Tag Archives: Owl-Headed Man

30: Hearts Full of Fire

***CLEARING STATIC…OPENING CHANNEL***

***BEGIN TRANSMISSION***

My eyes are open now. They’re open, and flooded with light. They’re open, and lost in the dark. I’m lying in bed. Denise is beside me. Asleep. Or…

No, she’s asleep. She has to be. She’s just so still. I thought– No. She’s asleep. We must be– Are we in our room at the Fat Beaver? Is that bacon I hear frying? Or…

This isn’t the Fat Beaver Inn. This is the Opa Lodge. Except… Why is it so dark? What’s this pressure I feel? On my chest, my arms, in my ears. My forehead. Why can’t I move? Am I dreaming? Or…

The Door. The Door is open in the Mountain. It’s open, and the light’s pouring out. So bright and so wrong. So exposed. That’s why it’s so dark. All the light’s pouring out, and there’s none left here. Wait. No. That’s not right. I’m outside the Door and I hear bacon and

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

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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

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

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Report 13: Tell Me About the Owls

“Tell me about the owls, Alexandra.”

“I don’t– What? Listen… Do I know you?”

“I was there when you effected your escape from Jase Peterson’s house. Otherwise, no. I don’t think so. But, please. Tell me about the owls.”

“The owls? Well– They’re the ones who– …the ones who killed Chris. Those women. The lesbians.”

“Lesbians?”

“Well… That’s unfair of me. I don’t know that. They were just so… butch.”

“Butch?”

“Masculine. Broad shoulders, hard muscles… I don’t know. They could have just been athletes, I guess. Body builders. Soccer players. I don’t know.”

“But they had the heads of owls?”

“Yes. They were wearing masks, like… some kind of team mascot?”

“So, you were attacked by a group of muscular women wearing owl masks.”

“Yes. Look, I know it sounds strange–”

“It doesn’t sound strange at all, Alexandra. Now. Tell me more. Tell me about the owls.”

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Report 7: Touched by the White Mirror World

Sir,

I am sitting in the waiting room of the Alvin Melmoth Memorial Hospital, named for the twin brother of Oscar. Alvin was a philanthropist and international adventurer of some repute, lost and believed killed in 1970 while on a Himalayan expedition. Amazing the things you can learn from lobby plaques.

It’s been an eventful day, and I believe that it will soon become more eventful yet. Possum Reynolds has yet to fully awaken from his coma, but I’m told that the swelling in his brain is going down, and he may yet make a recovery. In the meantime, I’ll be interviewing Alexandra Melmoth on the events of her disappearance and kidnapping. She’s somewhere in the building getting an examination, but once that’s done I’ll have an hour with her, uninterrupted by her family or the hospital staff. I’m looking forward to it. Not because of her beauty, or even because I’m all that curious about what she has to say. After today, I have a pretty good idea of what she’s going to tell me. It remains to be seen how much of it she chooses to share, however, and that is something I’m very interested to discover, indeed.

I’ve come by this newfound knowledge after spending a day immersed in the world of the Alo. John Cheveyo seems to have decided that I’m at least partially trustworthy, based apparently on our investigation of the kitchen at the Opa Lodge. They were busy preparing the Continental Breakfast when we entered, and there was no sign that I had shot the owl-headed man there only an hour or two earlier.

But the layout was exactly as I remembered it from my dream. Slightly dazed, I went over to the counter the Horrible Thing had been lying on. Put my hand on it. The surface was cool and smooth and utterly clean. No stains, and no scratches from where that hoary blade had bitten through the flesh and into the wood. The thing’s awful screams filled my ears again, and I felt the gorge rise in my throat.

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Somnambulist Transmission 1: The Conversation

—Transcript of conversation between Agent X-23 and Captain John Cheveyo—

Italicized impressions of emotional response are the Agent’s. Bold impressions are ours.—

X-23: Good morning, John.

Cheveyo: Morning, Clint. You ready to hit the mountain again?

X-23: Not quite yet. You mind stepping in for a minute?

Cheveyo (uncertain): I don’t mind, but… We got a body to look at.

X-23: I know, and we’ll get to it. I just need to ask you about something first.

Cheveyo (understanding dawns): This is about the note, isn’t it?

X-23: (pause) Just step inside, will you?

Cheveyo: Sure, sure. No problem.

(Agent is anxious. Looks up and down hallway, then closes hotel room door.)

Cheveyo: Clint, you look like hell.

X-23 (relaxes somewhat): I had a hell of a night. Why’d you think it was important to tell me that opa means owl?

Cheveyo: I was hoping it would convince you to find different accommodations.

X-23: So you think the Opa Lodge is tied up in this?

Cheveyo (hesitant): I don’t know anything for sure, but anytime owls come up in relation to a case… I don’t want to tell you, “this is the rez, white man,” but… Things really are different on the Mountain. How much do you know about the Alo?

X-23: The tribe has a file, mostly filled with speculation. Why don’t you tell me about it?

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Report 6: The Door in the Mountain

The mountain door is open again, and I cannot sleep.

How do they stand it? The locals, I mean. How can they bear lying in bed, night after night, that obscene white light flooding their windows, keeping them awake? They must see it. They have to see it. How could they not see it? Are they blind? Are they cowards? Are they its acolytes?

No. No, that’s not it. They must be mad. Driven out of their minds by the endless light and lack of sleep. Edna with her deadly biscuits, the snake-kissed Melmoths, bold gruff kind Sheriff Patton, John Cheveyo with his bland acceptance of the strange and his cryptic owl notes. Mad, all of them, mad, and I’ll soon be mad, too, if I don’t do something about that door.

So out again, out into the dark of the Opa Lodge, where the horrible low squeal screeches in my ears, and the kitchen door fairly vibrates with the noise. There’s a chopping, too, the chopping of a monstrous blade severing bone and flesh, thunk thunk thunk into the wood of the cutting board, that carnivorous evergreen altar. The Continental Breakfast is in progress, and suddenly I am filled with a desire to see how the sausages are made.

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