- “You know how I know it’s the end of the world? Everything already been done. Every kind of music’s been tried. Every kind of government’s been tried, every fucking hairstyle, bubble gum flavors, you know, breakfast cereal. What are we going to do? How are we going to make another thousand years? I’m telling you, man, it’s over. We used it all up.” – Max. (Strange Days 1995)
Are there any new ideas anymore? The cinemas are full of reboots, old films remade with fresh faces and different crews, putting their own twists on old (or not so old) classics. This is nothing new Dracula, for example, has been re-told so many times since the first film version of Nosferatu in the 1920’s right up to Dracula Untold 2014. Yet before it ever graced the silver screen it was a book, a single story which has spun off so many variations of the same tale in various mediums over the years, that it feels as immortal as the Count himself.
Retelling stories is nothing new, it’s far older than Bram Stoker and can be traced right back to tribal cultures who use stories to teach their children about their heritage. (Please refer to someone really clever who can tell you more about this kinda shit) This telling and re-telling of stories is part of human nature.
So they’ve remade Point Break! People will complain but I’m looking forward to it, the stunts are wilder, politics are different and special effects will all add to a modern production of a single classic action movie.
Why are we always taught the same books in literature? Why always Shakespeare and Dickins? People complain about a new version of Point Break, yet flock to Hamlet because it is performed by Benedict Cumberbatch. I cannot answer this question, for I do not have an answer. I enjoy the re-boots as much as the originals, sure I find points of comparison, but that is unavoidable when re-telling an existing story.
There are plenty of new material out there, new characters, new tales and new writers. They just need seeking out and sharing, so these beautifully talented persons may find their place amongst the classics.
As part of the Creative Writing course, we were given the assignment to re-write a classical story within 3000 words (ish) but written from a different characters perspective. This was not the only copy-cat piece of writing from the course, but I shall leave other examples for another day. For this was by far the most enjoyable homework task that I ever threw myself with glee and utter love for the original.
I present to you today my humble version of HP Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, written from the perspective of Cthulhu itself…
Anne Harrison 24.11.15
There are those who believe that I sleep in some death like slumber, dreaming through the aeons, a fictitious dormant threat, that mankind has all but forgotten about save for tales in dusty books, expressed by an alcoholic author. One of my favourite pets, alas my mind crushed his, fiction, reality, his reality and mine merged together in a stew of madness, leaving him on the fine edge of sanity, finally destroying him entirely.
For such glimpses into my realm, which tediously overlaps the ordinary, to dip ones toe into the murky diseased sub-universe that I rule, shall cost one their sanity, for the human mind is a fragile beast, placid by the mundane, stressed by the insignificant, oblivious to what they fail to see and ignorant to what they fail to understand. Dismissing my existence as the creation of a twisted mind and that is how I choose to let these humans regard me.
I dwell within a realm, between realms, awaiting a time where the stars align and I can rise and consume this universe and the meagre planets which spin therein. There are those who believe that my aeons are spent asleep, to dream throughout time in a permanent state of hibernation. Still? Silent? Alone?
These assumptions are inaccurate, a misleading fable, fabricated by my loyal herd, for as long as my words grace the lips of my devotees, as long as my chant dances upon their tongues, I shall never truly, totally slumber…
“Ia! Ia! Fhtagn!”
You see in reality, in ‘my’ reality, my time, nay, my life is spent in a permanent state of observation, tis no sleep I truly dwell within, no dreams from a subconscious mind but an internal focus upon the outside world.
I watch, I wait and at times I call…
Such as a series of events which took place in 1925, recorded by my pet and discarded (or admired) as fiction. Personally I believe that this saga of my call should have been recorded as they transpired, starting with William Channing Webb, some forty-eight years prior. Though to be fair to my precious pet, I shall remain loyal to his script.
You need to understand that my ‘call’ is far more than a verbal cry out for acknowledgment; it is far more subtle and effective. More of a mental intrusion upon the minds of those who have merely brushed against the fragile hint of my existence, those minds, after I have toyed with them, are never the same again, their lives corrupted by the truth that cannot be unseen, unheard, or even comprehended.
