The Shadow of the Crimson Light
by Adrian Shepard
No, no and no! This is not, I repeat, not from the strains of over-working. Please, doctor, you of all people should see that I am indeed too excited and on the verge on a breakdown, but again I must implore you to believe that under no circumstances have they been resulting from years and years of scientific labor of what every man and woman seem to hold me responsible for and congratulate me due to that. Yes? But of course it was my hand that wrote those wonderful books about advanced physics and atomic energy, not to mention other, countless and innumerous nuggets of scientific work. But you see - it was not me who did all that! What? My genius? I would laugh at your opinion if it wouldn't be so darn close to truth, or the perversion of it.
But to explain the peculiar circumstances that have led me to the point that I have been dragged to, I must revisit my past through the doors of memories, visit the halls of remembrance and read from the back shelves of the forgotten library in my mind that is the subconscious. Without further ado let us forget this horrid condition that I have become entrapped in, or should I say, bound to by straps, and move back a decade and a half.
I was taken into the university of what I had already heard only great and sound rumors about. Its name is not important, for its infamousness would surely discredit my narrative. Sufficient to say that my parents could barely afford it, and so I felt that I would do justice to their belief in me by trying to get a degree in the path of astronomy and mathematics.
During my studies I often met with various students who delved in the hazy questionable arts of the occult. Now, I must mention, that I had had several dealings with it before already, which were not all that pleasant. In the village I had been born there came western travelers and eastern merchants to visit the stones in the untouched oak-forests. My grandfather once told me that the three giant rocks were just rubble that was brought along with the mercilessly advancing wall of ice, a glacier, from the period of the scarcely studied Ice Age.
Still, the local gypsies liked to pull into their small camps and settlements as many gullible and overexcited amateur occultists, crystal gazers and others as such, so to profit from their travels and belongings. They read their feeble incantations and held their made-up rites in the vicinity of the stones, for the gypsies had spread the rumors of seeing strange fires on top of the stones and in the very skies that covered them sometimes; and every now and then guttural cries were heard emitting from the direction of the stones.
Grandfather used to tell me that the horses the gypsies raised and sold to foreigners used to escape from their pastures and ran into the deeper and dimmer parts of the old oak forest, where wild wolves larger than calf's still found sanctuary from the advancing fields that my kin was enlarging at the expense of chopping down the forest and the oaks our pagan forefathers had held sacred in their forgotten worshippings. Then, as I slept with my window open upstairs, I tried to imagine a horse being attacked by a pack of wolves, which would put an end to the horse's shortly experienced freedom. I couldn't sleep, for often there really were cries - sounding as the horse was in mortal pain and eternal agony of existence for so low and deep was the series of cries. It sounded like the horse was the one attacking the almost man-sized wolves not the other way around. My imagination was driven to the edge those nights, laying in my bed, filling up my mind with grotesque pictures of some behemothic, malevolently and elementally malign sounding horse with demonic proportions. The sound of the parents locking their doors and windows downstairs during those vigilant nights didn't do any good in dispersing my doubtful ponderings either.
My father also supported the fact that the missing horses were slain by the wolves or, more likely, by the gypsies themselves to produce the horrible death-cries of an animal in effort to bring grim and morbid attention to our village and especially the forest.
It didn't take long for the foreigners to pour into the inns and hostels that the gypsies had built up to accommodate the superstitious and the heavy-pursed old men of almost every nation. Of course, the way to the stones could only be shown by them alone and for a certain fee, as were the symbols carved out of wood, that the old hags at the camp used to sell the simpletons who were eager to witness those sorcerous lights that were said to hang over the stones during nights when the moon did not shine: the lights would start to leak out of the stones and up into the midst of glimmering stars above.
I had sneaked out of the house as a small pup often too many times for a test of courage and to defy my grandfathers orders to steer clear of that shady place, where shadows used to grow too tall too sudden to belong to the oaks themselves and where the gypsies supposedly lurked around, luring away children so they could make them disappear. Sure, I knew those were ghost-stories told by my parents to keep me getting lost into the woods, but still the overall feeling of unpleasantness filled my tummy and throat when I sat in the nearby bushes and stared at the huge stones with anticipation.
Nothing ever happened but the occasional howl of the owl and the barking of a fox in the night. Dismissing the false folklore from thereon on, I had inscribed inside my constitution a distrust against any man who would say they dealt with all things occult, for if a man should ever acquire some degree and understanding of the forces that lay beneath our definition of the simple word 'supernatural', then the visions and the poisonous ideas infiltrating them would prevent their mouths from such careless declarations.
As far as I knew those men still visited the rocks, despite my father's reasoning to them that those tremendeous bulks were carried there by the ice in elder times. There were some cabbalists, who laughed at the chance of such an age even occurring, and there were still those, who took me and my family's talk as some sort of a peasant-lore, by which we, for some paranoid reason only known to themselves, wished to keep the power of the stones to ourselves. What this power was supposed to be, I did not care to learn for it was obvious to me that those sort of people only saw what they cared wanted to see, heard what they wanted to hear and deducted what they wished to deduct.
