Friday, September 25, 2009

THE HOUSE IN THE PORT:pt 10

by J.R. Torina




CHAPTER XVII



It was Thursday, about three in the afternoon. I was driving over to see Mustus. It was fairly overcast out, almost as if it were going to storm. There was some weak sunlight shining in through the clouds here and there. The singular rays reached down into the ocean, almost as if the light wanted to purify whatever ancient evil lay beneath the waves, but the ominous clouds swallowed most of them up…

I put on my sunglasses, as the light was hurting my eyes. I couldn’t figure out why this should be the case, but I likened it to staying up so many late nights and sleeping most of the days as of late.

As I drove on the isolated country road to see the old man, I lost myself in thought.

I kept thinking of that creature from my dreams…

“Vor’li’ka. You are protector. You are both.”

Vor’li’ka…

So, apparently I was destined to lead the people of the oceans--the mer-men or “Deep Ones”, as they are known--to Cthulhu.

How I came to be of this destiny still eluded me, but I was beginning to have the unnerving suspicion that perhaps I was beginning to come to, so to speak, from the real dream--my past life as a typical, ordinary man.

If that were the case, then according to the creature in the “dream”, I was to lead them to Cthulhu, as well as protect them before and during this event, from the harms of man. How was I to do that? And, did I really want to do that?

But one question kept nagging at me--why? Why me? I know nothing of Deep Ones or Cthulhu, save what I’ve discovered for myself these past few dark days.

How could a man, a mere mortal human, with no apparent affinity with water, be a leader, let alone savior, to creatures that spawn, and indeed live in the sea all of their lives?

As I mulled this over, I arrived on the gravel driveway of Mustus’ home.

Exiting the car, I decided to leave the glasses on; some of the rays of light shone directly upon his house. I found that rather coincidental.

As I stepped onto the rotting old porch, the door swung open so quickly that I was a bit startled.

“Come in, come in. I knew ye’d come,” chuckled the old man.

“Here we go again” I thought to myself.

“Alright, Mustus, no games. No riddles. This time, I want some answers. I want you to kindly tell me exactly what the hell is going on.”

“Hell is jis' what’s goin’ on, my friend,” he said.

I was feeling rather irritated. I was suffering a bit of a headache, possibly from the light in my eyes earlier. I opened my mouth to make a sharp comment, but the old man cut me off before I could.

“Now lissen’ to me,” he said.

I took off my sunglasses and clipped them onto my shirt collar.

“Yer father was a doctor, right?”

“Right.”

“Well, he did all he could to get by and make hisself and his family a comfortable livin’. But, he also was a doctor of other things, too.”

“Other things…”

“Fer example, I showed ye the paper last time ye were here, remember? The paper about the test tube baby?”

“Yes?”

“That was you. You were created in a lab.”

“You showed me the paper, I remember. That doesn’t really prove anything though--but go on.”

“Well, it be true. I used to be a member of the Order, at the lodge back east. When the government came out an’ blew ‘em all up, well… they disappeared, the Deep Ones, for a real long time.” He went on. “They moved out, most of ‘em, ‘cept my kin--‘cept fer the Marshes.”

“The Marsh family--I read that they were the largest family in Innsmouth, but as of late they had been, well, petering out? Due to inbreeding, as well as breeding with… those things?”

“Yes, yes. Ye got it straight.”

“And…?”

“And, most of them people out there, they left and came… here.”

“Here, to Portland…”

“Yes. Here.”

“But, I haven’t seen any conglomeration of townsfolk around here--indeed, there are no real fishing villages around here…”

“They’re here, believe ye me, lad.”

“Where?”

“Everywhere. They done learned their lesson, they did. Back then, back east--they was all in the town of Innsmouth, and they got caught. The government blew most of ‘em to kingdom come. The rest of ‘em, they just holed up in their houses and carried on in secret, or they came… here.”

“So, they’re just spread out, all over Portland?”

“Fer the most part. But a great deal of ‘em, they’re…” He trailed off, and pointed down with one finger.

“What? Where?”

“In the sea, some of ‘em in the caves.”

“Caves? What caves?”

