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EPISODE 1: TERROR COMES A-KNOCKING

What dark deeds unfold on the streets of Arkham? And which unwitting souls - innocent or impure - will succumb to the maddening call... OF CTHULHU?

 

As The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program emerges... screaming and swaddled in a blanket of horror - Steel your hearts for a macabre and delightfully sordid affair called… "The Black Birth".

Meet Sam; a cagey ex-Federal Agent, Deloras; the obsessive book dealer, Hank Jr.; a noble farmboy, Cyril; the smooth-talking jazz man, and Father Grandfather; a mad bible salesman. These five housemates of dubious moral fiber must band together to solve a murder most foul and risk their very sanity as their trail leads them into a realm of nightmares.

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
Doug Banks | Cap Blackard | Brandon Gerson | Kay | Ruel Knudson

 

Sound Design: Colin Peterson

Editing: Colin Peterson & Cap Blackard

Story Editing: Cap Blackard

Cast (In Order of Appearance):
Cap Blackard as The Narrator/ The Announcer
Cap Blackard as Cyril Bridgewater
Ruel Knudson as Sam Spade
Brandon Gerson as Father Grandfather
Doug Banks as Hank O’Brien Jr.
Kay as Deloras Delaney

Musical Spotlight: "Abernathy" by Chamber Band

Original Score: Ryan McQuinn and Mike McQuinn
Neon Dolphin - Bandcamp

‚Äč

Series I Album Art by Tony Baldini
 

TRANSCRIPT:

[Omniverse Audio Brand]

 

Announcer:

The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program contains content that may not be suitable for all ages - listener discretion is advised. 

 

Visit CthulhuMystery.com and head to Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia to join our community of fans and unlock further secrets.

 

[SFX: Radio static, the dial tunes until…]

 

Narrator:

Now folks, I don’t know about you - but when it’s this late at night there’s two things I love the most: a scary story and a good laugh. 

 

This evening, I’m delighted to introduce to you a radio play that offers both! It’s called The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program. I suppose I don’t need to tell you that this is an unusual show - but being an unholy marriage horror and hilarity is just the beginning. 

 

In this program our cast actually lives the terror - it’s an improvised audio drama that uses Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying game, and the wits of our players to weave these uncanny tales. But that’s just for starters, our crack team of sound designers and musicians make this much more than a game - this is a cinematic radio play where anything can happen and these poor souls never know what’s going to hit them. 

 

Now, take care - because the same can be said for you. This is a grim show at times, and we want to strongly caution you that in this first series of you’ll encounter grisly gore, violent misogyny, and psychological disorders caused by terrible abuse.

 

If that’s not your cup of tea, well, that’s easily solved. You see, each series of this program is a standalone story. So for a no less bone-chilling, but decidedly different tale of terror - that even further melds the realms of audio drama and actual play, consider setting your dial to our second series, "The Terrible Secret of Lot X". 

 

But for those of you sticking with us for this inaugural adventure… As The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program emerges... screaming into the airwaves, swaddled in a blanket of nightmares - Steel your hearts for a macabre and delightfully sordid affair called… "The Black Birth".

 

[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]

 

Narrator: 

Yes, slithering beneath the surface of this unassuming burg are horrors. True horrors, the likes of which the human mind dare not comprehend. But tonight, the five denizens of Big Momma’s Boarding House will find themselves thrown into a mystery that pits them face to face with these impossible terrors and at great risk of tumbling headlong into the gaping maw of madness. 

 

Announcer: 

Omniverse and the Pitch Black Coal Company bring you Part 1 of The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program. Tonight’s strange story: “Terror Comes A-Knocking.” 

 

Remember, friends, when you find yourself in the yawning void of endless night, without coal there wouldn’t be light. 

 

Pitch Black Coal harvests the purest high-grade anthracite deep within the bosom of the Cactus Mountains. Ask your coal man to darken your doorstep with a Pitch Black delivery. And now, let’s meet our cast. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

My name is Cyril Bridgewater. I’m a jazz singer. I was formerly the singer of Cyril and the Gramophones. We broke up. I’m in between acts right now, shopping around, and looking for a trombone player. Maybe a pianist. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

What are you laughing about? 

 

Sam Spade: 

My name is Sam. I used to work for the federal government. I don’t want to talk about that anymore. I don’t play the piano. 

 

Keeper: 

He used to play the trombone, but he’s a little rusty. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Father Grandfather: 

I’m Father Grandfather. Sixty years old. I’m from the country of Georgia, not the state. And I’m a Bible salesman for the Lord Baby Jesus Christ. Amen. God bless you, tell it on the mountain. 

