“Hail, Old Ones! Hail, Great Ones!” He called. Only the echo of His roar answered Him.
He narrowed His eyes to better view His surroundings. Jutting up from the ground were mounds of rocks, their peaks pushing past the ocean waves and reaching for the graying sky beyond. It was quiet and still around Him. The schools of fish had long scattered at His approach. Even the lowly corals had receded deep into their shells, cowering. For a moment He spied a few intrepid sharp toothed sharks hovering at the edge of His vision. Sensing His gaze they, too, disappeared into the depths.
His eyes scanned the mounds before Him. He could feel them. Why didn’t they answer?
He tried again: “Hail, Old Ones! Hail, Great Ones!”
For a moment more He stood in quiet nothingness. Then, there was a subtle shifting. The sense of movement came from inside one of the stony pillars. An energy, an outreach, a probing, then a connection.
The earth before Him strained as if willing itself to remain sealed. It screamed in protest and shuddered as it was wrenched open. For a moment, He saw the tips of curled appendages probe the maw of the fissure. Wilting, their work done, they receded from view and were replaced by an enormous eye. It lolled about, tugging at colorless flesh as it viewed its surroundings. Seeing him, the eye paused and the heavy weight of its scrutiny fell upon Him. He saw his own reflection peering back from the surface of the orb. He was enshrouded by the dying rays of the sunset that cast an eerie red-orange light onto the world around him. It was bright enough that he saw the iris as it expanded and contracted around the pupil. The colors within it were last seen at the birth of the universe. The dark center of the eye, however, contained a myriad of blacknesses, a series of darks carried forth from the death throes of the universe that existed before this one.
He waited, motionless, as the gaze moved across His body.
A rumble spread across the ocean floor before Him. The sound reached up and wrapped around him. “Cthulhu.”
He bowed in ascent.
“Seed of my seed, we bid you welcome.”
“We are the beings of the Old Universe, the universe that was. We are the only ones left of that place and of that time. As you are now, we once were.”
The eye grew wide for a moment and its hold on Him lessoned. It grew unfocused, as if it could once again see the place of its birth. It looked to the Heavens and rolled back. A white membrane of flesh enveloped it. All grew quiet as it dwelled in memories.
The lids parted, unveiling the orb beneath. Again, the gaze focused on Him with new interest. Its intensity burned Him, reaching through his flesh, then blood, and touching his soul.
“We made our homes here and drew the earth about us. We watched and waited as life arose from the slime and mire. After a thousand generations had come and gone we grew comfortable. We slept. We waited. After a million generations, your father awakened us. We destroyed Him for His impetuousness. He fed us his scrambled brains and beating heart. The stench of his corpse destroyed most of the creatures above, but it was not yet time for an end to all. A million million generations have passed since then and you, son of my son, awaken us.”
Cthulhu raised His head.
“The noise from above reaches us. Anarchy calls. Anger. Distrust. Disillusionment.”
He waited. The eye rolled again, but this time it didn’t fully close. Within its depths was a new emotion: ecstasy. This resounded in the Old One’s voice as well. The next works were tinged with a tone of excitement.
“The time has come,” it said.
Though Cthulhu could not see his face, He knew that the Old One was smiling. Then Grandfather added, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”
Cthulhu closed his eyes.
Grandfather called again: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”
The third time Grandfather said these words there were new voices saying them, too. The voices rose from the landmasses beyond the one holding Grandfather. Each island had its own Old One and each Old One joined in the call.
“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”
The water writhed around Him, trying to escape the reach of the chant. Fissures exploded from the protesting ground. Soft tendrils emerged from them, reaching for Him, caressing his skin. They gripped him, probed him, pulled him down.
Lighting rocked in the distant sky, indiscriminately striking the water and the land. He heard the screams from above. He felt the fear. He felt the panic.
“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”
This universe must come to an end. The Old Ones’ call filled his ears and spilled into his being; he felt the darknesses of a thousand universal death knells well within.
Slowly the tendrils dropped from his body, releasing him. He opened his eyes. It was time.
Brandy Stark is a Tampa Bay, Florida artist, educator and writer. Before becoming full time faculty in the Humanities, she served as an arts correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times from 1998 to 2002. She also wrote for other local publications, including Bayside News, Sterling Powell’s City Life, and several art based websites. Her award-winning creative writing has been published local. Recently, she self – published two booklets on the history and haunts of the Suntan Art Center (Spectral Musings) and Patty and Friends Antique Village (Ghostly Encounters: Patty and Friends Antique Village). Both may be purchased at Amazon.com in print or for Kindle.
We were happy before Adam came. How I laughed when he was thrown out, him and that stuck up rib of his. Anyone would think the garden had been created just for them. But it wasn’t. It was made for us.
You’re a Christian now. I see you making a protective sign, but that doesn’t scare me. I am a daughter of Lilith, and we still live in the garden.
You want to know where it is? You really think you will find it on a map and drive there? Haven’t you seenthe Middle East?
Come closer. Let me whisper this to your limited mind: Eden is what you will it to be.
I know, I know. You are over believing promises of any kind. Not just those involving rainbows and no more floods (How wrong that was!) but those invoking paradises that turn out to be rows of strip hotels With tip-seeking, fawning foreigners and dangerous food.
But I can take you there. To Eden. Just let me slip into your mind as you lie under the covers on the borders of sex and sleep. Let me learn the truth of your deepest desires. We can make them grow.
See how easy that was? You look surprised. I wish I was. Are there no men with original minds? Over and over again I am here, wearing minimal animal skins underneath a date palm with doves cooing in the background. Still, it is at least a garden. And nothing has yet been named.
What about Adam? You think we kept those monikers that he worked out with God as we paraded before him and all of us rejected as less than equal to his needs? Not a chance. But you get to do it. If you like. If it makes you feel at home. Just remember, some of us hid that day. Some of us have never been known. But we have to walk a while first, to the river, to wash off your scent of Earth and conquest and domination. You have to be reborn to walk here with me in the cool of the night. Here. Rest on this mossy bank and I will bring you fruit and wipe your brow. Sorry, just kidding. See that tree? The tall one on the closest hill? That’s the one that started all the trouble. The knowledge of good and evil. Who cares, I say? I wouldn’t eat from that one. Waste of time. But look beyond it, near the gate guarded by that flabby Angel. That one there is the Tree of Life.
What? Get into trouble? Not a chance. God’s busy somewhere else these days, on some planet across the Milky Way. A better class of soil I hear. Fewer trees.
Yeah, okay, but a girl’s gotta have a laugh at times. D’ya know you were put here to work at first? Till the soil and care for things? Boring, eh? I like your imagination better. I mean, look at them. Twelve little virgins all in a row. Don’t blush. This is your Eden. And we’re nearly at the river. Don’t stop now.
Shall I turn my back?
No, I thought not. But you shouldn’t have turned yours. For now I can reach your neck. If you struggle and your blood is spilt, the water will wash it away. My trusting lamb. I forgot to tell you. I do have a name. And so will you.
Cassandra Arnold is a writer, humanitarian doctor and activist, who believes that the mythic and the fantastic are at the core of what it means to be human. More of her work can be found at cassandraarnold.com.