This may come as a surprise to no one. I fully admit to my geekitude. I play a number of different games online as well as offline. I also have a penchant for the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Many years ago I owned the original first edition of the game Call of Cthulhu.
This game is a bit different than other role playing games. For one, you should probably expect your characters to die a grisly death as food to an ancient evil. And where many games rely on the combat system to build the character and such, this game is more along the lines of problem solving and investigating. This can lead to some great interactions and story telling overall.
I recently discovered that their was a new edition of the game. Of course I had to pick it up. This means tons of new research material for Lovecraftian themed stories and such as time marches on. Who knows what might come from this. Heck, I might even get a chance to play some in the future.
Anyway, the title of this one comes from a Lovecraftian source, and it is a bit odd and unexplainable, much like anything to do with the Old Ones.
Blood on the Floor
“Thank you for calling Brattenfield’s,” she said. “How can I help you?” She nodded at the man standing at the desk but only to acknowledge that she knew he was waiting. This was the third call she answered and still hadn’t said two words to him.
He tapped the tips of his fingers on the counter. Shelly felt his gaze burning into the side of her head as she talked with the person on the phone. She grew uncomfortable as he impatiently stared at her.
Thankful the phone kept wringing, she just wanted him to go away. She hung up the phone and turned to the man again. He was still there. Inside she grumbled and whined but outside she was cheery and pleasant.
“Thank you for waiting,” she said. “How can I help you?” He didn’t look upset but she could feel this vibe coming from him. The man radiated anger. His gaze burned through her eyes and the back of her head.
“I have an appointment.”
She turned to her computer screen. “Mr. James, 10:30 with Dr. Ashburn?”
“Yes,” he said. “I have been waiting for 10 minutes already. Let him know I’m here.”
“Absolutely sir,” she said. She clicked a messaging icon with her mouse then typed a message. “Please have a seat. He will be with you in a few moments.”
“I can wait.” His stare didn’t waver.
She focused on busy work to avoid his gaze, flipped through several different windows on her computer screen without typing anything. Then she grabbed papers from beside her keyboard and took them to the alcove by the desk.
She was out of site, though she was sure she could still feel his gaze following her. Even through the wall of the alcove she felt heat from his eyes burning into her flesh.
The back office door clicked open, Dr. Ashburn had arrived to pick up the man. Her entire body relaxed. She let the air from her lungs realizing that she had been holding it in.
Muffled words that Shelly could not make out, and then the click of the door again and the reception area went quiet. She filed the papers then went back to her desk.
Reception was empty and the phone was quiet. She checked her mailbox for messages. It struck her that the empty waiting area felt odd now, like something was missing.
After a few minutes a message icon popped up on her computer screen. “I need to see you in my office.” Sent through Dr. Ashburn’s personal account. It wasn’t unusual; they messaged through out the day. The messages weren’t as disruptive as voice mail and phone calls, the system worked for their needs. But he just took a patient into the back offices. He never messaged her when he was with a patient.
Shelly maintained the offices of 3 different doctors, though all but Dr. Ashburn had gone on vacation for the holidays. This was the last patient of the day, she didn’t expect anyone to walk in while she went back to the examination rooms.
The quiet of reception permeated the main hall into the back offices, palpable, the weight of it pushed down on her. Shelly wished that Dr. Ashburn had taken some time off with the others. The money was nice but she wouldn’t have minded spending some time at home without a need to go anywhere.
The three Doctors shared examination rooms, as well as reception. Their specialties coincided which allowed them to carry the burdens of equipment usage. Dr. Ashburn had cut his workload over the holiday and only saw patients for wellness visits.
He neglected to mention what examination room he took the man into. Shelly knocked at each door along the way to no avail. She flicked the lights on in each room as she traveled down the hall; several needed new bulbs, probably why Dr. Ashburn had chosen to do the examination further into the back.
Still the quiet followed her through the hall. Conversation should have carried through the still air. All she heard were he heels as they scraped across the carpet, a muffled tap when she brought her feet down.
The final room, still no sounds. Shelly pressed her hand to the door and turned the handle. As the door pushed in air sucked out of the hallway and into the room. The room’s lights were out and the light switch gave no response.
She stepped into the room, a table lamp on the other side of the room would give her enough light to see inside. A sticky residue covered the floor. With each step her shoes made a click, schlump noise. Her heel hit the ground and then her foot stuck as she took another step.
In the light from the lamp, the room was empty except for a dark liquid that covered the floor. The smell hit her with a physical force, almost dropped her to her knees. She grabbed at the examination table to support herself. Blood, blood covered the floor but the Doctor and his patient were no where to be found.