I’m glad to see that the Somnambulists have transmitted my dowsing experience on the mountain. It saves me some time, and I fear that I’ve fallen too far behind on my reporting.
I must express some disappointment that you felt the need to hide things from me, however. Because, yes, I can see the report on Denise’s “mission,” and your response. I’ve been through some things in the last few days that have apparently put me a bit beyond Somnambulist manipulation. I don’t begrudge them trying, understand. It’s their job, just as it’s your job to ensure that your agents are not overwhelmed by the forces they deal with in the field. But I can assure you that’s not the case here. Not anymore. So please, Chief. Trust in my ability to assess the case properly, and just tell me what happened at HQ.
Alright. Enough of that. It’s very early morning, Denise is still asleep, and I’m awaiting the arrival of Tom and Gladys and the spectacular breakfast I hear they serve here at the Fat Beaver Inn. So I think it’s time to tell you how I earned my Mountain Name. That story starts with the dowsing incident.
(Speaking of which… I think I may know how the memory was made psychically invisible, but that will have to wait until I return to my experiences in the hospital the night Possum Reynolds was possessed).
Reading the account the Somnambulists found was interesting, but it’s not accurate. The bulk of it is fine, exactly as I remember the experience. The description of the Black Mirror Brute is especially detailed, including things I might not have brought out of the dowser’s trance with me.
But the ending is not at all correct. I did not witness the slow demise of the Tahki boy. I did, however, see the arrival of Ruth Omusa’s corpse at the crime scene. She was borne between two Nukpana, accompanied by a very thin, very bent old man in a shimmering silver robe. At his direction, the Nukpana placed Omusa carefully next to her boyfriend and arranged her body in the posture I described to you yesterday. The old man made some gestures over both the victims. He seemed very sad. I’ll be meeting with John Cheveyo later today to give my description of him. Normally, I’d have done that immediately after coming out of the trance. But events conspired against that.
Because just after Omusa was laid to rest, something happened. The dowsing wand jerked suddenly in my hands, and the old man disappeared. But the two Nukpana remained, still looking down at the bodies, as if in mourning. Slowly, ever so slowly, they swiveled their heads up and backwards, until their faces were turned downhill, looking directly at me. My eyes locked with the taller of the two, and it let out a mouthless shriek. The other pounced.
I let go of the dowsing wand to break the trance, but to no avail. Somehow, I’d been ripped out of the trance, and into the now. I was awake, but walking in a dream. Then the Nukpana was upon me with its full weight, and we fell to the ground. It went for the eyes first, snapping its beak savagely in my face, its breath foetid with a stench that smelled uncomfortably like the Continental Breakfast at the Opa Lodge. That realization bringing me swiftly into the fight, I got one arm up against its throat, bracing against its incredible strength.
Flash: Reality. Me on the ground, the weight of the Nukpana gone. Cheveyo shouting. “Matthews–”
The Nukpana snapped again and drew blood on my brow. I flinched. Spasmed, more like. A wave of dizziness and nausea, but it was snapping again, and I had to defend myself. Squirming around, I tried to bring a knee up into its groin, but to no avail.
Flash: Me on the ground, vomit rising in my throat, right leg twitching uncontrollably. Cheveyo: “–are you–”
It snapped back at my face, blood oozing into my eye, right arm pinned beneath one of the thing’s knees. It drew back its head for another attack, and I brought my free arm up into its throat on the downward strike. It coughed, and my right arm came loose.
Flash: Me on the ground, wet, right arm waving spasmodically in the air, choking now on water and bile. Cheveyo standing over me with an empty bucket. “–okay?”
I brought my right hand around in a crushing blow against the side of its head. I felt something give against my knuckles, so I punched it again. This time, my hand went through. Blood gushed forth, and the Nukpana fell to one side.
Flash: Me rising, Cheveyo stumbling back, Hototo rushing forward to grab me. I trip, catch myself, retch. Dizziness. Forward.
The second Nukpana stood staring at me in disbelief as I sprang up the hill toward it, gore dripping off my red right hand. The dizziness and nausea were passing, and I had my prey in my sights. It broke and ran, east around the mountain, in the same direction as the Black Mirror Brute. I gave chase.
Flash: Me running, the world turning crazily around my head. The wind rises. Below me I hear the lapping water of Lake Mammedaty. Behind me I hear Cheveyo and his men. Hototo: “Crazy bastard!”
I was slowly but surely closing the gap on the Nukpana. I felt bigger than myself as I ran, stronger, faster, my head opening up and releasing something great and terrifying, something that streamed behind me in the wind. The Nukpana spared a glance over its shoulder, and I saw its owl eyes widen in terror. It doubled its speed, and that’s when I knew it was mine. Panic made it careless, and my feet were somehow sure. It stumbled, I sprang. It ran, and I leapt after, laughing.
Flash: Crazed cackling echoes off the hillside, and I realize it’s coming from me. The world spins, I dance and leap, barely escaping the grasp of tiny, silent Luke Pallaton, and continue on.
