Come up from the cold docks, down Blackpool Bay’s Main Street and by the old, creepy Athelard mansion with its weathered gargoyles silently screaming out to all that pass on the street. Keep going by the Old Museum and beyond the Gypsy Market with its smoky shops and shady characters. If you keep zigzagging through town that way, you will eventually hit a short, nondescript street with no houses on it and a couple old–even pre-modern–gas lamps still installed down its middle.
If you happen to be walking down this road at night, you will notice that these old lamps are, in fact, all lit. You would not see who lit them. Not even if you wait. No one does. But they are certainly lit, and quietly stand erect and casting their eerie glow out around that noir street; strange, glowing orbs pulsing out into and across the lonely, vacant street beneath a dark night sky.
A curious individual may think to consult the Museum’s records and find out that the street is in fact called “Connecting Street”. But a deeper search will reveal that it was renamed such after a strange but devastating fire ravaged through it.
Originally–before the fire–it was called “Bayen Boulevard”.
Some records may even go on to state a rumour–as if it were a fact–that the original Bayen Summer House stood there. Named after the Old Continent family and, possibly, one of the founders of Blackpool Bay itself. Or so some whisper that they were, before the fire. Others decry them as vile occultists and worshipers of Things-in-the-Deep.
Many doubt they even existed and are probably just the vulgar fictions of simple minds. These people laugh it off and merely point out that Connecting Street was likely the original Main Street of the town, before the Athelard family’s fishing business brought the first waves of money into the town and the old estate was carved up into quaint pockets of houses, shops and a stinking dock with endless fishing boats trawling through it.
None of these stories, anecdotes and rumours satisfy those that crave the truth. No, they are all just bread crumbs leading down a dark path. Those that seek the real truth about that strange, eerie little street will eventually stumble across the old account of the late Benjamin Dole.
Professor Benjamin Dole was a scholar in good standing. As an Old Boy of a learned establishment back in the Old Continent, he was prone to fancy and took a leave of absence to explore Blackpool Bay early last century.
Well, that is what his diary says and it is corroborated by the University records overseas.
What is less obvious is that Professor Dole was an occultist. In fact, a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn itself and third only to Mr. Crowley himself back in that age. He was rumoured to have studied a copy of the Necronomicon and read every word of the original Emerald Tablets in the original coptic script.
It was the latter and the elusive lotus of eternity that led him to Blackpool Bay, for he wrote in his diary the single and memorable phrase:
“The Bayen are not rich but old. Immortal, in fact. And I will discover from them the missing coptic ingredient. They have promised as much to me in return for my transcriptions of the Nameless Book. I must keep my wits about me for their type are quick to take and slow to release.“
As best as the old records can tell, Professor Dole left London and next docked in Blackpool Bay. He checked into the same old, stinking tavern–now a “hotel”–in the docks for the first night before checking out.
We can only assume that he went to stay with the Bayen family on the following evening? We can only assume that he stayed there for a while and many dark secrets were exchanged in those halls shadowy confines?
We can assume many things but the next actual fact that we have is the old police records where the Constable was called out to Bayen Boulevard by a concerned passerby.
At this point weeks have passed between Professor Dole’s check-out and this moment.
The Constable Thomas–if the records are correct–arrived late at night to find Professor Dole out in the middle of the street howling. He is screaming at the stars in manic verses of lost languages and the only phrases that the poor, flustered Constable could recollect were: “…their evil fosters as Nodoth’s wound upon this Earth. I was wrong. Wrong! The Golden Way is a lie only fettered by the ones that crawled from the depths! We are their food, Sir! Their food! Oh, Sagaroth forgive me! Nai-twixen! The Unholy Light courses through me and I will unleash it upon them before they upon us!”
Constable Thomas’ memory stops there, or, at least, his account of it does. We remain uncertain as to what transpired next despite being open to a mass of conjecture thereon.
The newspapers, though, do indirectly record some of the rest. A great and ravenous fire raged through Blackpool Bay that night consuming a large proportion of the estate and accompanying village. While its source was unknown, its devastation was quite well known and far-reaching.
In the village, there was much damage. But, of the Bayen Estate, nothing remained untouched as the fire ravaged with an unnatural intensity. Indeed, at the center of the blaze and completely burnt to ashes was the old Bayen Summer Home and–to the best of our knowledge–all its inhabitants.
Bizarrely, Constable Thomas survived to die many years later from old age.
And of Professor Dole?
Not so much as a footprint was left, albeit his diary was found at the old tavern on the docks a number and entered into public record.
No one knows nor, probably, will they ever know what happened on Bayen Boulevard all those many decades ago.
But–for some reason–when you go down to that bizarre, vacant road late at night near a dark moon under a starless sky, you may stumble across a strange, haunting old man.
Or he may stumble upon you.
His age is indeterminate and his manners jarring, but he will pull you close, point across the street and whisper:
“We are their food, Sir! Their food! Nai-twixen! The Light has quashed them, for now, my friend. For now… Look at how their night-lights lay a guiding path for them to come home? Look at the lights and see their darkness.”
And then he is gone.
It may have been Professor Dole, a shadow that was once him, or something much more twisted that he became?
But he is watching. Waiting. Ever aware of whatever vile darkness that short, nondescript street once harboured and what it may yet once again harbour as it is guided home by those eerie, glowing orbs pulsing out into a dark, starless night sky.