No, no, this is my boyfriend!” said Carlos brightly, putting an affectionate arm around Cecil's shoulders.

Armitage's aged brow furrowed. “I'm sorry?”

“We're touring the area to celebrate our six month anniversary,” Cecil added.

“That's … passing unnatural,” muttered Armitage.

“Well, I know, people usually wait for a full year to start counting anniversaries, but we're sentimental about these kinds of things,” said Cecil, batting his roseate eyes at a besotted Carlos.

The doctor continued scowling, but, harrumphing something about a contemporary lack of moral sense, beckoned them into an office marked simply, H. Armitage. Arcane weaponry was hung on the walls all around his doorway.

“So, you were one of Carlos's professors?” asked Cecil, snapping photos of a morning star that was displayed there.

“Yes. I am Adjunct Professor of Arcane Wisdom and Forbidden Knowledge. As well as the chief librarian.” Armitage thereupon slipped into the dark recesses of his office.

“Cecil!” hissed Carlos, wrapping himself around the radio host. Cecil had rashly seized a hatchet that had been mounted on the wall and was presumably preparing the brain Armitage with it. “He's not that kind of librarian,” Carlos whispered.

Cecil's eyes narrowed to salmon-tinted slits of suspicion. “What other kind of librarian is there?”

Carlos wrested the medieval weapon from Cecil's grasp and nodded towards the office. Cecil snapped a quick photo of him holding the axe, as it looked quite sexy, and then, moving with due caution based on many years of interaction with the librarians of Night Vale, stepped inside.

“You are firmly resolved to venture into Dunnuch then, Carlos?” inquired Armitage, who had seated himself behind a cluttered mahogany desk. The office was dim, lit only by a single, miserly low-wattage incandescent bulb that looked like it may have emerged from Edison's factory. But it was a veritable curiosity shop, shelves bedecked with oddments from every continent, including such marvels as a shrunken head and bottle containing the fetus of a two-headed baby.

"Dunnuch? We're going to Dunwich!" said Cecil.

"'Tis Dunnuch," Armitage insisted.

"You leave off he W," Carlos told Cecil.

"Why would you do that? W is a perfectly good letter."

Sighing, Carlos took a seat across from the professor. “Dr. Armitage, I thought perhaps you could give us a rundown on the local landmarks. I didn't have much of a chance to get up to that country while I was a student.”

“You'll take my advice, young man, you'd best be on your way, and leave that cursed place, and take your, er, friend along with you.” He nodded to Cecil, who was still wandering around his office, snapping photos. Armitage nevertheless pulled out an ancient roll of paper, which he spread out on the desk to reveal a map of the area.

“We're looking for something a bit unusual,” Carlos told him. "As well as scientifically interesting!"

“What you'll find is something unnatural.” The elderly librarian pointed a nicotine-stained finger on the map. “Now, that's Devil's Hop Yard.”

“What's there?”

“'Tis a mystery what curse haunts that unlucky hillside. Nothing will grow there, not tree nor bush nor even grass.”

“Oh, like my back garden,” sighed Cecil, who was hefting a tiki idol. "Have they tried vicuña manure?"

“What's Sentinel Hill?” asked Carlos, pointing it out on the map.

“You boys wouldn't want to venture there. There have been strange noises heard by all passersby. A terrible drumming and such cacophonies as the howls of condemned souls! Or so the townsfolk all say.”

“This marking, here. What does it mean?”

“A circle of ancient stone monuments lies there.”

“Oh, a stone circle. Cecil, would you be interested in seeing standing stones?”

“A henge or two would be good.” Cecil was holding his camera trying to find the correct angle to photograph a bust depicting Edgar Allen Poe wearing a fez.

Carlos turned back to Armitage. “You said it's ancient. Is it Native American in origin?”

“Some attribute it to the red savages. I firmly maintain they were not capable of such marvels. I think there was a more ancient and probably more malevolent origin to the standing stones.”

“Sounds like a lovely Sunday drive!” said Carlos.

“And what is your intent towards accommodations when you’re in Dunwich?” asked Armitage.

“We’re going to stay at a B&B operated by the Whateley family.” Cecil came to sit on the armrest of Carlos’s chair. Carlos twined his arm around Cecil’s waist.

“The Whateleys!” Armitage stormed. “There’s been nothing but agitation from that family of degenerates.”

“Oh. You know them, then?”

“They say the grandfather, Old Whateley, practices a dark magic.”

“Well, everyone needs a hobby,” said Cecil.

“And his grandson, Lavinia’s dark bastard, Wilbur, has been by here. He was intent on surveying some of our arcane lore. He sought my permission to check out our copy of the Necronomicom, as his own volume was half rotted away.”

Carlos looked puzzled. “Did you let him?”

“Of course not!”

“So, that’s your job as a librarian?” Cecil piped up. “Not letting people check out books?”

“Hmpf.”

Cecil arched a suspicious eyebrow towards Armitage. “Say, do you have any autobiographies of Helen Hunt in your library?”

Armitage sat up straight, puffing his chest. “I should say not.”

Cecil side-eyed Carlos with an I told you so expression.



“Listeners, I'm coming to you live from the commons at the Miskatonic Institute of Technology, here in historic Arkham. This is Carlos's alma mater, and he surprised me with this lovely hoodie in his school's colors, infrared and ultraviolet! Go, Fighting Empiricists! [Somewhat non-sober cheers are heard in the background.]

“In other news, who among us has not at one time or another thought, who am I, and what is my place in the universe? This has happened a lot more frequently in the wake of government thought disruption waves. Simply put your feet up and knit that sweater until these feelings go away. If you do not have any yarn nor knitting needles, or if you do not have a pattern for a cable knit sweater, you may need to sign up for crafts re-education camp. Just sit there quietly until our trained agents are able to locate you and extract you from your environment.

“[Noisy background singing.] Listeners, it seems like Carlos and his friends, who are also scientists, and whom I must note have all had a good deal of alcohol tonight, are singing a round of their college song. Let's listen.”


