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Madness In The Sands

vhorezman Apr 18th, 2019 124 Never
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  1. Madness In The Sands
  2.  
  3. How many more times must I experience this maddening turmoil?
  4. How many days has it been since I felt contentment and peace?
  5. Ever since I opened that damn book, my mind forever burned by that
  6. infernal text, those symbols forever etched into my memory.
  7.  
  8. My name is Gustav Mannson, at least I think that is what it was, to be
  9. truthful I have difficulty remembering anything during these 'visits',
  10. my mind aches for relief, for now I am trying to distract myself with
  11. from the feeling, feelings of impending doom and the urge for
  12. self-destruction are among the most chief that surface. I should tell
  13. the reader where this all started.
  14.  
  15. From what I remember, I am an archaeologist or at the very least a
  16. student or enthusiast. I recall being in a tomb, one deep in the
  17. Egyptian Sahara, I recall a large expedition site, unearthing a burial
  18. tomb, though the further we excavated this tomb, we began to realise
  19. this structure and the markings on it were not of Egypt, nor could we
  20. figure out who exactly created this tomb.
  21.  
  22. More and more we excavated, layer by layer uncovering a mass of bricks
  23. in a cyclopean fashion, ancient for sure, lost beneath the sands until
  24. a recent discovery by a caravan of merchants noticed a pillar that was
  25. not there before had risen above the sands. They were hired by someone
  26. to lead a group of archaeologists and a few diggers with them, though
  27. upon arrival it became quickly apparent that more than a handful of
  28. laborers were needed, in total there were three teams called to the
  29. site.
  30.  
  31. But my mind wanders again, I will think more on this and return soon.
  32.  
  33. I have thought more and names of these archaeologists have returned.
  34. The two I grew to talk often with were students, if I recall they
  35. studied at the Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusets. I cannot
  36. recall if I was among these students. One was a plate faced, roundish
  37. though not fat man by the name of Orson Williams, he wore round
  38. spectacles and had a bald, shiny head, though after a few days in the
  39. desert he had grown some hair back, revealing a tragically receded
  40. hairline. Then there was if anything a fitting counterpart to Orson:
  41. A short, plucky, square-faced man, with bold brows. This was Patrick
  42. Miller whom despite his size was quite the taskmaster, several diggers
  43. were relieved due to his no-nonsense approach to the dig. Then there
  44. was whom I can only assume was the head of the dig, an older man
  45. with a gaunt face and a piercing gaze more befitting a sea captain
  46. than a studious sort, he had a black beard with grey patches. He went
  47. by Gavin Pearson, though I do remember now he was just referred to as
  48. Professor Pearson. These three men were the head of this dig.
  49.  
  50. Digs began enthusiastically, this pillar marked the beginning of an
  51. exciting discovery, the markings on this pillar had been exposed to
  52. the elements for too long however, all the markings had been eroded by
  53. time. Though as we excavated, the markings began to show, and they
  54. were unlike any hieroglyphs that Orson or Patrick had seen before, I
  55. recall that at the time I had seen none like it either. But when the
  56. Professor laid eyes upon a certain marking, he became animated
  57. uttering the words "Yog-sothoth" none of us questioned as he
  58. commanded that we continue excavation. Come to think of it, the symbol was odd,
  59. it resembled more of a jewish sigil than any hieroglyphs native to
  60. Egypt, perhaps a relic of Moses? But nobody would be hare-brained
  61. enough to build a structure such as this out in the middle of the
  62. Sahara.
  63.  
  64. Days passed and we eventually reached the bottom of the pillar, a
  65. stone surface was uncovered, a cyclopean arrangement of stones, we
  66. followed this stone flooring and it lead to walls, this pillar stood
  67. in and rose above a trench of sorts, likely to shield from the
  68. sandstorms. As we uncovered the walls, we found more symbols and
  69. unplaceable hieroglyphs that appeared alien in their origins, these
  70. were no hebrew markings, thus none among us aside from the professor
  71. could translate any intelligible scripture. Regardless we kept digging,
  72.  and digging, and digging. Following this trench which stretched for
  73. longer than anticipated, we had to hire three more teams of diggers
  74. and call for experts on hieroglyphs and hebrew lore to try and decipher
  75. some of the scripture, but to no avail. By now our patience was
  76. starting to go unrewarded, it was this that caused Orson and Patrick
  77. to ask the Professor just what "Yog-sothoth" meant, he explained in a
  78. dry tone, as if reading from a textbook "The focus of a heretic
  79. worship, a being of unspeakable power" that was all he told us and we
  80. left at that.
  81.  
