Doctor Allen Halsey, Dean of the Medical School at Miskatonic University, had told him of someone who had theories similar to his own. Halsey was a narrow minded fool who had thought Ellery’s theories implausible, (what little he knew of them; Ellery was careful not to share his full ideas with small minds. Only Marcia had known their full extent), but he had told Ellery about someone else who may prove useful. Ellery stalked out of the hospital on borrowed crutches, his twisted leg rendered near useless, and when he got to the nearest pay telephone and found the man’s number and address (so close by! Please, God, let this work!), and he called him, and the man answered, and as soon as he understood the situation he rushed over in his car, picked up Ellery from the phone booth, and took him back to the hospital, and then Ellery went back inside and insisted on seeing the body that had been Marcia Ellery alone, and that was when he injected her corpse with the syringe he had been given by Herbert West.
The knowledgeable reader may have an expectation as to what will happen next, but he is encouraged to keep it private lest he spoil things for others. He will also likely find that he was mistaken. This was not the reagents made by West in his later career, which would work their full, though fatally flawed, effect on their own. This was only a preservative. But my god, what a preservative.
Later that day, Ellery was allowed to take the body of his beloved Marcia home. West helped him to move her. West was interested, preternaturally interested, and Ellery, in a fit of protectiveness, snarled at him to stay away from her if he knew what was best for him, and West decided that it was best to leave Ellery to his own investigations, and to keep an eye on him from afar, as one does with academic rivals.
Ellery set up an elaborate facility in his house to care for the now vacant body of his beloved. He kept it cold, far below freezing, in a container he commissioned for just this purpose, in the cellar of his house. The reagent prevented any freezing of the blood, lymph, vitreous humor, or other bodily fluids. Her corpse was preserved better than any other corpse in history had been. A Pharaoh would have been jealous. Alarms were rigged to the room; if a change of even one half of one degree occurred in the temperature, Ellery would be notified, much less if anyone had opened the chamber door. Ellery had kept her there for four long, agonizing years, as he set up what was needed. His other experiments fell by the way side. He stopped taking on assistants; he couldn’t entrust what he was doing to anyone else, it was far too valuable. He read forbidden books far more often than before. Indeed, it seemed they were the only kind of book he read these days. He even fell behind in his reading of the journals of Chemistry, and had to give up his position as an editor on one and a reviewer on three others. His dreams, wherein he had been a passive or perhaps active observer, he now took on the role of an active seeker. He sought out new locations, new peoples, new individuals to question and learn from. Interrogate, really. He was desperate for any knowledge that he felt would aid in his attempts. In his dreams he spoke with many creatures. Fungus based beings that reminded him of the stories of the Abominable Snow-Men, and which complimented him on his preservation technique, and told him they could have helped him if he had come to him before she died, but that now they were as helpless as he. Beings shaped like Yule trees that referenced conversations yet to happen and could not remember ones that had already occurred. A man in a yellow cloak who seemed to delight in his suffering. He glimpsed a series of bubbling spheres whose size he could begin to estimate - it could have been the smallest bit of froth in a beer, or the largest thing he had ever seen - until one of the spheres passed in front of a star and blotted it out, and another passed behind it at the same time, and he saw it was larger than any sun. And then one day he heard a thin piping, and met in his dreams a tall, dark man, dressed like unto a Pharaoh, who finally told him what he wanted to hear. The thing called Nyarlothotep told James Ellery the location of Heaven.
Heaven is in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists know, or will know it, as an inordinately dense and large conglomeration of Dark Matter. Souls, being also made of Dark Matter, are unable to touch anything made of normal matter, once the life-force connecting them uniquely to a single brain is severed. The energy from this severing, like that of splitting an atom, pushes on them - it breaks them free of whatever orbit they were in, and then they are pulled towards the largest object around. In the Milky Way, that is the enormous cluster of Dark Matter at its heart. That is where the soul of every living creature that dies in our galaxy goes: the enormous Black Hole at the center of the Galaxy. That is Heaven.