Hi-diddle-dee-dee
A science life for me!
Bacteria on agar media
A beaker bubbling with exothermia
Scanning electron scopes vesicles
And Large Hadron accelerates particles

Hi-diddle-dee-dutt
A science life kicks butt
Darwin evolution unfurled
And Oppenheimer destroying worlds
Kekule having a snake-y dream
Galileo the church did not esteem
Hi-diddle-dee-dee
A science life for me!

Hi-diddle-dee-deet
A science life is sweet
LaPlace didn't need no hypothesis
And stellar nucleosynthesis
Einstein wouldn't play dice with god
'Til Niels Bohr told him he's a clod
Hi-diddle-dee-dee
A science life for me!

GO FIGHTING EMPIRICISTS!

“Hey, fellows! Let's go hack Misk U!”

“Ooo, should we bring axes?” asked Cecil hopefully.

“No, Cecil. It's not that kind of hacking.”



Carlos and Cecil were on the road once again, traveling in an easterly direction along the Miskatonic River towards Dunwich.

“Carlos?” asked Cecil, peering out from under his new MiskTech hoodie.

“Yes?”

“You scientist guys really say things like, 'Hi-diddle-dee-dee?'”

Carlos blushed slightly. “Well … yes, Cecil.”

“You are, like, such a big geek.”

They smiled at each other.

Cecil propped his sandal-clad feet up on the dashboard, wiggling his toes in the wind. “You think Dr. Armitage will appreciate his furnishings more now that they're all up on the roof?”

Carlos chuckled. “The fresh air will do him good. Sooo, what did you think of my old mentor?”

Cecil snorted. “Dr. Dunnuch? He's a little bit racist,” grumped Cecil. “'Red savages?' Was he kidding? What a jerk.”

“Well….”

“And 'Lavinia’s dark bastard?'”

Carlos tutted. “I suppose he's old fashioned.”

“Yes. An old fashioned racist.”

“Now, Cecil. He was always more than fair with me, even though I attended MiskTech as a scholarship student. Not everyone was so cordial: there’s a lot of old money around here. A lot of snobbery.”

“So he's a benevolent, old-fashioned racist. And that library! I bet they don’t have any Sean Penn biographies, either!”

“You took a lot of photographs.”

“Wellll,” Cecil admitted. “The collection of historical mustaches was vaguely interesting.”

“There you go. Did you have the directions he gave?” Carlos poked at an instrument with a digital readout on his dashboard. “The GPS doesn't seem to be working.”

“Oh? Is it defective?”

“Either that, or the bizarre radiation signatures that have been emitting from these environs are interfering. Probably why our cell phones aren't getting reception." Carlos waved his hand dismissively. “Anyway, I wouldn't be concerned. You know, science.”

Cecil had pulled out a well-folded sheaf of paper from a yellow legal pad. “He gave us really odd directions, Carlos. They were difficult to follow.”

“Dr. Armitage knows this area very well, Cecil. Better than anyone!”

“Well. Hrm. It says you go through an area where the trees seem too large. Too large? Is he on cranny?”

Carlos started to chuckle.

“What?”

“I think you mean crack, dear. Is he on crack?”

“That too. And he says they're too close.”

“Who's too close?”

Cecil utilized his radio voice to its fullest extent to read dramatically from the paper. “'The stone walls seem to press too close to the side of the road, and a feeling of oppression and loathsomeness fills your sensibility.' Well, I see where he's got the oppression from. His hoity-toity New England ancestors were probably out massacring some Native Americans.”

“Cecil! Look up ahead.”

Cecil actually stood up in his seat, gripping the windshield in his hands. They were heading towards an area where the vegetation got somehow thicker and wilder. The shoulder disappeared as the stonework fences abutted the edge of the roadway.

“Eureka! The trees are bigger here.”

Cecil snorted and dropped back down into his seat. “They're bigger. They're not too big. They're … perfectly tree-sized!”

“What's the next direction?”

Cecil rolled his eyes and consulted his notes. “Something about taking the wrong turn?”

“Oh, I know what he meant. Look up there.”

Cecil didn't even need to stand up this time. The road bifurcated up ahead. One fork, marked Aylesbury, led to a straight, open, well-lit highway. The other descended into the shadow of dense forest, across a dodgy-looking wooden bridge. This latter route was unmarked, as the road sign had rotted away, leaving only a the faded remnants of its broken face.

“I'd say it's pretty obvious which way is the wrong way!” said Carlos.

“Well, I don't care, I want to go over the bridge.”

Carlos smiled. “Why is that?”

“The other way looks boring! Who paints a line so straight in the middle? It's unnatural.”

“All right. The navigator has called for an extreme right turn. Hold on!”

While Cecil braced himself, Carlos, with a great squealing of tires, piloted his hybrid sports coupe into an acute turn, heading off into Dunwich.



It was not long before Cecil and Carlos found themselves to be completely and utterly lost. At Cecil's suggestion, they had slowed down to question an old farmer who was standing by the side of the road, chewing on a length of grass.

“Oh, ay, the Whateley place. It's aught daown th' rud apiece. Nearer 'n ye expeckt, but naow kep a-goin' jest past th' grave yaord.”

“Um, thank you,” said Cecil, who despite a passing knowledge of Modified Sumerian, hadn't caught a word of it.

“The Wateleys, they's stuffs as is unnatural abaout 'n I kin tell ye.”

“Er, yes?” Cecil prompted.

“I calc'late Lavinny's black brat been abroad the last night. Chancey done tell me, and he be half scairt a sumthin' that ben thar. They's raound kinder marks on the yaord, bigger raound than a hogshead.”

“Well, that's very informative,” said Cecil, a grin frozen on his face while he signaled Carlos to step on the accelerator. “You have a pleasant day now.”

“And marke ye, don't gao near the secaond flur!” shouted the farmer as Carlos stepped on the acclerator.

“Well, I hate to say I told you so,” said Carlos, who really really didn't hate it at all.

“What had he been smoking, and where can we score some?” asked Cecil, who had turned back to snap a photo.

“The regional accent is a bit thick.”

“A bit.”



“In my day...” Old Whateley raved.

“Does he have any other name than, Old Whateley?” Cecil whispered to Carlos as he took another picture.

“Not that I can determine,” Carlos muttered out of the side of his mouth while keeping a smile frozen on his face.

