Editor’s Note: We missed one. For the first time in nearly two years, we missed producing one of our weekly joy-filled drunken webisodes. Eric and I would be ashamed, but we have never been before and see no reason to start. But I suppose we do owe you fine fans an explanation, and I thought the best way to adequately explain the horrible and mysterious circumstances surrounding our whoopsie was to conduct an elaborate séance and summon the ghost of famed horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. I learned how to from watching Supernatural. Luckily, H. P. is a huge fan of our show and blog, even from beyond the veil that separates the living from the spectral remains of those who have passed on to the darkness between worlds (as he puts it), and had already descended to our dull, corporeal plane to try to find us himself. So the séance totally worked and you can shut your face. You don’t know. You weren’t there.
I. The Missing Men
It is difficult to describe in the words of the living what my existence has been like these past seventy-seven years dead. It is something akin to the strongest dreams that men can remember in their waking hours, away from the darkness that draws their minds into realms the sane can’t contemplate in sunlight. A swirling scape of colors and sounds beyond the rational , far distant from the pleasures of fleshy life as well as the creeping sensations of terror oozing along the edges of awareness. Yet, through some machinations of older and stronger powers than mankind will ever know, signals can seep through. Among the programs I receive on the other side, amongst the endless NCIS marathons on USA that seem to go on without ceasing and will even after all time collapses into more than darkness yet less than nothing, are the episodes of BroCast News. Thus I am kept abreast of the goings on of my home dimension in a most droll fashion.
The show is a great and constant comfort to me, so it was with abject horror that, in my spirituous ramblings this most recent Sunday, I found that there was no progress being made to conjure another brief summation of the previous week’s worldly events, well-flavored with the brown ichor of Jack Daniels. What’s more, there was no sign of either of the typically charming hosts in their diminutive temple of filmmaking. Taking physical form, as I am want to do in times of great stress or when I desire to consume iced cream, I searched among the various writings in scattered and stained notebooks. That proved fruitless and I turned to Eric’s personal window to the ephemeral world of information, driven by eldritch arts and the humming of electric currents, known to the common folk of your age as a computer.
A quick glance through the list of Eric’s e’ed mails gave me the next step in my investigation. Amongst the solicitations for digitized harlotry, elixirs for the enlargement of the male member, and receipts from some sort of un-seamed food delivery service, I found evidence of the young man’s whereabouts in a series of communiques from his elder, Hibernian-named friend Shaun. Eric, at the very least, was in the city of Austin in distant Texas. Of Paul I could learn nothing, but I was driven to follow what information I had to begin peeling away the shroud of the two hosts’ absence.
II. Inquiries in the Haze
Like a wisp of smoke at the tail end of a sacrificial pyre, I dropped my corporeal form in New York to travel all distances and times through the places that are not to reappear in my southern destination. The heat and humidity of the riverside city of Austin swept over me like an ominous wave, coaxing drops of sweat from me like miniature, salted warnings from my own pale skin. I followed my quarry to the city’s sixth street to find the place a boisterous orgy of people and music of the country. Filled with drunken people brimming with the dull optimism of youth, their joy spilling over in hooting and instrumentals that was swallowed up by the roar of their collective celebration. The place seemed a beacon of light against the tide of the murky sea, forever lapping along the beaches of our minds. Yet I could sense, beneath the twangs of banjos and beer-vomit filled gutters, the creeping rot of that the happy are blinded to.
I questioned several purveyors of alcohol along the street until my queries discovered one who bore sickly smelling fruit. Eric had been there only a few short hours earlier, in the company of the hoary elder Shaun as well as two others he could not identify but recalled as a youthful faced lad and a woman. They had asked fervently, Shaun in particular, after the location of a place known by those locals versed in the ancient lore of the long-dead natives as Eltsac Rehto . It was a place beyond the city limits, out in the deserts to the north. A pattern of cyclopean stones dug deep beyond measure in the sickly yellow sand in a crude zig-zag shape that was, as the self-same lore told, the symbol of an older god of the vanished people of an age before time subdued madness. Only in Eltsac Rehto could he be summoned and bent to the will of any who led the blood sacrifice needed to call such monstrosity into our world. All this was told to me by this same grizzled barman, of indeterminable heritage and age, in the hushed tones of one who fears the ears of entities beyond comprehension. A few coppers of thanks were all I passed to him in return as I left for the desert.
