Marcus P. Kellum’s Personal Journal
Excerpts Taken From Marcus P. Kellum's Personal Journal
March 23rd, 1978
there was a soft movement. not really a sound, but rather the feeling of a sound. a wave of discomfort sped towards me.
i hadn't realized it, but in my shock, i had upset the ink well. a pool, shiny and black, slowly formed above the cracks and etches of my desk. the page i had been hastily scrawling on was now ruined, but that was the least of my worries. whatever it was that had caused the silent explosion was moving towards me. i had a good idea who the creator of my discomfort was, but my mind could not grasp the implications. this toying had not been real when i had started it, and up until now, i had always played with the idea that such mumbo jumbo was as fake as a cigar store indian. with some small flourish, i swept out my pocket handkerchief and began to sop at the running ink. rivulets of it had reached the ends of my table and were now dripping on the floor.
silently, i wondered to myself why i was wasting time on such a trivial chore as cleaning up the mess. i let the handkerchief fall to the floor, a bluish-black wad. a whoosh of air entered the room. things were closer now, their soft footsteps, so full of alien hatred, had caused the flame on my desk candle to flicker. with a trembling hand, i groped towards the bottom right desk drawer and the pistol that rested there. this is silly, i thought to myself again. if i were to believe the ancient texts this small firearm would be of no avail. there was no weapon that the earth now possessed that would save me from my foes. still, the weight of the pistol felt good in my hand. someplace in the instinct of man, far back in the mists of time, a weight in the hand must have been a comfort. a rock to throw, so ingrained in our psyche, had evolved into a comfort of all things heavy in times of need. i gripped the pistol tighter as i felt a presence in the hallway that led to my rooms.
someplace in the house, there was an electrical charge of great power. i could feel it in the hairs on my arms and taste the ozone on my tongue. a brief flicker of that power shone forth as a sickly greenish light that i could see from the crack under my door. soft hissing voices could be heard in the hall, but i could not tell you what sort of creature could articulate a tone like the one i was hearing. amid the words being spoken, i caught the unmistakable sound of gurgling, as if the owner of such a voice were under hundreds of feet of water.
the floorboards nearest to my door began to bend downward. it seemed a great weight had been placed on them just outside my door. i clutched the pistol tighter and as silently as i could, i eased my chair back away from my desk. “s’hy em Hasture.” came a voice, and the door trembled as if it were being pushed inwards. the words seemed to be demanding something - telling the door to open. only the small glyph i had carved into the wood of the door had kept the door shut. i felt a prickle as sweat broke out on my forehead. stupidly, i reached for my handkerchief, only to remember that it was wadded and ruined on the floor.
“L’lugutha vea urul!” came the voice again. this time the door didn't tremble, but rather, it faded out of existence as if it had never been there.
the hinges poked out from the doorway just exactly as they had been when the door was there. now that the door was gone, a wave of fetid air rushed into the room. i felt my stomach drop in my abdomen.
there was nothing in the doorway. i crept around the edge of my desk, moving to a spot in the room where i could get a better shot at whatever would be coming in. i peered at the wall of the hallway across from my rooms and waited to see a shadow or to hear something that might reveal my foe, but no noise came. the otherworldly voice was silent. i drew several breaths as i tried to understand what had happened. i reached out with my mind and could not find any trace of the being that had so recently been at the threshold of my study. whatever it had been, it was gone. i moved back to my desk with the purpose of filling a glass with the brandy when another soft explosion occurred. this time, my room was the epicenter of this explosion. it felt as if the world had suddenly dropped from under me. then the sickly light was back. a ball of energy moved towards me. it floated up, drifting across my desk and aimed itself at my chest, hovering. thin tendrils of black energy snaked out from the ball and licked at the papers and tomes on the top of my desk. tiny arms shot flames into my files, months worth of investigative work now destroyed in an instant. as quickly as the papers disappeared, the ball was on the move again. it drifted up to me and hovered again at eye level, a mere foot from my face. again, a terrible finger of black fire shot out of the ball and stopped short of my face by the width of a hair. the ball stopped hovering and stood perfectly still in the air, then the voice came again.
“urgoth uhm liekke...R’lyeh fom kkurduth.” it uttered and the lick of destroying flame snaked back inside the ball. i collapsed in utter horror, the warning had been given. the accursed ball slowly faded and i scrabbled forward trying to salvage some of my papers and texts. to my alarm, not one page or book was left. only a small swatch of ancient papyrus had survived the fiery blasts. i picked it up and saw that text could still be read from the ruined scroll. i gasped as i read what the piece said:
June 20th, 1978
following the loss of my notes, i resolved to start my studies fresh and from a different angle. in the past, i had been content to be an invisible observer. it seemed that my observations had drawn attention, and it was with consideration that i made my conclusion. i would have to take a more active role in this.
i would have to protect myself with powerful counter-spells and arm myself with offensive weapons that would make a man shudder.
my meager savings allowed me to book a flight to turkey. there, i hoped to find my way into the toros mountains and the ancient hidden cave that was said to be nestled there.
at first, my journey led me upwards into the hills with great ease. owing to my health and general motivation, i was able to reach the goal of my trek in a acceptable amount of time. my goal, mt. kizlarsivrisi was a subject of great intrigue. not only was it the greatest peak in the olympus chain - a fact that was not lost on me - it seemed to be a dark mammoth that stood like an angry giant amid the beautiful valleys and dales of that region.
many of the locals in the nearby town where i made my camp told me of ghastly stories that truly chilled me. stories of kidnappings in the night, strange lights, and a local sect of men and women who hid in the hills that surrounded the region.