 

Keeper: 

How long you been doing it, Father? 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Oh, about sixty-two years. I did it in the womb before I was born. Sixty-two years, I’ve been a Bible salesman. Before I was even born, God—the Baby Jesus was like, “Two years before you’re born, son, you’re going to be a Bible salesman.” And so in negative years, I was a great Bible salesman. 

 

Keeper: 

Before you were born, He knew you. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Well, He knows all. 

 

Keeper: 

Hank Jr. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

I’m Hank O’Brien Jr. I was born in a small place called Red Bird, Oklahoma when my family was on their way to Tulsa. I guess I’m here at the boarding house now because our crop went bad a long time ago. Me and my sister were sent off to live with our aunt and uncle. She went off to New York and I was still here with my aunt. I’m trying to find a job, so I came here and I’m staying at the boarding house looking for a job. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Deloras Delaney. I’m a book dealer. 

 

Keeper: 

Any interesting books? 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

None. I actually partake in all of the non-interesting books. My favorite are the most boring.

 

Keeper: 

Ah. A Study of Beige

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Yes. 

 

Keeper: 

A four-part series. Volume Three was captivating. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Yes. Especially when they talked about the khaki selection. Oh, my goodness! 

 

[SFX: Jazz music plays on an old record player.]

 

Keeper: 

All of you in Ma’s Boarding House, you guys have all come here for your various reasons, but you guys aren’t the only ones there. There’s a—a lady who’s been here for a time, too. Some of you have gotten to know her fairly well. I mean, inasmuch as, you know, she’s polite and you guys have nice, little talks every once in awhile. She goes by the name of Hannah Pickering. 

She’s young, you know, maybe in her early twenties. She’s slim. Long, blond hair, you know, not exactly in the bob-cut fashion. She’s a little behind the times pretty apparently, but in your times, she’s a little shy and kind of avoids looking at people. One thing you guys have noticed is she kind of walks with a bit of a limp, favoring her right leg. Her left shoulder is a little bit higher than the right shoulder. All in all, she’s very quiet, very demure, but recently in the last few weeks, you guys have kind of noticed she’s been acting a little bit strangely. By and large, she’s been a lot more irritable. I would make a Spot Hidden check. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Which are we rolling? A hundred? 

 

Keeper: 

Yeah. A d100. 

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

I rolled a 38 out of 80. 

 

Keeper: Okay. Well—

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I got a three hundred. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

79.

 

Keeper: 

Agent Spade. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Yes. 

 

Keeper: 

You’ve got a trained eye for this kind of thing and—

 

Sam Spade: 

Yes, I do. 

 

Keeper:

 —one thing you’ve noticed recently is it looks like she’s put on a little bit of weight. Doesn’t seem to have really been, you know, in the face or anywhere, just kind of around the midsection. 

 

Sam Spade: 

She done got knocked up. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Committed sin. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Keeper: 

So your suspicion is that’s probably happened. But, you know, she’s definitely not willing to talk about anything like that. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

I have another question. Is it—I mean, how did she get the limp or…? I mean, was she abused? She’s quiet, she has a limp, she’s…

 

Keeper: 

Well, usually in engaging things, she tends to avoid talking about herself a lot. Like, she’ll talk about—about her work. Apparently, she’s some sort of a typist. By and large, pretty superficial about things. She’s very polite. She doesn’t like to talk about any personal issues, and having interviewed plenty of people in your time, you get a sense that you probably wouldn’t be able to even push her on that too much… So for the sake of politeness with your fellow boarding housemate, you don’t ask. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Oh, yes I do! No... you’re right. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Perhaps she needs a Bible that I may sell her. 

 

Keeper: 

One day, she seems quite a bit worse off than normal. Laughter strained, kind of a really painfully forced grin. You know, being a bit concerned about her since you’ve already got your suspicions, you know, you ask her, kind of, what’s up. And she dismisses that she has anything wrong. She heads out that evening. 

[SFX: Door opening.]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

I follow her. 

 

[SFX: Door slams shut.]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Creepily. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

When can we interject? 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

I stalked. 

 

Keeper: 

Well, that’s what I was about to say. She heads out that evening and you guys are all tired from your various things, you know, selling Bibles. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Reading my extensive, twelve-book whatever they call those. Anthologies. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

You’re a book expert? 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Yes. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Father Grandfather: 

“I read those things that have words.” 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

I have a lot of education, not so much intelligence. 

 

Keeper: 

She was looking up the anthology to see what it was in that other thing, you know, that book that has all the words in it. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

My extensive eighteen-book anthology about anthologies. 

 

Keeper: 

Exactly. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

What you have to remember is she is a book dealer. That’s more of a, sort of a collector, money-exchange kind of thing, you know? Bound Gold, if you will. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Opens the Encyclopedia. 

