TO START THE CYCLE :
It’s only a siren’s song baby
Hey there Mr. Cthulhu
Got some toxic truth?
Squid Kings and Greek Fires
THE DORLEY CYCLE
Previously: Jackson made his move: the town of Dorley is burning; the monsters are on the run and Guy is nowhere to be found; Paulie is presumably dead and Eli is missing in the raging sea; Jackson found a hidden cave and hoped to find vengeance most of all in there. Now..
I sat down working a way with shaky fingers to strap my broken wrist. I tore at my sleeve and I continued shredding it till there was a reasonable looking piece that I could tie and swing around my neck. I rested the broken bones, flinching at the injection of pain and stood up, feeling the throbbing of snapped bones slightly eased.
Behind me swelling tides were reminiscent of the storm that was so near I could smell the sweet strong aroma of fresh ozone. I took that remarkable scent of new beginnings and filled my lungs with it.
Then I climbed the steps and disappeared through the jagged fissure of the cave.
Inside the moist quickly damped my clothes and stuck them to my shivery skeleton. In some fury of their own the waves threw themselves inside and bathed my numb feet. I walked in cold pools of water, slipping to hit hard stone, scratching at the wall, my only solace to steady myself up again. For what was darkness in my first blind steps, which led mostly down, I lost the break of the waves and above all the deep gulping voice of the sea groaning from its core. This cave was the silent pass, the ritual chamber of Dorley’s people. Bad memories and ill fates stormed the air along with the fragrance of moist and sweat.
I started hearing my own blood hammering inside my ears, trying to fill in the emptiness, which seemed impossible and delusional, or maybe I was those. I coughed and thought it be someone else standing behind me, his coarse throated whisper brushing at my earlobe. I rushed along the uneven path and discovered in the echo someone else’s footsteps catching up in the dying splashes. I stopped unable to move, forgetting distance and time in the pitch black. My eyes adjusted as much as to find stalagmites and stalactites looking like the sharp teeth of this monster mouthed cave. I shut them close sinking into my own darkness which seemed more familiar and comforting. Then I heard a buzzing sound and with wide opened eyes found the faint flicker of electricity.
The light burned out when I stood before it, but in a chain along the wall the others were working, old timey electric arc lamps modified from their floor vintage selves to those, deeply nailed into the stone. Their rusty enclosures were ancient. I wondered if Guy had put them here once upon a time.
Now with the light on my side the cave seemed shorter, but casting me shadows I didn’t want to see. I thought about man’s ability to find faces in objects. I thought about how diverse that shared horror power was, because all I could see where monsters with spread whipping arms. Ain’t something one would want to walk among. Dragging my chains, without a body to hold my hand to the bottom of this journey, I walked, a prisoner of twisted fate and the good lord I presumed.
The light showed me the cave was after all just one large chamber which walls wept in small rivulets. The slippery slide that guided me to its center was nothing but 200-300 meters in half of which I had lost and baffled myself. The suicidal arc light beamed here and there, just enough for me to walk a circle.
If the group of people I followed came in here they were either long gone or hiding in the shadows my artificial lights couldn’t reach. But there was only one spot which caught my attention, crawling along the far wall of the cave which slept in total blackness. So then, I was open prey. I was in a spotlight from which any of them could steal me in the dark and induce their poison down my body. My face stiffened. I was, in this state, vulnerable to be have and be killed.
Killed…But the darkness lured. The longer I stared, the less emptiness I found. Suddenly the opposite stared back.
I crossed the chamber balancing my numb and heavy body, the sensation of solitude lifting up from me. I had something here with me, without a breath, without a heartbeat, but definitely present.
The whole of the dark smelled foul; the closer I got the stronger the odor got, like I was setting foot at a fishmarket.
My trembling hand, outstretched fingers fumbled in the ghost air, penetrating the curtain which I tried to blink away; but it was unforgiving now and it no longer molded me and guided me. I grazed with the tips, my nails scraping at something soft and mushy and I pulled my hand back quickly feeling my fingers sticky. I stepped closer, determined to examine more.
I got the idea of something growing on this wall, something I was certain I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. I ran my hand up and down measuring in my mind the size of this parasite, shaking with tremors genuine fear of the big and possibly asleep, possibly alive. But then a brighter beam of light from behind me bathed the entire wall and mouth agape, not caring of who stood there, I saw it.
Its eye, the size of a basketball, weak in color, a white pupil rotated upwards, glowed somewhat alive with the light on it and I saw myself inside it, shivering uncontrollably now. I traced its full length, from the mantle to the very tips of those whipping tongues – it covered the entire of the wall glued to it in a slimy cocoon, the massive bleak reddish- purple body of the creature preserved in some final charge, eight arms wild and spread, crimson-red veins mapping the semi-transparent skin. The same limbs as those Guy and Paulie had shown me, but ten times the size and ornamented with subspherical suction cups bigger than my palm; its two long tentacles though, were clubs hiding enlarged suckers gifted with rows of small sharp teeth.
I stepped back from this enormous cephalopod creature that extended beyond 20 meters, in my mind a number beyond any of those in my so hated childhood stories. I fell back, my body pressing against that of another, who still held the light high.