Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter 4 Part 1

Whew! When I was contemplating splitting this chapter into two parts, I kept referring to it as Chapter 3. It totally slipped my mind that we are already on Chapter 4! I hope you all are enjoying the story so far! I think you will all really enjoy this part! I was almost driving myself crazy in the process of writing it. As I said to a friend of mine "I think I'm trying too hard to emulate Lovecraft rather than create my own Lovecraftian story". Once I stopped overthinking it though, the words began to flow and this is the end result! I think I will let you, the readers, be the judge though! Let me know what you think about the on going adventures of Aloysius!


            Aloysius hated going to see his shrink, but he knew it was necessary because he could easily find himself losing his mind if he didn’t. So once a week, he would go, sit in a stuffy office and lie to his psychiatrist about he was “feeling much better this week!” This particular appointment, however, was with a different doctor. His normal quack was starting his month-long vacation to the Cape, and today Al was going to meet with his replacement.
            It was a rather foggy afternoon and Aloysius could scarcely see a few feet in front of him. He walked slowly and still bumped into several strangers walking down the street in the opposite direction. The upside of going to this particular shrink’s office was it was only a few blocks away from his job. After a few minutes of maneuvering through the choking fog, he came across the old brownstone office building he was looking for. He walked up a few steps leading to the door and read the sign:

Dr. K. Farro, MD 2nd Floor. Ring Bell For Access

            He rang the bell and waited several minutes for the buzzer. After a few minutes, he went to ring the door bell one more time when the door began to slowly open on its own and a cold breeze overtook him. It sent a chill down his spine, but he went in reluctantly. The building reeked of mold and the steps in front of him looked like they would give way as soon as he put any weight on them. He slowly started up the steps which creaked more and more as he advanced up them. At the top of the stairs he came to a heavy dark wood door covered in strange carvings and symbols mirroring the ones that were in the book Charlotte had given him. ‘Wow, I can’t even get rid of this girl at my doctor’s office’. He thought to himself. He examined the door more closely when the door swung open and tall, thin, gaunt-looking gentlemen slowly walked out. The dark circles around his eyes gave the impression that he hadn’t slept in days. He stared blankly and paid no mind to Aloysius standing right there. “Excuse me, sir. Sir! Sir?” he asked, as the man glided by. “Sir, is this Dr. Farro’s office?” The man still seemed to completely ignore him and silently made his way down the stairs.
            “Yes, Mr. Cunningham.” He heard a deep voice call from within the room. Startled that the doctor knew who he was before even introducing himself, he walked into the tiny office. There was no desk in the office, just two chairs facing each other separated by a several feet. A few bookshelves lined the walls and the only light entering the room were from the two windows on the far wall beyond the psychiatrist’s chair. Aloysius squinted but could hardly make out the face of his new doctor. All he could see were his legs and the general outline of a man sitting in the high-backed chair. “Have a seat, Mr. Cunningham.” the shadowy figure said.
            “Yes, thank you. Dr. Farro, I presume?” Al said with a chuckle. He had to chuckle to himself to keep from shaking. He was a little afraid of this new doctor already and had to resist the urge to run screaming back down the stairs. He sat down slowly and gulped.
            “That is correct.” The doctor said.
            “I’m from Dr. Stone’s office. He went on an extended vac..” Dr. Farro interrupted him.
            “I know why you’re here…Aloysius is it?”
            “Oh ok, and yes. ” Al was nervous. “So, Farro is an odd name. It sounds Arabic. Am I right?”
            “I’m from Egypt, originally. But we’re not here to talk about me. How are you doing? Dr. Stone sent a note along saying you’ve been doing better at your recent appointments.”
            “Oh yeah, indeed! Y’know, I’ve been writing a lot and, uh, that helps me from thinking too much. I’m actually feeling quite chipper these days. Work is going well, and uhh…”
            “You don’t have to lie to me, Aloysius. I know what’s really in your head.”
            “Huh?” Aloysius wasn’t sure if Dr. Farro was kidding or not. “But that’s really what’s going on. It’s the truth.” The doctor let out a sinister sounding laugh.          
            “Aloysius, you underestimate the powers of a doctor to detect a problem with their patient.”
            “But you’ve only known me for a grand total of five minutes…”
            “I know more than you think.  I know that when you were just a boy you chased your neighbor’s puppy out into the street where it was subsequently hit by a car. Everyone thought the poor thing was chasing a ball.”
            “I never told anyone that.” Aloysius said clutching his tie and beginning to sweat.
            “I know that when you were a teenager you saw a man standing on a bridge about to jump…and you did nothing to stop him. He didn’t survive the fall” Aloysius heart began to pound. He stood up and paced. How could this stranger possibly know those things? The images of the man that day on the bridge haunted him and he often wondered what became of that poor soul. He stopped and stared at the figure still shrouded in darkness. ‘What is this? Who are you?”
He asked frantically.
            “Who I am is unimportant. Why you are here, is the focus of today. “
            “Are you even a doctor?”
            “I hold the key to all knowledge, tangible and forbidden. I know that right now you’re searching for more in your life. Your dull and thankless job eats away at your soul everyday.  You long for more. I can help you achieve that.” It was then that Aloysius noticed the form where he suspected Dr. Farro’s head to be began to change. Slowly it lost its round shape and began to stretch upwards towards the ceiling. The figure slowly pushed itself out of the chair and Al bolted towards the door. He slowly backed through the door frame watching the figure advance in horror. “You needn’t be afraid, Aloysius. I’m offering you the chance to learn now what you inevitably will in the future. Don’t you want to know what happens to your friends when They return?”
            “Wh…what are you talking about?” He backed up even further still as the figure slinked toward him. The creature no longer had human legs, but tentacles that emitted oozing slime as he slithered across the floor. It laughed as Aloysius tried to escape. He was so mesmerized and terrified by the monster in front of him that he forgot all about the steps. He stepped back, let out a cry and fell for what seemed like forever until he landed with a hard thud. When he opened his eyes, he was relieved to see his bedroom floor.

