The Overlords

The Overlords
Written by Tony F Paulazzo
Illustrated by Andy Paciorek

Who shall call their dreams fallacious / Who has searched or sought
All the unexplored and spacious / Universe of Thought.

The last days were a mad time when the things walked once again upon the Earth. Caleb and the little band of settlers lived within the subterranean depths of Cumbrian caves, subsisting on lichen, and blind, bleached creatures surviving alongside them in the dark underworld. As they delved deeper below the surface, they found an alien world with its own ecology. They felt constant hunger, constant fear and constant despair, that they were no longer emotive but existing on day to day survival instincts.
You know you’ve fallen from grace when you’re ripping into still bleeding animal carcass, eating a recently deceased relative or friend, drinking brackish water, fucking anything that’s warm just to feel – something. It was scary to think that all religion had been a sham, that mankind were just the failed slaves of an infinitely superior race, themselves cursed from time before living memory by yet another race, who, if they were even aware at all, viewed humanity as less than bacteria.
Jeera, a girl of about his age, stopped moving below him, he looked down, all disinterest to mirror her own face:
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah, you?”
He rolled off her, not even bothering to finish, “Shit! How long we been down this black hole? I’m going out of my fucking mind with boredom. I wanna eat something tastier than those white voles and goddamn worms.”
She laughed, a nasty short bark, “You want we should go back out there and talk-”
“Fuck, we’re an endangered species now-”
“Just fuck off Caleb!”
She stood up, her ribs pointing out of her emaciated body; standing at the cave mouth, looking into another cavern where their small tribe had set up camp. The little light they possessed came from a central fire - their eyes had adapted well in the five years they’d been cowering down here. Her bulging belly was at odds with the rest of her body, but all the females were pregnant, or trying to be; first rule of survival, procreation, even in madness.

The Stones of Pestilence. part one.

The Stones of Pestilence. part one.
Written and illustrated by Andy Paciorek.

Never, believe me,
Appear the Immortals,
Never alone.
From ‘The Visit of the Gods’
 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A note to anyone, who may in time, hear or read a transcript of this recording. Please believe I am not mad, lest I think I am not. Though in the few weeks that have passed as I have lain in this bed, it is a question that I have often asked of myself. I now write of the strange occurrences that befell me whilst I am still able, though as I momentarily rest and reflect I cannot begin to rationalise any of it.

Due to the unfortunate events that coincided with my visit to Great Britain, I have omitted specific place names and have changed the names of prominent people, for I do not believe it is fair, after all their misfortune to put the spotlight upon them and potentially attract attention from curiosity-seekers and ghoulish tourists.

I had taken the red-eye flight from Boston to Manchester, and from there I had travelled first by train and then by coach up through north-western England, passing through some quaint towns and villages, and some not so quaint and thought not into Lakeland proper, I did enjoy some mellow British scenery and recoiled at the sight of a large and incongruous nuclear power-station. But that is indeed what I had hoped for, to take the rough with the smooth – to experience all that corner of Britain had to offer.

Ashness Bloody Bridge

Story by Andrew McGuigan
Illustration by Andy Paciorek

A pretentious photographer up from London seeks to capture a rare Lakeland sunset, whilst becoming increasingly irritated by milling tourists, a mocking farmer and problems with the photograph which may be way beyond his control...


The other so-called photographers had packed up gradually and left long prior to the approaching sunset.
Most had been tourists with easy shoot digitals, or the occasional low spec digital SLR bought by those who think themselves a real artist, but were unable to commit the funds it took to get real results. They would return home and proudly display biscuit tin clichéd landscapes, wowing over the differences one patronising automatic setting made over another.
These philistines thought film was a four letter word.
To Adrian the use of film and producing photographs in the darkroom was real photography. The term was "light writing", an image etched into film, revealed only after careful chemical developing. As he set up he ignored the pointing and the laughter, but did feel a touch of annoyance when he overheard one man estimating the mega-pixel capacity of the Hasselblad as ‘one pixel.’
As sundown approached Adrian was finally alone with space and peace to set up the shots he wanted.
He had the bridge, the Skiddaw hills and an almost florescent orange sky all framed.


