Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Weirdlands

It has been brought to my attention a few times recently of everyone's enjoyment of the Weirdland drawings I have posted a few times. I was asked if I could elaborate more on the strange environment that haunts these odd landscapes. I figured, sure, why not. I could at least shed some light on this bizarre wasteland that has shown up in a countless number of my works.
Drawing by Jeff Powers © 2010

The Weirdlands is a place outside our own world, and probably outside our realm of understanding as well. It was born out of the strange daydreams of a troubled youth, angry at the world and far too obsessed with the writings of Lovecraft, Tolkien and others. The Weirdlands is as much magical escapist fantasy as it is a nightmarish hell. The inspiration of these authors into the Weirdlands is hard to see, as I have never really made any formal works that strictly depict the places and locales within it. I have always seen it more as a backdrop that most of the narratives I paint take place in.
The idea came in high school and existed as no more than thought for the longest time. It wasn't until I began more serious pursuits in art that it would become more known. As every kid with a taste for the weird does, I was getting lost in the strange landscapes of Salvador Dali's paintings (Dali's work is perhaps only really accessible by the juvenile). I experimented with surrealist landscapes. All of which were empty childish imitations of pseudo-surrealism. But as my painting improved and my ideas deepened, the Weirdlands made their appearance.

Strange ruins by unknown beings, lost to eons of time. Disturbing landscapes glistening with the putrid forms of organic anatomical matter more than the hills and valleys of dank earth. Anthropoidal inhabitants conducting misunderstood activities against the backdrops of immense cosmic splendor. Staggering poetic phrases trapped in the guise of prose is about all that can be used to describe the elements that connect the Weirdlands together. If I wanted to be simple about it. The Weirdlands are weird places. From the surreal to the fantastic, the speculative to the nightmarish.
Since its inception all those many years ago, I have been sketching the unnamed placed of the Weirdlands. They show up in my paintings and in my writing. In fact the first time I really thought of the worlds of my creation as one endlessly unfathomable place, was when constructing a horror short story in the summer of 2004. The story was called A Fall into Madness and I have included it here at the bottom of this post (warning the content is not for everyone). And if the connections to Lovecraft can't be felt after that, I don't know what to say.  But that story, and a few others connected to it, spawned more art and more creations. Filling the lands with strange peoples, disgusting creatures, and worrisome sights.  Since that story was written I have continued to explore the Weirdlands, its vistas ever endless, an unperceivably infinite world.
Within this world, I feel I have as much uncovered as I have created these works. From the narrative poem Surreal Estate, the enigmatic paintings of my landscape series of 2006, and even weird little illustrations I have thrown together here and there. I wanted to post the first drawing of the Weirdlands, a simple yet haunting charcoal sketch rendered on colored paper, that I made in 2003. But with my big move to Korea, everything is packed or in storage and so I cannot easily share it. But I do still have it. Kept only because of the huge influence it ended up being.
I have included some works from over the years, not necessarily ones I am proud of (it is hard for any artist to look back at their old work). But I wanted to also give some visual examples of the Weirdlands and their appearances in various forms.
And if I feel upto it, perhaps I will further explore this place, create works devoted entirely to it. If nothing else, the stacks of pencil drawings and simple sketches of unreachable places will not easily cease. Stay tuned to Tentacle News, perhaps you will see more of the place for yourself.
The Temples of the Tekla © 2006
The Ruins of Time © 2004

two pieces from the illustrated poem Surreal Estate ©2005
Can You Hear Me Father? © 2006
Home © 2006

When Will We Ever Feel At Home Again? © 2005

Where Are All My Cannibal Children? © 2005
Weirdland Landscape © 2005

two of the Out Of The Box series, inspired by A Fall into Madness

 The following is the short story A Fall into Madness, it is inspired very much by the works of H P Lovecraft, but contains within it content far more graphic than HPL would have tackled. It is not intended for young readers or those easily disturbed or offended. It is however the best example of a literary exploration of the Weirdlands, and would ultimately lead to the inception of my current novel in progress. (A project reaching the halfway point of the first draft, after seven years of work)

A Fall into Madness
by Jeff Powers © 2004
I don’t really know where to begin. All I can do is try to assure you I am not mad. I have never been crazy, nor was I ever one for tall tales or lies. You have to believe this much in order to listen to me with your head and not simply sympathize with me, thinking me to be mad. I am not mad. I have had my problems with heroine. Okay, maybe more than just problems, but this was no drug-induced hallucination. That much I swear.
