September 30th — October 2nd, 1927
The Children Will Die
Boston Doctor McGurk and policeman Derrick O’Leary shared an interest in solving those cases which the law shuns, cases with a touch of the sinister or the occult about them.
Doctor McGurk had been in contact with a psychic called Paul LeMond. Paul’s mother sent him recordings of his dreams. One such recording contained this snippet:
The children will die…the children will die…it’s the trail of the beast…Boston
The following week, the Doctor read in the Boston Globe about three slum children murdered horribly in the streets of Boston. He called O’Leary immediately.
Friday 30th September
Dr McGurk headed for the library while Officer O’Leary drove his automobile to the 15th precinct station. There he found Sergeant Murphy, the officer in charge of the case. Murphy informed him that the bodies had been found in a terrible condition and coated with mucus which quickly dried in the morning sunlight.
At the library, Dr McGurk’s research uncovered several clues.
- similar child murders had taken place in September 1891, around the Cornwallis mansion
- Dr Ambrose Cornwallis and his wife had a still-born son, Jeremy, born in July 1891 and buried in the family crypt in All Heart’s Cemetery
- Dr Ambrose Cornwallis and his wife were killed in a tragic murder suicide in September 1891
- There was an unpleasant break-in to the Cornwallis family crypt in November 1891. The grave robber claimed that Cornwallis was a warlock and tried to turn his corpse face-down.
McGurk figured it was time for a visit to All Heart’s Cemetery.
All Heart’s Cemetery
At the cemetery, O’Leary and McGurk inspected the Cornwallis vault, with the help of the local grave digger. They found Jeremy Cornwallis’ coffin was filled with rocks, and his father’s corpse had been turned face down.
Saturday 1st October, 1927
The Cornwallis Mansion
The Cornwallis mansion was located at the end of a cul-de-sac in once-rich neighbourhood. It had high walls and old iron gates. At the gates the two met a young delivery boy with red hair, who told them that Miss Cornwallis was a nice old thing who always tipped well and always ordered seven chickens per week.
In the grounds was a well, covered up with rocks. O’Leary spotted a chicken bone wedged between the rocks. They went to the door and were greeted by old Miss Cornwallis.
A Strange Cup of Tea
Miss Cornwallis was pleasant enough, if a bit absent-minded. Dr McGurk realised pretty soon that she was on the edge of sanity, and he steered the conversation along a pleasant course. While she prepared a chicken sandwich, O’Leary investigated upstairs.
O’Leary found the locked study of Ambrose Cornwallis, and he had time to grab a journal and an odd set of spectacles and return downstairs. The pair bid Miss Cornwallis farewell.
That night, Officer O’Leary returned to watch the mansion. He climbed into the grounds. At about eight O’clock, Miss Cornwallis emerged from the mansion, tottered to the well and returned to the house. O’Leary waited then investigated. Near the well he saw a half-dissolved chicken carcass, covered with strange mucus. The house remained dark and he eventually left.
The Journal of Ambrose Cornwallis
Meanwhile, Doctor McGurk read the journal of Ambrose Cornwallis, which was written in Latin and referenced a mysterious ‘Brotherhood’. It mentioned the odd prismatic spectacles which O’Leary had found and which now glinted strangely on the mantleshelf. The doctor tried on the spectacles and saw..a bizaare landscape of twisted forms..and some THING which looked back at him with evil eyes, and began to lope forward. Dr McGurk hurriedly removed the spectacles, breathing heavily.
Sunday 2nd October 1927
O’Leary and McGurk were now convinced that the source of the child murders was the Cornwallis mansion. They spent the day gathering equipment for a night raid on the mansion.
That night the pair returned in darkness to the mansion. They first broke into the cellar and found a dry tub behind a locked door. They realised their objective was the well.
The Thing in the Well
When they removed the rocks from the well they heard a child’s whimper. They redoubled their efforts, fearing another victim was trapped inside. O’Leary lowered himself down the dark well, shining his flashlight. At the bottom was a blob-like thing, surrounded by tentacles and topped by a childlike head — from which emanated the mewling cry. O’Leary beat a hasty retreat. Grimly, he lit several sticks of dynamite and dropped them into the well. Doctor McGurk and Officer O’Leary ran from the grounds as the explosion lit up the night.