Short Story Saturday: The Hands That Move

Hands That Move: Short Story Saturday - Photo by Amar Saleem on Pexels
Photo by Amar Saleem on Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled The Hands That Move. Please enjoy.

Introduction by Harold Koonce, police sergeant, Evergreen, Washington

So a lot of people want me to talk about this story and post it online. But to tell you the truth, I don’t find the story all that interesting compared to how we found it. You see, I was just sitting in the station talking to my pal Murphy when suddenly this man busts through the doors like a bat outta hell.

He starts talking about how he and his friend decided to do some exploring over on Douglas Island right off the coast of Evergreen. It’s supposed to be off-limits as ordered by The Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve on account that it is one of the few places that have all those Ximuce trees. Though now that I think about it, I’m not sure why that’s so important. We got plenty of them in mainland Evergreen.

Anyway, I told him he could get in serious trouble for trespassing when he interrupted me. Told me he had a more important matter to discuss. Normally, I would have kicked his ass for that but I was in a good mood.

He explained they found a hole in the fence. He and his friend went through it and explored the area. They then supposedly found, in the middle of the forest, what appeared to be an ancient castle. They decided to do some more looking around and were even able to get inside. They eventually run into a bunch of men in robes in the middle of a room. And they were supposedly praying to an image of some sort of creature. Or something like that, I think? Whatever. Anyway, long story short, the men in robes get pissed about the trespassing and chase after them. He escaped but his friend wasn’t so lucky.

Now, I believe this story as much as I believe ghosts are floating around but can only be seen by select people. Or a bunch of witches live among us in communities down south. Or whatever shit you guys write in this thread. I was just about to tell him that, too, or at least something to that effect, when all of a sudden there’s this loud explosion. It took us a second but we eventually figured out it came in the direction of the island. We decided to investigate. I mean, we kinda had to.

I don’t know if there was a castle there or even whether there was any sort of building. All I know is we found a bunch of wood and rocks in a large, neat pile. People from the Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve shortly after we arrived came to us and assured us the wood and rocks came from a nearby mountain or large hill or something. And the explosion was caused by natural erosion processes that we were not used to experiencing because mankind always interfered or whatever, something like that. I didn’t quite understand their explanation but they seemed to know what they were talking about.

By the way, just to put a kibosh on rumors, yeah, the Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve wasn’t doing anything suspicious when we got there nor do I think it’s weird they got there before us. I mean, it’s their jurisdiction after all. I’m not sure what people are thinking, believing in cover-ups or whatever. Some idiots even think the Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve is some sort of front for a cult on account of those dudes in robes. Look, I talked to Douglas people personally, all right? Trust me. They’re legit.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, I did find a stack of papers in the debris. They were somewhat rotted and torn but easy enough to put together. Everyone here seems to want to read it which is why I’m posting it in this thread. It’s probably just an elaborate prank but whatever. It’s an entertaining read, I guess. If you laughing at bullshit, I mean. In other words, don’t take it seriously, all right? I hate to burst your bubble, but none of it is real. Just enjoy it for what it is.

It would be unfair for me to blame my wife for my current predicament even though she was the one who insisted on visiting that antique shop in Spokane. Granted, I wouldn’t have ever deigned to go there if I had been left to my own volition. There was something about that decrepit place that always bothered me. My feelings of dread went beyond the smell of overly lacquered wood. I did not fear the dark so it wasn’t its poor illumination. Even the macabre masks which the elderly clerk insisted were from “Africa” or the “Orient”, “Some strange land at least” hanging behind the main counter near the wooden double doors were a curiosity to me and did not invoke fear. No, what sent shivers down my spine was the antique grandfather clock that loomed in the dark corner with the intensity of a disappointed father about to lecture his disobedient son.

The wood appeared to be teak but this was difficult to tell due to the impeccable paint job which made it seem that black was the wood’s natural color. Its pendulum was reminiscent of a bony human arm. Most disturbingly, though, was its clock face. Against its faded pallid background were depictions of swirling vortexes and celestial bodies being torn apart, all looking as though they were painted with a manic and incensed hand. Moreover, somehow everything seemed out of focus and full of static. It was as if I was watching an old movie on an antique television set that had poor antennae reception and I had forgotten my glasses.

