He had been waiting for what was only hours, but had seemed like days, when he heard the doctor's voice. He looked up, eagerly expecting to hear the good news that the birth of his child had gone well, but the minute he saw the grave expression on the doctor's face, he knew that something was wrong.
"There have been some complications, sir."
"What? What do you mean? What kind of complications? Is Susan alright? Is the baby alright?"
The long pause made his heart sink, and he stood up and screamed "What happened, Doctor? Tell me!"
"Your wife didn't make it, sir. I'm very sorry. The baby, however, is fine. But, well...I don't quite know how to explain this, as I've never seen anything like it in my life before. You'll have to see it for yourself..."
He slowly sat down, stunned. The doctor continued to talk, to express his sympathy, but the words seemed to be coming from hundreds of miles away. He could see the doctor's lips moving, discussing the complications involved in the birth of the child, but he could not decipher any of the words.
How could she be gone? How was that possible? This can't be real, it has to be just some horrible dream that I'm going to wake up from at any minute, he thought. But it wasn't, and he knew that.
Roger Emerson and his wife Susan had only been married for a year. They were both just twenty-three years old. That day when he had lost her, everything had changed. His plans for a future with her disappeared in the most cruel and abrupt way imaginable.
He could not speak. He stared vacantly at the doctor, whose features exuded sympathy, but no amount of sympathy would ever bring his Susan back to him.
So many of the moments that they had spent together flashed in a series of brief and yet indescribably brilliant and vibrant images within his mind: the time they had first met, both of them only sixteen years old and classmates at the time, their first date, the trip to Mexico, the Caribbean cruise, all of the nights...None of those moments would ever come again. They had been swallowed up by the cold and merciless serpent known as eternity.
And what about the baby? He was now a father for the first time, and he knew that that should have given him at least some minimal happiness, but it did not. In fact, he now felt very little warmth toward this still unseen child whose arrival had taken Susan from him.
Finally, he mumbled "What is it?"
"I'm sorry? What is what, Mr. Emerson?"
"The baby, is it a girl or a boy?"
"It's a boy, sir. But as I said...there are some...well, to be quite frank, deformities. I think it would be best if we kept the child here for at least the next week, possibly two."
"Fine, may I see the child?"
The doctor hesitated for a moment then said, "Yes, of course. Come with me."
The child was sleeping, seemingly peacefully, on a small infant's cot. The deformities which the doctor had mentioned were severe. As Roger stared at his sleeping son, he could not even entirely distinguish all of the facial features. There was a nose which was tiny and bent to one side, and there were what looked to be three eyes, all of them covered by lids of an odd bluish-purple colour. The skin was droopy and waxy, and three strange long strands of skin flaps hung down in flabby clumps from the baby's face, making it look almost squid-like. Then he saw that on top of the child's small hairless head there was actually a pair of lips. They opened briefly, to breathe in unison with the tiny, raspy breaths of the infant, revealing swollen puffy gums and a tiny circular tongue.
Roger stared, dumbfounded by what he saw. "Doctor, what the hell happened to my child? These aren't just deformities...he's...he's grotesque, he's freakish looking. This can't be my child, it can't be..."
"I've never seen deformities like this before, sir, so I can understand your shock, and while I know they are quite severe, you must prepare yourself for what could be...well, more difficult times ahead. Right now the child seems quite healthy, but with deformities like this there can be no telling how long he will live. That's why we need to keep him here for a short time. We are going to have some specialists come in and do some tests, just to make sure everything is okay. When that has been completed, you may take the child home."
The thought of taking this creature anywhere repulsed Roger. But then, he immediately felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for such a cold and selfish thought. This was his son after all, and so what if the boy was deformed? He had a responsibility to care for him.
The following weeks were a blur of seemingly surreal and only partially distinguishable happenings. He had taken a leave of absence from his job. Roger was a mail sorter at the post office, and he actually enjoyed the work quite a lot. Despite the fact that it was often tedious, he liked the company of his co-workers, and he made a decent enough wage. Still, despite the fact that many of Susan's family members, and some of his own had told him that going back to work would do him good, and would help to take his mind off of things, he still felt he needed some time to himself to mourn and to soul-search, to come to grips with the fact that he was a father now, and that he would be raising what would likely be a 'special-needs' child, on his own.
The funeral had been on a cold, rainy Wednesday. Susan was laid to rest in a small plot, at the far west corner of the cemetery, next to a large oak tree. The service, like her life, had been all too brief. Tears were shed, Roger spoke with and received condolences from many of her friends and family members, and of course his own parents had been next to him throughout the duration of the bizarre and intensely difficult day.
