EPISODE 4: BAD BROTHERS

The horrors and tormenting visions of Howling House have mounted into a gruesome discovery. Shaken to his core, and nursing an injury, Dirt has fled into the attic. Meanwhile, Woods and Joey came to blows, only to be soothed by sweet Chelsea. And amidst all the chaos… The increasingly suspicious Roger has disappeared. 

Content Warning: Violence, gore, harsh language, child endangerment and abuse, discussion of guns, bullying, smoking, murder, and violence towards defenseless creatures.

An illustration of a decrepit Victorian house with a light on inside and a cat sitting on the gate with the Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program logo above it, by Sarah DeLaine and Ashley Lanni

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Full Transcript Below

Original score composed and performed by Ryan and Mike McQuinn of Neon Dolphin Music Design

CREDITS:

Written & Performed by:
Luke Stram – The Keeper
Cat Blackard | Manda Bruno | Brandon Gerson | Chris LeBrane | Colin Peterson

Based on “The Dare” by Kevin Ross with revisions by Bret Kramer, published by Sentinel Hill Press

 

Sound Design: Colin Peterson

Editing and Mastering: Colin Peterson & Cat Blackard

Story Editing: Cat Blackard



Cast (In Order of Appearance):

Cat Blackard as The Narrator/The Announcer
Cat Blackard as Father/ Little Betsy
Luke Stram as The Keeper
Colin Peterson as Tommy "Woods" Northwood
Chris LeBrane as Joey Davenport
Manda Bruno as Chelsea Northwood
Brandon Gerson as Dirt
Cat Blackard as Roger Simmons
Zachary Fortais-Gomm as Ace Simmons
Luke Stram as ???


Musical Spotlight: "Mind of the Pond" by Height Keech

Original Score: Ryan McQuinn and Mike McQuinn

Neon Dolphin
- Bandcamp

Album Art by Sarah DeLaine and Ashley Lanni

Executive Producers: Colin Peterson & Cat Blackard

Producer: John Sebastian La Valle

Associate Producer: Jessica Mudd

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS:

TRANSCRIPT:

[Omniverse Audio Brand]
 
ANNOUNCER:
The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program is for mature audiences only.
This episode contains violence, gore, harsh language, child endangerment and abuse, discussion of guns, bullying, smoking, murder, and violence towards defenseless creatures.
 
Please listen at your own discretion.
 
If you find our stygian stories simply scintillating, unlock further secrets at Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia, and help us fund future series via our IndieGoGo campaign at CthulhuMystery.com/crowdfund.
 
[SFX: Radio static, the dial tunes until…]
 
[The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program intro plays—sinister]
 
GRUFF VOICE:
Do you hear that?
 
[SFX: Eerie wailing]
 
GRUFF VOICE:
In the cruel blackness of night, an unknowable evil from beyond time cries out! What dark deeds unfold on the streets of Arkham? And which unwitting souls, innocent or impure, will succumb to the maddening call? The Call…of Cthulhu!
 
[Music swells and fades]
 
ANNOUNCER:
Macmillan Arms and Cycle Works brings you Part 4 of The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program - “Night at Howling House”. Tonight’s chilling chapter: Bad Brothers.

Children and commuters alike know there’s nothing smoother than a ride on a Macmillan Bicycle. A safe and pleasant way to cross town and country - superbly engineered and manufactured.

That same superb engineering and craftsmanship is why marksmen swear by the sharp-shooting of Macmillan Manufacturing’s Matic-Ordnance Firearms. These magnificent munitions are machined in the very same factory as Macmillan bicycles, and both exceptional devices are equally safe in the hands of a child.

FATHER:
See Betsy, there’s no need to be worried - that gun will never go off unless I mean to kill a man.

LITTLE BETSY:
I wuv you mister revower. Daddy says you won’t hurt us an’ you’ll protect our famiwy.

ANNOUNCER:
Why is Little Betsy safe snuggled up with a six-shooter of sensational stopping power? Simple! With Matic-Ordnance’s hammerless auto-matic safety revolver - accidental discharge impossible. They shoot straight and they kill, but like our cycles they’re a thrill. Macmillan Manufacturing puts safety first. They think about it, so you don’t have to!

Make the Matic-Ordnance hammerless auto-matic safety revolver a fixture in your family, for only fiends need fear its firepower. You may need it only once in your life, buy now and be ready at that time.

Send for our free firearms and bicycle catalog: Macmillan Arms and Cycle Works, Fitchburg Massachusetts. When it comes to safety and security you’ll see: with Macmillan Manufacturing’s Matic-Ordnance Firearms - the difference is auto-matic.

NARRATOR:
The horrors and tormenting visions of Howling House have mounted into grave injury and a gruesome discovery. One of poor little Dirt’s hands has been seriously burnt. And then the children discovered a man’s mutilated corpse. The sight of it shook that kindly boy to his core, certain that this would become his fate. In a fury, he turned on his compatriots and fled into the attic. Meanwhile, Woods and Joey came to blows, only to be soothed by sweet Chelsea. And amidst all the chaos… The increasingly suspicious Roger has disappeared.

[SFX: Heavy rain]

[SFX: Thunder]

JOEY:
[Distantly]
Roger!

DIRT:
[Breathing heavily]
 
JOEY:

[Distantly]
Roger! Where are you, man?

