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Author Topic: The glade, a not completely finished story  (Read 427 times)

AfterShave

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The glade, a not completely finished story
« on: May 27, 2010, 02:21:23 pm »

I wrote this rather short story I began writing during the winter holiday, most of it was finished then but I've been expanding it every now and then whenever I've felt like doing so. English is not my native language and I'm not much of an author so feel free to tell me where I could improve it more.

The Glade

I

A long time ago when I was younger. Some friends and I dabbled in various sorts of divination and ways to contact the spirit world. We thought that it was an interesting avocation, even though we never noticed any results. When it was time for us to enroll at an university we got separated from each other. The others went to Harvard and Oxford, while I went to study science at the Miskatonic University in Arkham. When I arrived there I was amazed by the sheer size of its library, and even more amazed by the books it contained.

The library contained well over 100.000 books, probably even more than 300.000. It had the actual occult tomes that I had only read about as rumors before. Although those rare books were kept sealed away from most of the pupils and even from many of the professors, I managed to get the permission to study those books after three years. I got the permission after I had shown interest in the occult and the esoteric arts during a conversation with one of the professors that had access to the restricted area of the library. He gave me a document signed by himself that allowed me to study those rare sealed away tomes. Together with the permission he also gave me a handwritten note with a list of names. He told me that he did not want me to read those books, especially not the Necronomicon he said. He said that too many of those who had studied that book had been lost forever and that he did not want to lose me. He never told me what that really meant, but I shuddered at my assumptions and took his advice and never studied any of the books on his list.

During my last two years in Arkham I spent most of my spare time reading the restricted volumes and performing various experiments detailed in said tomes. My most enjoyable and most successful experiments took place at night. I had found a title-less book, describing the power of dreams and how to control them. I got fairly proficient in the art of lucid dreaming but it was what I found in the book “Secret Places of Power,” that really caught my interest. The book contained detailed descriptions of many sites of rumored power worthy of notice. Since the book was of British origin, most if not all the sites described in the book were located in Europe. Many of the entries in the book seemed too obscure to be true but one of those obscure entries caught my attention. It was a glade in the New Forest, Hampshire, England a few miles away from the small village of  Minstead, supposedly used by an odd cult composed of robbers and criminals to worship and make sacrifices to pagan gods. The site was used during the 13th and the early 15th centuries and was the holiest site of the cult until its members were found and executed. It was said that the glade is a portal to another dimension where the gods of that cult reside.

The portal was said to open every tenth year and to stay open for a single night. All that is left at the site at dawn is carried away to the other dimension. But the reverse is also true, everything located at the  glade in the other dimension at dawn is carried here. There are rumors of an eerie glow that occurs once every tenth year at a sunset in August in the area, presumably due to the portal opening. The cycle is so that the portal opens on the years which end in a zero. I was dismayed at this information. It was still four years left until the next opening of the portal. I sat in the library a long time to decide on what to do. I decided to do more investigations about the site during my last years at school and the two years that were left after that I was going to work and get plenty of money to fund my trip across the world.



The seasons came and went. By the time I graduated, my knowledge of the occult had greatly increased and I had become rather renowned in Arkham because of my knowledge. Most people considered my interests to be too odd and didn't make any attempts to socialize with me. I didn't mind, I had come to prefer solitude over the company of others since I got the permission to enter the restricted area of the library. I felt that I was superior to everyone else. I had knowledge they would never have. Studying the books almost became my life. I would sit in the library studying books as soon as I finished my classes for the day, and on the weekends I would often sit there until it closed. When I wasn't in the library I would often sit and ponder the texts.  Leaving the books after I graduated was not an option, so I had gotten my permission extended indefinitely after persuading the president of the university to grant me the privilege.
Despite my vastly increased knowledge I had not forgotten about that site in England that had caught my attention two years earlier. No, I had been preparing for my eventual journey ever since I read about it.

