She shook Adam’s shoulder, but he was nearly comatose, and did not respond. She shook Jim where he sat, and he looked up at her, his eyes wide with fear. He called her “Mother” in Yiddish, and though she didn’t hear it, his thoughts and fears seemed to penetrate her, be transmitted to her as though carried on the breeze like normal words. She tried to speak to him, but ordinary speech was completely canncelled out byt the maelstrom surrounding them. The anti gravity probe was humming louder than a typhoon, and the whirling of the portal was like a hurricane, with only Marcia in the eye of it. Molly grabbed Jim by his shoulder and hoisted him to his feet. He grabbed his cane with a shaking hand and looked her in the eyes. She stared into his for a long moment, then turned towards the platform where the Ellorys, husband and wife, were waiting.
Marcia’s soul continued its long, slow journey towards them. It had grown in apparent size. It started out a tiny dot, like a star in the ordinary night sky, but was growin as it grew ever closer. It looked to be nearly upon them now, judging by its apparent size - it looked to be about the size of a grown woman, seen from the distance of the end of the portal device. Molly and Jim moved forward, Jim leaning on Molly for support.
Marcia’s soul hit the portal, and a shockwave ran through Miskatonic University. Jim screamed in pain, and it was almost visible. Molly looked down, and blood was pouring from underneath the scarf he was using as a makeshift bandage. Jim let go of her shoulder and fell to thr ground in agony. His foot and toes were pulled horribly upward towards his knee, the tendon which worked to counteract that motion completely severed. He grabbed his leg, eyes closed, mouth open in wordless agony, screaming in pain and horror. But then, through some miracle of willpower, of concern for things greater than himself, he reached with one blood stained hand into his pocket and pulled out the necklace, and handed it to Molly.
Molly looked at it, the grey metal covred in ffresh, slick red blood, with a queer glowing green stone in the center of the symbol, how strange that she had not noticed that before, made eye contact with him for a moment, just long enough to show him that she knew what she needed to do - at least, as well as any of them could know - and moved up the steps towards the platform with the Elloriesys and their terrible machines.
Marcia’s soul had reached the portal, and now there was a terrible fight to get it through. James Ellory, not content to let the machine continue wihtout his hands on the controls, was wrestling with them, as they were physically wrenched from his grasp with the strength of wthe forces involved, and there was a terrible screeching, screaming sound, like metal being torn, or glass sliding against glass, or a slowed down recording of glass shattering, as the very fabric of space bent, warping all that was visible, ast the forces that strained to pull Marcia’s soul back from its terrible journey. Molly reached the platform and struggled to move towards James Ellory, her motion hindered at every turn by the terrible winds and the flying objects that were being picked up by the wind, made lighter by the gravitational distortions, and hurled in circles around the platform. The eye of the storm was shrinking. Centered around Marcia, it now barely included James and the control panel.
After what seemed an eternity of Sisyphean struggle, Molly reached the eye of the storm. She stumbled forwards, losing her balance now that she no longer had to fight against the wind, and stumbled right up to the body of Marcia Ellory on its slab. James Ellory turned, noticing her for the first time, and screamed an unearthly “NO!”, the first human sound anyone had been able to hear since the trio had entered the room. He left the controls and lunged at Molly. He tackled her hard, driving her into the floor with all of his old man’s bulk. Her head hit the cement of the platform floor hard, and she saw a bright flash, and hthen her vision was filled with blinking stars, and blurred. James Ellory was screaming at her, telling her she couldn’t have his Marcia, she couldn’t stop him now, not when he was so close, didn’t she understand, he’d never have another opportunity like this, the stars wouldn’t align this way for another 170 years, and he’d be dead himself by then, and no one would be abletto save Marcia! Didn’t she understand! Didn’t she?
He was sobbing at this point, holding her down in a hug as much as a pin, looking down at her, tears flowing freely from his eyes, dropping onto her face. Her vision was mostly restored at this point, and so it was reflect in her widening eyes that James Ellory saw his successs. Marcia’s soul broke through the barrier, came into the room, was absorbed by the machine, and funneled ddown via wires into the device strapped to Marcia’s brain. When it came onto this sideo f the portal, the false colors disappeared, but still, somehow one could sense its presence. James followed its progress with his eyes, and then stood and walked over to his beloved’s side, and looked down at her face, and waited. He couldn’t tell if his heart was beating so fast that it all blurred together or if had stopped beating entirely, but somehow, whatever the case was, he stood there, waiting, waiting, for a sign of life from his beloved. “Please…” he whispered.