Susan's friend, Cassie, had hugged him and sobbed, and as he looked down on her he realized how utterly terrible she looked. Her eyes had large dark sacs under them, as if she hadn't slept in days, and her figure looked emaciated. It looked as though she had lost nearly twenty pounds since the last time he had seen her. Her hands looked so fragile and bony, her face looked skeletal. Yet, there was a bulge in her stomach. Was she pregnant? It looked that way. Roger didn't think that Cassie had been going with anyone for a while, at least not in any kind of relationship. She always talked about how much she enjoyed the freedom of being single. Of being able to go wherever she wanted, and do whatever she wanted, without having to live her life in a way that always required compromise for the sake of some unworthy significant other. She had also always talked adamantly about how she never wanted to have children. And now, all of a sudden she was pregnant? It didn't make sense. Yet he paid it no further mind. She told him how great a friend Susan had been to her, as she cried against his shoulder, and he tried to comfort her, but he did not really know how to. There was no comfort to be had at a time like this.
Later, over cheap, bland tasting sandwiches and black coffee, he listened to them talk about how amazing, kind, and selfless she had been, and how much they would all miss her, nodding and staring blankly at them, knowing he was there, but yet somehow feeling so incredibly lost, as if he were nothing more than a speck of dust floating upon the brisk winds, above some distant and solitary river. Perhaps the same one which he had often seen in his dreams as a child? He had only a vague recollection of what it looked like now, but how cool and peaceful it's waters had been. I wish I could go there again, he thought. But he rarely dreamed anymore, so it was unlikely.
He had trouble sleeping at night now that Susan was gone. Not having her in bed with him was terrible. He would just lie there staring up at the ceiling for hours on end, wondering what was to become of him without her. At some point, on the night after the funeral, tears had come. He had controlled his emotions, and had been stone-faced for the funeral, but now that he was alone, and feeling so utterly lost without her, they came down: a torrential downpour of all that she had been to him, which no mere words could ever do justice to.
He thought, only momentarily, of quickly ending his own life, but then, just as quickly dismissed the thought, as he knew that he could not leave his son alone. Ah yes, his son, the hideously deformed child who had brought about the death of the dearest person to him in the world. What a way to make an entrance into this world, he thought. But to feel animosity toward that innocent child was ridiculous, and he felt utterly disgusted with himself for even feeling that way, and yet there was a loathsome part of him which did.
What about a name? He hadn't even thought about that. What would he name his son? Roger's father's name was Michael. Maybe he would name him after dad. Yeah, that sounded okay, Michael Emerson the second.
The doctor phoned Roger a week later, informing him that all of the testing had been completed, and that despite the child's severe physical flaws, he seemed to be otherwise healthy, and that the child would be fine to go home. Roger, who had been drinking quite heavily over the past few days, felt an impending burden, the weight of this strange new life being shifted onto his shoulders.
He took a Tylenol to help his hangover, and drove to the hospital to pick up his son, Michael.
When he arrived the doctor told led him into the room where he had first laid eyes on his son. There was Michael, this time awake, his beady eyes now flashing with vitality.
Michael was silent for the entire ride home. He merely sat in the car-seat which Roger had installed in the back seat and stared out at the road, taking in the strange new world that existed all around him.
Roger had purchased a crib as well as some diapers and baby food the day before. When they arrived home he placed Michael in his new crib and looked down at the child. Despite the ugliness the child still had something that reminded him of Susan. Maybe it was in the eyes, which, although greatly different from hers, still had a similar squinting expression. Susan always used to squint her eyes in order to see better. She knew she needed glasses, and had worn them as a child, but later decided she didn't like the look of them and had decided to go without them after turning eighteen. How beautiful she had been, and how deeply he missed her.
The next few months were filled with nights when Roger would be awakened to Michael's screaming and crying in the early hours of the morning. He would go into the room, take the child in his arms, rock him back and forth, holding his bottle filled with warm milk up to the tiny lips and eventually there would be peace and silence again as Michael drifted back off to sleep.
One morning, while Roger was going through Susan's things, deciding what should be thrown out and what should be kept (a task he had been putting off for a long time for obvious reasons) he came across something strange. A small leather-bound book that was some kind of a journal Susan had apparently been keeping. It was so strange though, since she had always been so open and honest with him about everything. He never thought that she would keep anything like this from him. Although, he understood that it wasn't all that unnatural for someone to want to convey their thoughts in a way that was discreet and personal. As he browsed through the faded lined pages he read brief snippets. Some of the entries were very brief and simple. She had written about her feelings toward him and the depth of their love. How much she cared for him. These parts brought tears to his eyes. But then, later, as he read the more recent entries, dated roughly a year ago he came across some very odd passages. She wrote about a meeting she had attended in a small, stuffy basement room. This had been a secretive meeting for an organization which focused on the pursuit of, as she put it "uncovering truths about the existence of extraterrestrial life." This was bizarre. Roger had never known that Susan had had any sort of interest in this sort of thing. Why had she kept it a secret from him?
