It was a bad beginning.
In 1905, sick with cancer and close to death, Phil Jepson sold his lands to Miskatonic University.
I didn’t please me.
I’d known of Miskatonic for some time, and I’d chased more than a few of their professors and researchers out of Cross in years past. The fact that they had managed to purchase land in my town was, to say the least, upsetting.
Cross has its secrets, and I’ve kept a great many of them for more years than I care to think about. The idea that some fool with a knack for ancient Greek was going to putter around my dead set my teeth on edge.
Shortly before Phil died, he told me that he had elicited a promise from the university. They were only to build a library on the lands, perhaps spread out to another building or two for research over the years.
I did not tell him that they had lied to him, for even as he lay on his bed, coughing up blood and bits of lung, they were breaking ground for far more than just a library.
The man with whom Phil Jepson had dealt was Judge Roy Cullen, a man whose family went back to some of the earliest settlers of Massachusetts Bay and Boston Towne. I’d killed a few of the man’s relatives, and I had the suspicion that I might need to help him find his way to Hell as well.
When Phil breathed his last, I went out and found Judge Cullen standing near the excavated foundation. He was smoking a cigarette and admiring his conquest. When he saw me, the man gave me a disdainful snort and then turned his attention back to the property.
I stood in silence, watching him, and after close to a minute, he turned around angrily, threatening to get the police out to remove me from his property.
I walked past him, ignoring his continued verbal assault, and picked up a shovel.
Judge Cullen ordered me, of all people, to throw the shovel down.
Instead, I beat him with it.
As he lay gasping on the ground, his blood splattered across my face, I nodded, raised the shovel over my head and said, “Welcome to Cross, Judge.”
The cracking of his skull was a pleasant sound in the cool evening air.