The farmer leaned down from his seat grinning mockingly.
“Them ones? Nay, they w’ eaten this eftanoon. Live feed.”
“What on earth do you feed whole piglets to?”
“Its fa an environmental restoration project, and I gets paid fa supplying livestock.”
Dick turned off the engine again, favouring Adrian with a proud smile.
“We are involved in t’ scientific re-introduction o’ creatures lang since disappeared fraa t’ fells, aal financed by gen’rous private benefactors.”
“Ah, yes I read about some of that happening in Wales. Re populating rivers with beavers, wild cats and wolves in the forests, that sort of thing?”
The farmers eyes narrowed and twinkled with strange amusement.
“Aye. Aye, summit like that.”


The new batch developed at least confirmed one small mercy. There was nothing wrong with his beloved Hasselblad. The problem was within the source.

More than white blobs now, alterations in exposure and development techniques had revealed detail this time. Each white blob looked more like a flower head, albeit one that might have been designed by Pythagoras. Triangular petals, surrounding a diamond angled central bud or head. Thin ribbon like tendrils stretched back from each pale bloom into the impenetrable darkness of the under bridge. There was a plant like quality to the images, but multiple exposures had shown movement between shots.
He would have to check deeper under the bridge and secure or remove any of this reflective debris. Another night spent at Ashness bloody Bridge, freezing his bollocks off.


The Chamber in the Hillside. Part Three

To the recipient of my two previous correspondences.

I thank you for your continued patience and open mindedness, the latter being a quality which may keep you sane in the coming days.
The final part of my story continues where it ended, with two archaeologists speeding back to a Roman dig site, ignorant of the trials before them.

I had never fired a gun before, but with Johan’s shouted instructions I became quickly familiar with loading and firing procedures. Now that we were a distance from the horror of the Shoggoth, our minds were turning over rapidly with the revelations and implications of the night. We talked fast, barely pausing for breath as we pieced together our hypothesis of the terrible history deep beneath this town.

Under Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Romans had established a strong line of defence along the Solway and they kept their people safe from attacks from all sides. They defended conquered territory from indigenous warriors, invaders from the north, and from a different type of foe altogether. These weird beings had been forced back to the sea by the might of the Cumbrian Legions. Butchered and piled into a stone tomb, whether dead or not. It was clear to us now that the Romans had been some of histories earliest conspirators. Documented history held no accounts of these sunken enemies. These creatures of the deep had been kept from the greater awareness of Rome. Did these secrets die with the empire?

The Chamber in the Hillside, Part Two.

To whom it may concern.
Thank you for your patience whilst waiting on my story’s continuation. My life is now a chase for answers no man would want to hear, and I seldom have chance to arrange my thoughts around what I can now laughably consider comparatively saner times. 

I was describing the night in 1954, shortly before midnight in the cold town of Maryport.
Johan Erkko and I had been hidden from the pursuit of an unknown group.
We had been rescued by a man named Father Roberts, a Priest of Maryport whose role had become that of a drunken recluse since his dockside parish had long since lost interest in his sermons.

We were informed that our American archaeological colleague had not left Cumbria with the expedition’s chance for fame and glory, but had in fact been taken somewhere by force. We were led swiftly to the grounds of Netherhall, the stately home of the original founders of Maryport.

The manor house was situated less than a mile inland with large, tree filled grounds.
It held a collection of Roman artefacts rescued hundreds of years ago from the grasslands around the fort sites. We kept our voices low having been assured by our strange new acquaintance that the residents were altogether ignorant of the town’s more nefarious activities.
Past the hall was a fourteenth century structure the old man referred to as the Pele Tower, the apparent reason for our visit.

If the old man’s speech was rambling his step was surely not. He strode ahead gesturing wildly as he spat words, and we hurried to keep up. I made him explain or repeat several parts of his rant and I made notes of his words as best I could, scribbling into a pocket book. After all, if Tom had been a victim of a crime, the police would need all relevant details. If any of this was true.

Below follows as much of Father Robert’s ranting as I was able to notate at the time, as he marched us quickly through the dark grounds of Netherhall.

