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, one of those places that are supposed to be off-limits to everyone by the Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve an account that it is one of the few places that has all those Ximuce trees, though now that I think about it, I’m not sure why that’s sort important. We got plenty of those in mainland Evergreen.

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

They found some hole in some fencing and got in and supposedly found, in the middle of the forest, what appeared to be an ancient castle. They decided to go exploring and were able to get inside only to find a bunch of men in robes in the middle of the room praying to an image of some sort of creature or something like that? Whatever, point is, the men in robes got pissed about the trespassing and chased after them. He managed to escape but his friend wasn’t so lucky.

Now, I believe this story as much as I believe ghosts are floating around or a bunch of witches live in amongst us in communities down south. I was just about to tell him so when all of a sudden there was a loud explosion. It took us a second but we figured it out it came in the direction of the island. We decided to investigate. I mean, we kinda had too.

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 that the Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve assured us came from a nearby mountain or large hill or something and was caused by natural erosion processes that we were not used to 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 was there first but they weren’t doing anything suspicious when we got there nor do I think it’s weird. I mean, it’s their jurisdiction after all. I’m not sure what people are thinking, believing it’s a cover-up or whatever.

Some idiots even think the Douglas Island Natural Area Reserve is some sort of front for a cult or whatever on account of those dudes in robes. Look, I talked to Douglas people personally, they’re legit.

Anyway, I found a stack of papers in the debris. They were somewhat rotted and torn but easy enough to put together. Everyone seemed to want to read it so I allowed it to be posted on this blog.

I think it’s just an elaborate prank but whatever, it was entertaining enough, I guess. Don’t take it seriously, though. I hate to burst your bubble, but none of it is real. Just enjoy it for what it is, an entertaining joke.

It would not be fair to blame my wife for my current predicament even though she was the one who insisted on visiting that antique shop in Spokane. As unintentional of might have been, that simple action triggered a series of events that have led to my demise.

There was something about that decrepit old shop that bothered me. It wasn’t the smell of overly lacquered wood. Nor was it the poor illumination. It wasn’t even the macabre masks whom 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.

It was the antique grandfather clock that vexed me. Several features were disquieting. It was large and ominous and loomed over me 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 appear that black was the wood’s natural color. Its pendulum was reminiscent of a bony human arm.

Even with all that, it was the various images painted upon the clock face that I found the most disturbing.

Against a faded pallid background were the depictions of swirling vortexes and celestial bodies being torn apart. The images were wild as if painted with a manic and incensed hand. Somehow everything seemed out of focus and full of static. It was as if the scene were on an old television set with poor reception and I had forgotten my glasses.

The most prominent and disturbing figure was a scaly, black creature, with putrid brown spots on its chest and head. This being had no eyes and several large, jagged teeth. Claws protruded from each of its six hands. It looked like reminiscent of what I can best describe as an unholy amalgamation of a serpent and toad. Half the monster’s body was obscured as it appeared to be entering the scene through a portal of some sort of 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 coming quite in handy.

In its teeth was 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 the timepiece. As much as the antique disquieted me, it brought her an obscene amount of pleasure.

She adores the macabre and the paranormal but not so much because she particularly enjoys such depictions or had an appreciation for the stories and history behind such imagery or really anything about the subject matter itself.

Her first and foremost desire is to subvert society’s expectations. She is obsessed with eschewing more traditionally feminine decorations instead of whatever fits her seemingly arbitrary definition of rebellion. I that is why assume 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 clock 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. His several attempts to fix the clock were 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 pointed out what gears were missing and explained that finding replacements proved to be an impossible task. No one seemed to own the appropriate mold.

It was also missing certain latches, a weight, and a pulley. The clock did not even have a chain. 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 clock will, unfortunately, read two minutes until midnight forevermore and laughed heartily at his apparent joke.