KEEPER:
Dirt, you’re scrambling through the attic, ducking between beams—

[SFX: Wood splintering]

KEEPER:
—clambering over boxes. There was all kinds of commotion and fighting down there. Utter chaos! They were probably arguing over who would get to wring your neck first—

[SFX: Confused, blundering footsteps]

KEEPER:
—just like your father and those chickens.

DIRT:
They’re all gonna kill me!

KEEPER:
All you know is that you’ve stumbled into the farthest corner you could find in the dark. Maybe they’ll never find you here! The torrential sound of the rain against the slate shingles above you is thrumming, crushing—almost deafening. Your hand is in so much pain. But you can barely feel it at this point. Cold rain dripping through the cracks, hitting your skin when you least expect it.

DIRT:
[Anguished moans]

KEEPER:
The air around you is heavy, damp. Everything up here just feels intensely moist.

DIRT:
[Singing]
Soft, wet dirt. In a hole. He likes when we hit him so. Filthy dirt, full of bugs, feed him spiders, feed him slugs!
Ugh! I don’t want to eat slugs! I’m a good boy. They’re not my friends! They’re mean. Even fire was mean to me!

KEEPER:
Oh, but that wasn’t the fire, Dirt. That was the oil.

DIRT:
[Angry grunting]

KEEPER:
That evil, trick oil!

DIRT:
You’re right! I’m gonna—I’m gonna light a match!

[SFX: Skritch of a match being lit]

DIRT:
I don’t want to wriggle in the dark.

KEEPER:
In the glow of the match light, you see that you’re in a pile of papers and quilts, luggage—surrounded by old boxes of soggy documents: magazines, newspapers, books. All too wet to burn.

DIRT:
I’m looking for a way out of the house. I’m looking for any windows. I’m looking for any exits, any ladders, any holes…

KEEPER:
Make a Luck check.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
28 out of 40.

KEEPER:
Okay. Well, you squeeze past boxes and push things aside but you don’t see any exits from this attic space. Something does catch your eye over there in the corner of the attic. There’s something on a table.

DIRT:
I don’t know what’s on the table—

[SFX: Hesitant footsteps]

DIRT:
—but I’m gonna go over there and look at it.

KEEPER:
It’s a battered scrapbook. And holding up your match with its flickering light you see that there’s a name on it.

DIRT:
[Sounding out]
Br-iiiggs? I think it says “Briggs.”

KEEPER:
Didn’t you hear that name earlier tonight?

DIRT:
Briggs, Briggs…uh…Briggs.
[Out of Character]:
Can I open up the scrapbook and take a look inside?

KEEPER:
Certainly you can!

[SFX: Pages turning in a book]

KEEPER:
And within you see all kinds of photographs, newspaper clippings, and writings. Everything in here looks pretty old. You’ll need more than match light to make out the details.

DIRT:
I don’t—I don’t read at all actually, so I’m gonna just take this book and I’m gonna just keep looking for a way out of here.

[SFX: Creaky floorboards]

KEEPER:
You start to get the impression that this attic space—it’s not as big as the whole house. Part of it may have been walled-off.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
Is there no door into the rest of the attic?

KEEPER:
None that you can find.

[SFX: Shuffling footsteps]

KEEPER:
But the closer you get to the wall—

[SFX: High-pitched chittering]

KEEPER:
—you can hear something on the other side of it: squeaks and chirps.

DIRT:
I touch the wall and stroke it. I say hello to whatever’s there in hopes it’ll be my new friend.
Hello?

KEEPER:
The wood is thin and slick to the touch. Rotten.

DIRT:
I’m gonna take a step back. I’m gonna—I’m gonna go as far back as I can and run and dive through this wall because it’s better than death. Maybe.

KEEPER:
Make a Strength check.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
I have a lot of Strength. 2.

KEEPER:
You well up all your anger, clutch the big scrapbook tight to your chest—

DIRT:
[Determined yell]

KEEPER:
—and hurtle yourself forward.

[SFX: Wood splinters]

KEEPER:
The rotten wood—

[SFX: Crashing, banging]

KEEPER:
—gives way immediately and you go tumbling into—

DIRT:
[Yelps]

KEEPER:
—the larger attic space, disturbing the—

[SFX: Aggressive chirping]

KEEPER:
—throngs of bats. Make a Sanity check.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
33.

KEEPER:
Does that make it?

DIRT [Out of Character]:
No. I’m 27 left.

KEEPER:
Oh, my God! Bats! Bats are swirling all around you in a panic.

[SFX: Bats chirping]

DIRT:
[Panicking]

KEEPER:
Even though they’re your friends, Dirt, it’s overwhelming. But the thing that gets you is that behind you, crawling through the hole that you just made in the wall into the room with you is what looks like a bat—but it’s the size of a puppy.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
Uhhhh…is it coming near me?

KEEPER:
Oh, it is. And it looks up at you with a jarringly cherubic, human face surrounded in downy bat fur. Its glossy, blue eyes meet yours.

DIRT:
[Whispers]
It knows what I did!

KEEPER:
This creature almost looks relieved. Like it maybe got itself trapped in there somehow and it’s flapping its wings and testing them.

DIRT:
Hello? All my friends want to kill me but I’m friends with bats. Bats are the only friends I’ve got. Do you want to be my friend? Because—
[Out of Character]:
I rolled a 59.  

KEEPER:
Out of…?

DIRT [Out of Character]:
75.

KEEPER:
Okay.

[SFX: Purring chirps]

DIRT:
Oh, hey, little guy! You’re cute!
[Out of Character]:
Can I pet him with my burnt hand?
Wanna smell my burnt hand? Want some barbecue? It’s not really working anymore. So if you want a bite…? You want to be my friend?