About our Contributors.

Andrew McGuigan
Creator of Cumbrian Cthulhu
Author of ‘The chamber in the hillside,’ ‘Ashness bloody bridge,’ ‘A fell faith,’ ‘The elusive valley,’ ‘The treasure of the Moresby swan.’ Co Author of ‘Return to the Grange.’
It has been an interesting few years watching Cumbrian Cthulhu grow from one story to (at the time of writing) two books! It is my intention to produce four books of stories and also a contest leading to a full colour Cumbrian Cthulhu art book. More on that another time. If the writers and stories keep coming in, and the sales and donations keep going out, there is no reason why Cumbrian Cthulhu could not be a much longer series of volumes. So keep buying them!
A big thank you to the following people who helped smooth the evolution of the Cumbrian Cthulhu project.  Thank you David Stewart and Northumbria University for helping us recruit the talents of Kate and Lucy. Thanks to Allan Mitchell for additional proof reading, and to those who have kindly listened to me babble on, specifically Pete Stocker, Maggie Fraser and Louise Stals. Thanks to my parents Stephen and Jennifer McGuigan for the Cumbrian history books and the image for the back of volume two. Thanks to Dick Preston of Kemplerigg for accent assistance in ‘Ashness bloody bridge.’
The stunning Wastwater sunset featured on our first cover was photographed by
Żaneta Miderska, who was born in the seaside town of Gdansk and has been living in London since 2005. See more of her beautiful images at:
My biggest thanks goes to my lovely wife Suzanne who was mostly patient with my constant requests for help with the endless technical problems I was unable to overcome myself, such as correctly sending emails and using page-break.

Andy Paciorek
Cumbrian Cthulhu illustrator
Author of ‘House of dark lanterns,’ ‘The stones of pestilence,’ A quiet place,’ ‘The bells of Blencathra’  and ‘The echo of echoes.’

Andy Paciorek is a graphic artist, drawn mainly to the worlds of myth, folklore, symbolism, decadence, curiosa, anomaly, dark romanticism and otherworldly experience, and fascinated both by the beautiful and the grotesque and the twilight threshold consciousness where these boundaries blur. The mist-gates, edges and liminal zones where nature borders supernature and daydreams and nightmares cross paths are of great inspiration.
Andy was the first to join the Cumbrian Cthulhu project alongside Andrew McGuigan, and has been an enthusiastic partner throughout, eager to discuss and assist with its evolution. Apart from occasions when a writer specifically wishes to provide accompanying art, Andy is the official illustrator for Cumbrian Cthulhu.
Andy has found a great deal of artistic inspiration during trips to the Lake District, capturing images through photography and sketching, to manipulate later.
Andy also expresses a different part of his creative psyche by working with other varied creative souls, most notably and very differently through the Balcan~Paciorek Symbiosis and as part of the Stegorek mongrel art collaborative.
To see more artwork by Andy Paciorek please visit

Lucy Elizabeth Collier
I live in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. I am a recent graduate from Northumbria University, where I studied English Literature and Creative Writing. I am currently undertaking an internship as an Editorial Assistant at Mslexia Publication in Newcastle, where I hope to further my interest in publishing. I'm a keen badminton player having competed for my University and town and I am an unashamed Zumba-bopper. Aside from Cthulhu, I am currently editing a couple of previously unpublished author's novels whilst also, determinedly slogging over my own.
I was made aware of CC through a mass-circulated email within uni. Editing has always been a pleasure for me, as I am lucky to behold a meticulous eye, so the opportunity for involvement was a snap-up from the start. CC boasts a manic amount of writing talent in what can only be described as an exciting niche of genre and very different to your usual reads. It's the unusual aspect of CC that will appeal to readers and writers who want to extend an arm out to the wild and whacky. It's wonderful to be a part of something that genuinely delivers on effort and quality for the purposes of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association charity. (Also, it's hard not to appreciate the irony of this when you read some of the stories!)
Anyone who's been walloped by Wordsworth will appreciate just how spectacular this area of England is. As a frequent Holiday goer to the lakes
I am continuously amazed by its sights. My best friend has a little cottage in Keswick, which will always freeze the memory of my boyfriend attempting to 'plank' on the bonnet of our 4 man boat on Derwent Water Lake... Water: Unharmed. Matthew: Slightly less so