First there was the sculptor, a young man of promising talent until my mental tendrils reached out and burrowed into his sub consciousness, infecting his dreams with disjointed visions of my domain exposing a timeless horror that only his skilled hands could translate in macabre still images, crafted in the medium of his desire, bringing into form the image of the very nightmare of mankind.
Known simply as ‘The Horror in Clay’.
His sanity, I found was too fragile to remain intact, yet tasted so sweet as I mentally violated his dreams, savouring his psychotic anguish as he descended into madness. However, before he was institutionalised my dreamer spread my tale, like any loyal subject, even though he was unaware of my silent demands the disturbing images which plagued his dreams compelled him to reach out to another and thus my legend creeps into the next mind, intrigue and curiosity are the tools which I unlock the doors of perception deep within the most primitive part of the human brain, dripping fragments of information, subtle hints and synchronicity.
So Henry Anthony Wilcox unwillingly drew one George Gammell Angell, Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages in brown University, Providence, Rhode Island into the fold. An intellectual mind I find to be far more substantially delicious than the creative mind, for our precious Henry crafted the images from his nightmares where I had carefully and deliberately induced ancient alien hieroglyphics to tease and entice one of enhanced wisdom. His horrific clay reliefs, though clearly of no ancient forgotten race, it encased within its slick walls just enough to feed the curious nature of our Professor and like a willing servant he embarked upon a long painstaking focus of research, taking artwork into further investigation, consuming him, just as I had consumed Wilcox’s mind.
The artist, it appeared, was of no further use to me having served his purpose, created my terrible duplicate, by seeking help he had perfectly played his role and now I had a new disciple to follow up the threads I provided. I released Wilcox from my servitude, though after a month of horrific nightmares and a subsequent hospitalisation for mental exhaustion, I doubted he would ever be ‘normal’ again. For once I have bruised the psyche forever shall I have a claim in your life.
Professor Angell spent long arduous hours attempting to translate the language of the old ones, I respected his intellect and from my never sleeping slumber kept a dark eye on his progress, spoon feeding him fragments of the puzzle without ever exposing the full picture. He collected newspaper clippings, all relating to the period of Wilcox’s madness. Storms and wild weather reported in normal temperate climate zones, insanity, murder, inhuman acts committed by those who claimed to be self-medicated craving punishment. Mysterious vanishings, sometimes right before a loved one’s very eyes, un-natural curious events throughout the world, throughout the course of a month, my pet Professor amassed all this information. Taking his first glimpse into the dark foreboding dominion that is my reality.
My call during this period particularly affected those of more native cultures, I had a skill at clawing into the mentalities of tribal remnants from old traditions, had anyone at the time actually collated these disturbances, those which dwelt within brick walls may have realized the true threat of the primitive.
I also adore coincidence, as the humans called it; I prefer to see coincidence as an extortion of my will. Those I have touched, I will claim!
As it was, we has graced each other’s attention before, the good Professor and myself, in 1908 my existence was first introduced to his attention, Wilcox’s clay relief was not the first time the professor had laid eyes upon my dreadful visage.
Let ‘The Tale of Inspector Legrasse’ be known.
The American Archaeological Society held its annual meeting in St. Louis, a fact which is insignificant to me, as I care not for such trifles. Though at this particular meeting, twas not a man of science which graced the attention of those gathered, but a singular irritating torn in my side John Raymond Legrasse, how the vile name rises bile in my throat with utter hatred and resentment. For this loathsome individual, a Police Inspector from New Orleans, had with a body of twenty men descended upon a most sacred ritual of vile worship delicious disciples of chaos, wrapped in the throes of carnal desire as they danced, slaughtered, chanted and romped in my name!
My loyal, my people, my adoring fools had attracted the attention of the police force following the disappearance of local women and children, they’re with me now, their souls my property, gifts from my dark cult. But they had become careless, their wild orgies and abductions brought the police out of the town and deep into the swamp, armed with the law on their side, these unsuspecting uniformed puppets had no idea what to expect as they stalked through the grime, the wild chants and drumming only added to their anxiety, feeding their fears, which could never, ever, prepare them fully for the glimpse into my domain that they now faced.
