As I sit here, a ruined man, I pray that mankind may never come to know the hideous Truth that drove my mind from the pitiful jest grinning fools term 'reality', and deep into the damnable gulfs of screaming insanity.
It was on a brooding day in that most blasphemous month of March when I set out upon my fateful quest. The preceding night I had disinterred the final carton of homogenised lactic potable from my hideously-aged refrigeratory machine. Now, the morning of the 12th, I was desirous that this worthy liquid be replenished in time for that most noble and beautiful of ancient man's aureate ceremonies: breakfast.
The hideous rising sun had scarce penetrated the ghoul-haunted abysses of night, when an abominable stab of hunger assailed the narrow confines of my stomach.
Long had I dreaded the arrival of this evil omen; this mocking portent.
In the preceding weeks I had amassed apparatus and equipment in anticipation of the dread event. Long nights had I spent studying ancient volumes of forgotten lore, though their putrid teachings would aid me but little.
I set out down the dripping streets; greasy with gelatinous rain; the gabled-roofs of the tottering houses leering obsequiously: hideously insectile. Then, that most damnable abomination of the glaring morning hours came gliding past; hideously deformed satchel gripped betwixt its waxen paws; eyes bulbous, black and vacant - the post boy!
I shrieked; tearing my hair until it came out clumps; my hands running with blood. I dashed into a sodden alley; cryptic with scrawled messages and unwholesome texts written in alien codes: 'JAKE WZ ERE' and 'STEPH 4 TOM, IDT, INT'. There were many more whose obscene purport I trembled to guess. Crude pictorial representations of unmentionable anatomy danced in nauseating array before my vision.
My mind swirled into a vortex of blackness. I watched as the bulbous-eyed boy squirmed past the alley, shuffling unguessable rectangles of besmirched papyrus through his taloned fingers. After many minutes, crouching amongst refuge receptacles overflowing with obnoxious monstrosities, I was satisfied that the unwholesome abomination had finally passed by.
By this time, the fiendish hunger within had risen to a towering crescendo of monolithic abhorrence. My flesh emitted tortured groans as the boiling digestive acids seethed within, like the damnable oceans of starless El'Habir Kra.
I emerged once more into the squalid street; decrepit windows glaring and winking like lecherous hags. An unspeakable desolation clung about the broken lampposts, swarming over the sagging roofs, dribbling down into the foetid drains. And yet, there were three streets still to travail.
I turned right, into Cartwright Avenue.
Hordes of uninhabitable hovels clustered over one another, like crawling carnivorous vermin. Every category of human filth slunk through the nightmarish wreckage: squamous-skinned, yellow-toothed, imbecilic degradations of mankind.
Of a sudden, a dreadful surge of horror seized me in a ghastly grip.
A pack of creatures; human-like, yet evilly shrunken; were dancing, gibbering, cackling and capering: their eyes flamed with the light of unwholesome worship, their cheeks reddened with unnameable secret knowledge. They shrieked and shrilled, like daemons or the beings of the unlit plains of Ib. Two of the abominations held a long hellish rope between their frontal appendages, which they stretched taught with disgusting glee. They began to whirl the insidious thing faster and faster with a diabolical rhythmic movement. The hempen fibre skipped up and down like a writhing serpent. -- I thought of the hangman's gibbet.
Then, with indescribable shrieks of fiendish joy, several diminutive mockeries of human life advanced forward, like hounds from the pit. Aided by some arcane means, they sprang in hypnotic motion over the circulating hemp. Time and time again they repeated this fiendish action. Time after time their heels jumped nimble as Pan over the writhing serpent. As they swirled and twirled, they began to chant - starting slowly, but growing faster and faster until rope and figures became a sickening blur of giddying motion. Peels of inhumane glee rent the air, mingling with cacodaemonical chanting.
I could bear it no longer. I ran shrieking; their hideous cries echoing in my ears. What damnable monstrosity were they summoning from the regions Beyond? What Hellish being was their ritual designed to awaken to the world?
Sweat poured down my back, making my cheap shirt stick to the hollows of my spine; my suit, carefully preserved, twisted and chaffed about my bones; my dress shoes grew muddy and mangled - yet still, I pressed onward.
