Traducción de Daniel W. Koon
1. The Legacy of William Roderick Necken
Mercifully, the mind has many mechanisms to prevent it from piecing together all the hair-raising contents that are locked within it. Ignorance is a blessing bestowed upon the human race, who lie bathed in the black waters of forgetfulness and ignorance of the arcane abysms beyond our imaginations, swirling in the infinite ether of a universe that has preceded us by many eons and that harbors terrors that have driven to death and madness those who have even dared to gaze upon its mysteries. The sciences, rapt in their egotistical, vain ways, serving middling governments and corrupt tyrants, have pushed the study of these cryptic arcana to the fringes, thus forestalling further injury. But lamentably the day will come when all the power and the horror that lies beyond human comprehension shall tempt the ambitious hearts of small and miserable men -- and woe betide us on that day ! -- cornering us into such a feeble position against such terrible odds that the threats of eternal punishment heaped upon us by the whore of Rome when we give free rein to the intrinsic passions of our dual nature will seem in comparison like a picnic on a tropical island where native beauties attend us with the servility appropriate to climes where no civilized being would dream of trying to survive on his own.
Only theosophy has had any inkling, in this decadent new Dark Age, of the majestic grandeur of the cosmic cycle in which our world and our race are nothing more than fleeting incidents, mere eddies of existence in terrifying seas where lie forever those who are not dead, the hair-raising ancient races that would freeze our blood if we did not seek refuge in the bland optimism that the mundane charms of this world afford us. But it was not this esoteric discipline that offered me a fleeting glimpse of these prohibited sights, that made me shudder and that drove me mad, that tormented my dreams and stiffened my vigilance. No, it was misfortune that forced me to confront this terrible revelation that lies waiting behind the doorstep to the Infinite and Incommensurable.
It all began several years ago, when I came to call at the deathbed of my uncle, Professor William Roderick Necken, Honorary Doctor of Sledic languages at the Polysemic University of Ffwagnell, Kismet, Horde Island. My uncle was an expert in ancient inscriptions of that mysterious and ubiquitous lost civilization, and the most prestigious archeological authorities of the world consulted him constantly. In his ninety-third year, a dark and unexpected illness had compromised his unbreakable iron health and finally sent him to an early grave. Officially it was declared that a negro sailor that my uncle had met in his walks through the docks of Oldhaven had infected him with the illness that made him abandon this vale of tears. It should come as no surprise, given the infinity of infections and plagues transported by members of this simian race, but the fact that the doctors could find no true physical cause for my uncle’s surprising death and that they found themselves rapt in the most absolute perplexity, as well as the startling glimpses I was later vouchsafed, led me to wonder whether it was truly a sickness, or something else entirely, that had so irrevocably truncated the career of the illustrious professor William Roderick Necken.
When I learned that my uncle had fallen gravely ill and that he had asked after me, I ran posthaste to the clinic where he was lodged. I had not had any contact with him in years and it surprised me that he would request my presence. “Perhaps he wished to leave me his collection of rare Sumerian cherubim... or his hundreds of Horish ceremonial octahedra... or his exquisite Dothic capitals,” I thought ambitiously whilst I climbed the steps of the hospital.
The tableau that awaited me could not have been more agonizing. The poor old man was a mere shadow of the William Roderick Necken that I had known during those summers that my mother brought me to the family farm in Highgrass, New Hempshire: skinny, pale, emaciated, with a feverish shine in his opaque, nearly blind eyes.
“Ah, Howard, you’ve arrived,” came the barely audible wisp of a voice. “Come here, my son.... I mean... my nephew... because you are my nephew and not my son. Correct, Howard?”
“Yes, uncle, I’m your sister Margaret’s son.”
“And how does that guarantee that I’m not your father! You could be my son! You need to take a paternity test! Nurse! Nurse!”
“Uncle, Uncle, calm down. There’s no need for any kind of paternity test...”
“Ah, yes, of course!” he interrupts. “I’d forgotten that your religion forbids you from having your blood extracted.”
“What religion, Uncle? I’m a scientist! I’m an atheist!”
“What? Are you not a Dolphitic Orthodox?”
“No, Uncle, that’s cousin Nathan. Harriet’s son.”
“Oh, yes, of course, that’s right. That useless Nathan... I always said that that scatterbrain would end up like that, tangled up in sects. And his mother’s to blame, for dressing him like a girl till he was twelve and breastfeeding him till he was eighteen. No excuse for it! We are heading irreversibly toward a new Dark Age in which Superstition will once more vanquish Reason! Woe to us, living under the iron rule of Ignorance and the contempt toward everything that is Beautiful and Balanced! They should have never allowed immigration to this country! Harmony reigned before those dirty Italians came with their sinister glances and their shrill voices, filling the streets with their coloured posters written in an almost animal languages and incomprehensible signs and hurling themselves at us, the original colonists having arrived in this Promised Land from the Blessed Isles!”
