William Müller, Richard Turner and Mary Penton (our college teacher, might’ve accidentally called her Miriam earlier) returned to the hotel and gathered their wits. Going to the Island of Misr had obviously been a bad idea and they were in a severe need of reinforcements.
First though, Henry Smith had to be informed of his sons disappearance (as we were too kind to say demise).
A telegraph caught us not long after. “Find my son”, it read.
But the luck was on their side as Henry Smith had more contacts in the area who were more than willing to aid in our investigation. AlSid Al-Jihat, an egyptian PI, joined us along with Angus, an irish medical practitioner. Our new team was topped by Gladys Humpington, who was waiting for us by the hotel. Turns out Terrance Gladstone had a sister. A sister who was eager to meet her brother after such a long while.
Too bad she arrived a day late, as the shaken William gave her Terrance’s weapon and told of his demise. By now he was múch too deranged by the party’s travails to have the courtesy of ignorance. Despite the shock, such a declaration merited an explanation. As Müller was the last original member of the group, he got the honour of sharing the story to the newcomers.
Who are quick to announce him and Mary delusional criminals guilty of severe breaking and entering. Angus diagnoses them both - Richard gets off scatch. He has too much common sense to keep his mouth shut and just say something fishy is about.
As the original expedition is clearly off the record, Gladys, AlSid and Angus decide to take the reins. “We are not going to intrude on a private property. Let us go to the library instead”, one of them proclaims. “We’ll see, whether you are sound enough to walk free. Perusing old books should not be something you could brew trouble from.”
The Library proved fruitful and revealed some things from the houses past. Namely that it’s current owner was also the head of the Penhew Foundation.
It also convinced the newcomers that despite some derangements, Mary and William weren’t as unstable as they had first feared. Time to head home.
They walked the streets with the mist weighting heavily on them. Soon they come to a corpse, apparently strangled dead. The women run to the nearest police box. This is a murder scene and such they’re to be noted.
What they don’t know is that the murderer is still there, but they’ll know soon enough.
As William feels something coil around his throat. A misty tentacle coming from nowhere.
The men gasp in panic as William is pulled back towards the mist. Richard scrambles for his flashlight to see the assailant.
A good choice, as the coil retreats as the light brushes through it leaving William shaken, but alive.
They have little time to celebrate, however. Seemingly done with William, Angus and Richard are swept off their feet. The tendrils are thicker now and flashlight doesn’t scare them. Richard draws his gun, but the bullets go through. Meanwhile Gladys and Mary hear the gunfire and inform the police - who promise to send a patrol.
Richard and Angus manage to struggle against the tentacles, but don’t manage anything but brief respites from the assault. AlSid is shocked, this is something impossible. Something obscene. Wisest of the bunch, he takes to his feet and runs with a kukri in hand.
William intends to follow AlSid, but as his wheelchair stops by some dry brushes he gets a mad idea.
Furiously he tears his shirt off and grabs a nearby branch. Soon the makeshift torch crackles into life and William wheels back to save his companions. The torch works and the tentacles recede letting the victims see a glimpse of the main horror. It is maddening.
William has seen worse and keeps his cool, but the rest aren’t as lucky. Angus bolts away seeing danger everywhere. It is the mist! He rushes to the policebox, shutting the door behind him. Inside he’ll be safe. This piques Gladys’ curiosity, she decides to peek outside and promptly gets the door shut behind her.
Richard is overcome with fear and his mind lashes at something to hang onto. He sees the burning clothes of William’s makeshift torch. Yes, they must keep the beast away. The two run away from the scene, Richard pushing William. Though it was a ruse to get to the main dish: Richard picks at the William’s shirt’s remains. They keep the beast at bay. If he were to eat them, he’ll be safe too.
William is too busy trying to feed his jacket to the dimming torch to notice.
They bolt away with Gladys leaving Angus to his demise. Surprisingly the box does give shelter and he is later freed by the policepatrol.
Eventually they all make it back to the hotel. With newfound respect towards William and Mary. Maybe they were not as crazy as they seemed.
Nevertheless, everyone agrees to buy some oil and cloth for torches, just to be sure.
The sunday goes by recovering and on monday William and Richard remember something. “We’ve lost the rich kid, but he did leave 90 pounds to that mad artist. We should get the money back.”
