Part III, The Ritual
Part III, The Ritual
Alan sat and returned to copying his notes. He quickly went through several pages, glancing up sporadically to watch Tim's reactions as he was reading. Timothy sat with his legs crossed and the thick volume cradled in his lap. He had taken off his coat and draped it across the back of the chair. Alan took a secret pleasure in watching his friend as the sequence of realization and understanding played across his features.
At first Tim's eyes darted plainly back and forth as he read with a veiled disdain. As he continued to read, a squinting confusion settled upon him. His eyebrows furrowed together. Slowly that confusion blossomed into a genuine interest and his page turning increased. His eyes grew narrow with focus and intent. Alan focused on his own work for awhile and copied several more pages of notes before looking up again.
Timothy's expression had changed again. His intent focus had transformed into a widening disbelief. A deep fear was creeping into his countenance. He looked at each new page as if he were viewing a train approaching him at great speed and he was trapped on its tracks. Alan felt a sudden guilt and remorse. He quickly stood and approached Tim, smiling meekly with his hand extended.
"Oh - uhm - yeah - no - I - uhm," Tim rose clumsily. Distracted, He walked past Alan and placed the book on the table. He stood with his back to Alan, stretching and then moved mechanically towards the restrooms. "I'll be right back."
As he watched Tim walk away, Alan wondered if he had alienated his old acquaintance completely. He realized it may have been a poor choice to let him read despite Tim's daredevil attitude. He leaned against the table and watched the snow fall. It had begun to accumulate and the sidewalk outside was mostly covered. The stormfront was settling in and the light had begun to dim from the heavy cloud cover. Soon it would be time to go home. Alan sat and returned to his notes.
Alan pulled his jacket closer about him and zipped it shut. The chill from the windows had now reached the table. Fifteen minutes passed and Tim had not yet returned. Alan noted it but did not begin to worry until another twenty had passed. In the interim, the snow fall had doubled and the exterior was quickly being consumed by white. The sidewalk and ground were completely covered and the roads had become slush. Alan organized his materials for the trip home and moved towards restrooms to check on Tim. All the lights in the library blinked twice and a voice came over the loudspeaker.
"Due to inclimate weather, the Library will be closing in forty-five minutes. Please bring your selections to the main counter. The Library will be closing in forty-five minutes."
Just before the restrooms, there was a set of shelves that jutted back further into the library. As he approached, the fluorescent lightning nearest to the restroom flickered unpleasantly. The shelves were just out of range of the dying fluorescent and their angle cut them off from the light of the windows. In the dim light, the corner beyond the shelves was a thick blotch of darkness. He could see a figure in the shadow. As he approached he could hear murmuring.
Tim was standing in the corner facing the walls. He seemed to be examining them intently. Lethargically, he reached up and traced his fingers through the air as though he were writing or drawing. After each gesture he would pause as though he were considering his execution. All around him on the floor were books stacked in odd arrangements. Some of the books sat open with their pages spread wide while others were closed. Other books were at steep angles while several were stacked like tables. Several pages from the books had been shredded and the debris piled at specific points. The strange collection formed a circle around Tim.
Alan stepped closer. Tim turned towards him. His eyes were entirely milky white and his expression was slack and apathetic. He did not acknowledge Alan at all and continued to gesture into the air. Tim was speaking softly as he gestured. His voice was thick and languid as though he were drunk. Each word was a breath.
"Patreeem...ingenituum...caaavum...lacuuus...pereeegrinus...Ialdabaoth...Saklaaas-Samaael...Ialdabaoth! Ialdabaoth! Ialdabaoth!"
Alan reached down inside his shirt and clutched the amulet that he kept on his person for protection. In his mind he echoed a mantra as he took several steps away from Tim. He placed his foot on a nearby shelf and pulled himself up with his free hand until he could see the top of the shelf. Quietly thanking the old library for its lack of cleanliness, he released the amulet and scooped up a handful of the dust.
He brought the fistful of dust to his forehead and focused, whispering his intent. He imagined a glowing blue eye forming within the dust as he repeated it. Soon he felt the shift. The words of his spoken intent became meaningless sounds. He took a large portion of the dust into his left hand and a small amount in his right. He closed his eyes and rubbed the dust from his right across his them. He leaned forward and blew the dust from his left towards Tim and the circle.
"Ostende!" He hissed as he blew the dust. Alan opened his eyes. They stung from the dust he had rubbed into them and his vision blurred with tears. He saw a glowing blue egg shape surrounding Tim. It extended above him and into the floor. Beyond it large unpleasant shapes undulated and pressed against the egg. The egg was covered in complex mean looking runes that Alan could not identify. Tim was drawing them with his gestures. Each time he finished one of the runes, the glow of the egg grew dimmer and the shapes outside pressed further in.
"Tim!" Alan called once more. He held his amulet tightly and imagined his own energy feeding into the egg shape. Tim continued to speak, but his voice had taken on a quivering sing song quality. A thin trickle of blood poured out from his nostrils as he spoke.
"crossed...waterless oceans...empty...nameless are they...snake shed...skinless...no thought...big enough...to hold...they are dreadful...poetry...solar song...our voices are twittering flies...buzzing flies in the darkness...where something has died." Tears streamed down Tim's face. As he blinked, his eyes grew clear and the milky film that had been covering them disappeared.
Tim collapsed towards Alan, falling outward and breaking through the circle of books. Alan heard a distant electrical hum and an nasty grinding followed by a loud pop. All the lights in the library went out.