despite the fact that i was shaken by these tales, i strengthened my resolve for the trip ahead. on the morning of the last day, i set out with a backpack filled with the normal gear i would need. this included multiple recording devices as well. i knew that i would need to document as much as i could over the days ahead, so i supplied myself with two cameras, a tape recorder, and this notebook. no, it wasn't just clothes that i carried in that backpack. i had made a point to gird myself with as many tools as i could to make my job easier. one such tool was the antique pistol i purchased in a ankara back alley. i stress the word antique for the pistol was possibly from the world war one era. i cleaned it as best i could, but i had an ominous feeling that it had not been fired in at least fifty years.
finally, i set out. the morning was bright and only thin wisps of clouds dotted the sky. by mid-afternoon, i had reached a sandy plateau just south of the summit of the great mountain. here it was that i began to make my search for the lost cavern. going mostly on memory, i was able to find a small, rocky outcropping that was covered in sporadic brush. i got close to the stone wall and investigated with fingers and eyes. i was looking for a symbol, a letter, anything that would point out the whereabouts of the cave in question.
by nightfall, i had encircled the spur of rock twice and my search had resulted in nothing. i drew a heavy sigh and returned to my camp, there i set about making a fire and putting together my tiny tent. after a frugal meal, i arranged my sleeping covers and settled down. surely the light of the morning would aid my search. hours after i had drifted off, i was awoken by fitful dreams. in these dreams, i was walking in the night. i was walking on the same plateau, however it felt as if i were in another time, perhaps thousands of years ago. the night air was hot, and the many stars were my only light source. i walked on and on until suddenly i burst through a tangle of blasted trees and bushes into a clearing. the clearing was nondescript. the normal sandy stones and weather beaten rock was all around me, but a strange site filled my eyes as they were drawn to the center of the clearing. at the center was a spire of black. a column that stood out against the native rock like a splinter thrust into the thumb of a giant. it was about sixty feet tall and made of what appeared to be black glass.
slowly i approached the spire and reached my hand out to touch it's smooth surface. the second my hand came into contact with the column, a jolt of dread washed through me. i was overwhelmed by a feeling of loathsome exhaustion. the stone felt as if it were drawing the very life force from my flesh. a loud clap of thunder rolled across the sky and i was jolted awake. as i struggled with my sleeping wraps, i was alarmed to note that a storm had moved into my region. tall dark clouds gathered together and blotted out the winking stars. the clouds seem to be gathering to me - or at least to some defined point near me, for they rolled forward at a great rate until they neared my area where they slowed to a crawl.
i gathered myself up out of my tent and glanced around my camp. the air was dry and a sickly wind swept over the plateau despite the threat of rain due to the clouds overhead. as i looked to the east, i became aware of some sort of action going on behind the spur of rock that i had been searching. i crept towards the commotion as silently as i could, cursing my boots as they crunched over the blasted ground. as i neared the stone, i concluded that the noises i had heard were mechanical in nature.
imagine large iron arms sliding over a plate of steel. it sounded as if the hinges of hell itself were groaning back and open. i peered around a wall of stone in the general direction of the noise and my eyes were greeted with the unwholesome site of a wide yawning opening in the area i had been searching only hours before.
never would i have guessed that this seemingly solid ground was a ruse that hid the massive entrance to god knows what. it looked as if the very ground itself had fallen away to reveal the hidden portal, but i knew that not to be true as a quick glance at the ledges of the hole revealed the source of the heavy metal noise i had heard. great sliding doors, fashioned to look exactly like the native rock, had been pulled back, exposing the great penning.
someplace, deep in that open passage, i heard the clamor of beings. suddenly, i became aware of my peril.
quickly, i rushed back to the camp to disperse my belongings and hide them as best i could. who (or what) ever was behind the subterranean tumults surely would consider my encroachment an attack of some sort. i had to make it appear as if nobody had been there. having done so, i silently went back to the hidden portal. again, i glanced around the last rock wall and gazed at the area. the door was still open, a wide mouth of evil, speaking directly at the sky. around it, various humanoid types were busy setting up what appeared to be machinery of some sort. they all wore dark robes, but in flashes of moonlight i was able to discern some basic facial features. all of them appeared human, but there was an almost antagonistic leer to their features. something in their eyes and mouth was strange. it could have been described as frog-like, and i realized that i had seen these features before in some of the many denizens of Innsmouth, the town of my current household.
i could not describe the use of the the machines they were working with, if that is what the tall metallic things were, for i had never seen anything of their kind before. the metal appeared to be aluminum, or some such alloy that contained aluminum. the surfaces were a burnished dark color and they rose above the plateau like flag poles with ridiculously large bases. i was led to believe that the pieces were heavy by the way the beings were struggling with them.
they struggled, but it also could be seen that they handled their machines with the greatest of reverence. after an hour of watching their toil, i discovered that they were placing these flag poles in a rough circle that girded their doorway in the earth. with the machines in place, the humanoids slunk away, perhaps finding a place of cover for the fireworks that surely would soon take place. i pressed forward, seeking a better angle to watch, but my foot caught upon a loose snag of stone. i lurched forward and fell to the ground, scraping the palms of my hands, but that was not my worry.
the loose rock about me began to slide down towards the gaping maw of the door. pebbles and small stones cascaded down, stirring up a clamor that surely would give away my position. i rolled to my left and sought to hide myself behind a windswept bush. i had hidden myself just in time, as a number of the workers below glanced up in my general direction. their eyes had the dull gleam of red in the darkness of the night.