“Neat!” said Cecil.

After several more missed turns they had at last located the Whateley estate. The main building was actually pretty damned impressive: for whatever reason, the newly constructed second floor appeared larger than the first. “I wonder if it's also bigger on the inside?” Cecil had enthused when first they arrived.

“In my day,” continued Old Whateley, “if you wanted tentacle pornography, you’d have to arrange the photoshoot yourself! Now, hentai is available out there on the internets to anyone who can tap a button.”

“Is that so?” asked Carlos.

“And another thing-“

“Daddy,” piped up a middle aged woman who looked a bit like a faded flower child, with long flowing pasty white hair and skin so pale as to be nearly translucent. Her salmon-colored eyes seemed somehow too wide, or perhaps too far apart, as her eyes always seemed to be pointing in different directions.

“What is it, Lavinny?”

“Our guests must be tired. I sense it from their auras! Maybe I should show them to their room, so they can wash up before dinner and re-energize?”

Old Whateley didn’t reply, but merely muttered something about bukake and wandered off. Lavinia gestured, and Carlos and Cecil followed her down a garden path. “You’ll have to forgive my father. He used to produce exploitation films in the 60s, and felt he never got the recognition he deserves. Critics are such squares.”

“What films has he done?” asked Cecil.

“Did you see Flesh-Eating Zombies of Venus? Or I Was a Teenage Cockroach?”

“Um, no,” said Cecil.

The Creeping Purple Terror? Psycho-Bats?”

“We will add them to the Netflix queue,” said Carlos.

“Well, here is your room,” said Lavinia, leading them to a new-looking building. “You both have very mauve auras, so I've decorated the room to be harmonious with them.” She flung open the door to reveal a room looked like it had been vomited upon by the Creeping Purple Terror. There were more shades of heliotrope and periwinkle and amarinthine than Carlos had ever seen, or hoped to see again.

Carlos opened his mouth. “Uh-”

“It's perfect!” said Cecil, who had immediately dropped his bag and started bouncing on the large four poster bed, which was unsurprisingly covered by a pomegranate-colored spread.

Carlos shut his mouth. And nodded. He looked around, searching for something to say. “Um. This looks like new construction.”

“Yes, it's brand new,” Lavinia confessed. “We designed it to have feng shui in perfect alignment with the astral plane.”

“So, you had it built?”

Lavinia's eyes suddenly pointed hither and yon, every way but at Carlos. “We- Uh, we built it ourselves. Now! You can have the run of the estate, go ahead and go anywhere you like, but in the main house, stay away from the second floor. Don't go near the second floor!”

“Uh, what's on the second floor?” asked Carlos.

The salmon eyes had narrowed to slits. “Only death and nebulous unease await you there.” Then Lavinia brightened and pointed to a cluster of geodes on an end table. “Oh, and I've left you some amethysts. So you can benefit from the crystal healing energy. Dinner will be in an hour and a half, back at the main building.”

And with that, Lavinia wafted away, leaving only the faint whiff of nutmeg.

“Crystal healing energy,” snorted Cecil, hefting the stones.

“Well, it's a misunderstanding of the piezoelectric effect....”

“Everyone knows crystals are nothing beside pyramid power!” Cecil tossed the crystals back on the nightstand.

“Er. Do you really like the décor Cecil?”

“I like the bed. The really big bed.” Cecil wagged an eyebrow and patted the space on the bed beside him.

Carlos grinned and dropped his suitcase amidst innumerable synonyms for purple.




“Moooooom!”

The youth batted away his mother's hand as she attempted to place more slices of tofurkey on his plate. Wilbur Whateley was a morose boy of perhaps seventeen. He appeared to have emerged from the opposite end of the genetic pool as his pale mother, as he was ruddy-skinned, and already as thick-necked as she was wispy. His hair was dyed a deep black, as were his much-chewed fingernails.

“You need to eat, sweetie. Your chakras appear diminished.”

Wilbur popped a small headphone (black, of course) from one ear. “Vegan food isn't metal. Bacon is metal!”

“But bacon is contributing to the political oppression of the factory gnomes who slice out the strips!” Lavinia reasonably pointed out.

“In my day,” raved Old Whateley, “children were more respectful of politically motivated dietary restrictions. When we boycotted sauerkraut, by gum, they boycotted sauerkraut!”

“I apologize for butting in,” said Carlos, who was happily pouring beet gravy over his mock tunafish casserole, “but it's been scientifically proven that a vegetarian lifestyle enhances health and longevity!”

“Live fast and die young,” sulked Wilbur. “And worship Satan!”

“Satan's kind of a jerk,” said Cecil.

Wilbur turned a surly adolescent face towards Cecil. “What?”

“I mean, all those pentagrams and goat heads? Pfft. It's difficult for me, as a reporter, to take the guy seriously. If he were really evil, he'd eat the last Oreo cookie and leave the package sitting on the counter.”

“But then when you ate the last cookie, he'd make you bite your cheek,” added Carlos. “And you'd get a piece of cookie stuck between your molars.”

“And then when you went to get a piece of dental floss, it turned into a spitting viper!” said Cecil.

Carlos grinned. “And then you would be taken to the emergency room with a viper bite to the cheek, and they would amputate your head.”

“And then you would grow a new head, but it only speaks Russian.”

Wilbur looked back and forth between the two guests at the dinner table. “Whoa. Where did this come from?”

“Oh, it happened last week back home,” Carlos told him. “Night Vale residence is sometimes incompatible with good dental hygiene.” He thoughtfully gritted his perfect teeth.

“But I doubt Satan was responsible,” Cecil noted. “He's a jerk.”

Lavinia at length chided a still pouting Wilbur to clear the dishes. “I can help with that!” Carlos announced. Cecil had mouthed, “You're perfect,” to him, and he and the sullen teen had disappeared into the kitchen. Lavinia, Old Whateley and Cecil then moved to the sitting room, where they settled into comfortable easy chairs, smoking aromatic cigars and sipping Armagnac.

“I'm worried about the boy,” Lavinia confessed, puffing thoughtfully on her cuban. “All that talk about Satan.”

