Archive for February, 2012

150: The Parallel Puzzle

Posted in Gideon Keys on February 20, 2012 by glasganon

There is a large communications tower in the east of the city that is home to an enigma that has gone unsolved for thirty years.

Although the tower seems ordinary from the ground, climbing up the ladder to the uppermost point of the steel-and-wire construction will reveal a series of square-foot-sized concave mirrors haphazardly tied down to metal struts and hidden away behind the huge television and satellite dishes at the apex of the tower. There is some give in the ropes that tie them down, which allow them to be rotated to face the city around them, or the sky above.

Each of the mirrors seems to reflect a slightly different reality. The one reached first – also the largest – seems to reflect its surroundings accurately, but when angled towards the ground, it reveals a colossal, gaping pit in the ground below you. There’s no trace of this chasm in the real world, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there – and it certainly won’t stop anything from climbing out of it.

The two mirrors above the hole-mirror are angled so that they only reflect the sky, or parts of each other. Oddly, they only ever show the night sky, and always as though there was no air or light pollution in the sky – however, the constellations that appear in the mirror are never visible in the sky. In fact, they’ve never been seen on Earth.

The final mirror, placed at the tip of the tower, can swivel to point immediately above to the ground below. It’s difficult to reach, as it requires stepping off of the secure metal struts of the tower and climbing up the smooth face of a satellite dish, which can easily mean falling to your death with a misplaced step or a mistimed jump. The last mirror is large enough for you to see all of yourself in it – and invariably, whenever you look into it, you will see yourself at the pinnacle of all you could have accomplished. This reflection looks like you would if you had strove to reach your potential, if you had done your utmost to succeed and took every opportunity before you. This is a false blessing – there is only so much pride you can share with this false reflection before you realise it will always be better than you in your current state, and with that acknowledgement comes frustration and anger.

Perhaps that is why the mirror now lies broken – someone simply did not like what they saw. In their anger, however, they have doomed us; in the 70s, before it was smashed, the light from the moon would filter down through the comm tower and into the large pit that is only visible as a reflection. This light would draw in all those things that hide in the shadowy parts of the city and force them down to the deeper consciousness of the city, keeping us safe; now, the light is split and fragmented, and acolytes have thus far been unable to realign the light from the mirrors without something from the pit rising up to claim a new prize.


137: The Riddle Querent

Posted in Gideon Keys on February 19, 2012 by glasganon

There is an abandoned swimming pool in the south of Glasgow, which, due to the general disrepair of the building it is housed in, lies open to the skies. The pool sits empty and unused during dry weather, but on those nights where the rain seems to fall heavier than usual, the pool quickly fills up as rainfall trickles in through the dilapidated roof.

It is during these nights that something takes up residence in the depths of the pool.

The only way to gain access to pool is through the roof. You must throw yourself into the black water below you, allow yourself to fall with the rain. As the water rises up around you, you will quickly realise that the water goes far, far deeper than you realise – and far further than is actually possible, judging from the depth of the darkened pool during dry weather. To meet the querent of the pool, you must swim down as far as you physically can. If you are confident in the answer you intend to give the querent, then you should consider weighing yourself down with concrete.

When you swim down far enough that your breath begins to burn in your chest, when your lungs feel as though they’re about to burst, you will hear a voice, quivering and vibrating out through the pool – this is the unseen querent, who poses you a riddle.

“Within the hole you saw your whole environment contained,
Though nothing solid from within could ever be obtained.
This mirror manifested –
Appearing as a guest did –
Once the downpour started, and after it had rained.

Once the sun had crested,
no part of it remained.”

This far down, answering incorrectly or not at all means it will be impossible to resurface in time to take another breath. However, if you answer the querent correctly, you will find yourself able to breathe underwater for far longer than should be humanly possible.

005: The Mirror Trick

Posted in Gideon Keys on February 19, 2012 by glasganon

{A handwritten letter, with the lingering scent of perfume on it. — Ed}

Hello again sweetheart, how are you? I believe its nigh time you and Eilidh got a little more practise, by yourselves this time. Here’s something that you can do without even leaving your home, and its fairly safe, no inviting things in or exploring abandoned buildings like you seem to be intent on doing! It can be harrowing though so make sure you have some liquor handy!