A: “Anthology. Oh, a collection of knowledge. Okay.” 

 

Keeper: 

Well, Father Grandfather. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Yes, Sir? 

 

Keeper: 

That evening, way, way, way late into the evening, about three A.M., so much that I guess it’s early the next day, you get a knock on the door of your bedroom.

 

[SFX: Knock at the door.]

 

Father Grandfather: 

Alright, I’m getting my bullwhip out. 

Who’s at the door? I got my bullwhip. Whip. My bullwhip. 

 

Ma: 

It’s Ma. Someone’s here to see you. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Ma? Who dat? 

 

Ma: 

Your landlord. 

 

Hank O’Brien, Jr  [Out of Character]: 

You’re at Ma’s Boarding House. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Oh, I mean—yeah. I’ll be right there. I open the door. 

 

[SFX: Door opening.]

 

Keeper: 

You open the door and Ma’s standing there in her—in a nightgown. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Hit in the face with the bullwhip! 

 

Keeper: 

Okay. Roll your bullwhip. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

1d3. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater  [Out of Character]: 

So that’s how it’s going to be, huh? 

 

Keeper: 

She’s not dodging it, so, she doesn’t know this is coming. She’s totally by surprise. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Four. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay, so—

 

[SFX: Bullwhip cracks.]

 

Keeper: 

—you lash open the front of Ma’s face with your bullwhip and blood is pouring everywhere. The police officer standing right next to her is almost too shocked to respond. Ma shouts in a peal of agony—

 

[SFX: Agonized cries.]

 

Keeper:

 —and the rest of you all hear this. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

It was an accident, Officer. My hand slipped. She’s a woman. You know, I put her in her place and all. She obviously sinned. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr [Out of Character]: 

It was an accident. It’s like—and then, Your Honor, before he opened the door, I heard him say, “Hold on, I’m getting my bullwhip.” And then he opened the door.

 

Father Grandfather: 

Sir, I said, “I have my bullwhip,” and when I opened the door, I intend that whoever I say that to is going to get hit in the face with a bullwhip. I said I was getting my bullwhip. 

 

Keeper: 

The uniformed police officer draws his pistol. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

I’m outside in the hallway with my .38, like—

 

Keeper: 

You come out into the hallway, brandishing your firearm?

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.  [Out of Character]:

In your boxers, covered in hearts. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I have a ninety-nine percent Persuasion. Can I persuade this officer to let me go because she’s just a whacked-out, crazy broad who probably deserved it? 

She’s a whacked-out, crazy dame, Officer. 

 

Keeper: 

We’ll give you half of your ninety-nine percent because this is kind of a ludicrous lie. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Alright. So am I rolling? 

 

Keeper: 

Yes. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I got a seventy-seven. 

 

Keeper: 

So, now normally, if perhaps she was, like, “a whacked-out dame”, even though you, you know—

 

Father Grandfather: 

Whacked-out, crazy broad!

 

Keeper: 

—assaulted her, you’d have a chance, but this is your landlord, and she’s a respected member of the community. The police officer doesn’t seem to be buying it, but at this time, Agent Spade comes out. You’ve got your pistol out. They don’t—none of these people see you because you’ve just come out into the hall. The cop right now, he’s got his gun drawn, he’s focused entirely on Father Grandfather and the profusely bleeding Ma. 

 

Sam Spade: 

I put my gun away and I go back to bed. 

 

Keeper: 

Cops are handling it? 

 

Sam Spade: 

Nothing to do here. I knew he was crazy. 

 

Keeper: 

I’m guessing the rest of you guys peek your head out and see this tragic scene? 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Yeah, I, you know, just peek through the keyhole, can’t see anything. Keep, you know, keep my head low, stay out of trouble. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Too much excitement for me. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay. Doors open and then close as people see what’s going on. 

 

[SFX: Doors open and close.]

 

Father Grandfather: 

What have I done? 

 

Keeper: 

Hank Jr., you can interject here. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

I would’ve—if I—if I see he’s holding a whip, her face is bloody, and the cop is there, I’m just not—I’m not going to do anything. I’ll close my door. 

 

[SFX: Door closes.]

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

And just—yeah. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

What the fuck have I done? Why can’t I take it back? I stand by my convictions, so WWJD.

 

Keeper: 

The police sergeant, you know, he draws his gun. I don’t know if you want to proceed to compound this by, you know, assaulting a police officer as well. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

How—how likely am I to use my garrote wire against the police officer before he fires me with his gun? Fires at me? 

 

Keeper: 

Well, he has it ready and he’s kind of—

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]: 

Murder a police officer? 