            I had been clean well over a year. A good record, in my opinion. I was clean and sober, and the money I had saved. Hell! It was what paid for my month long vacation to Mexico. I had never been to Mexico but have always had this deep infatuation with the ancient Mexican people. Not having to pay dealers and hospital bills had allowed me to save a small fortune. It was time I treated myself. The plane ride was decent as was the accommodations. But all seemed worthwhile when I stepped up to the base of my first pyramid.
            Most people will travel to the hot and dry deserts of Egypt for pyramids; gazing up at the tombs of great pharaohs. I stood in the steamy jungles of the ancient city of Xitaclan. My brown hiking boots tried to grip the slippery gravel at the base of one of the most magnificent sites I had ever seen. The temple of the moon rose up as if pulled from the earth. Its steep steps reached to the heavens. I winced, trying to get a glimpse of the top but the soon to be setting sun sat atop the pyramid nearly blinding me. I rubbed my eyes, shaking the purple and splotches that plagued my vision temporarily.
            This was the reason I came all this way. To see this temple. Not a tomb for a king, but a temple for a god. An alter for sacrifices. And in that moment I sensed its true size and significance. Hundreds of Mayans and their enemies were put to death upon this work of stone. Their heads removed and set to roll down the long steep steps. I felt the giant monuments power. It’s darkness. My heart ached, and I suddenly felt very alone in that place.
            My tour group was gone. I had lost them somehow, I do not know how. Please do not ask me such questions. They were just gone. I must have wandered from the group as I often do. I do not like crowds. And I certainly did not like the guide. A cheery, thin white kid, probably in his mid-twenties. I swear to God, they must have given the job to the first person that seemed interested. His lack of knowledge or real care of this beautiful site just pissed me off. I am glad I had lost him. Stupid kid.
            I didn’t hear the group nearby, I certainly hoped they had not headed back down to the buses and left. I loved this place but was not willing to stay the night there. The sun was setting and I am sure the group would be gone soon. But somehow I was not ready to worry and go off looking for them. This temple was where I wanted to be for the moment.
            It was such a beautiful site. The orange sun catching the edges of rough stone that had been worn over centuries of wind and dust. I found myself slowly circling the base of the temple, not quite adventurous to climb its steep steps. The first pyramid I had climbed met me head on and I had nearly taken all the skin off my shins. The blood had since dried against my skin and would be a bitch to pull off without ripping every hair from my legs. As I wandered around the temple base I saw the light slowly emerge across one of the faces of the temple. The light almost bounced around on the carved stone, reflecting light into the engravings. As the light hit the side of the temple as soft shimmer caught my eye. It was like the bouncing of light of someone’s watch. The light flickered into my eyes. I could feel my pupils tighten into tiny balls of black, but I did not look away. I could almost feel the light pass into my eyes and fill my mind.
            I have no idea what was wrong with me. But when I finally broke my trance, blinking out the glare of the light, I found myself nearly halfway up the pyramid. I had been climbing without my own mind’s permission. I felt almost sick then, like that confusing feeling of violation when you awake from sleepwalking.
            I shrugged and returned to walking up the pyramid. My curiosity had been pricked and I had to see what was set in the stone that would give off such a bright reflection. When I had reached the level I had thought the shimmering object sat on I saw nothing. I was confused. My legs ached.
            I sat down on the steps, turning away from the pyramid wall. I was above the tree line. And for some stupid reason I looked down. Oh God why had I looked down? I hate heights. I was fine until I actually saw how high I was. I guess in a way it was less a fear of heights as it was a fear of falling from a great height. I could feel this fear then. It made my head spin. My eyes ached and my throat tightened. I pushed my weight against the wall. I couldn’t help the terror and soon my lunch was crawling up my throat, like rats crawling up a sewer pipe. I tilted my head and allowed the vomit an escape route. It fell from my mouth in a sickening spray and ran down the stonewall. It’s color matched almost perfectly to the sunlit stone. It turned away from it and looked only at the wall. The only way I would get down is if I stared at the wall as I descended. I couldn’t look down again. Shit why did I bring myself up hear. What the hell had I been so interested in that brought me up this thing? I was perfectly content with admiring it from the ground. Why was I up here? What had…
            There. There, just behind the stair’s outcropping. A piece of stone carved in the shape of some beast. It was unlike the rest of the carvings. Its style. Its subject. Its smoothness. The carving was as smooth as soapstone. That is how the light had bounced off it so easily, it was polished smooth. But how? Everything was so worn and crumbled.