Exhausted by the effort that his righteous and stirring diatribe had summoned up, my uncle fell heavily onto his bed, his eyes glassy and dull.
“No! Uncle! You’ve died! And without leaving a will!”
A bony claw with a force unusual for a moribund old man grabbed me by the neck and pulled me over toward his toothless, liver-spotted mouth.
“Silence, you fool, you albatross! My time has not yet come.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just that I thought that...”
“Enough. Let us waste no more time. Let us concentrate on our business, for my minutes are numbered and The Grim Reaper draws nigh, his abhorred scythe poised to sever, once and for all, the vital breath still remaining in me after the cruel agony I’ve been made to suffer from this infectious disease which that mongrel dark demon has infected me with, degenerate like all those of his race, on that warm night when the full moon invited all of us in Oldhaven to indiscriminate pleasure without care for the morn, when even the ocean breeze seemed to murmur ‘Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem.’ Oh, how prodigal humankind can be when the light of the moon enraptures us! And how correct the hate that the Italian Futurists feel toward this astronomical manifestation! Remembering that ill-fated night in which my destiny was irrevocably sealed and I was set upon the path leading my life to its inexorable end makes my blood boil!”
As he spoke this last part, a thought seemed to unsettle his mind. My uncle was rummaging among his sheets and then, as fast as lightning, he handed me a small test tube blood.
“Take this, Howard, and run a paternity test to settle once and for all our parental relation.”
“But, Uncle, there’s no need...”
“There is! There is! I’m telling you there is!”
“I mean there’s no need to use blood to establish paternity. A single hair will do.”
With the same promptness with which he had handed it to me, my uncle seized the test tube from my hands and flung it angrily against the wall of the room, uprooted a tuft of hairs from his head and another from mine and began to yell out loud: “Nurse, nurse! Come quickly! An urgent paternity test, as my life is coming ever closer to an end!”
No sooner had the nurse taken the two clumps of hair than my uncle fell into an absolute silence. Fourteen hours later, once it had been scientifically confirmed in writing that the relation between us was strictly avuncular, he turned to me with a feeble voice that seemed to come from the Great Beyond and said, “Dear Howard Philipe Zealskill, beloved nephew, almost a son to me, I want you to pu... Are you certain you’re not my son?”
“Yes, Uncle, yes, we just proved that. Nine doctors, seven biochemists and three independent laboratories have certified that I am your nephew.”
“Good. Good. Dear Howard Philipe Zealskill, beloved nephew, almost a son to me, I want you to put my papers in order...”
But these were the last words ever uttered by the illustrious, celebrated, dignified, illustrious, talented and distinguished Professor William Roderick Necker, Honorary Doctor of Sledic Languages of the Polysemic University of Ffwagnell, Kismet, Horde Island.
Days later, after reading my uncle’s will, in which he donated his entire collection of rare Sumerian cherubim, his hundreds of Horish ceremonial octahedra, his exquisite Dothic capitals and his copious fortune to my cousin Nathan, I made my way toward the Necken Mansion to put the professor’s papers in order. When I arrived, the cruel and terrifying enormity of the request of my prestigious relative became apparent to me, as the floors of the house were covered with a thick carpet of papers of every type: silk, metallized, wooden, construction, posterboard, satin, illustration, scripts, onionskin, buttered, recycled, blotter paper, tissue paper, etc., all of them crammed on both sides with the hurried and confused scrawlings of my uncle, a stubborn old man who refused to use glasses despite going nearly blind or to accept the use of any writing implements save for the old goose quill and the dilapidated, bottomless inkwell of his childhood.
Not being one of those who betray the promises made on the deathbed of an agonized relative, I resigned myself to the Herculean task of putting my uncle’s papers in order. Oh, that I had never done so! I would have lived a happy life, ignorant of all the horrors that rustle in the darkness and that lie in wait beyond the mountains of madness!
2. The clay bas-relief
One morning in March of 1925, according to my uncle’s papers, a thin, dark young man of a neurotic and excited aspect approached the door of the Necken Mansion. Professor Necken, moved by the disheveled and pathetic figure that shivered at the doorway to his residence, ushered him inside whilst the young man extended a card that stated that he was a certain Philip Charles Lithman. My uncle recognized the filthy young man as the younger son of an excellent New England family, descended from the original Plymouth colonists, which was slightly known to him. Lithman had abandoned the comfortable social position that his family offered him, pursuing the vain fantasy of a bohemian lifestyle in which he could exploit his undisputable artistic genius and give free rein to his eccentricities and his psychic hypersentitivity.