such racket must have been common, they only gazed for brief seconds, and then went back to their work. a rolling boom echoed out of the portal. the very rocks i rested on seemed to reverberate with the deafening sound. the humanoids were all out of site now, having reached places of cover. the gathering clouds overhead had darkened, and sky seemed to swirl inward on the hole in the ground. a hum began to build up and scream forth from the flag poles that were arranged around the doorway until the sound went up above my range of hearing.
a dull glow began to reach up from the portal in the ground and each flagpole was enveloped in the baneful light. the darkness of the clouds stood out in stark contrast to the light, and the two seemed to wrestle for a moment until finally, the darkness was sucked down towards the hole. i had to rub my eyes at the huge dust storm that was now swirling around me. the clouds themselves seemed to be yanked from the sky and down into the hole. light flashed, so bright i had to shut my eyes, and then suddenly everything stopped. the eerie light slowly retreated back away from the machines and faded into the doorway. the sky became normal again, and the whine sank back down to a hum, and then finally disappeared. i scrabbled to my feet and moved as fast as i could towards the opening. as i closed on the door, i had to check my pace. the workers had all but disappeared inside the cavern, but i had a strange feeling that i was being watched as i drew near. i entered the darkness of the open mouth. immediately, i was buffeted by a sharp coldness that emanated from the darkness below. ahead of me, dim light could be seen.
i watched closely as the humanoids walked further down the tunnel towards i knew not what. the floors were smooth, but not worn smooth. they felt as though they had been fashioned by machines. the walls did not look like any normal cavern's walls that i had ever seen. they looked more like the calm cinder block walls of a hospital or prison. scattered here and there on those walls were runes and glyphs of the like i had never seen before.
suddenly, the tunnel stopped and opened up on a large, five sided room. tunnels branched off from the room at each of the pentagram's angle. on the wall was a continual mosaic that depicted horrific forms emerging from some long forgotten ocean. the beings held what appeared to be spears with which they herded small man-like forms. some had tentacles, some had crab-like claws, but no matter what they used for grasping, every one of them seemed to be grasping a weapon and using it on the damned souls that they subjugated.
my breathing was loud in the room, and i suddenly realized that i needed to be out. some inner instinct told me to flee, to run as fast and as far as i could from this place. i backed slowly up the tunneled hallway i had come and was hit with a wave of feeling that reminded me not so much as dread but more of drowning. i clutched at my chest as i stumbled towards the portal and escape. i drew nearer to the only exit i had seen and a dull groan moved through the earth. the doors! the doors were closing again.
whatever work the fiends below had started was now accomplished. they were sealing off the outside world and if i did not hasten my steps, i would be sealed in as well. in the gloom ahead, i could see the mighty doors grinding towards a closed position. i re-doubled my pace and made it to the warmer, breathable air of the outside world. i made my way back to the place were i had set up my camp, gathered my tools and tent.
a plan was already growing in my mind. this gate had to be shut. this portal through which the denizens of the deep could gain access to my world must be closed.
July 1, 1978
after more than a week of planning and gathering of material, i think i have everything ready to effect my plan.
in a nearby village, i was able to purchase a moderate supply of fertilizer and diesel fuel. i believe that the two thousand pounds of mixture i have purchased will contain enough ammonium nitrate to do the deed. now i must hire servants to transport the materials to my destination.
July 8, 1978
July 7, 1978
three days of hauling have brought my mixture to the spot of my previous camp. we might have reached my destination sooner if it had not been for the superstitions of some of the hired labor. many had to be sent back during the journey and a few more were so frightened by the time that we reached the plateau that even waving various bills under their noses could not convince them to move any further.
nevertheless, i reached the outcropping with little or no trouble and sent them all away. i could finish by myself. after a day's labor (no small labor, i might add), i was able to arrange barrels of my explosive around the area of the cavern doors. i set up the detonator and was preparing for the blast just as night was falling - hoping to shroud my escape in the gloom of the evening.
as i twisted the last wires to my electrical charge, i heard a sound that shocked me to the very core of my bones.
"S'yaleth Gund!" said the voice and i froze.
it was the same slithering language as i had heard in my rooms so many months ago. i nervously finished my work on the detonator and did not turn around. whatever happened, i knew that it was my duty, my destiny to seal this door forever.
a jab in my back brought me out of my frozen state. for a brief second, i tasted and felt that familiar ozone flavor all around myself. i leapt to the side, grasping the detonator at the same time. i was too close, but the chance had to be taken. i had been discovered.
a boom rolled through the ground and i realized that an alarm had been sounded. i rolled in the dirt, heard that voice again, but all was lost as a gave the detonator three quick compressions and the dusk erupted in a ball of fire.
i never saw who it was who had spoken to me and jabbed at me with that horrific spear.
as the explosion went up, the rock i was lying on tilted forty-five degrees and my camp was pitched downward as the major part of the plateau sank into an ever widening hole. the great doors collapsed in on themselves and were buried under many tons of sandy rock. everything was sliding towards the great fire that was burning in the center. only a stray tree root saved me as i slid.
i hauled myself up and away from the wreck - only just in time as the entire shelf of rock disappeared in the conflagration. i managed to drag myself away from the destruction and find a spot of relative safety. i stood looked back as the whole area took on a new shape. the fires had all sunk beneath the plateau of rock, their smoke issuing from various newly formed cracks.
as i was sure my work was done, i turned to make my way back to civilization. i wiped my brow and turned back to the arduous journey ahead of me. i neared the cliffs that would lead me back to the town and began to climb down.
suddenly, a rocking boom rolled through the ground. it felt as if i were witnessing an earthquake. i scrabbled back up the path that i had come down, only to see the fleeting remnants of a gargantuan hand reaching out of the ground at the former site of the doorway. the hand was scaly and black. its size could have been compared to the size of a large city bus. it strained upward for an instant and then was pulled under the earth's crust as if it belonged to a drowning man.
