Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Location: The realm of Ithaqua... Canada.
|This is a bit of Mythos fanfic I wrote a while ago... tell me what you think!
Your eyes open in a vast white room, its floor and sides invisible. You look up and can see nothing Ė if the room is real, and not some fantasy, it must be enormous. Or, perhaps, the walls are curved, and the light that shines from somewhere near cannot find an angle to land on and display for all to see.
What is this place? The dreams arenít ever like this. Normally, theyíre just swirls of light and colour, not some vast white space. Thereís nothing here Ė no high, no low, no in-between. Thereís nothing.
But there is something. Itís far away right now, but itís getting closer fast, very fast indeed. Itís rhythmic, but in no way that you can understand. Itís like hearing a regular pattern overlaid with some clawed beast trying to fight its way out of a fabric-lined prison. It soundsÖ wrong. It sounds almost organic, like the regular back-and-forth shift of food being chewed, or like a stomach trying to rearrange its contents. But as it gets closer, it seems more mechanical, like a crude device of servos and pulleys snapping back and forth in some warped factory.
Whatever it is, itís getting closer. You donít know quite how you can tell its distance, because the sound isnít getting any louder and the pitch and tempo, irregular as they are, arenít changing a bit. But itís getting closer, you know that much. And suddenly, you know that you donít want to be here. Wherever ďhereĒ is, itís not a good place. Itís the kind of place where people donít go, because theyíre scared. Theyíre very scared indeed.
You try to run, but you have no body. You didnít notice that before, and it seems now like a glaring oversight. You wonder if, perhaps, you could float away like some kind of ghost or spectre Ė but by then itís too late, and the things are in front of you.
There are dozens of them, all with tiny Pan flutes in their hands. Except it looks like the flutes were hewn from something strange, like the bone of some diseased and crippled animal. Theyíre yellow, filled with porous holes, and dear God, youíre pretty sure you can see the bright red glow of bone marrow, spewing out the ends and coating their teeth. Those that have teeth, anyway.
Theyíre not human, these things that dance in the circle. Theyíre not even near human. You see birds, dogs, octopi, insects, and perhaps some crawling spineless horror from beneath the sandy earth Ė and thatís just in one of them. The othersÖ God, the othersÖ are beyond description. They are beasts, animals, and yet somehow they convey some kind of intelligence Ė a cold, calculating gaze that alternates between each other, you Ė for they can see you, no doubt about that Ė and the thing that lies at the centre.
This thing, at least, is more human.
This has to be a dream. You know that, but youíre still afraid. You tell yourself that youíre still in the guyís house, maybe passed out and twitching in front of his desk, but youíre still in his house, not in some infinite space where monstrosities dance and sing and blow on warped instruments. What the hell was in that lamp, anyway? Something from the Middle East, he had said. You thought that meant maybe an exotic type of hash, but now youíre not so sure. Youíve done this twice before, and it wasnít anything like this. This is almost certainly the worst trip ever.
The thing throws back its head and screams, blood and deep blue bile spewing from its clotted throat. It bares its teeth and snarls, ramming itself against the invisible walls of its cage. Walls bordered by a tiny, shin-deep circle of flame. Dancing, beautiful rainbow-coloured flames, like the tongues that lick upon a burning object. Except that thereís no fuel, no source, just flames. Flames, and the thing.
Itís human, but itís not. Itís humanoid, thatís for sure, but it isnít any one human. As you watch, struck dumb with horror, the thing is changing, shifting from form to form like some people would change clothes. Except that it bleeds between forms, its diseased skin warping and twisting, bulging like some sick artistís clay sculpture. For a second, itís a man, a young man, with a thin face and a tight slit of a mouth. Then itís a woman, an old woman, her face creased and worn with age and stress. One thing never changes, though.
It has no eyes.
It clearly had them once, because it has eye sockets. But the eyes are gone, leaving only little red indentations in their wake. It looks Ė no, thatís impossible. It looks as though somebodyÖ as though that thing took out its own eyes with its fingernails.
Azathoth. It is Azathoth.
The thought comes out of nowhere, but you know itís true. This thing, this shifting, screaming monstrosity, is Azathoth. Beyond that, you know nothing.
But knowing that itís Azathoth is enough.
It smashes its face against its invisible cage, its flesh indenting and warping in ways that shouldnít be physically possible. For a second, you think that maybe it will kill itself, maybe you can escape while the dancers stare and talk.
But then it turns to you and screams again.
You feel your rectum let go, and liquid shit begins to trickle down your leg. Of course, that makes no sense Ė you donít have a body. How can you feel a thing like that? How can you feel your stomach give way, and bile begin to bubble up your throat?
The answer is obvious.
Youíre going back.
But youíre not going back quickly enough.
The thingís skin trembles, as though itís a separate entity. It rolls its head back and forth on its thin neck, a gargling wail emerging from its throat, and suddenly itís changing again. Changing into something so vastly different, you can barely find the words to describe it. Its skin is splitting open along its sides, a vast line opening from the shoulder to the wrist and from the hip to the ankle. And things are coming out, multi-segmented legs that remind you of a praying mantis or some perverted spider. Theyíre hairy, dripping with some whitish-grey slime, and suddenly heís sweating that shit all over the place, heís vomiting it, heís practically bathing in it. A pool is forming in his cage, and now when he opens his mouth, you can see that somethingís rising up his throat.
Itís an eye, a huge cataracted eye, blind as can be but still somehow able to find you, seek you out, and heís about to rip your intestines out of your chest and wear them like a necklace. Heís going to violate you in ways that you cannot imagine, because nothing like this has ever happened to another human being, ever. There are no words for this atrocity. Heís not just going to kill you. Heís going to savour you, like a child savours a piece of candy, because heís been chained up here in the Centre for two hundred million years, and he hasnít even had a little bite to eat.
The eye blinks once, a paper-thin layer of jaundiced flesh flipping up and down.
Then you begin to scream.
Youíre out now. How long has it been? Days? Months? Years? Decades? You canít tell. It could be that youíre writhing on the manís floor even now while he screams for help, screams for somebody to call 911, but the phoneís on the other side of the house and youíre fairly certain that if you swallow your own tongue, right here and now, Azathoth wonít want to have you. He/she/it wouldnít like carrion.
So every day Ė if every day is real, and you hope they are, because that means that youíve escaped the Centre Ė you check your face, check your mouth, shine a light into your throat. Because maybe it touched you. Maybe you could start sweating that grey-white slime, the kind that a slug leaves as it inches along. Maybe your eyes will start to ache, like an itch that you canít scratch. Maybe youíll feel something rising up your throat, a sphere that makes you want to throw your head back and scream. And maybe your skin will start to tremble and twitch, splitting on the edges like a shirt that bursts its seams.
Everythingís different now that youíve seen the Centre.