A Cthulhu Mythos story. Start at the beginning.

A Cthulhu Mythos story.  Start at the beginning.
A Cthulhu Mythos story set in Miskatonic University in modern times. . If you're new, start at the beginning.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chapter 15


Gretchen sketched the image of the solar system from the projector screen as fast as she could.  She recognized most gods.  The sun was Yog Soggoth.  That was interesting. The gibbering, mad god was the center.
There was also a clear depiction of Hastur and she looked over to see if David recognized it.  

He was staring at it and gripping the arms of his chair.  Apparently he did. 
She couldn’t imagine that this professor was ignorant about the nature of the deities depicted in the scroll.  He had to know something of the darker reality.  And if that was the case, then it wasn’t a coincidence that he was at Miskatonic University, home of the largest occult book collection in the Western Hemisphere. 
This man was a child playing with a blast furnace.  Either he was ignorant, arrogant or didn’t care about the dangers. 
Dr. Nelson went on to discuss more mundane cults and never ventured into the darker side of things again. 
When the lecture was over she was eager to leave.  She followed David out of the conference room.  He was much larger than her and made for a fairly effective plow through the crowd of people.  She hated being surrounded by so many strangers and he made her feel safe.
Dr. Nelson was doing a book signing but she had no desire to attend.  She wanted nothing to do with him because she doubted his intentions were purely academic.  She needed to learn more about this man.
“Hungry?”  He asked. 
She was and she had been hoping he’d take her somewhere to eat. 
“Pizza sounds lovely.” 
“Pizza it is.” 
He took her to their usual pizza place.  He was smiling but she could tell that it was forced. 
“Something’s bothering you,” she said after ordering a large combination.  She now knew her pizza well enough to order what she wanted.

“You saw what I saw.”
“Yes.  But why does it bother you?”
“Those things have been around since ancient times.  They’re real.”
“I told you all of this.  They’re older than the earth.  Perhaps as old as the universe itself.” 
He definitely had something on his mind.
“It reminds me of something.” 
“I hope you’ll share.”
“This kid I bumped into today.  He was talking about the big bang and how impossible things could have existed at the beginning.” 
“I’ve heard the theory before.”
She had never heard of the theory before.
“Gretchen.  How do you keep sane knowing all this?”
“It’s all real, David.  The sooner you accept that the sooner you’ll understand.”
“I know it’s real.  Hell, I saw things no one would believe.  But…”
“You’re having trouble accepting it.”
She had been told that most outsiders would simply reject knowledge of the true nature of the universe regardless of evidence.  David was doing fairly well for an outsider. 
“Give it time,” she said. 
He leaned back and took a sip of soda. 
“What do you think of this Dr. Nelson?”  He asked.
She didn’t want to worry him any more than he already was.
“His lecture was very well researched.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I think he’s dangerous.” 
“Like the snob squad and their book?”
“More so.” 
The waitress came with their pizza and set it on a little stand in the middle of the table.  She then set down plates for them.  David always ignored the plates.  The smell made her mouth water.  This was much better than boiled beef and boiled potatoes back in Innsmouth.  

And it was especially better than fish.
“Is this really what they eat every day in Italy?”  She asked.
“I don’t think everyday.”
“But it’s Italian, right?  They must eat it all the time.” 
“I don’t know.  Maybe.”
“I think I might have to go to Italy.  If food is like this, then I need to go.” 
“They do a study abroad during the summer.”
“Study in Italy?  Sounds wonderful.”
“I think I’d like to see a foreign country where I don’t get shot at on a daily basis.  It does sound nice.” 
“Study abroad in Italy?  During the summer, right?”
That would be perfect.  She’d be able to continue her education and wouldn’t have to return to Innsmouth.  She never wanted to go back there again.  Ever.
Gretchen sat back in her seat holding a large slice of pizza.  This was what life should be like.  She was eating great food with a great friend. 
David was indeed a great friend and she enjoyed this time to be alone with him.  No other students were around.  No Beth.  Just her and David. 
“I’m glad you decided to attend the lecture with me,” she said.
“I’m glad I came.  It helped me put things into perspective.”
What did normal people say in situations like this?  There must be some form to the way outsiders court each other. 
Was that what she was doing?  Courting?  She had never wanted to intimate with another person before.  She couldn’t stand the residents of Innsmouth and the outsiders at highschool treated her with such naked hostility that any thoughts of friendship with them were ridiculous. 
This was different though.  Sitting across the table from her was a kind man who actually liked her for who she was.  He was a man she didn’t want to part company with. 
“You seem pleased about something,” he said.
“Do I?”
“I like being here,” she said.
“At the pizzareia?”
“The university, the campus, all of it.” 
“What did you do for fun back in Innsmouth?”
“That wasn’t a word that was used very often.  I had my father’s old record player and I had his library.”

“No friends?”
“I wasn’t allowed to mingle with the common folks.”
“Common folks?”
She debated telling him, but in the end she realized that she wanted to tell him everything about herself. 
“I’m the daughter of the High Priest and I’m next in line to become High Priestess.” 
“You’re going to be a priestess of a cult?”
“No.  I won’t do it.  I’m never going back there.  They can use my sister.”
“I didn’t know you had a sister.”
“Me and her don’t get along.” 
“She’s a true believer.  When I was nine I was taken to my first human sacrifice.  I threw up.  My sister, Hannah, clapped and laughed.  What about you?  Have any siblings?”
"Oh...um...wow.  I'd say you have some family issues."
"Fortunately, she's my only sibling.  Do you have any siblings?"  She asked, eager to change the subject.
“I got three stepbrothers.  All younger.”
“Do you get along with them?”
“Not really.  I’m way older.”
She nodded like she understood but she didn’t.  What would age have to do with brotherly affection?
He talked about his family and how his brothers were all “jocks” and he was a nerd that happened to be in the military.  They’d never see eye to eye. 
“This place closes in fifteen,” he said.
She looked up at the clock.  Almost ten.  She grabbed the last piece of pizza which drew a smile from David for some reason.  Was there some sort of rule about the last piece of pizza?
After they finished they got in his car and drove back to the dorms.  

