EPISODE 8: BEHOLD, THE MOTHER!

The quest to solve one murder has become much more than our investigators could ever have imagined.

 

In the occultist squalor of the Hetfield estate, Father Grandfather stumbled upon a plot to conjure forth The Mother of Pus – a horrifying being beyond the realm of human comprehension. There, in that rotting house, a demon spawn struck; and was dealt with by the Father's own brand of fiery justice.

 

Baffled by the inexplicable horrors they've born witness to, Sam, Hank, Deloras and Cyril return to Arkham tasked with no less than trying to foil the coming end times. 

Content Warning: Putrescence, vomiting, violence, gore, psychological trauma, self harm, suicide, murder, pet death

Call of Cthulhu Series 1 The Black Birth

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

 

Sound Design: Colin Peterson

Editing: Colin Peterson & Cat Blackard

Story Editing: Cat Blackard

Cast:

Doug Banks as Hank O’Brien Jr.

Cat Blackard as Cyril Bridgewater

Brandon Gerson as Father Grandfather

Kay as Deloras Delaney

Ruel Knudson as Sam Spade

Cat Blackard as The Narrator/The Announcer

Additional Voices by Jessica Uelman

 


Musical Spotlight: "The Carpet Crawlers" by Ramblin' Randolph Carter

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

Series I Album Art by Tony Baldini
 

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS:

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.
 
[Intro Music]
 
Gruff Voice:
Do you hear that?
 
[SFX: Echoing wail.]
 
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!
 
Announcer:
Top Hat Cigarettes brings you Part 8 of The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program. Tonight’s strange story: “Behold, The Mother!”
 
At the crossroads of glitz and glamor, the only cigarette that satisfies playboys and stars alike is Top Hat brand!
 
In fact, actors, athletes, and models all share the same secret to staying young and vivacious. That’s right—it’s Top Hat Cigarettes! Our premium tobacco blend and unique cold ammonia process ensures that every puff is a pleasure while simultaneously strengthening your lungs and fighting over-indulgence.
 
Just ask Olympic medal-winner and world record holder Corrina Osipowich!
 
Corrina Osipowich:
We swimmers have to keep in strict training. When I first started, a veteran swimmer advised me that smoking Top Hat would help strengthen my breathing. I tried them and found he was right. They’re great! And they help to curb my insatiable sweet tooth. I doubt I could’ve made the gold without them!
 
Announcer:
With Top Hat Cigarettes, you can win the race and trim your waist! Whenever you’re tempted, just reach for a Top Hat!
 
Narrator:
The quest to solve one murder has ended in more death. While investigating the occultist squalor of the Hetfield estate, Father Grandfather stumbled upon a plot to conjure forth The Mother of Pus: a horrifying being beyond the realm of human comprehension.

There, in that rotting house, he came face to face with a demon spawn, and saved his housemates with his own brand of fiery justice. Baffled by the unexplainable horrors they’d borne witness to, Sam, Hank, Deloras, and Cyril return to Arkham tasked with no less than trying to foil the coming end times.

[Intro Music: Somber, meditative piano melody.]

[SFX: Rainstorm and rolling thunder.]

[SFX: A car engine.]

Keeper:
You guys drive back to Arkham. By then it’s late as fuck and you guys don’t really know what you’re doing, so I’m guessing you guys are going to kind of, like, read over everything in a panic, try to figure out what’s happening. Our intrepid book dealer, Deloras, is going to go back to the library.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Sure. I’ll cross-reference them!

Keeper:
Okay.

[SFX: Car door opens. Car door slams shut.]

Keeper:
You read through some creepy damn books, cross-referencing it.

Deloras Delaney:
An extract from De Vermiis Mysteriis:

“Watch not the stalkers, nor seek to know the spawn of the woods, for the tainted wellspring which gives them birth cares not for the intruder. Mark well what fate befell Orpheus when the daughters of Dionysus came upon him deep in the woods.

The Black Goat of the Woods spawns and spawns again, but there shall come a time when her spawn shall come from a human womb: two who were one, and the child of those children shall be the Mother of Pus, and all the world shall tremble beneath her hooves, She Who is the Ender of Ages.”

An extract from The Book of Eibon:

“Time is not constant, nor is the future unchangeable. I have seen the coming of the Daemon Sultan’s Seed, and also the day the oceans vomit forth the citadels of the Elder Ones, when the stars shift in their patterns and the dead live again.

I have seen the empire of Atlantae, not yet born, fall to the reign of years, and those kingdoms which wax and wane in her shadow: serpent-hunted Stygia, Aquilonia, Aegypt, and Rome.

Mark well what I have seen, for these are the signs of the Last Days, which foretell the return of Those Who Dream and Die Not: the Slouch of the Beast, the Rising of Corpse City, the Hot Kiss of the Mother of Pus, the Return of the Harbinger and Maker, and the End of All Songs.”

Keeper:
So after a day of reading all of these terrible prophecies, now that you’ve seen signs that they may be true, you lose six points of Sanity.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Good thing I have, like, a thousand points of Sanity!

Keeper:
Deloras, you find some information about the children of Shub-Niggurath, known as the Dark Young of the Woods. Apparently, you have found something for calling them forth from the woods and binding them to your everlasting will.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Oh! That sounds handy.

