“Fhtagn! — now Nyarlathotep calls… this teardrop of the Crawling Chaos… Black wings of the Outer Gods — Nyog’ Sothep, his Nameless Mist, listens. Deeply, the eyes, and all dilate. Nhgaa, hga, ygthagn!”
After its startling whispers began however, there followed a greater rumbling in the distance of the next room. I have come to suppose this cacophonous noise was, oddly, proceeded by those deep, lingering cries in such a way that they were somehow connected. Before me, a battered wooden door stood partially ajar into darkness. The noise from ahead was that of a breaking, unsettling crash as if something from some unknown distance above had been called out of the very fabric of space to break startlingly into this abyss. I stayed immeasurably still and silent. A little of the shredded moonlight from the closed shutters fell about me, and in its light I was unable to see anything in the darkness beyond the door. I was entirely enclosed within that long, warped corridor, where the moonlight pooled on the peeling plaster and I cowered beneath it.
The room ahead was entirely unknowable to me; all I was able to ascertain was that the slow, tentative creaks from beyond were something akin to a watchful shuffling. I moved ever so slightly, trying to be as silent as possible so as not to bring any more attention to myself. And then I saw a sight that both evaporated my horror and filled me anew. The dark shape moved momentarily back and there I caught its silhouette in the thin beam of moonlight from the tight shutters of that room. Although still mysterious, the size and shape of the unknown figure was unmistakeably that of another human being. A human being who, it is safe to presume, had fallen through the very broken floor I had on a visit to the Cranfeld house not dissimilar to mine. What form of foolishness had made him do so, I cannot say, but I am fully aware there is great obviousness in a part that Cranfeld had to play.
I remained crouched, still momentarily immobilised by fatigue, but I called silently to myself a wish that the new, fallen visitor should be gone from this loathsome place. It was a wish that strengthened my body as I hoisted up my exhausted limbs and made for the door. In my haste however, I failed to account for the obvious unsettling motions of my appearance as I was overcome with an enlightening sense of hope that propelled me forward. Shamefully, I accidentally startled the poor man in the dark of the next room. I tried to call out to explain, to stop his inevitable fright, but my dehydrated mouth allowed only a single, laboured syllable to pass between my lips.
It is that I need not tell any more, for the new startled inhabitant of that room ran for the back stairwell where we both hastened down and down — he away from I, and I after he. Of course, he was at the advantage for my limbs were weary and dragged tiresomely down the stairs, knocking. I tried to call again, but again my voice was stifled — overwhelmed by the beating of my heart and the unutterable calling of that nightmare stone.
“Awake! To the calling of Zo-Kalar from all the Plateau of Leng. Mgnlanore thagn — deep burning, the blackened wings cover… and in his house … lies dreaming… dreaming. Na’gn motholg tc’ognstaa… aar… aarr… rrr.”
And so it was that he and I surpassed all those queer doors on the way down, and neither of us stopped — I could only continue, for I was running towards a saviour of my sanity; another being of normality in this accursed, abnormal realm. Of course I tried to shout, or slow, or hasten — but that fatigue from my previous fear had set deeply into my bones.
What I say next is a known impossibility, but I hope that the reader of these pages will follow openly and not fall to the conclusion of some encroached madness that has clouded my perceptions. When I mentioned earlier that I did not look back at my pursuer, I must have been mistaken in my haste to escape. Before me, at this most recent moment, he who I chased had turned to look at me, and beneath the fear that covered his eyes were the features of another known face; so I saw, as the door at the base of the stairwell shut upon me, the face were that of my own — it lingered in the darkness of my eyelids and remains there, just as I will, in the depths of this labyrinth forever.
Text Copyright (C) - David Tubb, 2014
Image Copyright (C) - Laura Tubb, 2013