Wednesday, February 16, 2022

An excerpt from The Werewolf Astronaut (working title)

An excerpt from The Werewolf Astronaut (working title). In this excerpt, a brave lycanthrope hunter named Angela is doing some research in a bookshop owned by the descendant of a famous author, who might have some mad arcane secrets to share...

As if on cue, Lovecraft reappeared, holding what was clearly a very old tome, bound in brown leather. He set it down in front of her without saying a word, and opened it to a page somewhere near the middle. The book was scrawled with red ink, on pages of thick, crinkled leather, in a language Angela had never seen before. She knew immediately what it was. “The…” she breathed. “Necronomicon, yes, my dear,” said Lovecraft. “The very one.” “Wow,” said Angela. “Most of this book is…unreadable. Not that you can’t read it. But you can’t read it and survive. Thus, it’s unreadable.” “Why show it to me then?” “Because of this particular incantation. The Mad Arab – pardon me, that’s an impolite thing to call him – Mr. Alhazred had dealings with lycanthropes in his life, and he recorded information about them in his most famous work. I beg you not to turn the page, my dear. Let me turn the pages. You don’t want to see…anything you don’t want to see.” Angela nodded and studied the tome. “But I can’t even read this at all. It’s just gibberish.”         But even as she said that, she felt the meaning of the words, the madness leaking out of the book, boring into her brain. The symbols seemed to twist and reshape themselves in front of her, and as they shifted from arcane shapes to recognizable letters, she watched them writhe and change into horrific figures, unfold themselves into impossible dimensions, and she began to fall into the very darkness of the book. She screamed, and blackness took her.         She awoke a few moments later, her head on the table, a little puddle of drool next to her mouth. Her head pounded, and there were monsters in it.         “Yes, that will happen,” said Lovecraft. “Sorry,” he added. “Let me just read this to you.”        “Please do,” said Angela, righting herself and rubbing her eyes.         Lovecraft hefted the evil tome and took it to a nearby chair, where he sat with a heavy sigh.         “In darkest night of fullest moon,” he read, his voice the calm of a bare ocean floor awaiting an oncoming tsunami, “the werewolves, changed, do not commune—”         “Wait, this rhymes in English?”         “It’s a tome imbued with strange and very dangerous magic, my dear. It does what it wants. Now, shall I continue?”         “Sorry,” said Angela.
In darkest night of fullest moon The werewolves, changed, do not commune For in their lonely hunt of night They dare not meet, for fear of fight But if you say these words to one, All control will be undone, They will find each other in the gloom, And all will fight until their doom.”
“Catchy,” said Angela. “So what’s the incantation?” Lovecraft let out a long sigh. “I’m about to say words in the language of the Old Ones. You may find them…unpleasant to hear. They are more unpleasant to say, believe me.” With that, Lovecraft began to chant, and the words were shattered glass, boring into Angela’s ears, piercing her mind, cutting her very soul to ribbons. She found herself unable to move, every muscle rigid, every sense heightened, trapped in the incantation, the words themselves holding her, gripping her tightly and drowning her in eldritch horror.