The Nukpana came up hard against a steep drop, and leapt down onto an outcropping. I followed without thinking, without needing to, without fear. My feet touched the rock, and suddenly I was someone else. Someone bigger, stronger, and infinitely more brutal. My groin hurt, and I looked down to see a raw red penis protruding from my middle. Below me was a teenage girl. She smelled nice. Smelled like the finger. She was pretty, too. Oh so pretty, and so young, and so vulnerable. I loved her, then, I realized. Loved her, and wanted her, and–
Flash: The world is still, and I sit crouched at the center of a rocky outcropping, staring down intently at a large blood stain. From behind and above, I hear Cheveyo shouting. “Get a rope!”
I rubbed the back of one calloused hand against the girl’s cheek. She smiled. I bent down to kiss her, but my mouth was too big, too strong, too clumsy. So I nibbled instead, bits of her lips tearing loose in my mouth. The blood was warm, and made me want her more. Gently, I undressed her, pausing to kiss and caress each new exposed bit of lovely flesh, more blood welling up where my claws broke the skin. I licked her clean and moved on, removing her pants, exposing her center, her glory, her–
Flash: The wind picks back up, but I remain unmoving, eyes locked on the blood stain. There’s something drawn on the rock beneath it. A pattern. Cheveyo, from above: “Clint, just hang on!”
Something wasn’t right. She was too clean, too good. Untouched. Not for me. Not for me. But, ooh my desire. Ooh, my hard hurting. It drove me mad. I howled and hunched over her, my hips fairly twitching, drawn to her with mysterious force, like moth to flame. I looked down into her eyes, her smiling trusting eyes, and stopped. No. No. Bad. Wrong. Not her. Not for me. Not for me. Or at least… Not as long as she was watching.
Flash: The wind is whipping now, violent and strong. It whips up the lake below, the waves crashing against the shore. It threatens to blow me over, but I remain. Locked in a crouch. Over the blood. From above, Cheveyo is shouting something, but I cannot hear. I cannot hear.
I took the girl’s head in my hands and turned it around backwards with a quick snap. Letting her face drop onto the rock below, I positioned myself over her again, safely free from her gaze. My every nerve was awake with desire, every fiber of my being urging me on. Get it over with. Take what you want. She’ll never know. Hurting, throbbing, twisted at the center, I lowered myself quivering upon her. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I went mad, then, savaging her, kissing, licking, scratching, turning her over and over in my arms, trying to find some way, some angle, some position, that would satisfy my lust. The pool of blood grew ever larger beneath her, obscuring the pattern someone had drawn onto the rock. Finally, pathetically, I quit. Breath coming in great bellow-heaves, I turned to lurch off, thwarted, into the night.
Then a rock slammed into the side of my head, and I returned again to the now.
Flash: Sharp pain. Blood. I tip over, nearly falling from the outcropping. Cheveyo shouts from above: “Clint!”
It was the Nukpana. Seeing me entranced again, it gathered up its courage and attacked. It kicked at my ribs, trying to knock me off the outcropping. I doubled over, nearly vomiting again, this time from the horror of the alien thing I had just experienced. It kept at me, but I was coming back to my true self again, my head still open, my footing still true. I rolled to avoid its blows and sprang to my feet, eyes burning. And it once again turned and ran, toward a cave opening at the back of the outcropping. I leapt after it, tackling it just as it entered the cave mouth. We hit the ground hard, my arms wrapped tight around its legs.
Flash: Me on the ground, pulling at something I can’t see. Cheveyo is behind me, talking. Then he stops.
I dragged the Nukpana slowly out of the cave mouth, feeling as if I was moving through jello. I got to my feet, tugging, tugging, another wave of dizziness washing over me. Then I was out, the Nukpana unconscious at my feet. The wind had calmed to a gentle breeze. Behind me on the outcropping stood Cheveyo and Pallaton. A rope hung from above over the side of a thirty-foot drop, braced by mighty Mark Hototo. All three men were staring. At me, and at the Nukpana.
“Where the hell did he come from?” Hototo shouted down from above.
I smiled, a bit weakly, and shouted back. “Oh, you know. I pulled him out of a dream.”
And that, sir, is how I earned my Mountain Name. On Mount Pannawau, I’m now known as Yanaba, which I’m told means “Confronter of Enemies.” Hototo gave it to me on the spot. It is, I am told, a great honor. The Alo don’t often welcome outsiders in such a way. Especially not outsiders they suspect of working for Project Blue Book. But I may yet fill some new pages in that book, if they will give me their blessing.
One thing further: As you might be able to tell, I slipped into some kind of Automatic Writing at some point in the story. This is something I’m finding easier and easier, ever since the experience I just described. It’s like my conscious and unconscious are communicating more freely, and I can slip in and out of the Dream Walking state almost at will. The process is less like telling a story, and more like living it over again.
I must admit, however, to being a bit shaken by reliving my inhabitation of the Black Mirror Brute. Contact with Outer Entities is always unnerving, of course, and the power of the Brute’s passions was enough even to overwhelm whatever was awakening in my brain when I set foot on that outcropping. But this beast was entirely too human for comfort. And unfortunately, gaining insight into the Brute’s mind tells me little about what it actually is.
I did learn a few things about the Nukpana afterward, but that story will have to wait. I can smell the bacon Tom and Gladys are cooking up in the kitchen, and Denise has begun to stir.
– Agent X-23, signing off.