 

Keeper: 

—fumbling at it right now. So if you want to lunge at him, you’re certainly welcome to. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

You know what? No, I’ll back off. 

 

Keeper: 

But you’ve got the bullwhip in your hand. So—

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

What’s going to happen to me if I don’t stop him? 

 

Keeper: 

Well— 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Let’s find out!

 

Keeper: 

—he is a police officer, so he’s probably going to do what police officers do. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Beat you down. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Oh, no. I’m going to have to get my garrote wire out of this Bible here and stop the police officer. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]: 

What kind of Bible salesman are you? 

 

Keeper: 

Roll your Fast Talk. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Okay. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]: 

What kind of Bible salesman has a garrote wire? 

 

Keeper: 

Didn’t he also say he has dynamite? 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

You don’t want me to roll my Fast Talk. It’s at five percent. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]: 

Yeah, we want you to. 

 

Keeper: 

That’s fine. I mean, basically, you’re just trying to buy time to, like, get your garrote wire out. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Alright, alright. I’ll Fast Talk. 

 

Keeper: 

To like, to distract—

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Thirty-four. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay. Out of your five. So—

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

That’s twenty-nine more than I needed. 

 

Keeper:

 —you’re like, “Now, don’t worry, Mr. Police Officer. All I’m doing is opening my Bible, which has a garrote wire in it, which is—Ah. I’ve said too much.” Basically—

 

Father Grandfather:

Selling Bibles is a dangerous business. You never know who’s trying to steal your merchandise. 

 

Keeper: 

Yeah. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

These are holy artifacts. I had to give the woman what-for. 

 

Keeper: 

As you’re reaching forward, trying to talk him down, he draws his gun, he points it at you, and he’s like:

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Uh, I’m gonna need you to set those things down right now. 

Father Grandfather: 

Alright, Sir. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Now, turn around—

 

Father Grandfather: 

I’m a sixty-year-old man. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Turn around. Up against the wall. Hands behind your back!

 

Father Grandfather: 

Oh, I like this. 

 

[SFX: Handcuffs.]

 

Keeper: 

You comply, as he proceeds to handcuff you. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

What? Damn it! 

 

Keeper: 

Unless you’re going to fight him. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Well, I have a pipe bomb. 

 

[Cast laughs]

 

Keeper: 

I mean, it’s probably not with you. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

What happens to me if he arrests me? 

 

Keeper: 

Roll your Luck. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

What are you doing with a pipe bomb?

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]: 

Sell Bibles! 

 

Keeper: 

Luck’s a percentile. It’s up on the top right. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

“I’m going to try to set off a pipe bomb. Then I’ll give up.” Is he going to be, like, a Winchester family Bible salesman? 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

My Luck is thirty-five. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay. Go for it. This is just to see whether you got the pipe bomb on you. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I got a zero!

 

Keeper: 

Zero—double zero? 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Yeah. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay. That’s a hundred. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

What? Nooooo! 

 

Keeper: 

You left your pipe bomb in Georgia. So your pipe bomb, unfortunately, isn’t with you, but it is out in plain sight on the bed. You were cradling it. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

I hate my life. Sir. 

 

Keeper: 

The sergeant doesn’t seem to have the noticed the pipe bomb. He’s a little distracted by the distraught woman and you. And proceeds to handcuff you. He walks you over, sets you on the couch in the—in the den. At this time, Ma, she’s shuffled off to attempt to bandage her now permanently-scarred face. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

That’s what you get for being in the house of sin. Like all women. 

 

Keeper: 

The cop says: 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Uh, I don’t think this is going to be your house too much longer. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Sir, I sell Bibles. I’m a good man. Obviously, I’m a good man. I’m selling the Word of the Lord. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

A good man, huh? Well—

 

Father Grandfather: 

You ask her what she done. I bet she deserved it. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Well, Sir, where were you earlier tonight? 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Look, I’m from the country of Georgia. I just got off the boat. We do things differently there. I don’t know how it works in Wherever-I-am-Land. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Yeah, well, I’m just interested to know, Sir, where were you earlier tonight? This evening? 

 

Father Grandfather: 

I was in my room. And then this lady showed up, and I said, “I have my bullwhip.” And then- you were there. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Anything you say can and will be used against you. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

I warned her. If you tell someone you’ve got a bullwhip, why they gonna still try to get in? I said I’m coming to the door. I’ll get it. Whack! I’m sixty. I ain’t got time for games. You lock me up, I’m going to be a dead man when I get out. 

 

Keeper: 

He leaves—

 

Father Grandfather: 

I’ve got Bibles to sell to pay for what I’ve been doing in the past. 