The scene’s most prominent and disturbing figure was a scaly, black creature that had putrid brown spots on its chest and head. I can best describe it as reminiscent of an unholy amalgamation of a serpent and a toad. That is, if that abomination also had no eyes and several large, jagged teeth to go along with six hands, each of which had protruding claws. Half the monster’s body was obscured as it appeared to be entering the scene through a portal composed of a swirling vortex.

It was biting on something. Seeing what was in its large incisors filled me with a primal fear. Even glancing at it made my stomach churn. There was no doubt. As much as I wanted to think otherwise, I recognized the other celestial bodies. My rudimentary astronomical skills disallowed me from being ignorant of the truth. It was biting a green and blue planet. Our planet. Earth.

I wanted nothing more than to destroy the clock.

Amara, on the other hand, fell in love with it. As much as it disquieted me, it brought her an obscene amount of pleasure. She adores the macabre and the paranormal. Not so much because she particularly enjoys such depictions or has an appreciation for the stories and history behind such imagery. Really, she doesn’t truly enjoy anything about the subject matter itself.

Her first and foremost desire is and has always been to subvert society’s expectations. She is obsessed with eschewing anything traditionally feminine in favor of whatever fits her seemingly arbitrary definition of rebellion. I assume that is why she still wears gothic dresses, dark makeup, pentagram earrings, and fishnets though she is now pushing thirty.

Regardless, my wife wanted the clock and wanted it desperately. I attempted to gently let her know how the timepiece made me feel. I did not press too hard, though, as I knew better than to get in between her and something she desired lest I feel her wrath.

The shopkeeper expressed a bit of surprise that she was interested in the item as my reaction to it wasn’t wholly unique. He was having difficulty unloading it, especially since not only did the images make people feel uncomfortable, it no longer worked. Every attempt to fix the clock had been in vain.

His professional pride compelled him to go the proverbial extra mile to prove his point. The wizened gentleman opened the back of the clock and showed us the insides. He outlined what gears were missing and explained that finding replacements proved to be an impossible task. No one seemed to own the appropriate molds. It was also missing certain latches, a weight, and a pulley. The clock did not even have a chain. Most importantly, perhaps, he concluded that with the damage done to the cable drum retainer, it was likely that even if he had all the parts it still would have been impossible to repair. He jokingly lamented that the timepiece would, unfortunately, read two minutes until midnight forevermore and laughed heartily at his apparent joke.

None of that mattered to Amara. Even if it no longer was operational, to her, it was still an excellent conversation piece and, more importantly for her, had the potential to be the centerpiece of her collection of the macabre. Well, it was something to show off to her hipster friends, at least. She bargained down the price from an already reasonable offer. My wife basically used his honesty against him by throwing what he had just told us in his face. Though the woman is only five feet tall give or take an inch, she can be quite pugnacious when she chooses to be and she often chooses to be, as the poor shopkeeper learned that day.

After she made the deal, I had the fun activity of actually paying the now bitter old man, loading the contraption into the back of my pickup truck, and then tying it down as tightly as possible. An hour had passed by the time that herculean task was completed.

With my arms now aching and my body now feeling like gelatin, we afterward embarked on the quite enjoyable and stress-free, three-hundred-mile, five-hour journey back to Evergreen. It was still summer so I did not get the pleasure of dealing with the snow. By the time we arrived and placed the clock in the middle of the living room, after several one-sided deliberations of where to put it, something my already fatigued arms and sore back enjoyed to no end, it was past the witching hour.  We went to bed exhausted.

Suddenly, I was alone in the streets. I had no recollection of how I got there or why I was no longer asleep. A swirling wind directed my attention toward the sky. What I saw nearly made me go mad. A black and mottled brown abomination was entering our world through a purple-and-white vortex. I tried to escape but found my legs were incapable of movement. It was as if I was literally frozen with fear.

The abomination not long afterward saw me. He then reached down and gripped me with one of its many pointed hands. A claw went through my head before I had a chance to scream. Then it put me in its mouth and ground me between its several rows of jagged teeth. Its chewing had a rhythm, ferocity, and cadence of grinding gears.