Keeper:
Apparently it requires the sacrifice of a rather large-sized animal.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Hmm…

Keeper:
Like, deer.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Would the animals in the yard have looked, like, big enough for that?

Keeper:
Didn’t look like that. No.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
But there were plenty of them.

Keeper:
Yeah. From what you read, it needs to be more of a ritual sacrifice, not so much eating and killing random things.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Killing—okay. You know, we should summon one of these.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
You bind something to you? You are likewise tied to it as well.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Oh.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
It’s like handcuffs. You cuff one person to you, you’re also cuffing yourself to that person.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
If we can—

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Maybe she already did it. Was there a description of them?

Keeper:
Well, one—oh, well, supposedly—they’re kind of very vague in terms of the descriptions of them. Supposedly they are the trees that move and hunters of flesh. They grow forth from her teats to feed upon the lesser races.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Oh. Holy—!

Keeper:
One thing you know, though, and everything you’ve read about this: if this had happened, this whole “Mother of Pus” thing, you’d probably know about it because this is—if any of those prophecies are true, this is something that would be instantly recognizable.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Yeah.

Keeper:
We’re talking, like, you know, mass suicides, cats and dogs living together, total anarchy.

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

Keeper:
So you guys—yeah, cross-referencing everything. I’m guessing you’re going to spend some time, Cyril, and are you going to try to learn that song?

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Yeah, man, if I feel like I can do something with it, it’s—I mean, because it’s nagging me. It’s like—it’s like itching like cockroaches in my brain. I’ve been trying to, you know, take a couple pills—

Keeper:
Okay.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
—to make it go away, but it’s just—it’s kind of—

Keeper:
So you spend all day with it.

Cyril Bridgewater:
[Sings“Shub-Niggurath” in the style of scat music.] Man. Goddamn!

Keeper:
And you’re noticing there’s just something missing. Like, it feels like the universe is eating away at your brain.

Cyril Bridgewater:
[Snaps fingers. Mutters syllables under breath.]

Keeper:
Roll d10. One of those.

[Dice roll.]

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
I roll a 2.

Keeper:
Lose two points of Sanity as you try to wrap your mind around this impossible song. So meanwhile, the rest of you guys have all spent pretty much all of the day trying to figure out what this means.

Sam Spade:
I am going to Father’s room and looking for valuables.

[SFX: Lock clicks.]

Keeper:
Okay.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
I am building an arsenal.

Keeper:
You find a bullwhip.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Don’t want that!

Keeper:
Outside of that, you find a pipe bomb—

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
No, I do! Taking it.

Keeper:
—and a garrote wire.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
That could be useful. Okay.

Keeper:
And it looks like he’s actually built a pre-made Molotov cocktail kit.

[SFX: Clinking of glass.]

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Oh! I have a bottle of corn liquor.

Keeper:
Like—well, there’s actually, like, one of the Bibles, a big-ass, heavy Bible is cored-out. Inside is what looks like probably a bottle of moonshine, and then a prayer rag, and a lighter.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Okay.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
It’s already ready already.

[SFX: Glass clinking.]

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Yeah, I’m going to duplicate that with my own bottle of liquor that I got from—

Keeper:
Okay.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Now I have two Molotov cocktails, bomb, garrote, and a bullwhip. It sounds like a party!

Keeper:
So you guys spend the day preparing in your various ways. Hank Jr., you up to anything? You just going to clean your rifle—

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Well, like, I probably went up—

Keeper:
—and contemplate your life choices?

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
—yeah. I probably went up with Sam to check for more arsenal stuff but, You feel comfortable handling the bomb, sir, then I’ll just take care of my own stuff. But I can’t even begin to read any of that—that gobbledygook.

Cyril Bridgewater:
So are we all in agreement that horrible monster baby hatched out of Hannah and it is some kind of prelude to her mom doing a ritual that’s going to bring the end of the world. Shub-Niggurath Iä. Iä. Right?

Keeper:
As you read over the notes again, you—like, looking over it, suddenly something kind of clicks for you. You realize when you guys spent—had a long day and it’s hard to tell, but when you notice she says something about going back to Arkham, that she was going to go somewhere amid all of the “offal and decay,” and two of you, Hank and Agent Spade remember a place full of offal and decay.

[SFX: Dramatic stinger.]

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

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Well, you know, he’s got a bunch of that boom-boom juice, so we’ll head that way.

Keeper:
Yeah, it’s—by now it’s late at night on the 17th.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Yeah. So we’re heading over there.

Cyril Bridgewater:
Time is a’wasting. Look, you guys got any guns? For me?

Sam Spade:
Yeah. No, no. No. Sorry.

Cyril Bridgewater:
Alright. See you later.

Sam Spade:
But I have pipe bombs, and Molotov cocktails, garrote, and a bullwhip.

Deloras Delaney:
Because those are less dangerous than guns!

Cyril Bridgewater:
I’m going to find a length of pipe and I’m going to take the pipe bombs—

Keeper:
Okay.

Cyril Bridgewater:
—and the bullwhip—

Keeper:
Okay!

Cyril Bridgewater:
—and I guess we’re going out to the dump.

[Music: upbeat ragtime.]

[SFX: Boardinghouse door slams. Car doors slam. Engine starts up and idles.]

Keeper:
So you guys drive out there in Ms. Delaney’s delightful automobile.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Lo-la!