“No respect for the Old Ones, great be their name!” babbled Old Whateley.

“The Old Ones?” asked Cecil.

“Oh, yes,” said Lavinia. “They were sent here from space, ten billion years ago, to sleep underneath the sea, constantly plotting the subjugation of humankind to their nefarious ends.”

“Praise be!” muttered Old Whateley.

“Space gods? Oh, so you're Scientologists?”

“Hell no,” spat Old Whateley. “Those guys are nutty as balls.”

“Um,” said Cecil, searching for a neutral topic. “You have a very nice place here. Are we the only guests?”

Lavinia suddenly seized a handkerchief and blew her nose. “Now, Lavinny,” said Old Whateley.

“Yes,” she sobbed. “We were trying to make a go of it here, with a boarding house, our raw honey business, and an occasional direct-to-video exploitation film, but I fear we are not going to be able to make a go of it.”

“Now, now, girl.”

“It’s those meddling professors. The Miskatonic crowd.”

“Armitage?” asked Cecil.

“Yes, Armitage! Him and Rice and Morgan. They wouldn’t even let our little Wilbur check out the book he needed for his Arcane Studies homework. And now they’re discouraging tourism.”

“Lavinny, don't get agitated! You know what happens-”

As if in answer to Old Whateley's chastisement, there was a sudden thumping up above from the second floor, somewhat reminiscent of a herd of adolescent rhinos taking tap dancing lessons.

“We need to go,” said Old Whateley. “Now.”

Lavinia nodded, and, moving faster than Cecil would have reckoned was possible for the old man, the Whateleys hastened away, with only a quick, “Remember, stay ye away from the second floor!” from Old Whateley.

Cecil puffed on his cigar, listening the to hubbub upstairs begin to fade to the level of penguins with jackhammers. Carlos appeared in the doorway, wiping his hands on a pomegranate colored towel. He was dressed in a fuchsia apron that said HAIL YS. “What was that?” he asked. “Wilbur suddenly bolted upstairs.”

Cecil patted his leg, and, with a big grin, Carlos came over and made himself comfortable, snuggled in Cecil's lap. “Did you notice that the upper floor appears to be new construction as well?” asked Carlos. Observation was part of being a scientist.

“That's true,” said Cecil, happily puffing on his cigar.

“But who do you suppose built it for them? I doubt the teenager has the motivation, and Old Whateley doesn't appear to get around that well.”

“He was certainly moving fast when I last saw him.”

“And,” Carlos continued, jabbing a finger up towards the ceiling, “what's the deal with the forbidden second floor?”

“Simple. Either a family of sledgehammer mice has made a nest, or some kind of arcane knowledge that will likely drive us up to the brink of insanity, running a few red lights along the way?”

“And,” added Carlos, grabbing away Cecil's smoke, and running it under his nose, “what the hell did they put in this cigar?”

“Whatever it is, it's only mildly hallucinogenic.”

Carlos flicked some ashes away, and then took a considered puff. “What did you want to do tomorrow? Did you want to check out some of the sites Dr. Armitage suggested? A number of those may be highly scientifically interesting.”

Cecil shifted in the chair and pulled out a copy of the Arkham Advertiser that had been stuck in the cushion. “I have something scientifically interesting: wine country!”

“Dunwich has a wine country?” Carlos arched a methodological eyebrow as he leafed through the paper to the indicated article.

“We should experience the fruits of Dunwich's terroir! This place evidently has a unique microclimate. It's all so very scientific.”

“Cecil. This is an advertising section, not a news article, and the headline states, 'Brandy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.' Brandy a kind of liquor.”

“A kind of liquor.”

“And wouldn't you expect a viticulturist to know this?”

“Not everybody can be an expert like you!”



“Listeners, Carlos and I are broadcasting from Dunwich's famous Sentinel Hill today. We’re inside a ring of mysterious ancient standing stones, and we've brought a picnic lunch, and several bottles of the local inebriant. Several bottles. Miskatonic has a wine country! Although oddly enough, they don't actually have vineyards, just corn and barley. It's so terribly charming and historical. Carlos was particularly charmed, to the point that I insisted he hand over the keys to his hybrid sports coupe.

[Carlos shouting in the background: “Cecil! The radiation signatures here are off the charts! And your beauty is akin to a waxing gibbous moon!”]

“Yes, dear, that's nice. Here's an item from back home: Big Rico's Pizza, the only pizza in Night Vale, is sponsoring the elementary's school's car wash benefit to find the school trip this year. They urge you, most emphatically, to get your vehicle washed by the kiddies, and maybe you won't have an unfortunate accident in the near future. If you don't own an automobile, feel free to swing by and bring small appliances, pets, or relatives of whom you are not terribly fond to the wash. Big Rico's, where cement shoes are always on the house.”

[Carlos singing in the background: “Hi-diddle-dee-dee, a science life for me! Freud explored the unconsciousness, and Leibniz developed the calculus...”]

“I had no idea, but evidently the Miskatonic Institute of Technology's fight song actually has 999 verses, all of which I have enjoyed in these past few hours. Go Fighting Empiricists!”

[Carlos shouting in the background: “Go Fighting Empirici-ci-ci-cissss!”]

“In other news, the mist. This mist. Everywhere. Permeating. Glowing in the extreme beat of a heart, like terrible news, or a fresh paper cut. A throat tightening. The song of the whipporwills, bearing a soul to damnation. Tenebrous. Allstate: you're in good hands.”

[Carlos suddenly right next to the microphone: “Cecil, my one! My only!”]

“Well, listeners, my favorite scientist is getting a bit – Oh! – frisky here so I'd better sign off for now. I hope Intern Crispin will faithfully run these tapes, after Intern Algernon’s unfortunate encounter with those feral hamsters. Good night.”



Cecil sighed and stretched back on the stone table, pulling Carlos's lab coat tightly around him. Carlos hopped up, still naked, to lie beside him, wrapping his arms tenderly around Cecil. “Good we thought to bring a picnic blanket!” Cecil remarked, regarding the checkered blanket spread out on the smooth rock surface.

“Mmm. Good,” Carlos muttered into the back of Cecil's neck. They lay tangled together for a time, watching the stars and the great void overhead.

