As my blog cover/header photo would suggest, I am a fan of all things H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos in particular. So, after recently reading Lovecraft’s iconic short story for the first time in 30 years or so, I had a thought…
It started as a whisper.
I don’t know when it started. I don’t know why. What I do know is something snaps me awake in the middle of the night. Something in my head. Something deep in my mind. In my subconscious.
At first I would just open my eyes for what seemed to be no apparent reason. I’d get up to go pee and go back to bed. I’d eventually fall back to sleep after tossing and turning a bit.
Each time I awakened I searched the recesses of my brain for a reason. I was tired, exhausted even. Caffeine wasn’t the cause of my insomnia. I wasn’t overtired. Sure my lower back was sore, it was always sore.
Night after night the same thing. Countless nights. Waking for no reason, peeing, trying to get back to sleep. Over and over. I lost track of how many nights I stared at the LED readout on the clock radio as the minutes ticked off until I drifted back to fitful sleep.
Then I noticed it.
Gentle. I wouldn’t even call it breezy. Just barely there. What’s it saying? I can’t make it out? Blessed sleep please take me.
More interrupted nights…the whisper starts to coalesce into something discernible, recognizable almost. I cover my head with a pillow and the bed clothes and desperately try to sleep.
Another night. I sit bolt upright. I heard it this time. Crystal clear. My name. Softly, gently. But plain as day. But not spoken…more like…on the wind gently blowing through my mind.
How many more nights can this go on? I need sleep. I’m going to have a psychotic episode. Booze doesn’t help. Pills don’t help. Change the thermostat. Nope. Open the window. Nope, that really makes me think I am hearing things on the fucking wind. Nothing helps.
Now the whisper has accompaniment – a soft gentle squishing sound like wet suction cups tracking across a pane of glass or a mirror. A wet sucking sound. I shiver at the thought as I go back to sleep yet again. ‘Keep getting up to pee in the middle of the night, no wonder why you hear squishing noises,’ I mumble to myself as I drift off.
The whispering gets more urgent each night. The wet sucking sounds get louder. This is not a pleasant auditory experience. They come to me in the in-between. I don’t know if I am awake, asleep, dreaming or somewhere in the ether.
I look like hell. Every morning I look in the mirror and I hear Bugs Bunny calling out to the Tasmanian Devil, ‘oh, BAGGY EYES!’ My eyes are bloodshot, the dark circles under them look like a drunken attempt at Goth make-up. God, I need sleep. Maybe tonight.
I snap awake.
What the hell did I hear this time? Was it my name? Yeah, but… Was it the sucker noises? Yeah, but… something else this time. Something new. Was I dreaming? No, I don’t dream. Well, yes, I do, but I never remember them. No, this is something else. Fuck. Am I going nuts? No, I’m already…I don’t know what the hell I am. No, it wasn’t the ‘puck, puck, puck’ sound of the suckers. It was the sliding of the suckers, or whatever they hell they are. The thought of something slithering through my head gave me the chills. There’s fluid in my ears. What the fuck?
Q-tips do the job. The liquid is clear but has an odor to it I can’t quite place. Something old, dead maybe. Fishy? No. Ocean? Yeah. Beach. That’s what it reminds me of anyway. Weird. Back to fitful sleep I guess.
Goddammit. Not again. Not another night. Why is my neck wet? Fluid streams from my ears. That smell again. It’s stronger this time. It reminds me of ‘Bay Smells Like Ass Day’ in San Francisco. Maybe a shower. Yeah, that’s what I need more sloshing noises. After a warm shower and peeing down the drain, ‘take that, fucker,’ I go back to sleep.
Come to me…..now…………
You belong with us………..
Okay, now this is getting ridiculous. It’s not just my name I hear, or think I hear. Again, it’s on the wind, it’s a breeze, it’s in my head. The sloshing sound, the wet sucker sound, the sliding wet sucker sound, give way to…no…it can’t be! The sloppy sounds fall away and I hear the gentle beat of giant, leathery wings. I’ve never done drugs in my natural born life, never abused alcohol, what has snapped in my head to cause this? I always thought when the psychotic break came there would be an audible snap.
The next night I’m awake again. At least I think I am. I’m staring at the sea. I have no idea how I got here but I’m standing on a beach. The cold water lapping at my bare feet, the cool breeze nipping at my naked body. My name is on that breeze. I hear the slithering suckers and the waves feel like tentacles encircling my legs as I shuffle into deeper water with my gaze fixed on the sky above.
The leathery wings, the smell of the old, dead, ocean. A language I’ve never heard…a name? Cthulhu.
This can’t be real. I don’t know if I am asleep, awake or somewhere in the ether.
There’s fluid in my ears again.