KEEPER:
You hold your hand out to it?

DIRT [Out of Character]:
Yeah, I hold out my little burnt nugget.

KEEPER:
Make one more Be a Pal roll.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
Okay. I hope you’ll be my friend. I’ve got all this tasty arm. 43. Yes, I have rolled successfully.

KEEPER:
Make one more Sanity check for me.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
Oh, I don’t have much more. Nope.

KEEPER:
Okay. d6 Sanity.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
I—I rolled a 1.

KEEPER:
Okay. You lose one point of Sanity.

DIRT [Out of Character]:
Oh, that’s not so bad.

KEEPER:
You hold your hand out to it. And—

DIRT:
Wanna sniff my nuggets?

KEEPER:
—this little human-faced bat creature—

[SFX: Mewling, cooing]

KEEPER:
—looks at you and turns its head, and says,

BAT CREATURE:
Friend?

DIRT:
Holy shit! Yep, friend! That’s me.
I reach into my pocket and I’ll take out the little bat I’ve had with me this whole time.
See? We’re all friends here.

KEEPER:
It unfurls one of its bat wings and from underneath it, reaches out a twisted arm and grabs the bat from your hand.

DIRT:
Look at that! I brought back your child. How momentous and joyous!

KEEPER:
It pulls the little peeping bat close and then swiftly bites—

[SFX: Crunching of bone]

KEEPER:
—its head off.

[SFX: Munching]

DIRT:
Oh! I guess that’s good, too.

KEEPER:
Then—

[SFX: Swallowing]

KEEPER:
—it holds its arm out—

[SFX: Cooing]

KEEPER:
—holding the headless bat out to you—

DIRT:
Uh…

KEEPER:
—the body gurgling with blood.

DIRT:
Oh, I can’t refuse a gift. I’m going to eat a piece. I’ll drink it. I’ll eat it. Why not? I’ve had worse.

KEEPER:
You take the bat from this creature.

DIRT:
Uh…I guess I’ll suck the blood from its neck-hole? I don’t know. That makes sense.
[Slurping]
[Coughing]

KEEPER:
The bat-thing crawls its way—

[SFX: Thudding]

DIRT:
Hee-hee! Hee-hee!

[SFX: Hiss-purring]

KEEPER:
—up onto you, a nice little perch on your shoulder and—

[SFX: Flapping of leathery wings]

KEEPER:
—hugs you?

DIRT:
Oh, this is the most love I’ve ever had in my life. You’re my new best friend.

KEEPER:
It nuzzles its head against you and whispers in your ear,

BAT CREATURE:
Friend?

DIRT:
Oh, it’s right! We’re the best of friends now. Let’s get the hell out of this place. Where do you want to go? We’ve got wings!

BAT CREATURE:
Momma bad!

DIRT:
There’s such a thing as a bad momma?

BAT CREATURE:
Momma bad! Momma eat!

DIRT:
My mom is good but she’s also dead. She’s a great mom still. She’s always here with me, telling me what a good boy I am.

BAT CREATURE:
Momma eat!

KEEPER:
The bat creature holds a twisted little hand—now, mind you, it’s got these big bat wings that actually have, like, tiny human-like hands on the end of them, kind of like a bat has fingers. But then it also has these twisted, little, like, semi-humanoid arms that are underneath it, like a second pair. And it holds one of those hands out to you and kind of strokes your face.

DIRT:
[Laughs gleefully]

BAT CREATURE:
Momma no eat!

DIRT:
Okay! Momma no eat.

KEEPER:
And then it hugs you.

[SFX: Contented chirping]

DIRT:
I guess I’m your Momma now!

KEEPER:
There’s a—

[SFX: Ferocious thunder]

KEEPER:
—flash of lightning and you notice that there’s a window that’s all boarded-up like the others, but there are gaps.

DIRT:
Maybe I can smash the glass. Let’s go, Mr. Bat.

[SFX: Creaky floorboards]

[SFX: Shuffling footsteps]

DIRT:
We’re gonna get out.

[SFX: Hesitant footsteps]

KEEPER:
As you carefully make your way across the—

[SFX: Wood creaks]

KEEPER:
—beams of the attic, there’s another—

[SFX: Booming thunder]

KEEPER:
—flash of lighting and you see, crawling over the window inside the attic with you is another one of these bat things. And this one looks mean, Dirt. The creature on your back holds out its hands and it says,

BAT CREATURE:
Nooo! Bad brother!

DIRT:
Whaat?

BAT CREATURE:
Bad brother! Bad brother! Eat—
[Indistinct shrieking]

DIRT:
Okay. Stay back, bad brother!

[SFX: Growling]

KEEPER:
It growls at you and glares menacingly, holding its ground.

BAD BROTHER:
[Snarling]

DIRT:
We’re gonna head back the way we came. If there’s something that scares my new friend it must be bad.

BAT CREATURE:
Friend!

[Music fades]

KEEPER:
Meanwhile, just a floor below, investigating another one of these upstairs rooms (one that doesn’t stink of corpse)… Woods, it seems like you may have found a study. There’s a desk with a drawer in here.

WOODS:
Well, I open it up.

[SFX: Drawer creaks open]

KEEPER:
Huh. Looks like somebody’s coin collection.

WOODS:
Oh, neat! Hey, look at these, Chelsea. Gosh, are they old.
[Out of Character]:
Are they from other countries?

