They opened it cautiously, and found themselves in a huge hemispherical chamber. There was an enormous telescope pointing up and out of a gap in the ceiling, but it was no ordinary telescope, and it was not peering into ordinary space. The portal device, having found Marcia’s soul, was now moving on to the next stage of Ellery’s plan, with him at the controls. The small, searching portals were no longer enough. They were enough to look through, but not enough to draw anything through, and while the soul is made of Dark Matter and therefore does not interact normally with regular matter, it does occupy space, and a sufficiently large portal needed to be opened. The not-a-telescope was stirring, whirring, winding up. It sounded like a propeller for a plane, moving in slow motion, but gaining speed. A blue and purple pin prick, which it had been looking through, was growing ever wider. The noise from the the spinning was growing louder, and louder, and soon was overwhelming - Jim, Molly, and Adam were unsure if they would be able to hear each other even yelling their loudest. The portal was growing wider and wider, and soon it was larger than the end of the telescope, and a terrible and beautiful mass of colors could be seen through it. They were looking deeper into space than any man had ever seen before, and for a moment all four of them paused, their breath taken away.
Adam looked back at the other two, with an expression of “What do we do now? What is this?” on his face. Jim shrugged, but Molly pointed to the side and yelled wordlessly into the roar.
Standing to the side, madly maneuvering the device, and standing guard over the body of his beloved wife Marcia, was Professor James Montgomery Ellery. He saw them come in, and half wanted to invite them over to share in his triumph, and half wanted to guard his prize like a jealous animal. A tiny portion of him was concerned for Marcia’s modesty. But before any of them could do anything, the portal in the sky tore open. The writhing blue and purple boundary rushed off in every direction, moving to fill the sky. From their vantage point, they couldn’t tell if it had encircled the observatory, or if it had filled the entire sky. Regardless, the ordinary night sky, of darkness and astronomically distant stars, was gone.
In its place stood an impossibly large writhing mass - pale pink, like the bloody froth coughed up by someone stabbed in their lungs, purple, like a bruise that had been cut open, green, like a gangrenous limb, yellow, like a thousand suns, orange, like the flesh of a man baked to death in the desert, and tan, like the desert he died in, black, a blackness that was to the night sky like the night sky was to a black paint, and silver, like Judas had been paid, melted and poured over him, and colours no one had ever seen before, and if they lived a happy life, never would see, and the whole thing bubbling, writhing, like a corpse being boiled, like a body in Outer Space being pulled apart by the vacuum, and disgustingly, like bubble gum, being popped by a young child (none who saw it would ever again be able to see someone chew gum without retching), wriggling like the skin of a corpse underneath which writhed a million maggots, reforming, like the skin of a mimic octopus trying to blend into a Hieronymous Bach painting, forming protrusions, pseudopods, flegella, like a monstrous bacterium, and for a moment one could almost believe that it was simply an incredibly vivid close up of a bacterium, and the thought was strangely comforting somehow, but then it formed an eye, a single, enormous, fully formed eye, horribly yellow and black, with a rectangular pupil, looking into the distance, above the poor, pathetic humans watching it, but then it turned, the eye turned, it turned towards them, and they saw it, and it saw them, it saw them, Ia! Ia! Azathoth! Azathoth, the blind idiot god at the center of all universes! Azathoth, of the mad pipers! Azathoth! Azathoth! Ia! Ia! Azathoth, ad'neh uulam bl'geth zaa, klthoth ylthnagh g'gyaa, gr'vyelth daug'lth! Ia, k'zrul Azathoth, z'relg ikdal zaktaldat! Ia! Ia! Azathoth, ylmna Yog-Sothoth kl’drr, ylmna Shub-Niggurath kl’drr, ylmnon Nyarlothotep, Nyarlothotep, Nyarlothotep kl’drr!
From out of the shadows stepped a tall, deathly thin man with a long, pointed beard. Only Molly saw him, out of the corner of her eye, and her vision was swimming to the point that she could hardly be sure what she was seeing. Jim dropped his cane, and fell to the floor, babbling in Hebrew. Adam vomited.