            I looked at the rocks around it. The wind had swirled patterns of grooves and indentations. Had the wind carved this figure? That’s impossible. All of this is preposterous; it was just a well-protected carving that’s all.
            So why doesn’t it look like the others?
            I don’t know.
            I found my hand reaching out to the engraved beast. My eyes flowed over its shape. It stood like a hunched man, but it was no man. Six arms reached out from its torso. And its lower haunches rippled with muscle and sinew as it all swept back to a long tail. At least I assume it was a tail. It was fat and lumpy, coming to a blunt stop rather then sloping to a point. It reminded me more of a veined pile of shit than a tail.
            This carving didn’t look like the others. The others were so ornamental, and traditional. They were large and ornately carved, then worn away with time. This one was…different. It was almost like a modern comic book creation than an ancient carving. I would have ignored it and returned to the ground if the eyes hadn’t caught me.
            The head was almost human shaped but its mouth spewed out a swarm of worm like tentacles. And those eyes, oh God, those eyes. I felt like the unsuspecting victim in an old horror movie. Walking down the hall as the eyes of the painting follow me. I could feel the coldness of those hollow carved out sockets. I could feel it burrowing deep into me. I couldn’t look away from it. But I could not stand to have it stare into me like that. I felt like a girl left in the park after a brutal rape. All I could do was sit there, stunned. My hand covered over the face, allowing me to break the gaze and look away. Oh God, what was this thing.
            The question was more what was wrong with me.
            There’s nothing wrong with you.
            Of course not. I needed to return to my group. I had to calm down and make my way back down the steps. I gently lifted my hand as I moved and I felt my fingers run across the cold stone carving. The tips slowly running town the figure’s back, I could feel every ridge of my fingerprints run along its perfect smoothness. It sent shivers down my arm, the twitch settling in the small of my back.
            As my hand left the stone I felt the wall giving way. Why had I touched that stone? Why was I up there? The wall was moving. Inward. I felt like I was in some bad mummy movie or a scene from Indiana Jones, in which I had triggered some ancient trap. I could feel the sound of grinding stone between my ears.
            The wall had opened up. I had opened a door into the pyramid. The blackness of the room was intimidating, yet for some reason inviting. I wanted to go back to my hotel room. I wanted to sleep all this off.
            A hot breeze bellowed out of the opening, and I could have sworn I heard the temple moan. The rock shuddered under my feet and my knees felt weak. The air smelled absolutely putrid, like I had opened the door to an unfridgerated meat locker. I felt my knees bend as my body leaned over to hurl again. But the wind returned.
            The wind wasn’t alive; I speak as if it was. But the wind did return, it came from outside and moved into the temple opening. It pushed me. I know it was the wind. My legs were weak and I was an easy target.
            I didn’t want to be in that room. The temple wanted me there. But I never asked to go in there. I wanted to see the temples of Xitaclan, not venture into them.
            I knelt on the floor where I had fallen. The ground was covered in an about an inch of incredibly fine sand. My fingers dug into it pulling up the golden grains in little piles. I clasped the sand in my palm and let it run out slowly through the bottom of my fist, like a little hourglass. As the sand pour out I looked at it in fright, the grains had turned black. When I opened my fist, every grain in my hand had turned black is if they were minute charcoal briquettes.
I leapt to my feet kicking up more of the golden sand; somehow hoping it would cover the pile of black grains. As each new grain hit the black pile it too became black and the dark pile became larger. I pushed myself up against the interior wall. Something was very wrong. I did not like this. I swear I am not mad, this was so real. I wanted to cry. This was far beyond what I could take.
The shivers returned, I hadn’t felt them in months but I suddenly needed a hit. My craving for the drug I had depended on for so long hit me like a speeding bus. I fell to the dirt again, shaking, tears in my eyes. I could feel a painful moan reaching at my lips. I didn’t feel pain, why would I need to wail? But the moan did not want out of my lips, instead it wanted in. I could feel the air of the room enter my lungs, pushing into my throat and down into my lungs like a drag from a cigarette. I choked as the air left. I did not like the feeling of this temple breathing for me. As I gasped to breathe better on my own I caught site of something in the back of the room, the light barely touching it.