For this you’ll need a candle, a mirror (which you shouldn’t need to close), a dark room and somewhere comfortable to sit. Position the seat about half a metre in front of the mirror and then place the candle half a metre behind the seat so that when you turn off the lights and light the candle you should be able to see yourself in the mirror but not the candle itself. Now just wait and just watch.

The eyes are the windows to the soul but sometimes they can be doors too. If you keep your stare and don’t look away from the gaze of your mirror image you’ll see your own face begin to change. Its important you keep looking if you want to seek the truth. Your reflection’s face will deform and become something else. Bits of skin will change shape and its eyes might disappear completely into blackness. Your own face with too many rows of teeth in a screaming mouth. Or maybe you’ll see something that looks like your parents… but They aren’t. They are something else entirely. The thing you have to realise is that whenever you look into a mirror, behind your reflection’s eyes something else is looking back at you.

You have to understand They are looking through at us all the time. My friend Dolly who you met last fortnight at the meeting says that we’ve evolved to see only our reflections because They would take notice of people who spent too much time looking and hunt them down. Po Face thinks reflections are like windows or doorways into the city’s dreams and They are its nightmares. I don’t know if I believe either of them but the fact remains that They are there, They have always been there, and They will always be there. Sometimes I think They will find us all and there will be no-one left who remembers They exist.

Trust me honey I don’t want to scare you, I want you to be prepared for what must come. You can’t save everyone, but you can save everything. By that I mean you can record all of your experiences, write them down, share them with people, and hope that even if something happens to you, you can still have something to help the next generation. That’s all the Chain is honey, a chain of association. A link from one generation to the next. Some day you ought to make a new link in the chain by passing on what you know on. Remind me to take you along to meet our friend Ms. Christchurch next time you’re at the meeting okay?

As always if you can’t stay safe stay careful honey. Mwah! x

Lady K.

093: The Sacred Ground

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

There is a patch of disused land where a church once stood in the southside of Glasgow. The grand has grown wild and untamed since the church was demolished, and due to its previous use as a holy site, can now be used as sacred ground.

Note that this does not mean it provides any kind of sanctuary from some of the entities that thrive in the darkness of the city – the creations of Shadow Farmers can set foot on the soil, the Silent Man can pass through the iron gate, the Scavenger’s Daughter will still find you, and They will be able to follow you there.

The real boon of the Sacred Ground is its use to practitioners – because the Gideon Keys of Glasgow have been interwoven so tightly with Christian mythology, certain elements of each system come together on the grounds of the former church. Mixing water with allspice on the grounds will create a kind of “holy” water which, when applied to the eyelids, will allow acolytes to detect those things and people who have heavy significance in the living mythology of Glasgow. A number of the mushrooms growing amongst the weeds can be ingested to give hallucinogenic trips that reveal the fundamental mycological reality that lies underneath our own. Rites held on the ground seem to have a much stronger effect, perhaps due to the things that are buried beneath.

The acolyte must avoid the area on rainy nights; unknown figures sometimes congregate in the grass, digging up cadavers from the soil, and it can be harrowing to see your own body being dragged up from the dirt.

049: The Watchtower

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

Go to any subway station south of the River Clyde, and ask for a single to Merkland Street; you’ll likely be told that Merkland Street has now become Partick, but reply “I like to keep one foot in the past, one in the future.” They should make some motion to show they’ve understood you – if not, or they ask you to repeat yourself, walk out of the station and rip the ticket up – it’s of no use to you.

If you manage to get the ticket, get on the Outer Circle line, and board the next train that arrives. Figure how many stops you have to wait before getting to Partick – for example, it’s one from Govan, seven from Bridge Street – and the second you sit down, close your eyes. Keep them tightly shut and count down the stops, and when you get to Partick, stand up and walk through the doors with your eyes shut. Open them once your feet touch the platform.

You’ll find yourself at the topmost point of the Watchtower: a colossal, concrete monolith that rises up from a valley, with a view that spans miles. The wilderness around the Watchtower seems to indicate the city’s current health: in almost all cases, the valley is as empty as it is dry and barren, but now and again, new things appear. A black, charred horse-and-cart that rides through the blasted valley, leaving a trail of dark soot and rot behind it. A sickening yellow shape that resembles an enormous cloud in the sky, until it gets closer and you realise it’s a creature of impossible dimensions, roaring through the deserted plains. A confluence of misshapen figures, congregating around the base of the Watchtower, looking up at you with their blurred, thrashing faces as the rain of annunciation falls from the heavens.