“You seen ‘em. There’s a whole network of caves, tunnels--even an underwater city somewhere out there, but I dunno where it’s at. Maybe ye can remember, or find out… Anyhow, ye seen some of the caverns, under my house. Down there, where I got one of ‘em chained up… ‘member?”

“Yes.”

“Well, some of ‘em went off under the sea, cuz they was ready, ye see… And the others, them regular people--they’re either around the surrounding towns on the coast, or… in the caves underneath.”

“So, some of them… turned? Into these… Deep Ones?”

“Yep, sure did. It was only a matter of time.”

Vor’li’ka… Protector of men… Men? I wanted to ask him about the dream, but he continued on.

“So, the government, they got wind of what yer father was doin’. They tracked him down, but when they did, yer father done disappeared too. With the baby--with ye.”

“My father died in the war--remember?”

“That’s the official explanation. That’s what he spread ‘round, so’s they’d quit lookin’ fer him.”

“Come on, Mustus. You really expect me to believe…”

“Believe it, cuz it be the truth. I ain’t given over to tellin’ lies. I may be old and a bit daft to some, but when it comes to Deep Ones, I know what I know, and I’m tellin’ ye the truth, I swear it.”

“So according to you, my father supposedly didn’t die in the war; how did he die, then?

“He didn’t die.”

“What?”

“He’s alive.”

“Alive? Where? Where is he?”

Again, he pointed downwards.

“The sea? My father is a Deep One, is that what you’re saying?”

“That be the truth.”

I wasn’t sure how to take this news. If the old man was telling the truth, it would explain a great deal of the strange events that have been happening to me during the past few days. It would also explain why he and my uncle spent so much time together, as well as the house and it’s dark passages, the strange statues and items in the attic. If not, well--he had a hell of a sense of humor, and I might just have to have him committed.

There was so much evidence to support his story, though… and I needed more information. “Tell me, Mustus--who, what--is Cthulhu?”

The old man froze, his eyes widening somewhat, as if I had blasphemed so terribly that a bolt of lightning may at any moment strike us down.

“If ye don’t know, then… ye don’t need ta know,” he said.

“Come on, old man. I’ve been in the middle of the strangest events for the past few days, and you’re involved in it. All of this somehow seems to lead up to him--It--whatever. This “Cthulhu”… Come on now, tell me.”

“He… He is the most evil of all the Ancient Ones. He is the Lord of the Abyss. He rules over the oceans, over the Deep Ones.”

“What’s the connection with the Deep Ones?”

“They serve him. Only, the ones out here, out west, they don’t know where He is. All the old records were destroyed, when the government agents blasted up Innsmouth and Devil’s Reef. They are searching for R’lyeh, where…”

“Where Dead Cthulhu lies dreaming,” I finished for him.

“Yes… Yes, exactly.”

“What does that mean? What or where is “R’lyeh””?

“R’Lyeh is His place; His city. He an’ all of His brethren, they took on the Elder Gods, and they lost. They got sent to prisons all over the place. Hastur, He got sent off to someplace out in the heavens; Ithaqua, to the snowy wastes of the north…”

“…and Cthulhu, to the sunken building or city, of R’lyeh, under the seas.”

“Exactly.”

Things were starting to fall into place--somewhat.

“So, what does Cthulhu need from me?”

Here, the old man seemed to hesitate.

“He… He… I don’t know…”

I sent him a sharp look.

“Well…”

“Well, what?”

“Accordin’ to legend… and to yer father… ye are the redeemer. The savior, I guess.”

“Vor’li’ka?”

“Yes, ye got it. That’s yer official name--yer official title.”

I wasn’t sure, but it seemed that the old man seemed somewhat… fearful of me? It was as if a switch turned on in his brain--as if he suddenly thought I was going to lash out at him? I wasn’t sure what it meant.

“So, “Vor’li’ka” means “Protector”?”

“No, no. It… It implies that… It’s more what ye are, what ye do. The name, well- it’s more of a title, than a name. Sort of.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Vor’li’ka--the word, it’s a name for ye, and ye only. That’s a Deep One name, it is.”

“So, I have a given name, in the language of the Deep Ones.”

“Yes, and it has an English translation.”

“What--“

“Dagon.”

I stopped short. The blood chilled in my veins, and my scalp and palms broke out in a cold, oily sweat.