This was the point I was beyond hope. Reality and all the things I had come to know to be true were gone. The back of the room held the twisted and wriggling remains of the young tour guide. His body was stripped of most of its skin, but was still clothed in his guide uniform. The outfit that looked like an overgrown boy scout uniform was soaked in blood. I could see the boys eyes stare up at me from bare sockets. The eyes just resting in the holes without the support of eyelids of muscles. His mouth was stretched out in an inhuman scream, the jaw stretched far beyond the breaking point. I looked closely letting my eyes adjust to the limited lighting deep within the room. I felt my stomach lurch upwards into my chest as I noticed a long silver pole, almost like a javelin that punctured the top of his skull and ran thru his body and back out between his legs thru ruptured testicles.
I vomited again. And as my body heaved I felt the air return and breathe for me again. I felt myself calm again. And I looked back at the body. His arm was shot up into the air. And clasped between gnarled fingers were a set of papers.
I tugged at the stack of printed pages, but his fingers would not loose their grip. I looked to see if the pages were blood soaked but the skin had been left on his fingers, covering the bones like thick condoms. I pulled harder and the hand cracked. The fingers snapped from the knuckles and the paged gave way.
I left the room then, I could not take the smell any longer, nor could I stand to look upon the peeled flesh of that man. I went out into the dying sunlight and sat on the steps, trying my best not to look down.
The temple air left me then and I found it hard to breathe. Sitting down on the steps I attempted to regain my breath. I don’t know why but I opened the pages I had taken from the guide’s death-grip.
And I began reading. I shouldn’t have read it.
Yes you should have. You had every right to. He was dead, it’s yours now. You could do what ever you wanted with it.
No that isn’t right…is it?
            I uncrumpled the pages and began to read. An odd story unfolded as I continued through the written words, typed so neatly from a computer. The story was slow starting but it slowly captured my interest. It was so strange. I did not fully understand its significance. I read on and the tale got stranger and stranger falling from what appeared to be a journal entry down into the severe madness of a Tool music video or bizarre writings of Clive Barker. I wanted to toss the pages down the side of the building but instead continued reading all the way to the last page. It was becoming harder to understand, and equally difficult to put down. I read the last phrase; it was rendered in bold print and surrounded by quotation. It took me a while to wrap my mind around each syllable and slowly within my mind space formulated each word, or how I believed they would be pronounced.
            Oh God I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had never found that story, or that boy. I actually wish I were still stuck on the street taking hits from potentially hazardous needles. Anything to not be here, to not have stolen that story, and to not have read those words. God not those words. They swam around in my skull; I could feel them in me, burrowing like maggots. The words swirled around everything I knew. They were, for a time, all that existed. I didn’t exist without them. That phrase would be the death of me. But not before it gave birth to me.
            I felt my soul plunging down into darkness. My very being was gone. I could feel my body dissolve away and my mind still remain, but not in this world. In some other world I awoke. Everything was dark but the space around me. I could feel the world moving around me as I stood perfectly still. I could feel the world, and in my mind I could see the earth. I could also see heaven and hell. But wasn’t upon any of the three. I was lost in the spaces between.
            My non-existent form suddenly gave way to new life and I could feel flesh envelope me. That same putrid air filled my lungs, breathing for me. Bringing my new flesh to life. I could feel my veins course with energy as they pushed a solid mass through them. My blood no longer ran like a liquid through my body, but instead felt like what I could only picture as processed meat being pushed into sausage casing.
            I felt my body move, like I was falling. I hit the ground hard and I blacked out. My head ached when I came to. Flashes of bright lights flickered on the outside of my eyelids causing me to open them in response. I looked around to see a sea of dirt and brush. A sun set in the distance, silhouetting the landscape. Soft rolling mounds were surrounded with holes and trenches, lined with razor wire. The bright flashes continued. Explosions of falling shells. But I could not hear their high-pitched plummet to the earth or the ground shaking explosions.
            Slowly my hearing returned as if fading in like a volume dial. I felt like a confused soldier in an epic World War II film. I remember seeing such graphic war images in film as a kid. Soldiers being destroyed by terrible weapons. So many horrible ways to die.
            I turned and saw that I stood at the foot of a forest of stakes in the ground. Upon each was impaled soldiers from every era of history I could possibly remember. Generals with their heads torn off, privates without their limbs, and commanders who had been ravaged and disemboweled. I could not smell their disgusting flesh; all I could smell and taste was the air that breathed for me.