A few years ago, I got into the idea of personal style expressed through clothing. My current winter outfit is probably my favorite of all the outfits I've ever had. It not only looks good, but every piece of it tells a story. I think that the clothing you wear is a great way of putting yourself in the mindset of being the kind of you that you want to be, and of showing that to others. It's often neglected by people, especially nerds, and it shouldn't be.
I'm gonna go through my outfit now now, from head to toe.
My hat is just a warm hat that I bought on the street here in Brooklyn. If I could find it, I would be wearing my Hungarian old man hat, but alas I cannot.
Frozen! Everybody's talking about Frozen at the moment, and I just saw it last night so I thought I would chime in.
The Good: The themes of the movie are interesting and innovative, especially for a Disney Princess film. There are a ton of excellent subversions of Disney tropes. Elsa works as an excellent metaphor for depression and/or being a lesbian. The characters are all fun, interesting, and sympathetic. Even the talking snowman is considerably less annoying than I expected. The animation is what you would expect, which is to say, very good. In particular the ice and snow are gorgeous. The whole thing moves along at a breakneck pace, there's certainly never a dull moment. It's great to see a Disney Princess who is actually the protagonist and isn't just there to be rescued. Anna and Elsa are destined to be classic characters, and the family love theme is dealt with splendidly.
The Bad: the plot is fairly weak. Anna and Elsa don't really have particularly interesting visual design, especially with regards to their (extremely similar) faces. I mean, I know they're Disney Princesses, and I know they're sisters, but really, they look way too similar to each other and to the archetype of a, well, Disney Princess. The world is hinted at being interesting, but isn't nearly as developed and explored as I've come to expect from Disney. This is certainly no Aladdin or Robin Hood or Beauty and the Beast. There are bits of the plot that... don't really make sense, and seem to contradict each other?
Most disappointing, though, is the music! The opening song ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FVfTxNqRWE ) sets a fantastic bar, being thematic, powerful, and having a rather unique sound that looked like it would define the feel of the movie. Instead, all of the subsequent songs, especially Let It Go ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moSFlvxnbgk ) which is to Frozen as Circle of Life is to Lion King and Tale as Old as Time is to Beauty and the Beast, is just really bland insipid pop with a few obvious mistakes in terms of lyrics and instrumentation (the lady with ice powers sings "Let it go, let it go, I am one with the wind and ____" Guess what word goes in the blank. "Snow"? Haha nope, it's "sky"!). None of the music in the movie inspired me or moved me at all, which is actually kind of impressive given how much I liked and cared about the characters!
However, when all is said and done, the thing that is interesting and important about Frozen is the characters and the significant reinterpretation of the Disney tropes. And it succeeds quite marvellously at those.
Professor James Ellery, Adam, Molly, and Jim left the lecture hall and entered a hallway. It seemed oddly incongruous with the door they had just left, and extended out further than expected. Molly looked around, confused, and picked a door at random to go in. Adam shouted after her “Wait! I don’t think-” but she was through the door and into the other room already. Adam hurried after her. When Professor Ellery took a different turn, Jim started to follow him, then turned around and started to follow Adam and Molly, then turned around again. “Wait! I don’t think she would split up. Something weird is… where did you guys all go?” he shouted, to no response. He turned back in the direction Molly and Adam had gone. A door down the hall that way was swinging in place. Jim hobbled that way and opened the door and passed through.