Keeper:
By the time you guys get out there, it’s probably around 10:30 or so, getting pretty late. You guys have kind of spent a lot of time trying to figure out what’s happening before you could realize where or when.

[SFX: Engine cuts off.]

[SFX: Birds cawing.]

Keeper:
You think maybe there may have been something that may have hinted at that.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
This is where she was found. Like, not too far from the dump anyway.

[SFX: Car doors open.]

Keeper:
That’s correct.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
So maybe she was on her way—

[SFX: Car doors slam.]

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
—to the dump.

[SFX: Car door opens. Car door slams shut.]

Sam Spade:
The only place that thing would’ve gone to hide would’ve been inside that pit. We walked the—

[SFX: Flies buzzing.]

Sam Spade:
—dump and didn’t find any signs of anything, so.

Keeper:
Well, as you guys make your way out to the dump—I’m guessing you guys are just going to drive the car straight out there, or…?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
We’re going to get fairly close.

Keeper:
And then you’re going to walk there? Sneaky?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
It’s not as close—no, no, no. That’s no point.

Keeper:
Okay.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
They would’ve heard the car coming.

Keeper:
Okay. So you drive the car out, hooting and hollering, pull up in front of the dump. There’s the—again, there’s the area that is fenced-off. To the side of that is the groundskeeper’s cottage, and then a little south of that is this big, nasty pit. For those of you who were here before, it stinks worse than usual.

Sam Spade:
Okay, first thing I want to do, I’m going to light my pipe—

[SFX: Match strike.]

Keeper:
Okay.

Sam Spade:
—and I’m going to throw the pipe into the pit.

Keeper:
Okay. I mean, you’re pretty far away. It’s a big pit, so you hurl it out there and it makes a little splash—

[SFX: Splash.]

Keeper:
—and then there’s a much, much, much bigger splash.

[SFX: Bigger splash.]

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Is that a pipe or a pipe bomb?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
That was a pipe. I want to see if the—if there was gasoline, oil, some things, I guess, in the water.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Got you.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
If it was, whoosh! If not, then I didn’t waste a pipe bomb or a Molotov cocktail. Or a Model A.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
You’re not…. You’re not pushin’ Lola in that pit…

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
But a bigger splash…

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
You mean “bigger splash!”

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

Keeper:
Like a dolphin, but there’s no way a dolphin could be in that pool.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Ew!

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

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Okay, so we have a couple of options.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Trash dolphin.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Yeah—

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
How long is that whip and how deep is that pit?

Keeper:
The pit’s big. I mean, it’s, you know, it’s hundreds of feet across. Like, I mean, it’s, you know, probably about two football fields long.

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

Sam Spade:
I have an excellent idea. There’s a farmer up the road with a telephone. And we call the police and we say that we found another dead body inside of this thing and we think the killer is hiding in here, and they come here with a bunch of guns.

Deloras Delaney:
We could just blow it up, too.

Sam Spade:
I don’t know that a pipe bomb is going to be big enough to blow that up.

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Two football fields, yeah.

Keeper:
Everybody roll a Listen check.

[Dice roll.]

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
I failed that with a hundred.

Keeper:
Awesome.

Hank O’Brien Jr.[Out of Character]:
I don’t know what—my Listen’s at 25 percent. What does that mean?

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
My listen is 74 and I rolled an 89.

Keeper:
Okay. So you fail.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
I failed.

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

Keeper:
You failed? You made it, though, with a 3 out of 25? Okay, so, they’re all busy arguing and you’ve been kind of quiet generally in the whole thing as—you know, doing your farmhand thing and you’re kind of standing back, and you hear noise—

[SFX: Chanting, fluty-sounding female voice.]

Keeper:
—coming from down near the pit, down near the water line. You can’t tell exactly where it is because there’s a lot of echo bouncing around, but it actually reminds you a lot of hearing Cyril sing that terrible song. But it’s not really—it’s not as sing-songy. It’s more of—kind of a faint chant. You can barely make it out.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Okay, I’ll be like, Hush! Hush, ya’ll! Because I’m going to try and tell them as quickly and quietly as possible. Like, Y’all got to shut up! I hear something. Listen! Listen! I’m going to try and get them to listen.

Keeper:
Yeah, you guys all silence and you guys can faintly hear it as well. Something down—something down by the pit. It’s a—sounds like a female voice.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
I’m going to look through the scope of my rifle and start scanning, trying to see what I can see.

Mysterious Voice:
[Indistinguishable, unsettling chanting.]

Sam Spade:
I think it wants a duet!

Cyril Bridgewater:
Most times I’d oblige a duet, but I mean, I think we should just blow it up. I mean, ain’t no good come from those words. I’ve—it’s like ants in my brain.

Sam Spade:
Alright. Throw a pipe bomb down there. Let’s blow it up.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Should I—well, should I—can I try—if I’m looking with my rifle, can I try a Spot Hidden, see if I see where it’s coming from?

Keeper:
Yeah, go ahead.

[Dice roll.]

Keeper:
I mean, it’s dark out though, so.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Yeah, I guess—yeah. It’s tough. Alright.

Keeper:
I mean, you probably want to get closer but, you know, if—chances are, with your arguing,  whoever’s down there probably heard you. Because you didn’t hear the chanting start up until the rest of the group is arguing.

