Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Featured Creature: Reunion at the Merrimon Library Part V, Illumination

Reunion at the 
Merrimon Library:
Part V, Illumination

Alan sat for several long moments with his back against one of the bookshelves for support.  He slumped to a sitting position and watched the jellyfish creatures, trying not to look at Tim.  The vibrating light from the creatures pulsed in a slow rhythm, casting odd patterns on the walls.  The fearsome shapes that Alan had seen earlier beyond the egg were appearing now on the wall above where the circle had been.  He watched as massive shapes slithered beneath the surface of the wall.  His throat closed up with rising panic.   He took deep slow breaths to quiet the quivering fear within him.

When Alan had moved out of range of the creatures he realized that he still clutched the copy of Die Tür Des Bösen in his good hand.  Alan scoured the book.  He struggled to see in the momentary flashes from passing cars, but could not read in the quickly fading light.  The sleet ticked against the window incessantly, rising and falling with the wind. 

He glanced up again at Tim and immediately wished that he had not.  Tim's corpse hung flatly, entangled in the tentacles of the creature.  Whatever method of levitation the creature possessed was not sufficient to support both the creature and Tim's body.  He hung from its tentacles and was dragged around on his toes, eyes bulged and staring, his mouth open in that final choked expression.  One arm hung down at his side and the other was angled upward, tangled within the creature's tentacles.  As the creature slowly floated about, Tim's shoes dragged across the floor and made a soft scratching noise.

The back corner wall bulged outward slightly, stretching like skin.  In the fluttering light he saw that a slick ooze had begun forming upon its surface.  Beneath, thick serpentine shapes slowly undulated.  He scooted further down the aisle towards the windows.  Alan could not leave.   At any moment whatever horror shifted beyond the wall could pour through and he had to stand the line, but he needed light.  Alan wiped the ice cold sweat from his forehead.  A sudden light to his left made him turn.  Drawn to his movement, one of the smaller jellyfish creatures floated nearby.  He leaned down slowly and grabbed a large coffee table book from one of the lower shelves.  He brought it up and pressed the corner against the small creature.  Gently, he nudged it away.  It flared its tentacles like a bellows and coasted away on unseen currents.  Its light faded as it went.

The creatures departure gave him an idea.  The larger jellyfish creatures gave off substantial illumination.  He might be able to read by it.  He chose the creature entangled with Tim's body. It was encumbered and lethargic and less likely to attack him.  Alan lay down on his back and slowly scooted across the floor towards the creature.  It made no reaction to his approach, but undulated as it retracted its tentacles and began to pull Tim's body into its massAlan shuddered.  He looked away, but kept the creature's dangerous tentacles in the periphery of his vision.  Slowly, he continued to slide across the floor.

Once he felt he was close enough to read, Alan opened the book.  He searched for any clue as to what had affected Tim.  He flipped to the illustrations that Tim had been looking at when he had first opened the book.  Several of the runes within the illustrations reminded Alan of the ones he's seen Tim draw within the circle.  Alan recognized one in particular.  It was a rune of opening, a summons to doorways.  He scrutinized the nearby pages, searching for a rune of closing or banishment.  

Several of the smaller creatures reacted to his sudden movement and floated closer.  He held still immediately and placed his swollen hand upon his amulet for any added luck or protection it might bring.  He forced his breath into a slow and steady rhythm.  Soon the creatures grew disinterested and floated away once more.  He picked up the book again and slowly turned its pages.

Within the next chapter he found what he was looking for.  In another illustration was nested a complex rune of banishment.  Combined with a ritual he already knew, Alan felt it would close the terrible gate that was forming.  Rituals of this nature always exacted a price.  He would need something to give the ritual the power required.  He would have to use his own blood.  

The was a faint rumble and Alan felt a wave of electric cold pass over him.  The walls in the corner bowed out grotesquely.  He took one last look at Tim and took a deep breath.  Summoning what was left of his courage, he began to crawl towards the corner.



{8x8,  created in Adobe Photoshop}


Eddie said...

Absolutely LOVE the macabre marionette imagery of Tim's corpse tangled in the creature's tentacles! So perfectly ruthless.

I also thought Alan using the creature as a light source to read by was great. Sure, Alan has very limited options by that point but having him take that course of action really highlights his courage and resourcefulness.

Jesse Campbell said...

Thanks! :-) Truth be told, the moment with Tim being held aloft and dragged by the jellyfish creature is the whole reason the story was written. That image haunted me for a bit until I got to writing.

Getting Alan to that point was challenging but enjoyable. I was amused when it became that standard horror movie moment of having to get extremely close to a horrible thing. I had not originally intended that scene but it worked within the logic of the story. Poor Alan. He should have gone home to be with his cats. His journey is only beginning.

Apologies for the ongoing epic, as it were. I wanted this to be the last chapter, but I have some lingering medical issues that are keeping me from writing regularly. :-( As it stands there may be at least two more chapters before it's all said and done. :-/ buuuut I am kind of enjoying returning again and again to the same story with a new chapter. :-) I may have to explore that further once the Reunion is done.

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