            A mortar shell fell near me and threw a mass of earth into the sky. My ears ringed from the explosion as I watched the dust cloud consume the sky like an ancient beast. I was enveloped in darkness. I could not see where I was standing, or where to walk. I felt the earth fall out from beneath me and the earth swallowed my body.  
            What I felt then was beyond explanation. I was neither falling nor floating. It was like the world moved around me, but I could not see anything. I could only feel and sense the space around me. Everything was dark, darker than pitch. I had never found myself in such darkness before. It was the complete absence of light, something that could never exist on earth. I was frightened; I had no idea where I was or what was going on around me. I could hear voices, hidden between the air. Child voices. Whispering. Laughing. Laughing at me. I was crying. I felt like a small boy being picked on by school bullies. The tears flowed down my cheeks.
            My body shook and trembled in the dark. Goosebumps ran across my back and neck, but I felt a sudden warmth beneath me. The warmth spreading across my legs. Before I could blink again in the darkness, I heard a giant metal-upon-metal clank, like the throwing of some monster switch. An enormously bright spotlight poured down over me, from directly above. It lay down a perfect circle of light around me, but kept the rest of the world in the blackest darkness.
            My eyes adjusted to the new light. It hurt to look anywhere but down, like trying to stare directly at the sun. I looked down at the warmth I had felt before. My pants were wet, a spread of liquid from my groin down my legs. My face suddenly blushed and I quickly looked around me. I could smell the pungent ammonia of urine soaked denim. God! I pissed myself! What the fuck was going on? I think I was more scared then than I was before. The sight of my own body’s reaction to my fear was too much.
            I could feel the hot liquid spreading down my kneeling legs. I noticed then that I wasn’t falling or even standing. Instead I was kneeling on the pure white floor under an ungodly bright spotlight. The urine spread down my thighs, slowly reaching the denim underneath me and I could feel it soaking through to the floor. There was so much urine, as if my body could not cease its release.
            A pool of yellow liquid began to form around me, getting larger. It was so warm. And it smelled so foully as urine often does. I watched as the pool spread out into little streams that ran in eight different directions. The fingers of urine crawled across the floor, as if they were on an incline. My eyes opened wide as I saw the yellow streams darken. Soon they had become orange, and then red. They were dark red, dark dark red. Their flow across the floor slowed as if they had become thicker and more viscous as they changed. That was it! They were changing. My urine was changing into something red.
            I looked down between my legs and the entire pool beneath me and the spots on my pants had darkened. I touched the pool and pulled my hand away immediately. I knew what it was. It had turned into blood. Dark thick blood. It was almost black, like blood that had been poured straight from the liver. I could smell the blood then, its thick odor coating the back of my nose, enough to allow me to taste it in my mouth. That hard iron taste like sucking on an old penny.
            The long fingers of blood pooled into round circles at the ends of their lengthy streams. It looked like a crop circle made in blood. I could feel the mysterious power in that place. This formation meant something, something sacred yet unholy. I was in the middle of something I could never get myself out of.
            You wanted to be there fool.
            I never chose to be there, I never asked for that to happen. Please don’t tease me.
            I’m not teasing you, you are teasing yourself.
            Help me.
            The pools quivered and tiny ripples came out of the middle, working their way to the edges, as if something had dripped into them causing a disturbance on the surface. The ripples continued. I saw something coming out of the center of the puddle. It looked like a tiny metal pyramid. Not like the Mexican pyramids that had brought me here, but hard and flat faced like the great pyramids of Egypt.
            A tiny pyramid emerged from every puddle. Eight gray points emerging from putrid crimson. As they rose they were completely spotless, no blood remained adhered to its surface.
            The pyramids began to tilt as they rose, giving way to their true form. They were not pyramids but rather the corners of metallic boxes. The boxes continued to come up out of the pools. It was surreal how these one-foot cubes seamed to slowly float to the surface of puddles no more than a third of an inch thick. The cubes floated on the surface, lightly bobbing in unmoving air. Each was sealed perfectly, no seams to be seen on any face or edge. The face that stood toward me on each cube had a rusted gothic cross welded to its surface. Its hard points jutting out like the points of a compass rose. The remainder of the box was in poor condition. Orange rust seemed to be stuck in a permanent drip down its faces. Gouges and scratches covered its surface, cutting away tiny layers of metal that oxidized in some unforgiving atmosphere. What struck me the worse, and I have to say frightened me just from its sight was the top of each cube. Each adorned with that same unholy figure I had seen on the pyramid steps. It was rendered in the same metal as the box and didn’t appear to be attached but instead to have always been apart of the cube’s shape.
