Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A Manor and all Manner of Horrors

 Author's note: Sorry for the wait, I've been really busy recently. This is the first of the older drafts I promised. I'm introducing a character in it whom I truly enjoy writing about, and who I expect will appear in a great many of my other works. Please enjoy, as always, and look forward to the first of my promised (awful) comics coming out this weekend, along with another story.

It was late in October as I, laden down by thoughts of obscure futility, did chance to wander upon Vaile Park. The first chills of winter were upon us, and elsewhere the frost was beginning to crystallize upon the ground. The park, however, seemed not to notice this. The marshy ground still squished under my feet, and the trees were still covered in rotting green leaves. The smell was quite singular in its putrescence, and I swear I will never forget it. Despite this, the air was still cold, and I shivered as I looked for a place to stay the night, for I had strayed far in my wanderings and could not make it back in time for dark. I had looked to find shelter under a dilapidated tree, for there were many, but instead was surprised to find something more useful. A large, rotting mansion rose above the treetops, abandoned and slowly falling into disrepair and disintegration. Despite appearances, however, I chose to knock, for one never knew who inhabited these types of buildings. I was therefore gratified to discover that this one was, in fact, inhabited. The elderly man who answered the door looked at me with suspicion, and inquired about my desires. When I stated that I wished merely to stay a night in his house, he relaxed, seeming assuaded. As he led me into the glorious hulk that he called home, he explained that the original owners of the house, the Hughes family, had passed on some 27 years ago, leaving the house to the caretaker. He then added that he assumed I was a government official come to announce the destruction of the house, to which I quickly assured him that i was not, and had no intention to destroy such a remarkable building.  He seemed much happier with this announcement, and showed me to a room in the east wing of the manor. He left me with an apology for the lack of food, which didn’t bother me, and a warning about a rat infestation, which did. As the hour was quite late, I lay on the decomposing bedspread and fell asleep immediately.
I awoke some hours later, under the bed (my weight having proven too much for the mattress) and sure I’d heard something large. I listened intently, waiting for more of the odd, drifting noise. None came. I slowly stood up through the bed, looking for a sign of the noise. As I extricated myself carefully from the jagged bedframe, I noticed something odd. Aside from the now useless bed, only one thing in the room (which had several chairs and a desk in it) had changed. Earlier the wallpaper had been green with pink vertical stripes. Now it was brown with thorny patterns across it. As I struggled to comprehend the fact that someone had snuck into the room and switched the wallpaper without moving anything, the sound came again. I spun around, looking for its source. There was none, but I noted a strangely angled hole in the wall which I had not paid attention to earlier. Realizing that the source came from there, was far too big to be a rat, and that I had taken no flashlight with me on my walk, I chanced to peer through the door. It was not pitch black, as I had feared, but rather occupied by a distant half-light, as if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Aware that I should look for the caretaker, but too interested to bother searching, I strode into the jaws of the tunnel.
As I walked down the tunnel, I noted with a sense of unease the cleanliness of the place. It was clearly cleaned often. I met no one, however, and soon reached the end of the tunnel. And found myself back in my room. I recognized the room’s layout, and the destroyed bed, but the wallpaper was sky-blue with bunnies prancing about. I blinked, shocked out of rational thought. I realized that I needed to find the caretaker. On my way out of the room, I heard the noise again. It sounded like it was right beside my ear. I resolutely ignored it, determined not to see a different form of wallpaper without the caretaker by my side. After much fruitless searching, I finally found him in the kitchens, enjoying a warm glass of milk. He seemed shocked when I told him of my wallpaper plight, and of the tunnel which turned in on itself. He seemed little shocked by the noise, however, reminding me that there were rats (despite my insistence that the noise was too large and fast to be a rat). He insisted on going to see the room, sure that nothing was amiss.
Annoyed at his nonchalance regarding the oddities of my room, I confidently led him to my room. On our way there, I heard the noise several times, but stoically ignored it. When we arrived, the room’s wallpaper had somehow changed to green and purple polka-dots. I pointed triumphantly at the wall, sure my point had been shown. Instead, the caretaker stared at the wall before remarking that the wallpaper had always had the green and purple polka-dots. He added that he wished the wallpaper would change, it was so garish. Even stranger, when I led him out of the room, and back in, the wallpaper was the same, though I was now hearing the drifting noise constantly. The caretaker was looking at me with a strange expression, as if I wasn’t insane, just a mere curiosity. Out of desperation, I remembered the tunnel. Look, I told him, if we go down this mouth-shaped tunnel, we come back into this room. The man shrugged, but followed me into the tunnel. We travelled down the tunnel for an eternity, the drifting noise with us constantly (though only I