Cyril Bridgewater:
Okay. I’m going to come up all smiling and waving. Hey, Hillary! Praise Shub-Niggurath! Iä!

Keeper:
As you say that, you hear a counterpoint of a wailed:

Hillary Hetfield:
Shub-Niggurath! Iä!

Keeper:
And as that happens, there is a terrible—

[SFX: Violent crack of thunder.]

Keeper:
—peal of lighting across the sky. Lighting usually isn’t green. Pretty quickly, you guys hear—see strange clouds kind of forming and racing, covering the moon over the area. A chill wind blows and all of a sudden, coming out of the wind from the west of you guys is a sickening reek of just rot and body odor.

[SFX: Vortex of wind.]

Keeper:
And all of a sudden, kind of blowing out of almost, like, nothing, you just see, you know, papers and things flying from that end of the dump. And then growing from nowhere is a massive, gaseous form that congeals into a rotting, bulbous entity of some kind covered in mouths, and hooves, and claws.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
How big is it?

Keeper:
As this giant drooling shape—it looks like something out of a nightmare and it only grows larger, spewing slime out of different orifices.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Is it coming out of the sky? Or coming out of the pit?

Keeper:
Neither. It’s kind of coming from the west, kind of towards the pit, almost out of nowhere. As this thing congeals into existence, everybody roll Sanity.

[Dice roll.]

Keeper:
This one’s fun.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
29.

Keeper:
Is that a make?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
That is a make.

Keeper:
You lose d10 Sanity.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Holy shit!

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
I rolled—

Keeper:
This thing, by the way, is approximately the size of a skyscraper.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Fun! I rolled a 40 out of 46.

Keeper:
Oh! So you made it. So, d10. How’d you do, Bookworm?

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
I got 58 out of 68.

Keeper:
Ah, you made it! So, d10.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Yep.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
I made it so, I guess, d10?

Keeper:
Yep.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
What would’ve happened if we failed?

Keeper:
D100.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Holy shit!

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
I got a—a 0 is 10, right?

Keeper:
Yes, that is 10, so you are temporarily insane.

Cyril Bridgewater:
Shub-Niggurath! Iä, Iä, Iä!

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
[Makes a gun noise, miming blowing Cyril’s brains out.]

Keeper:
Okay, so he begins chanting in elation and—

Cyril Bridgewater:
[Screams nonsense syllables.]

Keeper:
—Agent Spade reaches out and—

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
No, no, no, no, no. That’s not in character. That’s just a joke.

Keeper:
Okay, so did anybody else lose five Hit—or, 5 Sanity or more?

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
I lost 7.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
I lost 5.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
I lost 5 exactly.

Keeper:
Oh! So everybody is temporarily insane in some fashion, so let’s go around and explain what’s going through your mind right now. Hank Jr.?

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
She’s, like, the size of a skyscraper and everything?

Keeper:
Yeah.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
I just—I guess I would either freak and out and just, like, fall to the ground and just be staring in horror or I would probably just pass out.

Keeper:
Okay, it’s nap time for the farm boy. Cyril, you’ve been reading about this. That’s the Black Goat! That is Shub-Niggurath herself!

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Yeah… [laughing] Yes, it is!

Keeper:
You’re destined for a duet with her. You suddenly realize that’s what this is about. Speaking of which, all of you guys have lost 5 points or more, you guys automatically gain 5 Cthulhu Mythos from the knowledge that only insanity can reveal.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
So, like, by gaining we’re subtracting 99?

Keeper:
Yeah. I mean, that’s usually not relevant for your max. So, yeah, this is who you were going to be singing with. I don’t know if you want to embrace her...?

Cyril Bridgewater:
I’ve been a caged bird pent-up with all my talents wasted on no-good band members who just didn’t understand my art! And here is the Black Goat, Queen of Pus and of the entire world and I’m going to sing, I’m going to sing! And I’m going to take all my pills and I’m going to sing!

Sam Spade:
Now I shoot him.

Keeper:
Okay so I’m guessing then, Agent Spade, you’re going into a homicidal mania?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
No, it’s not homicidal. That’s pretty cold and calculating.

Keeper:
Well, you’re not calculating at this point.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
You lost your Sanity.

 


Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Your Sanity as well.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
I’m desperate!

Keeper:
So desperate you’re just going to run at it and fire?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
No, no. I’m going to fire at him.

Keeper:
Okay.

Cyril Bridgewater:
Shub-Niggurath! Iä, Iä, Iä!

Keeper:
Okay, so—

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
That would be why.

Keeper:
Okay, so you’re going to just shoot him relentlessly and then eat his body.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
What?

Keeper:
You’re insane! Come on, man. Give me some insanity! What are you doing to him that’s insane?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Oh. I got a garrote.

Keeper:
Okay. So you’re going to try—

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
I don’t want him to sing. Is that—the singing—

Keeper:
You’re holding the gun out.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Okay, then, yeah, I’ll shoot him.

Cyril Bridgewater:
Foaming at the mouth from pills. Pipe bomb as my microphone.

Keeper:
Okay, next is—so, how are you doing, Ms. Delaney?

Deloras Delaney:
I will rip out a chunk of my hair and shove it in my ears so that I cannot hear that singing anymore.