With feelings of disappointment and dismay I regarded all occultists in my course as feeble-minded fools, who chased the shadows of long-left ghosts and lifted up high their black candles in order to see the sun; to avoid seeing the truth, that there are concepts that we, us humans, are never meant to comprehend, no matter the sum of teachings, rites or sacrifices we may take part of.
If I had ever forgotten the measures and looks of the stones all I would have had to do was open the Chronikels of the Eastern Slavic Wars by Hennrick of Livonia. An educated man, accompanying German soldiers wherever they trod, he was the first author to mention my homeland by writing. With a rough four-meter in diameter and five meters tall, they laid peacefully in the thick of the oaks, oaks that were supposed to have been there even before the German crusaders set foot on the land and naming it after the Holy Virgin Mary, mother of their mundane god. But even their hardened swords and merciless spirits were awestruck before the groves, covered under moss thicker than the beards of the pagan lords that dwelt inside the green-lain territory.
In the Arabian chronicles it was mentioned as the Forest of the Thousandfold - where the fierce being of the pagan's worship reigned: the Slavic and Ugric godlike creature Tharapithia, who could not endure the light of the sun eluding it by tunnelling deep under the roots of the oaks. Old tales spoke of the German raiders cutting down a small portion of the forest down by the seaside, as for revenge to the natives, who had looted and destroyed the newly built chapels, which were in their mind too close to the groves that they held sacred. The old tales do not explain the way the armour-clad and blessed warriors were slain and ripped to pieces by something that had no natural position in the perpetum mobile we call Life. But they do tell that the entity was not pleased with the roots of the mighty oaks drying up and dying, so It could no longer suck on them for nourishment.
Who knows? There were some men who used to go around and collect tales of old and folklore from the peasants that had been slaves for the German folk for hundreds of years. The dark age of Europe, however, was ending and drawing to a blossoming nigh. The rigid and creaking hinges of the chambers of justful torture, in which men did terrible things to other men in the name of the God of all Men, and the central power of Rome, weakened before the ongoing march of sciences. Books, that defied and questioned everything told to the writers by the legal distributors of faith were no longer burn as heresies - wisdom spread, although not all books that should have seen the light of day did. But the renaissance gave birth to itself and to the basics of democracy, of which, of course no great nation wished to fall behind of and defy.
After my country became relatively free of slavery, educated men started to roam the land, spurring the young of the land to learn, to collect their cultural heritage, that was long lost between the longswords of the conquering Christians. Then, in the midst of the first fresh breaths of invigorating freedom, a severe blow came to the cultural societies of folklore, when an old and distinguished man was found perished - or what was left of him.
He had went out to help preserving a heritage, had went in search for older folk in the more mountainous regions of the land. Some farms were untouched by any baron or lord for their scatteredness, their inhabitants shunned for their queerness and the roads leading to them were as unlightened as the centuries that had blinded them.
He had gone out never to come back again - not entirely on his own, that is. It had been a stormy night, when the howls and the nightly noises were carried well in the wind and where, between a blink of an eye and a bolt of lightning striking downwards, a keener of eye could witness with his eyesight strange people walking slowly beneath the trees, men in crude leather armorings and faces covered with wild beards, who disappeared whenever the electric storm pulled back its shocking tentacles.
A knock on the door of his son, who had now found a wife, and that was all that was left of the stranger who quickly ran into the woods, after leaving the body he, or possibly she, had been carrying to their doorstep. The son picking up the corpse of his father was my grandfather.
Would it take a death of a parent who dealt in collecting legends and traditions to turn the son into a rationalizing, educated doubter and arm him with atheism and a view of the world through the clear window of materialism? Will the experience harden his heart against all sorts of claims of the unexplained and out of the ordinary?
Maybe it was the fact that my grandfather turned skeptical of all the things olden folk whispered in the twilight of their rooms and even skeptical before the power of the repelling sign of the Cross? I could not explain his passed on attitude towards occultism and therefore the doubtful and scoffing too about the three standing stones in the horizontal depths of the forest. Of the subject my grand grandfather was collecting information on and how could native stories become fatal to him, I do not know to this day, and neither do I care. The past is made not to be repeated and mistakes are made for making.
In these rememberings I fear I have entangled the listener with miscellaneous facts and self-preserving nostalgia.
Leaving behind those shadowy dealings which had engulfed my birthplace before it became the place I was born, I found my way into college as mentioned before, for my father indeed wished me to distance myself from the locations so natural to me and to put behind the illogical and even haunting happenings. My mind was not meant to be poisoned by suspicious and questionable lore of the uneducated - but from where I thought myself to be getting away from, I found a horrendous destination in the shape of, what could have been molded by my destiny itself, science.