noticed it), and I began to notice something odd. As we travelled, the walls became slicker, pinker, and wetter. Almost slimy, really. The light which I had noticed earlier kept coming closer. Eventually we emerged into a form of room. The floor was a few feet below the tunnel, probably to accommodate the vile substance that rested there. The walls twisted and writhed as if alive, soaking. Bits of unidentifiable matter floated in the substance, slowly decaying. With a horrific start, I realized what the room was. I turned to the man, who was staring around as if this were all normal. Then he disintegrated. At the same time, the whooshing noise began to slow down, though I was so shocked by the caretaker’s disappearance that I didn’t notice till the noise stopped completely. Then someone behind me “ahemed”. I spun around, flabbergasted. In the middle of the vile room stood a being, standing nigh on nine feet, staring at me with a supreme expression of amusement. Its snow-white body jerked violently as it considered me. Then it spoke. I listened, my sense of horror growing with each word it spoke. That it spoke the truth I cannot confirm, but its expression (what little could be discerned) indicated it was not lying. It revealed a great many secrets to me, which I will not write here, for they broke my mind quite thoroughly, and I would not like the same to happen to the poor unfortunate soul reading this, but suffice it to say that it showed me the happenings of the mansion, and what crawls in the shadows of our houses, and the beings that laugh in the shadows of eternity. It told me in mocking tones of the shaping of history, the being Azac-Phoom, and what my final fate would be in the depths of this manor, and what it would do thereafter. I believe I fainted at that point in our conversation, its words still continuing to pour into my head. I was awoken with a supreme jolt of pain some hours later, bound and gagged, in the caretaker’s (if he even existed, and was not some creation of the being’s imagination) garden. A half dozen people in robes, their faces hooded and eldritch symbols stitched into their cloth, surrounded me. I had been placed into the middle of a seven-pointed star, with the cultists at each points and the being at its head. The being raised its hand and continued its intonation, the words of which were horrible and tangible. They caused me great mental pain, and I do not doubt  that it was them that woke me up in the first place. The men who supported the being began to chant in a strange tongue. It was not as harsh as its cousin (being spoken by the being) and I was able to identify some of them. One set which seemed to be of particular use to them were the lines Yhe! Yhe! Jaq-Shalazath ag’cr yhe! a line which they would repeat several  times, and always in benediction to the being. In the middle of the chant, a woman stepped forward, drawing a long, wavy blade. I tried to struggle to my feet, but a man on the other side pinned me down. Then, just as my end seemed imminent, a blast shook the building. I learnt later that it had been the police knocking down the main entrance, but at that moment I was too busy to care. The blast had tossed me across the room, and I was taking advantage of my captor’s shaken perspectives to escape. One of the robed men, the one who’d pinned me down, ordered me to stop and accept my fate as a glorious sacrifice. Jaq-Shalazath himself seemed more amused than upset. I myself was gone, down the stairs, where I could see a few police trying to push their way past some cultists. The police would later arrest 27 members of the cult for kidnapping and intent to harm. Apparently one of my family member’s had called them in after I’d disappeared for nearly two days. I myself hadn’t realized this, but then time had probably warped in that infernal place. I later had it blown to pieces. Despite this, they never did find the creature in charge of my kidnapping, and I’ve never felt quite safe since. And so I find myself recording this memoir of mine, in the hopes that others who may meet this Jaq-Shalazath will not suffer the same fate as me. I hear knocking at the window. I must hurry. And so I find myself with a knife, finally granting victory to that vile thing which so wanted my death. For the sake of sanity, heed these words, I beg of you.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Unto the Fathomless Depths & March Review

AUTHOR: Howdy guys! So, that was an eventful February. Now, onto March. I recently unearthed a huge cache of stories from when I entered a writing competition, and hope to revise and release all of them this month. In addition, I am also planning to write another installment or two of the Transmutation, a story for Easter, and will be releasing another story or two from a competition I'm currently entering (as well as anything else I write when the mood strikes me, especially as I need to continue the story ark I'm working on). Add to that a (very badly drawn) comic I'm working on, and it's looking to be a busy month! Just thought I'd let you know. And in the meantime, let me take you... Unto the Fathomless Depths!

As I stand on the beach, wondering, here,
the shadows whisper in my ear,
their words are bright, cold, and clear;
unto the fathomless depths!

I'm startled, shocked beyond my will,
but the shadows appear to have had their fill,
at least I think so, until;
unto the fathomless depths!

But now the elder sea calls me to sleep,
its voices rising from the deep,
my soul, I have no doubt, it intends to reap:
unto the fathomless depths!

And now I race back up the sand,
my only goal to get to land.
But then I feel the touch of ancient hand:
unto the fathomless depths!

Its hands have got me by the knee,
and my little stroll will cost the ultimate fee:
for the sea is slowly dragging me
unto the fathomless depths!