KEEPER:
As best you can tell. You do notice one that’s particularly alluring: a large, copper coin. There’s a fish on it.


WOODS [Out of Character]:
I’m gonna roll my Nature to see if I can identify the fish! I rolled a 22 out of my 80.

KEEPER:
Oh, you’d recognize this fish anywhere: it’s a red herring.

[SFX: Achievement unlocked]

WOODS:
If only there was a coin collecting merit badge.

CHELSEA:
Tommy, I’m worried about Dirt. All those noises.

WOODS:
I don’t know! I don’t know! We should go try and help him but this house! Who knows what’s up there?

CHELSEA:
Well, I’m gonna go look for him.

[SFX: Heavy footsteps]

CHELSEA:
And I march back to the bedroom with the dead guy.

WOODS:
Oh, no! Chelsea!

CHELSEA:
Everyone has been mean to him! Even you, Tommy!

WOODS:
What? When was I mean to him?

CHELSEA:
You were the one who made him go to the kitchen alone because you were too scared.

WOODS:
Hey, now, that is not how this went down!

CHELSEA:
And now he thinks everyone wants to kill him.

WOODS:
Look, Chelsea, please don’t go in that attic. It’s not safe. Dirt will come to his senses sooner or later!

CHELSEA:
Not if something bad gets him first.

KEEPER:
And just then—

[SFX: Clanging, banging]

KEEPER:
—from up above you—

DIRT:
[Distant groaning]

KEEPER:
—there’s some commotion. Clamoring, banging noises.

CHELSEA & WOODS:
[Gasp]

WOODS:
I grab Chelsea and I’m ready to run out of the room.

KEEPER:
Everybody, make a Sanity check.

WOODS [Out of Character]:
I pass.

CHELSEA [Out of Character]:
45. I pass.

KEEPER:
You lose one point of Sanity. Dirt comes tumbling—

[SFX: Crashing, banging]

[SFX: Wood splintering]

KEEPER:
—out of the hole in the closet ceiling, stumbling over the corpse—

CHELSEA:
Dirt!

Dirt:
Ow!

KEEPER:
—and he’s holding something. Something furry.

CHELSEA:
Dirt! Did you find the kitty?

KEEPER:
Oh, it’s not a kitty. It’s a bat!

CHELSEA:
[Gasps]

KEEPER:
But it’s not a bat because bats don’t get that big.

WOODS:
What?

KEEPER:
And bats don’t have human faces!

WOODS:
What?

KEEPER:
And bats don’t have extra sets of twisted, humanoid arms with tiny, little humanoid hands caressing Dirt’s face.

WOODS:
Dirt, what is that thing?!

DIRT:
It’s my new friend and you’re all fucked now!

WOODS:
Your new friend?!

DIRT:
Yep, he’s my new friend and if you didn’t all try to kill me, he’d be your friend, too.

WOODS:
No, no, no, Dirt. We weren’t trying to kill you.

DIRT:
Get him, Bat Face!

[SFX: Gargling]

KEEPER:
The bat creature attached to Dirt unlatches himself, opening—

[SFX: Unfurling of leathery wings]

KEEPER:
—his wings to about a five-foot wingspan—

[SFX: Grunting]

KEEPER:
—and hurls himself at you, Woods.

WOODS:
What? Uh…

DIRT:
This is what you get, Woods.

WOODS:
FOR WHAT? What did I ever—

DIRT:
This is what you get!

WOODS:
—do to you? I bandaged your arm!

DIRT:
Not very well!

WOODS:
I—I—I—

DIRT:
Now you pay in blood.

WOODS:
I take the—the—the shirt that I had that I was gonna bandage Dirt with. I kind of try and throw it up to try and, like, into the bat’s face to try and, like, block its view.

KEEPER:
Make a Fight check.

WOODS [Out of Character]:
Oh, Jesus. I rolled a 5 out of 33. So that is a—that is 1/5.

KEEPER:
This thing beelines right at you—

[SFX: Hissing, spitting]

KEEPER:
—and you’re able to wrap it up in the shirts that you have—

[SFX: Frantic fluttering]

KEEPER:
—that you had taken as extra bandages. And you’re able to—

[SFX: Tussling]

KEEPER:
—keep this thing locked up pretty tightly. You bind up its wings and it’s snapping at you with its—its distinctly human face.

WOODS:
[Yelps]

DIRT:
Get him, Mr. Batsington!

WOODS:
What are you doing, Dirt?!

KEEPER:
After a couple of snaps, the thing looks at you, and hisses, and then says,

BAT CREATURE:
Bad to friend!

KEEPER:
And then—and then spits at you.

DIRT:
That’s right! He’s bad to me.

WOODS:
What? This thing talks?! What is wrong with this thing?

DIRT:
He’s my best friend.

WOODS:
He’s your best friend?!

DIRT:
Yeah, you’re not my friend!

WOODS:
Dirt, tell him—

DIRT:
You’re a piece of shit!

WOODS:
—that we are friends! What?

DIRT:
You’re all terrible!

WOODS:
I take the—I take the thing and I throw it onto the ground and I start stomping on it. Trying to just smash it!

CHELSEA [Out of Character]:
I’m gonna roll Be a Pal to the bat.

WOODS:
[Sighs exasperatedly]

CHELSEA [Out of Character]:
78—under 80!

KEEPER:
Woods, you hurl this hideous abomination, this—this freak of nature, this affront to all that is found in the Scouting handbook to the ground.

[SFX: Heavy thud]

CHELSEA:
Hey! Hey! Stop!