 

Keeper:

He leaves you on the couch for a moment, makes his way briefly into the kitchen to check on Ma. Makes his way over to the other doors with a cup of tea in one hand. He’s knocking on the doors, each in turn.

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Looking at me, so I guess—I guess you just came—he’s coming to my door?

 

Keeper: 

Yeah. He knocks on your door first. 

 

[SFX: Knock at the door.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Well, I put my various materials away real quick under the mattress and—

 

[SFX: Door opens.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

 —I look out and I say:

Oh, good evening Officer. Is there—there was some trouble I overheard, but I was—is Ma alright? I heard a scream.

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

I’m afraid not. Would you mind coming out for a moment? I just need to ask you and your housemates some questions. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Oh, of course! Of course. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Before we do, guy down the hall, Bible salesman guy. Have you seen him around the—around the place tonight? Has he been here? 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Well, I don’t recall hearing him come—leave or come back. I think he—I think he’s kind of a shut-in, really. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Okay. Okay, thanks. Now, come on out. I appreciate it. 

 

Keeper: 

He proceeds to go around to each of you in turn. You guys all pretty much get the same thing. Next, you know, Hank, he comes up to you, knocks on your door. 

 

[SFX: Knock at the door.]

 

Keeper: 

Asks you pretty much the same thing.

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Hey, that Bible salesman. Has he been around here tonight?

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

Uh, I didn’t get back in till late so I don’t know. I mean, do you need me to come downstairs? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Yeah, yeah. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

Alright. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

If you don’t mind. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

I’ll do that. 

 

Keeper: 

And when he gets over to you, Agent Spade—

 

[SFX: Knock at door.]

 

Keeper: 

Make a Psychology roll. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Yeah, no, I missed that. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay. That’s okay. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

I missed that by a little bit. 

 

Keeper: 

That’s okay. I mean, you can tell this guy’s a little visibly shaken. Whatever he’s been doing on his beat has been—it’s been a bad night. But, I mean, you can’t get too much outside of that. But you get pretty much the same set of questions, you know? 

 

Sergeant Spalding:

Hey, have you seen the Bible Salesman? Has he been around? 

 

Sam Spade: 

I tell him everything I know from what I’ve observed about him. 44/85. 

 

Keeper: 

Is this, like, a Persuade, to…? 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

No, it’s just—everything I’ve spotted about him, everything that’s coming to me right now. I just “blehhh.” 

 

Keeper: 

Okay, you give him a remarkably level-headed assessment of Father Grandfather. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

You’re going down!

 

Keeper: 

But although he’s an unreliable character in many ways and is a little touchy, to say the least, your descriptions actually seem to kind of take away some of his suspicions a little bit. Why he’s suspicious, nobody knows. Yeah, he comes around next to you, our good book-dealer. 

 

[SFX: Knock at the door.]

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Ma’am, I’m sorry to wake you. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Oh, I don’t sleep. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Oh, oh, well that’s—

 

Deloras Delaney: 

So you’re fine. It’s completely okay. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

That’s fortuitous. I’m Sergeant Dennis Spalding. Ma’am, would you mind coming downstairs, please? 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Sure, what for? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

I’d just like to speak to your—all of your housemates together, see if I can gather some information about an investigation. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

It won’t be too rousing, will it? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

I’m sorry to say that it may be. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Oh, my. Well, I suppose I’ll have to take one for the team. 

Button up my nightgown. What do they call the—? 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]: 

Why are you in a nightgown if you don’t sleep? 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

Well, to be prepared in case I pass out. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

You can put a nightgown on and just walk around. They’re comfortable. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

I don’t choose these things. But I did. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

She’s a sinner. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]: 

Tell me, what was your name? 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

Deloras. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]: 

Deloras, thank you. Are you an attractive woman?

 

[Cast laughs]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

“I’m blind, you see.”

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

Well, my character sheet…where does it tell me if I’m attractive? 

 

Keeper: 

Up here. Appearance. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

I’m eleven. 

 

Keeper: 

She is fair. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

That’s all you need to know. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]:

I’m an eight. Average. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]: 

I, too, am an eleven. You know—

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

You know, together, we could make a twenty-two. 

 

Keeper: 

Or 1-1-1-1.

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]: 

Just assessing the situation. Thank you. 

 

Keeper: 

So you guys all make your way down there. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Do I make my way down, or am I still handcuffed? 

 

Keeper: 

Yeah, you’re still there where he, you know, seated—unless you’ve run away in the meantime. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

No, but can I make sure that under my coat I have some of my devices somehow? Like, can I grab the paint bomb on my way out? 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Pretty sure you would’ve been frisked. 