“Feeling better, dear?” Cecil asked at length.

Carlos raised himself up on one elbow. “My head is clearing. What in the world have I been drinking?”

“Oh, just a little moonshine.”

“The taste is rather compelling. I hope I wasn't acting too out of sorts."

"Don't worry. I got plenty of pictures."

"You didn't!"

Cecil grinned and held up his Brownie camera, snapping a quick flash picture of Carlos.

Blinking rapidly, Carlos rolled away. "Great, now I'm blind."

Cecil held up the camera. "Moonshine will do that. We need to stop somewhere and buy more film."

“Who buys film nowadays?” Carlos laid back, rubbing his eyes. "Actually, I think I'm still feeling the after-effects of the liquor. It seems like I see Lavinia's face, hovering right above us.”

“Oh,” said Cecil, turning his head. “That's not-”

“Hello there, boys.”

“LAVINIA!” they chorused.

Cecil shot up to a seated position, pulling the lab coat tightly around him, whilst Carlos leapt up and dove for his pants.

“Are you enjoying your tour?” asked an almost certainly real Lavinia Whateley, dressed today all in a bright orange floral-print muumuu, her pink-ish eyes pointing up and down and all around. In contrast to Cecil and Carlos, she did not appear the least bit flustered by the fact of happening upon two quite naked men in what was rather apparent post-connubial bliss.

“Um. Yes,” said Cecil, pulling the picnic blanket into his lap as Carlos hopped around nearby, successively trying and failing to get a second leg into his jeans.

“This is a very historic location,” said Lavinia.

“Er, yes. The standing stones.” Cecil bit his lip as, with a small whoop, Carlos fell down flat on his face, still bare bottom pointed up in the air.

“They say these megaliths were erected in tribute to the Old Ones.” Completely ignoring Carlos, Lavinia hopped up to sit next to Cecil.

“You believe that?” asked Cecil. “Prof. Armitage told us-”

“Armitage!” raved Lavinia. “That old racist!”

Carlos had finally managed to get himself into his jeans. Cecil mouthed to him, I told you so, and Carlos scowled.

There was a snapping and crackling from further down the hill, like very heavy footsteps. Cecil and Carlos turned towards the sound. “What was that?” asked Carlos.

“Oh, nothing,” said Lavinia. “Just the wind.” She began to whistle tunelessly.

The crashing sound came again. “No, I definitely think there's something out there,” said Carlos. Scientists were trained to make observations like that.

Lavinia had hopped down from the stone table. “Nonsense, it's nothing at all! Definitely. Just the wind in the trees. It's definitely not something large and mysterious making its way through the woods.”

The ground trembled. “It sounds like something huge,” said Carlos.

Lavinia, who was now, at last, definitely looking flustered, had begun backing away. “Oh, will you look at the time? Gotta run....” And then she was gone, through the circle of stones and off into the woods, leaving only a blue afterimage flashing in everybody’s retinas.

Snatching Cecil’s camera, Carlos ran after her.

“Carlos! No!” called Cecil, who forgot two important things: first, that he was still naked but for a pair of sock garters and Carlos’s lab coat, and second, and perhaps more importantly, that he was wrapped up in the blanket. At any rate, he didn’t make it more than two steps before he came crashing down on his face, cursing. Voicing some choice phrases in Modified Sumerian, he managed to right himself just as Carlos emerged from the woods.

“It was moving too fast,” Carlos said. “But I managed to take a couple of photographs.”

“We need to speak about this whole ‘Carlos runs towards danger’ thing,” groused Cecil, tossing aside the blanket, and pulling on a pair of silk boxer shorts. “It’s bad for my nervous system!”

“I think you should see something, Cecil.”

“Can I get my pants on first? I don't want to meet the unknown looking disheveled.”

Carlos chuckled and watched Cecil reassemble himself into his suit. “I'm not certain a white suit is a good idea for a trek through the woods.”

Cecil buttoned up his vest. He had forgone his suit jacket, as they were picnicking today. “This isn't white! I've told you, it's eggshell. I wouldn't wear white after Labor Day – it's tacky.” But Carlos was tugging on his arm, so he slipped into his spectators and let his friend lead him down a trail through thick woods towards the bottom of Sentinel Hill.

Carlos, who was still barefooted, had pushed ahead, and now squatted down next to something on the ground. “Do you see this?”

Cecil, who had been distractedly brushing some twigs out of his hair, looked over and decided Carlos looked rather good wearing nothing but jeans. “See what?”

Carlos grabbed him by the arm and pulled him down, pointing at the ground.

Cecil did a small double-take. There was a large, roughly circular depression in the ground, about the size of one of Big Rico's meat lover's specials. With the caveat that this hypothetical pizza had a number of claws sticking out of the crust (an actually not uncommon occurrence if you asked for the “stuffed crust” and did not further specify). “Is that a footprint?” he asked. Carlos nodded. He stood up and took a gander around, looking in vain for the pizza-flavored elephant that had made the track. Or perhaps someone wanted elephant-flavored pizza?

“Something very big was moving around here.”

“I didn't think elephants came this far south,” said Cecil.

“I'm not a zoologist, but I don't think so either,” said Carlos. He took a photo with Cecil's Brownie camera. “We definitely need to get these photos developed.”



“Listeners, I have bad news. Terrible news! As it turns out, the funds for the Night Vale elementary class trip have disappeared, along with Big Rico's spouse and a number of the vehicles and unwanted relatives involved in the car wash. When contacted by this station, Big Rico could only howl in terror as a band of distraught parents surrounded his house, armed with with torches, pitchforks, and arc welders, demanding his head on a pizza plate. A spokesperson for the Sheriff's secret police, which is treating the matter with due consideration, stated that concerned citizens should leave a memento of a lost love tied to their front porch with sprigs of mistletoe.

“As I am still on vacation, this broadcast coming to you today from a lovely pub owned by the Frye family, where they are having a sort of town meeting today. It's charming, and so reminiscent of our many similar town meetings in Night Vale. Let's listen in, and then hopefully Intern Llewellyn will share the tape with you, that is after poor intern Crispin's unfortunate encounter with the Big Rico's Meat Lover's special. This is a reminder, listeners, if you order the stuffed crust, remember to specify the non-carnivorous style.