Keeping a fair, but polite distance from my comrades in college, I decided to delve deeper into the various aspects of astronomy, advanced mathematics and even to geomancy, which was included in the curriculum as a trial-based curiosity.
A new wave of spiritualism was said to have been awakened by the self-titled mages and occultists: strange, considering the ongoing march of victory advancing psychology. I cared little for both, because I knew one was not very far from the other.
Often I wonder, if I would have know the things from the past of my ancestors, would have known the grip of bubbling horror, that threatened to rise up from the depths of our souls to bring back the gone unforgettable, that were never quite dead in the primeval slime from which formless, nearly matter-based shapes wrung themselves to birth, then would've I done the same and exact things? Can blood be cursed and flesh damned? If so, is the soul damned to make the mistakes of fore parents, bound by oaths macabre and screams forever?
Having no time to let myself be overwhelmed in memory and ponderings concerning my roots and whereabouts, the universities small conservatory, which was built with a handsome donation by some German benefactor, became my habitat. Together with my tutor, professor Somerset, we watched the skies and probed with our enlengthened gazes beyond where probably no man had ever had the chance to lose its sight upon. Not interested on what may have been going on the ground itself, we believed to be after discoveries of greatest importance's.
It felt as strange, aether-piercing winds and semi-material currents from a far-away maelstrom, cosmic storm had been guiding the telescope, with what we lifted the veil of distance from the depths of space. Somerset was twice my age, but jolted up jubilantly when we time and time again achieved success in focusing in on stars and their systems with little or no effort and research at all. Coordinates originated from the notes of Somerset himself, who had written several textbooks on the subject of meteorites and theories of 'black matter' before I had learned to shun the cries from the Three Stones.
He claimed to have 'dreamt' their exact locations: smiling with a hint of curiosity of if I believed him or not, he explained of having reoccurring dreams, or rather nightmares of vast proportions, in which he was free of all that bound and chained us to the earth by Matter, free to roam the gulfs of unknown, unexplored and ever twisting and changing space, in which all form and dimensions are stillborn, wriggling out of the Old Serpent - of Chaos, who plays and toys with Creation as it seems fit or amusing to itself.
Conversations on that topic had a slight shadow towering over the seemingly casual tone of dialogue, leaving me with a suppressed feeling that Somerset held back something more impact-ready: testing me as seeing if I would accept the explanation that he obviously had made up to cover his true sources that gave him the mystic foresight concerning meteorites and otherwise undetectable stars.
Late at night when I was writing down notes and observations of the outer universe I so keenly watched through the artificial eye, Somerset would wonder into his small office with his backpack and stay there for hours, insisting on everyone that he should not be interrupted.
From time to time, he would hurry out of his office, which was just a room that had walls of book-cases that surrounded his desk, and onto the telescope, anxiously setting the coordinates to their position and asking me to take a look and to tell me what I saw. Accepting his freak nature of catching trails of meteorites that hurled through the black space, I started to see a disturbing pattern in his sightings: a trail of hubris, that had recently broken off of something larger, became more visible with each night we watched the dark space upon our bright skies.
Barely leaving the observatory at all, weeks flew by unnoticed, with him lecturing me of planets and stars, telling me different ways to calculate lengths and depths, to evaluate and to navigate between the constellations with bare eye-sight. I recall a particular lecture that he gave me, when forgetting himself and all around him: eyes lighting up with a mixture of a torch, held by his long-lost sanity, who wandered in the caverns of delusion and madness, looking to reclaim its throne before lunacy triumphed over all logic.
"... nor do I presume to think that we are alone in this present darkness, in the universe so unexplored. Such arrogance has brought down and crumbled civilizations long before humans learned to live on two, not on all four limbs, and will steadily continue to do so in the, what seems to be, bleak and malicious future. There are things slithering on the very ocean floor; there are beings that proclaim their rightful place in the cosmic cycle with their very absence from it. Things that could not have ended up on Earth by any other means than interstellar travel, things that hitchhiked on asteroids and meteors, eaters of empty space, drinkers of aether!
I refuse to acknowledge Dee and his infernal angels! I refute Crowley and his Aiwass! I deny their magick, I mock their methods of dabbling among crystals and tarot' cards while scientific method is left idle: was it not the keen sight that the telescope purified, that discovered the Earth was not flat? Was it any angel or demon that explained Newton the laws of gravity? No! It was Einstein, who created potent formulas to bend the Shape, it was Planck who triumphed over Agrippa with its banishing constants; and Mandelbrot's fractals still pave the way to future dimensions, where Abramelin only dared to turn his back on.
Are we barbarians to turn our backs on advancements that shine light into the infinite gulfs of space? Are we as ancient Greeks too scared to sail too far from the dim source of the lighthouse and not to navigate only by the light of the Morning Star? Should we be so terrified, mentally petrified that to abandon all knowledge delved from the countless generations that came before us and who lost their minds in the process of gaining the truth beyond the veil of ignorance?