Keeper:
Wow, that’s good. Suddenly things are a little quieter. You’re feeling better. Safer. But you think maybe the one thing that would be better than hair would be if blood were in your ears. For some reason, that makes sense.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
I can make blood happen in my ears.

Keeper:
Yeah. Yeah, that feels right. That feels right.

Deloras Delaney:
Pulls out little baby Derringer.

Keeper:
Okay, so again as Shub-Niggurath appeared, or just before she appeared, rather, Hillary Hetfield hopped up from behind her hiding place to exult her dark god. What are you guys up to? Singing away?

Cyril Bridgewater:
Singing. Singing my heart out!

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Is she singing, too?

Keeper:
Well, she has just kind of finished her adulation. Looks like she’s starting to sing. What type of song are you doing? Are you singing to stop this or to make it happen?

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
I assume Hillary—Hillary is singing to make it happen.

Keeper:
You’re a better singer than her. You can tell.

Cyril Bridgewater:
I am. I’m going to sing the best version of those crazy words that have been burning a hole in the back of my skull. And to get them out, I’m going to make the burning stop.

Keeper:
Well, the version that she’s singing is harder to do. That’s better technically. But the one you’ve been practicing—

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Flair!

Keeper:
—is all about making everything better, making everything chill. But it doesn’t quite have the artistic flair.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
She lacks the artistry is what you’re saying.

Keeper:
Yeah.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Right. Right.

Keeper:
Are you going to sing her version of the song or are you going to sing the version you’ve been practicing?

Cyril Bridgewater:
I’m going to sing the version in my heart.

Keeper:
Okay. So you sing away. Roll your Sing.

[Dice roll.]

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
Got a 92. My Singing is 88.

Keeper:
Okay. So you’re kind of catching on the words, you’re having a little bit of performance anxiety, and then all of a sudden, a gun barrel is placed against your head. Agent Spade!

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
What do I got to roll?

Keeper:
Roll double Skill real quick because we want to see if you Impale and, like, you know, shoot him in the brainstem as opposed to maybe the dump.

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Shove the gun through his head and then shoot.

Keeper:
So, yeah, roll double your Pistol skill.

[Dice roll.]

Keeper:
So, 80? So, 160. What’d you get?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
43.

Keeper:
Okay. 32. So you shoot him—

[SFX: .38 pistol fires.]

Keeper:
—but you’re having trouble holding it straight because everything you believed is a lie and you graze the side of his head for—what was it, 3 Damage?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Yeah.

Keeper [to Cyril]:
So yeah, you’ve got a bloody head wound, but you’re able to keep singing.

Cyril Bridgewater:
I don’t even feel it. I took so many pills!

Keeper:
So, Ms. Delaney, what are you up to?

Deloras Delaney:
I have my Derringer in my ears because I’m going to blow out the sound.

Keeper:
Okay. Are you making that happen or are you just—

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
I’m going to make that happen!

Keeper:
Okay. So—

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
Because why not?

Keeper:
You don’t need to roll. You know where to put it.

[SFX: Derringer fires.]

Keeper:
You put it right through your ear and the singing goes away, and you feel better. And now, Hank, you’re having a terrible dream. Your skin is erupting in sores and you’re drowning in your own pus. Meanwhile, Cyril, you’re singing your heart out again. Make another Sing roll.

[Dice roll.]

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
63 out of 88.

Keeper:
So this entire time, Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods, this giant entity, has been singing in harmony with Ms. Hetfield and all of sudden, you kind of hit your stride, and you notice slightly that all of a sudden, all of that singing changes, and it’s now singing in harmony with you.

Cyril Bridgewater:
Yes! Yes!

Keeper:
Agent Spade!

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Alright, I have control of my actions now, or…?

Keeper:
No, you’re still insane.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
I’m still insane?

Keeper:
What kind of gun do you have? Got a .38?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Yeah.

Keeper:
Okay. Take two shots.

[Dice roll.]

Keeper:
Remember, double skill again, so—32 or better is an Impale.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Okay. Alright, well then, I did kind of fail.

Keeper:
Okay. Fail.

[Dice roll.]

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
3 points. 8 points.

Keeper:
So, 8, 9, 10, 11 Damage more to Cyril who is shot repeatedly in the head—

[SFX: Sharp gunshots.]

Keeper:
—and I’m guessing is probably deep into dead at this point.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
What is that?

Keeper:
Off your Hit Points.

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
I’m at 9, so that was—yeah. Not so good now.

Keeper:
So Cyril sings away, and with his—make a Luck roll.

[Dice roll.]

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:
34 out of 55.

Keeper:
Okay. So with a—with your last, dying breath, the pitch squeals even higher in Shub-Niggurath’s singing and then all of a sudden—

[SFX: Rapid, repeated gunshots.]

Cyril Bridgewater:
[Singing rises and suddenly stops.]

Keeper:
—everything goes black for you as, for some reason, you’re unable to think anymore because your brain is no longer intact. Now, the last person conscious: Agent Spade. He’s dead, but he’s still responsible for this—

[SFX: Gunshots.]

Keeper:
—so you continue to pump your bullets into him. As you do—

[SFX: Gunshots.]

Keeper:
—you hear a howling of:

Hillary Hetfield:
Noooooooo! My child!

Keeper:
As Ms. Hetfield screams madly. All of a sudden, you turn your head and you see, rising from the putrid pit of water, in the middle of the dump, a massive tentacled beast. Roll Sanity.