Master Lithman pulled from his briefcase a still-fresh clay bas-relief that shewed an abominable figure of extreme repugnance, one that made Professor Necken fall to his knees and vomit from terror. Then, when his host had regathered his wits, the young man shewed him another clay bas-relief, the real reason for his presence in the house. Lithman was in vital need of my uncle’s archeological knowledge to decipher the hieroglyphics that adorned the tablet. My uncle dryly replied that the evident age of the tablet ruled out any possible relation with the archeological sciences. The youth’s replica aroused my uncle’s interest, enough to convince him to be kind enough to give this young man a moment of his attention:
“It’s new, indeed,” Lithman told him, “for I made it last night in a dream of strange cities; and dreams are older than the brooding Tyre, or the contemplative Sphynx, or the garden-girdled Babylonia.”
“But I don’t believe they are as old as the presumptuous Wolah Bamor, the superb S’rrad G’mamo, or the diamond-rimmed Zidoria...”
“Oh, yes, yes, they are that ancient and more. I would insist that they soared in eras before the capricious Leshp, the tentative Xirulia, or the orange-blossom-perfumed Geropafrusia.”
“Wow,” my uncle exclaimed. “Those are old dreams indeed!”
“No, they are not old. They are ancient, antediluvian, centenarian, hoary. Mere language is inadequate to describe the age of these dreams.”
“How can you say that? One would imagine that they are the product of the subconscious mind playing with the memories of our waking experiences, recast in a symbolic language that any professional competent and versed in the theories of the esteemed professors like Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Jacques Lacan or Erich von Boorthenhausen could decipher!”
“But that’s not true, my beloved Professor Necken. They are windows to the most far-flung worlds, to prehuman epochs in which the unimaginable Horrors arriving from inconceivably distant stars lorded over the planet with Their thunderous hymns and their degenerate priests, strolling through Herculean cities that defied all Euclidean geometry and before which other visions were mere pale folkloric representations, even the most fevered visions of the German expressionist filmmakers or the happy pop tunes of those young musicians who fled to hippie California in the 1960s from Shreveport, Louisiana to pursue a dream of artistic freedom far from the iron censorship of the Bible Belt, a dream of corrupting the youth and -- why not? -- children, with Satanic messages hidden in their music.”
I have had occasion to see the damnable tablet... and I would wish not to have done so, since only a sickly fantasy could conceive of a similar blasphemous horror, defying all that is good and sacred in this world. It shewed four monsters, four gigantic anthromorphs, three of them with heads that appeared to be those of lobsters or crayfish or some other chitinous crustacean of that species, with hands or claws appropriate to its monstrousness. The fourth had a starfish as a head and hid its depraved hands. The four were dressed in collarless corduroy Pierre Cardin jackets with matching pants, and stood in a pose of casual indolence, as if mocking the pettiness of our race, as if telling us that when they awoke from their eternal dream they were going to rip us to shreds like scraps of straw trapped between the sharp-edged blades of an atomic-powered thresher. It was something repugnant to see, and it was only the promise I had made to my uncle that forced me to continue my reading of this unholy story.
The night previous to the visit of the eccentric artist, a slight earthquake tremor, the most violent that had ever shaken Horde Island in the last seven millennia, had excited Lithman’s impressionable mind as he slept, his eyes red with fear and his brow pearly with amber sweat. For the first time in his life he dreamed of a Cyclopean city of enormous monoliths that oozed a greenish horror, slimy, revolting and rubbery like Vileness Fats, and from the depths of the earth came a voice that was not one voice but two voices, and in reality, it was not even voices but the confused sensations that my fantasy and my desire to impose coherence on a vision perilous to the sanity of my mind had converted into the howling of Siamese twin wrestlers, wailing in an almost unpronounceable language that Weescoosa knew the way.
The mention of this otherworldly and almost unpronounceable name froze my uncle’s blood, and memories gushed forth. Much later he would blame his advanced age and the cocktail of psychotropics and amphetamines that he had ingested hours earlier for his not immediately recognizing the depraved hieroglyphics that adorned the clay tablet.
The following days Lithman became an assiduous visitor to the Necken Mansion. His dreams became daily more vivid and apocalyptic; maddening tales in somber colours, plagued by melancholy details and repellant characters. In all of them he found himself lost inside a deformed city populated by one-armed dwarves who were besieged first by Atomic Shopping Carts and then by delinquents dressed up as cuts of meat. Men dressed as Spanish penitents with newsprint tunics danced a macabre dance through the streets and the monstrous crustacean-men from the hair-raising clay bas-relief squashed insect-legged swastikas. Suddenly a violent wind ravaged everything and transported Lithman to a snowy and chilly polar landscape where he was observed by four mysterious characters dressed in evening jacket and top hats with eyeballs for heads. On one occasion, Lithman watched with passive horror as his little finger changed into a thin and greenish snake that grew and grew until it turned into an object of adoration for certain vestal virgins that wore no more clothing than a small loincloth of marine blue corduroy with furious orange backstitching. Sticky liquids oozed from the walls of this degenerate city, coursed heavily through the Cyclopean, dark, dank rocks of the walls, and the dreadful name of Weescoosa was spoken again and again by the underground double voice that cried its unintelligible orders in enigmatic and sensitive thuds, perhaps in a language of a primitive species, with an organ of phonation better adapted than the human one for pronouncing the fatal and blasphemous sounds. What they most often repeated, beside the invocation of Weescoosa and the knowledge of the road, were those that said "Tlef'yeht Satsuj d'kool Seugnot Yllems" and "Eno'morf eye'na Kculp, Bmud era'hsif, Yadot tac'a Kcik, tac'a Kcik, tac'a Kcik".