            It had only been a few days since he received the mysterious book from Charlotte. Ever since he started reading it, he began experiencing nightmares that grew worse and worse. Normally He picked himself up off the floor, wiped the cold sweat from his brow and sat on the edge of his bed and let out a few deep breaths. He picked up his cell phone off the nightstand to check the time. 3:15 a.m. He hardly slept past 4 anymore.
            Luckily for him, it was already Saturday. He was actually looking for ward to seeing Charlotte and giving her back the blasphemous book. He had only read about the Necronomicon in Lovecraft’s stories and knew it wasn’t real. Any published copy was ultimately a fabrication. This particular volume, however, was very different. The incantations, ceremonious texts and otherworldly markings haunted him. He wanted answers. He wanted to know who Charlotte was working for, he wanted to know why the book was causing him such trouble, and he especially wanted to know who the creature in his nightmare was talking about when he said “they”. It couldn’t have meant the Elder Gods. He shook his head to try and clear his mind a bit and stood up. ‘First things first’ he thought to himself. He shuffled off to the kitchen and turned on his coffee maker. It was going to be a long day.

If anyone is curious why I broke Chapter 4 into two parts, its for two reasons. The first being I thought this was a good place for a break but not necessarily a way to end the chapter. The second is because it's been too long since i've updated you all! I really felt bad that I had left you all hanging like that. But worry not! I won't let that happen again! Stay tuned for Part 2!!

And just in case you all couldn't figure out who that Elder God was....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chapter 3

Hello guys!!! My sincere apologies for the long delay between chapters! I thought Chapter 2 was a little stale, so I wanted to really work on this one before I published it!  The plot is really beginning to take form in this chapter  and I'm proud of how it turned out!  I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