[Dice roll.]

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
It’s not going to go well! 6!

Keeper:
Okay. So you made it, so that’s not terrible. You lose 6 Sanity. At this point, I mean, you’re already pretty insane, but that’s—so that doesn’t really bother you all much. And this giant creature that has just risen up from the water—this mass of flailing tentacles and mouths—grows larger, and larger, and larger until it bursts—

[SFX: Loud, wet splash.]

Keeper:
—in a puddle of reeking putrescence. Ms. Hetfield howls in anguish. Shub-Niggurath’s singing cuts away and the Black Goat slowly begins to evaporate into nothingness. You begin to come to your senses as this happens, and you look around. Two of your cohorts are dead and an additional one seems to be unconscious on the ground. Your gun is empty. Ms. Hetfield is charging up the dump towards you, howling in anger.

Sam Spade:
I pick up his rifle.

Keeper:
Okay. Taking up the rifle, taking aim at her?

Sam Spade:
Nope, I’m just keeping it ready, though. I’m waiting for her—I’m not that good with a rifle, so I’m going to wait till she gets as close as possible—

Keeper:
Okay. You pick up that rifle and as she’s running at you, she stops, and then dives behind a Model T: an old, rusted-out Model T. And then begins to howl and chant.

Hillary Hetfield:
[“Shub-Niggurath” chant.]

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Molotov cocktail. Lighter.

Keeper:
Make a Throw skill.

Sam Spade:
Oh, I’ll just walk up and toss it right onto the car.

Keeper:
Oh, you walk towards it?

Sam Spade:
I just walk up to it—

Keeper:
Okay.

Sam Spade:
—toss it right at the car—

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
She’s not—doesn’t have a weapon, right? Is like—

Keeper:
As you walk down towards her, she gets up from behind the car and goes:

Hillary Hetfield:
Shub-Niggurath! Iä!

Keeper:
And points at you and—go ahead and roll that Molotov cocktail. You’re right next to her, so double skill.

[Dice Roll.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
95.

Keeper:
Okay. So you hurl the Molotov cocktail and she moves her head a little and it splashes behind her.

[SFX: Tinkle of breaking glass. Flames crackling.]

Keeper:
All of a sudden, your skin is itching terribly. And you look down, and you’ve got all these red welts on you that are growing larger and larger. Looks like they’re beginning to burst open, oozing blood and pus. What are you up to now?

Sam Spade:
I’m going to take this bitch down with me. I’m just going to drag her and tackle her right into the fire.

Keeper:
Okay. Okay. So you grab her and then tackle—going to tackle her back? Make a Grapple roll.

[Dice roll.]

Keeper:
25 is the base. I’m going to give you double, though, because she is old and is kind of concentrated on—

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
32.

Keeper:
Okay, so you grab her and you tackle her backwards. All of a sudden, as you grab her and tackle her into the fire, your wounds are just streaming pus, and it’s so disgusting you find yourself just vomiting all over her face—

[SFX: Projectile vomiting.]

Keeper:
—as she screams obscenities at you. And then pretty quickly, the two of you land in the splashed-out pool of flaming, high-proof alcohol and both of you guys go up in flames. Her, just burning to death. You, burning as all of your organs liquefy and pour out of your skin.

Sam Spade:
Ahhhhhhh!

Keeper:
Hank Jr., you awake. Cyril’s lying next to you, dead of multiple gunshot wounds.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Aw, shit! That’s all I can think—it’s, like, giant monster, terrible nightmare, wake up, friend is dead.

Keeper:
Deloras Delaney is dead as well. She’s got one wound to the head and is gripping a Derringer in her hand.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
I try to reach for my rifle, but it’s not there.

Keeper:
Roll Sanity. Everyone you know in town is dead.

[Dice roll.]

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
34 out of 74.

Keeper:
Okay, you take it pretty well despite, you know, other things. Eventually, you look around and you see there’s a burning, little inferno over near the pit, and looking over, there are two bodies in it roasting away.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Embraced.

Keeper:
Yeah.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
And I’m going to—at that point, I’m going to take my wood ax which has been tied to me, like, on a, like—

Keeper:
Yeah, yeah. Around your back?

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
So I’m just going to get that, and I guess I—do I see my rifle?

Keeper:
Yeah, you see it over by the burning bodies.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Is it, like, in the fire?

Keeper:
No, it’s to the—

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Alright. Hank’s going to—Hank’s going to very carefully be looking at everything. Everything is suspect, everything is completely crazy, but he’s going to carefully approach, keeping the wood ax ready and try and grab that rifle, eyes constantly in fear looking around.

Keeper:
You grab it and from the burning clothes, you recognize one of the bodies in the fire as Agent Sam Spade.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
I just go, Oh, Sam! What’d you do?

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Tell my story, brother!

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Alright, and I check the chamber, and I’m ready.

Keeper:
Hasn’t been fired much, so—you look around, everything’s eerily quiet.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Do I? I don’t know. I didn’t see anything happen. Literally, world is ending, nightmare, and now I’m here. I don’t know—I don’t know if I’m the only person on the earth left alive? I don’t know anything. What’s the pool doing?

Keeper:
It stinks terribly: death and feces. It’s absolutely awful.