Ben Powell-Jones
Cover artist
Ben is originally from the North East but now resides in London which flips between feeling like a divine blessing and a horrifying curse, depending on the mornings commute. He works in TV, devising Entertainment shows and preparing graphics for pitch documents.
His main interests are practicing Muay Thai and freestyle wrestling and reading comic books. He realises this is not what his parents wanted his interests to be at 31.
He also enjoys writing about himself in the third person.
I think the CC project is an excellent initiative and was most pleased to be invited to be a part of it. I was also most pleased at Andrew McGuigan's patience as I consistently missed deadlines. I think the proceeds are going to an excellent and worthy cause, and one that deserves more exposure.
Growing up in the North East, with a grandmother that lived in Kendal, I have many memories and a strong feeling of attachment to the Lake District. I remember as a child feeling that the old, stony houses and dark, unlit lanes were a different world from where I was growing up. A special place, certainly. After reading the stories included, I'll probably never un-terrified walking after dark there anymore, so thanks for that, writers!

Matt Walby
Social network promotion
I live and work in Newcastle Upon Tyne as a call centre advisor. Outside of work I am a martial artist training in jun fan and kali. I have helped with the promotion of Cumbrian Cthulhu by running the Twitter account (@CumbrianCthulhu), building relationships with other Cumbrian, Lovecraft or Cthulhu related Twitter users in order to spread the updates and promotional material to as many people as possible and by association, hopefully promoting the work of the Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association in some small way.
I heard about the project through my friend Andrew McGuigan and wanted to join as I am a big fan of horror. I will be spending quite a bit of time in the Lake District in 2013 in preparation for the Pen-Y-Fan Fan Dance in May and The Wall Run along the route of Hadrian's Wall in June. I very much approve of the profits going to LDSAMRA. They do fantastic work which they could never receive enough credit for. They provide a great service to all Lake District visitors and help keep the Lakes the great tourist attraction it is.

Kate Taylor
Cumbrian Cthulhu advertising and promotion
I live just outside the popular Cumbrian tourist town of Keswick on the shores of Derwentwater but study at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. I have recently completed a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing and have been awarded a studentship to study an MRes in Creative Writing.
When I'm not writing for my tutors I'm writing my own brand of fantasy and/or magical realism: currently I'm working on a fantasy trilogy, a web drama set during the apocalypse and a detective noir reimagining of Greek mythology. You can find a weekly blog about my life and writing on blogspot under the name a.k.a Kate.
LDSAMRA is close to my heart because my family are big walkers. It's good to know that the proceeds from this anthology will be keeping them and others safe on the fells.

Glen Colling
Author of ‘That is not dead which can eternal lie.’
I was born in Sunderland in the North East of England. I currently live in Seaham with my wife Veronica, my son Phillip and two gerbils Thomas and Blackbird.
I have been a great fan of H.P. Lovecraft for thirty years and have read, and re-read, his books many times. I based my story under Lake Windermere and I have, on a number of occasions, looked into its waters and wondered what may lie beneath.
My family and I have often holidayed at the Lakes, usually a B&B at Windermere or a cottage at Kendal. The area is so striking it takes the breath away, especially on a dark, foggy, damp day when the clouds hang low over the hills. Great material for books!

Tony Paulazzo
Author of ‘The Overlords.’
I now live in West Yorkshire but originally hail from London. My main source of income (and second love) is working with and repairing computers. I keep a dream diary which should probably tell you more than you need to know about me. Many of my stories, or at least the seeds of them, come from my unconscious dreams, and I love the blurred boundaries that dreams create.
I loved the ruggedness of Cumbria, and thought about surviving here in end of the world stories, you know the sort, unexplained plague, nuclear war, but then someone took me to White Scar Cave (my first ever cave, slight claustrophobia, not somewhere I would willingly go), and Cthulhu whispered into my ear and from that visit the story pretty much wrote itself. Now I love the Cthulhu mythos, but I’d never read what happened when they finally reclaimed the Earth as their birthright, what happened to us, humanity, when Gods truly walked amongst us, so here is my attempt. I hope you like it.