And surprisingly the newcomers are now more willing to commit crimes. “We should break in”, Gladys says. She did have Gladstone blood in her after all. The rest agree.
Together they decide to wait until McIntyre leaves to a bordell and have William distract the grandma, while the rest sneak through the garage window.
The plan works well - William gets invited in and amuses the grandmother, who has a somewhat disturbing shadow, the light must be playing in the eyes…
…Until Angus accidentally breaks the window.
Surprisingly the lady asks William to go check the garage. “I can still salvage this”, he thinks as he turns.
And gets a knitting needle to his shoulder.
Now alarmed, he yelps and turns around. The lady’s features are twisted “What are you doing with your friends”, she hisses as she raises the needle for another strike.
William doesn’t wait for it as he draws his weapon and shoots.
And it becomes clear the lady is not what she seems. Briefly her features recede to reveal a face of a lizard as she gazes deep into Müller’s eyes hissing “Put down the gun. Go into the garage. Kill your friends.”
With unnatural calm, William goes to meet his friends. “False alarm, there’s nothing to worry about!” he greets Angus waiting at the door, trying to peek what’s awry.
“Everything’s fine!” William exclaims while raising his gun.
Angus notices in time and wrestles the gun away throwing over the wheelchair. William is pinned easily, but what’s to expect from a cripple?
Now the grandlady’s glamour disappears, but the lizardman was overwhelmed and killed without much difficulty. With the thing’s death, William snaps back to his senses. He is let go as he tells Angus to hold to his guns for the night. “Just in case”.
The party scatters to search the house.
They get to the garage, which served as McIntyre’s studio. The man returns home at some point and the lizard-grandma-creature was clearly the only thing keeping a vestige of sanity in the poor man. He is subdued.
We study the paintings, but it takes a while for their horror to set in. When their nature is apparent, it is too late and their sanity-shattering messages hit us fully. Each of the small, mortal minds try to find some way to escape. Angus latches on Mary, unwilling to let go, while AlSid decides he cannot be alone - or the horrors would get him.
Poor Gladys takes the worst hit as the spectacle proves too much for her mind to bear. Broken, she walks out never to be seen again.
The ruckus wakes up McIntyre’s senile neighbour, Ernest Blunt, who decides to find out the source of the clatter. Just in time for the party to unveil the final painting, one covered with a sheet and locked into a drawer.
Meanwhile William’s mind is racing. His mind cannot bear the things he’s seen and the paintings are the last straw. Clearly William Müller has seen too much to be alive. Seen too much to exist. His mind decides this is the case and shuts down everything. It wanders for a second, trying to find something to latch onto. It races through the past and finds something. Terrance Gladstone and Michael Smith. They died on the Island of Misr. Or did they? We never saw the bodies. No, of course they didn’t die. They survived. I wouldn’t be standing here otherwise. Me, Terrance Smith.
And with that he loses all the interest in the paintings and goes to make tea. Just as the last painting is unveiled.
The portrait depicted a boggy vision featuring two moons and more lizardmen. It is not as macabre as the other paintings, but it does seem somehow… livid. Angus, Ernest, Mary and McIntyre look deeply into it.
And then they are in the middle of the scene, being slaughtered by the lizardmen. Angus looks in horror, but his mind is too strongly wedged into reality and he is left alone standing and gazing at the painting. Barely he manages to cower it as AlSid and Terrance Smith (formerly known as William Müller) return.
“Ho, that must be the painting I purchased!” Terrance exclaims and the others are too shocked to protest. Together they take the painting and some books they found and carry them away with the now vacant wheelchair.
By a fling of imagination, they decide to set the house on fire to wipe it away. And walk away into the mist.
Phew, that was an interesting session. Before this I still had some hopes that William might, just might, survive alive through the whole campaign. Well, he’s still alive and after xmas we’ll see how well he’ll be able to convince his comrades he’s a completely different person. And in fact, an amalgation of two people.
Nevertheless, I don’t count on him surviving too long, as his sanity is now in shambles. And to top that, he thinks he has skills (mainly combat oriented) he simply doesn’t have.
I have to think of something interesting to roll up next. Shame, I was getting really fond of poor William. (Though this amnesia will last 6 months, if he is really, really lucky, he might just make it and recover!)
I tried something different with this synopsis, adopting a more proselike form. Got hurried, so it slips a little there and there, but say whether you like it or not. I might use it more in the future.