Lithman always woke screaming from these dreams, covered in sweat, bile, faeces, urine and vomit, trembling like a leaf in a storm, having lost all remembrance of the importance of living. On one occasion his family even had to lock him up in a hospice when Philip had awoken convinced that he was the guitarist in an English country and western band and was in a hurry because he had arrived four hours late to a concert.
Just as surprisingly as they had come, on April 2, at 03:01:07 in the afternoon, Lithman’s hallucinating onirical flights left forever, replaced by banal stories in which, for example, he ran after a line 29 bus for hours only to discover that, in reality, it was not a passenger microbus but my cousin Nathan with his fire-red dyed hair.
My uncle stopped writing down Lithman’s dreams and set out to interview whatever persons he could find regarding their dreams during the febrile period between March 1 and April 2. Besides the loss of several teeth, a couple of cracked ribs and a detached retina (the aristocracy and the traditional New England “salt of the earth” did not consider the attitude of my uncle to be behavior appropriate to a gentleman and thus responded to his impertinence in the most barbaric manner imaginable), my uncle collected the dreamtime stories of hundreds of artists, poets, theosophists and various indigents wandering through the same fanciful and blood-curdling cities that Lithman had described. The sense of dread was the same in all of them, but the reactions of the dreamers had been various: a young architect from Yttria, NJ, had tried to commit suicide by devouring horse manure laced with insecticide; a nervous woman from Fylfot, MA declared herself to have been fertilized by one of the crab-men; an old Indian from Lummenapathawaskananyomkippurannothawashaskankan, CO, convinced that the Great Spirit had returned to North America, crisscrossed the prairie, seeking the distinguished traveler in every hotel in the country.
My uncle also compiled press cuttings from all over the world, documenting that similar manifestations had occurred in other locations: an epidemic of voodoo orgies emerging in Haiti and negroes rampaging in Africa; American officials stationed in the Philippines having a certain difficulty with some tribes (the nature of these difficulties had not been reported in the press, but, apparently the natives had risen up and had attacked the military detachments to the cry of “Dunga-dunga or death.”) and on the night of March 22 the police of New York were harassed by hysterical transvestites. The West of Ireland is full of wild rumour and in the Paris spring salon a painter named Dolmancé presented his blasphemous “Landscape That I Caught out of the Corner of my Eye While I was Explaining My Philosophy to the Chevalier de Mirvel, to Madame Saint Ange and to the Sweet and Innocent Eugenie de Mistival”. In reality, the cuttings that my uncle had compiled presented an exasperating panorama that suggested terrifying conclusions. Fortunately, my rational nature led me to discount them entirely, to abandon the Necken Mansion in search of fresh air, and to take a pause in my reading of the unearthly papers.
3. Inspector N. Senada’s report
The hour was quite late when I returned to the Necken Mansion, and I really did not find myself with sufficient strength to continue in my reading of my uncle’s odious papers and their repugnant discoveries of sacrileges beyond the realm of Reason and Understanding. In my wanderings through the gardens I happened upon Sally Seelick, whom I had not seen since we were children. Immediately we started to reminisce about those summers in our infancy, when we swam carefree in the Tuskaboost River, little thinking about what the future could or should provide, simply laughing and splashing each other in the brisk muddy waters, and this recollection tempted us to -- why not? -- recreate those happy moments afresh. Of course, the years pass in vain and it was not the same as when we were a couple of little children: Sally had transformed completely into a woman and I was a true stallion, so that very soon the innocent childish frolicking was becoming more and more heated and when we finally noticed what was happening I was already rounding third base and sliding headfirst into home. For the fifth time.
Nor did I read my uncle’s writings for the following eight days. Sally told our mutual friends from childhood about our meeting and I spent those long eight workdays reacquainting myself with Sarah Wilcox, Molly Snodgrass, Sue Flansburgh-Linnell, Jeannette Barthelmie, Chrissy Hennesy, Annette Washouette, Mary-Ashley-Kate Allurensen, Tabitha Hannaghan, Anna-Livia Plurabella, Jennifer Lofish, Tammy Faye Majors, Agatha Ffwagtington, Camilla Lobsterpot-Lardling, Uma Theremin, Theresa Finn MacCumhaill, Christina Eagler, Brittany Pierce, Ashley Lipsync, Jessica Lipsync, Beatrice Page, Harriet O'Hara, Laura Onmaddens, Aalisha Coonasscutie and Wilma Foxstonecraft.