  82. A day passed and finally our patience was rewarded, the end of the
  83. trench, we excavated this end and found more unique markings, which
  84. the professor translated as "Yog-sothoth", the more we excavated we
  85. unearthed a large door, made of a solid slab of stone, it took two
  86. teams of laborers to move the door only partially open so that one at
  87. a time we could enter the chamber. Though as we opened this chamber a
  88. feeling of dread escaped it, a dread we all felt, as if we were
  89. children opening the door after dark, looking into the pitch black
  90. that seemed to swallow all light. We ordered two laborers to go in but
  91. as one stepped in, he immediately retreated, insisting that he will
  92. not go back in there, we offered to raise his pay but it was not
  93. enough, the other laborer volunteered to go in, he delved further than
  94. the first though he too was overwhelmed, hurrying out. Finally Patrick
  95. managed to 'persuade' by threat of no pay, a group of laborers to go
  96. in with him, they went in with torches, illuminating the room, though
  97. plucky Patrick I noticed had gone unusually quiet until he called in
  98. the professor, Orson and myself. We entered, the feeling of dread
  99. replaced by anxiety as though we were in the presence of some terrible
  100. being. As we looked around the illuminated but still dark room, we saw
  101. Patrick up ahead at the end of a hall, behind him were the laborers,
  102. gathered together like worried children. As we passed them, we saw
  103. what they had called us for, as we came to the start of the next room
  104. we saw it, the site of what appeared to be a ritual suicide, a large
  105. open room inhabited by rows of skeletons, in arcs, there must have
  106. been about three hundred across this large chamber, all laid across
  107. the floor as though they were sleeping. This sight alone was enough
  108. to make the laborers turn back, though we four mustered the courage to
  109. press on.
  110.  
  111. As we went further into the room, we found what these unfortunate
  112. souls were gathered around, an altar, one bearing the same mark we
  113. found on the pillar, the Professor pressed forward with his lantern,
  114. casting it's light on the surface of this altar, signs of dried blood
  115. and bones were atop it, confirming the sacrifical nature of it. Orson
  116. and myself wandered around it where Orson noticed something else. A
  117. dagger unlike any employed by Hebrews or Egyptian priests, although it
  118. was old, it had not decayed to rust, nor had it been used at the final
  119. moments of this place. I looked around further and found what seemed
  120. like a podium, decorated by the sigil we'd become familiar with.
  121. Behind this podium was a robed skeleton, laid across the floor in a
  122. fetal position, as if his last moments were spent in terror. Stranger
  123. still, this skeleton sported a mask, a strange one at that, a mask
  124. featuring many smoothed gems that resembled eyes of different sizes,
  125. bordered by tendrils of sorts.
  126.  
  127. As I looked at the podium's contents, there laid a horrific looking
  128. book. Though unlike the temple, this book was far more recent than
  129. ancient history, I recognised the text as being in Latin, I have since
  130. translated it into "Necronomicon". Curiously I reached out to it,
  131. opening it. In that instance a disturbing chill ran through me as if
  132. a being had tread across my grave. My mind was assaulted by the same
  133. feeling I feel now as I write this, a feeling of dread greater than
  134. when we entered and whisperings from some other-worldly being.
  135. I jerked away from the book, shutting it close as I did so. The
  136. sensation faded, for the time being, though I was in shock. I recall
  137. the professor waking me from my shocked trance, asking me if I was
  138. alright, I told him I did not know and as I looked into the older
  139. man's piercing gaze, I saw fear. He produced a rag from his jacket,
  140. wrapping the book several times over in it, I assumed to protect from
  141. sandstorms, though now I believe he sought to protect himself from it.
  142. He placed it into a satchel hastily. Looking to me once again. "Come"
  143. he said "We should leave this accursed place and be sure it returns to
  144. the sands from whence it came" despite all the trouble we went through
  145. to unearth this place and the mysteries it held, not one of us
  146. disagreed with him, as if we all knew in our hearts that this place
  147. was not meant for sane men. When we emerged, only two teams of
  148. laborers remained, those that retreated earlier had warned the others
  149. of the presence they felt, and all but two teams fled, fortunately for
  150. us, that is all we needed to seal the door again.
  151.  
  152. In that moment I should have felt relief, relief that we were done
  153. here and that I could return home. Though in my heart I knew that what
  154. happened here, was merely the start of something terrible.
  155. That night I was in my tent when I once again began to hear whispers,
  156. words that I did not understand from a voice I had not heard until
  157. earlier that day. Though amongst these unintelligbile yet structured
  158. words I made out a sentence in a language I understood "From across
  159. the black seas of infinity and beyond the mists of time, Yog-Sothoth
  160. watches and waits", then the voices faded, though the dread they left
  161. me with lingered. I decided to head outside and get some air, perhaps
  162. I wished for company and sought to join the laborers, I do not
  163. remember. All I remember is that once I stood out under the moonlight,
  164. a terrible feeling filled my mind and body, I gazed up at the moon and
  165. felt as though I was being watched, observed, judged. I retreated back
  166. into my tent, though I was frightened, and soon the voices returned
  167. with their foreign words, whispering into my mind, though they faded
  168. and I was able to get some sleep, it was acrid and fraught with a
  169. nightmare from which I was awoken from, in this dream a thousand eyes
  170. were watching me, though what they belonged to I could not see. I was
  171. spoken to by the same voice as before, though this time it spoke a
  172. language I was able to understand "For he is the guardian of the gate-
  173. way between worlds, and he alone holds the key to unlock the gate." I
  174. did not sleep for the rest of the night.