Whatever source may assist us on finding the path through the fears of the unknown, however terrible, threatening or defiling - I proclaim it as an ally of Man! Whoever gives us aid - I welcome it! Have we not exited the caves of superstitions and built a sound, organized society where reason rules above fears that filled our senses when we still had to huddle around fire that we learnt to tame to shelter from the wolves outside our settlements?
It is in the stars, that our future legacy is written! Aeons and aeons have shaped the planet we have been given the privilege to exist on, during which science has existed in one form or another. Therefore to study the planets and the constellations we must, for what happened millions of years ago may happen again, except this time human races occupies the surroundings, not some primordial shapelings whose corpses are now used for mere fuel and consumed by fires to produce heat…"
This argument, as with trying to debate with himself, could continue on even when I didn't care to listen to him, as his ranting grew too cryptic for my ears. I blame myself for not recognizing the megalomaniac symptoms, the ones that drove him to traffic with sources malign, sources of unquestionable evil and beyond the definition of it.
Without warning, it began on a night not so different from the ones that had filled the skies during the whole semester. We were pulling an all-nighter, with the professor crouching behind his desk, the light of the dim lamp casting fractured, spider web-like shadows onto the walls of the observatory, with me behind the telescope. During two days he had spoke very little, as opposed to his casual conversation and the occasional outbursts of lecturing on the subject of the possibilities that lie behind the shadowless stars.
As a future academician, I was of course intrigued of the multiple possibilities and sources from which Somerset may had divulged his information. It was only out of the sort of an unhealthy curiosity, the like that lead me to see the Three Stones with my own eyes that time when I was little, that I felt an urge to witness the source he was learning his uncanny skills of foreknowledge.
Keeping one eye on the professor and the other on the telescope, I saw him hurrying outside, as if he remembered some very important meeting to be late to. It was my chance: hopping down from the small staircase leading unto the podium on which the metallic gazer stood, I hurried to his office left so suddenly and so unattended. There was something bulky on his desk, I directed the light of the lamp straight at it and discovered… an old, dust-infested book!
I had seen my share of these in the universities library: thrown into the back of the most forgotten shelves with their covers sprung open or sideways, as if the librarians had read them and got no further from the second page for the suggestions hidden and woven into those lines of damnation. Unable to decide to which category they belonged, those tomes were forgotten, wiped from record and memory. I do not know what made their looks and the aura surrounding them so awful and repulsing, but I knew that it was of the occult - what was going through the mind of Somerset, the poor deluded fool, to seek anything rational or methodic from the books of the idiots, hospitalized and the dead?
About to turn the heavy book over so I could learn at least its name, a shout came from outside; undoubtedly Somerset's. Leaving the pages, which were filled with letters seeming to be of Greek origin, I at once jogged outside to witness whatever may have caused alarm for him. He stood before the door of the observatory, clad in the dark of the night, where in even the moon decided not to shine light into, staring at the sky, looking stunned as a rabbit hypnotized by the gaze of a hunting python.
Raising my eyes to the sky above, I saw what, during the next weeks caused great topics and arguments in the scientific communities, for what me and Somerset saw was also quite visible to the whole Europe, Scandinavia and Eastern parts of the Soviet Union: a red dot cutting an ember, sanguine trail over the flesh of the earthly atmosphere visible even through the mass of vaporous clouds.
It was quite small to the naked eye but I knew too well of what proportions it had to be to be seen with out any optical aid. Suddenly Somerset was next to me, grasping my arm and squeezing it unintentionally:
"It is here! Finally, it is arriving - I shouldn't have questioned It, doubted It. It's coming -" He turned his eyes on me, which look I did not as much see, but felt. It was the feeling that it was not only his hand that held a grip on myself - something wicked was lumbering to Earth to be born again, tittering and leering at the waste that was to be laid before its path of dismay and -order.
Fear like no other seemed to crawl over my brain: thousands of little ants manifested themselves on my spinal column, making slow but steady progress to the limbs, biting them and freezing them with poison of the paralyzing variety. I took a look up again, hoping the vile sight begone, but there it roamed apparent still: spreading shadows and defiling the light with its demonic fire, making the dark seem as if it shined and glimmered out of the proximity of the darkness burning away oxygen through the atmosphere, threatening to demolish and destroy all things sensible.
I was about to ask him if he had gone mad from the stress and the closed quarters of our working conditions, but I drew instinctively backwards when the charnel glow of the ravaging comet casted different shades of burning red into his eyes.
"The telescope! I must take a closer look at it while it is still airborn!" Already had he let go of my arm and stormed back inside, making it my obvious choice of running after him. Setting the sight into place, his hands shaking with what seemed to be excitement and something else… something I didn't yet fully catch on.
"Will you tell what is going on, dear man, or shall I go and call the faculty here, so proper answers be submitted and straight answers be divulged?"