None of that mattered to Amara. She figured even if it was no longer was operational, it was still an excellent conversation piece. It 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 managed to bargain down the price from an already reasonable offer. Amara essentially used his honesty about the product against him. Though the woman is only five feet tall give or take an inch, the brunette can be quite pugnacious when she chooses to be and she often chooses to be, as the poor shopkeeper soon learned.

After she made the purchase, I had the fun activity of paying the bitter old man, loading the contraption to the back of my pickup truck, tying it down as tightly as possible. We then embarked on the quite enjoyable and stress-free, three hundred mile, five-hour journey back home 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 timepiece in the middle of the living room after several one-sided deliberations of where to put it that fatigued my arm and my back 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 and why I was no longer asleep. A swirling wind directs 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 run but found my legs incapable of movement as I was almost literally frozen with fear.

The thing sees me and reaches down. It grips me with one of its many pointed hands. The creature puts a claw through my head before I had a chance to scream. It put me in its mouth and grinds me between its several rows of jagged teeth. The chewing has the rhythm, ferocity, and cadence of grinding gears.

That is 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 rose from bed to check the window. 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 perked. I pinched myself several times to confirm that yes, that I was indeed awake. This meant that what I was hearing was not the product of the dream.

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. Amara pointed at the clock and amongst the various curses she exhaled she also informed me that it was only 2:30 in the morning and that we went to bed late and needed to sleep.

I asked whether she heard the grinding sounds. She claimed she heard nothing and made some derogatory remarks toward my sanity. 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 met with nothing but resistance and ire. Realizing that waking 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 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” sound could hope, how and why the clock was broken.

Yet it did. When I entered the living room, it confirmed all my suspicions and fears.

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. It was as if the two timepieces were synchronized.

I rushed toward the back and opened the clock. Nothing about it had changed. Its parts were still missing, there was the same amount of damage, it was in the same condition as when we purchased it.

Moreover, even if the man had been wrong and the clock was operational, I did nothing to it. After bringing it home, I moved it around the living room until Amara settled on its final location then set it down and nothing more. It did not even have a chain for me to pull so at the very least, 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 as well into more primitive types. People appear before me but only for brief milliseconds, nothing more than a flash.

All of them appear to be moving backward.

Their fashions move from the ‘80s to the ‘60s, to the ‘40s and the ‘20s. Soon clothing turns to a 19th-century frontier style and soon to the colonial age. Shortly after, the styles and complexion of the people change to those in the days before Columbus.

Then all of a sudden, everything stopped. Everything had occurred so fast 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 filled the air with their sounds.

I studied the timepiece carefully. Its pendulum was not currently moving. Its second hand no longer ticked.

The hands read two minutes until midnight.

A commotion was taking place to my left. Various men adorned in feathers, beads, animal furs and skins had gathered around a fire which was the only illumination in this pitch-black night.

None of them noticed me. They were far too preoccupied with the ceremony they were performing.

An elderly man stood in the center. He wore the most impressive garb including the group’s largest and most ornate headdress. In his hands were a wooden cane that had an elaborate design on its side. It reminded me of a golden serpent thought it was unlike any snake I had ever seen.

They reminded me of the Snoquaximish, a native tribe of Evergreen, whom I had seen while attending the University of Washington. The tribe would often visit 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 words that I had heard before during the ceremonies I witnessed as a student if my memory served correctly.

Their movements were frantic and panicked. Each action was deliberate. There was a purpose to what they were doing. This was not a mere exhibition and there was a real gravity to their actions. The moved with as though an incorrect move could mean the end of the world.

All of a sudden, the woodland chatter ceased. Creatures moved about frantically away from us as they anticipated a growing danger. Somewhere within my stomach felt pressure as if a thousand tiny hands were pushing against it.

The environment 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. The wind circled in the middle of the sky above the old man. With each passing second, it grew more violent and rapid until it was a purple and white vortex. Bolts of electricity exploded from its core.