That was when I woke up.

Sweat poured down my brow and my heart raced as I sat in bed. I looked around. Everything was normal. I then rose from the bed and hastily dashed to the window. As my chest heaved up and down and my breathing became belabored, I hesitatingly took a look outside. The night was calm perhaps even a little more so than usual. It seemed that the disturbing scene I witnessed was nothing more than the phantasmagoria of a dream. I let out a heavy and relieved sigh.

As I returned to bed, though, my ears twitched. I pinched myself several times to confirm that yes I was indeed awake. It was unmistakable. I heard the sounds of grinding gears.

I looked down at Amara. She was sound asleep, apparently unperturbed by the noises. I whispered in her ear but she turned over away from me. I then shook her several times. After about the fifth attempt, she finally awoke. She muttered noises that conveyed anger and annoyance. She pointed at the digital clock on the nightstand. Amongst the various curses she exhaled, she informed me that it was only 2:30 in the morning. Not only that, we went to bed late. We both needed sleep. So, go back to bed, she demanded. I asked whether she heard the grinding noises. She claimed she heard nothing and sleepily muttered some derogatory remarks about my sanity. Then, angrily, she went back to sleep.

I was incredulous. The noises had crescendoed to the point that they now reverberated against the walls. I wondered how she could sleep through the racket. Several more attempts to wake my wife were made on my part. However, each was met with nothing but resistance and ire. Realizing that reawaking her was a fool’s errand, I left the bedroom.

My ears directed me to the living room. That is where the noises seemed to be coming from. That is where we put the clock. Such a thing was impossible. It was missing parts and as the shopkeeper explained quite eloquently, or at least as eloquently as a man wearing overalls and a flannel shirt whose gapped teeth whistled whenever he made a hard “shh” noise could hope, how and why the clock was broken. Yet, when I finally did, all my suspicions and fears were confirmed.

I stared mesmerized at the bony arm as it swayed back and forth with the minute hand ticking away. The hour hand was a little bit past the two and the minute hand was between the seven and the eight. It took me a moment to grasp the significance but when I did, I immediately checked my watch. The time was correct. Both the clock and the watch read 2:38 and moreover, it was as if the two timepieces were synchronized.

I rushed toward the back and opened the clock. Nothing about it had changed. The same parts were still missing and there was the same amount of damage. It was in the same condition as when we purchased it. Then I thought to myself, that even if the man had been wrong and the clock was operational, I didn’t set it up to work. Indeed, after bringing it home, I moved it around the living room until Amara settled on its final location. I then set it down and we immediately went to bed. In fact, after examining the clock more carefully, I realized it did not even have a chain for me to pull. At the very least, then, the pendulum should not have been swinging.

This was but a mere prelude of what was to come.

The hands of the clock suddenly moved backward.

I tapped on the glass thinking somehow that would fix the perceived error but it only hastened the movement if it had any effect at all. The hands moved with increasing rapidity until they became a blur. I stared at them and found myself in a trance.

The stucco walls around me crumbled, replaced with ones made of wood though quickly they disintegrated in favor of more primitive types. People appeared before me but only for brief milliseconds and never more than a flash.

All of them appeared to be moving backward.

Their fashions moved from the ‘80s to the ‘60s, to the ‘40s and the ‘20s. Soon their clothing turns to a 19th-century frontier style and shortly thereafter, to the colonial age. Then the styles and complexion of the people changed to those in the days before Columbus. A second later, everything stopped. When it did, my head practically spun. It took me a moment to realize that the ephemeral glimpses into history were no longer there.

I was standing alone in a sea of green surrounded by Mighty Douglas Firs. This was quite a departure from my backyard with its yellow grass and tiny little apple tree sapling. All remnants of my home had disappeared. That is, except for the antique clock. It remained next to me. Animal chatter surrounded me. Forest creatures moved to and fro in the brush. Deer trotted over fallen trees and other woodland debris. Owls and other nocturnal birds flapped their wings and hooted or cooed.

I studied the timepiece carefully. Its pendulum was not moving and its second hand no longer ticked. The hands read two minutes until midnight.

