sábado, 3 de octubre de 2015

The Day The Earth Was To Be Cleared

Note: This is a factual story. And the previous sentence is not a facetious claim. No, really. All relevant events are accurately narrated with no liberties.

Merely a couple of names and references have been changed, according to the conventions of the Cthulhu Mythos, but the concealed truths will easily be recognized by those familiar with this field.

As I walked out of the library, I was unable to repress the impulse; I opened my portfolio and looked at the newly-printed pages. The greenish ink notwithstanding, I read the first few lines as I walked away. I had just printed them out from the O’Khymer Academic Journal found in Pierre De Hammais’ restricted online files “A Guide to Alhazredic Daemonology”. I had heard of the unexpected treasures one might find in that trove, but back in those days, the internet was not what it is now, and I had been somewhat skeptic. However, when I used the code I was given and started browsing the listings, I was drawn to this journal reputed to contain contributions from the most noted researchers from Miskatonic University. My attention had been instantly captured by a single word: Eibon.

I opened the folder, and I found, indeed, no less than three files under this heading; all of them were actual chapters from the fabled, obscure Book of Eibon, which legend had as penned by an Hyperborean wizard in times before the Ice Age, here translated by a Joseph S. Pulver. While I gave little credit to such tales, I was well aware of the book’s darksome repute, as one of the main sources used by no less than Alhazred himself in the writing of his own forbidden book. And out of the three files, I recognized one of their titles, and I clicked on it without delay, holding my breath.

Truly, there it was, in plain, unassuming letters on the monitor, a series of verses which I had never dreamed I would ever read, since I was acquainted with the Black Litany only through the vaguest rumors and whispers. And yet it was rendered in English. My hand trembled as I clicked on the printer. The library clerk annoyed me by warning that the black ink had run out; I snapped at him to go on and print it no matter how it came out, and moments later he handed me two pages with small type on pale green ink. I hastened out of the library, putting them away in my portfolio, but as I said already, impatience got the best of me.

I walked along the street and crossed it in order to get across the park; I wanted to hurry back home and study the Black Litany at my leisure. My years of research had produced but the vaguest references to the entities these verses were dedicated to, Nug of the Burning Gloom and Yeb of the Whispering Mist; twin progeny of entities known allegorically as Yog-Sothoth, the All-in-One, and Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat with a Thousand Young; Nug and Yeb were said in ancient legendry to one day, when the stars came right, clear off the Earth for the return of terrible Elder Gods. And here it was now, in my hand! The very Litany which the mad Arab had sung prostrated before their altar in the fabled city of Irem! Assuming it was no forgery, of course. My eyes raced along the greenish lines as I hurried across the small downtown park, not really absorbing so much of their content since my mind was racing as well, going through everything I knew about Eibon and the Black Litany.

A potent voice called my name, stopping me short. I turned around and saw Fernando approaching. He was a friend I had not seen in months; like me, he had a longtime interest in forbidden lore, although his interests were mostly focused in those days on the most esoteric aspects of angelology –in fact, the last time I’d seen him, we had sustained a lengthy discussion of Dr. John Dee’s Enochian workings. He was particularly focused, both in theory and in practice, on an obscure entity from old Gnostic fragments, the archangel Zasbidakiel. Such things held little interest for me, yet our conversations were often fruitful. Now, however, I was not so keen on meeting him, since all I wanted was to focus myself on the study of the Litany.

I shook his hand all the same, exchanged greetings, I mentioned that I was coming back from the library, and then he pointed at the sheets of paper still in my hand.

“Take a look,” I said, shrugging, and showed them to him; in all likelihood he would already be familiar with the Black Litany. The way his eyebrows rose as he took in the title proved my assumption right.

“How about that!” He said, and read the first few lines. Then he looked at me, grew quiet for a moment as something occurred to him, and looked back at the pages. Then he said to me: “Well, if it’s gonna blow, let it blow already, right?”

Before I came up with a suitable answer, he began to intone:

“Äma bl-Nug ol Äma bl-Yeb! Ttak cls iro Züür. Ttak cls iro Züür…”

Still with my mouth half-open, I was unsure whether to interrupt him. After all, there was no rational reason to expect any reaction from merely speaking aloud the lines of an ancient text, now was there? However, in the back of my mind another part of me reminded me of my previous experiences with Enochian calls, which told me otherwise.

“O Masters of the Black Fires Concealed,” called Fernando in that deep voice that I’d always felt would work quite well on a radio show; “Rise o'er the flights of dim mortals sleeping.” His tone grew stronger as he intoned: “Nug and Yeb, Great Dragons black and red, come prepare thy Fathers' table!”  

One could hardly think of an unlikelier setting for intoning a call that would reputedly bring forth the clearing of the Earth from all that we take for granted: at noon, in the middle of a park that was more of a plaza, right beside the colonial building of the El Carmen church, with thick traffic going by on the other side of the park, a couple of dogs tugging at their leash as a tall elderly man walked them, a group of excited young people in suits and dresses approaching the church presumably for an imminent wedding or some such event. Fernando’s intoning of the Black Litany went unnoticed.

“O Great Hammers of the Scouring,” he went on; his hand shook slightly as his voice rose the slightless bit, but I could tell he was getting really absorbed in the summoning. “Arrive with thy Black Fires wild, clearing all spaces for the Terrible Masters Outside deprived. Nug and Yeb, Great Dragons black and red, come prepare thy Fathers' table!

“O Angers Fuller Than Thunder whose concordant verdict crashes as a wave, The frail earth lays ripe for thy age of starry-fire…”

A few feet behind Fernando, a lady walked toward the church, holding the hands of two young girls in white dresses; one of the girls looked right past us toward the trees, probably spotting a bird. At my right, an old man came carrying over his shoulder a basket full of flowers, a few yellow and white blossoms in his hand; his sandaled feet walked with the slow, patient dedication of advanced age. Again I looked at Fernando: his eyes, half-closed, remained fixed on the pale ink.

“O shadowy Nug, uncover thy cauldron-black torch at pole North that the Divine Punishment may be born in all glory. Nug and Yeb, Great Dragons black and red, come prepare thy Fathers' table! O Servant of Abhoth, Yeb of the Whispering Mists, bring forth burning, thy…”

“Excuse me,” said a gentle, calm voice.

Fernando’s voice halted, his right hand still raised with the palm heavenwards, and I too, feeling as if I was coming out of a daze, looked at the old man who was raising the flowers in his hand toward him, a placid smile in his lips and his eyes squinting, his hat insufficient to protect him from the constant sunlight.

“Would you wish to buy some flowers?,” he said with a gentle, low voice, drawing out the sentences as a man of the country who knows nothing of the urban scourges of time; “I have flowers of various kinds, and I will fix them up for a gift if you want. Or you may want a particular type of flower?”

His hand and the sheets still raised, Fernando replied:

“Thank you very much, we don’t really need flowers right now.”

The old man’s smile widened a bit in courteous acknowledgment. “Thank you,” he said, bowing his head, and turned on his very slow feet, which very nearly scraped the floor as he began to walk off toward the growing group of people gathering outside the church; it would be a couple of minutes before he reached them. Fernando and I watched his pausing retreat for a while.

“And he walked off,” I then said, “wandering across the plaza, offering his flowers to any who would hear, unaware that thanks to him, the world would continue to exist.”

And with this, we both laughed heartily for a long time.

-Luis G. Abbadie

Oct. 3, 2015

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