He read on, and as he did so he became more and more perplexed. He knew that Susan's friend, Cassie, had always been very free-spirited and somewhat eccentric (she would often tell them about how she had visited strange and unseen worlds after meditating for hours on end and putting herself in a trace-like state of altered consciousness) but he had always thought that Susan took much of what Cassie had to say about her oddly obsessive interests in spirituality and the paranormal with a grain of salt, as he did. Now he was finding out that apparently he had been wrong.
The following entry was from November 15, 2009. I accompanied Cassie to another meeting this evening. Told Roger I was going to Bingo. He wouldn't understand if I told him, and I didn't want to make him concerned for me. There has always been a prevalent stereotype about people who are interested in UFO's or anything of this nature. People just don't want to try to understand or open their minds to the limitless possibilities that are laid out before us. It's much easier to be skeptical, to be cynical. I know that Roger is open-minded, but I still worry that if I were to tell him about my interest in the organization and their ambitions and goals, he might think that I am on the verge of losing my mind completely.
November 20, 2009
Tonight's meeting was fascinating. Chester Franklin , one of the founders of the organization, spoke to us about his certainty that extraterrestrial life exists and that aliens have visited earth. He says he can prove this as he and Sylvia, his wife, actually found an alien spacecraft which had crashed near the woods where they had been on a hiking expedition a few years ago. They entered the strange vessel and found four hideous creatures dead, a strange purplish blood oozing forth from their wasted slimy bodies. But there had been one survivor. He described it as being hideous, a gigantic reptilian thing with huge red eyes and long flaps of leathery skin hanging down like tentacles all over its bloated gelatinous body. It spoke to them, and although it's words were not in any distinguishable human language, but merely what sounded like a series of grunts and growls, somehow it was able to plant the translation of it's strange dialect directly into their minds. 'I am a passenger from the farthest depths of the deep cosmic frontier of space,' it said, 'You must help me.' And so Chester and Silvia had helped the creature. When first confronted with this I really didn't know what to make of it. He spoke eloquently, and yet what he said was so wild that I took it to be purely a concoction of his obviously unstable mind. The man has a vivid imagination, that's all. At least that was what I thought. But Chester says that he can show us proof. He and Sylvia actually helped the creature. They took it to a remote place where it would be safe from any of the prying human eyes and the representatives of the scientific community who would be sure to want to lock it away and do tests on it, and then perhaps eventually parade it around like some kind of pathetic circus freak. This could not be allowed to happen, they decided.
He set the journal down. This was insane, absolutely insane. She must have been losing her mind. But how could he not have seen any of this in her? How could he not have recognized her mental instabilities? It was mind boggling. She couldn't have possibly believed this nonsense. Not his Susan.
He went and looked in on Michael. The child looked up at him and stared inquisitively. The small eyes seemed to flash with a strange intelligence. He lifted Michael up in his arms, then brought him some food and set the child back in his crib. The child so seldom cried during the day. He was so quiet and placid. Then, in the early hours of the morning, lost in the land of sleep Roger would be awakened to Michael's screams. And he would come in and rock him gently until the cries subsided and the child slipped back to sleep. This routine had persisted for a while now, and he was used to it.
He thought for a moment about what it was going to be like when Michael got older. When he had to start school and be around other children. They would make fun of him, and he would probably have a difficult life as his social interactions would always be hampered by the fact that he looked so strange. Perhaps the doctors could do more for him. Perhaps they could perform surgery and make him look more normal. They were able to treat and help people with severe burns, people who had been injured in the most horrific accidents, people with injuries that were so awful that they no longer looked human. The doctors were able to help them. They were able to reconstruct them so that they could look in the mirror without being overcome by a sense of self-loathing, so that people would not always stare at them, and whisper to each other when they walked past.
Since Michael had arrived home Roger had stopped drinking. That was no way to live when you had a child. Yet right now, after reading all of this madness in Susan's journal, he felt a sudden urge for a drink, just to help to calm his nerves. He looked at the bottle of scotch on the counter next to the refrigerator, went to the cupboard and took out a glass, but then put the glass back and shook his head. No, a drink was not the answer, and clinging to the temporary relief offered by the bottle was nothing more than an illusion. He turned away and went back into the bedroom that he and Susan used to share, the room where they had spent so many wonderful nights together. And he had thought that there was to be so many more, only a short time ago. He had thought that she would be with him until they were both old and grey. How could she have left him this way? And how could she have kept these ridiculous interests in aliens and UFOs and these bizarre meetings with this weird cultish group a secret? It was so unlike her. Their openness and frankness with one another had always been the backbone and the bedrock of their relationship.
He picked up the journal and started reading the next entry.
