Once in Yemen

They say that my name is Richard Stark Hampton. They also say that I’m completely insane: even from my physician has stated that it is a fact. I don’t really know my name, nor do I remember anything since 13th May, 19–, which was four days from today. I only know what I’ve been told. I now know that I was found senseless and fainted on a Chinese merchant-ship, which had been reported missing in a storm long ago by their own law-organs. Maybe my alleged insanity originates from the fact I hadn’t had anything to eat during that strange trip, during which I had only eaten small rodents in that lonely and damp hull. That proved to be an unusual diet for any man’s standards. My notebook, what they found lying next to me, the book I was so unwilling to give up, had been chewed and gnawed upon.

It later proved that it was done be me, for pieces of paper under my fingernails and a part of my broken tooth in the hard leather cover. Notebook, you could say a manuscript, had been serving my long reporting-career for many years, and my perfect handwriting was all over the pages, going rougher in the end. The good doctor told me, that my job had been indeed a news-reporter, but for a hack-magazine bringing the few readers a heap of suspicious and various occult-related material from England and sometimes from our fellow colleagues in the United States.

My torn-up notebook has been taken away now by men in white overcoats and jackets. If only I wouldn’t of had that relapse that followed after I had read what I had written I now would not be sitting in my ward, bloodied and beaten. I thank my abused mind for leaving me clueless of the writings I had done by memory loss, letting me only to guess its devastating contents. What I really remember is seeing what I had resulted during the last fit: the male-nurse twisting on the ground clutching at his throat for air; I had bitten his neck and beaten him until the poor fellow blacked out with my feet until his comrades calmed me down with a selection of physical tools: my dear ol’ doc said that my fractured skull was the unfortunate result of the guards joust with me. If only they would get me to a proper hospital, not an asylum I would be treated of my wounds. Even though I’m certain I shall never see sunlight again. Ever. This power cut is not a misshapen; also the lightning and the rising mist which the now foul-smelling sea emits.

But no matter: the mysterious ability to see in the dark is my friend now – my eyes are piercing even the deepest of shadows. As I look through my barred jail cell that has become my sanctuary in the few last days I’m afraid of something that is whispering me terrible and unknown things when I’m asleep. Now it is nearer than before: the mist –

Yes, a perfect cover… I think its too late to make a break for it, even the other inmates sense their mental curses manifesting in physical form, as from a nightmare of some terrible old god, shivering and mumbling. Fellow next-door has hanged himself. I wish I were as brave as he was: the poor fool. The northern gate, thru which Asylums kitchen door can be accessed, has been broken. The tall, dark-skinned ominous man-shaped figure gave a slight push against the gate that has hold back a tidal wave, an angry and raging mob, a car wreck, in some awful seconds crumbled down in a pile of rust. It won’t take long until They have had their revenge on me and the soul I carry within. What was that? Oh, just a patient, that had been quiet and mute for a half a dozen decades, unlocked all the cells as the only clear act of his rotten mind. Gods only know how he got the keys. His screaming and screeching has now been stopped by a simple gunshot coming from the only pistol in the estate.

Its staff has surely barricaded themselves in against the raving madmen running free and panicked. I suppose in my sound mind I would do it also, but I have been told I lost it weeks ago. Hysterical laughter from the patients and a silent chanting emitting from an unknown source are the only mixtures of cacophony that rise above my footsteps on the hard floor of the main hall. An occasional gunshot breaks the symphony of the ultimate poets; as yet another clearer of mind chooses suicide over damnation by trying to overcome the forces of scared employees behind their shelter.

I need to read my notes for the last moments I have on this planet called Earth. The need to know about why I cannot remember the things that made me suffer overrides the sense of danger, for the occasional homicidal lunatic is lurking in the corridor, preying for its master to come. The possible threat of infectious madness does not confront me as an enemy: for its saving grace is now the one thing that prevents me from giving up my willpower for utter and total panic.

Ah yes, the notebook, dotted by drops of blood sprayed by the unfortunate victim of my madness. Since nothing can become more devastating as the unknown reasons behind my fate, I’m leaving the door wide open. Come what may. And may it be quick. Nothing else is left than to read my own lost thoughts of unknown somber. I shall push it no further: as the sense of reality is dead and creeping doom approaching, I rise my head; raise it and read the headline of my story.

The Black Man Of The Sabbaths

The first time I met with professor Nicholas Charles Tanner, was on a conference about the newly discovered Egyptian-related ruins in near Yemen, which aroused the attention of the under-educated media: Tutanhamon’s tomb was not even fully examined and marked. Tanner was the project leader of this odd adventure he had foretoken. Having nothing but a piece of a parchment from an old moldy tome he searched the deserts of Arabia through to the Egypt, coming up with nothing. His colleagues avoided calling him an idiot; preferring to keep a distance from a man that was dragging the duty of an archeologist in to the mud. With a handful of trusty workers and a guide he finally came up on a small tomb in the west part of the Yemen desert, near the Crimson Desert itself. After digging it from the sand and removing the few artifacts he found, he reclaimed the tomb for a pharaoh 1200 years older than the reign-time of Tutanhamon.