            Aloysius froze. What on earth was going on? He stood with his mouth agape as the young lady with her gigantic red hoop skirt slowly sauntered over to where he was standing with Hannah. “Al, may I present Duchess Charlotte Glann Magpie.” she said. It took him a minute to catch his breath before extending his hand to her. “How do you do, Miss…Magpie, is it?”
            “Just call me Charlotte, Mr. Cunningham.” She replied tipping her mini hat at him and shaking his outstretched hand.
            “How was the course, Charlotte? Do you think you can maneuver around in it in that skirt?” Hannah asked her.
            “Oh yes, it should be quite alright. Thank you for letting me have an advanced peek! I promise I won’t tell anyone the secrets lying around each corner.” Charlotte said with a wink.
            “Ok, well I’ll leave you two to get acquainted! We’ll be starting momentarily.” Hannah said before she went to join the rest of her party guests. Aloysius was almost terrified of the beautiful woman he was just paired with and he really wasn’t looking forward to being alone with her. The man in him was very disappointed in himself. Thinking quickly, he pulled his goggles down onto his eyes to hopefully shield himself from her mesmerizing gaze. “So! Charlotte, is it? Funny that we should be paired together today!” he said taking a practice swing of his croquet mallet.
            “Indeed. It really is a pleasure to meet you.” She said.
            “If it is such a pleasure, then you should’ve introduced yourself at the café.”
            “How was I supposed to know you’d be here this evening?”
            “If you didn’t know I was going to be here tonight, then all the more reason to have introduced yourself at the café, which means you DID know I was going to be here.”
            “Is that such a bad thing?”
            “Did you really ask if that was such a bad thing?? You’re a complete stranger to me! This is what is commonly known as stalking and is generally frowned upon in our society!”
“Will you give me a chance to explain at least?”
“What is there to explain??” Aloysius tried to keep his cool as to not alert the other partygoers of his situation. He looked over and it seemed like the other teams were getting started. “We better get a move on if we’re going to be a part of the game. But don’t think for a minute you’re off the hook!”
            “Understood, Mr. Cunningham.” Charlotte said curtsying and tipping her tiny hat one more time. They walked over and lined up behind the two teams in front of them. Very soon balls were clacking against each and people were accidentally getting whacked with mallets. Maneuvering around the fog was even harder than it looked. Aloysius focused on the game and only spoke to his partner when necessary. He got a few elbow nudges from the other men in the game and comments about how he was so lucky to be paired with such a beautiful lady. He just shrugged and smiled at them while on the inside his stomach was turning. They were just about at the last wicket when all of a sudden they heard the basement door slam open! “WE’VE DONE IT!!!!!” The loud booming voice of drunken Xander filled the tiny space. Slowly he made his way down the stairs gripping the handrail like it was the only thing holding him up.  Hannah rushed over to him. “What is it, Xan?? What’s happening?” she asked.
            ‘The killer!! We’ve figured out who the vandal is for this wretched murder plot!”    
            “Oh, really? Do tell…” Hannah replied with a hint of sarcasm.
            “It’s the most….unexpected person! It’s always the quiet ones…and it’s a woman!! HA! She….planted the body of Edith Darney behind Professor Clibborn’s lab because she was JEALOUS! Jealous, I tell you! He broke her heart and she wanted him to suffer! Fairly harsh punishment, I dare say!” Xander swayed more and more as he spoke. Aloysius wondered if he really did know who the killer was or if he was just letting the booze get the best of him. “The killer…..is someone in this room! Everyone watch your backs!!”
            “Just spill it already, Xan, enough with the song and dance already!” Al chimed in.
            “Professor Clibborn, sir, you are acquitted! The murderer is none other than…none other than….” Before Xander could spit the name out, he passed out and hit the floor with a loud thud! Hannah let out a scream and scrambled over to check on him. Aloysius sprang into action immediately, telling his fellow partygoers where to go and what to do to help his friend. He sent Charlotte upstairs to alert the rest of the party and wait for the ambulance he was about to call. Hannah was a blubbering mess, and understandably so. Aloysius put his arm around her and tried to console her. “Hannah, when the ambulance gets here, I just want you to go with them to the hospital. Don’t worry about a thing. I’ll make sure everyone goes home and that the house is clean. Just try and relax and be there for Xander.”
            “OK.” She whimpered between sobs and nodded. Just as Al was turning around to call the ambulance, Charlotte was standing immediately behind him and he nearly knocked her over when he stood up.
            “Gah! What are you doing back down here so quick?? I told you to wait for the ambulance upstairs.” He snapped. He really didn’t want to deal with his stalker when he was trying to take care of his injured best friend.
            “I did! I told everyone else to wait for it! I came back down to see if you needed me.”
            “…..I told you to go upstairs, tell everyone else what happened and then wait for the ambulance. What part of that says come back downstairs?”
            “I…I…need to tell you something!” She said sheepishly. Aloysius looked at her puzzled after that statement.