“Hello, there, concerned citizen! And you are?”

“I be Elmer Frye, owner t'pub.”

“Oh, how lovely, er, Elmer. Would you like to tell our listeners about the present situation as you see it?”

“There be naought bot strange tracks what led tew a haouse what I heerd laoud sounds, like to a kinder rippin' or tearin' o' wood...”



“You've brought your colleagues today?” said Cecil, hoping Armitage's fellow professors were at least a tiny bit less racist than he. Or, failing that, could communicate in standard English, as he hadn't gotten a single intelligible interview in the past half hour.

The three men from Miskatonic had burst in midway through the Dunwich community meeting, giving grave if vague warnings about something or other that might or might not be happening.

“This is Prof. Rice and Dr. Morgan,” Armitage grumbled into the microphone. Morgan looked young and surly, and Rice, old and stuffy.

“I'm a professor of linguistics,” Rice informed Cecil.

“Oh, Oo-kush-ta me-ool-lee-a ba-ab-tum-mu-de-en!”

“What?”

Cecil frowned in confusion. “You don't speak Modified Sumerian?”

“Is that a real language?”

“Aren't you supposed to be a linguist?” asked Cecil suspiciously.

“I'm a doctor of medicine,” Morgan offered. “And what are you supposed to be?”

“He's Carlos's … friend,” sniffed Armitage.

“I'm a reporter. I host a community radio program.”

“Yes, I have now listened to an episode or two,” said Armitage. “They natter pointlessly about angels in bowling alleys.”

Cecil rolled his eyes and huffed with indignation. “The angels weren't in the bowling alley, that's the tiny people. The angels are out by the used car lot. I mean, I know you're an intelligent man, Dr. Armitage, but facts are facts.”

“What, you're like Art Bell?” chuckled Rice, his big belly rumbling. “You found Bigfoot yet?”

“Don't be ridiculous,” said Cecil, waving a finger at Rice. “Everyone knows Bigfoot died in the Mt. St. Helen's explosion.”

Carlos burst into the pub. “Cecil, wait 'til you see the photos!” He drew up short, regarding Armitage and his friends. “Oh, hello Professor!”

“Did you bring me the pigeon, Carlos?” asked Cecil. “I have to send my tape to Intern August.”

“What happened to Intern Llewellyn?” asked Carlos, who was holding a cooing bird gently in his hands.

“Used the subway.”

“Ah,” said Carlos, shaking his head and handing off the bird to Cecil.

“That's no pigeon!” said Morgan.

Carlos turned to look at the young doctor. “Um. Sorry, Francis?”

“I said, that's not a pigeon,” Morgan repeated. He moved to snatch it from Cecil, who stepped back, eyeing the Morgan suspiciously. “Look at the markings. That's a whippoorwill! Don't you know your zoology, Carlos?”

Carlos shrugged and scratched his head. “Well, I can't specialize in everything.”

Morgan sat back down glared over his beer at Carlos. “Yes? So exactly what kind of science did you specialize in over at MiskTech, anyway?” he asked, enunciating Carlos's alma Mater as if it were a particularly loathsome form of parasite.

Carlos narrowed his eyes and set his jaw, but just as he was about to make a withering rejoinder, the door burst open. “Thar's somethin' out thar! Over yaonder!”

The bar quite suddenly emptied, as a stampede of people grabbed weapons and dashed out to rush “over yonder,” wherever the hell that happened to be.

Carlos and Cecil stood alone.

“Rude. Rude, rude, rude!” said Cecil, sipping his brandy Alexander. “And probably racist!” He picked up his cassette tape and began to tuck it into the tiny pack attached to the bird's breast. “Why was he so fussy about the pigeon or whippoorwill thing anyway? It has two wings and it flies.”

“Yes, nightjars,” said Carlos, holding a finger out towards the bird, which pecked it affectionately. “There's a superstition in these parts, that whippoorwills bear away the souls of the departed.”

“Well, that's fine, as long as he gets my tape to the station. I am the voice of Night Vale, after all!” He snapped up the pack, and carefully carrying the bird, brought it to the door and set it free. He and Carlos watched for a time as it soared away. “Now, what was that about your pictures?”

“Here, let me show you!” Carlos eagerly pulled an envelope full of photographs out of his laptop bag. He spread some of them out on the bar. “Look here! This is incredible.”

“Oh!” said Cecil, grabbing a photo. “This is the picture I took of you on Sentinel Hill!”

“Cecil, I'm not talking about the pictures you took of me!”

Cecil would not be dissuaded from a certain amount of Carlos-fawning. “But your hair looks so lovely, all disheveled like that.”

Carlos impatiently tapped his finger on sheaf of photos. “Cecil! The thing in the woods! Look at my photos.”

Carefully tucking his new favorite Carlos portrait in his vest pocket, Cecil surveyed the pictures. “Oh, Carlos,” he sighed, tracing a hand along Carlos's cheek. “You are a dear, and your hair is perfect, but these photos? Do you know anything about composition? You can barely see his tentacles against the dark background.”

Carlos was nearly hopping up and down with excitement. “Cecil! Tentacles! A huge, tentacled creature, striding through the woods!” He held his hands up over his head and hopped around, imitating, one must presume, a vast being making its way through wooded land.

“Hrm. Do you suppose the villagers will shoot it?”

“I hope not! We need to study it, Cecil! It may be scientifically interesting.”

Two salmon-hued eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Carlos, isn't this what you typically say just before you dash into danger? Do we need to have another relationship talk?”

“You know, I had the strangest conversation with the pharmacist just now. When I had these photos developed.”

“All the conversations in Dunwich are strange.”

“I told him we were staying with the Whateleys, and he asked about Lavinia's sons.”

“You mean Wilbur?”

“He insisted there were two sons. Twins.”

“That's ridiculous! Where would they keep the second boy? I mean, it's not as if he's hidden away up on the mysterious locked second floor that nobody's allowed to visit and where there are strange sounds at all hours of the day!”

