By John Tynes, © 1994
[I've long been fascinated by the Consume Likeness spell; it was the centerpiece of my scenario "Nemo Solus Sapit" in Chaosium's "The Stars Are Right!" and does the same here, as well as in my notes for a solo scenario that I never wrote. This is the only Tale of Terror I've ever written (as best as I can recall) and sure enough I blew it. I didn't follow the format of these things, a format that I've made a point of sticking to ever since - in which the writer presents a situation and then gives three possible explanations/plots for the Keeper to choose from. That format gives more bang for the buck, if you will, by providing more options. This one didn't do that. Oh well. Incidentally, I'm very fond of the family name that appears in this piece ("Bood"). I ran across the name in a short story somewhere and loved it. —John Scott Tynes, 1994]
Aldous Bood is a professor of Paleo-Linguistics at a nearby university. Short, thin, and stooped, he is known for being well-intentioned but boring. His wife, Dottie, is a huge woman, loud and overbearing, and favors garish floral print dresses. She takes every opportunity to put Aldous down in public, and their neighbors are used to hearing her screaming at him at the top of her lungs when nights are long and tempers are short. Aldous puts up with it as best he can – it is the way of things.
About a week ago the two of them had a terrific fight, Mr. Bood for once giving as good as he got. In the time since that night, no one has seen Dottie Bood.
Prompted by suspicious neighbors, the police investigate her absence. Finding a blood-spattered pillow under the bed, they take Mr. Bood into custody on suspicion of murder. He is released on bail, refusing to offer any explanation whatsoever for his wife’s disappearance. Two hours later, Dottie Bood walks into the police station. It’s all been a terrible mistake, she says. She was so upset with her husband that she had a nosebleed, and finally fled to her sister’s house. The charges against Mr. Bood are dropped.
What’s Going On?
Doing some research into the notes of a discredited colleague who recently passed away, Mr. Bood discovered therein the spell Consume Likeness. When he killed his wife in a moment of rage, he seized on the spell as his only way out. It took him a week to fully devour his wife’s corpse, as is required by the spell. The arrest came unexpectedly, though, and he had to wait until he was released on bail before he could make an appearance in the form of Mrs. Bood.
In the weeks to come, the Boods will get a surprisingly amicable divorce. Not so surprisingly, perhaps, they are never seen together in public. An investigator who is a friend or colleague of Mr. Bood may notice this curiosity, though, and may know a little something about the deceased professor with the peculiar interests that Mr. Bood was recently looking into. If he isn’t caught, Aldous will keep up the sorcerous pretense that his wife us alive until the divorce is final. Then Mrs. Bood will “move away” and will soon be all but forgotten by a community that is not terribly sad to see her go.
It may be that wily Mr. Bood, unhinged by the whole experience, will have acquired a taste for human flesh. He is unaware that the spell does not change your shadow, however, and the investigator may find it unsettling that the rather weighty Mrs. Bood casts such a thin, stooped shadow…