November 24, 2009
Things keep getting stranger and stranger. Cassie and I went to another meeting. Chester and his wife Sylvia have been so very kind to us both, and after the meeting they invited us over to their home for a few glasses of wine. They live in a beautiful spot with an amazing view of the entire city. You can look down on the world from thirty stories above and everything below looks so tiny. As we had our drinks the conversation inevitably turned back to what we knew it would: the creature which they had supposedly found in the crashed spaceship. I asked them where they had hidden it, and whether it was still in contact with them. 'Oh yes,' said Chester, 'We visit him quite regularly. And he gives us...instructions. He guides us. For he is a being of such an advanced intellect, that we have no choice but to admire his great words, and follow his teachings. You see, humans are very much like insects in comparison to those ones, the ones we called the great and omnipotent ones. They have watched us for thousands of years. They have seen mankind destroy itself over and over again, and then attempt to rebuild from the ruins of their repeated failures, some kind of elusive identity, which has resulted only in recurring falsehood and recurring destruction. And the One, the Great One, who we were so fortunate to come across, the one who goes by the name Sovalarias, he told us something that has since become the purpose of both mine and Silva's lives. He told us that mankind needs to be reborn. Not reborn in the sense that religion teaches, but to actually be physically reborn, to take on an entirely new and better form.' Cassie looked at me, and we both looked over at Sylvia, who nodded her head in agreement with all that her husband had said. 'I know this sounds incredible, but it's all true,' she said, 'Chester and I have made it our life's purpose to help Sovalarias in his mission to rebuild mankind, starting all over from scratch. And oh how wonderful it will be when we bring the first of the new race into this world. The old must be destroyed completely, they must be uprooted from the earth like the weeds they have become, and a new breed will flourish in the midst of their long overdue demise.' After leaving their home Cassie and I talked about how nutty they both were, but there is still something inside me that wonders if it's not possible that some of what they were saying is true. I mean, perhaps they just imagined this whole story about the alien, but their belief in starting a new human race, that seemed sincere, which is all the more troubling; all the more crazy. To be honest, I don't really know what to think anymore. Things have gotten so bizarre. I don't know what to think...Chester and Sylvia told Cassie and I that they can prove that everything they told us is true, that they can take us to see this creature, this Sovalarias. We agreed to come to their place again next week, and then to accompany them to the place where it resides.
Roger tried to think back to November of 2009. What had Susan's demeanour been like back then? He couldn't recall anything abnormal, but, then again, judging by the contents of this journal, it seemed that Susan had been very good at hiding things. How could she have even associated with such wackos? These people, Chester and Silvia, they clearly belonged in a mental institution. Some place where they could be examined very closely and receive the professional treatment that they required. Sure, Cassie had always been a little bit 'out there,' she had always had an interest in UFOs and the supernatural. She had asked Susan to come along to a séance with her once, but Susan had merely laughed and told her that she wasn't interested in that kind of thing. This was what made Susan's writing all the more baffling. It was so crazy. Susan knew these people were nuts, so why did she continue to meet with them? Maybe she had just been amused by them, fascinated by their madness. He shook his head and at that moment the phone rang and he set down the journal and went into the other room to answer it.
"Hello, can I speak to Mr. Emerson please."
"Mr. Emerson, my name is Clifford Moore and I'm a medical specialist. My focus is on the treatment of infants who are born with severe birth defects. It is to my understanding that there were some complications during the birth of your son. Is this correct?"
"Yes, I suppose you could say that. Where did you get this information?"
"From an associate at the hospital where your son was born, a doctor who thought that perhaps I might be able to be of some assistance to you. I might be able to help your child."
"In what way?"
"Well, there is a procedure that a colleague of mine and I have some expertise in, a series of complex operations that we could perform on your son that might correct some of the deformities."
Roger had been thinking about this for the past few days. He wanted Michael to be able to grow up without having to suffer through the obvious disadvantages that his condition would bring upon him.
"How much would these procedures cost? I don't have a lot of money right now, but I want to do everything I can to see that my son is able to live unhindered by these serious physical flaws."
"The organization I work for is government funded and, if after examining your son, we deem him to be in enough need of the surgeries, then we would perform them free of charge."
"That would be good. How soon can I make an appointment to bring Michael in to see you, Doctor Moore?"
"Well, I was thinking that if it would be alright with you, I could drop by your residence to have a look at him tomorrow afternoon."
"Sure," Roger said, "that would be great," and he gave him the address and thanked him.
Then after hanging up the phone, he went back into his bedroom and picked up the journal again. He continued reading.
December 1, 2009
Snow fell last night, only a light dusting, but enough to cover the roads and sidewalks with a thin film of whiteness that is quite beautiful to look at. Roger and I also went to see a movie last night: Avatar. It was decent, but definitely didn't live up to all of the hype surrounding it. Roger was less impressed with it than I was.