The portal device had been scanning the skies for a full day at this point. To do this, it had opened a series of small portals, looked through them, shut them down - or at least, it was supposed to - readjusted itself, and repeated the process, each time narrowing in on its target. In the process, the local geometry of the normal, every day world of matter near the portal device, had grown warped. Things had rearranged themselves. Doors led to places they hadn’t before, and it was only through the merciful inability of the human mind to directly observe the world as it is - our senses filter out an enormous amount of information that we could not deal with if we were forced to process it all - that this had not been immediately obvious. The picture painted on the mind by the brain-eye team was one of a building with incongruous rooms, a patchwork collection of places picked up and dropped together from various parts of the local geography - all throughout the University. This was just the closest-to-sane approximation that the human brain could come up with. The truth was something far worse, and utterly incomprehensible. The degree that they did not comprehend it, the wandering students did not suffer.
Adam was beginning to panic. He was increasingly certain that this was not any building he had seen on campus before, and he had started to recognize individual rooms as he ran heedlessly through the maze, searching for Molly. His prized willpower and determination were the only things keeping him from a full panic, and he was uncertain what he would do if he found an exit before he found Molly. He moved headlong through hallway after hallway, a storage room, a student lounge, a room containing fossils, seemingly lifted from the museum, a wing of the library, and then into a corridor containing busts of all the Deans of previous years. He stopped to catch his breath and see if he could recognize anything around him, when lightning struck perilously close by. He jumped in fright, bumped into one of the pedestals carrying a bust, set it to wobbling, and started a chain reaction. The pillars fell, knocking each over like dominoes. He ran around the room, trying to catch them, and when the last one teetered on top of the tallest pedestal behind him, he did not see it, and when it fell, the granite model of the current Dean’s head colliding with his own, it hit him harder than any football player had. His knees buckled and he blinked away stars, trying to retain consciousness.
Molly opened the dark wooden door into a lush greenhouse. Small animals she couldn’t quite see rustled in the undergrowth and the branches overhead. She strode through the garden. She’d known that Miskatonic had a greenhouse, but she hadn’t ever been inside it before. She hadn’t even been sure where it was. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that its location didn’t make much sense, architecturally. The great glass wall seemed like it butted up against where another room was, if she remembered the layout of the hall correctly. Either that or there was a door in the hall which didn’t lead anywhere. But whatever, she wasn’t going to question it, she was just enjoying the warmth and foliage. And if she got to play with the squirrels she could hear moving about, then all the better. She loved small, dumb animals - she joked that was why she liked Adam so much. She spent some time admiring the trees before realizing that she was alone in the room. “Adam? Jim? Professor Ellery? Er, sorry, James?” she called out, but got no response. Just then, a thunderous crack of lightning flashed down, just outside the great glass window. She was facing away when it hit, and the light from it poured into all of the nooks and crannies that before had been barely lit by the heat lamps used to keep the greenhouse warm in the winter. She saw, in stark relief, that there were no squirrels in the room, and the things that were there had iridescent, rectangular pupils, and far too many teeth.
Adam woke up with Molly standing over him, her hands on her hips. He had a not unpleasant view of her from this angle, and he was glad she wasn’t quite so “forward thinking” as to wear skirts. “Come on, up you get, dumbo,” she said, reaching down and grabbing his hand. He looked down at the rubble in the hallway and let her help him up. “You’ll have to pay for what you did here,” she said. He was looking down and away from her face while he was standing up, but as she said that, he looked up and into a horribly deformed slab of flesh barely recognizable as a face. The mouth was more vertical than horizontal, perpetually drooling, only one eye was visible, and the nose was very nearly a smear. It tried to smile at him.
Professor Ellery wandered the halls in a daze, moving on autopilot the way that a non-lucid dreamer does while asleep. He somnambulated from one room to the next, moving purposefully, never rethinking, always in motion, until he came to the room he was searching for: his own office. There, on his desk, lying in a circle of moonlight framed by the parting clouds, was the vial he was looking for. He picked it up, opened a drawer and retrieved an empty syringe in a carrying case, checked to make sure he had all of the components necessary, and strode out of the room. As he was leaving it, a thunderous explosion boomed from nearby, and the window shattered inwards. He closed the door just in time to keep the pieces of broken glass from colliding with him, and strode forward purposefully, not looking back even for a moment. He was driven. He was a man with a plan, a man in love, a man with mad, intense purpose, and nothing would keep him from his mission.