The trees underneath the portal seemed to quiver in fear and their green needles swiftly turned black and turned into ash upon falling to the ground. Their mighty trunked 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 perpetually agape 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 the old man bellowed. They raised their arms in unison after, based on the strength of his voice, particularly powerful parts of his speech.

Fire ascended from the pit as the old man shouted. The night sky was enflamed.

The creature continued to approach. The vortex was a large as the night sky but the being was 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 the young man. He struggled mightily to escape but it was in vain. The 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. I went knees and cried out in fear. As more and more men were grabbed, the screams only intensified as did too my hysteria.

The rest of the men who remained stood steadfast. They bravely continued the ritual in spite the dire circumstances and dwindling numbers.

Their chants swelled into a large cacophony that echoed through the forest. Each word that was spoken, each gesticulation became more pronounced and more violent. They were wild, primal even, though somehow, almost contradictory, composed and refined.

With one last shout, their cries filled the air. Flames ascended above the tallest trees into a mushroom cloud that hovered over the forest. The men performed one last sudden movement in unison. Their hands and arms swung around in rapid movements 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 lifted my head. The clouds had split open. A xanthic glow 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, that could only be attributed to a cosmic miracle.

The creature shrieked an inhuman, ungodly scream. The noise had seemed to have caused my brain to collide with my skull though I’m not sure whether such a thing should be impossible. I covered my ears in a vain attempt to block the noise. My head throbbed as it felt like it would split open.

Yet my eyes never diverted from the skyward scene. Horror gripped my heart but I 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 creature had seemingly disappeared. Various hues of purples and whites swirled in the wind. The lightning bolts and thunder had returned. Another maelstrom commenced.

The portal gradually shrunk until it was nothing more than a memory. Day had returned to night, though it was still a little bit brighter than when the beast appeared. The sky returned to normal. Even the clouds seemed have moved to cover the hole in which the light had emerged. The fire had subsided and now burned 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.

I turned my attention back to the men. I was dumbfounded, though looking back, of the things witnessed that night this was perhaps the most mundane.

The men littered the forest floor. All of them were ashen as if their blood had literally been drained. All of them had also seemingly aged rapidly. The younger ones’ youthful visages were replaced with wrinkled, shriveled faces. Their luxuriant flowing black hair was replaced with short gray strands.

Older men including the chief were shriveled into skeletal facsimiles of their former selves. There was just enough skin for them to be considered a body rather than merely bones.

All of them lied flaccidly on the ground.

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.

Were any of them still alive? I never had the chance to find out.

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 am back home but quicker than a blink of an eye the scene gives way to unfamiliar walls and unusual décor. The style of furniture is 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 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 on the back that depicted a gold serpent swallowing a back and mottled brown abomination. He carried 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 but otherwise was what I imagine I would have looked like had I been able to grow old.

He led 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.

I noticed that the words he spoke were very similar to the ones I heard prior. It was the same language of unknown origin that I did not recognize nor could I recall, then and even now after an extensive amount of research, hearing any that sounded even remotely similar. Everything they were doing was the same.

Almost.

To my absolute dismay, I noticed something.

The ritual was almost identical. The words he spoke were almost the same.

Almost.

When the ritual reached its apex, and the men and women joined him in the final movements that resulted in their hands and arms raised above their hands as they 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 but I did not know the correct ones.

Had I known what was going to happen that night, I perhaps would have written them down, but then again, how could I? Is it 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 the incorrect words repeatedly, each time with greater volume and more panic in his voice.

As they realized what was happening, his allies panicked. Some pointed to the sky. Tears streamed down many faces. Many shouted curses, blamed each other, blamed the world, blamed themselves.

None of this mattered to the creature. He continued, undeterred, slowly and gradually, to enter our world. It said nothing yet somehow conveyed contempt toward all of us.

All the men and women attempted to flee. None got very far.