 

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

Keeper:
It’s every terrible smell combined.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Where—do I see the pipe bomb?

Keeper:
Looking around, going back up near the other bodies of your friends, you see it lying to the side of Cyril.

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

Keeper:
Looks like he was gripping it in one hand.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Okay. I’m going to get that. For sure.

Keeper:
Okay.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
I’m going to—his lighter, matches, whatever, ready to get this—just so I’m ready. I just want to be ready for anything—

Keeper:
Yeah. Yeah.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
—because I literally don’t know anything that’s happened.

Keeper:
Yeah, you grab out a lighter.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Okay. So I got that.

Keeper:
So you got the lighter in one hand, pipe bomb in the other.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Alright. I remember that Sam threw his pipe in, so I’m going to try and get, like, any piece of junk—

[SFX: Metal ringing.]

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
—and throw it in there, just to see if any—if there’s any reaction. See what happens.

Keeper:
Doesn’t seem to be. You throw it in and there’s a nice, placid splash.

[SFX: Splashing.]

Keeper:
Looking around—as you wander around looking at things a little more closely, it’s dark, trying to figure out what’s going on, you see there are corpses of animals all around this place. Like, it looks like they’ve all just died around the water’s edge.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Y’all put me in an awkward situation.

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
So sorry we saved the world and everything!

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
No, no, no, it’s—I’m afraid to just walk away if there’s something still here, but—

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:
Just hold the pipe bomb out and just say, “Secrets, out!” and drop it.

Keeper:
Basically, looking over—

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
So what I think I’m going to do, just to be safe, because I don’t know—

Keeper:
Well, I mean, looking at Spade’s body again, you notice the body that he’s embraced with looks like it was probably used to be a woman.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Right. And I knew I heard a woman saying the chant and everything else. So what I’m going to do, just to be safe is, I’m just going to light the pipe bomb, toss it in the pool of all that pus and craziness, and run for cover!

Keeper:
Okay!

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
And see what happens.

Keeper:
You hurl it in there and, I mean, it’s a big pool so it’s not a problem. Well, I will make you roll. See if—see if this unreliable preacher’s pipe bomb doesn’t just go off and kill you.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
So this is just to—this is just to see if it even just goes—

Keeper:
Yeah. See if you get a hundred.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Son of a bitch is going—I’m going to roll a hundred and it’s going to all be that preacher’s fault. Or that—yeah.

[Dice roll.]

[SFX: Fuse is lit.]

Keeper:
Yeah, okay, so you’re fine. You hurl that pipe bomb into the water, and it goes off, and there’s a nice splash.

[SFX: Splash.]

Keeper:
A couple of—

[SFX: Muted explosion.]

Keeper:
—dead animal bodies are hurled out of the water—

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

Keeper:
—but that’s it.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Then I’m going to walk out of the dump to that farmer’s place, knock on his door, and get on the phone, and call the authorities.

Keeper:
You just throw his door open, make the call—

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
No, I mean, I’m going to knock and see if he answers, and if he doesn’t answer then I’m going in anyways. So, either way…

Keeper:
You knock—

[SFX: Tentative knock at door.]

Keeper:
—he answers the door sobbing—

[SFX: Door opens.]

Keeper:
—is like:

Montgomery Ryder:
My dog’s gone. I don’t know what happened to it. You okay, man? Can I help you?

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
I say, I ain’t got time to explain. But something awful’s happened and I need to use your phone. Please step aside. And I go in. And I make the call.

[SFX: Creaky door slam shut.]

Keeper:
You look very purposeful and he’s not willing to challenge you.

[SFX: Rotary telephone dialing.]

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
And I mean, I’m going to—whoever picks it up, I’m just going to tell them—just tell them they need to get down here and explain—I’ll explain it all when they get here. I just tell them that there’s been—three people—there’s four people dead and it’s all by the dump—

Keeper:
Okay.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
—and there’s been shots fired, and just, I tell them—I don’t tell them anything crazy. I tell them, you know—

Keeper:
Okay. Yeah. Well, you—

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
—to get them down there.

[SFX: Police sirens.]

Keeper:
Cops show up.

[SFX: Tires crunching on gravel. Car doors slam.]

Keeper:
Cops take you away and put you in jail because you—all of your known associates are dead of gunshot wounds and immolation, so it looks pretty bad. Also, apparently, they find out that one of your associates also stole a mail truck and then appeared to have killed himself in some sort of explosion in a town not too far away.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
I’ll tell them—I’ll tell them straight-up everything that happened, or at least everything that I saw.

Keeper:
Well, you’re pretty sure you’ve managed to stop the spawn, as you sit in jail, so you feel nice and contented as they—

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Now, do I have a court date?

Keeper:
Well, they are trying you with the murder of four people. Five—

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Why—why am I being charged with murder?

Keeper:
Because all of these people were killed and you were carrying a rifle.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
I suppose, but I think it’s pretty obvious that one has a rifle full of bullets that hasn’t been fired and it’s a different caliber weapon. Even a farmhand knows that. Plus, I believe that I got some good credit in good standing with the people of Arkham.

Keeper:
Make a Credit roll. Rating roll.

[Dice roll.]

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Aw, piss! That’s the highest roll I’ve done tonight, basically. No. No good.

Keeper:
That’s not—

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
That’s out of 70.