Jim hobbled out of the room he formerly thought of as Professor Rice’s office, and now thought of as “the Glass Pit.” He held tight to his crutch in one hand, and had clutched in the other the scrap of paper. He found himself in a study hall, a long, empty table with chairs on all sides, used for review sessions. He sat down and finished reading the paper while he picked glass out of his hair.
Adam woke up with Molly standing over him, her hands on her hips. He had a not unpleasant view of her from this angle, and he was glad she wasn’t quite so “forward thinking” as to wear skirts. “Come on, up you get, doofus,” she said, reaching down and grabbing his hand. He looked down at the rubble in the hallway and let her help him up. “You’ll have to pay for what you did here,” she said. He was looking down and away from her face while he was standing up, but as she said that, he looked up and into a gaping, shattered head, her face completely destroyed, her brains leaking out of the front of her face and onto their clasped hands.
Jim sat, struggling with the translation of the paper. “A most ancient… sorry, no, elder, charm or sign, to use to stopper/prevent/block the movement through a passage/gate/portal by anything… not of the old world? No, that’s old and not of this world. That’s interesting. It almost looks like the Greek translator had trouble with the Arabic here. God I wish I knew Arabic, maybe I should take that next semester,” he muttered to himself as he pulled Adam’s gift from his pocket and laid it next to the parchment. The parchment clearly had a depiction of the amulet on it. It was very precisely the same, in all possible ways, down to what looked like scratches and dings in it. There were a few extra marks on Jim’s necklace, but it was also the case that every mark on the one the parchment showed was also on his necklace. The material looked like pewter. If that was the case, he should be able to squish it pretty easily. He pinched it between his fingernails, and no dent appeared. Okay, well, that means it has a low lead content, it could still be pewter. It certainly doesn’t look like steel or silver. And if the dates on this thing are accurate, it would have been a pretty big deal o make it out of steel. He put it between his molars and bit down on it until he felt like he was about to do damage to his teeth, and then took it out and wiped it on his sleeve to dry it off. No marks at all.
Why am I doing this? he thought. Sure, this thing is probably a (remarkably skillful) reproduction, but even if it is, why am I trying to damage it to prove that? And what if it’s not? This is probably a valuable artifact, and it might be of interest to the University. In fact, I know it is, Professor Rice had this paper on his desk! I could show it to him when the break is over, I’m sure he’d be fascinated. So why was I trying to destroy it? What was I afraid of?
Jim hobbled down the hall, and heard shouting in a thick southern accent from his right. He pushed open the first door on his right, which led to a large room. The shouting only continued for another moment, but he was confident it was coming from the north this time. This room he recognized. It was one of his favorite parts of the University that he didn’t study - a skeleton of an enormous, extinct, monstrous lizard dominated the center of the room, curved as in a pose from life, its face and gaping mouth pointing towards the door Jim had entered from. In smaller glass cases around the walls were a series of relatives of the great beast, from various aeons of primordial pre-history. The terrible thunder lizard in the center of the room always fascinated him. How could such a huge, powerful creature, which had existed for so long, not have become intelligent? Man, a much weaker creature, a hairless ape, had existed for so short a time comparatively, and had accomplished so much more, or so it seemed. He always wondered if there were secret dinosaur civilizations, which had been wiped clean off the Earth in some terrible cataclysm, leaving behind no evidence we had yet been able to discover, like the fabled Hyperboreans. In his wilder imaginings, he dreamed of an advanced dinosaur civilization and what might have taken them from the planet. Perhaps something changing in the atmosphere, or foreknowledge of some terrible tragedy had convinced them to move to another, more habitable world? That was the answer he liked the best, but the one he found most convincing - conditional on dinosaurs having civilization, of course, a laughable premise - was that they had invented one or more