This evening Cassie and I are going back to the home of our favourite loony couple, Chester and Sylvia Franklin. Maybe they'll take us to see their little green friend this time. They promised that they would, so I intend to hold them to that promise.
December 2, 2009
I don't know how to even begin. How can I possibly describe what happened last night? I'm not sure whether I should even attempt to. Were it not for the fact that I have to put this down on the page just to convince myself that it all wasn't a horrible nightmare, I would likely leave it alone for good, and just pretend that that was all it actually was: just a bad dream. Except, I know it wasn't. I know it was real, and that is what makes it all the more dreadful.
We went to visit the Franklins last night, and they took us to see it. They've hidden it away in a very remote area. Chester drove for nearly two hours to get us there. He turned down a dirt road which ran through a dark wooded landscape. Huge pine trees and evergreens towered over us on both sides of the gravelly road, and other than the thin beams from the headlights in front of us, the only other light came from the pale silver crescent moon above us. Bats flew by outside the windows, and somewhere off in the distance some sort of wild animal, perhaps a coyote or a wolf, let loose a howling noise that echoed through the trees and drifted on through the cold night air like the haunted cry of some wandering phantom. Deeper and deeper we went, Chester's Jeep rumbling on across the narrow dusty stone-strewn road, the engine humming almost in unison with the crickets which chirped outside.
Sylvia talked about how excited she was that we had finally come to see the Great Sovalarias. "He will be very happy to have some company. We come to visit him quite often, but for obvious reasons we haven't been able to bring many others out here, because there are some folks who have a great deal of difficulty keeping secrets. We need to protect the Great One from anyone who would wish to obstruct him from fulfilling his mission, from creating a New Beginning. So if anyone untrustworthy was to come here and see him, and then go and tell others of his existence, then everything could be ruined. We trust you both, and we know that neither of you will speak of anything that you see tonight with anyone except us. Besides, even if you did, it's not likely that anyone would believe you anyway. Still, discretion is mandatory."
Finally the car stopped and we got out in front of the entrance to a large stone cave, deep in the heart of the darkened woods. Chester took out a flash-light, and Sylvia held aloft a small gas lantern. A large swarm of Mosquitoes buzzed around us, and I swatted them away from my face as I breathed in deeply the smell of the woods in the cold, crisp night air. "Is it in there?" I asked Chester, pointing to the cave as we came nearer.
"Yes. The Great Exalted One is in there, and HE's been expecting us."
We entered the cave and slowly progressed down a deep, damp tunnel which smelled of mold and earth-rot. Then we came into a large dark cavernous area with strange drawings on the stone walls, similar to those I had seen in National Geographic photos of ancient Aztec cave paintings except for the fact that these were drawings of strange hideous looking creatures, monstrosities beyond the mind's wildest possible conceptions: things with enormous serpentine bodies and massive reptilian heads out of which glared horrible deep red eyes. Some of the images showed these terrible creatures devouring humans, tearing limbs from their bodies. Others were of the beasts eating their own. One, directly beside me vividly portrayed a huge bony monster with long dangling bony claw-like hands shoving a human infant into its' mouth.
"These drawings, they're horrible!" I said, and Chester looked at me in a strange way, his eyes now much colder than they had been before, his facial expression much more severe.
"These are images of things that are to come. There is nothing horrible about them. In fact, if you ask me, they're quite beautiful indeed. They represent the coming of a new breed of life on this wretched planet, a dominant breed, far superior to the feeble rubes that now walk this pathetic Earth of ours, a breed of beings that will rule the world and drown all of the foolish mortals who have done nothing but fail continually for centuries in oceans of their own worthless blood."
Cassie and I both looked at him, then at each other. Chester seemed very different now, almost as if he was a different person, far from his ordinary mild-mannered self. His eyes glared wildly at the drawings on the walls, and a thin film of perspiration had broken out on his forehead, despite the fact that it was quite cold in the cave.
"Now, don't frighten them, Chester," Sylvia said.
"Frighten them? Why what is there to be frightened of? Come on ladies, He awaits us."
We followed him further on into the depths of the stony cavernous tunnel, until finally he stopped, and a terrible noise came from an enormous form completely shrouded in shadow a few feet in front of us. It was close to twenty feet tall and had a gargantuan midsection which hung down in massive rolls of bloated doughy flab which hung down over the ground, spread out beneath and around it like some huge disgusting parachute of pale clammy flesh. As Chester shined the flashlight on it I could see that the creature had two long, thin arms which shot out toward us like giant cobras, the enormously long, bony fingers reaching toward Cassie and I. We stepped back out of its' reach and we both screamed in terror at the sight of the monstrosity. It opened its' mouth and let loose an ear-drum rattling guttural growl which got louder and louder, changing in tone just as the creature's massive mouth opened, the vast jaws lifting to reveal thousands of huge knife-like teeth.