I had been shewn many things this day: unimaginable terrors, far beyond the bounds of human comprehension. My mind was fractured and ruptured; yet the almost Grecian image of homogenised lactic potable rose up, God-like, above all else. Two streets, two gulfs of interminable doom, stretched between me and my sacred object.
I turned left, into Robinson Road.
Rain slung, salivating, over the crooked cobbles. Evil dwellings ruptured the earth, stretching up into eternity, forming cosmic cyclopean vistas; shockingly abhorrent. The ghoulish aeon-dead tenements, windowless and blind, clutched toward blackened skies; forming hideous non-euclidean nightmares. There, before a battered door a little way away, sat a bundled figure whose aspect was not pleasing to behold. From the folds of rotten rags, swaddling the misshapen form, issued sneering notes I did not like. The grotesque melody whined and whistled through the trickling splash of dashing drops.
Mesmeric fascination lulled, drew me, toward that repugnant form. The cracked symphony crackled around, echoing off the desolate structures; vibrating and reverberating into a maddening cascade of susurrus sound.
I stood, trembling, shivering, before that being: that unwholesome abomination, drenched up, flung up, from far beyond the deepest stars where yawning abysses and daemonic gulfs veiled leprous life -- cosmic perversions far beyond the capacity of mortal comprehension.
The thing withdrew the rotten flute from its lips, breaking into a hateful inhuman grimace. Mercifully, a coarse growth of bristling black beard obscured much of that damned visage. A relic, an improvised offering-pit, lay at its side: a filthy hat, glittering with coinage.
Suddenly, the thing reached towards me, seeking me. It's evil little eyes glinted with hateful greed; disgusting avarice; obsequious mendicancy.
It sought an offering, an offering to its heathen god - a blasphemous deity of the outer realms!
I shrieked; lashing out at the clawing rubbery limb, thrusting it from me. The creature let out a howl of anguished rage.
I ran: the memory of that parasitic melody still trilling through my pulsing mind. That poisonous hand seemed to follow, disembodied; beckoning; still demanding homage to that detestable unknown.
Robinson Road opened into a glorious avenue of fine Georgian architecture: Poe Boulevard. Graceful felines meandered over the marble; purring and pressing their sleek bodies against my wounded ankles; their lustrous eyes swimming with all the mystic allure of the haughty sphinx. High above, ravens drove and swooped in flocks of weaving jet.
Five feet ahead stood the realisation of all my dreams combined. I adjusted my attire: straightened the tie, brushed loose dirt from the trousers, and tidied the shoes as best I could. Finally I produced a small mirror and amended my hair with the aid of a fine-toothed comb.
The room was cool and quiet. Finely-worked counters of white marble lined the walls, beautiful arabesques lay behind. Golden sunlight drifted through the fretwork cupola, filtering over the Grecian architecture. Savouring the moment, I reached slowly towards the intricate silver bell. It rang clear and bright. I waited; nervous-- anxious.
The silence grew thick, the sunlight dimmed away. For the first time I noted how the spider webs clung in the corners, how the dead moths lined the window-ledge; how a cloying earthy odour had slunk into the atmosphere. Still, no one came.
Time seemed to wither away and die. The ticking of a great timepiece clipped the air. Then, from the deepest recesses of the horrid silence, I seemed to hear a shrill piping. I shivered.
At that moment something hove into to view.
A slow, shuffling man drew toward me. The thing was swaddled about in thick coats and a hideous mass of tangled scarves; a great clumsy hat cast his eyes into deep shade. Almost the entirety of his face was obscured by a grotesque growth of bristling black beard. The little skin that remained visible was hellishly waxy and evilly immobile -- akin to a waxen mask. The thing's hands were covered by long gloves, which hung oddly about the jittering fingers.
Sympathy and disgust wrestled in my mind. I struggled to fight down the rising shriek that formed in my throat as the blasphemous apparition stood shivering in the faded sunlight. The contours of the bodily structure seemed subtly wrong, but I could not say how. I longed to run, scream, tear my hair and descend into the blissful abbesses of boiling madness, but I could not surrender to my desires when my object was so near at hand. Besides...