terrible super weapons and turned them on each other in the ultimate climax of some long forgotten, pointless tribal conflict, and wiped the entire Earth clear of all trace of their great civilizations. It was a metaphor that he liked to employ when urging pacifism to others. After the Great War, ludicrously called the War to End All Wars, and which he secretly feared was simply the First Great War, he was more afraid than ever that the next Great War might mean the end of humanity. All of these thoughts came rushing back to him as he hobbled around to the other side of the corpse of the Tyrant Lizard. He turned to give it one last look before moving into the next room. Its jaws gaped back at him. He stared at it for a long moment, hardly daring to breathe. A warm, moist wind slowly started to move towards him, full of the stench of rotted meat. He gasped and fell backwards through the door and into a hallway. The pieces of glass still on his back dug into him viciously. The skeleton reared downwards, pointing its head towards the door like a fox trying to dig a rabbit out of a hole. Jim kicked the door shut with his good leg and then pushed against it with his cane and struggled to his feet, propping the handle of his cane under the door handle, in an attempt to jam the door and keep it closed. A distant, echoing roar was all the evidence that remained of what he had just seen, and nothing seemed to try to break through. He looked around the hallway he was in. It was full of toppled wooden pillars which looked like they had once supported marble busts, which were now on the floor. Halfway down the room, lying facedown and not moving, was Adam. Jim started towards him, stopped, and turned to retrieve his cane. He paused, hesitating for a moment.
Molly burst through the door to Jim’s side. He jumped in surprise, grabbed his cane, and swung it towards her. She deftly stepped back so that it swung by harmlessly and yelled “Whoah there cowboy! Hold your horses, it’s just me!” After his initial reflex, he calmed down and relaxed, putting his cane back to its customary use. “You could take somebody’s head off with that thing. Would’ve been useful a minute ago, maybe I should get me one of those,” she gestured at the bite marks covering her sleeves and pants, pulling up one sleeve to demonstrate that the extraordinarily long teeth had pierced through and into her flesh. Then she noticed the dried blood on his head and the scarf tied around his ankle. “Oh you poor dear, what happened to you while I was getting bit by demon squirrels?”
“Did you hear that thunderbolt about twenty minutes ago? I was over there in Professor Rice’s office when it struck just outside. The window exploded, and, well, apparently this is what happens when windows explode on you. I’m basically okay, more or less,” he replied. “Over there?” Molly asked, pointing in the direction he had. “Yeah,” he replied. “But I was over there,” she said, pointing in the opposite direction, “and the lightning was right outside of the window where I was too. I guess greenhouses are made out of tougher stuff than normal glass, lucky for me. I didn’t have to deal with any broken glass,”“Maybe there was more than one bolt of lightning..?” Jim offered. “No, I think we would have heard that. I think-I think-” she started, before finally seeing Adam and rushing over to see if he was still alive. “Oh thank God, he’s still breathing,” she said after putting her ear next to his mouth. She touched him on the cheeks, and when he moaned slightly, she started repeating his name. “Adam, Adam, wake up, you’ve got to wake up dear, there you go, oh thank God,” she said when he opened his eyes and made a confused “whuh?” sound. She hugged him tight, which he groaned in response to, and then she stood up, holding onto his hand. “Come on, up you get, darling,” she said, smiling through her tears. “Ah! No!” he cried, snatching his hand out of hers and crawling backwards away from her. “No! This isn’t real! This isn’t real!” he cried out. He picked up a chunk of statue and scrambled to his feet. “Stay away from me! I’m going to wake up, I’m going to wake up, this isn’t real, I’m going to wake up,” he started repeating to himself.“Adam? Adam, dear, what are you talking about, Adam? This is real, I’m real, what are you talking about?” Molly was on the verge of tears. Physical danger she could handle, and her own upset mental state, but Adam not trusting her… she had trust issues, namely that if someone didn’t trust her, that felt like a complete betrayal, and she couldn’t handle that, not now, not from him.