Tone of my voice almost shrieked, yelling at him with tries to attain some sort of attention from my tutor. Mentioning the other student bodies seemed to bring him down from whatever cloud of speeding madness he obviously was on, making him to turn around and walk over to me. With each minute I felt the air changing all around me: outside the observatory and especially inside it, as if the air stood still in a horrified petrification - preparing to be shattered.
"Milosz," It was the first time he called me by my first name. "I have things to tell you, and soon, things to show. I know you are a good lad, a man of science, not like those ignorants still trying to feel their way through the dark with their spells and potions, like old men who are afraid to take a step into the light of the Morning Star and rationalize the boundaries between evil and good, science and the shadowy arts."
He stood on the podium before me, moving his arms in a frenzy with the tempo of his free-flowing words. This was not the calm and undisturbed man that had taught me of the moving of planets, the laws of light and speed - explainable, straightforward and logical. What was this… this flame that had bursted up inside of him, driving him to talk cryptic, if not plainly idiotic sentences? Again unconsciously from the corners of my mind terror rose: the man was mad or the severely able for it - escape, flee!
"You are mad, professor. I am afraid I will have to notify your superiors. You should get some rest, yes... something to calm you down." Backing away towards the door leading outside, I kept my eyes on him at all times, not knowing how the fellow might react to my declaration of independence.
"Wait, Milosz! Don't go, don't go outside! It is terribly dangerous-"
For his age he was surprisingly quick, dashing to the door from the spot, turning the lock and slipping the key into his vest pocket with one slick move. If it weren't for that unnamable glimmer, a spark of some sort of wickedness in his eyes, I could have sworn before a court that he was nothing short of a stroke, but nothing more.
"Let me out, let me go at once! You have no power to keep me here, no duty of mine to stay in this pool of fear! I don't know what has been going in your head or how these circumstances have come to its present state, but I intend to leave this place before whatever has catched your mind and obviously snatched your soul - now, I would not hesitate to beat you down, away from the doorway separating me from the world of the sane- "
Somerset's face lit up once again as he raised his right hand with the index finger hastily, giving an expression the formerly usual speech emerging from his feverish mind. Taking notice of the subconscious tension I had put myself unto, I evened my breathing and forced a long-needed calmness in the form of knowledge flowing into my mind that in the case the lunatic should storm me, I could empower him easily with my superior strenght over his short and stout body.
"I implore you staying here, at least as long you let me explain, and maybe even then, after you have listened to my incredible, most wonderous discoveries, you may even want to join me, join me in the very exploration of space - and time!"
"Yes, of course, sir... how could I have been so blind... of course, let us by all means discover time and space or whatever you may wish... Hey, if we won't then who will, you know-"
"Will you stop babbling!" He had left playing bodyguard to the only door leading out of the observatory, listening to me with half an ear, probably occupied with his own suddenly freeflowing thoughts, as in doubt released from behind some sort of a dam that had been released, or the, forced brutally.
"You know, Milosz, you know," Mumbling almost to himself, he hurried to his little office in the corner, made of bookshelves consistent of textbooks of modern writers, encyclopedias and such, the old, dust-worn and time-suffered tome was largely out of place as a funeral car in a wedding march. Logic alone told me that such an eldritch edition of a book was never re-printed, probably because its content, afflicting great harm onto Men's mind. The thing reeked of the stench of dead years, forgotten futures and of… spices?
"That I am writing a textbook myself, no? Finally, I can add the final chapter to it on this, most extraordinary of days! This, Milosz, this is a great day for science! You have no imagenings of what I have come upon! But, wait - you do,"
I felt like an odd man in the corner, a piece coloured grey on a chessboard on which both sides were right in the middle of a full-blown attack. The professor's voice was so familiar, so… friendly-like; almost as of he was talking to a small child. Just a second ago he was almost hysterical with his wild and outrageous thoughts of what seemed to be related with interstellar flight of some sort; now he had fallen into a trance of some sort, if it could be named as that. So determined, but in such a alarming way, that the hair started to rise up on the back of my neck.
"You have a part in all this, so I advise you to listen to my story, before you storm out of here in a frenzy of fear and dismay. Because I have not always been a professor of science, a rational man. When I was even younger, more uneducated than you seem to be now, I, believe it or not, I had the deepest interest in the occult. Yes I know how you loathe it - its vain results, its fruitless efforts to reveal knowledge, real, untampered and unearthly knowledge to Man.
But when I was in my younger days, I was very much a true believer in the power of the outside spheres, the lands of dreams that enabled its travelers to cross gaps and gulfs unmeaserable. And I was not alone in my searches, too. Oh yes, I had the most suitable companion for the sort of a quest that had on its roots written 'failure'. Never mind the macabre and quite disturbing coincidences brought me and him together to take a journey into a small village, where three large stones were said to be lying.