            “How is that helping?? Now’s not the time!! Now excuse me, I have to go look for the ambulance. Stay down here with Hannah. STAY!” Annoyed, Aloysius flew up the stairs, calling the ambulance as he went. When he got off the phone, he was bombarded by what seemed like hundreds of questions he wasn’t in the mood to answer. He kindly asked the remaining guests to leave and many obliged. A few offered to stay behind and help clean up the party, but Al declined.
            After what seemed like an eternity, the ambulance arrived and Al breathed a sigh of relief. He sent the EMT’s down to tend to the invalid in the basement while he started straightening things up.  He hoped keeping himself busy with tidying up would take his mind off worrying about his friend and about his stalker problem. His moment of peace was short-lived when the paramedics came back up with Charlotte, Hannah and Xander strapped to a board. Al walked outside with them while they loaded Xander onto the gurney. Al gave Hannah another quick hug before she hopped into the ambulance to go along for the ride. “Do you know where they’re taking him?” he asked.
            “Just over to Mass General to make sure he’s ok. I’ll call you when I know more. You really don’t have to stay and clean up, you know.”
            “Don’t worry about a thing! Just make sure he gets better!” He said with a wink. The EMT’s closed the back doors and drove off leaving Al, once again, all alone with Charlotte. He turned around fast without saying a word and walked back up to the house. “Aloysius, wait!!” she called after him.
            “I don’t have time right now, Charlotte. Is that even your real name?”
            “That doesn’t matter right now. Can’t you just listen to me for a minute?” She said running up behind him.
            “Why should I?” He turned around to face her. “Give me one good reason why.”
            “Because the fate of the world depends on what I have to tell you!”
            “It’s the truth!”
            “Goodbye, Charlotte.” He sighed and turned stomping up the front stairs.
            “Listen to me, Al! It’s about your Lovecraft!!” Aloysius stopped dead in his tracks when she dropped that magic word. He let out a few chuckles and an exhausted sigh. He really didn’t have the time or patience for this. He turned back towards her,                                                 
           “What?? You truly are out of your mind, aren’t you? What does H.P. Lovecraft have to do with the fate of the world?”
             “Everything! The world he created is very much connected to our own in the worst way possible!”
            “You mean the fictional monsters he wrote about? You honestly believe that?”
            “Yes I do! I can prove it! If you’ll just give me a chance, you’ll see!”  Aloysius turned back towards her just in time to see her pulling out a brown paper package from the satchel at her side.
            “What’s that you have there?” he asked. He watched as she unwrapped the package to reveal a rectangular object covered in a green fabric with foreign markings that he had never seen before. He found himself almost mesmerized by the package and eager to find out its contents. Before he knew it, he was back down the stairs standing in front of her. The mystery object appeared to be nothing more than a tattered old book.  The pages were yellowing and it looked like if you bent the cover too far back it would crack. In faded gold lettering on the front cover he noticed the word “Necronomicon” eloquently written across it in calligraphy and encased inside a pentagram. “Wait a second…are you really going to try and convince me to trust you with a copy of the Necronomicon just because it’s wrapped up fancy?”
            “This isn’t a normal copy that you can purchase in a bookstore. This is the real thing. The incantations and passages contained within it are the absolute truth.”
            “And what do you expect me to do with it?”
            “Read it. Read it and come to your own conclusions about me. If you’re convinced that I’m telling you the truth, meet me this Saturday at 10 a.m. at North Station. I can take you somewhere to teach you all you need to know about Lovecraft and the dire situation facing humanity. If you don’t believe, however, I promise I’ll never bother you again. ” Aloysius pondered her proposition for a while. ‘What’s the worst that could come from reading a silly book?’  he thought.
            “If I take this book, do you promise to leave right now so I can clean up uninterrupted?”
            “Well I can’t do that. My coat is still inside.”
            “Fine. I’ll go get it for you. We’ll make it an exchange. That book for your coat. I’ll go get it for you and bring it out.”
            “That sounds fair. It’s a black…”
            “Black fitted pea coat? Yeah I saw you wearing it this afternoon. Remember? Wait here.” He stomped back into the house, plucked out the last remaining coat from the closet and brought it back out to her. She handed over the book wrapped up once again in all of its packaging. He gave her the coat and without saying a word turned his back on her. “Happy reading, Mr. Cunningham. See you on Saturday.” she yelled.                                                        
             “Goodbye Charlotte, and you probably won’t” he responded not even giving her a glance. He walked into the house and had to resist the urge to sit on the couch. After a work-day filled with Mary and evening taking care of his best friend and dealing with his stalker, he really just wanted to sleep. He built up his last ounce of will power and started cleaning. The sooner he got done, the sooner he could go home and rest. Little did he know, this would probably be his last night of peaceful sleep for a long time.

As you can see, some crazy things are in store for Mr. Cunningham! What will he find in the Necronomicon? Will he end up going to meet Charlotte? Keep your eyes peeled for Chapter 4!! Today I'll leave you with a fun pic of Cookie Monster I found looking like a familiar Lovecraft monster! To check out more from this fantastic artist, you can head on over to his Deviantart page!