Jim stepped forward, leaning even more heavily on his cane than usual. He looked Adam dead in the eye and said “Adam, I don’t know what you saw earlier. I saw some pretty crazy shit myself. I’m sure Molly did too,” Molly nodded, tears flowing down her face, “But think. Was this what you saw? Was it us? Or was it something else?” Adam looked from one to the other fearfully, still expecting the other shoe to drop, for this to be another trick. But Jim was right. Jim had never been there before, and Molly had woken him up in a different way this time. He also hadn’t gotten to look up her skirt. That thought, so incongruous when juxtaposed with all of the horror he had been exposed to, broke his fear, and he dropped the hunk of marble, starting crying, and ran forward into Molly’s waiting arms. “It’s you, it’s really you, oh thank God it’s really you,” he said, stroking Molly’s hair. He looked over at Jim, who was trying to look away and not look away at the same time, and mouthed “thank you.” It had been years since Jim had seen Adam cry, and it moved him a great deal. He mouthed back “you’re welcome,” winced, and reached up to the back of his head and pulled out another small bloody chunk of glass. Adam briefly panicked and pulled Molly’s head back painfully sharply, looking at her eyes and face, reassuring himself that it was real, that she was real, that she was okay, that it wasn’t all an illusion. Satisfied that she was real, he leaned in to kiss her, but she held up a finger to stop him. “I’m not sure you want to do that right now. I had to bite a demon squirrel earlier, and a lot of its blood got in my mouth, and I’m sure that’s not sanitary. If it isn’t, no sense in me giving you anything I caught, right?” Adam nodded dumbly. “Demon.. squirrel?” he asked. “Yeah, I was meaning to ask you about that,” Jim added, interjecting himself into the conversation with a cough.
She looked from one man to the other. “It’s… a long story. I was in the greenhouse, and there were all these little black… things, and they attacked me, and well, I bit one of them and that seemed to scare them off,” she said as she pulled down her sleeve to reveal some of the strange bite marks on her arms. They were beginning to look infected. “Yeah, maybe you should get one of these. I’ve had a lot to deal with, but I didn’t have to bite any demons,” Jim said, brandishing his cane like a caricature of an impoverished knight. She laughed, as did Adam. He slipped his arm around her waist. Jim said “So you said the greenhouse was right through here?”, gesturing at the door she had entered through “Yes,” she responded, “but I think there is something very weird going on here,” “Oh really?” Jim responded mockingly, “I hadn’t noticed!” “No, I mean, not just what’s happening with the storm and the… demon squirrels, but I think the whole school has been rearranged. I don’t think this is any building I’ve been in before. Have you guys?” she asked the men. “No,” responded Adam. “Yes,” responded Jim. They looked at him in surprise. “Well, parts of it are. I found Professor RIce’s office, and the dinosaur room from the museum is through that door, he said pointing with his cane at the door he had entered the statuary corridor from, “but those aren’t usually in the same building. And some of these rooms I’ve never seen before. I think you’re right, I think the school has been… rearranged somehow. And maybe some things have been pulled in from… somewhere else,” he added ominously. Adam and Molly breathed a sigh of relief at this. Somehow it was better to know that this thing that was happening, whatever it was, however horrible it was, was actually happening, and that it wasn’t just their imagination. Adam especially appreciated knowing he wasn’t going crazy. Jim reached the door to the greenhouse. “Now to test a part of that theory,” he said, and opened the door and stuck his head through. He looked around for a moment, then shut the door again, then repeated the process. “Yep, that’s still the greenhouse,” he said, and then hopped over to the door leading to the dinosaur room and opened that. He immediately slammed it shut, cutting short a thunderous roar, like a malicious, hungry train heading towards you, and said “And that’s still the dinosaur room. So it looks like whatever it is that’s rearranged the school is done, and this is the new arrangement. Looks like, anyways,” He looked around the room. ”What happened in here, Adam?” Adam glanced around at the broken statues and said sheepishly “I knocked the statues over, and one of them hit me on the head.” Jim and Molly stared at him, looked at each other, and stared at him again. Both of them burst out laughing. After a moment of this, all three friends were laughing uproariously, tears streaming down their faces. Molly leaned against the wall and slid down to the floor, Jim sprawled on his stomach on the floor so that no weight was on his leg and his glass-studded skull wouldn’t touch anything, and Adam crouched on the floor where he was standing, and