September 15, 1983
The move to the new facility has been a rather boring and tedious business. However happy I may be due to the new funding, equipment, and general caliber of the people I will be working with, I shall always feel a tinge of regret at not being in the old house on Arkham lane. This new place seems far more clinical, far more sterile. The staff is forced to wear company uniforms and they use plastic security badges to move from room to room in this airtight enclosure. It is a far different from the pipe tobacco smoke and the tweed of my old campus residence! I miss my old books and scrolls; they have been transcribed to microfiche and are in the process of being entered into a database to be accessed by scholars with a like mind as my own.
Since I have moved here, I have met several of these like-minded men and women. These men and women, my colleagues, have their own stories to tell…or they are too frightened to tell them. Some men, in an attempt to conceal their abject fears, are all bluster and boasting. They will enter my rooms and want to discuss what I have done and seen in the past. They will want to compare “fishing stories” as I have begun to call them. Whoever has the largest fish must be the alpha-male… Other men and women here, they are blank. They do not talk about what they know. They conceal the hopeless and utterly horrible visions and they do not speak of them. These are the people I want to unlock. These are the individuals who have seen what I have seen. That cold plateau in Turkey, that grasping and dying hand…if these people have seen half of what I know is possible, it is imperative that we exchange information. It is of utmost importance that we share these tales because the world outside this clinic does not know what is happening. Even if they did, they would not believe us.
September 17, 1983
Now that we have settled in, I am beginning to actually meet my peers. It is not going as well as I had first hoped. Several of these scholars, doctors, and agents I have met in the past, either through my journeys or involved in some academia. It is because of this past that most shy away from me and I have been labeled a pariah by more established and accepted learning circles. My unorthodox practices and non-linear studies have won me few allies in what is laughingly called “Kellum’s personal crusade” by people who scoff at my past. However, over the years I have made few lasting friends. Many are still alive to share in my beliefs, my labors, and my secrets.
I was pleased to find that doctor Avinashi Proctor, the noted parapsychologist, world famous mountaineer, and friend was on the list of technicians who had been invited by the government to study here at the facility. In years past, we had gone on several expeditions; the last a disastrous journey and study of pre-Olmec stone carvings found in a central American cave. Oh, how that study was denigrated and maligned by the archeological community! Avi and I had been blacklisted from government funding for several years after the tragic events that unfolded in that Panamanian town. I was nervous to meet with her after all these years, I feared that maybe she still held a grudge.
I rapped on the wooden panel of her door and she spoke to me without even looking up from a stack of papers she was reading.
“Quite a place they have given us here,” she said. “All this funding…it seems as if it has come from out of nowhere.”
I gave a soft chuckle and entered her room. Yes, the funding had at first seemed to appear out of thin air, but I had asked questions. People who controlled vast resources had read our theories and the theories of our colleagues. I assured her that even though it seemed as if we were being controlled by shadowy puppet masters, we were indeed funded by everyday normal citizens.
“Ah yes,” she replied, her almond shaped eyes looking at me for the first time in six long years, “but who controls them?”
With that, our friendship seemed to rekindle. We began talking of our exploits in the years we had been apart, sharing tales that were both strange and wonderful. I felt as if I was acting like a schoolboy, I was nervous and I talked too fast. My excitement at seeing this long lost friend had me edgy and jumpy. She seemed as cool and aloof as ever. I had forgotten how beautiful she was, despite her physical, emotional, and psychic scars.
As we brought each other up to speed on our past exploits, she was stern and stoic, which was usual for her, but as the time ticked by; her voice grew deeper and more grave. I could not stand this anymore; I knew she was hiding something. Finally, I demanded to know what was wrong.
“I am not quite sure what you mean…” her voice trailed off as she toyed. Finally, she understood that I knew she was concealing something. “I can’t kid you Mark, I never could.”
“What is it? Blast it! don’t beat around the bush here!” I was exasperated and intrigued.
She took a slow breath, her shoulders straightened and broadened showing just how fit she was under her academic disguise. “Recently, and I am talking of within the last few days, there have been some very interesting sightings right here in town.”
“Sightings?” I asked sheepishly. “What do you mean? Are we speaking of The Old Ones? Some new opponent?”
“Mark, please keep it down,” she looked out the doorway of her office to see if anyone was around. “Have you ever wondered why they put this clinic…this whole facility here in Chicago? Why they have gathered such an odd group of people here in the name of research?”
“The official paperwork said to promote the collection and sharing of data that lies outside of normal scientific method…”
“Don’t hand me the company line!” Avi said with a grin. “We’re here because They are here…”
September 28, 1983
I have dived into my work here at the facility with great vigor. The discussion with Avi has renewed my resolve and the discussions that were to follow only bolstered my feelings. This government agency was placed here to not only discover paranormal phenomena, but to also track it and if possible, attempt to confront it. To say the word confront is a rather placid way of putting it. Some might say “attack.”
This does not bother me in the slightest. In my past, I have done my fair share of confrontation. The powers that are locked within this world, the ones we are hunting, do not care for human beings even if they recognize them as anything more than a cockroach. There is no parley with these entities, only Armageddon or survival.
