Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies

Episode 41: Interlude in Russia

Late June, 1937 . . .

(This is a flashback and takes place a month after the events in Mexico City.)

In the small fishing village of Gradych, an hour west of Stalingrad, there was something that had gotten the attention of shadowy elements based out of the Soviet Union. Two dedicated men, focused on rooting out unspeakable evils, Dr. Yuri Ivanov and Dr. Nikita Kolokov, were sent by their secret masters to investigate the potential distribution of some narcotic known only as Nectar, a narcotic which was likely the creation of some Western influence. The two men had no idea of the horrors they would uncover in the village of Gradych.

The intelligence they had gathered suggested that there was a connection between whatever was being smuggled and a small in and tavern called the Lonely Bear Inn. They knew that there investigation would have to begin there.

Upon arriving by train and taking a truck into the small village, they noticed several things that immediately got their attention. First, whereas most of the boats around the harbor were small fishing boats, there were presently two larger steamers in the bay, unusual for a village this small that was mostly focused on gathering seafood and sending it to Stalingrad. Second, the old cathedral on top of the mountain that overlooked the town was an ominous sight that was was actually an omen for what would come later.

Upon arriving at the Lonely Bear and talking to the innkeeper, Vassily Sokoloff, Dr. Ivanov knew something was amiss and the innkeeper was clearly hiding something. Part of the deception involved whatever construction project was happening in the cellar of the inn, which certainly required some investigation. Further, in the tavern room, there was a strange man, seemingly out of place for such a village. The man was pouring over some newspapers, finishing his dinner. Shortly after he was finished, he got up and left without paying, simply giving a nod to the man behind the bar. It was clear this individual was not a villager and did not fit in at all with his surroundings. He was instantly a suspect to Ivanov and Kolokov.

The next day the two investigators first investigated the basement of the inn, quietly. They discovered a major construction project happening, which would likely be the secret storage area where they could hide drugs or anything else, assuming that the innkeeper was involved. Later, they went around the village, asking questions of the various individuals who might know something about the ships. Among some of the individuals interviewed were people along the pier as well as the one man who owned the only commercial trucks in town. The investigators learned the following:

  • The ships were mysterious and likely paid off local party officials to dock there.
  • The ships were mostly unloaded at night when the rest of the village was asleep.
  • The destination was from the pier to the old abandoned church on the mountain.
  • The individuals were a Russian, and a handful of westerners.
  • They transported a very large crate that one of the Westerners seemed to be very careful with and insisted on care in moving it.

That evening they decided to follow the mysterious man who left the inn and got on a bicycle, traveling in the direction of the cathedral. It took an hour to get to the top and by then it was dark.

Upon arriving, they saw a mysterious man guarding the outside of the cathedral. They were able to bypass him and get inside where a generator kept a large light on in the church. They could see two men in the back vestibule acting as guards as well. They attempted to distract the guards and subdue them in an effort to get past them to the basement of the church. However, the plan went slightly sideways when their attempts at quick and silent actions were anything but, leading to a firefight between the two groups. In the light, it was noticed that the two guards were deformed and mutated, adding to the shock and horror.

The noise they had made attracted the attention of those in the basement. The large Russian, presumably the man from the docks (later identified as Kirill Konovalov), came to confront them. The fight was bloody and brutal but the investigators came through, killing the Russian thug.

They were ill prepared for what they would encounter as they descended into the church basement. Of course, no man would be. As they descended they heard music, music that was driving them mad as it seemed to piece their very minds with whatever rhythms it was producing. They knew they would have to stop it lest it drive them to madness with its sweet, but horrible sound.

Upon arriving in the basement they noticed white sheets hanging everywhere, preventing them from seeing much other than shadows. The smell of something rotten and profane seemed to flow through the basement as well as a sound, barely audible over the music, of a wet sack ripped open from the weight of something rotten and putrid. Immediately they heard a man’s voice, in English, screaming at them. The man, later identified as Jonathan Brooks from Mexico City, began to assault them with a rifle, fiercely protecting his territory. When Kolokov turned off the generator, stopping the terrible music, they were also plunged into darkness. As Ivanov tried to find the source of the smell, and presumably the other individual in the basement, he came across a sight, in the darkness, too horrible to fathom. Something that had once been a woman lay before him on a table, bloated to over 800 pounds, with mouths ripping through her flesh like some demonic tortured soul from Hell. The mouths weeped and wailed, screaming for blood but singing the sound of the records. It came to him that this is must have been in the crate that was so carefully looked after by the American, Brooks. This was, or had been, his wife, Leticia de la Luz.

She (or it) attacked Ivanov while Kolokov throw a lit bottle of vodka at Brooks. Brooks died almost instantly but the bloated woman struck out at Ivanov. The two did everything in their power to escape as the creatured wailed over her dead husband. As the two got to the top of the stairs they poured down the gasoline from the generator and lit the place on fire, escaping. However, the wounds they had both suffered were critical. It took all the power in Ivanov’s abilities to save them both and it was truly a monumental effort.

Within the hour a fire crew as well as the local militia had come across them, letting them stay with the doctor in town. However, since the two men could not truly explain what had happened, the local party officials had taken a dim view of the events that had transpired. They were ready to ship them back to Moscow, when someone intervened. The man from the tavern who identified himself as Dr. Hugo Skoczony.

Dr. Skoczony explained that he, too, was an investigator of the unknown and was on the trail of this strange drug cult. He wanted to know who they were and what they knew. He then proceeded to explain to them that the worldwide cult had an operation in Bangkok and that they should go there and meet up with a man he knew but they should tell no one as they would not be believed. As Dr. Skoczony left them to heal and said he would tell his contacts to await them, he would see them in Bangkok.

The two doctors returned to health, researched who the people were who they had dispatched and decided that Bangkok would be the next leg in their journey. However, it was too late to realize that Dr, Skoczony was also part of the conspiracy and had sent them into a deadly trap. Upon arriving in Bangkok, there were, indeed, contacts awaiting them but they were sinister members of the cult who immediately captured the two Russians, sending them to an unknown fate.

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