Entry Date: October 15
Site Location: Lake Eerie
Casper and I pulled up to the boat launch before sunrise and waited for the client to arrive. As we ate our Wawa sizzlies and sipped on large pumpkin spice coffees, we waved hello to the skeletal ferryman whose shimmering lamp illuminated the lake’s otherworldly swells. Casper called out to ask if the fishing was any good; the ferryman responded with a bone-chilling cackle and said something about having caught many souls this day. I admittedly couldn’t hear him very well over the lake monster’s deafening roars. I regretted not packing earplugs for this job.
The sun came up around 7:30 A.M. and we saw the client plodding over to our truck, ready to go in a hard hat and safety vest. We shook his cold, slimy hand and talked about the weather for a little bit. The Creature from the Black Lagoon told us there had been an intense downpour of frogs for the past two days, but the clouds looked like they would hold off for our site reconnaissance.
He led us to the staked locations downstream of Infernal Dam. He said they’d been having sludge seepage issues and wondered if the brimstone foundation layer was more fractured than the initial investigation revealed. Casper had worked on a lot of sulfur rock at his last job and noted the noxious gas rising from the toe of the dam probably wasn’t a good sign. Additionally, most of the piezometers were on fire – another worrying finding.
We ran packer tests into the afternoon until a Bellowing Boggart showed up to complain about the intolerable stench of mortals. He had thought we would be coming on Monday and had planned a picnic for the early afternoon. We finished up and left the site early, around 1:20.
Entry Date: October 18
Site Location: The Misbegotten Cave of Infinite Sorrow
We showed up around 7:00 A.M. and tried to locate the client for about an hour. He said he was near the cave entrance, but we couldn’t see him at all. We searched around for the voice on the other end of the phone until we linked up with the Invisible Man. He said that happens a lot.
Following the sound of our client’s voice, we surveyed the cave as he pointed out the many projects he was developing. He showed us the Den of Dread, where he was in the process of building a new co-working space, and the Tunnel of Torment – the hopeful future location for commuter rail.
The Invisible Man went on to explain his immediate concern was leasing a cave unit to a top biomedical researcher for a new laboratory. The deal was contingent, though, on sealing off various tunnels and other entrances: Dr. Frankenstein had prior issues with lab security and did not want past projects sneaking in. He also wanted us to check if the dark crimson fluid running along the cave floors could be considered potable water because that would impact how he could advertise these commercial units for rent.
We estimated grout quantities required for sealing the tunnels and planned some groundwater testing and dye-tracing for our next visit. On our way out, Casper and I got into an argument: was it stalagmites or stalactites that the cave trolls had sharpened into spears as they eyed us menacingly? We were off-site by 3 P.M.
Entry Date: October 23
Site Location: Bran Castle
This was a pretty high-profile job so Casper and I showed up super early (5:30 A.M. or so) to park at the base of the mountain and review prior reports. The medieval fortress occupies a local high point on the Carpathian Mountains and, in the process of designing a fear-inspiring expansion, it became apparent slope stability would be a major concern.
Just from the looks of it, this will be a challenging site: sheer mountain faces with a swirling vortex of vampire bats and guano deposits interbedding complex sedimentary folding. It’s a good thing the property owner has been amassing a fortune over centuries – a foundation design on this site is going to require it.
We met the sanguine Count Dracula in his Great Hall and politely declined to drink from the large goblets he had placed at the table for us. He told us he had tired of firms who practiced “fly-by-night engineering” and was pleased to be working with “fresh blood.” We reviewed the boring location plan and obtained permission to drill through three out of the four corners in the dungeon (one of them was “in use”) and bring our rigs in through the courtyard.
Dracula very kindly inquired about our lodging accommodations for the project. Although he offered us a pair of king-sized beds in his luxury guest suites, I think I still prefer our rooms at the Haunted Hotel… the witches working the front desk brew a spell-binding cup of coffee. We left the castle at 6 P.M.
Entry Date: October 31
Site Location: Howling Hills
We don’t usually work on Halloween, but the client agreed to an increased holiday rate based on the urgency of this call. Casper and I arrived around 9 AM and parked the truck about a half mile from Mr. Wolfman’s shack due to the extensive sinkholes that were actively devouring his driveway. After cautiously walking to a safe-looking hill, we shook hands/paws and asked about the sudden ground collapses. Wolfman showed us the region’s karst map and stated the rolling hills have always been defined by the area’s limestone depressions, but this problem was new. (I always appreciate working for Wolfman; he’s usually sniffed out the problem long before we arrive.)
Casper, recognizing some familiar signs from a previous job, asked if any cosmic entities had recently visited unfathomable horrors upon the land and after taking a moment to think about it, Wolfman replied that there actually had been a mysterious meteorite that crashed into the valley a few nights back. The resulting crater had been emanating mesmerizing lights in colors beyond the limits of earthly perception, so he had told his pups they should probably play inside for a few days. I personally don’t have much experience in extraterrestrial geology or interdimensional tectonics, but Casper had a contact from many centuries back who he thought might be able to provide some insight. He stepped away to make a call to Cthulhu LLC while I engaged in some small talk with Wolfman. Apparently, the moon was a waxing gibbous tonight.
Casper came back after a few minutes and reported that, yes, this had all the hallmarks of a cosmic incident and would likely require extensive subsurface remediation to repair the rupture in space-time. On short notice, however, we could grab some bentonite from the truck and mix up a slurry wall to mitigate some of the reality warping that was occurring in Wolfman’s living room. We tentatively scheduled a follow-up visit for two weeks from now. Wolfman thanked us profusely and we were back home just in time for trick-or-treating.