Suddenly, I heard a commotion to my left. I turned my head and then saw various men adorned in feathers, beads, animal furs, and skins. All were gathered around a fire which was the only illumination in the otherwise pitch-black night. None of them noticed me. They were far too preoccupied with the ritual they were in the middle of performing.

An elderly man stood in the center. He wore the most impressive garb including the group’s largest and most ornate headdress. Gripped firmly in his hands was a wooden cane that had an elaborate design on its side. It reminded me of a golden serpent though it was unlike any snake I had ever seen. They were gathered in a circle around a small fire pit. Its flames danced in the gentle wind rising no higher than an adult’s knees.

The sight of them conjured images in my head of the Snoquaximish. They were a native tribe of Evergreen whose culture I studied while attending the University of Washington. The descendants of their tribe would also often visit the campus to share their rich history and ancient rituals.

However, the language the old man spoke as he thrust his cane with great intensity into the air was completely unfamiliar. It did not have the cadence or the pentameter of the Snoquaximish language. I had heard it spoken enough times before and during the aforementioned visits and even studied it a bit to be able to recognize it. Before I could dwell on the unique language for long, however, my attention was diverted quickly from the groups’ sudden movements.

On the surface, they seemed frantic and panicked. In truth, each action was deliberate and with a purpose. There was a real weighted gravity behind every flinch or twitch and was something I could truly feel. At my very core, I believed and still believe that had any of them incorrect move at any point, it would have meant the end of the world.

Near what seemed to me to be the apex of the ritual, a notion that would prove correct, the woodland chatter ceased. Creatures moved away from us in a panic one can only find coupled with an existential danger. I knew how they felt. My stomach experienced pressure reminiscent of a thousand tiny hands pressing against it with all their weight behind it.

The environment then changed. It was as if the air became thick and tangible. I could feel an almost literal tension. Though it was pitch black, it seemed to somehow grow darker. A moment before the temperature was rather comfortable, neither hot nor cold, just warm and pleasant. Suddenly, it was freezing. A slight breeze blew across my face. After a few moments, the speed of the wind increased before encircling above the old man in the middle of the sky. With each passing second, it grew more violent and rapid until it grew into a purple-and-white vortex. Bolts of electricity exploded from its core. The trees underneath the portal seemed to quiver in fear as their green needles swiftly turned black before turning into ash upon falling onto the ground. Their mighty trunks withered so that they were no thicker than my arm.

A large being emerged from the portal. It was a large pustulous, scaly beast mostly black though it had putrid brown spots on its chest and head. A translucent pallid slime poured from every pore and orifice. Claws protruded from each of its six hands. Its mouth was gaped showing its large, distended teeth along with its large, black fangs. Its large head was almost like a toad’s, though it had no discernable eyes and large, devil-like ears. It was gigantic, with only a part of its head and torso able to fit through the portal. It was the creature of my dream, an abomination that defied imagination.

I vomited upon the sight. I felt my sanity began to slip. I nearly passed out but the old man’s shouts kept me awake. His congregation repeated every line that he bellowed. They raised their arms in unison during, based on the strength of his voice, particularly powerful parts of his speech. Fire from the pit ascended into the heavens as the old man shouted. Indeed, the night sky was enflamed. As they did this, the abomination continued to enter. The vortex was as large as the night sky but the creature was still only able to fit its head through as well as a few of its arms.

I shrieked in horror when the abomination reached down and grabbed one of the young men. He struggled mightily to escape but it was in vain. His movement only allowed the claws to more easily penetrate his torso. The noises he made when he entered the vortex have haunted me every night since.

At that moment, I went down to my knees and wailed to the heavens in fear, praying to some deity, all of whom I scarcely believe in if I do at all, to end the madness. As more and more men were grabbed, their shrieks only intensified as did my hysteria.

The men who remained stood steadfast, however. They bravely continued the ritual despite the dire circumstances and dwindling numbers. Their chants swelled into a large cacophony that echoed through the forest. After each word that was spoken, their gesticulations became more pronounced and more violent. They were wild, primal even, though somehow, almost contradictory, composed, and refined.