As I found myself re-corporealizing the distance of a brisk walk from my destination with the sun beginning to set, I wondered all but aloud what had driven Eric and his companions to seek out this place. The timbre of the barman’s voice stuck in the crawling recesses of my mind. A fear had invisibly wrapped his throat and painlessly choked him like the tentacled appendages of Cthulhu himself. What evil purpose or curiosity drove the humorous BroCast host to a place of such age that instilled such abject terror? I pressed onward, desperate beyond reason to find my answer.
III. The Ceremony in the Sagebrush
Within a half-hour’s walk through the thorny flora and hot rocks the color of dried blood upon so many sacrificial mesas, I saw a light begin to rise in the clear, black sky as the sun kissed its final glowing farewell to the comfort of day. The light danced wildly like a pagan madman as I drew closer, which led me to conclude it was bonfire climbing up from my destination. Perhaps those I sought were merely enjoying a drunken romp in the desert, blissfully unawares of the terrible, sacred natured of the ground they trod on. As I clambered over the last rise in the rocks, I quickly saw I was wrong. I could feel what little pallor there was draining from my ghostly face. The bonfire was there, in the center of the arranged rocks, and around it like the points of a triangle stood three solid stakes of wood, all ending high above the heads of the individual slumped forms bound to each one. Eric, with his unmistakable hair, was easy to discern in silhouette. I took the others to be the unnamed companions. And, with his back to me between two stakes, stood Shaun, arms held wide within the voluminous and cloak he now wore that sucked in the light of the fire and the gaze of one’s eye, giving back only inky cold.
Over the crackle of the fire, the old man cried in a voice deeper than natural, with a guttural rumbling to the vowels that reverberated in my nonexistent blood. The language was not one I am familiar with, but I recognized the tome in his outstretched left hand: the Necronomicon of Adul Alhazred. Shaun finessed his incantation with a resounding and repeated shout of words that sounded, as close as I can recreate in Latin letters, like “Oiram Repus!” With that the flames began to eddy and swirl against the winds that whipped the rocks around me. A tall form began to take shape in fire, a monstrous caricature of a man that grinned with soulless mouth and hollow eyes as it blotted out the moon itself. Shaun turned, his mouth upturned with the same heartless rapture, and walked towards Eric’s slumped form. From the folds of his robe, he drew out a knife that looked to be made of solid bone, shined to an oily glow. As he did, the form in the fire began to solidify, such so that I could recognize the being from my own readings of the Mad Arab’s book.
Shaun raised the knife high, ready to drive it into Eric’s unconscious heart, and called out the name of his fiery god once more. The embers and stars above mingled and shook with the calling. My mind, taken with a more than momentary madness, forced a cry of terror from my mouth. The old sorcerer spun towards me in surprise, only to grin at the thought of another blood sacrifice to feed his reborn thrall. I felt my heart go cold, forgetting in the moment’s sheer madness I was already quite dead. But before Shaun could discover this for himself, he let out an animal shriek of no earthly origin and I immediately saw why. His large, flapping wizards cloak had proved his undoing, for as he had turned to face me it had swung through the raging bonfire. Now flames lapped up and down him, seeming to lose all their color as they burned away the horrid cloak. In a moment, the old man was nothing but an indiscernible ball of burning cloth and flesh. The bone knife fell to the sand as he fell back into the very fiery portal he had opened. The face of Oiram Repus howled silently as it faded into nothing more than a bonfire again, and the stones shook at the rage that passed through the closing hole between worlds.
In madness I fled back to the immaterial plane and begged the nothingness for a corner in the infinite in which to hide. I was some time in recovering, but I fear my recovery will never be complete for as long as my soul remains. For when Eric and the others awoke, the fire had died leaving no sign of the fiendish old man. Perhaps the fire had burned too hot for his wretched bones. But a doorway had been opened, and if a god could pass through, then perhaps a man could as well. And perhaps he could return again with the vengeful denizen of that other world behind him.
Editor’s Note: I had no involvement in any of this crazy shit. I was in Nantucket with my family for the Memorial Day weekend celebrating my mom’s birthday. It was wonderful. Family time, great food, and lots of alcohol. We only ran into one evil cult there, but they were pussies.