Indeed queer he seemed, as he was on the run from some cult, a cult that worshipped stones, or, as they had said - not the stones themselves, but what was sealed inside the stone! Both of us hade made camp inside a small gypsy settlement, from where we hoped to see the Three Stones, which were the utmost importance to us. As you may have recognized, the stones were the same ones near your home village.
The traveler I was with was an old man, with knowledge in science and remarkably, the occult. It was he that pulled me out of the error of my ways, the two-sided and two-faced wonderings on the matters of the supernatural that were to be drawn to a nigh on my tryout, when I foolishly tried to evoke some things said to be in the Three Stones that night. I failed miserably, and took it as a hard blow to dent my ego; I headed back home with the strange friend I had gained, preparing me for my scientific career with his almost schizophrenic tales of far-away worlds that were closer to us than the skin we wear, about the planets and what may lay unfathomed there, or who.
He said to have traveled through Room itself, through Room - do you know how voices vibrate, Milosz? They create and break barriers, they bend the aetherious element, if certain syllables should come in a certain order with a certain pitch, then they would become a preparing ground, so to say. He said he had gained access to such wondrous measures of unheard travelings. It is not all he knows; it is not all by far! He knows of the mechanics, of the measurements and of the precise properties of Heaven, Hell and all that lies between them! He helped me see and understand with his books that he had said to have attained from some lunatic cult down in Asia, who were better off and away from such knowledge - you see, they were said to have been worshipping no god nor man: but a meteorite!
How it came to be that my friend took the tome from them and did not end up as a savage sacrifice offering, I know not, but he has always had strange, mesmerizingly profound effect on others, more or less suggestive when he wanted it to be. And how privileged I felt when he showed me the book and all that was between its leather-bound covers! You cannot begin to imagine how jovial I felt when he said I was free to use it in my research in discovering meteorites, new stars or even constellations! He was even so kind to translate me the most of it from that gibberish language that had earned the book itself somewhat of a devious reputation.
No matter, I started to analyze the book, to test it to my rational mind, what in the beginning of it, was quite skeptical. To my surprise, or perhaps horrified to a small degree, I learned that ancient civilizations, which ever may have created the tome, yes, the one lying opened on my desk now, was more advanced in space exploration than we could ever be in the span of the next 150 years! They knew of Hyades and what is sealed into the core of it: scratching with its talons, touching its prison walls of a spellful planet with its feelers and drooling from a thousand mouths. They knew very well of Glaaki and its suspended lakes, from where its everlasting inhabitant reached every ocean and sea in the know, liquid, water-based areas of the Earth.
Years were they ahead, if not centuries, and now I have reaped its first fruits in the name of not God, no Lord or no priest of a secret society in the midst of dabbling pagans. In the name of Science, my only conscience, my only passion and my only cleansing, purifying flame!
I am only sorry that my former comrade, Dr. Dexter cannot attend this most wondrous of nights."
Stunned though as I was, the mind was racing - I was beginning to be afraid of him in ways that with what I had always imagined animals could feel fear as: shapeless, uncountable to anything, yet there and visible as an axe in the face. Sweat covered my body as a damp veil; what had he been saying about me? Was he mumbling through the delusions of his own madness or was there some unburied, hideously connected linkage with my lineage?
"Indeed, the stones at your place of birth were no coincidence with the occupation I hold now, Milosz, for those stones were no mere rocks - but had fallen from the sky! I, who had studied the lore of the land, knew that those ugly rocks were bound to some repulsing legends of a forest so ancient and evil, that men in those days lived in there in full battle gear, worshipping the moaning and crowing Thing that had fallen here from the Stars above, the Thing from the stones that cracked into three as it broke out from the inside.
Legend or not, the forest perished long ago, along with the tribes that fed the Thing, as all things come to pass. But has the one that rode here with the stones? Was it a thing to fear, or a thing to admire? It is perished now, I fear, and the chances to learn from the entity too. But do not worry - we have a chance to do so very soon!"
"Those sort of things should be burned," I protested. "Burned to the dust and then be blown into the winds so nothing is to be left of them! We do not have a place for them on Earth, just remember what the legends told about the people who began to worship and pay tribute to the Things weird miracles It could perform. They went insane and don't you deny it! If these things you spoke about are real, and damned you be if they are, then what they bring are all things hollow, empty of human emotion and benevolence. You would be out of your dear old mind to regard their arrival as some gift to the sciences and onto the kin of Men!"
"Let this be my answer to your accusations- " and he threw into my arms the book from which he obviously had known to follow the meteorite, the one that was now already in our atmosphere. I was puzzled, for I knew not the language that it was written it, only to discover smaller sheets of paper from this and that section, containing translation of the whole book, it seemed!
"What have you done?" I raised my gaze barely from the words contaminating everything they had been scribbled on, plaguing the mind through the eyes.
"I have translated the book with some outside help, as you can see. It had prophesized the meteorite, think about that for once! It was a mere test of its bona fide: and it did not lie! That is the reason I believe all that remains in the book to be true as well. You see, it is going to be published next year."