Finally, so much nostalgia, good memories and catching up left my prostate red hot and I decided to recuse myself in the library to read my uncle’s damnable papers. The young women continued refreshing their memories in the Hall of Armour of the Necken Mansion for several weeks thereafter (at least that’s what the servants who were invited to reminisce with them told me). For that reason, late on the morning of the ninth day I could resume, with horror and fascination, my reading of the horrifying tale.
Several years before young Lithman contacted my uncle, the professor had been invited to the XVIII Fortnightly Meeting of the American Archeological Society, held in St. Earl, MI. The nature of the talks and the professor’s active participation in the heated debates resulted in a long queue of laymen and women approaching him with a motley assortment of questions. Among this assemblage anxious to divine Necken’s expert opinion on the most varied topics there stood a mysterious man, dressed in an enormous overcoat and black glasses, who spoke halting English. This individual told him that his name was N. Senada, that he had been born in Bavaria, and that he was inspector of police in Chalatanooga County, WY. He immediately shewed him a soapy stone statuette, repugnant and grotesque, that appeared to have been constructed with mucous left out for eons to putrefy in the sun, an object whose origin no one had been able to ascertain with exactitude. The idol, fetish, amulet, talisman, effigy, mascot, relic, statuette, idolette, emblem, figurine, image, totem or taboo had been expropriated four months earlier in the forested bogs of the Mohawkaia desert, in the course of a hunting expedition against a presumed Satanomessianic voodoo cult. So singular and odious were the rites that the subnormal mongrel beings of the cult practiced that the police understood immediately (to be exact, within five hours, twenty-three minutes and forty-two seconds) that they were facing a wholly overlooked sect infinitely more perverse than a Satanomessianic voodoo cult, infinitely more perverse than even the Perverted Antichurch for Perverse Debauchery or the Save our Sodomite Priests Foundation.
The confused and incredible stories from the retarded negroid prisoners, extracted using the most sophisticated and modern torture devices, told them nothing of the possible origin of the abominable statuette. And so Senada ran hastily to the XVIII Fortnightly Meeting of the American Archeological Society, with the hope that the eminent wise men would freely give answer to the enigma that the tiny idol had presented him.
My uncle, surrounded by his most eminent colleagues, carefully studied the fateful cult object. It involved, as some of you might imagine, a tridimensional representation of the three crustacean-men and the starfish-man that Master Lithman would dream of years later. The quartet gave off an aura of aberrant vitality, reinforced by the provocative indolence with which the monstrosities were posing, and it was subtly terrifying because of the total imprecision of its origin, since none of the eminences there assembled could unravel the secret of the statuette.
Only one of the wise men, the distinguished and now vanished Alexander Barming Vachss, Professor of Anthropometry at the Mercurial University of Dukellington and explorer of significant renown, could find a certain familiarity in this profane group of sculpted figures.
Forty years earlier, during one of his trips through Greenland, Vachss had made contact with a degenerate tribe of Esquimaux -- so degenerate that they constructed their igloos with palm leaves, wore light Hawaiian shirts in multiple, gaudy colours, adorned their Mongoloid heads with thick dreadlocks and fed themselves on fruits and coconuts -- whose religion, a singular form of the demoniac cults, had affected him with the brutality of its rituals. It was not that they were particularly bloody or repulsive, but the mere act of witnessing it was enough to leave a perturbing discomfort and sense of spiritual nakedness in the observer, a profound sensation that all the veils of social convention and routine had fallen from their eyes and that one found oneself confronted by the absurd misery of existence. The other tribes feared this tribe and avoided them, and referred to them with a shudder of horror and repugnance. Several times Vachss had heard the story of the angekok who had been so infuriated that he used his magic to invoke a terrible marine serpent to devour a hunter that had called his shamanic skills into question, but he had never given the story much credit. Finding himself before this degenerate tribe he learned that the legend not only was true but that he was face to face with the descendants of the actors in that chilling drama. The other tribes told with horror how ever since that incident, the power of the angekok had grown stronger and stronger and that he had introduced the rest of his tribe to an unknown religion that dated from more ancient epochs, long before the birth of the world. This religion demanded constant human sacrifices to four supreme demons or tornasuk, headed up by a fetish around which the savages were to dance when the Aurora Borealis glistened highest above the icy cliffs. This fetish, which Vachs viewed before his eyes, was a crude bas-relief of stone with four abominable figures similar to those visible in the repugnant idol that N. Senada now wielded.
This story froze the blood of all those present, who chattered their teeth merely thinking of the horrors that might awaken on account of their inquisitive and curious scientific minds. And so they asked Vachss and N. Senada if they remembered the chants that the acolytes of the repellant idols intoned. “Oh, yes!” they exclaimed, almost in unison, and then they recited that terrifying, apocalyptic and terrible chant, of slimy and unpronounceable syllables designed for a nonhumanoid phonation apparatus:
Lleh fo Slleps Citsuac
Senob Nekorb Tiperced Deelb 'na
Nopu Sknio Gnid'uxe Te'a Sey
N. Senada had been luckier than Vachss and, after hours of enduring the introduction of famished rats up his sphincter, several fellow prisoners had revealed to him the supreme meaning of their fetid supplications:
Seated in her country home
The princess Weescoosa waits,
she who knows the way.