Marcia coughed, her eyelids fluttered, and then she opened her perfect green eyes, and looked into his. James Ellory’s heart broke for the second time in his life, though the reason, and the effect, was quite the opposite this time around. She reached up with one delicate hand to stroke his face, and then grabbed the side of his cheek and pulled him towards her for a kiss.
Before their lips could touch, she coughed, pulled back, coughed again, more violently, and started wretching. James grabbed her by the shoulders, not willing to let her go, certain that if he could just hold her tight enough this time, she couldn’t leave him again. She wretched once more. With a sickening pop, her jaw unhinged, her jawbone detached from the pairs of sockets that normally held it in place. The muscles were stretched horribly. From somewhere deep inside her, something was writhing, visible through her skin, and now, visible from within her throat.
Out of her mouth poured a singl impossibly large tentacle. It was a covered in wet, slimy spittle, and stank of rotting fish. It was long, impossibly long, larger than her body, and James Ellory recoiled in horror, but refused to let go. It was pink, with a bubly skin like a rash, and when it twisted its underside towards him, he saw that it did not have suckers like any earthly squid or octopus, but instead had a series of clapping, grasping, pinching crustacean claws. James Ellory looked up in horror at the portal in the sky, and saw that Azathoht, in his infinite mutations, had taken a form with skin like a rash and an enormous shell covering the bulk of its its body, revealing only a series of tentacles, the largest of which was reaching out towards the portal, touching, and seemingly cut by it such that a cross section was visible. And in the center of it all, there was that terrible rectangular-pupiled eye, watching. James Ellory screamed, and looked back at his beloved Marcia, and screamed some more. The tentacle reached out and wrapped around him, and the two of them floated through the air towards the portal. James never stopped screaming, but he never screamed louder than when the tentacle finally broke his grasp on Marcia’s shoulders and flung him bodilty towards the portal.
His body hit the portal and slumped down dead, like a bird hitting a window, and fell to the ground, with a wet, all too rganic splat. However, briefly visible, a new, man-sized shape of Dark Matter sped towards Azathoth, beginning its infinite journey.
The body of Marcia Ellory, however, remained, with a now nearly 50 meter tentacle writhing around the room. Molly got to her feet. She moved towards what had been Marcia, with the medallion, the Elder Sign, outstretched in front o her, warding off the tentacle. It lunged forward and around her, encircling her, but notuching her. Still, the bulging part of the portal, where the tentacle was coming through, seemeed to be growing, and while Molly was protected, and able to restrain the tentacle, there was more of it every second, and she wasn’t sure how much longer she could hold it off. Then she heard a loud banging, groaning, and the screech of metal on metal, and turne,d and she saw Adam, glorious, brute force Adam, too stubborn to die, kicking the control panel for all it was worth. He was putting dents in it, and had broken several levers and displays,but didn’t seem to be damaging its core function. Then something, some motion out of the corner of bothe their eyes, caught their attention. Crawling forward on his arms was Jim, pushing his cane ahead of him. He had been calling for Adam’s attention for some time now, but the wind had prevented him from hearing. Now that he saw, Jim tossed his cane forwad, Adam deflly caught, it and swung it with all his might at the cntrol panel. With the first swing, the top of the panel flew off, revealing the wiring underneath. Adam stuff the cane in, hooked as many wires as he could under the handle, and pulled them out. Sparks fewl, a jolt of electricty arced forth from the panel, the portal shuddered and flickered, and started to close. The bolt of electrciity hit Adam square in the cest and launched him across the room and into the wall, where he slumped, his shirt blackened, hireleasing hwhhipss of dark smoke.The tentacle writhed in agony and panic, the crab-form of Azathoth almost seeming to shudder, as the portal slowly closed on it. But there was nothing that could be done. The Elder Sign prevented Azathoth’s tentacle from affecting Molly, and it was doubtful if it could have repaired the panel, even given time and free reign (though the thought was horrifying). In a surge of desparate vindictiveness, the tentacle lashed out at Jim, throwing him across thr oom. He slammed into the wall legs first, both of them crumpling beneaht him, as Molly cried out in fear and horror and agonizing empathy for her lover Adam and one of her best friends, Jim. Soon the portal reached the width of the tentacle, and then when it closed further, started slicing into the tentacle, thinner than any razor. When it closed completely, the tentacle flopped to the floor, all light fled the room, and Molly collapsed.