 

Keeper: 

Well, I mean, yeah, yeah, he kind of frisked you. Well, I mean, he didn’t frisk you that heavily, but—

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

What about a dynamite stick in my shoe? 

 

Keeper:

—he did walk you down there. Okay, so you’ve got your—you’ve got your lucky dynamite. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Yeah. 

 

Keeper: 

Lighting it may be a trick with your hands cuffed. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Or stepping on it might kaboom! 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

 It’s not the dynamite from Lost.

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Yes, they were and then they were—

 

Hank O’Brien, Jr. [Out of Character]: 

No, because, like, if it was just—doesn’t he have to just light it? Like, he—unless it gets wet. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

No, they’re made with glycerine. 

 

Hank O’Brien, Jr. [Out of Character]:  

But I mean, it needs to get wet, and get old, and then explode. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]: 

But it’s not like the dynamite from Lost where they have to be super careful carrying it. 

 

Keeper: 

Well, mind you, if he’s had that in his, like, trunk for forty years…

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Who knows what the thing is like now. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

It’s my trump card. My final trump card. 

 

Keeper: 

So, yeah, you guys all make your way down and Father Grandfather is currently handcuffed. As you guys walk past his room, there’s a splash of blood on the floor. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Makes me hungry. 

 

Keeper: 

Yeah, he seems pretty calm, though. I mean, as things go. Not too long after you guys have all been gathered together, Sergeant Spalding makes his way out, greets the lot of you and says:

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Thank you all for getting up. I appreciate it. I understand it’s late. I have some bad news. It seems that your housemate, Hannah Pickering, has been murdered. 

 

[SFX: Dramatic stinger.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

The nice blond girl? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Yes, yes. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Probably the father. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

The guy on the couch? 

 

Sam Spade: 

No, no, she was pregnant. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

She was…?

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

So the Father is the father. 

Father Grandfather: 

Were they married?

If they weren’t married, then she probably got what she deserved. 

 

Keeper: 

The sergeant asks you, he says:

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

So you think she was pregnant? That’s good to know. Do you happen to know who the father was?

 

Sam Spade: 

No. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Oh, okay. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

That nice girl, she seemed like she was coming undone, Officer. Something wasn’t right what her. Been that way recently. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

But you guys haven’t noticed anything specific, just generalities, possibly a father-child situation. That’s good to know, I definitely appreciate it. Any of you guys know anything else, please, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

 

Keeper: 

And he hands out a business card. His hand is shaking ever so slightly when he holds it out. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Sir, can I take these handcuffs off? I promise I won’t hit no one what deserve it no more. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

I’ll take the card from the officer. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Where was she found? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

On the outskirts of town. 

 

Sam Spade: 

How’d it happen? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Right now, we’re just trying to gather as much information as we can so we can figure out what’s going on. But if you have more input or anything, please don’t hesitate to stop by the station or give me a call. As for you, Sir—

 

Father Grandfather: 

Sir, I’ll behave. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Don’t trust him! 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Sir, I’m a good, honest man. I sell Bibles for a living. I’m from the country of Georgia. I have immunity. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Well, we’re going to bring you down to the station, book you, and then it’s going to be up to Ma whether or not she wants to press charges. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Oh, God, I got to get out of this mess. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

What did he do to Ma? 

 

Keeper: 

And about this time, Ma comes out, she’s got her own cup of tea, and her face is all covered in blood. One hand, she’s got her teacup, but the other hand is basically just a big rag that she seems to be mopping up a surprising amount of blood from from some sort of head wound. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

I kick the teacup out of her hand. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay, so—

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

She got me arrested. 

 

Sam Spade: 

I’ll go to the kitchen, get a steak, and I’ll put that on her head. 

 

Keeper: 

She can barely see anything, and she’s coming out, you know, she’s got this thing on her face. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I’m going to jail. I don’t care. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

I’m going to pin this son of a bitch against the wall. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay, what’s your Agility? Or Dexterity, sorry. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

My Dexterity is fifteen. 

 

Keeper: 

What’s your Dexterity? 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]: 

Eleven. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I’m a fast old coot. 

 

Keeper: 

See, that old coot is fast. And by the time you get up out of your chair to go after him, he’s already launched a kick at her. Make a Kick roll, double scale. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

How do I make a Kick roll? 

 

Keeper: 

Down at the bottom. It’s a percentage. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Oh. Twenty-five. 

 

Keeper: 

So you’ve got a fifty percent chance to kick this thing out of her hand. 

 

[SFX: Dice roll.]

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Sixteen. 

 

Keeper: 

Sixteen. Okay. You mightily kick that thing. 

 

[SFX: Teacup shatters.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

I still pin him up against the wall. 