then transitioned to sitting. The three friends lay there like that, laughing and crying, terrified out of their wits, but desperately grateful to be alive, and happier than they had ever been to be together. “Here,” said Jim, sitting up and fishing around in his pocket. “I got this off Jeremiah,” Molly and Adam gave him blank looks, “The Negro groundskeeper? He’s really quite nice, you should talk to him some time. Anyways, he calls it a reefer. It’s kind of like a cigarette, only a lot better. I think we all could really use it right now,” he stuck the joint in his mouth, pulled out his zippo and lit it, took a drag, then handed it to his left to Adam. Adam didn’t normally smoke, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so he took a puff. “No, not like a cigar, you’ve got to hold it in your lungs,” Jim instructed. Adam did, for a moment, before coughing it out and handing the reefer to Molly, who took a long, expert drag and handed it back to Jim, who gave her an impressed and inquisitive look. “There are a lot of Negroes down South, and I’m sure I know some who are just as interesting as your fancy Northern ones,” she explained. Jim nodded, took another hit off of it, and handed it to Adam. It continued in this fashion for some time, until Jim remembered the necklace and the scrap of parchment, and pulled them out of his pocket.
Jim was explaining what he had read to Adam and Molly. “You said you thought this thing was really old, right? Were you joking? I know you’re better at telling how old something is than I am,” he said, handing the necklace to Adam. “Yeah, just ask that Jewish girl we met that night we stayed in Innsmouth, how old was she? Fourteen?” he giggled, taking the necklace. Molly looked at Jim and cocked an eyebrow. Jim rolled his eyes. “Do you know how hard it is to find Jewish girls? If I find one in a small town, I’m going to try to take advantage of my luck. Not of her, of course,” he said, when Molly shot him an even more disapproving look. “I mean, it’s not taking advantage of her if she’s into it, right?” he asked. “Yeah, but whew, man, I would think that with that nose you would have noticed she smelled like fish!” Adam replied. This time it was his turn to get a disapproving stare from Molly. “I could smell it all the way from my, uh, separate hotel room, which I was staying in, separately” he lied unconvincingly. “If you two pigs are done swapping disgusting war stories and reminiscing about past conquests, what exactly is this thing?” she asked, taking the necklace from Adam.
“I don’t know,” said Jim. “That is, I don’t know what culture it’s from. It seems to clearly be a warding amulet of some kind. The paper,” he handed it to Molly, “is written originally in Arabic, but then translated to Greek. The Arabic looks like an old style that I’m not familiar with,” “Is there any style of Arabic you are familiar with?” interjected Adam. “No,” replied Jim, which sent Adam into a fit of giggles, “but still, it looks really old to me. I can’t read Arabic, but I have seen it, and this looks different. Similar, but different. It could just be a form of cursive I haven’t ever seen before, but still, it’s kinda weird. And who knows if the necklace itself is even Arabic originally? And the Greek, well, that’s from probably the 15th century, so not ancient, but certainly not made down the street by the lady running the antique shop as a promotional flyer. How old do you think the necklace is, Adam?” Adam straightened up and regained a semblance of seriousness. “I don’t know.” Jim stared at him, waiting for more explanation, then gestured for him to go on. “It’s weird, man. The casting method is practically primeval. If this were made out of bronze and you told me it was from the bronze age, I would believe you. But it’s not made out of bronze. It looks like, I dunno, weird steel or pewter or something, but it looks way too old to be steel, and it doesn’t feel like pewter. It looks a lot older than 15th century. If I knew where the lab was in here,” he gestured at the unnaturally arranged Miskatonic University, “then maybe I could analyze it, figure out what it’s made from, figure out when it was made. But without that, I dunno. It’s weird,” he stopped gesticulating with the nub of reefer and took a much-improved hit from it. “Do you want the rest of this? I think it’s almost done,” he said, offering it to Molly and Jim. Molly turned it down, but Jim accepted it, took another short puff, licked his fingers, put it out, reached over the broken bust of the current Dean, now crusted with Adam’s dried blood, and stuck it in between the statue’s lips. “You look like you could use that, Dean ol’ boy. You’ve got something there,” he said, rubbing his own forehead. Adam and Molly laughed and Jim smiled, appreciating the relative normalcy in the midst of the sea of violent weirdness they had been tossed into. All of a sudden, something occurred to him. “Hey,” he asked, turning back to the others. “Have either of you seen Professor Ellery lately?”