Carlos frowned at Cecil. “Cecil-”

But Cecil was shuffling through Carlos's poorly-composed photos. He stopped, his fingers tapping one. “What's this, by the way?” He squinted at the photo.

Carlos hung over his shoulder and stared as well. Something glinted in the late afternoon light. “Is it carrying … a hammer?”

Cecil and Carlos looked at one another.

And then they ran for Carlos's car, only pausing to rush back and scoop up the photos before they barreled out the door.



“Lavinia!” said Carlos as he and Cecil entered the Whateley residence.

“Oh, look,” said Lavinia, who was wearing a pink apron with I HEART Y_S lovingly embroidered on it. “You're just in time for dinner, boys.”

“Lavinia,” Carlos pressed. “We need to talk to your son.”

She paused, wiping her hands on a towel. “Wilbur?” she said, almost hopefully.

“No. Your other son.”

“Wilbur's my son. Yep, my only son. Only got one, and that's Wilson. I mean, Wilbur.”

“Lavinia! We have pictures.” Carlos took out his envelope of photographs and handed them to Lavinia.

“These...” said Lavinia, her speech halting. “These have really terrible composition. Don't you know you need to keep the horizon one third of the way up? You can barely see the tentacles.”

“Lavinia,” said Cecil, stepping in front of his adorable but sometimes rather excitable boyfriend. “Those professors from Miskatonic are encouraging the townspeople to form a posse. And not the good kind, like one that follows Kanye. See? It's all in the Arkham Advertiser.” He held up the advertising section of the local newspaper, headlined, “OUT OF WORK? HAVE A COLORFUL REGIONAL ACCENT AND A SHOTGUN?

Lavinia looked sorrowfully between the two Night Valerians, and also at the floor and the ceiling and the salt shaker collection on the far wall. She bit her pale lip, and bade them follow her. “You might as well come outside then,” she sighed. “Wilbur!” she called.

The dark-haired boy slouched over towards them. He was already a head taller than his mother. “I was gonna play Skyrim.”

“Get your brother.”

Wilbur stopped short. He pulled the earplugs out of his ears. Lavinia nodded. He scrambled up the large ramp that led to a padlocked door to the second floor, withdrew a key from his belt, and unbolted the door. And then he disappeared inside.

“Now, he's very shy,” Lavinia told them. “He's- He's a little different.”

There was a scuffling sound from upstairs, followed by a noise like very heavy footsteps.

Carlos gawped, and Cecil clicked and clicked his brownie camera. “Well. He's a big one,” he remarked. “Takes after his father?”

Lavinia's eyes went even more out of focus than usual. “Yes. He was my summer romance. You know the old story. I wanted a home. He wanted to lead the world into mass servitude to the Old Ones.”

“The oldest story,” said Cecil, snapping more photos. Suddenly, his camera was snatched from his hand by a long tentacle and brought up before one of the large eyes. And then it was put to the mouth (or something that looked very much like a mouth) where it was licked by a long, forked tongue. “Oh. I'm taking photographs. See?” Cecil pulled his picture of Carlos out of his vest pocket and held it up, where it was snatched up by another tentacle, and then subjected to a tasting. And then Wilson Whateley snatched up Carlos as well – the real one – twining another tentacle around the scientist's waist and holding him up for a good once over.

“Cecil!” croaked Carlos.

“Do you think you could ask your son to give back my boyfriend?” asked Cecil.

“Wilson!” scolded Lavinia. “That's not polite, honey.”

Wilson quickly handed back Carlos, the camera, and the photograph. All were more or less covered in abomination drool, but mostly unharmed.

“Are you all right, dear?” Cecil asked.

“I think I need a towel,” muttered Carlos. Lavinia handed over the dish towel she had slung over her shoulder.

“So, Wilson was the one who built your second floor?” Cecil asked. “And your guest house?”

“Yes, that was Wilson.”

A car came racing up the drive, screeching to a halt nearby. Old Whateley, moving faster than any of them would have guessed, burst out of the old Ford truck. “Lavinny!” he howled.

“What happened?” asked Lavinia.

“The Frye's place. It's gone, smashed to the ground.”

“When they were chasing after Wilson?” Cecil guessed.

“Yes. Wilson run right through it. Boy can't see straight, can you?”

Wilson looked downcast.

“They're coming after Wilson, any time now! They're forming a posse. And not the good kind, like Kanye's! It's those Miskatonic U folks again. Damn professors.”

“Armitage?” asked Cecil.

“Yep.”

“I think I have an idea,” said Cecil. “Do you have a phone?”

Lavinia took Cecil inside, pointing to the old style dial telephone. Cecil quickly dialed up a number. Suddenly, as he held the receiver away from his ear, it began to emit a soft violet light, and several kittens and a badger dropped out of the earpiece, landing on the ground, and scurrying away. “Am I speaking to the head of the school board?” asked Cecil. “Good! This is about Night Vale grade school's class trip.”



“Listeners, tonight I'm broadcasting from our vacation home away from home, the B&B run by the lovely Lavinia Whateley and her family. I have with me Night Vale's most beloved scientist, Carlos. Would you say this trip has been scientifically interesting, Carlos?”

“Oh, yes, it's been terrific!”

“What's been your favorite discovery?”

“Well, I've taken an interest in ornithology. It's not my speciality, but I was encouraged by my old friend, Dr. Francis Morgan, who's on the faculty at Miskatonic University. Or at least, was on the faculty, before his recent … troubles.”

“Would you like to wheel him in here? Hey, looking good Francis! Does he hear us?”

“I'm not really certain. Francis, being the man of science he is (or was) wagered me that the old superstition regarding whippoorwills eating a person's soul are completely and unconditionally false. Well, it just so happened we had-”

“Unbeknownst to us!”

“Yes, Cecil, unbeknownst to us, we had transported a number of whippoorwills – Night Vale whippoorwills – out to Arkham.”

“We thought they were homing pigeons!”

“Well, a real scientist admits his mistakes. It's all part of being a scientist! Anyway, Francis – Dr. Morgan – had heard the superstition. Unfortunately, before I could stop him, he insisted on opening up the crate, and, well....”

“Was it like a Hitchcock movie?”

“Yes, it was a little like North by Northwest, only without the part about hanging from Roosevelt's nose.”