 

Keeper: 

Yeah, and they—the teacup goes flying. You follow after, grab on to him. You’re getting him from behind. I’m just going to give this to you. So you pin his ass up against the wall.

 

[SFX: Scuffle.]

 

Keeper: 

And she—Ma—has gone hurtling back into the kitchen. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

That’s what you get. 

 

Keeper: 

Kicked by the force of his mighty blow. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

I’ll slam his head against the wall. Stay the fuck down, you crazy son of a bitch! 

 

[SFX: Scuffle.]

 

Father Grandfather: 

I got the strength of Jesus. You can’t pin me for long. These handcuffs won’t stop me. Did it Samson? No. 

 

Keeper: 

And as you’re pinning him, the good sergeant, Sergeant Spalding, comes up and proceeds to truncheon the Bible salesman into unconsciousness. 

 

[SFX: Baton beating.]

 

Father Grandfather: 

Oh, God. 

 

Sam Spade: 

During this, I go into the kitchen, into the icebox—

 

[SFX: Refrigerator opens. Bottles clinking.]

 

Sam Spade:

—find a steak or something cold and go put it on the old lady’s head. Go back and light my pipe. 

 

[SFX: Match strike.]

 

Hank O’Brien, Jr.: 

Yeah, I want to help her to the couch to sit down. 

 

Keeper: 

Ma is very appreciative. 

 

Ma: 

You boys are so nice. I don’t—I don’t know what came over Father. Thank you so much.

 

Deloras Delaney: 

I’ll go in and make her another—another cup of tea. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Can I do anything to stop the guy from, like, beating the shit out of me? 

 

Keeper: 

What do you want to do? I mean, you’re being held by another guy. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]: 

You could stop being a nutcase. 

 

Keeper: 

I mean, if you want to struggle out of it, that’s an option. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I’m going to pretend I’m having a stroke. 

 

Keeper: Okay. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Because I’m sixty. 

 

Keeper: 

May have one for real. When he beats you. Roll your Persuade. Oh this is actually probably ninety-nine percent?

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Ninety-nine. 

 

Keeper: 

Yeah, okay. 

 

Keeper: 

So, yeah, you’re holding this guy down—

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Yeah, I got it. 

 

Keeper: 

—there, Cyril, and all of a sudden, he strokes out on you. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Wiggly son of a bitch!

 

Father Grandfather: 

I’m stroking out. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

I just assume he’s, you know, fighting me, so I’m just going to, you know, move this pin against the wall to pin against the floor. 

 

[SFX: Scuffle intensifies.]

 

Cyril Bridgwater: 

Put him, you know, slam him down a bit more. I don’t—I don’t—frankly, I don’t care what happens to him. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

I’m out of stuff. I’m having a stroke, that’s all I know. 

 

Keeper: 

So he’s stroking out and being pinned to the ground by Cyril who slowly chokes him into unconsciousness. 

 

Father Grandfather: 

Nooooo!

 

Hank O’Brien, Jr. [Out of Character]: 

You’re a hero, Good Sir. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]: 

Well, someone had to do it, right? This old man’s crazy. He needs to be put down.

 

Keeper: 

And Ma, after picking herself up, and, you know, sipping her tea, goes in and proceeds to call the authorities to come and address the situation. 

 

[SFX: Sirens.]

 

Keeper: 

It’s not long before another squad car has arrived to carry off Father Grandfather. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

This game should be called Call of, like, the Bible Salesman. 

 

Keeper: 

And so, yeah, he’s carried off. Sergeant Spalding is incredibly apologetic to the lot of you, and especially to Ma, and actually offers to drive her to the hospital himself. I mean, unless you guys have anything, he’s going to leave, let you guys sleep, and go get Ma stitched up. 

 

Sam Spade:

I want to go with him, just to make sure that, you know, Father Grandfather doesn’t break out of prison. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

Isn’t he unconscious at this point? 

 

Sam Spade: 

I want to take the opportunity to kind of talk up the cop because he’s obviously shaken. It can’t be the first time he’s seen something bad, but—

 

Keeper: 

Yeah, yeah. 

 

Sam Spade: 

—outskirts of town, won’t give a lot of details in a room full of people, probably because there’s women. And we got one woman, we’re going to take her to the hospital and then when we’re separated from her, we’re going to chum it up. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay. Okay. 

 

[SFX: Sirens.]

 

Keeper: 

So, Ma gets taken to the hospital, she gets stitched up. Outside of that, you speak with the detective and—or, sorry, the sergeant, rather: Sergeant Spalding. And he tells you:

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

It was ugly. She was found all ripped up. Like, I’m talking Jack the Ripper bad. Out on the outskirts of town, out by the dump. 