A living nightmare, dreadful demonic scenes of dismemberment and ecstatic inhuman howling greeted the police as their forces clashed with mine and the swamp erupted into conflict, normal average men fought through their shock, horror and disgust, which I personally delight in. I was appalled and enraged that my ritual had been ruined by these mundane humans and my loyal creatures, caged or slain. Though the ultimate insult was when Legrasse took the idol of my likeness into his possession as evidence, like a vase from a thrift shop. Had he no idea that I was connected to this sculpture? That I could feel his warm clammy hands surround the alien marble as I was man-handled and tugged about like a sideshow curiosity.
They interrogated my followers, but their sanity had been so badly damaged by their loyalty to me, that at most the police received some bizarre rambling in a foreign tongue and half-truths combined with the glorious lunacy of broken minds.
So armed with fragmented pieces of the puzzle and the icon of my resemblance, Legrasse approached the intellectual men of The American Archaeological Society, recounted the events of that fretful night and displayed my statue like a morbid trophy. As I passed from one set of hands to the next, I peered into the souls of these men and lusted revenge for their maltreatment of my visage!
It was at this assembly, that I was passed once again into the strong old hands of William Channing Webb another fork in the road of fates journey where we cross paths again, far different from out last meeting sweet Professor Webb? All those years ago in the far reaches of Greenland, how far does my cult spread throughout the underground of this world? From New Orleans sadists to degenerate Esquimaux, my tendrils reach out far into society, hidden in plain sight, waiting, watching, loyally for the stars to align.
I remember you Professor Webb, I feel your heart begin to race, and your hands tremble ever so, an uncomfortable sweat slick upon your weathered brow. My form in your hands recalls memories, you had thought forgotten, lost in the darkness of your mind where you resisted remembering the encounter in Greenland. I feel your panic, your fear, your anxiety. Did you never tell your companions how you had lost your eye? How you despise your own scarred features? Did you keep me hidden away, like a dirty embarrassing secret? Doesn’t the recounting of the swamp ritual not awaken images of similar degenerate rites held over forty years ago, in another country, that you have seen before, blood on a snow white ground instead of merged with dark mud? Sacrifice, slaughter, debauchery… OH… now you remember me Professor Webb… you also remember my chant don’t you? The cries of the summoning… you remember, Legrasse remembers, for my words are a hunting cry, tumbling through time. Uplifting my cultists and striking fear into the very soul of good men who accidently stumbled across my existence.
“Ph’uglui mglw’nafh … R’lyeh wgah’nagl Fhtagn!”
Memories… for Legrasse, Webb and the recently deceased Angell have passed from this realm now, and it is into the hands of Professor Angell’s Great-Nephew that my tale now finds a home, hidden within the depths of paperwork at his uncles estate the young man unearths the decades of dedicated research which had consumed the time of the late Professor. With a curious nature and astonishment at the amount of evidence amassed Angell’s obsession became contagious, his Nephew drinking up the knowledge, like a parched man at a watering hole in the dessert. It both frightened and inspired the young man, I watched, as I always do, from my eternal dreams. I felt the shift in his sanity as his mind became rocked and shaken by the enormous realisation, of monstrous hidden truths and disgusting facts.
He read through the detailed events, that I have recalled briefly, shocked and alarmed by these actualities the young man pushed aside the box of files, his thoughts unwilling or unable to comprehend any more. Though I already had a mental hold on his fragile frayed edge of stability, it was only a matter of time. Fate always had a way of drawing the curious deeper into the pit of forbidden knowledge until there was no way out besides the ultimate price, your life or your soul.
He discarded the files and notes, returning to his own work to clear his thoughts, dwelling on the mundane as a relief when a perfect synchronicity threw him back into my arms again, in the form of a simple newspaper clipping from the Sydney Bulletin and our young victim was reminded of an unopened file amongst his Great-Uncles research.
Labelled cryptically as ‘The Madness from the Sea’.
The random newspaper clipping corresponded with this file and it was with some trepidation that he finally reclaimed the file and opened it to read the final and frightening chapter of this saga. Times, dates and co-ordinates mean nothing to me, I care not for when or where events took place, yet Professor Angell amassed as much detail as possible and even these mundane facts had not escaped his scrupulous attention.