Paul Musgrave
Author of ‘A mist friend.’
I live in Staithes, a picturesque village in North Yorkshire just 10 miles north of Whitby. I work for Revenue and Customs at Stockton and deal with work involving individual tax returns. In my spare time, I like running and do a lot of the local 5K to 10k runs and also play 5 aside football in the evening. My favourite hobby though, is drawing and doing caricatures for friends and family. When doing a few cartoon strips, I have enjoyed the writing part and that is why I was interested in writing a story on one on my favourite subjects. I visit Keswick (the place where I set my story) regularly for walks and to enjoy the scenery of one of the most beautiful places in Britain, if not the whole world.

Richard E Straw
Author of ‘Thy deep and dreaming sleep,’ ‘Langdale and pike investigate.’
Co Author of ‘Return to the Grange’
These stories represent Richard's first actual completed prose since he wrote a story about an exploding rocket for a school exam. Yet another member of the contingent from the North-East of England, he spends most of his time in the world of amateur musical theatre, and enjoys playing old men for shows with his local Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Most of his recent writing involves editing the scripts of short Victorian Operettas. He is however working on a sequel to 'Langdale and Pike Investigate', entitled 'Langdale and Pike Strike Back' (any rumours of a third part, 'Langdale and Pike's Last Stand', are completely without foundation).

Rich Blackett
Author and illustrator of 'Invisible'
Rich lives with his family in the North East of England. He has written for online and print based music magazines as well as stories in the Steampunk Compilations
"Tales from the Asylum" and it's follow-up "Beyond the Asylum."
He also contributed to the ebook anthology "Like a Corset Undone” and as part of The Nothing Machine has released a download only dark ambient album.
The story was inspired by a blend of true and (hopefully) fictional events, and was partly influenced by a an archive newspaper article of a figure leading a car through dangerous fog in Langdale. It should also be noted that the excellent Townend library does not contain any books of dark knowledge, at least not anymore...
Rich has been a visitor to The Lake District and Cumbria nearly every year of his life and is now introducing the next generation of his family to the beauty and tranquillity of the area. He and his family stay in Ambleside often twice a year and relish the chance to unwind and explore the ancient hills. When he saw the article asking for contributions in the internal Civil Service publication Pulse, he immediately responded to the chance of giving something back to the area and to such an important charity as LDSAMRA

Richard Gore
Author and illustrator of ‘Odd sausage.’
Painter of volume two’s Cumbrian Cthulhu flag.
Richard Gore grew up in the north east of England, gaining his degree in Illustration in 2006 before heading off to travel around the world for a year, visiting every continent, excluding Antarctica , on route. He currently combines working in an office with as many creative external projects as he can muster. Some of his recent endeavours include writing an illustrated children’s novel which he aims to get published in the near future, showing artwork at regional and national galleries and producing wildlife artwork for an international agent, recently getting to the finals of the BBC wildlife artist of the year for his work.
Richard heard about the Cumbrian Cthulhu project through friend and colleague Andrew McGuigan, who was looking for writers to contribute to the project. Richard being interested in both writing and illustration offered his services in both fields, writing a short Cthulhu piece and helping add to the illustration of the novel.
Richard has visited the Lake District on numerous occasions, sampling the culinary delights, whiling away time in second hand book shops and hiking in the hills and mountains, most notably getting to the top of Scafell Pike last year.
Through travelling the world Richard has visited many wonderful natural sights and believes that the beauty of the Lake District is not outshone by such sights as Northern Italy, Southern New Zealand or The Andes of South America. He is delighted that profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association allowing others the explore the beauty of this area of the world in increased confidence and safety.

Casey Rae-Hunter
Author of ‘The Cove.’
He is a musician, recording engineer, author and editor from Washington, DC. In addition to his work in political communications, he is the founder and CEO of The Contrarian Media, a popular online hub for writings on music, media and metaphysics. His 2009 album, Eldritch Musicks, is based on the weird fiction of HP Lovecraft, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood.