Entry 0112: A Little Background on my New Call of Cthulhu Character

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LP: Dead Can Dance by Dead Can Dance

2016 4AD Records, CAD 3622, reissue

Favorite Track: A Passage in Time

 

Wendell Christmas sat on the stalled train, watching the cardinals flash red past his finger-spotted window. Just once he would like to fly…feathery wings growing from the curve of his back, flapping powerfully so as to sweep away all the dust at his feet as they slowly left the earth…just once he would like to fly back home to Buffalo. Instead the train lurched forward and the cardinals became faded brown dots in violet dusk.

He knew he should get some rest. Tomorrow he would start his week tracking turkeys, possums, and foxes. A customer of his had wanted him to bag and stuff a stag, but Wendell laughed and said he did not have the materials necessary. However, something bothered him about shooting a noble deer. As a child, he would explore the woods of his pappy’s farm and the deer would always find him by the lake, approached tentatively, but always approached and stood by him, sometimes drinking out of his cupped hands, all the time breathing heavily while their big black orbs tried to convey some natural message. Wendell used to believe it was his mother possessing the Cervidae, attempting to communicate supernaturally with her son. Wendell fumed over what he would say to her incorporeal spirit. Five years was not enough, yet, in an impassive way, he wouldn’t know what more he could say to her.

It was dark when the train pulled into the station. An active owl hooted like a watchman over the cold tracks and fallen pine needles. Wendell slung his heavy bag over one shoulder and made his way to the hotel. He would camp tomorrow, but now was too dark for him to find a safe spot by the river. Plus, a gloomy disposition had settled over him like a fog rolling off the water and into bay. A question nagged him: was his interest in taxidermy merely a coping mechanism for the death of his mother? He tried to tell himself many things: electrical and mechanic repair were hobbies that paid bills and tabs; there is a calming effect scooping out the entrails of a fresh kill; the complimentary thanks of a satisfied customer made his soul glide above snow-peaked mountains; the danger of the hunt and the silence of ambush; his mother had left the earth and it didn’t matter anymore and all Wendell had to worry about was feeding himself and satisfying his customers and be wary not to fall in love. The owl hooted again and then surprised Wendell by flying out with far-reaching wings. Its eyes were the color  of squash and its flight took him right over Wendell’s tall frame. As it went past, he could have sworn a sweet, raspy voice squawked, “Sunrise…”

At the hotel, Wendell climbed into bed after washing his hands with the soap he brought with him The mattress was hard, but Wendell expected worse. After a few moments of adjusting and relaxing, he reached for the Weird Tales magazine he brought with him. It was the black-bordered October 1923 issue. The frightening image of a snowbound ship and, presumably, the captain forced to walk the plank caught his eye at the newsstand. What strange and horrible stories this Edwin Baird published. Wendell felt a little rebellious collecting these pulps. His father would flay his skin with a poker if he knew.

Tonight, by candlelight, Wendell read a short story by a newcomer: H.P. Lovecraft. The tale was titled Dagon. When he was done, he took the candle to a window and stared out into the darkness, hoping to see the river in the distance. Nothing but tall trees with extended limbs greeted his vision. A slight breeze made every branch sway like a mummy’s outstretched arms. Wendell shook his head, but couldn’t laugh. An owl swooped by, catching a fat mouse that gave little squeal. He was sure it was the same owl and he knew for certain that he would see this same owl every night this week.

Who hunts the hunters? was his last thought before a queer sleep overtook him.

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Entry 0111: Black Coffee, Part One

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LP: Queens of Noise by the Runaways

1977 Mercury Records SRM 1-1126

Favorite Track: Queens of Noise

 

The laser snake surged with potential energy, its purple scales pulsing with biofed power. It was coiled around a memory tree on the lowest branch where the data was richer. Cy and I had our converter packs with us, but weren’t interesting in computer history right now; we were smuggling. Black coffee was a crime. The president general had demanded a sweet world, a media wash on all things bitter. Every morning was video loops of cats stretching and children writing new patents. Outside my house, eight dead bodies laid in the gutter. Coffee addiction was the only thing keeping me alert and alive. Same with Cy. So we pooled our limited sources together and decided to wake up the world.

But we could only do that if we could get past this laser snake. We were not prepared for it. Laser snakes spawn where government secrets get filled with radiation six-packs. Nearly silent, able to read barcodes and ID chokers, laser snakes are typically used to guard something valuable, but, frequently, one or two will go rogue and eat for sport. They were most deadly around water, which, thankfully, wasn’t within a hundred miles of us. Well, thankfully because we were near a laser snake, but that lack of water was actually one of our biggest headaches in the black coffee world. We hated to serve our patrons powder.

Cy turned to me. “I forgot my sodium bicarbonate balloon at the guild.”

I saw a flicker of tension drain his face of its usually calmed countenance. I didn’t have much in my bag either, but I had a jacket because I get cold easily. It was my father’s–the only thing I had of that legendary figure. His wanted poster was still at the post office although that place was abandoned seventy years ago. Briefly, I thought of all the unread love letters and post cards. There was a story there I would have to write later.

“Cy, be prepared to run.” I tried to sound confident but the laser snake hissed, a zillion ones and zeros booming like thunder.

“Now!”

I threw the jacket on top of the snake. It was on fire before it even left my hands and I felt my fingertips blister. But the snake thrashed wildly, incinerating its way through the cloth, but Cy and I were long gone, 18 bags of coffee grounds awaiting their water source.

We just didn’t know at the time that we were under the eye of the president general.