These prisoners also revealed to him the nature of their abominable cult. Lamentably my uncle recorded this entire section of the tale on a roll of toilet paper, the absorbency of which conspired to smudge all traces of ink. I apologize to the reader for how fragmentary and confusing the paragraphs that follow are, but I found it impossible to build a coherent tale from Professor Necken’s notes:
1. Long before Humanity existed, monstrous visitors from beyond the stars arrived on our planet as part of the ongoing upheavals in the eternal battle between Good and Evil and dedicated themselves to pillaging and provoking whatever ecological catastrophes they could contrive. According to this document, it was not a meteorite that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs but the indiscriminate hunting of the grand thundering lizards by these reprobate beings of pure energy. Finally the Visitors grew bored and left, never to return again.
2. Eons later, a young Topewatta maiden named Weescoosa woke all her tribe, screaming that she knew the way, that they should leave everything and follow her.
3. Many centuries after Weescoosa’s Crusade, a brutal storm forced some miners who called themselves the “Moles” to abandon their subterranean city to go and live in the city of some vain superficial burghers, known as “Chubs” in the legend. Very soon war broke out between the Moles and Chubs, the Moles won and the language of the Chubs was banned. A couple of generations later a young man, known as Kula Bocca, of mixed Mole-Chub blood, set off a cultural revolution to recover the lost traditional values of the Chubs.
4. Weescoosa appeared, in the form of a spirit, to a pair of Siamese twins, one a man, the other a woman, although nobody knew which was which, that were touring the Bible Belt in a crusade of faith healing and she transmitted a message to them. The dreadful condition of the text allows me to retrieve Weescoosa’s message in only a fragmentary form: “pleasure and pain are [...] that slightly out of focus spin around us [...] that everything that give us pleasure also give us pain to measure it by, [...] all our lives we love illusion, neatly [...] between confusion and the need of [...] we are alive.”
5. The shrimp-men are sons of the sons of the sons of the star-born Ancient Ones.
The sacrilegious work of the mad Arab Nadef el Senoun was also mentioned, the forbidden book called the Negronominalcon” in the Occident and known in the Arab world as “Ayna al Hammam”, “Kiram tu Coseh Nanat” or “Kus Umak Ja-hosh”. My uncle placed special emphasis on the much-discussed couplet:
He is not dead which still shews signs of cerebral activity,
He possesses a beating heart and breathes normally. He’s just sleeping. Shhh.
According to the Chinese, those dirty yellow demons with their oblique gazes and opium breath, there is in this repulsive and blasphemous strophe a hidden meaning that the initiate could interpret in many diverse manners. Many of these very diverse manners can be read in, for example, “The Right Path of the Copper Egregore of the Hermetic Occult in search of the Fifth Essence” by the Polish theosophist Zboczeniec Gówienko or in “The Axial Races: Those who preceded Humanity traced the Route to Transcendence” by Madame Irina Mandavoshka or even in “The Wisdom of the Ancients was much Wiser than the Wisdom of the Moderns” by the seeress Claire Voyant. Professor Necken deduced that these unworldly words spoke of the dreadful Princess Weescoosa and of her cohort of lobster-men, of how these unnamed abominations were lying in wait for their moment to return to take dominion of the Earth, devouring all of Humanity with their Vileness.
Here, luckily, I finished up my uncle’s papers. Feverish and trembling before the otherworldly perspective that his notes augured for the future of the World and of Civilization, in which Reason and Progress were helpless against the nefarious shadows that threaten from those miserable and immoral stone dwellings, I let myself fall into a chair, a bottle of rum in one hand and a demijohn of red wine in the other.
But that unsociable Lady and that unfathomable Spectre, with eyes so horrible that not even the gods themselves dare to look upon them for fear of losing themselves in their emptiness, had another surprise in store for me.
4. The castaway’s dementia
I was disposed to drink myself into forgetting the impudent and putrid secrets that my uncle’s papers had revealed to me when several heavy and insistent blows made the main door of the Mansion Necken tremble. Given that the servants were occupied in reminiscences with my childhood friends, I had no choice but to go and see who or what was threatening to knock down the door with its fists.
As I opened the door I found myself face to face with a man with the look of a cadaver, his gray hair disheveled and his clothes shabby. The storm that was looming over the house further accentuated the repugnant appearance of this vaguely human individual.
“My name is Gustav Spånnbøg and I am a sailor,” he said, his voice lifeless and dull. “I wish to see Professor Necken. Immediately.”
“The professor has died,” I replied, while I tried to close the door on such a repulsive, beggarly face.
“I suppose so. The lives of all those who dare to gaze at the sibylline and inscrutable secrets that lay beneath Time and Space are exposed to great peril each and every day.”
“The professor has died, victim of a dark and unexpected illness that he contracted from a degenerate black sailor in the port of Oldhaven,” I blurted in his face.
“Are you certain? Weescoosa is very powerful and vengeful with those who dare to gaze at the sibylline and inscrutable secrets that lay beneath Time and Space...”
As I heard mention of that abominable name my heart gave a skip and my intestines threatened to empty out right then and there. Stupefied, with little more choice than a golem, I let the filthy seawolf pass.
“My name is Gustav Spånnbøg and I am a sailor,” he repeated as he sat down on a sofa and emptied the contents of a barrel of amontillado down his gullet. “I used to be Second Mate of the Bovary, a merchant ship that plied the seas between Valparaíso and Auckland. Commanded by the experienced Captain Charbonneau we set sail the 20th of February 1925, without the least suspicion of the misfortunes that awaited us on the high seas. March 1st a storm diverted us considerably from our course and the 23d of that month we were intercepted by The Allergic, a sailing ship crewed by Kanakas and half-castes with the look of condemned men. Captain Charbonneau ignored all orders to swerve away from those thugs and we were attacked with all the simian fury these cowardly mongrels could muster. Our ship was scuttled and our captain and another seven men perished in battle, but in the end the repulsive delinquents, whose tiny faces and their prominent jaws betrayed them as clumsy and dimwitted, were defeated and killed. Being the highest ranking surviving officer, I took my diminished crew in the direction from whence The Allergic had come, with the desire of divining the obscure and esoteric motive that had pushed those miserable imitations of humans to block our path. Thus we arrived at a tiny island that did not appear on any map, a mountain of green rock covered with algae that stuck out imposingly over the ocean at W. Longitude 49° 9' S. Latitude 126° 43'. Over the summit of this abominable mountain arose a Cyclopean architecture that could be nothing other than the tangible manifestation of the ultimate terror of the universe, since there lay the great Weescoosa and her companions, hidden in some green dank vaults from whence they broadcast, after incalculable centuries, thoughts that terrorized sensitive men and called imperiously to the faithful to come on a pilgrimage of liberation and restoration. At the moment I did not know all this, but God well knows that I have since seen plenty!”
After saying this, Spånnbøg suddenly stood up, as though impelled by invisible springs, and with two puffs lit his pipe of mother of pearl and sea spray. His gaze denoted madness and connoted terror, and the growing urine stain spreading along his trousers seemed to emphasize what his eyes screamed wordlessly.
“When I contemplate the volume of everything that can hide within the depths of the ocean, I feel a desire to die without a second’s hesitation. My companions and I traveled in terror of the cosmic majesty of that moist Babylon inhabited by demons, suspecting instinctively that it was neither of this world nor of any other similar one. Bjorn Håndjager, our impressionable and imaginative cabin boy, said that it resembled the palaces he had seen when he visited Ganymede, the famous moon of Jupiter and the famous cupbearer of Zeus, son of King Tros, who gave his name to the no less famous city of Troy. We all laughed at his innocence. It was well known that Bjorn had barely reached Phobos in his interplanetary travels!” As he said this, Spånnbøg let loose a cacophonous guffaw that resounded through the hallways of the Mansion Necken. “In short, the nonsense of little boys. We climbed through the titanic and slippery steps of the monstrous acropolis, steps that no human being could have built, unless one considers the colossal funerary monuments built by the Egyptians, Aztecs and Farranacos. The sun itself seemed to deform when viewed through the polarized miasmas that oozed from this underwater perversion, and the moon flickered, repulsed by the touch of the septic effluvia that rose from between the offending joints of the iniquitous mucilaginous blocks of granite. Our ascent was truly disgusting and we stopped continuously to vomit and even to void explosive spurts of diarrhea that slipped slowly, stickily through the ignominious steps of supernatural putrefaction.
“Bernardo Soares, our disquiet Portuguese helmsman, was the first to arrive at the base of the monolith. With his cries, now hoarse, he shewed us what he had just discovered: a Cyclopean solid stone door in which some otherworldly demons with crayfish heads and collarless jackets were mocking everything that is sacred in this world. Tamborini and Mosca, the two assistants on board, began to press the vile door, initially without success and finally with result, so that slowly and haltingly the execrable compartment was sliding inward. Our curiosity overcame our fear and we pushed ourselves through into the utter darkness. The odour that emanated from those fetid abysms was unbearable. Our cook, the affable Brammer, a man of fine ear and good palate, thought he could hear a splashing, aethereal sound. “It’s probably just that river of liquid shit that we let loose as we scaled through the ignominious steps of supernatural putrefaction,” Tamborini joked, with the natural grace that only Italian peasants can pull off. But we were unable to laugh, for in that moment the monsters appeared.