With one last shout, their cries enveloped the atmosphere. Flames formed into a mushroom cloud that covered the entire forest. The men then performed one last sudden movement in unison. Their hands and arms swung around in rapid motions as if their bones had been removed. They finished with them raised over their heads.

My head perked when I noticed the winds had changed direction. I looked up to find the clouds had split open. A xanthic glow now shined upon us. Night had turned to day at least in our small section of the woods. It was divine or at least beyond comprehension such that it could only be attributed as a cosmic miracle.

Second later, the creature screeched an inhuman, ungodly scream. I felt as though my brain wanted to jump through my skull and was making repeated, successive, and increasingly more violent attempts every nanosecond the horrible noise remained. I covered my ears reflexively knowing full well that such efforts were in vain.

Yet, despite the pain and the terror, my eyes never diverted from the skyward scene. Yes, though horror gripped my heart I still felt compelled to continue watching. I needed to know whether the end of the world was near.

An unknown force pushed the creature backward. Its hands and arms, and then its head were thrust behind the vortex until the abomination had seemingly disappeared. Various hues of purples and whites swirled in the wind. The lightning bolts and thunder returned. Another maelstrom commenced. The portal then gradually shrunk until it was nothing more than a memory.

Day returned to night, though it was still a little bit brighter than when the beast appeared. The sky, shortly afterward, returned to normal with the hole in which the light had emerged completely gone. The fire had also subsided and was burning at a level not unlike a comfortable campfire. Everything had returned to normal. It was as if nothing had happened. Or so it initially appeared. When I turned my attention back to the men that remained, I was dumbfounded. Looking back, though, of the things witnessed that night, that sight was perhaps the most mundane.

Each that had survived long enough to complete the ritual now littered the forest floor. The younger ones’ youthful visages had been replaced with wrinkled, shriveled faces. Their luxuriant flowing black hair was replaced with short gray strands. The older ones including the chief had been shriveled into skeletal facsimiles of their former selves. There was just enough skin for them to be considered a body rather than merely bones.

How long I stared I could not say. Tell me just a few seconds or several days, or months, or years, or decades, or centuries, I would believe you. I would believe almost anything now.

When I finally got the courage to move to assess the scene in front of me, the clock’s hands once again moved. This time, they turned forward. Epochs once again passed before my eyes but the glimpses of human activity this time moved forward.

For a moment, I had returned home. However, quicker than a blink of an eye, the scene gave way to unfamiliar walls and unusual décor. The style of furniture was nothing like what I’ve seen in the past or even the present, though to be fair I am not and have never been the bastion of modern fashion.

The hands of the clock then stopped once again. Its pendulum no longer moved. I looked up at the time. Two minutes before midnight.

There was a loud clap of thunder. My eyes were directed toward a nearby window. Bolts of lightning lit up the night sky. I grew cognizant of swirling, howling winds. Shades of purple filled the air. Quite a storm was brewing outside, I initially thought, until I realized that the winds were swirling into a vortex.

I felt myself turn pale. I raced outside though I was horrified to find out what was happening. Upon witnessing the scene, I nearly vomited and passed out due to fear. The abomination was attempting to once again return to Earth. It was already almost halfway through the portal.

A large mass of people, men and women of various ages and colors, were gathered around a large apple tree. A large fire pit was behind them and its flames lit up the night sky. Each person was dressed in flowing robes of various reds, blues, whites, and blacks. All of them reminded me of wizards especially the wizened elderly man, the man in the center.

His garb had an elaborate design. The back of his robe depicted an image of a gold serpent swallowing a back and mottled brown abomination. With both of his hands, he gripped a large wooden cane with a golden serpent inscribed on its side.

Most strikingly, though it took me a minute to grow aware of this fact as my attention was almost fully on the creature, the man had features incredibly similar to mine. He was a bit darker in complexion and much older. Otherwise, he was what I imagine I would have looked like had I been able to grow old.

He was leading the rest of the group in a chant while he and his flock performed elaborate movements ritualistic in nature not unlike what I had seen from the native tribesmen before. He was even speaking their language of unknown origin that I did not recognize nor could recall. I still do not know it even now even after doing the extensive amount of research I performed, an effort that has practically left me bankrupt. Not that it matters now. I do not even recall learning of any spoken tongue that is even remotely similar.