Somehow, I wanted, hoped that this was all an elaborate story by a lunatic old man, but I knew… I knew that is was the truth. It was as if someone had turned on a switch in my brain. It seemed as if this whole time, I had been living a sort of a lie--or rather, performing a façade of a life, when in fact…

“I didn’t want to tell ye that, but know ye knows,” the old man said in a hushed voice.

“How was I born?”

“Yer father, he made ye, as ye know… But with the donated cells and sperm of… Him…”

“Him?”

The old man just looked at me, not daring to speak His name aloud.

“Say it.”

The old man hesitated, unsure of what to do.

“SAY IT,” I screamed.

“C-C-Cthulhu…” he moaned, almost as if in agony to merely say the name.

“Dagon… Dagon was a mythical fish creature. Ponape, Philistines… Every culture has a legend of some sort of a fish god. Neptune, for god’s sake. Are you saying…”

“Some myths have a basis in fact, lad,” he said.

“But Mustis, I’m not thousands of years old, and I’ve never been much for the water.”

“Not lately.”

“What do you mean? What do you mean by that?”

“I mean… There is a legend among the Deep Ones, that in order to free… Him… to free Cthulhu--they need a leader, and protector. They learned what they done wrong at Innsmouth. And yer father, he somehow got the… material… to make you, while back there. Somehow… Somehow, boy--ye’re the key to it all. Those other Deep Ones back there, they got to bein’ so degenerate, those ones that survived the government raid, that they’s pretty much killed themselves off. Only yer father knew the secret of Cthulhu.”

I listened intently as he went on.

“They always used the name Dagon; they used it as a cover. The Esoteric Order of Dagon, back in Innsmouth--they was really worshippin’ Him.”

“Cthulhu…”

“Yes, yes…”

“So, there really was no Dagon… except…”

“’Cept for ye.”

“Dagon…”

“See, t'was but a front--yet it was… well, it was like--a double bluff. They acted like they used Dagon for a front fer worshippin’ Him, when in fact, there really was--or was going to be--a Dagon anyway. They was protectin’ the secret of Dagon, and in so doin’, they was protectin’ the secret of… Cthulhu.”

“Me…”

“Yes. It was all in the name of Him, of Cthulhu, and that’s why ye have to help me, instead. I know there’s good in ya, boy, I know there is. Ye has to help me, and not them.”

“Mustus… Are you absolutely sure of all this?”

“I’m pretty sure…”

“’Pretty sure’ doesn’t convince me--I need facts.”

“I don’t know what else I can do. Ye’ve seen the Deep One downstairs. Ye seen the paper I showed ye.”

The old man looked me, grabbing my arm.

“Tell me ye’ll help me. I need yer word. Ye gots to help me.”

“I don’t know what you expect me to do.”

“Come with me--ye knows where we’re going to go, ye been there already.”

“Yes, and that reminds me--how is it, exactly, that I had a dream--and you were in it, talking to me? Talking to me, well, as if it was real, and not a dream?”

“It weren’t no dream, ye knows that.”

“Somehow, yes… but…”

“But nuthin’. Ye’re under their spell. Yer one of ‘em. But ye can fight it. Ye can help me fight them.”

“You have to quench your thirst for revenge, for what they did to your wife Emma.”

“Yes. And to me…”

“But, if you’re one of them--“

“Never.”

“Okay, if you were one of them, why don’t you just go back to them? What’s the big deal? Your wife, in your own words, is there, with them. Surely she would be happy to see you again?”

“If ye had a wife, would ye done give ‘er over to some… monster, as a sacrifice? Or to birth more monstrosities? Would ye?”

“No, I don’t suppose I would.”

“I’m an old man. They know about me, they know where I’m at. I can’t go back to ‘em, even if I wanted to. I don’t know how long I can hold ‘em off. Sooner or later, it’s gonna be me or them. If I gotta go, I’ll damn sure take some of ‘em with me to hell.”

“Mustus, I would really rethink this.”

“Ain’t nothin’ to rethink. My mind is made up. Now, are ye gonna help me or not?”

“What do you want me to do?”