At my desk, I have been looking over several reports that have been coming in from the south side of Chicago. The decline and crime of places like Englewood have not helped in our studies. They have only hidden what may really be going on there. Avi has suggested an urban expedition over the course of several nights. After a week of planning and gathering supplies, I think we shall be able to do just that.
October 7, 1983 7:45 PM
The bus ride was a revelation. I have always relied public transportation when living in large towns, but I have never journeyed in such a decrepit and daunting neighborhood. The ride I had taken was easily as forbidding as any voyage into some forgotten crypt or some bleak mountain pass. Everything on the bus, though brightly lit, seemed off, as if the whole contraption was vibrating on some other plane of existence. My worried expression alarmed Avi.
“What is it Mark…do you see something?”
I held back, I did not want her to know that I was alarmed; I did not want my own foolishness to spook her. I claimed that I might be coming down with a fever.
“There is Aspirin in one of the suitcases; I’ll get you some when we reach the hotel.”
The bus we traveled in was owned by the city, and what a city it was that flashed by in the dusky Chicago light. Old buildings, boarded up businesses and abandoned stockyards crept passed us as we journeyed forward. Finally, around 7 p.m. we reached the beaten and broken hotel. The streets were deserted, but the feeling they gave off was not just a feeling of vacancy…they felt as if they were not there. As I hefted the bags off the luggage rack and made my way to the bus’s pneumatic doorway, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. Something black. Something not quite there.
“Wha-wait, Avi!” I called after her.
“What is it? need some help?” She asked, but then she saw the look on my face. Her expression turned to one of severe resolve. “Let’s get inside, out of the wide open. We need to set up.” She quickly crossed the sidewalk and entered the hotel as I puffed along behind her.
We reached the check in counter and an old black man met us with a sly smirk. He seemed to know something about us and was not willing to share his knowledge. I paid very close attention to him. Something was just not quite right. Finally, after we had prepaid for the week and we were signed in to the register, he broke out into a wide grin and handed us our keys. It dawned on me that the man was blind. I felt ashamed that I had not noticed such a handicap and the old man realized that I was caught in an awkward moment.
“Vietnam.” He said, answering my question before I had even asked it. “Grenades don’t care which side you is on, they just go off.” He said with a flourish. He then walked around the counter and gestured towards an old set of elevator doors. “Those is broken, you can use them to come down, but I wouldn’t try goin up. F’some reason the gears is locked up. Been that way for years.” He added a small chuckle.
Leaving him behind, we hauled our bags and cases up to the second floor. We had chosen a higher level than the ground floor for many reasons. First, they allowed us to see above the fence across the street into the abandoned stockyard that was located directly across from us. Secondly, we had decided on a second story room in this hotel because it would give us a reasonable amount of anonymity should we encounter people who were curious. Finally, it would be harder for anything to get into the room…it never occurred to us that it would be equally as difficult to get out.
Avi was unpacking equipment as I settled on one of the two twin beds. She handled her tools with an air of authority, checking to see if each individual apparatus was functional and clean. Finally, she took a rather large pistol out of her pack and began checking it for God knows what. She finally noticed my expression of wonder and shock.
“Hey,” she said with a clever grin, “it’s still Chicago Mark…the south side of Chicago…” With that, she slammed the magazine home in the butt of the pistol and then nestled it in the back of her slacks below her jacket. “C’mon, it’s time for some recon.”
October 7, 1983 11:15 PM
There is something hiding beneath the streets of Chicago. We have yet to ascertain just what or who we are dealing with, but judging by what we have seen, something mighty sleeps nearby.
I have just returned to our room and I have managed to stop Avi’s bleeding and get her a cab back to the facility. I have a few minutes to wait and jot this down while it is fresh in my mind before our ride comes. I am certain we must come back here, but we shall need more help. Two was just not enough. After presenting our story to the superiors at the facility, I am sure they will allow us a full team and at least a mobile command center to base our operations from, but I must not get ahead of myself. Here is what has happened so far…
Once we had left the hotel, we traveled east towards lake Michigan. The roads were still deserted and they were still as bleak as they had been at dusk, but now, with nightfall and the streetlights on, they had taken on an almost unwholesome mood. Several times, as we would pass a boarded up doorway or a dusty window, I would get that nasty feeling of being watched. I tend to trust that feeling…I know I am being watched.
After traveling approximately two miles on the cracked and dirty sidewalk, we came to an old church. This place, at one time, had been an Eastern Orthodox Church. The old rounded ceilings were caving in slightly and I perceived that the building had been empty for at least twenty years. Small trees grew inside the building, their doomed branches poking through stained cracked stained glass windows. Avi stopped dead in her tracks, something about the building called to her.
“This is interesting, let’s take a look.” She placed her hands on the rotting boards that held the old doors shut. She didn’t even have a chance to tug on them when several things happened all at once.
While she was in front of the door, something small, black, and greasy grabbed at my leg. I gave an alarmed cry and several of the bricks from the roof of the church slid and fell on our position, followed by a cracking and scrabbling sound that came from the heights above us. Startled by all the commotion, I stepped backwards and slipped on the curb. I came down with a thud and reached out at whatever it was on the end of my pants leg. Something…a thing I cannot describe to you gave a small almost human yell and then scurried over my leg, into the gutter and then down an open sewer grate. I yelled after it, more in fear than in outrage.
Avi, maneuvering herself out of the falling bricks way, took the pistol out from behind her jacket. She held it up and scanned the roadway behind me, she then gave a quick, hawk-like glance at the roof above us.