'Where is he?' I asked, my voice odd and unsteady. 'Where is the beautiful youth? He whose features are as if moulded of the purest snow, or chiseled from the finest Grecian marble? Where is that one with the burning black liquid eyes as wondrous and wild as aeon-dead crystal spheres? He of the high cheek-bones and sculpted lips? The one whose words fall like music of sweet lutes in long lost temples of far forgotten Ancients?'
My words fell out in a string of semi-consciousness; my mind whirred into the dream world where I had met with that ethereal, proud, stately youth so many nights. His visage of classical perfection drifted in my dreams whenever my weary mind suffered extremes of exhaustion and fatigue, descending into that hated realm of sleep. He was the erudite guardian of my nightmares; the pinnacle of my daydreams -- a perfect portrait of all ideality.
The hideous thing behind the counter maneuvered itself disgustingly; its limbs seeming weirdly gelatinous beneath the heavy fabrics that sheathed its figure. It began to speak in an obnoxious droning, buzzing tone. The words sounded foreign and strange, as if learnt solely from ancient tomes. The language was slow and hesitating; filled with some undescribable malignancy, which I shuddered to detect.
'Mr. Lovezzcrafts..." it began; glassy eyes twinkling malevolently in the shadows. 'cease the.... zzz ... animation of your... zzz ... dual forelimbs and .... zzz .... associated extremities..... mmzzz ... - dactyls.' Here it hesitated, drawing a limp, convulsing glove across the length of the counter, tracing unspeakable patterns through the settled dust. 'Adonizz....? We.... bzzz.... I maintain his cranial contents in ... zzz ... optimal conditions.'
The shop keeper's frank avowal of his interest in my friend's education and continuing mental development put me at ease. Consequently, I strove to overlook his horrible foreign accent and shockingly abhorrent stunted movements. Suppressing my excitement, I enquired as to when Adonis would return.
The man seemed to smile beneath the waves of great beard, for the entire waxen visage jerked abruptly upward in a shocking corruption of human facial animation. 'Adonizz is here ... zzz. He is he here, but you would not wish to ...mhzz ... see him in his present .... condition.'
My feelings of unease returned in a swift flood of poisonous choking ichor. 'Why not?' I demanded; swallowing down the convulsing terror that racked my enfeebled frame.
'Because, Mr. Lovezzcrafts, Adonizz is recovering from an.... ZzzZZmhbzzzzz ...ephinany... His brain must... readjust following such... zzz... exertions.'
I saw the wisdom of my learned host and decided to ask no more of Adonis, but leave my beautiful friend to continue his education and improvement unhindered. Until we next met, he would come to me in my dreams -- drifting though the tentacled-decked vistas of limitless night, on towards the golden dream-cities, which we would wander together for all endless eternity...
Suddenly, I recalled myself to my senses and, with unsteady lips, requested that I be furnished with the commodity that represented the peak of human civilisation: 'Two vials of homogenized lactic potable, devoid of unnecessary lipids, please.'
The noble shop-keeper remained stationery, save for the weird spasmodic convulsions subtly animating the humped folds of his upper back and shoulders. It was clear that his foreign education had been wholly insufficient, for he failed to understand the most basic English phraseology. I sighed, and tried again. 'Shop-keeper, I--' indicating myself '--would like--' I put my hand on my heart '--two--' I raised the primary and secondary digits of my right hand to indicate the quantity '--vials--' I raised an empty bottle from the counter, and wiggled it about a bit '--of--' I hesitated; there wasn't really a way to convey this word: I would have to overlook it '--homogenized lactic potable, uncontaminated by superfluous lipids.'
'Ah!' he exclaimed, his understanding suddenly awakened. 'Two bottles of milk, bzzmt... †skimmed.'
I clapped sarcastically as the shop-keeper brought forth the desired produce. Then I laid out the horrible shining bartering currency, until the shop-keeper's avarice was appeased.
The transaction complete, I stooped to lift the whitened vials from the counter. At that moment, my mysterious host interposed with a fascinating offer.