“Four repulsive semihuman figures, three with lobster heads and the forth with the head of a starfish, were making their way in their immensity through the dark opening, laughing and intoning an ode of sad resonance and tiresomeness:
T'chu T'chu Gamm T'chu Gamm Gamm T'chu T'chu
T'chu T'chu Gamm T'chu Gamm Gamm T'chu T'chu
T'chu T'chu Gamm T'chu Gamm Gamm T'chu T'chu
S'makk S'makk S'makk
“Our blood froze over to hear those satanic verses. It was like spending a season in Hell. Brammer and Soares died right there, a deformed rictus of horror on each man’s face, and little Bjorn disappeared in the darkness and never reappeared to sight. Summoning what little courage I still possessed, I ordered my men to flee as far as possible from that corrupted entrance of that Tartarus before whom even Pluto, Satan, and Beelzebub trembled.”
After a dramatic pause, in which my heart seemed to be beating next to my uvula, Spånnbøg continued his tale:
“The chitinous claws of the monstrosities cut short the lives of Tamborini, Mosca and Braden. Gratenkut, the boilerman, who were gobbled upwards at an angle that insisted on behaving like it were acute despite hundreds of angry protractors trying to convince it that it was obtuse. Only Cramouille and I reached the coast and were able to set foot in the boat. Luckily, the boilers of our steamship had remained lit and the anchor had not been lowered, so that it took us a few seconds of feverish rushing up and down between wheel gears, pistons, transmission and camshafts to put The Allergic in motion. With a hallucinatory slowness, between the distended horrors of that ineffable and unspeakable scene, the propeller began to thrash the waters with a gyrating counter-clockwise motion that propelled the ramshackle boat through the undulating waters of the sea. Meanwhile, on the deadly shore, the four monsters and the unearthly Weescoosa emitted their inarticulate screams, like Polypheme cursing Ulysses’ fleet ship or Ixion when he was flogged by Hermes whilst tied to a wheel of fire in the heavens or Icarus as he felt the burning wax melting and slipping along his naked back. But, more audacious than the gigantic legendary Cyclops, the abominable creatures entered the waters, launching a new offensive with several blows that raised enormous waves. It was in that moment, perhaps to reinforce the Homeric reference, that their heads changed from invertebrate marine creatures to cylopean eyeballs in top hats and they began to fling rocks while they repeated, over and over, in foul-smelling voices, a mocking sea shanty:
The quick brain drained the main
And the ship a goin' down me mates
the ship she's a goin' down
the ship she's a goin' down
down, down, down, down.
“One of these rocks must have hit The Allergic, since I awoke the next month in The Observant, naked and feverish, my consciousness a blur, babbling confused stories of infinite liquid abominations of whirling spectral walls, dizzying rides through reeling universes on a comet’s tail and hysterical plunges from the pit to the moon and then back again to the pit, all wrapped in the chorus of guffaws from the Ancient Ones and of the arthropod-clawed mocking imps of Tartarus. The ship’s doctor judged the survivors delirious, floating as we were on a rowing boat under the burning rays of the sun, smoking an enormous rope of hemp and accompanied by Cramouille’s rotting corpse, but, to tell the truth, who cares what he says? I know that what I saw was the truth.”
“I believe you, Spånnbøg. I believe you. Your story is too horrifying to be an invention, and, to be frank, the research that my uncle made of the loathsome, ominous and repulsive Weescoosa cult confirms it.”
“Ah! What a relief! I thought I must be going mad!” he exclaimed with an ecstatic expression whilst a thin trail of slobber fell from his lips to his urine-soaked trousers. Then he wedged an arquebus into his toothless mouth and blew his brains out.
Moved still by the fatal scene I had just witnessed, I ran to my uncle’s writing desk in search of a ream of paper and of writing implements and set to work editing this present story as a test of my own common sense, wherein has been pieced together what I hope will never again be pieced together, whatever it may signify. My nerves will fly apart, one by one, like epileptic eels in a contrary magnetic field. I have peered at the most blood-curding secrets that the universe has to offer and now even the simple little flowers of the field and the dark swallows that turn your balconies into their nests seem poisoned to me. I have decided to put an end to my life and follow Professor Necken and Gustav Spånnbøg on their journeys to the Great Beyond. I know too much of the cult of Weescoosa to be allowed to continue to live. Weescoosa and her abominable confederates still exist, buried in their impious underwater mansion, and their ministers in this world continue to dance, and sing and kill in the most distant corners of the globe around infectious menhirs adorned with blaphemous pictograms. I do not want to think of the horror that shall be called down upon our cities when that nefarious day arrives!
Good-bye, cruel world. Carry on without me.
Thanks to H. P. Lovecraft and to The Residents
for looking the other way and not complaining
about this indiscriminate mash-up.
And a bearhug to all the rest
of the intertextualized multitude here.
for looking the other way and not complaining
about this indiscriminate mash-up.
And a bearhug to all the rest
of the intertextualized multitude here.