WOODS:
No! Don’t touch it!

CHELSEA:
Hey!

[SFX: Scuffling]

CHELSEA:
I want to see it! I want to see it!

WOODS:
I’m gonna smash it! I’m gonna smash it into the floor!

KEEPER:
And before you’re able to stomp it, your little sister shields it with her own body, caressing its tiny, frightened head.

CHELSEA:
Shhh. Shhh. It’s okay. It’s okay. We’re your friends, too.

BAT CREATURE:
[Cooing]

CHELSEA:
You’re a good friend! We’re all good friends. And you’re cute!

WOODS:
Chelsea, what are you doing?

CHELSEA:
You’re better than a kitty!

WOODS:
Chelsea, get away from that thing right now.

CHELSEA:
Listen, there are a lot of things that I’ve seen tonight. This is one of the least terrifying things. I think you can calm down.

KEEPER:
As she says that, the creature extends one of its twisted, little humanoid arms up to her and strokes her hair. And says,

BAT CREATURE:
Pretty sister!

WOODS:
What—what are you doing? Okay.
[Out of Character]:
And I—
Alright.
[Out of Character]:
—and I roll Be a Pal on the bat creature thing. Oh, God. 32. I’m gonna spend 2 Luck points to get it to 30.

KEEPER:
Woods, you hold your hand out to this little creature, swaddled up in your sister’s arms. And it holds its twisted, little humanoid hand out and wraps its hand around your finger. You seem to have come to an understanding with it. For now.

[SFX: Gurgling]

WOODS:
Friend?

KEEPER:
It nods, and squeezes your finger, and says,

BAT CREATURE:
Friend!

CHELSEA:
I carry it around like a little doll. Charlie’s been replaced!

WOODS:
I—I—I hold my other hand out to Dirt. And I’m, like,
Friend?

DIRT:
I thought you were my only friend!

WOODS:
Friend?

BAT CREATURE:
Friend!

WOODS [Out of Character]:
I roll to Be a Pal to Dirt and try and calm him down. I failed that. 91.

DIRT:
No! No! You are not my friend. Nobody is.

[SFX: Thunder]

KEEPER:
Woods, you notice that Dirt also has some kind of a big book wrapped up in his arms. It says, “Briggs.”

WOODS [Out of Character]:
Like the Briggs girl? Who died?

KEEPER:
Perhaps.

WOODS:
Dirt, what do you have? Stop! Stop!

DIRT:
Nothing!

WOODS:
What do you have?

DIRT:
I’ve got nothing!

WOODS:
What is that?

DIRT:
It’s a book I found. I can’t read.

[SFX: Thunder]

DIRT:
My dad didn’t let me!

WOODS:
Okay, give it to me, Dirt. Give it to me!

DIRT:
Take it! I don’t care!
I just throw it at him. I’m gonna run back into the attic.

KEEPER:
You’re gonna climb back up over the corpse into the attic?

DIRT [Out of Character]:
Yes!

KEEPER:
As you do, you can hear behind you the creature. It says,

BAT CREATURE:
Friend? Noooo! Stay!

DIRT:
No, you’re not my friend anymore! I’m out of here! I thought you were my only friend but you betrayed me! Now you’re friends with everyone! I’m out of here! I’m gone. I’m already gone!

[SFX: Determined footsteps]

DIRT:
I’m in the ceiling. Goodbye.

KEEPER:
Chelsea, you can actually see a little tear forming in this bat creature’s eyes. And it buries its head in your shoulder.

BAT CREATURE:
[Sobbing]

CHELSEA:
I give it a sweet little kiss and I walk out of the room.

WOODS:
Ugh. Gross.

BAT CREATURE:
Friend!

[Music fades]

[SFX: Ominous roll of thunder]

WOODS:
I take the book.
Chelsea, come here!

[SFX: Heavy footsteps]

WOODS:
I’m gonna grab some candles and go into the room with the desk to check this thing out.

CHELSEA:
What is that, Tommy?

WOODS:
That little girl ghost I told you about?

CHELSEA:
The one who cries in the house?

WOODS:
Remember what her family’s name was?
I show her the cover of the book.

CHELSEA:
[Gasps]

WOODS:
Let’s see what horrible stuff is in here.

[SFX: Flipping through pages]

KEEPER:
Just inside the front cover you see the Briggs family tree. It ends with Johnathan, the father, Priscilla, the mother, and their little daughter, Donna Briggs, born in 1894. You see their family photos—

[SFX: Page turns]

KEEPER:
—going a ways back. And within a few pages—

[SFX: Page turns]

KEEPER:
—you see Donna as a baby, then as a little girl.

WOODS:
That’s her! Chelsea! The Briggs girl! Donna Briggs!

CHELSEA:
I don’t want to see!

WOODS:
They’re just photos, Chelsea.

KEEPER:
Well, they are just photos. And you feel disconnected from them at first. Until you see an image dated 1899 of the happy family standing in front of their new house. This house.

[SFX: Dramatic stinger]

KEEPER:
Immediately followed by an article about a missing child in 1900.

[SFX: Page turns]

WOODS:
“Donna Briggs, the eleven-year-old child of Miskatonic University library clerk Johnathan Briggs, was reported missing from her home in Uptown Arkham last week.” Oh, gosh!

KEPEPER:
As you flip to the pages beyond—

[SFX: Leafing through pages]

KEEPER:
—you see that this becomes sort of a scrapbook-journal. There are articles going back to before the Civil War and annotations written in a deft hand—perhaps Priscilla’s handwriting.