At that, the old man laid out his plans, and I listened. There was a voice in the back of my head, telling me to leave and to leave now, but I ignored it. I wanted to hear what it was that he had in mind. Then, I would gauge for myself if I would partake of this lunacy.



Click Here for Part 11 of THE HOUSE IN THE PORT
by J.R. Torina

No comments:

Post a Comment

Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sanford Meschkow's
INEVITABLE

Sanford Meschkow is a retired former
NYer who married a Philly suburban
Main Line girl. Sanford has been pub-
lished in a 1970s issue of AMAZING.
We welcome him here on the FREE-
ZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE RECIDIVIST



Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE MEMORY SECTOR

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking currently
resides in the high desert of Phoenix,
Arizona where he enjoys campy horror
movies within the comfort of an Insane
Asylum. Search for his science fiction
stories at The Intestinal Fortitude in
the Flesheater's World section.
The Memory Sector is his first
appearance in the Freezine of
Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Owen R. Powell's
NOETIC VACATIONS

Little is known of the mysterious
Owen R. Powell (oftentimes referred
to as Orp online). That is because he
usually keeps moving. The story
Noetic Vacations marks his first
appearance in the Freezine.

Edward Morris's
MERCY STREET

Edward Morris is a 2011 nominee for
the Pushcart Prize in literature, has
also been nominated for the 2009
Rhysling Award and the 2005 British
Science Fiction Association Award.
His short stories have been published
over a hundred and twenty times in
four languages, most recently at
PerhihelionSF, the Red Penny Papers'
SUPERPOW! anthology, and The
Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. He lives
and works in Portland as a writer,
editor, spoken word MC and bouncer,
and is also a regular guest author at
the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)
GROUND PORK


Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR

Gene Stewart is a writer and artist.
He currently lives in the Midwest
American Wilderness where he is
researching tales of mystical realism,
writing ficta mystica, and exploring
the dark by casting a little light into
the shadows. Follow this link to his
website where there are many samples
of his writing and much else; come
explore.

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL & SIR
FRANCIS DRAKE



Adam Bolivar's
THE TIME-EATER


Adam Bolivar is an expatriate Bostonian
who has lived in New Orleans and Berkeley,
and currently resides in Portland, Oregon
with his beloved wife and fluffy gray cat
Dahlia. Adam wears round, antique glasses
and has a fondness for hats. His greatest
inspirations include H.P. Lovecraft,
Jack tales and coffee.


David Agranoff's
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S MANDATE


David Agranoff is the author of the
short story collection Screams From
A Dying World, just published by
Afterbirth Books. David is a hardcore
vegan and tireless environmentalist.
His contributions to the punk horror
scene and the planet in general have
already established him as a bright
new writer and activist to watch out
for. The Freezine of Fantasy and
Science Fiction welcomes him and
his defiant vision open-heartedly.

David is a busy man, usually at work
on several different novels or projects
at once. He is sure to leave his mark on
a world teetering over the edge of
ecological imbalance. David's latest
books include the Wuxia -Pan
(martial arts fantasy) horror
novel called Hunting The Moon Tribe,
already out from Afterbirth Books.;
The Vegan Revolution...with Zombies,
[Deadite Press, 2010]; and
[Deadite Press, 2014]

Daniel José Older's
GRAVEYARD WALTZ


Daniel José Older's
THE COLLECTOR

Daniel José Older's spiritually driven,
urban storytelling takes root at the
crossroads of myth and history.
With sardonic, uplifting and often
hilarious prose, Older draws from
his work as an overnight 911 paramedic,
a teaching artist & an antiracist/antisexist
organizer to weave fast-moving, emotionally
engaging plots that speak whispers and
shouts about power and privilege in
modern day New York City. His work
has appeared in the Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, The ShadowCast
Audio Anthology, The Tide Pool, and
the collection Sunshine/Noir, and is
featured in Sheree Renee Thomas'
Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.
When he's not writing, teaching or
riding around in an ambulance,
Daniel can be found performing with
his Brooklyn-based soul quartet
Ghost Star. His blog about the
ridiculous and disturbing world
of EMS can be found here.