I said I care not and I don’t, but there are those foolish or unlucky enough to venture into uncharted waters of the vast ocean and as it was, during the same period as Wilcox’s delirium. You may be mistaken to believe that my cult restricts itself to snowy wastelands or dense swamps, there are those amongst my brood who have taken to the waves, following my mental instructions detailing esoteric directions to an island that exists between realms, they bring me gifts, bodies to mutilate, minds to consume and souls to destroy for my morbid collection. It was a comfortable arrangement with these primitive pirates. Storms surrounded my island, discouraging wise sailors, or drawing victims to my shore.
The ‘Emma’ had been entangled in one such storm, throwing her wildly off course and into my domain. My pirates upon the ‘Alert’ attacked and though ‘Emma’ was lost to the sea, so too were my pirates, out skilled by the sailors from ‘Emma’ who took the ‘Alert’ as their own, as a transport to flee the wild uncharted seas and the dark foreboding island upon the brooding horizon.
A simple tale re-told in a snippet from a local newspaper, naturally the whole tale was condensed to a few paragraphs of insignificant facts, dismissing the details as the lunacy of a single survivor, who clutched to his hollow chest a figurine, not totally unlike the ones Legrasse and Webb had unearthed, this figure he had discovered upon the ‘Alert’ and clung to it as a mother would a new born babe.
The file ended abruptly, but Angell’s Nephew proved to be a significant researcher in his own right, he sought out more information on the strength of a vague report. Discovered the ‘Alert’ redeployed and still afloat, he ventured to museum and library alike and finally, amongst dusty shelves of a back room store chamber, he finally came face to face with my idol. I have him now, for he has laid eyes upon my statue and through that I can bore into his very soul and instigate obsession and finally madness. Alas he was physically denied to ‘touch’ the item, safely held within the cotton gloved hands of a closed (so safe) mind of a humble museum assistant.
But even this was not enough, even with the threat of his very thoughts crumbling into delirium, our latest researcher ventured further than his Great-Uncle ever had, travelling all the way to Oslo Norway in search of the sole survivor from the ‘Emma’ Gustaf Johansen. Though a vast deterioration of Johansen’s health had led to an early grave, his Widow presented our intrepid explorer with her late husband’s journal, written in English, to prevent his wife from reading the truth, the truth was finally within the hands of Angell’s Nephew and it was with hesitant fingers that he turned the pages and began to read the dead man’s words.
Upon the island the crew had disembarked with a mixture of curiosity and fear, for the dank island appeared on no charts nor maps, just loomed out the sea in a foreign rock, with twisted angels and slick slime coated walls, the physical stuff of nightmares, dark clouds rolled in overhead and spluttering faggots provided a merger light which added to the dense shadows and overwhelming horror of the place.
Enraged I arose from my usual slumbering state; with a stone shaking howl that chilled the blood of the foolish sailors I cast aside the walls of my unearthly tomb as though the mighty stone slabs were naught but driftwood. I crushed, devoured and smite all those insignificant fleas who dared to violate my island with their disgusting presence, who dared to awake me before the stars align, to do so is to feel my enormous wrath as I feast upon the souls of the weak and one by one destroy the men from the ‘Emma’.
Two turned to flee as I devoured their crew mates; I pursued them towards the sea, a dark shadow promising an unholy death. They boarded the ‘Alert’ and with full steam astern they attempted to escape, yet I was gaining upon the toy boat, tossed about by fierce waves I created within my wake, then, unexpected on my behalf, the ship changed course and charged with full steam ahead. The following events were sudden and simple, I was struck in the mid-drift, wounded, injured, though more of an annoying pin-prick than anything that could truly damage one as eternal as me, Still it stung, I bellowed, I bleed, vile stanching pungent fluids poured forth and that alone was enough to cast one crewman into the realms of the dark abyss as he clawed out his eyes from merely witnessing the event.
Johansen escaped, long enough to return home and put pen to paper, recording the account, which would finally send him gibbering and broken to his grave.
It was Johansen’s words which finally tipped the balance in the mind of Angell’s Nephew, he was hospitalised shortly after his research finally uncovered the diseased truth, by then my mental intrusion was complete. He was mine, and even though he appealed to his lawyer, implored him to destroy all notes, all research, and all evidence. Even though his lawyer promised faithfully to comply with his wishes, did he?
For you’re reading this right now, are you not?
“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.”
Submission and Reply: Homework Feedback (edited to remove email addresses only)