Professor James Montgommery Ellery stood at the gate. He was the gatekeeper, he was the keymaster, and he would open the gate, and he would have his wife back, and no one could stop him. Nothing and no one could possibly prevent his ultimate victory now. He flipped a switch, and all of a sudden the entire portal was bathed in false colors. Swarming in front of the monstrosity were an endless, nearly indistinguisheable sea of souls. But one stood out from all the others. One, bathed in angelic blue false light, was the sould of his beloved Marcia. And he would have her back. He turned on the anti-gravity probe.
A shudder ran through the entirety of Miskatonic University, and even out into surrounding Arkham, Massachusettes. It was recorded as a bizarre anomoly by seismological probes as far away as Washington, but quickly forgotten. Inside of the room, its bizarreness could not be overestimated. It hummed, louder and loudoer. Everything felt lighter. Molly watched in strange fascination as a box in the corner of the room slowly lifted off of the ground. She turned towards Professor Ellroy, who had been her friend.
She tried to yell to him, but even if he could have heard her he would not have responded. He was absorbed, body, mind, and soul, in the task at hand. The piercing, invisible beam of reverse gravity pulsed through the portal and into space, where it strode forward, pushing and pulling on the souls, and on the very writhing mass of Azathoth itself, as he aimed it, cautiously, but as quickly as cautioun would allow, towards the blue light marking hise beloved Marcia. He found it! He found her! He locked on to her soul, flipped a switch, clamped the steering mechanism in place, and stepped back. The blue light of Marcia’s soul stopped its spiralling descent towards Azathoth, and then started climbing, upwards, out of the terrible gravitational grip of that monstrosity, that horrible thing, was that really the afterlife? Was that really the final destination of all things which died in this galaxy? And if it was, what happened to them once they reached Azathoth? He had read once that it was hypothesized that time was distorted by gravity, and so from the perspective of an astronaut falling towards a black hole, the fall would never end, they would just grow ever interminably closwer, never reaching their inevitable destination. If this was what was at the center of the galaxy, what sort of creatures were black holes? Was that what we had to look forward to when we died? Falling towards Azathoth for all eternity? The universe supposedly hatd a time when it would end, either through a decayed heat death, or a reverse of the Big Bang, a collapse back into a single point, potentially to restart, either looping forever, or starting a new universe fresh. Ellery found the latter idea comforting. But if time was distorted by gravity in this way, what did that mean would happen from the point of view of the souls, stuck in that impossible trap of a gravity well that was the sight of Azathoth? And what would happen to the Dark Matter at the end of tis universe’s life? If the universe reallly did restart infinitely, never truly beginning or ending, were we surrounded by an infinity of tormented souls, being sucked into whatever new creature took Azathoth’s role in the new universe that was created when the old one died? For that matter, what sort of matter was Azathoth made of?
If he was truly the thing at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, he should have been made of Dark Matter, if the astronomical conjectures and calculations were correct, and before this moment there had been little reason to doubt them. Yet he had been visible from the start, before the false colours had been applied. What was he made of? Was he truly made from ordinary matter, the same sort that made up any other living creature? If that was so, what did his soul look like?
The Dark Pharoah stepped out of hiding and strode across the room, walking on air, towards James and Marcia Ellory. He stooped to stroke her cheek, before moving over to where James Elllory was standing, and bent over to whisper into his ear.
Molly tracked his motion with her eyess, barely able to move her head. The further away from her he got, and especially the moment that his gaze broke from hers, she felt better, more in control of herself. The pain in the bites on her arms and legs returned, replacing the cold numness that had suffused through her, and she was grateful for it. It grounded her in the ordinary world where she was a human mortal, a woman, with a body, pain, pleasure, and other things that can be expierenced for certain by the hairless apes which are humans, but which are much less certain for their immaterial souls. She had somehow gotten a sense for what was happening above, what sort of monstrous events were transpiring, and when she saw the body of teh woman on the table, she realized what Ellory must be doing. She was torn: she could feel his loss, his pain, his rage at the maddening, endless, uncaring universe,as though emotions were traversing the room in place of sound, and yet she knew that what was happening now was infinitely dangerous. Not just for them, but as she could not see the scale of the hole in the sky, she could not be certain how far it encompassed, what fraction of the world now looked up into Azathoth’s terrible, singular eye.