The Post-Modern Masks of Nyarlathotep

The Post-Modern Masks of Nyarlathotep: Epilogue

Francis sets up his agency, along with Seamus and Stephen, who seem to be developing lycanthropism. Together with Isabelle, they fight the supernatural with monsters, and occasionally pop over to California to help out Jimmy. The United States Government to this day refuses to confirm or deny his involvement with the OSS during World War II, or the CIA in the years following.

If anything, Jimmy Wright does even better in Los Angeles. His normal practice runs well, and his discreetly provided supernatural services continue his good work. As the years go by, he helps many young investigators enter the private investigation trade; he keeps track of them all, Phil, Sam, J. J., that guy whatshisname who quit after only a little while to join the Continental Agency.

Freddie starts Earl Pictures, specializing in horror and drawing room farce. He does stupidly well, of course, before getting out of the industry in the early 1960s. He sells some of his equipment to a young director-wanna-be named Roger Corman. He helps Vanessa raise Mirabelle…until she’s old enough to be on her own.

Before he dies, Freddie pens a memoir called It All Really Happened! that he hoped would be a dire warning to humanity. The book was ignored before being revived by the Deconstructionists in the 1990s; one calls it “A Confederacy of Dunces as written by P. G. Wodehouse.”

Jax quits the reporting business during the Depression. Freddie gives her some bit parts in his movies, and in time she becomes a respected stage actress. Her revival of The Dollhouse is well-reviewed in New York. Supposedly Stephen Sondheim wanted to offer her a part in A Little Night Music, but she dies before auditions begin.

Vanessa moves to California, and soon becomes one of Venice Beach’s most beloved eccentrics. In the 1960s, the hippies and stoners hang out at her old Victorian, where she dotes on them like a psychedelic den mother.

Bradley Grey gives up the DA’s job to move to California with his wife, Erica. After a hiatus, he goes into politics, eventually winning Richard Nixon’s old seat in Congress.

Mina Murray vanishes from the British Museum in 1946. Her MI-6 file merely says, “Missing, presumed immortal.”

But the story’s not quite over yet.

Even a King’s word only lasts as long as his life, so in 1936 Freddie returns to England for the funeral of King George V. He is forced, thanks to his rank, to attend interminable dinners that even King Edward’s notorious manners can’t liven up.

During one of them, however, he runs into Wallis—Simpson, now, she tells him. They pick up where they left off in Shanghai.

“You know, Freddie,” she tells him out on a terrace in the bracing winter air, “I really thought you would have recognized me in Shanghai.”

Freddie stares. “Oh, God.”

“Not exactly, you know. Dark Lord didn’t give me that much power. But I had enough to not let a falling building kill me, even if I had to take over a socialite to do so.”

“Oh, God.”

“Am I not so recognizable? Anyway, I like it here now. I’m going to be Queen of England.”

“Like that will ever happen, Hypatia.”

“You never know. Besides, I like David—King Edward, I guess I should say. He’s an idiot, but he’s my idiot, and does what I tell him. Really hates you, though—he was behind the citizenship thing, you know.”

“That was him?”

“Well he was in the cult, you know.”

“That explains that, then. And the car.”

“Did you really call him Teddy?”

“Unfortunately. Have you checked in on your girls? Some of them lived.”

“I let Mina play with her toys. By the way, Freddie, message from the Boss: Game’s not over yet.”

“I never wanted to play in the first place!”

“You don’t get a choice, there, Freddie. But you’ll probably be left alone. For a while. By the way, whatever happened to your friend Chuckles?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea.”

Charleston awakes with a start. He looks around. Grey walls, definitely a prison.

Something scurries in the corner. He picks up the Rev and puts him on top of his head. He glances around looking for a window.

“Underground.” He shakes his head, and then steps through the wall. Several minutes later he is staring out at the skyline of Berlin from the top of a building.

“You know, Rev, this dagger is just the start. We’re going to be hunted wherever we go. I think it’s time to go on the offensive. I’ll learn some German, find some of those guys who do what I say, and start my own little faction. We’ll gather all the artifacts of the world in one place, because I’ll need them to defend me. Do you eat?”

“I think I live on thoughtwaves,” says the Rev in his head.

“Then I don’t need to take care of you much. Noor! I see you there! Come on, you didn’t think I could pull it off!”

“No, I am impressed. It was good. Better if you really cared about humanity, but still, you saved Charleston. Or whatever’s under all the crazy.”

“Come on, baby. You know this is all Charleston.”

“Ah, I was mislead. I lived such a terrible short life.”

“You wanna come back?”

“No, I’ve seen how that works. I could never survive the diet.”

“You know, I was going to go through the portal, until I saw you come to say goodbye, it reminded me—I owe that bastard! So, are we even?”

“You know, that’s almost sweet. All right.”

“What do you do when you’re dead?”

“I used to haunt Jimmy, but that’s done. I guess I could haunt you.”

“Come on, for old times sake.”

“I like the Rev. He’s cute. You know, we should probably never let anyone else read your book. That’s our knowledge.”

“I was going to publish it! But maybe you’re right. That’s what I need you for. Practical stuff. You know, Mwimbe was traitorous, but she was right that these books aren’t for everybody. I think we should gather them together, so only I can see them.”

“Sure, for safety.”

“Now, here’s a thing. The hearing, the eyes, actually an improvement. Probably limit my dating, but then I can’t trust anyone. So, I’m going to summon a hunting horror, cut off its wings, and graft them to my shoulders. That way I’ll always have the mobility!”

“Why not? Sounds like a weekend.”

“We’ll need to fund this operation. You know what we should do? Start a candy company. That’s how we’ll fund it. We can learn how to do it here in Germany.”

One day, in the 1930s, Charleston walks into a cabaret in Berlin. He glances at the bartender.

“Hello, Shakti,” he says. “With the eyes, I can tell.”

“Oh for goodness sake,” moans Shakhti. “I understand you’re in candy. Maybe you can use my club’s name?”

“Kit Kat? I don’t know. Did you hear what I did?”

“Yeah, he told me. Said he’d have done the same in your place. But it will probably be good if you don’t see each other for a while.”

“As long as he doesn’t hold grudges!” They both laugh, and Shakhti hands Charleston a drink from the private stock.

“I’d like to make an investment in your company,” says Shakhti. “I still seem to own several hundred acres of cotton. Nice pet, by the way.”

Charleston puts the Rev on the bar. “He’s not so much a pet as a…parasite.”

“Like most of humanity.”

“Tell me about it!” They clink glasses.

“Til the next time we try to rule the world,” says Shakhti. “Now that you’re on our side, I’m sure we’ll do it right.”

“You never know,” says Charleston. “Depending on what I learn, maybe next time you’ll be trying to stop…me.”

In the background, a young American woman begins to sing:

All the odds are in my favor

Something’s bound to begin

It’s got to happen, happen sometime

Maybe this time I’ll win


Maybe this time…

Maybe this time…he’ll stay

THE END

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