            That shape mocked me. Laughed at me. I could feel sixteen of those hollow eyes staring into me. And I felt sick again. I felt very sick. I wanted to throw up again. But not more than I wanted to die. I wanted to be out of this place. I don’t know if even death could have saved me. It sure wouldn’t save me from the hell I was about to see. All my life I pondered on the existence of heaven and hell. I was about to witness the latter.
            But like Dante, I couldn’t see the pits of eternal suffering without a proper guide. I was about to meet my guardians. And they were no angels or poets. They were beyond anything I could have imagined. My mind and body couldn’t bare this place much longer.
            I heard a rattling around me. The boxes began to shake violently, splashing blood across the small, lighted circle. I could feel the little flecks of blood spatter across my skin and slowly drip down. As the boxes shook, the top fell into itself, disappearing into the hollow box. I tried to look into the box but light seemed unable to fall into the box, leaving it completely dark inside.
            The boxes stopped. Silent. Ceasing to shake in unison. The sudden silence was haunting, and my heart pounded in my chest. I was not ready to witness this. From the box directly in front of me, two clawed hands emerged and grasped the sides of the box. Their talons dug into the metal and the tendons tensed under the strain as the hands pulled up the arms of a disgusting creature. The arms were melded into a long slender body that rippled with muscles and pumping veins. It reminded me of the craved tail of the disgusting creature on the pyramid. The monster’s movements were strange. They were slow but jerky, as if part of him was moving faster than I could see. It was almost like the flicker of movement in a strobe. It was unearthly. A large bulbous head threw forward from behind its back, as if it had snapped its neck and was returning it into a reusable state. When it snapped into place its eyes caught me. Those same hollow unholy eyes glaring all the way through me. The flesh on its face rippled and moved like a bag of snakes. Tears in the flesh appeared at its chin and long clear pipes emerged. The creature was forming before my eyes, becoming whole. It was being born into existence. Its mouth became the breathing apparatus of an old gasmask. This haunting vision stared at me. I looked around me, and saw seven more creatures emerging from their boxes. Each were different, yet still had that intense unholy presence. Some had female forms; others had forms unlike anything recognizably human.
            The beasts stared at me and I could feel them in my head. Stealing my thoughts. They were stealing my every memory. I felt emptied. Like my mind had vomited to the point of dry heaves. There was barely enough to formulate a coherent thought. The creatures seem to be digesting my thoughts and memories, their bodies rippling and undulating. Soon I felt my mind filling up again. They were returning some of my thoughts, but mostly giving me new ones.
            I could see then not with my own vision, but with my mind’s eye. I could see my thoughts as vividly as a movie screen. What I saw made no more sense then an overdose induced dream or the creations of a Salvador Dali painting. The world around me became one surrealist nightmare.
            I could see a desert landscape. A barren place without a drop of water, a simple breeze, or a living beast. The land was as flat as a pain of glass. The desert floor wasn’t made of sand but of a sea of eyes, as small as the eyes of a child’s doll. All blinking in unison, staring up at me as I walked. The sea of eyes flowed like waves in some areas and gave forth to tiers of land. Massive green cliffs that rose out of the sea of eyes that I walked on. As I wandered toward the cliffs I saw that they were not made of earth or even of moss that their color had reminded me of. The cliff looked like rotting flesh, and sewn to its many facets were the partials bodies of hundreds of people. All reaching out and attempting to grasp one another.
            As I approached the base of the cliff I recognized one of the victims. My father. His lower body had been removed and his waist was poorly sewn to the wall. Holes in the shoddy stitch work allowed his intestines to poke their way through like a disturbing hernia. He looked up at me, his eyebrows arched in a sad expression. His eyes had been removed, quite messily I would have guessed. His face was a mess of blood and boils, oozing over his skin and into his gray beard. He looked as if he was about to cry, but his body wouldn’t allow tears to flow from those gaping holes in his face. His head slumped in sorrow and I looked at his baldhead. His gray hair receded back to the back of his head as I had remembered it being at his funeral. Atop his skull was a hole of about an inch and half in diameter. It looked the same as the wound inflicted on the guide by the pike being driven down through his skull.
            I looked up at the towering cliff, and every figure upon its steep face lay slumped over just as my father had. Nothing moved, not even the eyes beneath my feet. They had ceased to blink or follow my movements.