  175.  
  176. As dawn broke, I tried again to leave my tent, this time I was not
  177. greeted with the presence from before, but by Orson, he too had not
  178. slept well, though when I mentioned my nightmares he had not shared
  179. them, though he had felt uneasy ever since leaving the tomb. We joined
  180. the others by the fire, the laborers were unorganised, they too had
  181. slept poorly. Ordinarily Patrick would have set them to work, but it
  182. was evident that his mind was distracted, we drew attention to this
  183. and he too had not slept easily, he had also lost his plucky facade,
  184. becoming a quiet, nervous shadow of his former self. Then attention
  185. turned to the Professor, whom we spied at the edge of the camp, gazing
  186. off into the distance in the direction that the tomb was. I brought
  187. him a coffee, but he declined. His piercing gaze not leaving the
  188. silhouette of the pillar infront of the sunrise. He shared with me
  189. that he had not slept at all and could not shake a feeling he was
  190. being watched. I told him of my dreams and only then did his gaze
  191. leave the sunrise "I shouldn't have brought you here, any of you",
  192. I decided to question him. Asking why we came here to begin with and
  193. why he insisted on excavating. "I wanted answers, explanations to this
  194. cult of 'Yog-sothoth' and why their presence has gone unnoticed for
  195. millenia, yet all over the world since times forgotten there have been
  196.  cults and mysterious happenings that are so well covered up, yet so
  197. horrific in practice. It intrigued me at first, but now it frightens
  198. me. I should have never let my curiousity take me this far." And that
  199. was that.
  200.  
  201. We arrived at a small but busy town by the next evening after a night
  202. of bitter sleep. The laborers left to return home, we paid them
  203. handsomely for their work and carried on to the hotel. I had hoped that
  204. a night in a real bed would bestow unto me some comfort and relief.
  205. Though as night fell, I was plagued again by whispers, I dared not
  206. even try to open the window incase that terrible presence should be
  207. felt again. Instead I laid there, waiting until eventually I fell
  208. asleep again, this time it was a deeper slumber, yet much like the
  209. first, I was stared at by a thousand unsettling eyes and again I heard
  210. the voice "For when the ancient rites have been spoken and the lords
  211. darkness have been awakened and summoned forth, then shall the gateway
  212. between the stars open once more.".
  213.  
  214. When I rose from my deep slumber, the sun had risen and I did
  215. not feel rested. I went downstairs to find two authorities in the
  216. lobby of the hotel asking Orson questions, I inquired as to what was
  217. happening and Orson explained that in the night, Patrick had began
  218. raving about "Yog-sothoth" and grown hysterical, he had been arrested
  219. and sent to a hospital. Orson was planning to stay and ensure that
  220. negotiations could be made for Patrick to be sent home to be
  221. institutionalized. All this had happened while I was in a deep slumber.
  222. I was ready to go when I realized I had not seen the professor. I
  223. decided to see if he was still asleep, I tapped on his door several
  224. times, but there was no answer, I turned the handle and the door
  225. opened. It was there I saw the Professor, laid in the middle of the
  226. room in the fetal position, I yelled for help and rushed to his side,
  227. but it was no use, he was dead and the cause for such I could not
  228. determine. The authorities came upstairs and determined it was a heart
  229. attack perhaps induced by the hysteria of Patrick. Though Orson
  230. insisted that Professor Pearson was not weak of heart. Inspection of
  231. his body showed that his eyes were clenched shut, as if he were trying
  232. desperately not to see something in his final moments.
  233.  
  234. I decided to be the one to deliver news of his death back to Miskatonic
  235. university while Orson saw to Patrick's return. I wasted little time in
  236. heading for the port, Orson assuring me that the Professor's body
  237. would be returned to his family. I took the first opportunity to get
  238. home, a cargo ship delivering various exports from Egypt to Europe,
  239. from there it would head to New York, where I could head home.
  240.  
  241. As I sit in the hull of this damp, weather battered vessel, I, for
  242. better or worse, reflected on this expedition. I even knew it at the
  243. time, but that was no ordinary tomb, this was no Pharoah's curse or
  244. superstitious exaggeration, whatever presence was in that tomb left
  245. with us, driving laborers to flee, a brave man into hysterics and
  246. offing a wise man in terror. And what if I was next, what terrible
  247. fate would befall me? Was I too going to become an asylum patient?
  248. Would my death be as evidently terrible as the Professor's? What would
  249. this 'Yog-sothoth' do to me? The answer is, I just don't know. And
  250. this is where I am, in the hull of a ship, waiting for these voices to
  251. pass, hoping, praying that whatever presence is with me, fades and I
  252. can return home. But inside, I know that this is merely the beginning.
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