Country Lawyer:
Don’t worry, Son, I may be a simple country lawyer, but I can get you off. Listen, we’re just going to say you did it and that you’re sorry. It’s going to be fine.

Keeper:
And this guy—this guy, he knows what he’s talking about: he’s a lawyer, so you trust him. And—

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
I mean, I got no way to argue.

Keeper:
—and that’s when you go to the penitentiary. But it’s okay, because on the inside, you know. You know that you stopped the end of the world.

Hank O’Brien Jr.:
Yeah. I mean—as long as I know, it’s like, Hey, look, I know shit.

Keeper:
Eventually they release you on a mistrial, but it takes about a year.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Oh! That ain’t so bad. Being in prison’s pretty bad—

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:
You’re really optimistic.

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:
Well, I mean, I ain’t dead in a dump, so I guess…

[SFX: Projector whirs.]

Newsreel:
Dateline, Arkham, Massachusetts: November 14th, 1928. Hank O’Brien Jr., the 21-year-old charged in the bizarre multiple homicides that took place at the Arkham City dump this past April is a free man.

Four found dead in what would be described as “a nightmare scene of bloodshed and conflagration.” Three of the deceased were associates of O’Brien, including a former federal agent and a local business owner.

O’Brien’s testimony claimed they had been asked by an Arkham police detective to undertake a private investigation into a grisly murder that took place just days earlier, near to this very crime scene. This claim has been refuted by the Arkham City Police Department; however, in his plea for innocence, character witnesses said the young man had good standing in the community and couldn’t possibly have been a killer.

After several months in the Essex County Penitentiary, a judge has declared a mistrial due to the highly unusual nature of the proceedings. Does a murderer walk among us? Or has an innocent man been set free? Either way, the brutal nature of what transpired that night will surely weigh heavily on O’Brien for the rest of his days.

[SFX: Projector shuts off.]

[Outro Music: Somber piano melody.]

Narrator:
And there you have it, friends. The bittersweet conclusion of “The Black Birth” - our debut series of The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program. It’s been quite a ride.

If you need some space to decompress, we certainly understand. So why not collect your thoughts with our episode-by-episode podcast series, Cthulhu Cthommentary - available now at Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia:

[SFX: Radio static]

Cat Blackard - Showrunner:
It was interesting seeing everybody come to terms with being insane… all at the same time.

Colin Peterson - Sound Designer:
[Laughing] And who was down with it and who was not.

Cat and Luke:
Yeah.

Colin Peterson:
What players were like, “Aw yeah! Let’s get NUTS!”

Cat Blackard:
[Laughs]

Colin Peterson:
And like, other players were like, “No… I am a serious roleplayer and we are not going to go insane. Thank you very much.”

Cat Blackard:
You can tell Ruel is a Game Master because he’s trying to be a control freak about what does or doesn’t happen to him.

Colin Peterson:
Right.

[SFX: Radio static]

If you enjoyed this sinister story, you’re in luck! Our grim and whimsical sojourns into the unknown don’t end here. More Mystery Programs await. We’ll see you in Series 2 - a wildly different tale called “The Terrible Secret of Lot X”.

You see, The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program is an anthology show, each series we’re joined by a new cast and embark on decidedly different tales of darkness and delight - all entangled with intermingling mythos… you never know when two stories' paths might cross.

In Series 2 you’ll meet wealthy occultist Estelle Thorpe. Her latest auction win proves to be a Pandora’s Box of horror. To solve the paranormal mysteries she’s uncovered, she assembles an unlikely crew of curiosity-seekers: Moses; mountain man turned renowned novelist, Cherry; a floozie who’s more than she seems, Oswald; a hobo king, Anjana; Estelle’s cunning assistant, and Kenneth; a notorious gambler. Together they encounter monsters above and below, dark secrets, and terrifying pacts with forces not of this world.

Find this adventure and more at CthulhuMystery.com and on your favorite podcast players.
 
Now, for this evening’s listening pleasure, W.I.S. is enthused to present the singular musical talent of Ramblin’ Randolph Carter - an Appalachian musician. As it’s been told to me, this mountain man claims to have traveled into another realm in his dreams and has seen beautiful and horrible things.
 
Folks thought him mad, raving about these dream-quests of his, but when they heard his songs, well, madman or not, the haunting beauty of his music is undeniable. Our producer got him in the studio with some accompaniment and here we are! Listening to this song, I can’t help but wonder: is this man truly mad?
 
Perhaps a dope fiend. Or has he borne witness to things that we can scarcely imagine - Things we forget as soon as our consciousness returns upon waking. Perhaps you’ve met him in your own nightly journeys. Or perhaps you’ll recognize the strange creatures he sings of.
 
This is “The Carpet Crawlers” by Ramblin’ Randolph Carter.
 
[Ramblin’ Randolph Carter: “The Carpet Crawlers”]
 
Announcer:
Thanks for listening to The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program!

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 8: “Behold, The Mother!” - was written and performed by Luke Stram, Cat 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 Cat 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 series is recorded and produced in Central Florida and Nashville, Tennessee on lands ruthlessly taken from their indiginous people: the Timucua and Seminole, and Yuchi, Shawnee, and Cherokee - respectively. To learn more about the first nations of the land where you live visit: native-land.ca

This has been The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program… Goodnight

[Music fades]

[Omniverse Audio Brand]