Chapter 1: Baltimore
by Elise LeBlanc
By Elise LeBeau
Baltimore, January 1st, 1899
The turn of the century has always been a time where we, as humans, fear the end of the world, and indeed, perhaps during our most doom saying best, the space between the worlds of the living and the dead are far thinner than we believe. Perhaps at that time our greatest fears and horrors, those we keep buried in our collective unconscious are free to roam the mortal earth. This reporter believes, at the bottom of her heart, that she has witnessed just such an occurrence, and fears for the fate of humanity because of it.
I had become aware of a missing dock worker, who was said to last been seen delivering a package to a stately mansion. It was feared the worst. I acquired invitations to a ball that was said to be held there on the eve of this new year, and my assistant and I found ourselves at a masquerade ball. Much to my avail, the details of a large portion of the ball is lost to my memory, while the rest is scorched into my mind’s eye forever.
I awoke, alone in a room, a mask still over my face, and unable to answer the questions as to how and why I was there, I began searching the building for fellow partygoers. Imagine my frightening when I entered what seemed to be a regular bathroom, in any normal house, to find it full of steam, and the words “awaken him or sleep forever” written on the steamy mirror, and a bathtub filled with, and it is hard for me to even put this to paper…but horrible, seething, blood. When I attempted to wash that horror down the drain by turning on the faucets, a form, a monstrous man arose from it’s depths, frightening this humble reporter out of her wits.
It was only then that I came upon some fellow party guests, and bolstered by our numbers, we advanced again upon that room of horror. The man was still there, standing in that pooled blood, and he informed us that he was a ghost of a man named Prospero, and that a horrible curse had befell his house, aided by that original monster, Vlad Tepes, that monster so described as Dracula. Imagine our horror when we found that our fates were sealed at the stroke of midnight if we did not find and destroy a horrible clock that brought this calamity from Bucharest, where this curse was founded.
We cursed quickly sought each other out and did all we could to find this clock, all the while noticing that each ceiling in each room had a letter carved out of the moldings. Such sights did we see, as a baby rattle that rattled on it’s own, and various other members of this poor cursed household dead and dying. We found perhaps the most horrible monster living in the basement, our tormentor, an inventor and beast. We bested him, though later we found that not to be the case. Behind him we found the cursed clock, and did our best to destroy the evil thing. When we found our long last our freedom, from the earth itself raised a giant boiling lake of blood! And from that a spider, of giant proportions, out to destroy us! Due to quick thinking we are all alive today and this horror can be brought into the light. This horror, an offshoot of our own horrors grown live come the new century, or simply a part of a monstrous cavalcade that hears it’s name whispered behind closed doors in closed covens of men and women doing it’s evil…the Red Death?