“Quiet,” she hissed at me. “We’re in deep shit here, I think.”
I couldn’t agree more. I regained my feet with a soft grunt and moved closer to her. If something was going to happen, I wanted to be near the girl with the gun.
“I think whatever it was slid down the back side of the church’s roof,” I said. “If we work our way around the building through that alley, I think we can get back there.”
“I want to try going through the church, you go around” Avi said. I didn’t argue, but as I made my way towards the alley, she called after me.
“I think you had better take this,” she said as she reached down to her ankle and produced a revolver from a hidden holster. It was a .38 snub-nosed pistol, more commonly called a Saturday Night Special. I looked at it, hefted it in my hand and then nodded to her. We split up, but we never should have.
As I jogged around the church into the alley, I could hear Avi breaking the boards that held the doors shut. The back and side yards of the church were overgrown with weeds and there were several broken headstones in one small patch near the back of the lot. I crept slowly passed these tombs and found a box with which to climb over the old wrought iron fence that separated me from the yard proper.
Once inside the yard, I felt a cold chill take a hold of me, moving almost like water up my legs and gripping my torso in such a way, I had to gasp for breath. Whatever had run back here was either in the grip of this freezing anxiety or it was the cause of it. As I drew closer to the back doors of the church, I was sure I heard a faint snuffling coming from a patch of particularly out of control bushes. I moved towards them to find the source of the noise.
The gun felt alien in my hand as I prepared to glance under the bush, or perhaps to push some of its branches out of the way in order to see what was snuffling. My foot crunched down on some old gravel and the snuffling ceased abruptly. I gathered myself and with the gun in one shaking hand, I yanked a branch out of the way. Nothing.
Suddenly, a shriek rose up from inside the church. “Mark!” Came Avi’s voice. She sounded as if she were in pain. She then yelled something unintelligible and some more yells…other people’s voices yelled back. I scrambled back the way I had come, cutting myself on the fence and made it back to the front of the church. There I saw something I will never forget.
This thing, tall and dark, was walking out of the door of the church. It was rounded at the top, almost like a head, but the round part was split in the middle. A gargantuan mouth full of razor sharp teeth. There were no eyes present and the four arms that hung from the torso ended in hooked tentacles. The legs appeared to be human in nature, but not in function; the thing easily leapt over me and was nearly a hundred yards down the street before my eyes could catch up with it. I was shocked by this, but I was brought back to reality by another groan coming from the church.
Heedlessly, I barged through the broken doors and crumbling entry foyer. The light was far dimmer inside than out and I had to steer by beams that shone down from a stained glass window in the ceiling. All the pews and the pulpit had been tossed casually into a corner, piled and wrecked, to make the center of the room clear of all obstacles. There, in the exact center of the Nave was Avi’s body, lying prone.
I ran to her and slid to her downed position. I felt her throat, she was alive. Gently, I pulled her over so that her head was lying in my lap. Her face was ashen and she was struggling to breath. In the dim light, I saw that her right hand was missing. Missing? The extremity had been bitten off, leaving a ragged hump of torn flesh. She was bleeding badly. Quickly, I took a shoelace off and made a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. By the time I had tightened the lace, she had slipped out of her shock and was trying to speak to me.
“Pistol…it didn’t do anything..” she was struggling.
“Never mind that, can you get up or am I going to have to carry you?”
She gave a small nod and tried to put her right arm up. Realizing that this was futile, she switched over and put her left hand on my shoulder, I eased her up as slowly and carefully as I could. We then began the slow journey back to the hotel room. I vainly glanced around to perhaps find a phone booth or a lonely vehicle driving around on this miserable night. None were to be found.
October 8, 1983 2:45 AM
The doctors will not tell me what is wrong, but I know they are scared. Between my tourniquet and their able doctoring, Avi was able to survive the blood loss she has suffered and for a brief time was able to rest comfortably. She smiled at me from the observation window but the smile was one more of a drug-induced haze than it was of reassurance.
Hours later, as I sat in the waiting area adjacent to Avi’s room, something went wrong. All of her vital signs, which had been good, suddenly took a nosedive. It was if something were actively trying to take her life. A crowd of nurses leapt into action and sped down the hallway and into her room. I rushed into the room behind them, but was quickly shoved outside and was forced to watch what was going on through the observation glass. The part of her arm, so hideously damaged by the bite, was now black and it oozed a tar-like rot. Avi arched her back, screamed and her eyes rolled back in their sockets. The curtain was drawn over the window, blocking the small view I had. I had to find a telephone.
I called the facility and explained the situation. Since our expedition to the south end had been officially sanctioned by the superiors at the facility, our actions were known and there was no surprise that we had been where we had been. The surprise came when I explained that we had been in direct confrontation with an entity, or entities that close to our home base. The facility supervisor I spoke with assured me that they were on the way and that I should not worry.
As I waited for the cavalry to arrive, a doctor approached me and explained to me what had happened with Avi. Something in the wound, some small microbe had been sealed off from the open air by my tourniquet or by some luck of her blood scabbing over. Once the microbe had a chance to escape—probably due to the surgery they had performed on her arm—it had reacted violently and had ate away another three inches of flesh in a matter of seconds. Only by amputating her arm at the elbow had the doctors been able to save Avi’s life.
October 10, 1983 12:00 PM
I do not know where I am. Soon after the Facility operatives arrived at the hospital, Avi and I were escorted to a group of black vans that were parked, idling, in the basement of the hospital parking garage. All of the agents were silent, only answering my questions with a stern glance as we were herded along towards the vehicles. Avi, at this point, was not totally conscious yet she was on her wobbly feet. She faded from brief moments of lucidity back to an almost drunken stupor. She was obviously in great pain.