“Listeners, I am waving a hand in front of Dr. Morgan's face right now! The lights are on, but nobody's home.”

“So to speak. He was a good man. A man of science.”

“If a little bit racist.”

“Everyone's a little bit racist, Cecil.”

“Thanks for that interesting scientific discovery, Carlos. And good luck with soullessness, Dr. Morgan! Now, look who's just arrived! It's a school bus filled with the children from Night Vale Elementary School, here for their class trip. Hello, kids, and I hope you have a pleasant stay at the Whateley B&B. Just don't go anywhere near the second floor … unless you're in the mood for fun!

“While Carlos is pushing Dr. Morgan back to his nice space under a shade tree, let's have a word from our sponsors. Our show has been brought to you today by El Rey del Mundo cigars. El Rey del Mundo: the finest tobacco is probably one of the ingredients. Unless it isn't.

“Oh, look over there! What can be happening? Carlos, can you tell us what's happening?”

“Yes, Cecil, it appears some of the more adventurous schoolchildren have ventured up to the forbidden second floor.”

“The forbidden second floor! Oh dear. And what have they uncovered there?”

“Wilbur and his brother, Wilson Whateley were up there. They were decorating Cthulhu cupcakes!”

“Mmm, tastes great. With chocolate tentacles. Carlos has brought me one, because he is perfect. Thank you, dear, and I wish I could share them with all of our listeners! And what's happening over there now, Carlos? What's that pounding noise?”

“The pounding is Wilson hammering, Cecil. He's building an altar to the Old Ones for the children of Night Vale to play in.”

“Well, there's nothing like paying homage to immortal deities with nefarious plans for the enslavement of humanity, I always say!”



It was early evening when at last the posse formed by Drs. Armitage and Rice (Dr. Morgan having bowed out due to issues of health) at last arrived at the Whateley estate, their mob of heavily armed townspeople attracted by the ad in the Arkham Advertiser following along. Cecil and Carlos strode up to greet them.

“What is the meaning of this?” demanded Dr. Armitage as he surveyed the grounds full of frolicking children.

“Dr. Armitage,” said Carlos. “How good to see you!”

Cecil offered a tray of pastries. “Would you care for a Cthulhu cupcake? The tentacles are bittersweet chocolate!”

“No, I would not care for a cupcake!”

“Suit yourself,” said Cecil, scooping up another cupcake. “That make more for me.”

“You need to watch that, dear,” chided Carlos. “Not good for your blood sugar. Now, Dr. Armitage, may I ask why you and your friends have decided to visit?”

“Isn't it bloody obvious? We want that damnable Whateley abomination! We want his head on a pike.”

Carlos shook his head. “Well, barring the difficulty that it's difficult to determine anatomically where exactly his head might be located, I don't see as Wilson poses any threat.”

“That thing is a menace!” grumbled Prof. Rice.

“He's been playing with the school children all afternoon,” Cecil pointed out, brushing cupcake crumbs from his tie, “and has hardly eaten any of them.”

“Stand aside, Carlos!” barked Armitage.

“Or what, exactly?” asked Carlos.

“Or else!”

“Yes, or else … what? That's what I'm driving at.”

Armitage leaned over, his nose nearly touching Carlos's. “Else we'll make you stand aside.”

“Oh children!” called Cecil. “Come meet Miskatonic University's librarian!”

There was a great silence. Suddenly, all the happy yells and laughter ceased. There was no sound but the brushing of a gentle breeze, and the lazy trickle of the Miskatonic River in the distance.

Armitage froze as he suddenly realized there were many, many pairs of little eyes fixed on him.

The children of Night Vale, as one, drew nearer.

“Uh, children,” stammered Armitage.

Nearer.

“Wait. Carlos?”

Nearer.

“Carlos!”

The sky was pierced by the terrible screams.



In the end, Prof. Rice elected to go back to Miskatonic University. He carried a small cardboard box, containing what was left of Prof. Armitage (chiefly a bad hairpiece and some dentures). As for the townspeople, they were mostly bought off with cupcakes and a promise by Wilson to do some remodeling work around town.

Cecil and Carlos sat out on a dock where they could watch the strange and mysterious creatures swim by on the lazily oozing Miskatonic River.

“Were there any homing pigeons left in the crate?” asked Cecil.

“Just the one.” Carlos put down his bottle of Sam Adams and picked up a small whippoorwill. It sat, cooing on his chest.

Cecil put out a hand, and the little bird danced onto it. “Oh, good, so I can send the last show in to Intern Aubrey.” He pulled a tape out of his vest pocket and began to tuck it into the bird's pack.

“Should I ask what happened to the other intern?”

“No.”

They both watched the bird fly off, until it became a speck in the setting sun.

“I suppose we'll need to head back, then,” said Carlos, his voice tinged by regret.

“I suppose so.”

“Did you enjoy your vacation?”

Cecil reached over to grab Carlos's hand. “Oh, definitely! We must do this again. I've been reading up about the Bermuda Triangle....”

“The Bermuda Triangle? Really?”

“Well it's scientifically interesting, you can't deny. Plus, sex on the beach.”

“Were you talking about the drink?”

“... Maybe.”

Carlos grinned. He looked around to make certain the last of the school children had gone in for the night, and that they were all alone. And then he got up and settled himself next to Cecil in the radio host's chaise lounge.

The sun sunk below the horizon, and the stars winked into view. There was a ripple in the Miskatonic. Something grey and sinuous breached the rippled surface, and for a brief moment, a single very large prehistoric eye stared at the figures of Cecil and Carlos up on the dock. And then the creature dove, and it was gone.




Notes: As you may have guessed, this work is actually a parody of “The Dunwich Horror”, not “Shadow over Innsmouth,” but I had already made up a funny title. Also, H.P. Lovecraft was a real racist jerk. The racist remarks are from his stories, and all the unintelligible dialog of the Dunwich residents was based on Lovecraft's crazy phonetic spellings of (one supposes) a New England accent. Carlos's MiskTech fight song is a parody of Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee from the Disney film, Pinocchio. Yes, people make moonshine liquor in Massachusetts (I checked).
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