'Mr. Lovezzcrafts, today with your ...bzzz... purchase, we -- I †can offer you a special ... zzzbbb... opportunity.
I waited with interest to discover the nature of this offer.
'Today ... bzzt ... we -- I can offer a free special introductory processing induction... bzzmm -- the same undertaken by Adonizz.'
I stood transfixed. Long had I wished for a continuance of my education, but insufficient funding had sabotaged my hopes, repeatedly. I replaced the vials on the counter with a glassy 'clink', advancing forward a step.
Suddenly the shop door flung open, and the horrible trilling of cacodaemonic bells rang shrilly through the stifled interior.
A stench-ridden foetid form reeled towards us; its gasping breath foul with belching vapours of cheap liquor. Instantly, my friend the shop-keeper's convulsions grew more horribly marked in a manner most shocking to behold.
The arrived wastrel raised a quivering finger towards a row of glass jars on a distant shadow-cloaked shelf, which I had not previously noticed. 'I see'd 'em! D'ya hear? D'ya hear? I see'd em!' he screamed, gesticulating wildly. 'Know ye boy -- know ye what be in 'em jars? Hey? Hey?'
I peered into the darkness, reading the labels: 'Johnson's Finest Pickled Beetroot.' I replied with dripping sarcasm.
This seemed to throw the madman for a moment, but he quickly recovered. 'Beets boy? Beets?' he shrieked; wild with incredulity. 'I tell ye I see'd em in great glass jars -- bubblin' an' frothin' -- brains boy! Brains! Brains in mason jars! Brains labelled 'beets'... brains hooked up -- linked-- copper cables and 'lectrodes! You hear me boy? You hear? -- 'Lectrodes and cables!' He flailed his arms crazily, indicating the glass jars.
'Hey boy? HEY BOY! Ye ever heard tell of Adonis? -- Ye heard tell? -- Well I tells ye, I tells ye -- I see 'em one might when... eeiiieaghhheie!!'
The sentence was cut off by the shop-keeper plunging a strange sharpened copper rod deep into the cranial declivity of the drunkard's skull. Blood spattered the walls, washing me in crimson globules and gelatinous outpourings.
Shrieking in terror, I grasped my vials and ran from that blasphemous place, as from lands of blackest ghoul-haunted terror. I ran until my shoes came away from my feet. As I passed the swarming hordes of beautiful feline forms, my soul swelled as a I saw those fearsome warriors bearing down upon the hellish quarters which I had just escaped. I knew that a quick fate would come to that droning abomination. I ran on swift as I could manage; my eyes fogging with scalding tears as I thought of Adonis.
I ran clattering through Robinson Road; hellish mocking piping weaving through my mind. Cartwright Avenue still clustered with the evil shrunken, noose-wielding chanting cultists. I ran on until I reached my street: mercifully deserted. My own blessed door reared up before me -- a vast buttress of cyclopean hope. I creaked open the rotten timbers and shuffled, bloody-footed, muddied and torn into my meagre abode.
I clinked the God-like homogenized lactic potable down upon the table. My spoon shone like a divine relic of unimaginable beauty. My bowl lay shimmering, white, sparkling and pristine. With trembling fingers, I slowly unlatched the cupboard doors and stood gazing some minutes upon the colourful cardboard packaging which housed my favourite breakfast cereal Myth*Os. With indescribable delight, I extended a quivering hand toward that sacred article. My fingers closed tenderly around the outer casing as I lifted it upward in a swift movement.
It was this event that broke my weakened mind and drove me screaming into the unlit plains of nighted oblivion, where dance the doomed beings of M'nark and the daemon deities of legend-haunted K'thaos. My mind waxes daily weaker under the dual torments of madness and starvation. Each night I haunt the streets, searching for stray dogs to slay and feast upon. One day, I may feel strong enough to go in quest of that wheaten wonder -- but the stars above are aligned in a new pattern of dread and horror. As I clutch this pen and write these lines, I fear I shall not last the night. Even now, I seem to hear the hideous jangling of polished spoons upon mockingly empty bowls, and in the background comes the almost imperceptible goading slosh of homogenized lactic potable....