The Lake On The Edge Of Hell (A Supernatural Thriller CYOA)

On the shore of Weissener Lake, located in the shadow of Mount Spectre, in the northern Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, there is a small hamlet housing a few dozen people. It is a very, very minor tourist destination. It attracts adventurous people who look for destinations that no one has heard of. There's a dirt path leading from the main highway past several mountain curves directly to the lake and hamlet. The hamlet has a schoolhouse for all twenty of the hamlet's children, a tavern carved into the face of the mountain, a general store and inn, and a residential area with a dozen cabin-style houses or so. Footpaths lead into the nearby forest, up the mountain, and down to the lake shore.

The hamlet houses two tour guides, who run nature walks, hikes and boat excursions. Everyone else fits into their own niche as according to the hamlet's needs - an electrician, an IT geek, a glass blower, a marketplace girl, and others - allowing the area to remain mostly cut off from the world. The only money they spend are government taxes, as well as the occasional supply run when they run low on wires, conventional fuel, assorted entertainment products and Ms. Ainsley's favourite Italian-pressed wine, and the only money they take in is from trinkets, local ales and nights at the inn sold to tourists and lost travellers.

It's a closed, unconventional and fragile system, but it suffices.

So far, they've had a marvellous year for tourism. They've pulled in enough money that they can buy a solar panel to compliment the tavern's satellite and to reduce their fuel costs, as well as repave the streets and replant a bit more of the logging area. Four tourists are in the town's inn right now, as a matter of fact.

Well, three of them are tourists.

One is a paranormal detective.

Nineteen-year-old Lucille Rattzinger was Caucasian, wore heavy white makeup, striped sweaters, a denim skirt and black sneakers. She sat in her rented room, staring at the paper that brought her here.

saw your ad
bizarre happenings at weissener lake
need help
they want our souls
god help

stan. frye

Lucille glanced around her room. It had an ancient TV with rabbit-ears antennae, sitting on a bizarre jury-rigged box that appeared to have a satellite connection. DIY seemed to be the key around this place. A stitched blanket saying "Home Is Where Your Heart Is" stretched across one wall. Across from the bed was a large window.

All the better for the local Peeping Tom to stare through, my dear.

Lucille brushed the thought away and looked at the bookshelf. It had the standard array of books one normally finds in hospitable lodgings. A bible, Pilgrim's Progress, Winnie The Pooh, a generic romance novel.

No Twilight? Already six or seven points higher than the last hotel I've been to.

At the base of the shelf, one of the books stuck out. Lucille picked it up and looked at it.

It was a collection of Lovecraft's Finest. Lucille had never really been a fan of Lovecraft, too much buildup with not enough payoff. Then again, she never read them in the dark. Maybe that was the key. She'd try that if she got to sleep tonight.

Lucille opened the book and leafed through it. "Pickman's Model", "The Rat's In The Walls", "Shadow Over Innsmouth" - wait, there was a bookmark here. Lucille saw letters scrawled on it. She lowered the book and looked closely at it.

heed well this tale of crazy
it will soon become your tale as well if you dont tread litely
meet me as soon as you can
-jackson hamm

Fantastic. Now it turns out my contact IS as full of crazy as I suspected he was. I imagine I'll find him in his house with crosses hanging upside down everywhere with "The Power Of Christ Compels You" scrawled across the walls in his own blood.

Actually, IS this my contact? The name is different.

Lucille compared the notes.

Same handwriting, different name. Hmmmmm. Maybe he's so off his rocker that he's giving me clues to his real identity. I hope he realizes that my $200 a day plus transportation remains that price regardless of results.

Lucille had read "Shadow Over Innsmouth", which had contained a village of people dominated by a massive, incomprehensible evil. Lucille decided to at least check the residents for odd behaviour, if nothing else, as she searched for her contact.

As she strode for the door, she glanced out the window. Pine trees rose to meet her view, as she stared across the hamlet, lake and forest all the way to the mountain. Birds chirped, faint laughter of children wafted through the window, two large men could be seen cutting down a tree in a partly logged area of trees.

Some Innsmouth THIS would make. Unless a million lizards of doom come streaming from the sky at the stroke of midnight, this place is too bright, cheery and pleasant to make a good Innsmouth.

Lucille strode out the door, past two of the other rooms, before having the last door opened directly into her face. She recoiled and fell.

"Oh! Sorry!"

A deep voice reverberated around Lucille's dazed brain as a massive hand reached down to help her up. She refrained from grabbing it, opting to get up herself instead. "For the love of suffrage, don't open doors so hard! What, were you trying to kill a really large fly?!"

A very tall and wide man, at least a foot taller than Lucille, put his hands up in a "hands-off" manoeuvre. "Sorry, sorry... I didn't think there was anybody there."

"Well, you should TRY thinking!" Lucille rubbed her forehead, grimacing. No permanent damage, hopefully.

The tall man extended his hand again. "Maybe we started off on the wrong foot, so to speak."

Just maybe!

"My name is Michael. Michael Santana. You are?"

Lucille gingerly shook his hand with obvious distaste. "Lucille. Do you happen to know anyone around here?"

Michael shook his head. "I just arrived."

"Oh. Well, good to meet you." Lucille trotted past and down the stairs before Michael could say anything else.

On the main floor of the inn was the general store. It had shelves of local food, batteries, music albums, movies, medical supplies, and pretty much everything else the residents might need. The storekeeper was a kindly old woman who was too busy sweeping out the pay area to notice Lucille's arrival. Beyond her was the door out to the rest of the hamlet.

What should Lucille do?


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