Professor James Montgomery Ellery, loyal husband to Marcia Jessica Ellery, pushed open the broad double doors leading into the observatory. His beloved Marcia lay where she had left him. Where he had left her. He had set her there, and then gone off to… find the vial, so he could correct his mistake. He checked a panel on the controls. Her internal temperature was ninety seven degrees and rising steadily. He took the vial and syringe out of his pocket, loaded the former into the latter, pushed all of the air out of it, and inserted it expertly into the large vein on her inner right thigh. He depressed the plunger, and the miracle fluid started its motion into her veins. By some weird mechanism of its own, which only Professor James Ellery and Doctor Herbert West understood, the liquid pulled and climbed, pushing itself through her veins. It was even now finding the other formula, rooting it out, and destroying it. James watched his beloved Marcia as her veins turned from a hideous green-black to a more natural blue, and her skin slowly regained its previous warm pink color, from the horrible green that it had been. Her eyes he did not yet dare look at. West’s formula had been incredibly useful, but come at such a psychological cost. To have Maria so close at hand-Marcia, not Maria, Marcia, Marcia-and yet to not be able to look on her as she was in life, but instead this hideous mockery. Her green eyes had been turned the darkest, solidest black he had ever seen. They were dry in death, and so they did not even reflect light shone upon them, they did not glisten as a living person’s eyes, of any color, do - they were a horrible, constant, matte black. And so he had shut her lids before freezing her, and so he did not yet dare to open them again. Still, one thing that he did appreciate about West’s formula, is that it had driven away every last trace of the horrible, puffy, pink redness that had choked her so. It would have driven James made if he had had to see Marcia that way. His beloved Marcia, done in in such a manner…. but now of all times was not the moment to dwell on the past. He leaned forward to kiss her. She was warm again. She had so hated being cold, and she was warm again, and soon she would be able to feel it. He did not know what space felt like, but his intuition told him that it must be a horrible, clawing cold, a thousand times worse than the highest mountaintop. And soon he would rescue her from that. He could almost swear he could feel her breath on his lips. He leaned ever closer, and was about to make contact, when a sudden, jarring ringing came from his pocket, at the same moment that a similar clanging came from the control panel. He jumped backwards, momentarily startled to the point of not remembering what that sound meant, when he remembered. He took the radio controlled alarm out of his pocket and pressed the button that stopped its ringing, then tossed it aside, and did the same thing with the main control panel. The radio controlled alarm did not actually stop ringing, though the main one did, and by now his attention was completely absorbed by what he had to do next. The machine, this wonderful, blessed machine, had found his Marcia’s soul.
Adam, Jim, and Molly all looked up at one another, then down the hall. A ringing not unlike a telephone was coming from the next room. They looked at each other again, looked back down the hall, and then got to their feet and started heading towards the door.
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.