Forgive me for my aside. The point I am trying to make is everything they were doing was the same as was done in the past.


To my absolute dismay, I noticed something.

The ritual was almost identical. The spoken words were almost the same.

To emphasize again, almost.

When the ritual reached its apex, the men and women joined him in the final motions that resulted in their hands and arms being raised above their hands. They then shouted a cacophony of words that echoed throughout the land and forced flames into the air. That is when it happened.

The last parts of the incantation were spoken incorrectly. The old man made a mistake.

I wanted to rectify this but I quickly realized that I could not. I did not know the words. I had only heard them briefly, enough for them to be recognizable and notice when there was an error. Not enough to know the correct ones. Had I known what was going to happen that night, I perhaps would have written them down, but then again, there was no way to know. I’m not sure it is even possible to write down the words of a language you cannot speak.

The old man looked up in consternation when he realized what I had, that his words had no effect. He trembled as he repeated them repeatedly, each time with greater volume and more panic in his voice. As they realized what was happening, his allies then panicked. Some pointed to the sky. Tears cascaded down almost all of their faces. Many shouted curses, blamed each other, blamed the world, blamed themselves. None of this mattered to the abomination. He continued, undeterred, slowly and gradually, to enter our world. It said nothing yet somehow conveyed contempt toward all of us.

Everyone, all the men and women involved, attempted to flee. None got very far.

If by this time I did not understand the ramifications of getting the chant wrong, I quickly learned. One by one the creature stuck its clawed fingers into the screaming, terrified crowd. It lifted the ones that were not immediately bifurcated toward him. Each screeched in an unholy terror as he or she struggled like little ants poked by a thin sharp stick. Blood poured from their torsos or their chests, wherever the creature had stuck its dirty, putrid claws.

Nauseating slurping sounds were made as the abomination put the poor men and women into its mouth and removed them from its fingers reminiscent of removing food from a skewer. Then it ground its prey in its horrific teeth. Several minutes passed before the screams, sobs, and manic begging finally stopped. Then the abomination, still hungry, reached and picked up those that were split into two and devoured them as if they were the remnants of food on a person’s plate. Some were just alive enough to feel one last sensation of pain.

Soon only I remained and the creature set its sights upon me. I did not even attempt to flee. I fell to the ground and wept profusely. I vomited a countless number of times. The creature’s claws inched nearer. Each passing second, each millisecond, each microsecond felt like an eternity. I was at my wit’s end. Just before I was penetrated, I passed out.

When I regained consciousness, I found myself back home, quivering underneath the base of the clock. The hands of the clock had stopped. The pendulum no longer swung. The clock was no longer operational. Its hands were stuck at 2:38. It took me a second to realize what had happened. The clock must have returned me back home. Not that this provided me any comfort. I was in a daze.

Amara did not suspect anything was amiss. She claimed that it was a normal night. I went to bed shortly after checking on the noise in the living room, woke up normally, and joined her in the kitchen. I have no recollection of this. All I remember is her asking me what I had heard. Where I was at the time she asked and how much time had passed, I cannot say.

I can remember looking into her eyes as I answered. There was so much love, so much worry. Her usual perkiness was supplanted with distress. I loved her as much then as I do now. If only I had never seen those terrible visions of the future. Now I know what ignorance is bliss truly means.

It was just a nightmare, she told me. There was no need to worry. She was sure that I’d snap out of it if I just stopped thinking about it. Amara meant well but I knew better.

The events that I witnessed haunted me. They still haunt me even as I am on death’s door. It took me a while to figure out but I realize now that the clock took me back to the past and toward the future to witness the abomination’s attempts to enter our world. The first time it was stopped before it could invade. The second time its attempt was successful.

I was shown those events for a reason, I knew that. I know that. Such knowledge weighed on me intensely. It still weighs on me now.

My emotions have been dominated by nothing but fear ever since. Not for me or anyone I currently love, though. The abomination will not be around for at least another two centuries, assuming my agrarian skills are correct and I have properly assumed the tree’s age. Regardless, when it returns, I would have been long gone by then even if I could have somehow lived long enough to die of old age.