"My Great One, My Master, we have returned to you as I promised you we would. You asked for the first of the human offerings, and Sylvia and I have obeyed you, as we always shall."
The creature let out another growl which started out extremely low and progressed into a high pitched shriek, like that of a cat being mauled to death by some huge predatory beast.
As I looked over at Chester, and saw the wild glint of hysterical glee in his eyes, I came to the realization that he had planned this all along. He had Brought Cassie and I there as some sort of an offering to this horrible creature. We were to be devoured as sacrificial lambs. He had planned this out from the beginning. I wonder how many others from his group of mad fanatical followers he had already brought down here as offerings to this brutal creature that he worshipped. Maybe we were the first, or maybe there had been dozens of others. The man is beyond insane, I can see that now completely, and his madness is not the kind that simply has led him to an existence of harmless eccentricity, there is a terrible sinister homicidal depravity within him. He actually believes everything he said about wanting to wipe out all of humanity and start over in a world ruled by the likes of that abhorrent beast in the cave that reached out its' awful arms toward us again.
Then, as deadly-fast as a cobra striking its' prey, Sovalarias sprang forward, and despite its huge blubbery body, it was tremendously quick. It grabbed me and Cassie, and pulled us toward it, toward its' hideous face and horrible massive gaping jaws. But it didn't eat us. It pulled us closer towards it and I felt the soft, clammy flesh against me, and then I felt a horrible feeling inside, as if something was ripping my innards apart. The things had torn right through my pants, shredded them away, and I saw them fall to the ground like discarded refuse. I heard Cassie screaming hysterically and I was sure that she must have been feeling that same terrible sensation. The appalling monstrosity made dreadful noises as it pressed into me...and then, terrified and overcome by agony and revulsion, watching the thin deep-red trickles of blood drip down from between my legs, I blacked out.
When I awoke, I was lying in a hospital bed. I immediately wondered if I hadn't just dreamed everything. Maybe that awful monster had been only a creation of my overly agitated mind. Then I pulled off the covers and saw the dark bloody stains in the area between my legs which was now covered by flimsy hospital issued undergarments. It had all been real. Yet I had survived it. The thing had let me live. My next immediate thought was about Cassie. Was she dead? I asked the nurse and she told me that Cassie's injuries had been slightly more serious, but that they expected that she would survive. I asked the nurse how long I'd been in the hospital. 'Only a few hours,' she told me.
My hand is shaking as I write this, and I feel like I've been torn apart inside. It's like my insides are contaminated now…Like I've fallen into an infinite abyss. In my mind I just keep on falling and falling, on and on, plummeting down, like in an endless nightmare, hoping to hit the bottom, if only to make the horrible dream end…but it just doesn't. I just feel like I'm falling endlessly. It never stops.
Roger put the journal down, leaving a piece of folded paper inside it to mark where he had left off. The child was crying in the other room. "It's okay, Michael." he said, picking the baby up and rocked him back-and-forth in his arms until the crying ceased, and there was silence. When Michael had gone back to sleep Roger gently placed him back in the crib, went into the living room and picked up the phone. He dialed Cassie's number, and after five rings a soft, uncertain-sounding voice answered.
"Hello, Cassie. It's Roger."
"Roger? Oh…yes, of course…Roger. How are you doing?"
"I'm hanging in there. How about you? You don't sound too good."
"I'm just a little tired, that's all. Been having trouble sleeping lately."
"Listen, Cassie. There's something I need to talk to you about, and I need you to be completely honest with me because this is very important, alright?"
There was silence on the other end of the line. Perhaps she was coming to the realization that somehow he knew something that he wasn't supposed to know.
"You still there, Cassie?"
"I'm here…" she said, now sounding quite nervous and agitated.
"I came across a journal that Susan had kept. She had it put away. I think it was something that she didn't want me to see. Certain entries in that journal which were made fairly recently are disturbing, to say the least."
Now Cassie sounded shaken, very upset, "She didn't want you to know because she was sure that you would think we were insane. She thought that you wouldn't believe any of it, and really, who would? It sounds like total lunacy. I know that it does. She didn't want you to get pulled into any of this."
"How can you say that? She was my wife, and I loved her. I would have done anything for her. But what's written down in that journal is madness. Alien Gods, and some whack-job cultists worshipping and serving them? C'mon, Cassie, this is ridiculous."
"That's exactly why she never told you, because she knew you'd react that way, and she didn't want to get you involved, because she loved you, Roger. So it's best to just leave this all alone. Forget about the journal. Forget that you ever read any of it. Throw it in the garbage, or burn it, and move on with your life. That's the best thing you can do at this point. And your child…you have to take the child away, if you don't want them to get it, because they will come for the child. Make no mistake. If I were you I would do one of two things: either get rid of the child, or move away. Move far, far away, and hope that they won't ever find you."