WOODS:
“I should’ve listened.”

[SFX: Low, rumbling thunder]

WOODS:
“But who heeds warnings of a curse in this day? Who suspects their daughter’s nightmares aren’t just imaginings? When the house moans, who says it’s anything but the wind? I think of every night I put her back in her room or scolded her. When now I’d give anything to hold her—”

[SFX: Thunder]

WOODS:
“—safe in our bed. The other night Johnathan and I swore we heard her voice, muffled as though she were trapped in the walls.”

CHELSEA:
Tommy, please, don’t!

WOODS:
But Chelsea there might be answers here! Some kind of clue. Something to get us out! These people, they were looking for answers!

CHELSEA:
Well, they didn’t stop people from dying here! We’re gonna get chopped up and sold for meat.

KEEPER:
You can’t help but look to your sister as she cradles that creature.

[SFX: Guttural chirping]

WOODS:
Ughhh. “The further we search in the archives the more tales we hear, the more it becomes clear this is no mere superstition. This is no coincidence or hysterics. We are not just grieving parents seeing our daughter calling out to us in the mirror! Something evil inhabits this house.”

[SFX: Thunder]

KEEPER:
And there’s an article, pinned next to that note.

[SFX: Rustling of paper]

WOODS:
“Dark Visions at the Barnaker House. Thursday night brought more screams and wild stories from the Barnaker House. Hillary Bleakman, apprentice dressmaker and renter reported hearing voices in empty rooms: infant-like wailing at night along with visions too strange to print. This comes after the previous owner took a two-month trip to the North Shore Asylum after reporting being watched and seeing lights in the yard at night. He could not be reached for comment. This is far from the first time that there has been strange reports coming out of this house. Local children and other vagrants are said to inhabit the place at times. It seems there will soon be a vacancy at this location.”

[SFX: Low rumble of thunder]

WOODS:
This has been going on for—since 1885. This—this—this article is from 1885.

KEEPER:
You flip ahead another—

[SFX: Pages turn]

KEEPER:
—page and you see dates, even earlier: a wedding announcement of Dr. William Barnaker and Evelyn Wyman from 1860. And then, two missing persons reports: Dr. Barnaker in 1861 and Mrs. Barnaker, nine years later.

WOODS:
The Barnaker House! It was their house!

[SFX: Crackling thunder]

WOODS:
“April 18th, 1870. Evelyn Barnaker, a benefactor of the French Hill Orphanage and widow of Dr. William Barnaker, is the subject of an ongoing missing persons investigation. It’s unclear how long Mrs. Barnaker has been gone. Police suspect months; perhaps another casualty of the past winter’s blizzards. She left no notice and no clues as to her whereabouts. Neighbors and family members note that she has been increasingly reclusive in the years since the similar disappearance of her husband nearly a decade prior. Mr. Barnaker’s sudden vanishing was the cause of some minor scandal at the time. However, no signs of foul play were discovered.”

[SFX: Page turns]

KEEPER:
Alongside these clippings there are several bullet-pointed notes.

WOODS:
“Called Black Widow Barnaker by neighborhood children…” Says that she’s a witch and ate her husband? “Missing children cases attributed to her: all rumors. Adults say he left her when she miscarried. Numbers of missing children increase after 1861 and persist after her disappearance.” Chelsea, we have to get out of this house.

CHELSEA:
How? Roger locked us in!

WOODS:
I don’t know, but we gotta get Joey—and I don’t know where Dirt has gone, but he’s gone and we got to get out of here.
[Out of Character]:
Is there anything else in this book? Can I flip to the end?

KEEPER:
The annotations get more sparse as it goes along. The last thing in this book before the notes stop is a page that appears to have been torn out of another book, a very old book.

[SFX: Brittle page rustles]

KEEPER:
And part of this has been underlined.

WOODS:
“A witch or any beast that consorts with the devil’s power will be caused grievous harm at the touch of iron or silver. That those measures do not suffice, there is no substitute but for the efficacy of flame.”

[Music fades]

KEEPER:
Joey, you have been looking everywhere for Roger.

JOEY:
I tried all the rooms upstairs. I went downstairs. I couldn’t find him anywhere. So I’m having a smoke in the parlor.
[Inhales sharply]
[Coughs]
Where the hell are you, man?

KEEPER
All around you is the sound of heavy rain and miserable, damp wetness.

JOEY [Out of Character]:
Well, there’s a fireplace in here, right?

KEEPER:
There is. And it’s still got the remnants of that raccoon corpse in it. But the flue is open now.

[SFX: Scraping thud]

JOEY:
I’ll kick that stinking shit aside. Anything I can burn in here?

KEEPER:
Plenty. There’s lot of wooden furniture. There’s a rolled-up carpet, drapes, even a couple books by the fireplace that look like someone might have been actually trying to use them to start a fire previously.

JOEY:
Nice. I’m gonna bust up a chair—

[SFX: Wood splintering]

JOEY:
—rip down some drapes—

[SFX: Ripping fabric]

JOEY:
—use some of those book pages—

[SFX: Wood splintering]

[SFX: Paper tearing]

JOEY:
—get something going. Maybe the commotion will get Roger’s attention.

KEEPER:
Well you have no trouble—

[SFX: Splintering wood]

KEEPER:
—bashing up this ruined and rickety Victorian furniture.

JOEY:
That’s more like it!

[SFX: Wooden beams hitting the floor]

JOEY:
This ain’t my first junk-fire, you know!

