—Transcript of Agent X-23’s Dowsing Experience on Mount Pannawau—
Three men are approaching. They have the heads of owls, and magnificent breasts. With them is a teenage boy, shirtless. He seems calm, and is carrying a small parcel in his hand.
But it’s difficult to concentrate on that because someone has left the door open again, and its light streams out behind the group as they make their way down the slope. It’s blinding, shining into me, through me, finding all my secrets, my dark desires, whispering to them, touching them, caressing them, coaxing them into life. I feel a swelling at my middle, in my head, in my heart. Skin pulls taut and hard, and a ringing starts in my ears, fit to split my head open. I want to run, whether toward the door or away from it I cannot say, but my feet refuse to move. I tug and I heave and I beg them to move, but they will not, and then I know why. The roots. The roots that have grown out of the wand in my hands, up my arms, past my heart and into my groin, down my legs to the feet and onward, ever onward, down down into the mountain itself.
And somewhere, deep down in the bedrock, a calmness. A reassurance that I cannot be touched here. Not now. Later, the light whispers, and I shudder as it caresses me one last time, and then retreats. It still shines down the mountain, illuminating the scene before me with an eerie glow. But it leaves me, moves around me, and once again I can see.
The group has stopped a few feet in front of me, and the boy is calmly lying down on the mountainside. Two of the owl-headed men stand on either side of him, each brandishing a crude, hand-made flint knife. The third stands at the boy’s head, and crouches down to take the parcel from his hands. He unwraps it, revealing a severed human finger, still wet with blood. He takes the finger and draws a pattern with that blood on the boy’s chest. And as he makes each stroke, the others mimic it in the air with their knives.
The boy doesn’t react, and doesn’t move. He just lies there, his face a mask of calm serenity, neither ecstatic nor frightened, as if he were on a picnic, staring at clouds. The pattern complete, the two knife-men wipe blood from their blades and put them away. The third man holds the still-bleeding finger over the boy’s face. He opens his mouth, and the owl-headed man places the finger inside. The boy closes his mouth around the finger, and smiles a little as the owl-headed men retreat to the shadows outside the light of the door.
Time passes. Hideous, translucent shapes float past, seemingly oblivious to me. They occasionally drift up to the boy and sniff, but retreat at the sight of the mark on his chest, frightened. It occurs to me that I may not be as smart as them.
Somewhere down below, where the Opa Lodge lies nestled at the base of the mountain, I feel an inner eye opening, a mind awakening, becoming aware of what’s happening. It’s me, I realize, terrified in the night and about to embark on the path that will lead him through the darkened halls of the Opa Lodge, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. The kitchen, where he’ll meet the Nukpana and–
A shriek rips the air. I look back to the boy, but he’s still lying serene on the side of the mountain. A shot follows, echoing up from below, and suddenly the owl-headed men on the mountain leap from their hiding places and vault down the slope, talons (they have talons now) sending pebbles skittering. Down below, a figure emerges from the Lodge. Me. How do I see him? The Lodge is so far, and my perch is so high, so very high…
A howling comes from above, and my head whips back around, up the mountain to the door. The door, more indecent and exposed than ever, and something is emerging from it. Something long and hard and muscular, something with the body of an ape and a ramrod head thrown back at the end of an impossibly long neck. It sniffs the air, then it’s gone, bounding out the door and down. Toward the boy. Toward me.
It moves in a series of animal lunges, leaping with legs of tight sinew, landing on calloused, raw-boned hands, its head swaying back and forth on that neck, sniffing and turning and fairly twitching with excitement. Between its legs hangs a member of great girth and twisted length, swaying and bouncing as it rumbles ever closer. This isn’t happening now, the roots reassure me. This is happening last night. You’re in no danger. But it’s hard to listen as the thing draws near.
Still, it stares right through me at 30 yards, with tiny black eyes set high on its smooth, spongy face. Twin slits at the point of its snout flare and close, flare and close, as that great head sways back and forth. Then, getting its bearings at last, it makes a final lunge and lands at the boy’s side, claws scrabbling at the mountain rock. Up close, I can see that its hairless skin is red and raw, as from constant irritation. Sores dot the flesh here and there, except at its hands, feet, and knees. Those are scaly and calloused, as from heavy wear, which seems only natural as I watch it rest its great weight on them, pausing to examine the boy.
Staring intently at his chest, it lowers its head and sniffs at the blood. Then it swings a leg over the boy and straddles him, head lowering again as its snout splits to reveal a mouth full of gigantic teeth, and a thick, muscular tongue that darts out between them. The beast laps at the blood, one lick for every line in the pattern, in the order the marks were made by the owl-headed man. The boy, still lying serenely on the mountainside, smiles a bit at this, and giggles, as if the great tongue tickles his bare flesh.
Completing the pattern, the beast lifts its head back and takes a deep, sighing breath. Then, bracing one hand at the base of the boy’s neck, it reaches down with the other, grabs his jaw, and with three sharp tugs tears it free of his face. The lower mandible goes flying, landing somewhere nearby with a faint thud. The boy’s feet and arms twitch uncontrollably beneath the beast’s great weight, but what’s left of his expression still looks calm as the blood gushes forth.
The finger, freed from the prison of the boy’s mouth, falls out onto his chest. The beast picks it up with as much delicacy as its bony, clawed fingers can manage, and passes it languorously under its nose, sniffing long and slow, and with great pleasure. Standing, its hands and groin covered in gore, obscenely aroused, the beast quickly sniffs the finger once more, then pops it into its mouth like a bon bon and swallows it whole.
The beast stretches, clawed hands extending to either side, head swaying again as it rolls its long neck. Then, without warning, it bounds off to the east, around the mountain and out of sight. The boy twitches some more, movement slowing and finally stopping as the night wears on into morning, his eyes aglow with contentment right up until the moment that they dim, and go out.
—Preceding piece of writing found imbedded in Agent X-23’s Temporal Lobe. Piece appears to be much like automatic writing that appeared on intra-blog while Agent slept, chronicling dream experiences in Opa Lodge. Why this experience was not transferred directly to intra-blog at the time is unknown. But when found, memory had been entirely encased in viscous black substance of unknown origin. Substance was psychically invisible, making Somnambulist awareness of it impossible until five minutes ago, when substance was disrupted, then dissipated entirely, when Agent experienced orgasm.—
—Mission Analysis for Agent Codename: Denise—
Heightened sex drive of Agent X-23 resulting from contact with Yig-Spawn Designate: Alexandra Melmoth being satisfied.
Stress levels of Agent X-23 currently decreasing in wake of arrival of Codename: Denise.
Stress levels associated with Manhattan Protocol Trauma also decreasing in Codename: Denise, with additional relief being gained in regard to jealousy issues in relation to X-23 and Designate: Melmoth.
Codename: Denise’s own sex drive, which spiked approximately two hours ago, upon entering Fat Beaver Inn, also being satisfied.
Likelihood strong that effectiveness of both Agents will increase following conjugal activity.
Mission Rating: 90% effective, and rising.
Recommendation: As further contact with Designate: Melmoth seems inevitable, it would be advantageous to keep Codename: Denise in Pannawau for additional time.
—End of Report.—