Laura Cooper
Laura Cooper (Born Laura Delacroix)
Widowed (Dr. Arthur Cooper)

Current Occupation: Secretary, Miskatonic University, College of Language, Literature, and the Arts

Education: B.A. Anthropology, Unfinished M.A in Linguistics
Fluent in French, English, Arabic, Vietnamese and Italian

Contrary to what her accent and last name might betray, Laura didn’t begin her life in France, England or even the United States. The first and only child of Laurent Delacroix, a French archeologist, and Cecilia Southers a British Linguist, Laura was born on February 17th, 1904, in Cairo, Egypt. Both her parents, before they had even become acquainted with one another, had spent countless years in Egypt and had met while working with one of Theodore M. Davis’ team in the Valley of Kings.

Cecilia, the daughter of a British government official, had herself been born in Egypt and knew the language and customs quite well. Laurent was there in part out of fervor for discovering ancient buried secrets, but also to satisfy his own thirst for personal glory. And so, out of this chance meeting in the desert, Laura came about.

After spending her early childhood in Egypt, the Delacroix family moved to Paris where Laura’s father held a teaching position for a few years. Not a man made for life in the bustling urban center, he quickly grew bored and brooding until 1912, when he was able to get funding from the French government to do field research on the early dynasties of Vietnam. With a financial backing from both the French government and Cecilia’s father, the Delacroix made the long trip to Vietnam. By then, Laura had already revealed herself to be an introverted child with a wild imagination. A quick learner, she much preferred to read or listen to her parents’ stories, rather than mix with those of her own age.

Vietnam, as it turned out, was a perfect place for her. Shunned by the other children of rich plantation owners for being “odd”, Laura spent most of her teen years living on the heels of her parents, helping them out on digs, or curled up under the cool shadows of their Saigon’s balcony. By then, Laura had grown into a beautiful and intelligent young woman who shared her parent’s passions for discovery and knowledge. More importantly, in 1917, she had briefly had as a home tutor, an American missionary by the name of Father Gale. A vigorous man full of stories, much like her father, he had regaled her with tales of the American West, where he had preached the Gospel to the Native Americans. From that moment on, Laura became fascinated with the Americas.

By 1922, now 18 years old, Laura was mostly busy dividing her time between refusing the advances of rich young men who stood to inherit their fathers’ lands, working for her father and dreaming of the American Wild West. As 1924 swung around, with the help of generous donations from her maternal grandparents, Laura was enrolled in Anthropology and Languages at Miskatonic University, in Arkham Massachusetts. It was while lounging around the campus, her nose buried in a pulp magazine that she bumped heads with Arthur Cooper, a medical student. Odds were, this chance meeting would have never amounted to anything had Arthur not asked her if she had read Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage. Laura had, in fact, a very worn and battered copy of the book, which she had lugged halfway around the globe. For the rest of the semester, Laura made a point of always taking the same route to class, and so, had an excuse to exchange good mornings and good afternoons with Arthur. These passing greetings finally grew into conversations, and finally outing in town. Laura found him enthralling. He had traveled a great deal across the United States and Canada, and he reminded her, in some sort of way of the other two men who had defined her life. Most of all, he was one of the rare men she had met who treated her as an equal, and not just a pretty albeit quirky girl.

In 1927, the year Laura graduated, Arthur proposed. And so, Laura Delacroix became Laura Cooper. When Arthur began his residency, the young couple moved into a small house in Arkham, and for some time, they had a happy life. Laura took an administrative job at Miskatonic, in the Languages department, and began working on her next degree. Even though Arthur had to sometimes leave for New York for weeks, for all appearances, the couple life seemed idyllic. By 1929, a dark cloud moved over the Coopers. After numerous attempts to start a family, followed by endless consultations, Laura discovered she couldn’t bear children. Arthur, even more so than her, became distraught at the fact but did his very best to remain supportive of his wife. For the better part of two years, Laura remained hopeful she could give Arthur the family he wanted, and although their relationship became strained at time, they made plans for the future.

Unfortunately, said plans never came to fruitions. In 1931, Arthur became more and more distant. He would be out of the house, days on end, without a single word as to where he had been. He would come back, dark circles under his eyes, his skin stretched tight over his features. Laura felt nothing but guilty for the state her husband was in. All they had both ever wanted was to be the portrait of the perfect family, and there was nothing she could possibly do. Arthur would force tired smiles on his face, comfort her; tell her it wasn’t her fault... that he was simply... tired. After almost a year of this charade, Laura began to think that, maybe, her husband had decided to take it upon himself to start his own family, somewhere else. Had she had known the truth, she would have wished for nothing but simple adultery. In seeing his wife, the woman he loved, distraught at her state, Arthur had taken it upon himself to find a way to make her happy, to make her content. His researched pushed him not only to the edge of science but well past it into another realm; one of dark pacts and whispered secrets on the borderlands between reality and madness. By the time Laura finally found the farm Arthur had purchased outside of Miskatonic, things were much too late. Twisted horrors made of bound flesh screeched at her from iron cages. Shallow graves dotted the dead field behind the house. Mothers. Children. Half things; born out of the tortured mind of a man who wanted to do good, but who had simply slipped too far.

Laura burned everything that would catch fire and made her way back home. When Arthur found her, what little spark of life she still had was dripping from her slit wrists.

When she awoke, in the county hospital, lips dry, pale skinned with barely enough strength to speak, she called out his name. Arthur never came. He wrote, once, saying he was sorry for everything; saying he had done horrible things that could never be forgotten... not in this life, and that he would pay his debt very soon. When the police finally found his body, the young doctor was nothing but an empty, dry husk devoid of life. Whoever had made a pact with him had apparently come to collect.

Laura spent a few more years in a sanatorium, healing both her body and her mind. When she was finally strong enough, she went back to her studies with a renewed purpose. Her guilt wasn’t there anymore; something new had flourished: a desire for revenge on whatever “other” had crushed the spirit of the man she had loved. Something was out there, promising happiness and delivery damnation.