 

Sam Spade: 

What would she be doing out by the dump? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

That’s what I was coming to find out from you guys. If—I mean, you guys are, you know, her housemates. If anybody would know anything, I figure it would be you. 

 

Sam Spade: 

So you don’t think it was an animal. It was—

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Maybe. Right now, we don’t think so, but nobody’s really sure. Tomorrow, we’re going to check in with her jobs, see if anybody knows anything there, but right now, you guys are our, you know, first leads. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

So I got to walk back? That sucks. 

 

Keeper: 

Well no, he’s going to drive you back. 

 

[SFX: Car doors slam. Engine starts.]

 

Sam Spade: 

So out by the dump, don’t even know if it’s an animal or not. Who’s out there with the body now? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Well, right now, I mean, they’re out there cleaning it up. They’ve got a detective on the case. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Federal or local? 

 

Sergeant Spalding:

Local, local, local. Detective Hardin. He’s the one they put in charge. 

 

Sam Spade: 

And he’s out there now? 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

I think so, yeah. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Let me have the keys for your car. 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Listen—

 

Sam Spade: 

I’m an agent. I’m a federal agent. I can help.

 

Keeper: 

You gonna show him your expired badge? 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

I didn’t bring my badge. It’s back in the room. I was coming here to help out. Persuading. 

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Wow, I bombed that one. 

 

Keeper: He’s like: 

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Listen, things have already gone a little tits-up so far. I’ve already got one of my potential witnesses in the hospital with a lacerated face. Another one is currently in custody. You know, I’d appreciate it if you want to check into it, look into it further tomorrow, you know, we certainly would appreciate the help. Just—but, yeah. I don’t think I can give you the squad car. 

 

[SFX: Tires on gravel.]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Ah, it was worth it. 

 

Keeper: 

He actually pulls to the side of the road, writes out a number on the back of one of his business cards, and he says:

 

Sergeant Spalding: 

Listen, this is Detective—Detective Hardin. He’s a good guy. I’ll tell him you’re looking to—looking to see what you can do to help and he’ll definitely be able to, you know, do a little more. If anything, he’ll probably swing by tomorrow. 

 

Sam Spade: 

Oh, then that makes it easier. I don’t have to go anywhere. Okay, then, yeah. Take me back to the boardinghouse. 

 

Keeper: 

So he drops you back off at Ma’s. 

 

[SFX: Tires squeal. Car peels out.]

 

Keeper: 

Everybody else, I’m guessing, is going to get some sleep. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

Compulsively making tea. 

 

Keeper: 

Ten sets of tea around for four people. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

My guy’s definitely asleep. 

 

Sam Spade: 

I take a cup of tea, and add a little whiskey, go back up to the room. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

I’ve had some of Ms. Delaney’s tea, and smoke a cigarette on the porch, and going back to bed. Say goodnight to Ms. Delaney. Goodnight, Ms. Delaney. 

 

Deloras Delaney: 

You wish it was a good night, Sir. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater: 

Well, I’ll see you in the morning. 

 

Keeper: 

Certainly can’t get worse. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character - to Cyril]: 

I feel like you’re Lando Calrissian. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

Right? 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]: 

Yeah. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.: 

I’ll make my way back upstairs, and I’ll just be like, that cigarette he was smoking smelled funny. 

 

[Outro Music]

 

Narrator: 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this first installment of our story. And if so, please consider rating and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts and Podchaser, as well as subscribing to our series via your favorite podcast player - so you never miss an episode or update. 

 

You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook @CthulhuMystery - We have so many chilling stories to share. 

 

Now, it’s late and no doubt your bones have been sufficiently chilled by this evening’s show, so how about some music to ease the nerves?

 

I’ve got something quite special. This is a world premiere, folks. Hot off the presses. A brand new tune from Chamber Band. The latest longplayer is called Careers, and I’m sure they have a bright one ahead of them. 

 

Won’t you join me now in listening to this lovely, little tune? Again, a world premiere here on WIS. This is Chamber Band with “Abernathy.” 

 

[Chamber Band: “Abernathy”]

 

Announcer: 

Thanks for listening to The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program

 

If you enjoy our aural entertainment, 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.

 

Episode 1 - "Terror Comes A-Knocking" - was written and performed by Luke Stram, Cap Blackard, Doug Banks, Kay, Brandon Gerson, and Ruel Knudson - and is based on the Call of Cthulhu module “Behold the Mother” from Dead Reckonings, published by Chaosium Incorporated. 

 

The series is edited and produced by Colin Peterson and Cap Blackard and the 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.

 

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

 

This program is made possible by the support of listeners like YOU. Join us at Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia

 

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]

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