No, I feared and still fear for the future generations. I know too well they will one day need to dismiss this abomination from our plane. I know too well they will recite, at the critical juncture, the wrong incantation thereby dooming both themselves and the rest of the world. I know too well the future that awaits us all.

From that day forward, it has been impossible for me to live a normal life. No longer could I express joy. No longer could I express my love to my wife, not even when she announced a week after that fateful night she was pregnant with our first and what will turn out to be our only child. There were more pressing matters at hand. Are more pressing matters at hand.

I had so many questions and so little answers. I had to know more about that creature. I had to know more about that ritual. I had to know whether there was anything I could do to prevent the apocalypse. The pursuit of this knowledge eroded my marriage. Communication was essentially off the table as I could not bear to tell Amara the truth and spread the curse of knowing to the most important woman in my life. There was no other way to satisfactorily explain my obsession, though, so I must have looked like a madman researching ancient history while neglecting all other parts of my life including her.

She tried to find me help but I refused. I even left her before she had the chance to have someone incarcerate me in an institution “for my own good”. In a way, she was right. It would have been better for me personally had I been put away. However, it would have been better for the world.

I spent the next three years attempting to find answers. Though I knew where to look, uncovering information proved difficult. I was met with extreme resistance. Many claimed I was mad. However, from the apprehensive looks on their faces whenever I brought up the subject, as well as their skittish nature, and their acting as if they wished to skirt the question, I knew that I was on the right track.

Many nights were spent on the streets. Many nights were spent outside of reservations. Many nights were spent outside restricted areas as I found the right people to talk to, the right wheels to grease, the right people to bribe, and the right people to blackmail if all else failed. Eventually, I gained access to where I needed to be. I found people where the supposedly hallucinatory delusions of an alleged maniac were not met with scorn or evasion. Instead, they were met with interest, knowledge, and assistance.

Having said this, I am afraid that I have not found all the answers and it looks like my journey is about to come to an end.

That is not to say that my hunt has been completely fruitless. Though the skeptics, the naysayers, those that would call me a lunatic have far outnumbered the friendlier or at least less hostile companions, there were still many, as I alluded to earlier, that had heard similar tales of the abomination, especially amongst those on the tribal reservations. All of whom were willing to help.

Tales of such creatures were not unheard of, especially amongst the tribes of the Pacific Northwest. The ancient Snoquaximish called the abomination something that roughly translates to The Creature with No Eyes and Many Fangs. Very little is known about this beast. Some believe that it was an entity created by the gods. There are stories that the creature is some sort of malevolent entity similar to the devil that tortures evil souls for eternity. Some say it belongs in a celestial plane outside of our dimension, making some reference to the veil.

However, all tales seem to agree that its entry into our world is a harbinger of the apocalypse. It is a clear sign that life on Earth is about to end.

Quite a number of religions have formed devoted to this creature. Most are of Native American origin and based mostly out of fear, though a couple, in particular, stuck in my mind. It’s the one that emerged during the time of Lewis and Clark when settlers first explored the Pacific Northwest. These men and women learned of the creature from the natives and formed a cult devoted to it.

Their goal is vague. There are some references to love but it is unclear whether they love the creature, think the creature needs love, or whether it needs loved ones sacrificed to it. Supposedly, this cult had found a way to open the portal to offer the abomination a sacrifice, though it is unclear whether it is done out of a desire to bring it back fully or to appease it in the hopes that doing so would keep it at bay. Perhaps too they believed that appeasing the creature would somehow lead them to paradise. There are plenty of accounts describing how they built several artifacts and icons devoted to it which gives this hypothesis some credibility.

Whatever became of them is unknown. Most scholars speculate that their beliefs failed to really latch on and gain any sort of prominence. Instead of dying due to persecution, the sect likely died due to a lack of interest. You will still find the odd scholar or two who believes that the cult still exists in some form today. Apparently, their clandestine nature would put the masons to shame.

