G W Thomas (illustration by Sam DeGraff)
A resort town on the East Coast is supplied with water by a large tank at the top of a hill. The body of rich old Mr Marchmount is been found there one night, his throat horribly crushed. The wet mud around the tank bears no footprints. Dr. Tointon, the local physcian, examines the tank and finds it full to within a few inches of the top. He also finds traces of slime on the railing. Despite this, the police investigator, Inspector Slago, suspect Dufirst, the tank-keeper. Dufirst is found to have Marchmont's watch but claims he took it from the already dead body. The police begin to believe him when a second body is found...
1 The tank is home to a large snake which strangled Marchmount, then returned to the darkness of the reservoir. The tank has not been cleaned on a regular basis and strange chemicals in the water has affected the reptile. The slime was left by the snake as it passed back and forth into the tank.
2 Marchmount is a cultist and has been using the tank at night as a landing pad for his experiments with Byakhees. His spell failed this one time and the flying horror strangled him then dropped his body. The slime is supernatural ooze excreted by the Byakhee. A mystical whistle was dropped at the site but picked up by a child, the second victim.
3 The tank holds the remains of Sidney Belton, a man who has been missing for four years. Belton's ghost haunts the reservoir, waiting for the three men who murdered him and hid his body. Marchmount was one of them, as was the second victim. The ghost will remain hoping to kill the third man. The marks on the dead mens' neck is made by the ghost's deadly grip.
Inspired by William Hope Hodgson's
The Terror From the Water-Tank (1907)
Copyright (c) 1997 G W Thomas