            I felt a drop of rain peck at my forehead. I looked upwards past the cliff to see an open cloudless brown sky. Another drop in my arm. I looked at the speck of liquid as it ran down my wrist. It was green. I looked at the cliff once again to watch the figures slump forward even further, their flesh moving like a liquid. The cliff began to undulate and waver. Its shape changed as the figures melted and dripped down into the sea it had risen up from. Everything looked like plastic melting under intense heat. I could feel the liquid pour around me, covering my feet and legs. The mountainous cliff flattened out and coated the sea of eyes creating a new sea, with swirls of green shades. It looked like a giant pool of oil shimmering rainbows in the sunlight. The sea was rising and working its way up my legs. It wasn’t long before I found myself waist deep in it. Soon I knew I would be drowning in this sea of melted souls.
            I could feel the putrid fluid soaking in through my clothing as it reached up to my chest. Soon I would be under, and soon this would all be over. I had the urge to plunge under the surface, and drown myself. But before I could act a set of strong muscular hands grasped the folds of shirt around my shoulders and pulled me up from the waters.
            I was pulled onto a large flat bottom rowboat. It was made of old rotting wood and looked like it could hardly keep itself together. I turned to look at my rescuer. Before me stood a tall man, reaching well about 7 feet. He was cloaked in a priest’s uniform and stood firmly in front of me. I looked up to his face and fell to my knees at the site I beheld. His face was blank, without nostrils or mouth. Just a basic face-like shape. And his eyes, oh God his eyes! They were like every other set of eyes I had seen. Those same empty hollow unholy eyes that just look straight through you. Every time I saw those eyes I felt weak. They were like the eyes of the devil himself.
            The priest turned, his arm out like he was displaying a prize on the Price is Right. His motion revealed the other passengers of the boat. I had not wanted to see them, but he showed me their forms. They faded into existence as his arm passed by the space they would come to occupy. There were three of them. Two I recognized as the creatures from the boxes. Their forms fully freed from their metallic prisons. They lay on fat sickening tails like that of the carved figure. They were hideous creatures to behold, disturbing beasts from beyond our comprehensible dimension. The two creatures stood over a woman. A nun. She was still in her habit, or what was left of it after the beasts had torn at the fabric to expose small milk white breasts, scratched and bleeding. She had a very pretty face, pale and innocent. But it was contorted in an ungodly scream that none of us could hear. Tears mixed with blood as they flowed down her cheeks.
            I wanted to turn away but I couldn’t. My eyes were drawn to her like a car accident and I watched as the creatures groped her. The sight made me physically ill, but I fought back the choking constriction of my throat. Finally the two creatures turned to me, their eyes hollow and searching. The priest reached for me again but I backed away. I shook off the trance I was in. I wanted off of this boat, and out of this world. If there was any chance to escape this it was now.
            I reached the edge of the boats bow and I threw myself over its edge. Allowing the waves to consume me and pull me under. I wanted to drown, I forced my body to open my lungs and breathe in the disgusting water. I took a breath and that same air from the temple filled my lungs. It breathed for me.
            I opened my eyes and found myself back in the middle of the bloody circle of light, surrounded by the box-creatures. I would never escape this hellish prison. I was trapped here to rot in my own insanity. Yes I am mad! I have gone completely nuts! I am beyond what any serial killer, schizophrenic or necrophiliac could ever possibly imagine. I was some unholy god, lording over a misused world of sheer insanity. I was too far-gone.
            I wish I had never gone to Mexico and found those pages.
            Yes you do. Those pages made you. They gave birth to what you are.
            No I am…I am everything.
            And in that moment I could feel everything that existed. Every tiny string of energy that made up every atom of every piece of matter in existence. I knew everything. I felt everything. I was everything. You made me this way.
            No you made you this way. I am you.
            I have become what everyone fears and what everyone hates.
            I read those pages. That story was about me. It rang so familiar, it told me all that had happened and all that would happen. And I fell into this place of madness because I read those words at the end.
            Yes. You read those beautiful words.
            The words in bold, surrounded by quotation marks.
            I read those words and became a prisoner…no. A god of this world of nightmares! All because I read the phrase…
          Ia Dag! Ia Gat! Ia Morgolqbabbonnesh! Ia marrutukku. Ia TUKU! Suhrim suhgurim! Zahrim ZAHGURIM!!”

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