I’m not the first captain, no, but the first one to set foot on this godforsaken shore. The old captain simply disappeared a week ago. Our passengers didn’t seem to care much about it. „Our promised land isn’t far anymore“, was their cryptic reply after we informed them about it. The crew chose me as new captain, since I was the only one left to properly navigate a ship. Now let me tell you, for there is not much time anymore, what we found after our landing.

Anchoring wasn’t an easy task to do, far from it. The sea goes deep here, deeper than it should. Old Jones, my second-in-command, said it won’t be easy to lift anchor again. Our strange guests took all their belongings and left the ship in silence. „Not so promising after all, eh?“ shouted William „The Frog“ Procter to one of their elders. „Show me your hands, sailor.“ Procter didn’t understand but did so nevertheless. „You’re a blessed One. Brothers and sisters, look between his fingers. He’s a blessed One.“ „A blessed One“ they whispered in rather unsettling excitement. „I’ll be blessed if I get paid“ was Procter‘s dry answer. We couldn’t make much out of it and proceeded to prepare for sailing back. We planned to leave our passengers behind as agreed with them and watched as they vanished one by one in this big, eerie looking forest that seems to cover a large part of the island. Suddenly Old Jones burst into my cabin door. „Captain, the freshwater is gone.“

All crewmembers knew that we wouldn’t make it from the island without some water on board, so we had to search for supplies. „The passengers did it, I say, who else should have done it“ muttered one of the crewmen and no one argued with him about that. I gathered some men for an expedition into the heart of the island, since our passengers were heading that way. „Where there is a settler, there is water“, we thought. The muddy surface of the island, most of it clay, seemed to make it easy for us to track them down. We were terribly wrong.

Not long after we entered the island’s vast forest, it‘s ground grew foggier with every step we took. And despite the daylight of a clear afternoon sky, which had greeted us on the shore earlier, here we just stared into a grayish mass of air, which reduced the sun to a tiny point above our heads. The trees didn’t look healthy either and no one dared to think about what kind of animals would lurk in the night in a forest like this. Our youngest lad, Westfield, therefore carried a torch, and we used its light in our search for footprints to lead us to our passengers and through them to water. Our path led us deeper and deeper into the forest and the strange noises we heard were quite unsettling. „Trees ain’t singing, eh?“ said Procter. He earned quite a reputation that first day. Seemingly unchanged by the looming threat, his eagerness was a little piece of hope for all of us. Some of the crewmen even noted that he looked stronger and bulkier then ever. „What kind of people would dare to settle in a place like this?“ The question weighed on us all. Our passengers had a good head start. They seemed to know the forest well, which was strange indeed, since they had never been on this island before. At least that was what they told us.

After our first night’s camp, Procter claimed they knew the place through dreams. „How do you know, Procter?“ I asked, but he didn’t give me a clear answer. Westfield answered instead of him: „It’s nightmare stuff, Captain, all of this. Procter ‘s right about that.“ And that was true. The night air was full of mosquitoes and most of us had not slept well. The men who had kept watch were seemingly frightened but couldn’t explain why. The mood of the crew was in very bad shape. I tried my best to sheer them up with funny tales about our old captain as Westfield suddenly burst out: „I believe it was their doing.“ „What do you mean?“ „I mean, they are behind his sudden disappearance.“ At this point I had serious concerns about him. He was still to young. Thieves, I thought they could be, but not murderers. No, Westfield’s mind was darkened by the very atmosphere around us. Truth be told, many of us felt the same. Maybe Westfield was the only one brave enough to speak his mind. Procter was a godsend. He seemed to sense the footprints of the settlers that day. His eyes were a little bit larger now but everything changed form in this forest. Sometimes it warped the form of mind, as in Westfield’s case, sometimes the form of the body. And don’t let us forget the ever present fog. Who could say, what was real and what wasn’t?

When night fell for the second time, we were faced with a serious problem. How could these settlers move so quickly? They seemed to have an inhuman speed or to be driven by something which guided them far better than us. Procter fell suddenly very ill. His skin color changed into an unhealthy green and he developed a severe fever. Alien dreams haunted all of us, urging us to advance our endeavor. Next morning, Procter lost the ability to speak, his neck swollen and covered with gill-like furrows, telling only gibberish words like „R’lyeh“. Westfield was completely disturbed by the sight of him. „This is a sign of evil, Captain. Believe me, we should turn back.” „Pull yourself together, man. We’ve come this far, we’re going to get our water.” We had to carry Procter with us. At least the fog cleared up, but no one could’ve been prepared for what awaited us.

We stood on the fringe of a gaping abyss in the middle of the island, reaching deep down below into the ocean’s very depths. Carved into its rocky surface was the giant head of a squid-like creature, from whose eyes shone an unholy light, its tentacles reaching into the bottom of the pit. „Finally you’re here.“ Out of nowhere a large group of our former passengers emerged, clad in heavy, grayish robes and with masks made in likeness of that unholy thing. „We’ve been waiting for you all. Welcome to the Gate to R’lyeh, our promised land where deep down below our god sleeps and whispers to us. You’ve brought us a blessed One, and therefore we’re grateful.“ The speaker gestured towards Procter, who looked more like a frog or fish than a human now. „Give us our water back and leave him alone!“ cried Westfield. „Foolish child, your water was thrown overboard by us. We’ve plenty of all we need here, but what we lack is what great Cthulhu needs most, sacrifices. But we’re grateful, as I said. Who could have known that a blessed One is part of your crew. Therefore, we’ll let you choose to be either part of the hunt or to be hunted.“ At that moment, we all knew that we were doomed. These madmen were hunting men to sacrifice them to their eldritch deity, delighted by this unholy game. No one was willing to give in. We took advantage of the element of surprise and scattered into different directions, hoping to leave this fiendish cult far behind us. It took me three days to reach my ship. Every night I heard distant screams followed by voices barley human. After I informed the rest of the crew, which remained on board of the ship with Old Jones in command, we decided to flee. Better to die a seaman’s death than witness the horrors on this island. Dear reader, I’ve left a note with the exact location of the island. Never set foot on it! May god have mercy on our souls because their alien god Cthulhu has none.

Everett Marsh, Captain

Lucius Whent, „The Captain’s Log