It is important to take note of as much of the wilderness around the Watchtower as you can, as quickly as you can – you will wake up inside the train you thought you had left as soon as it reaches Partick again.

024: The New Build

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 12, 2012 by glasganon

There is a building in the city center that has been under construction for at least the past four decades. It’s not hidden, it’s not disguised – it’s just taken for granted. However, no workers are ever seen on the site, aside from those who visit the building once a fortnight to check for signs of vandalism. When someone looks at the New Build and realises that work on it has never moved on, a set of interesting properties of the New Build make themselves known.

Once such property is the absence of an interior. Trying to enter the half-constructed rooms or climbing down into the structure reveals that, though it should be possible to get inside the half-a-dozen solid, sheltered rooms, the acolyte will always be standing outside, no matter how they try to get in. Bizarrely, thrown objects are immune to this rule – one could easily toss sensitive documents, old personal effects or things that might be used as evidence in undesired police investigations into the unapproachable rooms and be assured that it would not be discovered… more or less. It is simply impossible for living creatures to enter the rooms; they either find the passage impossible, or find themselves in a different building entirely.

This is down to the New Build’s second interesting property; by looking through the scaffolding of the building at different angles, different buildings are quite clearly visible. This is not down to the building being a mash-up of various architectural styles – although several are employed to disguise this bizarre quirk. In fact, the geometry of the scaffolds actually allow for passage from the New Build to specific other sets of scaffolding in construction sites around the city. There is no guarantee of safety, however – running along the wooden planks on the second storey of the New Build may cause you to shift to the seventh storey of an unfinished building in Queen’s Park – but this may prove vital if you need to make a hasty retreat from the city center. These “spatial shortcuts” do not always remain constant, and can switch even as someone is passing through them, leading to our third interesting property; the inhabitants of the New Build.

The Inhabitants are those people unfortunate enough to have been crossing between the New Build and another place when the shortcut they were on suddenly changed. Because of the unusual geometric effects of such a change, most inhabitants simply resemble fleshy canvases spread across frames of metal scaffolds, human forms punctured by bursts of broken brick and wood, heads bisecting corrugated iron with steel-wire nerves. The Inhabitants reside in the unapproachable center of the New Build, making themselves the custodians of all the unwanted objects that are tossed inside. They know our deepest, darkest secrets, all the things we want to hide, and they collect them when they fall into the New Build, stashing them away in some unseen room. Those that have secrets so dark they must be hidden here must pray the Inhabitants are never released from the unapproachable room.

197: The Silent Man

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on February 5, 2012 by glasganon

An entity has entered the annals of urban myth under a number of names and guises; in Glasgow, it is given the name “Sandshoe Sammy”, a mocking title intended to discourage fear by laughing in the face of it – the name comes from the fact that it can move without making a sound, as though its shoes dampened the noise of its footsteps.

This entity is given other names. Another common appelation is “The Still Man”, in the sense that the entity often brings with it a sense of foreboding stillness before it strikes, or that it makes very little movement in those rare moments where it is seen by an eyewitness. Irrespective of how appropriate this title is, it may be misapplied – German folklore refers to it as “Der Stillmann”, which can be translated to “The Silent Man”, referring back to its method of remaining completely quiet when stalking its victim.

The Silent Man usually appears as a man dressed in dark-coloured formal clothing, but for whatever reason, appears hazy and indistinct when viewed with the naked eye; its facial features seem to blur into one another when viewed closely. According to most eyewitnesses, the Silent Man simply stands and stares – if it can be said to have eyes. The Silent Man will stalk its victims for any length of time before ultimately disposing of them.

In areas where the Silent Man is seen, atrocities are inevitable; it is an omen of disaster. While eyewitness accounts of its actual behaviour are lacking, it is obvious from the aftermath of its appearances that it is capable of severely mutilating its victims. The most common artifact discovered after an encounter with him are a number of “canopic bags” – fleshy containers that hold each of the victim’s individual organs and body parts. The face bag tends to be left behind most often.