Once we were in one of the vans, we were shown a small bench seat and told to sit. A large portion of the back of our particular van was covered in a bank of what appeared to be closed circuit television sets. A small, balding man sitting in a chair swiveled around and took off a headset as we were seated.
“Ah Kellum…Proctor…It is good to finally meet you even if it is under these terrible circumstances.” His face showed concern. “Proctor, I am so sorry for having you removed from this hospital, I assure you that we shall be taking you to our own Facility hospital and there I think you will find things much more comfortable.”
Avi could only give a weak smile, but I was full of questions. I began to speak rapidly. The man waved them off with a sigh and nodded to the driver behind me. The van began to move.
“Not yet! Not yet! Kellum…we both have quite a bit of info that we are going to need to share.” With that, he cryptically turned back to his closed circuit machinery and placed a set of headphones on his head.
The ride was uneventful. We did not go straight to the Facility as I had first supposed, but rather we found the interstate and drove due west. After some miles with my questions going unanswered, I grew terse. Avi was worrying me greatly and the total lack of concern on the part of these operatives was frightening to me. As she became paler and paler, I began to suspect that something sinister was afoot and a rage began to build in me quite quickly.
Just as I was about to burst and rip the headphones off the little bald man, the van slowed to a crawl and made a sharp turn into a gated alcove off of the side of the highway. By looking at it from an angle, you could not tell there was a road hidden there, but if you were facing the alcove and gate, a small gravel road appeared and then wound around a stand of trees. We took this alcove and pulled up to the gate. The driver spoke into a radio microphone and the gate slowly ground back on its metal hinges. We drove through and the gate slowly closed behind us. The lack of human hands pushing the gate closed only heightened my growing fear and animosity. I felt a certain ball of anger growing in my midsection and I had a growing sense of foreboding.
The van took the curving road far back into the forest. Finally, we entered a football field sized clearing in the forest that was covered in grass. Everything was brightly lit by halogen lamps on tall poles and at the center of the clearing was what appeared to be a construction trailer. The van and its escort pulled to a halt exactly at the door of the trailer and once again, we were unceremoniously herded out of the vans and right to the steps of the trailer. Here, the bald man stopped us and gave what seemed to be a long prepared speech.
“You two, you are about to see some things that you will not believe. You are being asked now not to repeat anything you have heard or seen under penalty of the laws of the United States government. You are not being placed under arrest at this time, but for your own safety, you may be sequestered for your own protection. Do not be alarmed Kellum! Go along with me for just a few hours of your time and I have a feeling that you shall be rewarded for your sacrifice…trust me, this is going to blow your mind.”
What could we do? Avi gave me a quick, worried glance to which I shrugged my shoulders. The pain medication was wearing off and I could tell she was in great discomfort. We followed the little bald man inside the trailer. As he mounted the little wooden steps, his jacket shifted and I could see the butt of a pistol in a shoulder holster. I suddenly grew quite distressed.
Inside the trailer, it looked exactly as my mind had pictured what a construction trailer would look like. Messy desk covered in papers and old paper coffee cups. A water cooler and a row of filing cabinets were against one wood-paneled and a large topographical map was on the wall opposite them. There were several plastic chairs strewn haphazardly around the room, some covered in stacks of files. The little bald man went to the desk and picked up the receiver of an old rotary telephone.
“Section Chief Reynolds” He said blandly into the phone. “Agent number 2507A condition blue.” With that, he hung up the phone and relaxed a small bit in the old squeaking office chair. He gestured at us. “Sit down, this may take a few minutes and I am sure you guys are worn out.”
I guided Avi around myself and into one of the plastic chairs that faced the desk, being careful of her wounded arm. Once she was in place, I moved a stack of papers off the chair next to her and sat down myself. This pleased Reynolds and he gave us a reassuring smile. Behind us, three faceless agents also sat. With them behind me, it felt like I had turned my back on a panther, ready to strike.
“We’ve got a few minutes…why don’t you ask some questions?” Reynolds said around his grin. “I’m sure you are full of them.”
I was not interested in knowing anything at that point but where we could get help for Avi. She was grievously injured and in dire need of something to quell her pain. I asked about a place where I could get her into a bed and get her some much needed rest. I was sure the journey we had taken was an incredible stress on her system and I wanted to check her wound.
“That’s what we’re here for, Kellum,” He said. “Give the elevator some time to get up here. It’s a long way down.”
“Elevator?” I asked.
“Yes, surely you didn’t think that this little office was where we were going to take you? There is, after all, a large Facility base about a mile underneath us. We’re just waiting for the elevator.”
I let my mind chew that morsel of information for a minute. “The Facility…it isn’t just a privately funded organization, that much I now know…but the government? How long have they been overseeing us? Ghost stories and digging around in old crypts doesn’t seem like something that would garner much support or money.”
“The Facility was founded in 1910.” He stated as if by rote. “Two years before that time there was a massive explosion in Russia—“
“The Tunguska event.” I interrupted.
“Ah yes, Tunguska,” Reynolds went on. “The official story is that a comet or meteor exploded above the ground and flattened everything nearby.”
“But the unofficial story is?”
“Something entered this world.” Reynolds put his hand in his suit pocket and extracted a pack of cigarettes. He lighted on and blew a soft stream of smoke out of his lips. “Or, as some of the experts believe, Something woke.”
