Sea foam frothed and rolled around the tiny lifeboat. Nearby, the shadow-ghost of the ship sank beneath the waves. Sacrificed to the Sea
Suddenly, the world around him seemed to stop. Still, dead calm. The only sound, water, gently lapping against the flanks of the launch
Amid the calm. A haunting, hair-raising bellow broke from the surface. Something made its way up from the depths. Ancient. Angry.
The ghost-light shimmered. First, as if it was the light from the breaking sun over the mountains. Pale and cold.
It grew with intensity. Illuminating the surface. Ripples, green-blue and back-lit by a thousand candles.
Then came the shaking. The timbers of the launch popped and groaned. Iron nails, worked themselves free of the wood on the gunwales.
The Oar-locks fell over the sides. As they slid into the waves they were red hot blacksmith’s irons plunged into the cooling bucket.
He felt the downward pull as something large broke the surface. The ocean parted like a curtain. The wooden boat plummeted down a watery mountainside.
He came to rest on the writhing slime of the seabed. Thousands of tonnes of ocean water held back around him. Like the eye of a Hurricane.
He gazed at the paranormal tempest. His mind struggled to understand what was happening. Terror and panic wrestled for control of his body.
Standing in the bottom of the ruined launch, his heart raced. He was not here alone. No, not alone at all.
Something else was here. Behind him. Something that did not belong on this plane of existence. Something Unknowable.
Turning, his eyes struggled to focus on it. But they kept sliding away, the wrongness of it pushing against his orbs, forcing them to the side.
His mind was gripped in a, frozen, choking grasp. Words, but not words, flooded his head and pounded against his ears from the inside out.
Warm rivulets of thick ichor dribbled down the sides of his neck. As the chaos of the universe spoke within him, his muscles contracted and heaved his stomach fluids down his chest.
Ierch Hrest Ernt. Hroch Thael. Hroch Thollon. Bkuj mae illen. Kjruch kae yrull. Kjruch kae yrull goghe Nryll. Xrunn fae goghe thollon. Qwyen mae goghe tae Cthunla. Cthunla kae Tyre.
The word-things wriggled in his head. Between his brain and his skull they writhed and undulated. Like the slimy creatures in the muck around him.
He fell to his knees. His hands reaching for his temples. Fingertips clawing at flesh to try and pull the word-things from his brain.
The size of it. Immense, like the Universe itself. So much weight falling down from the stars. Crushing him, pulling his spine backwards with the popping of bone and sinew
Above him, in the circle of swirling sea water, the sky was black and the stars shown brilliantly. One seemed to burn brighter than the rest.
It grew in intensity, more brilliant than the others. It seemed to be moving down. Moving towards him. He could feel the intense heat of it. At first, like a sunburn then amplifying.
He could feel the skin on his face, crisping. The smell of hair and flesh burning. His eyes began to dry. But he could not turn away. The light from the descending Star held him.
It touched down near him, sending up steam. Spraying in all directions. His vision was focused on the epicenter of the blast. A form. A shape emerging.
As if folded itself into the material plane. Large, leather wings of darkness. Eyes, yawning pits of molten iron. The angles and curves of its form, wrong, impossible.
Bearing witness to its prescience. His mind flooded with images from ancient times. Alien realms. Horrible rituals. Incantations.
The yawing Gate of Xcuthalix. Shub-Niggurath emerging from its golden arches. The screeches of her young tear at his brain. Long bloody strips dropping into piles down his back.
The fire-fields of Thrukllth. Y’golonac reaches for him. The fanged mouths on its hands tear the flesh from his bones. He feels his flesh being draw into its gullet.
The Apex of Hjul. Xinlurgash feeds on thousands of screaming souls. The bodies are thrown into its waiting, slobbering, maws by Shamans wearing their own shorn and tanned skins as robes.
The Temple of Ghor’Fjurl. People are sacrificed by massive crushing stones. In the pools of viscera and blood at the base of the stone alter, Yidhra the Dream Witch bathes.
His visions finally fade. The scene around him plummets into darkness. Finally released by the iron fist of terror, he collapses into a heap.
His head thuds wetly against the coal-hot timbers of the launch drawing a hiss as his blood is cooked off. He feels his legs and arms bent back under his body at impossible angles.
Slack jawed and staring into oblivion. His throat produces no scream as a massive, scaled hand plucks him from the ruined boat and he is carried in a direction his shattered mind can only describe as up.
He is squeezed so tightly in its grip that he feels what is left of his bones crumble and tear through his skin.
Suddenly he is weightless as he falls. His plummet is only halted by a slime-covered fleshy orifice wall. If he could breathe, the smell of a billion rotting bodies would overpower his senses. One final constriction and…
He opens his eyes and removes his hand from the top of the human skull on the desk. Scrimshaw covers it with runes and symbols which are of no tongue ever spoken by mortal man.
His hand moves to his chest where he feels his own heartbeat. It begins to slow as he realizes where he is. He turns away from the desk and wretches onto the floor.
Dabbing a hankerchief to his lips and composing himself, he leaves the cabin and steps out onto the deck of the ship. The ocean breeze carries an eery mist on it’s wings.
As he makes his way forward to the bow, the ship is rocked by an impact. Crewmen scatter across the decks as they run to emergency stations. The ships bell rings out.
Abandon ship!!! is called from the wheel-house. His eyes glance to the side to see the lifeboat, swaying on its ropes…his only chance for survival.
His instincts tell him to make for it and save his life….but words drift up to his lips as a cold shiver runs down his back…. “Dear God, No.”