"Hope that who won't ever find me?"
"Who, Cassie?! Those people that Susan wrote about in her journal?"
"They're going to come looking for me soon. But they won't be able to get what they want from me. I'm not going to bring one of those things into this world."
"What are you talking about?"
There was a click on the other end of the line. She had hung up.
The next day he had heard on the news that a pregnant woman had jumped twenty stories from a balcony to her death on the pavement below, from the apartment where Cassie lived. They didn't release the name. They didn't have to. He knew that it had been her.
He thought long and hard about what to do. She had told him to take the child and leave, to go far away because these people would come for him. And then what? Would they take him away to his true father, that monstrous alien thing which Susan had described in her journal? That was absurd. It was absolute craziness.
When he finally heard the knock at the door which he had been expecting, he jumped up, and looked at the door. Then he shook his head, ashamed that he had even for a moment thought twice about going to open it. Cassie had clearly been insane in her last days, there was no doubt about that. No one was coming to get Michael. There was no need to be worried because of the wild ramblings of a paranoid girl who had obviously suffered from mental illness during her tragic last days. Still, he found himself walking into the kitchen, opening a drawer and putting a large knife into one of the pockets of his pants. Three more loud knocks at the door came. He went and opened it, and stared into the face of a rather short, almost kindly looking man wearing a dark top hat, the kind you would see being worn in one of those black-and-white 1950's gangster films. When the man spoke, his voice was soft and very disarming, "Hello, Mr. Emerson. I'm Clifford Moore. I spoke to you on the phone yesterday, as I'm sure you recall."
"Yes, of course. Come on in, Mr. Moore."
Moore stepped inside and closed the door behind him. The second the door closed, Michael started to cry in the other room, almost as if he sensed something wrong, some imminent danger.
"May I see the child?"
"Certainly," Roger said, and he led Moore into the other room. Michael was crying quite loudly, and Roger picked the boy up in his arms and started to slowly rock him back and forth.
"I think you'd better give him to me, Mr. Emerson," Moore said. Roger turned around and saw that he man was pointing a gun at him. "I've come to take him home. You are not this child's true father, Roger. The GREAT EXALTED ONE, Solvalarias, is his real father. He must come back home now, and be a part of the great plans that have been laid out for him. You're time with him is through."
Roger started at him, dumbfounded. So it had been true. At least, the parts about this nutcase that Susan had described in her journal, the Chester character.
"So, you must be Chester. We meet at last. I've heard, or rather, read, a lot about you."
"Give me the child, Roger, or I'll put a bullet in your head and take him. He will come with me, either way, whether you are dead or alive, and quite frankly it makes no difference to me if I have to kill you, for I serve a greater purpose than you could ever possibly comprehend. I am doing the work of a God, one who will soon reap havoc on this sad and pitiful world, and start everything over."
"You really are bat-shit insane," Roger said.
"I'll ask you once more, Mr. Emerson, give me the child."
Roger handed Michael to Chester, staring him straight in the eye with a look of such pure hatred that despite having a gun in his hand, the man stepped back, looking mildly apprehensive for a moment, but then the look of smug confidence which he normally exuded returned to his face, and taking Michael in one arm, he started walking backwards, toward the door, keeping the gun pointed at Roger as he went.
"Don't even think about following me, Mr. Emerson. Just be thankful that I have decided to spare your life, and be happy that you were able to play a tiny role in briefly taking care of one of the offspring of the great Beast, who shall soon destroy this despicable world and rebuild something greater than anyone could ever imagine from the ashes and ruination. Do not do anything foolish. Just stay here and forget that this child ever came from your departed wife."
So saying, Chester stepped into the hallway, with Michael in his arms, still crying, and closed the door.
Roger went to his side window, which looked out on the parking lot, and saw Chester hand the baby over to a middle-aged woman, who had been waiting in the car for him. This must have been Sylvia, whom Susan had also described in her journal. He felt a terrible, frantic anger within himself. How dare they do this! These people were insane and they had kidnapped his child. He wanted to kill them both. He saw the car turning out of the parking lot, and he grabbed his keys and quickly ran out the door, got into his car, and started to pursue them.
He tried to stay well behind them and out of sight, so as not to arouse any suspicion that they were being followed, for fear that they might hurt Michael if they thought he was coming after them.
He followed them from a safe distance on and on for nearly two hours as they drove down the freeway, with open fields to both sides, and he felt the cool wind blowing against the damp perspiration on his face through the open window. Night had fallen, and when they finally turned off the freeway and down a long gravelly road into a wooded area, he breathed in deeply, unsure of how he was going to proceed when it came time to finally confront them. All he had was the kitchen knife in his pocket, and Chester had a gun, so he would have to sneak up on them somehow.