KEEPER:
With all the pieces assembled in the fireplace, you light up one of those—

[SFX: Flick of a lighter]

KEEPER:
—book pages.

JOEY:
It’s gonna be nice in here!

[SFX: Fire catches]

[SFX: Whoosh of flames]

KEEPER:
It catches and the drapes begin to smolder and burn.

[SFX: Crackling fire]

KEEPER:
The flame travels across the fabric a couple of inches. The pages crumple into blackened tissue and then suddenly—

[SFX: Conflagration]

KEEPER:
—the flame flares pink—

[SFX: Whooshing]

KEEPER:
—and just…disappears—

JOEY:
[Confused panting]

KEEPER:
—leaving nothing but stinking smoke behind.

JOEY:
What the fuck?

KEEPER:
Give me a Notice Stuff roll.

JOEY [Out of Character]:
47 out of 25. I don’t notice a damn thing!

KEEPER:
Yeah, so you are extra startled when you hear a pounding on the front door.

[SFX: Thudding knock]

JOEY:
Ahhh! Ahh! What the hell, Roger? You lock yourself outside, man?

[SFX: Thudding]

[SFX: Heavy splintering]

ACE:
Roger, I know you’re in there, you little bastard. Open this—

[SFX: Heavy thud]

ACE:
—goddamn door!

JOEY:
Who the hell is that?

[SFX: Furious knocking]

KEEPER:
The pounding turns into kicking—

ACE:
Roger?

KEEPER:
—and then all of a sudden—

[SFX: Heavy banging]

KEEPER:
—the door swings open—

[SFX: Crashing, banging]

KEEPER:
—and a figure comes tumbling—

[SFX: Wood splintering]

KEEPER:
—in with the door. It’s—

[SFX: Heavy rain]

KEEPER:
—Roger’s brother, Ace. His suit is soaked, clinging to his skin.

ACE:
[Laughs menacingly]

KEEPER:
And he looks furious.

[SFX: Measured footsteps]

JOEY:
Ace! Ace, hey, man.

ACE:
Shut the fuck up, you little brat.

JOEY:
Whoa, whoa, whoa! What’s with the hostility?

ACE:
Shut the fuck up! Get your ass out here, Roger.

ROGER:
[Laughs menacingly]

ACE:
This is no laughing matter. You’ve done it for the last time. You’re coming with me!

ROGER:
[Laughs manically]

ACE:
Even if I got to beat you to a bloody pulp!

JOEY:
I think he means business, Roger.

ROGER:
Oh, so do I!
I step out at the end of the hallway from behind the staircase.
I ain’t going anywhere, brother! So you’re just gonna have to come and get me.

ACE:
[Growls]

KEEPER:
Ace charges at you!

[SFX: Sprinting footsteps]

ROGER:
I charge back!

KEEPER:
Your bodies clash—

[SFX: Collision]

KEEPER:
—in a tight spot between the staircase and the hallway—

[SFX: Breaking glass]

[SFX: Scuffling]

ROGER & ACE:
[Grunting, growling]

KEEPER:
—smashing up against the banister. Ace is much bigger than you, Roger.

JOEY:
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! That’s your brother!

[SFX: Thudding]

[SFX: Banging]

JOEY:
What are you doing here, man?

ROGER:
He hits me! He’s always hit me.

I brandish the kitchen knife with a lightning flourish, swinging fiercely—

[SFX: Knife slashing through air]

ROGER:
—at my brother’s guts!

JOEY:
Oh, my God!

ROGER:
[Inhuman growling]

ACE:
What did you do to me, you fucking brat?

JOEY:
What the fuck?

ACE:
I’m gonna kill you!

ROGER:
Not tonight!

[SFX: Stabbing]

ROGER:
Never again, Ace!

JOEY:
Roger, you’re fucking crazy! Stop!

ROGER:
You are done for!

JOEY:
You’re stabbing your brother!

[SFX: Slashing]

[SFX: Blood spurting]

ACE:
Dammit!

KEEPER:
He stumbles back, dumbfounded.

[SFX: Blood spattering]

KEEPER:
Slumped out, bleeding all over the place.

ROGER:
[Laughs]

JOEY:
What the fuck, Roger?!

KEEPER:
Make a Sanity check.

ROGER:
[Laughs]

JOEY [Out of Character]:
I rolled a 21 out of 54. I’m good.

KEEPER:
Well, only as “good” as you can be under these circumstances because, holy fuck, you just watched Roger kill his brother. That just happened. And that’s not even the worst of it.

ROGER:
I look Joey dead in the eye, my face speckled with hot blood. And I hold the dripping knife out, pointing at him.
This is how the world works, Joey. You’re either the predator or the prey.

KEEPER:
As he’s pointing the knife at you, his arm is rippling. Something about him is just not right. And for a brief moment he smiles at you.

ROGER:
[Laughs]

KEEPER:
And you think you see a centipede crawling across his teeth.

[SFX: Skittering]

JOEY:
Oh, my God! What is happening to you, Roger?

ROGER:
[Laughs]

KEEPER:
Joey, behind you, the front door slams shut.

[SFX: Door slams shut]

JOEY:
[Panicked scream]

ROGER:
Get down to the basement. Through the kitchen! Now!

JOEY:
Look, look, look. This is going way too far—

ROGER:
Or you’re next!

JOEY:
What the fuck, Roger? If this is what it takes to be on top, man, fuck, show me where the bottom is!