If I had not by this time understood the ramifications of getting the chant wrong, I quickly learned. One-by-one the creature stuck its clawed fingers through the screaming, terrified crowd. It lifted the ones that were not immediately bifurcate up to its mouth. Its victim shrieked in unholy terror as he or she struggled. Blood poured from their torsos or their chests, wherever the creature had stuck its dirty, putrid claws.

Nauseating slurping sounds were made as it placed them in its mouth. The abomination removed them from its fingers like removing food from a skewer. Then he ground its prey in its horrific teeth. Several minutes passed before the screams finally stopped.

I do not wish to describe further the sound of its chewing or the screams of those poor men and women, the gruesomeness of the scene, or the sea of blood.

All I will say is all remnants of humanity that were there that night had become the abomination’s meal. Even the ones the creature split into two were eventually devoured as if they were the remnants of food on a person’s plate.

Even in the short time I have left, these memories will haunt me. I can only hope that death offers a respite.

Soon only I remained and the creature set its sights on 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 that anything was wrong. 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. 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 creature’s attempts to enter our world.

The first time the creature was stopped before it could invade. The second time its invasion was successful.

I was shown these events for a reason. Such knowledge weighed on me intensely.

My emotions were dominated by nothing but fear. It was not for myself for the abomination would not be around for at least another two centuries if my agrarian skills were correct and I had properly assumed the tree’s age. I would be long gone by then.

No, I feared for the future generations that would have to fight this enemy knowing full well that they would recite the wrong incantation dooming both themselves and the rest of the world.

From that day forward, it was 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 that she was pregnant with our first and what turned out to be our only child.

There were 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 knowledge eroded my marriage. Communication was essentially off the table as I could not bear to tell Amara the truth and spread the curse unto 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 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 lock me “for my own good”. In a way, she was right. It would have been better for me personally had I been incarcerated, but I do not believe it would have been better for the world.

I spent the next three years trying to find answers. Though I knew where to look, uncovering information proved difficult. I was met with extreme resistance. Many claimed I was mad but from the apprehensive looks on some faces when I brought the subject up to some, as well as the skittish nature of others as of they wished to skirt the question proved to me 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 the right places and found people where the supposedly hallucinatory delusions of an alleged maniac were not met with scorn or evasion but instead interest, knowledge, and assistance.

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, that 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 were stories that the creature was some sort of malevolent entity similar to the devil that would torture evil souls for eternity.

Some say it belongs in a celestial plane outside of our dimension, making some reference to the veil.

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 was 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.

One 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 hopes that it would be kept at bay.

Perhaps they believed that appeasing the creature would somehow lead them to paradise. There were plenty of accounts that they built several artifacts and icons devoted to it which gives this hypothesis some credibility.

Whatever became of them is unknown. Most believe that their beliefs failed to really latch on and gain any sort of prominence. Instead of dying due to persecution, it is believed the sect died simply due to 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 the gods would send the creature through a vortex. The wisest and strongest men were sent to confront the being where they would perform a sacred ritual to keep the creature from devouring the earth at the cost of their lives. Everything must be done and said exactly lest the proceeding fail which 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 was still much more to learn. There are so many answers yet to be discovered. Regretfully, I was never able to find them all but I must have been close. I must have been so very close, for you see, this wouldn’t have happened if I was on the wrong trail, if I were crazy as so many had claimed.

For you see, 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 in the deepest, darkest parts of the forests when I was assailed by several men in gray hoods with a black fanged creature inscribed on the back. They bounded my hands and blindfolded me, and threw me into 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 though where 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 my sojourn, emanates everywhere. Chains decorate the wall. It is mostly dark. Only the dim moonlight through a small window above provides any sort of illumination and allows me to write my tale.

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 moans even through these thick walls.

A sympathetic guard snuck in several sheets of papers and a pencil that I’ve worn down to a nub writing this tale. 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 was completely out of the question.

I told him that it would help keep my sanity. He was young and naïve, way too kind to be associating with such animals. Perhaps he did not know the true nature of the cult until it was too late.

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

The young guard 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 these papers before it is too late.

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

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