Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Cthulhu's Dark Cults: "Requiem for the Burning God" by Shane Jiraiya Cummings

The longest story in Cthulhu’s Dark Cults was penned by Shane Jiraiya Cummings, a novella of 18,000 words which involves a sinister global corporation that featured in the Call of Cthulhu gaming supplements Day of the Beast, At Your Door and Unseen Masters. Shane’s tale, “Requiem for the Burning God”, like “Devil’s Diamonds” by Cody Goodfellow and my “Sisters of the Sand”, is a tale written in pulp adventure style with lots of action, suspense and intrigue. I put all three stories last, as the energy and pace picks up in these tales compared to the more subtle and personal horror of earlier tales. I also did this because the later tales are more in line with the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game’s Pulp Cthulhu style adventuring, if that supplement is ever released.

Shane Jiraiya Cummings is one of the most active members of Australia’s horror writing communities, and in the small press, one of our countries more successful writers with more than sixty short stories published in Australia, the United States, and Europe. He is the Vice President of the Australian Horror Writers Association and an active member of the US Horror Writers Association. Shane has won the Ditmar Award twice, and has been nominated for over twenty other awards. Recently moving into longer works, Shane's recent books include Shards (Brimstone Press) and Phoenix and the Darkness of Wolves (Damnation Books). He is currently working on a Japanese fantasy series and other novels.

Shane said this about his story, “As a Lovecraft fan, I've always wanted to write a Mythos-inspired story, and when David Conyers invited me to contribute to Cthulhu’s Dark Cults, my dream was realised. I wasn’t very familiar with the Call of Cthulhu game, but David gave me the scenario and – Peru, early 1930s – and the rest of the story leapt onto the page. “Requiem for the Burning God” soon became an epic that incorporated my fascination for biplanes, zeppelins, and the corpses of mysterious gods.”

An extract from his story follows:

Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Callao, Peru, 1932
Part I

A week at sea was one thing; a Pacific storm adding a day to the voyage and wobbling Max’s sea legs was something else altogether. Used to the constant downpour, the gloom, and the isolation for seven very long days, he was caught off guard by the glare of the dawn sun and the noise as he disembarked the gangplank onto the Callao docks.

A man with ferret features pushed through a knot of wiry, brown-skinned dock workers. “You Calder?”

“Who’s asking?”

“The name’s Neville.” He extended a hand, which Max shook with the curtness of a professional. “C’mon. The others are in the truck.” Neville thumbed at an open-backed truck parked on the dock. The paint job looked fresh, with a prominent New World Incorporated logo emblazoned in red on the door.

The four men sitting in the back, all white, wore uniforms that matched the newness of the truck. Three clutched rifles. The Peruvian dock workers circled wide of the truck. For their part, the NWI men watched everyone with suspicion.

“Those are German rifles, right? Mauser carbines?” Calder asked.

“Very good, Mr. Calder.” Neville stroked his chin. “You know your guns.”

“That’s what I told your man in San Francisco. That’s why I’m here, I guess.”

“Yes, yes. Tell me, Mr. Calder, are you a Max or a Maximillian?”

“I’m a Maximillian but Max will do.”

“Very well then, Max. I can’t place your accent. South African?”

“Displaced British, actually.”


“Yeah.” Calder kept his eyes ahead, studying the NWI recruits who in turn studied him as he approached.

Neville waved a hand at the truck. “Up you go, Mr. Calder. Make yourself as comfortable as possible. The trip to the mountains is long and bumpy to say the least.”

As Max tossed his backpack up into the truck, Neville opened the passenger door and stepped up. “A word of advice, Mr. Calder.” Neville paused on the threshold of the cabin. “Keep your eyes open for trouble. President Cerro’s government may welcome New World Incorporated but some of the locals are less enthusiastic about our presence. These are difficult times and you know why you’re here.” As if to emphasize the point, Neville pivoted to reveal the handle of a Colt .45 auto jutting from his belt.

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