Monday, June 18, 2012


30. Professor Massimo Ibex

31.  Batricia Nocturna

32.  Miss Limbo

30. Professor Massimo Ibex

The once the venerable reputation of The College of Lone Mountain has recently been overshadowed by
a grim notoriety ~ particularly regarding the cover-up of the shockingly high number of deaths and disappearances on and around campus over the years.  The conspiracy of silence which involved many faculty members and other campus authorities, finally came to an end the same night that a fire destroyed part of the most famous building on campus, the clock tower.

The clock tower itself has an interesting history.  The basic structure of the tower, which stands 307 feet (93.6 m), actually existed on that spot long before the campus was built.  Legend has it that it was erected hundreds of years earlier by persons unknown - who had vanished long before it was discovered by settlers.  For years, the more superstitious among the early settlers - believing it to be a place of witchcraft or evil -  tried to have it knocked down, but the structure withstood those attempts.  After the Civil War, Lone Mountain College was established and built around the structure, which was then converted into the famous campus landmark when a clock was installed, and people forgot all about its ancient origins.

After the fire, there were stories that one of the members of the Science Faculty, Professor Massimo Ibex, had what appeared to be a rather curious, unorthodox laboratory on the tower's highest floor.  Documents describing what authorities found there after the fire were ordered sealed until a thorough investigation could be completed, but have since been lost.

Although Professor Ibex was listed as a member of the Science Faculty for nearly a century, no one can quite remember ever seeing him.  It is believed that he was allowed to live and work on campus, doing some kind of research and experiments involving human glandular fluids and their relation to aging.

Since his disappearance the night of the fire, many rumors and urban legends have emerged.  One researcher claimed to have traced the origins of Ibex's work back several hundred years and thousands of miles away to a sinister, nameless alchemist who had conducted experiments involving halting or even reversing the aging process and who wrote about the transference of the human life force - from one body to another.  

Needless to say, these sorts of tall tales - inevitably involving black magic, mad scientists, blood sacrifice, forbidden experiments, deranged faculty members and serial killings - have somewhat lessened the once distinguished reputation of Lone Mountain College.  Conspiracy buffs wonder if the entire Science Faculty, including student favorite Ms. Moss, may have participated in some sort of ritualistic mass murder.  It has even been noted that "Massimo" is an anagram for "I am Moss", although what that could mean, if anything, is anyone's guess.  Luckily, most people ignore such silliness.

And now, with news that the clock tower has finally been restored, campus officials are hoping to once again attract a fresh crop of students and restore the school's former reputation as an ideal location for education and enlightenment - and not as some ghastly place haunted by the ghosts of slaughtered innocents and an ancient, deathless evil.


31.  Batricia Nocturna ~ Queen of the Bats

Doctor Batricia Nocturna, one of the youngest specialists in exotic wildlife, is on an expedition in a previously unexplored area of a rather dark and treacherous jungle,  when she becomes separated from her companions.  One of the other members of the expedition, jealous of Dr. Nocturna, reports that she saw the girl being devoured by a giant python.  Consequently, the group stops searching and returns home, leaving Dr. Nocturna alone in the jungle.

She wanders for days and becomes sick and delirious with fever.  Stumbling into a clearing she comes upon an ancient stone temple where she is suddenly attacked by a swarm of vicious vampire bats.

Some time later, she awakens to find herself inside the temple, being tended to by an old woman.  The toothless old hag tells Batricia that since the bites of the bats did not kill her, she must be "the chosen one".  "Long have I waited for my replacement as the guardian of this holy shrine",  the old woman says.  "Now that you are here, I may go on to my final rest."

As time passes and Batricia slowly recovers, the old woman teaches Batricia how to communicate with and control the bats.  But Batricia has no plans on staying in the jungle for the rest of her life.  As soon as she has her health back and has figured out a way to escape, she flees and heads back to civilization.   The old woman's voice echoes in her ears" " You cannot escape your destiny!"

When she returns home, she discovers to her surprise that she has been gone for twenty years!  Time stood still in the jungle and she has not aged.  She also learns that the other members of the expedition who abandoned her have gone on to successful careers, all based on research stolen from her!  No one believes she is who she says she is and she is threatened with confinement in a lunatic asylum!

She goes into hiding and plots revenge on those who wronged her - and on society in general.  In no time at all, she embarks on a career of criminal mischief and murder using her remarkable ability to communicate with and control an army of deadly vampire bats!

32.  Miss Limbo

Although many of the local astrologers who gather for occasional meetings to share news and gossip have somewhat dubious talents, Miss Limbo is regarded by many as being "the real deal" - that is, she is thought to have an actual talent for reading the stars, and perhaps even possessing some true psychic abilities.

At one of the meetings, a local astrology columnist named Cyril Root, who writes under the name of "Venus", tells the assembled group a bizarre story involving a deranged "outsider artist" named Emile Jarnac.  Cyril is notably shaken by the story he tells, but most of the group laugh it off and move on to other topics.

But the tale disturbs Miss Limbo profoundly and she has nightmares and even what she thinks may be visions as a result.

Does she possess real psychic abilities?  And if she does, will she be able to warn "Venus" before he is brutally murdered?  And. more importantly, will she be able to foresee the looming threat to her own life as the killer comes creeping to her door?

(See: The Chuckling Whatsit)

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