Blood flowed out of my face as I felt a sudden lightheadedness.
"As a textbook. Quantum theory will be only the beginning, man! They mastered it before we were even the furry chimpanzees hanging from the branches of a thriving rain forest. This will reveal much more, yes, it will indeed. Nuclear energy fully tamed - as devastating as it has been but in our living rooms, in the core of machines that we can easily plug in and out; communication without words or linguistics in the form of calling a few 'helpers' from the Dead Space, who in turn of increasing our mental powers a hundredfold only request an asylum in our brains! It may seem as a most infernal book to the untrained and the uneducated eye, but I assure you that I possess neither! What some half-witted commoner may consider as blasphemous, is merely a minute price to pay for the greatest step in human history!"
"Human history? Sounds more like a giant step for the alien forces that you are so warm to hold speeches about - do you hold yourself an idiot to suppose we will be? Take a short look at our history - we would turn all that they so freely seem to give us against ourselves!"
Strangely, thinking back, I was already beyond the point of questioning his state of mind and what exited it: in the human instinct there is a sensor that has kept us alive through pointing out danger and threats to our lives and even to the souls themselves. No matter how obscure, plain or invisible the threat may seem, there is always the hair in the back of our heads ready to stand up; ice cold sweat on our forehead preparing to cool the nerves; incompetence regarding the proper and logical flow of thoughts due to the signals you pick up from all around you, knowing all along, that something is wrong and that something may just have enough talons and spite to dismember and cripple you, if it is the least merciful.
Somerset seemed to favor me for some reason: I got the distinct feeling he offered me some throne of idiocy amongst his own, personal kingdom of folly.
Madness? My sensed twitched - if he was mad how could he possibly have had known the trajectory of the meteor? He sure hadn't been in communication with other observatories; both of us had been in the building for a solid week or more, me trying to earn my degree and he supervising. No!
The possibility flickered through the thoughts as a twinkle of candlelight in the dark. What if he was mad but not lying?
"In my youth I learned one thing," He had moved to the buttons that controlled the sliding panels of the ceiling, pushed them and revealed to my eyes the accursed sight many people of the University goggled at. "It was that all things can be rationalized, categorized and sorted out: even evil, Milosz. But knowledge is not evil, believe me. It is only in the hands of men that it turns disloyal. Now witness the holy light of the Morning Star - as it has been told aeons ago, it brings wisdom from the stars beyond the furthest away of nebulas, where life stands in limbo and aimless, chaotic and eternal!"
And as the roof moved aside, the demonic light, red as the setting sun, poured into the observatory, as it had illuminated the whole area, where the vile light had dared to crawl upon. From which pit of Hell this comet had been flunged out I did not know, but I knew at least that it was surely lost in total darkness for the flying demise had carried it off with itself.
"The creatures that gave my former companion and colleague this were not evil, they were not benign! They were free of faulty emotional wiring that circulates Man's mind as a nerve disease! And when that pulsating mass of absurd bodyparts of denied beings handed me the book, I knew," Somerset was gone, far off in some other zone of reality - he had become the enemy of reality himself. The observatory's round walls seemed distorted, the air prickling about with razor-sharp howls of voiceless wind-demons, as he's whole presence, motion and speech had caused me the effect of feeling distant of all things natural and lawful in the realm of Earth as the sickly pinkish-red light of the meteor added the notion of being separated of the passing flow of Everything: I was encapsulated in madness.
"I knew, that there was no God, and I was Their prophet! These gloriously cosmic revelations that you hold in your hands - they were trusted to me! I alone was meant to grasp them and to shine light into the dark! A perfect amalgamation between rituals and the exercise of mathematic precision! And you,"
On the podium he stood as a statue to depict feeblemindedness through the coming ages: crimson light with a sense of sinister malice like the ones the flames stretching out their tongues from the furnaces of the Nazis heated to theirs shining upon him, casting grotesque shadows over his face with his own looming silhouette falling on me, and in an absurd moment of noticing it I abruptly dodged out of its area of influence in the danger of catching whatever had tortured his head by a mere outlining of his body. He pointed his finger at me again, like thrusting with a rapier.
"They mentioned you too, yes, They did! He would be needed, They said. Show him the book, They said - and a special message They gave me- "
"Oh yeah, whats that?" My voice broke into a low pitch in the end, so I did not fake the interest convincingly. I needed water, my throat was dry with tension, I wanted out, but his speech was not nearly complete.
"They gave me a job to do before the duty of the true Prophet would befall me, and it was to quote something to you. A passage from the book of… Hey, we haven't even named it yet! Haha, what do you think if we would call it The Book Of Revelations? What a pun - a sense of mocking and sarcasm. Two things needed for atheists to survive the everyday idiocy of the religious fools. After I have read this to you we will together march out into the showering light and wait for It to fall: I have the incantations to call it forth from the stone already translated."