“What a load of malarkey,” Avi was lucid again and she was defiantly voicing her opinion. Reynolds gave her a wan smile and set his cigarette down.
“Ask your friend if it is malarkey,” He said. I felt a cold shock. These people must have studied me well…read my journals. Avi glanced in my direction and studied my knowing face. I remembered my time in Turkey. My time in Arizona. I shrugged my shoulders at her.
“What he says…” I said. “What he says may be true. I want to see more. I want to know more about what this place is and what is going on.”
“Anyways,” he said dismissively, “the Facility was founded in 1910 because at the time several…ah…people who showed small psychic ability began to see things on a greater scale than they ever had in their past. If a person could get a sense of the future by paying attention to his dreams, he now was seeing those dreams in waking life. If a person could read an object’s muted history by handling it, it now became a raging vision. If a person had some spiritual connection to an area…you get the picture. It seemed as if everybody was operating on a new and more powerful level. One of these “psychically gifted” people happened to be Teddy Roosevelt, and although he thought that he was only suffering from bad dreams and that psychic phenomena was a load of bunk, he was alarmed by his visions enough to suggest that a study should be engaged. He also had the foresight to fund it rather richly.”
“Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t president in 1910.” Avi said with a tired voice. Reynold’s speech had only made her more firmly full of doubt.
“Yes, you are correct, but the Tunguska event occurred during his watch. The money and the directives were already in place when he left office. Each president that has come after him has been notified of our presence and of our directives.”
“Directives?” I asked. “I have always thought that the Facility was a research group…a proactive group yes, but dedicated to study and recording information…”
“When you said proactive, you were quite correct. Our stated directive mentions something along the lines of a proactive nature, but you are mistaking just how enthusiastic we really are.” As he said this, he gave a quick wink…as if for the benefit of Avi.
Again, I was swept with a feeling that these people had been watching me. I felt more guarded than before. It was as if he had read my journal word for word. This man new much more about me than he was letting on and I did not like it at all.
“Reynolds,” I said around gritted teeth, “just how much do you know and what aren’t you telling us?
“All in good time, Kellum.” The bald little man said and he grinned around his cigarette.
October 11, 1983 12:15 PM
I cannot risk a full entry at this time. I have found some shocking information that will be related shortly. They will be checking up on me.
October 14, 1983 6:45 PM
Avi and I have been separated. My belongings have only just been returned to me. I have been placed in a room that has a door that locks from the outside. Reynolds has told me that it is for my own safety as there are things within this compound that I might not be cleared to see. I am not sure I believe him, but as it stands now, I really don’t have a choice in the matter.
Once the elevator had reached the construction trailer, Avi was gently placed in the car and allowed to go down to the compound first. Owing to her physical state, she did not grumble as much as she normally would have when the three Facility thugs put her in the car and then traveled below with her. Our physical state. Things have been speeding along at such a rate; the hotel, the thing on my leg, the thing in the church, Avi’s wound, and the thing behind the bush…I am actually glad to be incarcerated here. It is giving me a chance to calm down and think about what has happened.
Once Avi had left the room, Reynolds gave me a curious look. He crushed out his cigarette and straightened his tie.
“Kellum,” he said around a leer. “I didn’t think you had it in you!”
The cad! He mistook my concern for Avi and my professional camaraderie with her as evidence that we were sleeping together. I did not even dignify his comment with a reply. I let my silence show him my distaste for his dishonorable comments. Satisfied with himself, Reynolds gave a soft chuckle.
“Turkey about killed you.” He stated flatly.
I gave a brief nod. There was no point in trying to avoid his knowledge or attempt to keep up the charade any longer. “If you know so much about it, why didn’t the Facility lend a hand?"
“Oh, we were there,” Reynolds said. “Tolliver and I were both watching you the moment you stepped off the plane in Ankara.”
“Watching, but no help,” I said, incensed by the fact that these people had been dogging my steps for years.
“You did fine Kellum…if you screwed the pooch; we’d go in and clean up for you. The fact that you made it out of the country alive was what got you your grant with the Facility. Be happy!”
Reynolds has really begun to annoy me. His self-satisfied visage and his surety only highlighted the worst in him and the worst in what I was learning about the Facility. These men were not scholars or scientists; they were not dedicated to obtaining the answers to secrets. These men were thugs and swindlers, only feigning interest to further the ends of some bureaucrat’s bloodlust and assuage paranoia. I resolved to escape this place if I could and to take Avi with me. I would no longer work for these pretenders or their governmental bosses. Like I had in the past, I would strike out on my own and take care of business as I saw fit. I would just have to be more careful.
There was an uncomfortably long lapse in our conversation. Reynolds stared at me as if he were daring me to “try something.” I would not indulge him. The soft ping of the elevator rang out in the dingy office and the door smoothly slid open. The silence continued as we rode down. The elevator was nothing like the grubby and dusty office. It was brand new and its metal shone as if it were polished on a schedule. We traveled downwards at an alarming rate, my stomach and innards shifted as we sped towards our destination. After quite a bit of time, the elevator slowed and stopped. The soft ping came again and the doors opened.
In front of the open doors, I saw a very long hallway. It was white and clinical in appearance. The floor looked like it had been recently waxed. Everything was bright enough that after the dirty office both Reynolds and I had to squint our eyes. Reynolds stepped out of the elevator with an air of authority and beckoned me to follow. Grasping my sheaf of notes, I stepped into the hallway and as the door of the elevator shut, I felt a sense of ensnarement, as if the cool and unemotional compound were attempting to lure me with false promise. I also felt that I would not be allowed out for a very long time.