After he’s return a brief press conference was hold – some of the objects extracted from the gravesite were on display: an Ankh, made of black stone, some rolls of papyrus, various religious statues but strangely there wasn’t the death mask of the buried pharaoh himself. And indeed, for the question my colleagues and me asked he gave no answer other that he was tired of the trip from Yemen and that he wishes to rest. Many suggested that this could be an aftershock from the death of his fellow archeologist Jonathan Spader, who took the first step into the tomb.

I didn’t find the story I was sent to deliver, so I left Egypt for England. Also, the mummy found in the casket was never shown to the public for some reason, so that even the Smithsonian Institute complained about the lack of public access to it. Then a faint news reached media about some ‘misplacement’ of the corpse: the cargo boat carrying archeological findings from Yemen to Egypt and from there to the United States had loaded it up to a wrong truck, but the feeling of a good old cover-up was left tingling in my bones.

I did follow up about the Tomb after a couple of years for the reason that the expression of what Tanner had left me on that day: pale, whitish color in a face that should have been brownish-red after working in the hot sun; the occasional shaking of hands; a look of a weary old man who’s staring over his shoulder in fear of seeing a stalker invisible. The Tomb itself was a complete mystery for the Victorian scientists: why it was built so far from Egypt; why there were no additional complexes and shrines; why the pharaohs chamber was empty of hieroglyphs and writings and so on. And concerning the pharaoh himself the “Royal “Archeologist” told it to be in a hidden house of research, for the sensitivity of the case.

Already the attempts had been made it appeared: a group of mixed-blood arabs and Negro men tried to overpower the night guards of the ship in Egypt. Intruders were shot and identified as members of a sect supposed of been died out centuries ago. Tanner himself was the leader of the restoration of the mummy for future displays. And then I lost interest. All matters related to the findings and the Black Crypt, as it was now called, were subdued as no new news submerged. Until two and a half years passing from the discovery itself, it was.

I now owned my own desk at the office and had made a name for myself as a recognized writer and an amateur occultist. That’s why I was so amazed by the order I received from the editor in the autumn of 19–. From all the hot stories waiting to be covered by a rising reporter I was given the assignment of taking the interview of professor Tanner. As the decadents were a topic once again among the ever-so scandal-hungry public, and it now seemed to me that the professor’s story about the discovery of “ancient” artifacts and “disappearing mummy’s” were in fashion as his brother had recently passed away by an illness unexplained. This would have gone unnoticed, unless everyone knew that he was the second man, who pulled off the top of the sarcophagus.

Tanner had moved. I didn’t know about it until I arrived at his former house, but there were only ashes. When checking records at the town hall, it declared that at midnight three-two men circled the building soaking it with petroleum while Tanner and his manservant were asleep. They did, however avoid burning in and saving their utmost and important items in the house: couple of old tomes, items from various excavations and a briefcase filled with notes. When the fire department reached the site it was already pointless to try and save the house; there was nothing left anyway, as it was built entirely of wood.

The address I received sent me almost into the wild and untamed old countryside. As the old farmer dropped me off the side of the road at the crossroad, I saw a tree with its bark peeled and at its place there was painted in white an eye, with very little line but great detail, leaving me to shudder when I turned my back for the road to my destination, for I felt a sublime feeling coming over me as if it was piercing me with its gaze from behind.

Approaching the timeworn cottage-like house there was no trace of someone living in such a begotten area. There is no point in telling and giving a description of Tanner himself or his manservant; my visit there ended as strangely and confusing as it had started. It seemed the doctor remembered me from the press-conference years before, as he had a memory, which preserved every word, detail and fact, as it is required in a field that deals and pokes holes in the fabric of yesteryear. What is important is what I had now heard, and that what I did afterwards. As he turned down the lights in his study and offered me brandy to calm my nerves against the coming shock that he insisted that would follow his narrative of the uncanny.

I now lifted my head from the book, because I suddenly remembered all I had suppressed; a flood of pain rushed to my head, my vision dimmed and the final effects of a total collapse of a persons nerves system occurred: the unexplained way for me to see in the dark fled leaving me to a windowless room, which had walls painted black. I don’t care anymore, soon all senses will be rendered useless, as He approaches, I know. The sad thing is, I cannot even go outside and yell out the truth about the Black Pharaoh myself anymore, as paralysis spreads its murky tentacles through my nerves. All that has been, will and is, shall He and has taught. Oh, how He enjoys he’s own fruits.

If you still haven’t learned from what I have whispered into the wind, then surely you have the human need to know of the mysterious Tomb of Egyptian origins in Yemen, its contents and the fate of the crew who foolishly took it as the legacy of noble Egyptian pharaohs. Nothing is further from a truth that the professor revealed. Lightning strikes twice. When pharaohs discovered the tomb, they too were meant to die and be extinct from the lust for forbidden knowledge emitting from He’s aura and soundless words. Luckily, the old people were smarter than Sumerians, and stored in their scrolls words from some god, whose name is no longer remembered even by himself.

But even in grave under the seals and sigils of Good he remained awake; calling out to persons weaker of mind – and they came. Recovering their master and god has not succeeded to this day; and probably will never fulfill. I saw myself what precautions Tanner took in Himalayans, when standing next to him during sacred rites. But still, He’s messenger was never in a celestial prison of any kind. Asylums personnel is long dead with fear, gray faces paled by lightning. Yes, I can still feel abysmal cold… closer… I have lived a good life. He will take it to himself to play with, yes He will… rip me and tear my essence, no prays left… Submission…

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