He read and gurgled out the syllables and letters, bearing no understandance. The first vocal hit me hard; somehow, I felt again a chance, a shift - inside myself! I tried to yell at him, to stop the incantation from escaping his lips but I couldn't. I was gone - in an instant I deceased to exist. Space shattered all around my existence: I became Not To Be, floating through the patterns and shapes of fractured Room, slipping from dimension to the next so rapidly as I was nothing but a nail pulled by a magnet. Later in science, far off in the distant shores of future it became to be known as the 'oscillator effect'.
There, in the middle of time, as in the eye of a raging tornado where air stands still, I was shown the Great Mystery. I turned, and then again I didn't, in a sense. Looking around in the ruins of my own lifetime, I saw a little boy hiding in the bushes in the middle of a moonlit night. Saw the stones move. Tottering and tumbling. Saw the boy coming out behind concealment and touching the huge three stones that stood in the formerly great Forest of the Thousandfold. The boy cried out into the thick-black night as it gained devious contact with the stone, that reached back.
"…oghy'isa nemurdis de'e'sstri shentre!"
As the final vocal cord struck out, I was back to myself. With someone else. Somerset slapped the book together, staring back at me from his podium. Air was stirring in front of my eyes, I could hear it move in its tranquility. The crimson colour contrasted with the greenish blue shades of violet that hung about the surroundings, flowing freely and unnoticeably. The poor fool obviously noticed nothing.
"This task is done, finally. Now - come. We must welcome the Creature who soars freely between stars! Without proper invocations it would perish, that is why time is of the essence, that is why I had to use the book to locate its precise crash site."
Who did he think he was? Portentous, pompous fool!
"Stay for a minute, dear professor. We could do the ritual from here, can we not?"
"You're just dazed from the shock of what I've told you, you're mumbling. Now- "
On the wall, that arched upwards and ended as a bubble sliced in half on the top of the cylinder-shaped observatory, a shadow besides me and Somerset rose. At first I thought it was a fruit of my bedazzled vision - it was odd to see something like a rosebush swaying in the wind rising from behind you. The meteor had moved quite heftily through the time he had lost his marbles, and it had situated behind, or then, over me.
"Your presence is needed," The voice was mine but not my own. Deep, in the locked and hidden chambers of my mammal brain I was quivering of fear - I felt hijacked, restrained, violated. I had had a mind of my own but now something had come to possession of it too.
In trance with my words from someone else the hideous, ghastly shadow slipped monotonously closer to Somersets, now in the tackle range for its swaying branches, or were they some members that were aimlessly waving, as used to being caressed by the outer gulfs beaconing from the black hearts of dead gods?
"Do you hold yourself a prophet? Fool - you are nothing but a mere tool, which is now beginning to lose some of its quality. Thank you, though, for releasing me…"
Shadow on the crimson-lighted wall grasped Somersets silhouette with its horrid limbs, drawing the shadow out of place and joint from the previous, coherent base that had once been professor Hugh Somerset - drawing his shadow into its own as a macabre cuddle, merging it into itself. Simultaneously with the negligent disregardment of the laws of light and gravity I heard what sounded like a child braking matches in half in a very fast pace. Then Somerset fell onto the ground with his ribcage pushed in, with some of the ribs rising out of his back, making crude bumps and ridges under his velvet coat.
But what drove me insane was not the latter. I guess what shattered my soul was the sound. It was as thick substance was sucked off the table with a straw. The shadow had fumbled its way to the fallen corpse, all along producing a faint sound of a wind blowing gently in the willows. And slowly, before my eyes, the fluid of the former professor disappeared, inch by inch, from the cadaver, into the shadow, that ravenous non-being.
As the first clear outlines of the Creature emerged out of the shadow and the crimson light of the emptied meteorite, I blacked out.
Of that decades have passed. I have only now come to recover - waking up in a gutter somewhere. I don't remember where. It doesn't matter. Nothing will be Matter in a few centuries. Backtracking history I read the books that I had written. Breakthroughs I had succeeded in making. A real genius, they said. Yeah, real uncanny. But my genius has left me now. With a sense of mocking and sarcasm I thank some careless God that It did not take me back with It to whatever vortexes It had crawled out of. I did not mean for this to happen, I promise you - I wish I wasn't such a nosy little punk back then and hadn't made myself such a vessel for their needs. I wish… I wish - hey… What's that? A falling star? No… no no no! It has come back for me! I won't be toyed with again - never again!
You can hold me behind lock and key all you want but I can still see the crimson, foul light it resonates! No, what? Well I am pretty sure its not from over working. You see - I didn't write that book that is know as the Book of Revelations! I didn't do any of that! You see, I was possessed, from an early age, I just didn't know that. Don't leave me in my ward alone, please, doctor, no…. wait godammit! Can't you see the crimson light? Can't you see your shadow splitting?
.TheWeirdcrap.com © 2004