Another religion followed by ancient native tribes believed the creature was an entity sent by the gods to test humanity’s resolve. Every two millennia, they would send the creature through a vortex. The wisest and strongest men were sent to confront the abomination by performing a sacred ritual, one that would cost them their lives while keeping the vile thing from devouring the earth. Everything must be done and said exactly lest the proceeding fail which ultimately would mean the end of the world.

Doubtlessly, this must have been what I had witnessed. Regardless of whether the creature was sent by the gods or any sort of entity, malevolent or otherwise, this information explained what I had seen and a solution.

There is still much more to learn. There are so many answers yet to be discovered. Regretfully, I will never be able to find them. I must have been close, though. I must have been so very close. You see, this wouldn’t have happened if I was on the wrong trail, if I were crazy as so many had claimed.

I was captured.

By whom, I am not sure.

I was exploring the outskirts of the Snoquaximish National Park, far outside where visitors are typically permitted. That is, in the deepest, darkest parts of the forests. That is when I was assailed by several men in gray hooded robes with a black fanged creature inscribed on their garments’ backs. They quickly piled on top of me and subdued me. Then they bounded my hands and blindfolded me and threw me onto the back of what I assume was a van.

Hours must have passed, perhaps even days. My perception of time was thrown completely for a loop. At some point, I could have sworn we were at sea though I never left the vehicle. Eventually, we arrived here. Where, though, I’m not sure. The walls are damp, black, and moldy. A putrid smell reminiscent of rotting bodies, a smell I was not familiar with until recently, emanates everywhere. Chains decorate the wall. It is mostly dark. Only the dim moonlight through a small window above provides any sort of illumination.

I assume, naturally, that this is some sort of ancient prison but where such a place exists in Washington I am unsure. Others are imprisoned here. I have not seen them but I can hear their groans even through these thick walls.

A sympathetic guard snuck in several sheets of paper and a pencil that I’ve currently worn down to a nub writing this account. I told him I wanted to write letters to my family. He warned me there was no point as even doing that much was punishable by death if he was caught. Sending them, then, was completely out of the question. I retorted that it would help keep my sanity. He was young and naïve, way too kind to be associating with the monsters that trapped me here. Perhaps he did not know the true nature of the cult until it was too late.

They’ve tried to find out what I know. They’ve tried to starve it out of me. They’ve given me just enough water to survive and nothing more.

The young guard from before took pity. He snuck in an adequate amount of food and water. I believe he was doing the same for the other prisoners as well.

They caught him helping us several days ago. His screams stopped only a few minutes ago.

I will hide these papers under a loose rock under my bed. Hopefully, someone will find them before it is too late.

Before I go, I must tell you! There is so much to say, but, I cannot! The ceremony, the ritual, the movements, most of the incantation, I trust you’ll be able to find. They are well-documented if you know where to look. Talk to the Snoquaximish, talk to them all! They will know! They know!

But they won’t know the most crucial part of the chant.

I’ve found them, though! Just before they caught me, I found them in an ancient longhouse on the reservation! They’ve probably destroyed it by now! They’ll claim that it has been rubble for hundreds of years but do not trust them! They lie! They lie!

You, who is reading this, tell them, tell them to listen! Force them if you must! Tell them until they listen! Then keep telling them and tell everyone until it becomes so commonplace that schoolchildren know of these words. Whoever must confront the creature will know exactly what to say! I cannot emphasize this enough! These words must be said exactly! The fate of the planet depends on it!

Tele k’oh roh dae lae mont

Ch’I kai loh no te rae lont

Toko no yi pe de goshe

Moto tae qap oae hee tee ka roe

Ga’e re bo d’oh ber ae nae soe

This is all I can do! I must rely on you, whoever you are, to believe me and do exactly as I say. I beg you to listen! Please for all that is good in the world! For the sake of all!

I hear their footsteps! They approach my cell! They approach! I must hide this before it’s too late, but I beseech you to listen! I beseech you! Dear God! I don’t want to die!

If you enjoyed this story, then perhaps you’d be interested in reading more by pressing the “short story” tag below or clicking this(short story) link or this(genre and tags) link or this(story list) link. I would also urge you to share this story with others and comment below. Please check out my books page as well by pressing here. Thank you for reading my story.


One thought on “Short Story Saturday: The Hands That Move

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By :