28: Night on Mount Pannawau

***BEGIN TRANSMISSION***

There is a man standing over my bed. A man with beautiful breasts, and the head of an owl. I can see him through my eyelids. He’s just standing there. Staring with unblinking owl eyes, his face illuminated by the light of the Door. The Door in the Mountain.

That light shines out bright as ever, cascading down the Mountain in an endless torrent. Abundant. Obscene. Inviting. Yes, inviting. It calls out to something in my blood, in my gut, something thick and black and hot, enticing me to…

My forehead throbs, painfully, and the owl-headed man snaps back into focus. He has something in his hand. A bottle. A bottle of something black. Something alive. It twists and writhes in its glass prison, trying to get out. To join with the blackness in me. I feel rather than see the owl-headed man’s intention to let it do just that. Slowly, so slowly, he raises the bottle, pulls loose the stopper, bends over my head, tips the bottle, grabs my chin, forces open my mouth…

The thing in the bottle, so anxious to be loose, now seems in no great hurry. It’s taken the form of a thick black liquid, pouring slowly from the mouth of the bottle. A single quivering drop forms on the bottle’s lip, a dollop of hanging black. Anticipation.

One hand shoots up, grabs the owl’s wrist. The drop shakes, lengthens, swings. Heavy. Black. Pendulous. The strand breaks. The drop falls, and

*************

The Sad Man sighs a heavy breath. They’re all heavy these days. He’s old, and he’s tired, and he wishes this thing had waited til his time was past. But it didn’t, and the sacrifice has ensured that his time will not be passing soon. So he might as well get back to work.

He lets out a click and a shriek, and his Honor Guard is there. He dips his fingers into the bowl and anoints them, painting the symbols on their beaks, their breasts. Kneeling before them, he daubs their genitals with the Red Drink, hardening them, sealing them, girding their loins against the threat to come. Their legs and feet he paints as he did their chests. Strength and speed. Clarity of mind and sureness of foot. They’ll need all these things before the night is through. All his children will, but these especially.

He rises with difficulty. Too damn old. But now isn’t the time for that. He dusts off the knees of his robe. Smiles at his guards. His heart is heavy, but they don’t need to see it. Not now. There’ll be time for that later. With clicks and hoots, he gives his orders. The Brute will walk the Mountain tonight, he tells them. The bait has been chosen, and is even now in place. The guards must wait, as they did last time. They must wait, and follow. Herd, if need be. And, if all goes well, be ready to fight. The one thing they can’t do is leave. No matter what happens, no matter how many of their brethren are in peril, they must be in place at the end. The Sad Man is old, and he can’t do it alone.

He peers briefly through the Veil into the Waking World, to assure himself that the agent is sleeping. He is, if fitfully, one arm raised in a vice grip on nothing. But he’s asleep. The Sad Man knew this, of course, because he could feel the Agent behind his own eyes. But he’s a tricky one, this White Devil, so he had to be sure.

A howl rips the night, echoing down from the top of the Mountain. It’s time. The Sad Man lets the Veil drop, and

*************

The Brute steps out into the cool night. Sniffs. He can smell it again. Quim on the air, quim and blood and… Will it be another disappointment? Another untouched girl, not for him? He pauses a moment, sniffs, circles around to look down the other side of the mountain. Lights. A town. Always women in a town. Lots of women. He sniffs. But he can’t smell them, and this other one… This other one is so much closer…

He catches the salty edge of her again, the delicious smell of love awaiting him. Away from the town. He hardens between the legs, and stops kidding himself. He’ll follow the blood, then find the love. And this time… his groin aches at the thought… this time, he will have satisfaction.

He sets off with a leap, bounding down the mountain, following his nose, exulting in the movement. The Gray World is so fresh, so alive, so exciting. Drool forms on his lips. Tonight is going to be a good night. He lets loose another howl, and

*************

Alexandra Melmoth stirs. Something howls up on Mount Pannawau. Something familiar. Something that ignites a flame inside her, warmth radiating out from the center of her, spreading through her limbs and finally to her brain. She stretches, moans. She wants it. Wants the howl. Wants it more than even the Agent, so strange and so familiar and so… inside her, even now. She writhes at the thought, hisses, and slithers from between the sheets. The night air is cold on her bare skin, but she doesn’t care.

She is warmed from within.

Sinuously, with purpose, she makes her way out of her bedroom, down the hall. Andrew is in the study, as he always seems to be these days, and she briefly considers slaking her thirst on him. But the howl splits the air again, and she knows that Andrew will never satisfy her now. So she moves on, keeping quiet, and exits the house. Grabbing the keys from their hook in the garage, she takes the Jaguar. The motor purrs at her, and she hisses in return. Sssoon. Soon.

Rolling out to the driveway, she guns it. The car roars to life, presses her back against the seat. The acceleration is a thrill, but it only whets her appetite for the real thing. As she passes through the gates of Melmoth House, she thinks she sees a man in her path, dressed head to toe in black. He’s not really there, of course, but still she presses the accelerator harder, imagines running him down, and keeps going. The car zips away, whisking her off to the thing she wants most. She rolls down the window and a dark wind catches her hair. She laughs deep in her throat and

*************

The Somnambulist tries to pick himself up. But his legs aren’t working anymore. He is unused to thinking about things like legs. Hands. Bones. Bodies. They don’t usually matter to him, except as a means of transportation, of moving his consciousness from one place to another. But now they’re screaming, inflamed. Something is wrong, very wrong, and he fears that his mind won’t be moving anywhere ever again. He tries to send out a warning:

***YIG-SPAWN DESIGNATE… DESIGNATE WHAT?***

Something shifts painfully in his back, and all movement stops. The pain, though… The pain does not stop. It screams and it screams… Or is that his mouth screaming? He can’t tell anymore. His world is chaos and pain and chaos. He can’t think, can’t move, can’t… Must send message.

***YIG-SPAWN ON THE MOVE.***

It’s all he can manage through the swirling in his head, and he’s not even sure it got out anywhere. Where are his brothers? Where is the Uni-Mind? Where is–

His left hand quakes uncontrollably, and

*************

Denise sits up suddenly in bed, eyes snapping open with fear.

“[name redacted]!” she gasps, and stumbles to the laptop. The Chief needs to know and

*************

John Cheveyo is awakened by the phone. He grumbles. His wife, patient and ever-vigilant, hands him the receiver. It’s Matthews. His voice sounds strange. Distant. Like he’s underwater. Must be a really shitty connection.

“…again,” Matthews is saying. “It’s happening again.”

“What?” Cheveyo mumbles. “Clint, what–?”

“The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again.”

Cheveyo wakes up a little more. Something’s not right. “Clint, what the hell are you talking about? What’s happening again?”

“The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again. The Door is open and the light is spilling out and I can’t see. It’s so dark here so dark all the light is spilling out and it’s dark and it’s happening again. It’s happening again…”

***END TRANSMISSION***

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About Mark Brett

Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at https://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at http://dorkforty.wordpress.com/. View all posts by Mark Brett

One response to “28: Night on Mount Pannawau

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