Johnny Strike's
AS YOU WISH



Johnny Strike's
NIGHT FLAMERS



Johnny Strike's
THE HOMELESS MUTANTS



Johnny Strike will beat you with his guitar
and leave you lying in the gutter wishing you
had never dared enter his under ground world
of fake passports, lucky amulets, rain soaked
hotels, and occult mystique. If you don't leave
nice comments under his story, he's sure to sic
his band CRIME on you. He also wrote the novel
Ports Of Hell (Headpress), recommended by
William S. Burroughs. You don't receive kudos
from William Lee himself unless you are the
epitome of cool. Besides, have you listened to
CRIME's album Exalted Masters? It was
released in 2007 on the Crime Music label,
on vinyl only, featuring a slew of their old
rare hits. Its real punk music from seasoned
veterans. Now go track yourself down a copy
before its out of print. The Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction is proud to host the story
that contains the line which titles his first
From Above (Rudos and Rubes).


Paul Stuart's
SEA?TV!


Paul Stuart is the author of numerous
biographical blurbs written in the third
person. His previously published fiction
appears in The Vault of Punk Horror and
His non-fiction financial pieces can be found
in a shiny, west-coast magazine that features
pictures of expensive homes, as well as images
of women in casual poses and their accessories.
Consider writing him at paul@twilightlane.com,
if you'd like some thing from his garage. In fall
2010, look for Grade 12 Trigonometry and
Pre-Calculus -With Zombies.


Rain Grave's
MAU BAST


Rain Graves is an award winning
author of horror, science fiction and
poetry. She is best known for the 2002
Poetry Collection, The Gossamer Eye
(along with Mark McLaughlin and
David Niall Wilson). Her most
recent book, Barfodder: Poetry
Written in Dark Bars and Questionable
Cafes, has been hailed by Publisher's
Weekly as "Bukowski meets Lovecraft..."
in January of 2009. She lives and
writes in San Francisco, performing
spoken word at events around the
country. 877-DRK-POEM -



Icy Sedgwick's
THE PORCELAIN WOMAN


Icy Sedgwick is part writer and part
trainee supervillain. She lives in the UK
but dreams of the Old West. Her current
works include a ghost story about a Cavalier
and a Western tale of retribution. Find her
ebooks, free weekly fiction and other
shenanigans at Icy’s Cabinet of Curiosities.


Blag Dahlia's
armed to the teeth
with LIPSTICK



BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend.
Singer, Songwriter, producer &
founder of the notorious DWARVES.
He has written two novels, ‘NINA’ and
‘ARMED to the TEETH with LIPSTICK’.


G. Alden Davis's
THE FOLD


G. Alden Davis wrote his first short story
in high school, and received a creative
writing scholarship for the effort. Soon
afterward he discovered that words were
not enough, and left for art school. He was
awarded the Emeritus Fellowship along
with his BFA from Memphis College of Art
in '94, and entered the videogame industry
as a team leader and 3D artist. He has over
25 published games to his credit. Mr. Davis
is a Burningman participant of 14 years,
and he swings a mean sword in the SCA.


Shae Sveniker's
A NEW METAPHYSICAL STUDY
REGARDING THE BEHAVIOR
OF PLANT LIFE


Shae is a poet/artist/student and former
resident of the Salt Pit, UT, currently living
in Simi Valley, CA. His short stories are on
Blogger and his poetry is hosted on Livejournal.



Nigel Strange's
PLASTIC CHILDREN


Nigel Strange lives with his wife and
daughter, cats, and tiny dog-like thing
in their home in California where he
occasionally experiments recreationally
with lucidity. PLASTIC CHILDREN
is his first publication.


J.R. Torina's
THE HOUSE IN THE PORT


J.R. Torina was DJ for Sonic Slaughter-
house ('90-'97), runs Sutekh Productions
(an industrial-ambient music label) and
Slaughterhouse Records (metal record
label), and was proprietor of The Abyss
(a metal-gothic-industrial c.d. shop in
SLC, now closed). He is the dark force
behind Scapegoat (an ambient-tribal-
noise-experimental unit). THE HOUSE
IN THE PORT is his first publication.


K.B. Updike, Jr's
THE GOLDEN THIRD EYE


K.B. Updike, Jr. is a young virgin
Virginia writer. KB's life work,
published 100% for free:
(We are not certain if K.B. Updike, Jr.
has lost his Virginian virginity yet.)