ROGER:
Gladly.

[Tense music fades]

NARRATOR:
Don’t you just hate it when relatives come by unannounced?

Seems like Ace forgot the most important rule of trick or treating: a treat might be sweet, but don’t come knocking if you can’t handle the trick.

Now folks, I swear to you hear and now, upon this very microphone, that here at W*I*S* we’re all treats and no tricks. Case in point: all the marvelous treasures that await you, our beloved supporters, if you help us fund our next series on IndieGoGo.

“What’s that?” you may say with startled amazement, “the next series of The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program?”

“Why yes indeed,” I reply. It’s called “The Case of the Penumbral Gate” and if you love our show, or spooky roleplaying at large - we have such sights to show you. In fact, if you are currently in a safe place to do so, I’d like to entreat you, as I’m speaking - see, there’s “treats” again, I’m “entreating” you to go to cthulhumystery.com/crowdfund.

If you do so, you’ll be directed to our IndieGoGo campaign. Either this campaign will be up and running, or maybe it hasn’t started yet - If that’s the case, just input your e-mail address and you’ll be summoned, the moment that we pierce the veil.

The treasures that await you are many! Support our future series at any tier to access The Black Market - an exclusive emporium of eccentric ephemera!

There you’ll find items like hardcover editions of a Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying scenario based on our beloved series, “The Terrible Secret of Lot X”, written by Keeper Luke Stram and illustrated and expanded far beyond our original audio adventure. And if you’re the roleplaying sort, maybe you’d like to have our Keeper run a game for you! We’ve also got Wooden Red Herring Coins, for players who do a good job of chasing down bad leads.

Backers can become official members of our in-world organization, S.I.S.T.R.U.M. and get a welcome letter from Estelle and Anjana, or you can have tea with Estelle - oh, and did I mention that our beloved, sapphic occultists are back? In “The Case of the Penumbral Gate” you’ll go deeper into their world than ever and ride with them on their next reality-shaking investigation. But this case will never be solved without your help.

Again, that’s cthulhumystery.com/crowdfund to go to our IndieGoGo page and help us fund our next series, “The Case of the Penumbral Gate”

That’s all for looking to the future, let’s look to the present. We’ve got some love for “Night at Howling House” that I’m excited to share - it takes the form of a 5 star apple podcast review from Ben FYM from the US of A who said, “Incredible. The direction this show is headed for Howling House is truly impressive. It’s also the first ttrpg podcast I’ve heard that’s spoken knowledgeably about Thelema and even offered legitimate criticism of it.”

How’s that for refined taste! Thank you, Ben!

This complementary comment goes on to poke fun at prior negative reviews where we were called “woke”. Now, friends, I don’t know how much more clear we can be: this is a horror podcast.
If you don’t want to be kept up late at night contemplating humanity’s cruelty or our insignificance in the vastness of the cosmos, you’re listening to the wrong show! If this terrifying program doesn’t keep you “woke,” I don’t know what will - I haven’t slept for weeks.
[Sips coffee]
Now then, since things have heated up, let’s raise some hell. I’ve got for you a fiery performance by Height Keech - a storied rhymesmith from Baltimore. His coarse musical fusions fly like a rock through the window of any stodgy sensibilities you may yet possess, and his latest record, “Make Your Own Light”, will shake the dust from your rafters and get you ready to fight - all night, all night.

This is “Mind of the Pond”, by Height.

[Height: “Mind of the Pond”]

ANNOUNCER:
Thanks for listening to The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program!

This series is recorded and produced in Central Florida and Nashville, Tennessee on lands stolen from their Indigenous people: the Timucua and Seminole, and Yuchi, Chickasaw, Shawnee, and Cherokee, respectively.

Acknowledgement of the first peoples of these lands, and the lasting repercussions of colonization is just the beginning of the restorative work that is necessary. Through awareness, we can prompt allyship, action, and ultimately decolonization. For links to aid Indigenous efforts and to learn more about the first nations of the land where you live: visit cthulhumystery.com/landback

If you enjoy this podcast broadcast, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser and be sure to subscribe to our series via your favorite podcast player to get all the latest episodes.

This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the support of listeners like YOU and our incredible team of Patreon Producers:
Joe “Tank” Ricciardelli, MjolnirMK86, Sean Hutchinson, Sean T. Redd, Josh King, Patrick Webster, and Chris Cowan
And our Executive Patreon producers:
BigBadShadowMan, Marcus Larsson, Jaimeson LaLone, and Becky Scott Fairley

Join the team at Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia!

Episode 4 -  “Bad Brothers” - was written and performed by Luke Stram, Cat Blackard, Chris LeBrane, Manda Bruno, Brandon Gerson, and Colin Peterson, with additional scripting and story editing by Cat Blackard and performance by Zachary Fortais-Gomm.

Editing and mastering is by Executive Producers Colin Peterson and Cat Blackard. It’s Produced by John Sebastian La Valle and Jessica Mudd is Associate Producer.

Our original score is composed and performed by Ryan McQuinn and Mike McQuinn of Neon Dolphin - home for all your custom music needs and more. Neondolphinmusic.com.

The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program is proudly played using Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition. “Night at Howling House” is based on The Dare - a scenario by Kevin Ross with revisions by Bret Kramer, published by Sentinel Hill Press.

For full episode credits, transcripts, as well as character sheets and other supplemental material - visit CthulhuMystery.com.

All characters appearing are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

This has been The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program… Goodnight

[Music fades]

[Omniverse Audio Brand]