After saying goodbye she was left alone in her room.  She couldn’t help but smile.  Not wanting to sleep in order to enjoy this feeling, she got on line and began “goofing off” with the internet.
She wondered what it would be like to have David hold her in his arms.  She had seen outsiders kiss and though she didn’t know what pleasure that brought, they seemed to enjoy it.  She began wondering what it would be like to kiss David. 
Gretchen began researching ‘how to kiss.’  Most of what she found was completely useless, but there were some interesting videos on youtube.  They did make it look like fun.  
She’d have to ask David next time they were alone if he would like to kiss. 
She looked up more kissing videos but soon she was looking at videos about copulation.  Normally she had no interest in sexual intimacy but now her curiosity was perked.  

It all looked so strange and half the time she didn’t know what exactly was going on. 
Frustrated with how weird and confusing it all was she went to Netflix (which Beth had signed her up for) and started watching documentaries.  She ended up watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War.”  She had never paid much attention to it before but watching the documentary she found it fascinating. 
She was still watching it when her alarm went off telling her to wake up for school. 
“What?”  She said aloud and checked her watch to make sure the time was right. 
She must have been overcome with lunacy and lost her wits to ignore time so completely. 
She took a quick shower, changed into her Rob Zombie shirt, black skirt and boots and hurried off to class. 
At swim practice she started feeling the lack of sleep.  She still came in first but not by as large a margin as usual. 
By lunch she was ready to pass out.  She had her head on the table when Beth came up with her lunch tray. 
“You okay, Gretch?”
“Didn’t sleep?”
“More dreams?”
“No sleep.”
Beth laughed.
“I’ve done that before. I was watching Jericho one day and couldn’t stop.  So I kept watching and missed a job interview.”  

“Gretch, why don’t you go home and take a nap.  I’m sure super genius can miss a class or two without a drop in grade.”
Missing a class intentionally showed disrespect to the professor and could lead to a downward spiral of laziness.
But right now she was too tired to care. 
After lunch she dragged herself back to her room and collapsed on her bed. 
And she dreamed. 
She was on the reef off the shore of Innsmouth, the reef where the people commune with Dagon.  Old ones with their fishy eyes were in the water looking at her.  They didn’t move or make any sounds.  They just floated there and stared at her. 
Above her was the clearest night sky she had ever seen.  The stars were innumerable.  But certain stars stood out. 
“Those are planets,” Hannah said. 
She hadn’t noticed her little sister before she spoke.
“Which planets?”
“Some are of this solar system and some are of other, far off places.”
As she watched the planets lined up with the precision of the gears of a clock and as soon as they were in a perfect alignment they began to glow with a red, angry energy almost like fire.  Gretchen didn’t know what it was but felt the wrongness of it all.  Planets shouldn’t burn like torches.
“What is this?”  Gretchen asked.
“We’re witnessing the planets in the proper alignment for the power of the Elder Beings to return and awaken Dread Cthulhu.”
Gretchen stood there, frozen in place at the horrible site of the fiery planets.  She was witnessing the end time.  

A dark comet of black energy shot through each of the planets in turn, almost like they were portals instead of physical objects.  The black comet struck Earth and began spreading darkness over the entire globe. 
Hannah looked up at her with a wicked grin and her degenerate, compassionless eyes. 
“Isn’t it glorious?”  Hannah asked. 
“It’s horrible.”
“I know.  All the weak shall perish and only the faithful and strong will survive.”
“But Cthulhu and his kin will destroy everything, believer and nonbeliever alike.”
“Dagon will intervene for us.” 
“But he won’t,” she whispered but Hannah was no longer there.  Instead she was facing out to the ocean with what looked like an island out in the distance.  But as she looked she saw that the island was getting closer.  Then two peaks emerged on either side of the moving thing. 
The air around the terrible thing was bending and twisting as reality itself protested the monstrous thing’s existence.
The thing began to slowly rise up out of the ocean.  A giant head with two, deep set, hate filled eyes appeared.  The peaks revealed themselves to be wings.  Though it was still far off she could see all the details on it, like a mountain on a clear day.  The edges of the great beast were blurry, like a slightly out of focus camera. 
Then Dread Cthulhu rose out of the water as he came closer to land. Water streamed off him in rivers. The wind was picking up and whipping her long hair about her face and the waves were jagged claws of white.  Above him a black tempest grew and swirled. 

Winged creatures flew in wide circles around Cthulhu’s head like seagulls around a whale.  At that distance they were too small to make out.  She didn’t want to know what they were.
He was the destruction of the world. His massive, thick shoulders swayed with each step and she could feel the rumble as the earth shook with each footfall. 
She looked behind her and saw a city.  She didn’t know which but she could tell it was one of the great cities of the world with tall towers and countless people. 
Cthulhu raised his clawed hands and giant waves crashed into the city, knocking down towers and washing away people and cars.  He raised one of his claws to the sky and boulders burning with black fire began to rain down on the city, smashing and blowing up whatever the tsunamis weren’t destroying. 
Gretchen stood there in the dream, watching the world end and couldn’t wake up.

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