Thursday, February 19, 2015


Tales Of The Apocalypse: Book II - The Rift

Over the course of the next two days there seemed to be no improvement in Andy's condition. She would eat what was put in front of her and take care of her bodily functions, but it was if she was an empty shell just going thru the motions. Frankly, I was extremely worried about this situation. Day 4 of Andy's return dawned and I rose as usual to stoke the wood stove as it was kind of chilly in the cabin. Making the morning meal was a somber affair in as there was no conversation and no hope having any. I got Andy out of bed and got her dressed, no mean feat in of itself.

After cleaning up after our morning meal, I made myself a cup of Dad's cappuccino mix and sat there sipping on it while Andy stared off into space. I felt myself battling an oppressive feeling of despair, as I considered the current situation. Lost in thought, I did not notice the footsteps outside the cabin, masked as they were by they crackle of wood in the stove. The radiant heat felt so comforting in contrast to the mental anguish battling for supremacy in my mind.

"Hello the House!" came a voice from outside.

Startled, I almost dropped my cup and quickly rose to see who it was. Opening the door I saw a giant of a man standing there, smiling.

"Greetings Monty!" said Than-Natuk "How is Andy doing? I have been concerned about her."

I felt a great sense of relief at the sight of my seemingly new friend. I motioned him to come on into the warmth of the cabin and told him she was not any different from when I found her on the porch.

"I apologize, Monty. I needed to address the problem of Shub-Niggurath being loose in this Realm. It has been driven back to its dark home beyond the stars and bound there. For now anyway.

While he was talking, I fetched Andy from the bedroom of the cabin.

'Oh!" she said upon seeing our visitor.
"It's the Man of Light." she exclaimed soullessly. "You made the shadows go away and rescued me from the place of pain and dread."

Than-Natuk looked at Andy with great concern. "She has lost her anima Monty." he said. "This is not good! Without it she will soon lose the will to live. Let me think on this for a bit." he added.

While Than-Natuk was lost in thought, I decided to take out the trash that had been accumulating over the course of a few days. Upon my return, he stated "I think I have a solution, although it is perhaps less than ideal." He continued "When someone loses their anima, they have no idea of who they are. They lose their definition of who they are, thus their purposes in living. What I need to do is join you and Andy in query, and transfer your mental picture of her anima to her, which will give her a definition of who she is, only from your perspective of her. "

He sat there and waited for my response.

I was astounded by what he had just told me, but was excited at the prospect of restoring Andy to a semblance of normalcy. After a few seconds of mulling this over in my head, I told him I was ready when he was.

Than-Natuk replied "It will be difficult for Andy to establish an anima that resembles what she had developed over her lifetime. This may cause her some distress at times. You must be ready to support her in this case. I am ready to proceed now if you are. This may be a little, strange for you..."

"Lets get to it!" I said apprehensively in response.

Than-Natuk brought Andy to a rocker and sat her down. "You are a nice man." Andy mumbled.
He smiled at that and said "And you are a wonderful girl Andrea." He then directed me to sit in the other rocker after placing it next to Andy. Then he stood behind us and placed his palms on each of our foreheads.
"Relax" he said.

I did, and then the images begin to flow. Everything I could remember about Andy, and much that I didn't began to flash in my mental vision, slowly at first, building momentum until all was a blur and then blackness.

Than-Natuk shook me gently, and woke me from my Stygian stupor. "Monty, wake up! We must see to Andy. Come on, snap out of it!" I blinked my eyes like a sleeping man once awakened and looked around me, taking in my setting.

Andy was still sitting in the chair next to me, sort of awake but not quite there. Than-Natuk was giving her a sip of water from her cup on the table. Her eyes began to focus, and then they were full of terror as everything came crashing down on her. My memories, her blurred memories from captivity, and the confusion as she tried to sort out who she was. She began to get very animated until Than-Natuk took her hands and looked her in the eyes. She settled down and he continued to look in her eyes until she spoke.

"Oh! Than-Natuk! You are the man of light in my nightmare! You rescued me and brought me home!" She threw her arms around his neck and gave him a big hug I thought would never stop. After a few minutes he gently untangled her arms from about his neck.

"Andy, how do you feel?" he asked.

She sat there looking at him with a bewildered look on her face. She then turned and looked at me and said "Monty! You, you brat!" She then burst into tears and ran off to the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. I looked at Than-Natuk with my jaw hanging open and he just shrugged. "I told you it could be difficult." he said. "Your memories are now hers and she knows all about you and your interactions with her previously. I left out the memories with the magazine under your mattress, and the other private stuff." He said this last bit, holding back a grin, at least trying to. I must of turned beet red because he started laughing.

"Give her a little bit of time to process some of these new memories. She is a strong girl to have survived several years in the abode of Yog-Sothoth, as you can tell by her apparent age.

"Time moves at a different rate in Yog-Sothoth's perilous world, as it does in the whole of the Dark Realms. Years pass in one as only moments in another part. It seems the part to which he had taken Andy moved much quicker than here where only days had passed before our return."

I decided to have another cup of the cappuccino mix and offered one to him. He consented and I proceeded to prepare the water for heating and find suitable containers for us. Mine was my usual cup, but his needed to be bigger as he was a BIG man. I finally settled on using a soup bowl with a bit of a handle for his and soon we were enjoying the mix.

Than-Natuk's face lit up, even more so than just the glow when he took his first sip. "Monty, this is delicious!" he said. "I think I will look for more of this in the town from which you came. It is still standing and now that I have driven most of the Tsathoggua from this Realm, it is much safer to travel. There are still dangers since the Realms have occupied the same space for a bit. That will soon pass as your world passes out of the rift and back into your proper Realm. Then I must leave to guard the Edges of Time where the Dark Ones cross over. It is a dreary existence, but without my vigilance, they may soon trouble your world again. I will however drop by to see how you and Andy are doing."

We sat and talked throughout the day, He telling me all about his life and his people, filling in many of the blanks that had not been revealed to me during our "Query". It was beginning to get late and I got up to check on Andy. She was fast asleep, something he had said would be common through the coming days as she regained her strength and rebuilt her anima through dreams and restful sleep. I lit a kerosene lamp and began to prepare dinner for the three of us, saving out a portion for Andy when she awoke.

Than-Natuk told me he would be leaving for a bit the next morning to check out a few things, but he would stop back in before he left for the Outer Realms and the Edge of Time. We talked a bit more and then turned in for the night, feeling satisfied with the many answers I had recieved to the questions in my mind.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Tales Of The Apocalypse: Book II - The Rift

Than-Natuk stood and faced the pool. The reflections were still the same, with only an occasional ripple from a stray breeze.

"Monty, you cannot enter the pool. The way is barred to you. If you were to enter it now, you would end up somewhere else from where your sister, Andy is, and be stranded there until your death. Yog-Sothoth did this as he passed thru the pool-gate, as that is what it is, a gate to his perilous home. I however, have no such limitations, and I will pursue him and bind him there, returning your sister to you if possible."

I stammered out a thanks, and then he begin striding into the pool. When he was about waist deep, he looked at me and said "Go wait at your dwelling, for it may be a bit before all is accomplished. Farewell!" with that he took 2 more steps and vanished. There was naught but a small ripple which quickly subsided to mark his passage.

I stood there for a few moments, deciding whether to wait for a bit hoping Andy would show up, or take him at his word and wait back at the cabin. I really wished to speak more with him, to learn more about his history and hear more about his people, but I had no idea if I would ever see him again. I retrieved Andy’s AK and vest, which I stumbled over while tending to a nature call. Eventually, I returned to the cabin and found busy work to keep me distracted: filling the wood box to overflowing and stacking more on the front deck, chopping more wood, building raised gardening beds from the lumber found in the woodshed, filling the beds with soil, etc...

That night as I ate my dinner a plan formed. I was going to find Dad's cache and begin transferring it to the new locations Andy and I had picked out. I knew I needed to keep myself busy or I would probably lose it. There was just so much to process since my normal life had come crashing to a halt. I fell asleep in my chair and awoke late that night to the silence of the woods.

No more drumming or humming.
That nasty green orb was still peeking thru some breaks in the clouds though, making sure I didn't forget about it.

I spent 3 days moving everything once I had located and retrieved the cached items. I divided the food up into four groups, because we had decided on 3 separate locations at different compass points and distances from the cabin. None were more than several hours away from the cabin and were located in places where few would choose to go or wander by chance. The largest group went into the cabin, along with half the garden seeds and other assorted gear. There were several large 20mm ammo cans, and I wondered what they held. There was a detailed list of all the contents but I had not located it yet. I had one more trip to make and then I was finished for the time being.

I spent every evening up until dark sitting on the porch and listening for Andy, waiting for her to return, but I was losing hope, and was resigning myself to being alone. On the fourth day, I rose as usual and had my hot breakfast before braving the chill of fall in the mountains. I had yet to retrieve the hoop house kit and the garden wagon that was cached with it. Being a larger sized group of items, it was situated in a different location from the food and other supplies. I resolved I would bring it all in and endeavor to assemble it, also, to get a jump on my food production for the coming year and to keep my focus on something besides my woes.

Excavating the cache and assembling the cart took much longer than anticipated, and it was late when I got the fully loaded cart back to the cabin. As I was approaching, I saw what appeared to be a woman standing on the porch, gently rocking from side to side as one does when waiting for something to happen. Judging by her height and build, I would say she was several years older than me. She had long light blonde hair, like she was out in the sun for a long time. I dropped the wagon where I stood and warily began to approach, looking for signs of a trap or ambush.

When I got close enough I greeted her but she did not respond. Since I was coming from her rear, I could not see what she looked like, and so I grasped her shoulder. She did not respond to touch so I stepped in front of her.

My God!

I staggered and almost fell down as I was not prepared for what I saw.

It was Andy. But it wasn't the Andy that was taken from me. She had aged perhaps three or more years in the time that she was gone.

And her hair!
Andy had left with dark brunette hair.

And then a whisper escaped her lips.

"Monty? The shadows have gone and he lights the darkness. Thank you for the rescue."
She then fell silent.

I was flabbergasted!
How had this happened?
What had caused these changes?

Relief flooded away any other feelings for the moment and I gently led her into the cabin and put her to bed. I stayed by her side until she fell asleep and then had to pry myself away to take care of the hoop house and wagon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teetering On the Edge of Time

Tales Of The Apocalypse: Book II - The Rift

I quickly turned around, dropping to one knee as the shotgun rose to my shoulder. To say I was shocked at what I saw would be an understatement. On the edge of the clearing, nearly 20 feet away stood a man, sort of. He looked like a man to behold him, but there were some subtle differences about him; like having a golden glow to him and being at least seven feet tall. The glow was an aura, not his actual skin tone, which was that of an American Indian. His facial features were those of the European race though, in contrast to that of the Indian. His hair was fiery red and it fell to his shoulders. He had no facial hair and did I mention he was seven freaking feet tall!

He was built like a wrestler with massive upper body strength, but not in a muscle bound way, he moved like a cat; sort of gliding to within 5 feet of me. As he got within touching distance I heard him in my head again, saying;

"I am a friend, be not afraid. I wish to query with you, so that you know this to be true." He was carrying a monstrous battle axe that looked very dangerous, but for some reason I was not afraid. He also carried a curious shield, as it looked as though it were made of clear glass, and the edges of it glowed, transmitting the light from his aura.

"If this is an acceptable request, I will begin." came the thoughts.

"Ok, good. Go ahead and query." I mentally replied. I was not sure what he meant by query, but for some strange reason I felt he was trustworthy, though I felt some reservation.

"Many thanks! Be not afraid" filled my mental ears, and then he laid his weapon on the ground, reached out his massive palm and planted it on my forehead. I felt a pleasant tingling spread through my body and then the mental images started.

I saw the bright night sky lit by countless stars, with the emphasis on a particular constellation, his place of origin I gathered. The stars flashed as if passing thru a wormhole and then he stood with many others of his kind on a very young planet, still going thru growing pains. Then there was a monstrous shadow that scared me half to death as I felt their fear and the servitude that they were compelled to give. They had travelled with this monstrosity, as captives, slaves.

The surface of the young planet was not ready for them and many died, so they retreated into the lower crust of the Earth, into the Inner Realms, living in great caverns lit by miniature suns, that dimmed and glowed brighter on a regular cycle. His 1st home was lit by a reddish sun, and when that fell to foul creatures unspoken of, they inhabited the Realm of the Blue Sun. Great cities rose and fell into ruin as his people became many and fought amongst themselves.

Wars were fought against the foul invaders that now inhabited the Realm of the Red Sun, and they pushed them back into the awful blackness from which they came. That time anyway. They moved back into the Red Realm and lived in peace for a while. Then the foulness returned and they were driven forth never to inhabit the Red Realm again. Great fortifications were built at the entrance to the Red Realm to keep the darkness at bay, and that seemed to work as the eons passed. Titanic battles were fought at these fortifications, but the foulness never could prevail and subsided back into the Red Realm. Many of his people grew weary of their servitude and they rebelled. They were driven to the surface to perish, but the young world had tamed during the eons underground and they flourished instead.

They built great kingdoms, flowing with riches, great kings and queens ruled and they became powerful on the earth. And then came a great upheaval, and many of the kingdoms were buried under a great deluge, and most perished except those who wandered the face of the earth, and those who manned the trading outposts. They built a great City at the Mountains of the southernmost continent, then settled many areas there until the snows came and all was buried under the ice. They traded with peoples of unknown origins, with light and dark skins from many points of the compass.

During the ages he had fought in many wars against the Great Old Ones from beyond the stars, driving them from the earthly realms, pursuing them until he had driven them back to the Dark Realms beyond the stars from which they had come.

The images stopped and the man stood back and bent to one knee. He then spoke in perfect English.

"I am Than-Natuk, of the Great Manu Race. I am of Yoth-K’n-yan, the Inner Realms, Yarl'eah amongst the stars. We came to Earth with Tulu as slaves, but were unhappy with our lot. My people threw off the enslaving yoke of the Old Dark Ones and left to build great cities upon the Earth, wealthy kingdoms, great armies and mighty Kings of old. We fought the spawn of Shub-Niggurath, drove them chittering back into the blackness of the void, and sealed them there. But the seal has been broken and they are once more on the loose, aided by those who revere them, and yearn for the old dark times.

I defeated the Great Dark One, Sol mak'Ugn-un and won its immortality; it is no more and this angers the others, and they are fearful. I have fought the Dark Ones legions for eons, driving them back when they intrude into the inner Realms, back into the darkness beyond the stars from which they came.  I see you have noted the golden glow I wear. It is what I won from Sol mak'Ugn-un, it's cloak of immortality.

The Toad-people you have referred to in your thoughts, they are the Tsathoggua, an elder race from a different reality than yours. There has been times in the past when a Rift has been created and your race and theirs have crossed paths. They are the star children of Tulu and came from the dark area beyond the stars.

And now here we are again, teetering on the edge of time, once more in conflict with the Old Dark Ones. They have left their Dark Realms and foul this planet once again, and I have come to drive them back to their perilous homes.