Everything was so dark. Despite having his headlights on, it was still difficult to see very far ahead on the road. He kept well back, at what he thought was still a safe distance, but with the darkness all around, for a moment he had lost sight of them. Then, far off in front of him he saw the other car make a slow turn around a bend in the road which veered off deeper into the woods.
Finally, he saw the car come to a stop, far up ahead. He pulled over to the side of the road, not closing the door fully to avoid making any noise, and silently walked along the edge of the forest on the left side of the road, so that he was less apt to be spotted. It was so hard to see now, there was faint illumination up ahead, and he could now hear Michael crying. He saw the two figures, Chester and Sylvia, getting out of the car. The woman was still carrying Michael in her arms, and they were going toward what looked to be a large cave, inside of which he could see faint flickers of light. He waited for what seemed like a long time, then went forward and came to the point where he was staring into the vast hole that was the entry to the cave, which they had entered. "Don't worry, Michael. I won't let them hurt you," he whispered, then went into the cave. There was very dim light, far up ahead. Flickering flashes of brief luminescence dancing to-and-fro, almost like a procession of distant fireflies. He went deeper down the through the tunnel, the smells of mold and rot all around him until he finally came to another opening which he climbed through only to have his jaw drop with terror at what he saw inside. He barely avoided giving himself away by letting loose a scream of horror at the enormous monstrosity within. The beast was huge, and hideous beyond all description. So it had all been true. Susan and Cassie had not been crazy after all! Then as he looked around he saw at least three-dozen small creatures, squirming and writhing around on the stony ground most of them had vaguely human bodies, but far worse physical deformities than Michael. Some of them even bore a faint resemblance to the horrid monster, Solvalarias. It stood towering over them, looking down at his squirming horde of slimy children. Some of them made strange hissing noises like snakes, and others merely writhed on the ground, mutely staring up at their hideous father with glassy, black, beady eyes. Chester laid Michael down on the ground, directly in front of the beast, and spoke to it, but Roger could not make out his words. Sylvia, meanwhile, was walking through the large mass of creatures which squirmed and slithered all around her. One of them crawled up her leg, and she made no motion to stop it. Another jumped onto her back and perched itself on her shoulder, hissing into her ear and digging it's clammy little claws into her skin. Roger saw that it was cutting into her, and yet she did not pull back in revulsion, as any normal human would have done, but instead let loose a noise of pleasure, almost as if the creature digging it's claws into her skin had sent her into some wild, almost orgasmic form of mental and physical ecstasy.
Without thinking, Roger suddenly dashed out into the open area, pulled the knife from his pocket, and came to a stop directly in front of the massive monstrosity. He stared into its' huge blubbery face, and at the one gigantic eye in the centre of its head. There was pure hatred within that vast eye, as there was in the other smaller eyes, all around the head. The creature let out an ear-drum rupturing shriek so high-pitched and awful, that Roger felt the reverberations vibrating within his skull. Then he climbed up on top of a large rock in front of the creature, and just as Chester raised the gun and fired at him he plunged the knife directly into the creature`s huge eye. The dreadful shrieking noise that it made seemed to actually shake the ground beneath them, and as Chester fired at him again (missing for the second time), Roger jumped down off of the rock, and snatched up Michael, whom Sylvia had laid on the ground in front of the creature, which was now moving forward. It stretched out one of its long tentacle-like arms and reached for Roger, but he was too quick for it, as he ran with everything he had, his heart pounding, and Michael crying in his arms. They had to get out, they had to make it. He heard another gun-shot and the bullet deflected against one of the rocks in front of him, inches away from his head. Then he saw a sudden stream of blazing fire, which was being spewed out of the mouth of the creature, whose massive eye was completely red now, and dripping a thick, oozing substance. The flames were spit out at everything around it, Solvalarias did not care who they consumed, since it knew it was dying, that the wound Roger had inflicted would indeed be fatal. He stepped out of the large open area into the side cavern from which he had entered, and saw the entire area behind him being literally engulfed in the flames spewing from the beast`s mouth. Chester and Sylvia were consumed entirely by the flames, as were all of the hideous offspring of Solvalarias. It had the unyielding desire to bring death to all those around it, and all those who had served it would die with it now. Roger heard the faint cries of agony as he rushed forward, down the long, damp stony cavernous wasteland, finally coming to the exit, just as the flames of the dying monolith inside crept up behind him. He dashed outside, moving even more quickly as he smelled the fresh, clean night air all around him. He whispered to Michael softly, "It's going to be all right, my dear son, everything is going to be all right."
When he got to the car, he strapped the child into the car seat and drove off down the long dirt road, oblivious to the distant screams of the dying beast far behind him.