II

I had traveled by train to New York where the RMS Mauretania was to depart on the 24th of July, heading for London.
I intended to stay at Minstead during August to be sure that I wouldn't miss the event that I had been waiting for the last four years.
The day when the boat was to depart I had prepared everything I could possibly have thought of. All the regular travel gear such as clothes were packed and a few more, exotic, objects were also packed. Holy objects and texts, texts describing warding and exorcism rituals. A loaded revolver and a box of ammunition, a blessed dagger and a four leaf clover that I had found two summers ago. All in case there was some malign presence at the site. I had my doubts about the site. It seemed too surreal to be the truth. But most, if not all the books in the Miskatonic University's  restricted library contained knowledge that was equally alien and disturbing in nature and I was almost beginning to accept the fact that we know so little about the world. I boarded my ship and spent the rather uneventful journey checking my luggage dozens of times and going through the ensuing journey to Minstead even more times in my head.
I arrived at London on the 31st of July and promptly took the train to Southampton, where I took the bus to Lyndhurst.
I spent the night at an inn in Lyndhurst and left for Minstead at dawn. I walked the four miles or so and finally arrived at my destination.

Minstead was not much more than a hamlet, consisting of only two or three dozens of building. The immediate surroundings consisted of some small golden fields of what I guessed was rye, and the forest itself. There was no store or church.  Presumably they went to Lyndhurst when they needed something they didn't produce themselves. It was disappointing at first that they didn't have a place to sleep. But I quickly changed my mind and decided that the daily walk through the woods might be good for my health.
And so the waiting began. Every day I walked to Minstead and every night I walked back to Lyndhurst. I spent the days walking through the woods and reading. I carried a backpack with the most important equipment at all times and I was constantly ready for what was about to happen.
I decided to not visit the site before the portal opened. I wanted to see the site first when it was at its most magnificent moment.

On the 16th of August day I was getting worried. Nothing had happened yet. Maybe it was untrue after all, I thought, but I was determined to stay. No matter what.
The villagers had mostly kept to themselves, but some greeted me a few times. I'm sure they didn't get many visitors. And surely, most of their visitors probably didn't spend weeks there, like I did.



What I had waited for finally happened on the 29th. The sky darkened unusually much just as the sun started to set and the woods gradually started to glow faintly with an eerie, dark purple color. The phenomenon was unnerving. Never had I had such strong feelings of anxiety. It was like the glow and the darkness fed on my mind. I got dizzy and realized that everyone was already inside their houses. I wanted to hide too, but the will to finally do what I had waited for all these years was stronger than my fear. I suppressed the fear, took out my compass and walked north-east towards the glade.

As I got closer the glade I noticed the plants were twisted into strange and impossible poses and all colors were desaturated as if something had fed on them. I shuddered at the sight of the sickly warped vegetation and walked onwards pushing the discomforting thoughts aside for more cheerful ones of what I was to find when I arrived to the rumored site. However, I readied my revolver so to be sure that I would not be caught off guard if there was something evil that lay ahead. When I got close enough to see where the trees began to open up in front of the glade I sighed of relief. I could see the golden shine from the treasures that would litter the ground at this very sunset this decade. I tried to stay calm and not rush things. That would have ruined the experience entirely, but it was hard to control my growing excitement now that I was finally nearing the moment that I had been preparing for and waiting for the last four years. I stopped and took a deep breath to calm myself, then I slowly walked into the glade. My jaw dropped and I fell down on my knees and stared idiotically at what I saw. The unimaginable riches and treasures that I had read about and that brought me here were there.
Golden coins lay like a thick carpet beneath alien statuettes and strange artifacts carved from some black stone. But it was what I saw in the middle of the glade that had stunned me the most. There stood a large statue, of such intricate detail that it could impossibly have been made by mere humans. Made from the same black stone as the other figures it depicted a terrible otherworldly form composed of a torso and too many limbs to count. Instead of a head where there should have been one, there was just a huge gaping maw filled with teeth. The being seemed to lack symmetry entirely, it seemed to be the child of chaos itself with its disproportionate features with every limb having its own length and width. Its legs ended in both hooves and feet, and in its clawed hands it held lesser beings almost as horrible as itself. By the base of it there lay charred skeletons seemingly twisted into place by pure agony.
I did not dare to take my eyes off the statue and the bones. Nor did I dare to look at them. My mind was unable to comprehend this monstrous being that seemed to radiate evil. Thoughts raced through my head as I tried to decide what to do. I was unable to form any thoughts besides pure fear, and I had been sitting there for what must have been an eternity, when I saw the bones and the statue twitching. I gasped for air and tried to crawl away. My vision blurred and started to fade away, then there was a loud roar and a bang. Then everything went black.

When I woke up it felt like was lying inside a furnace. My head was throbbing and when I opened my eyes and saw only swirling colors, pulsating together with the throbbing in my head. I sat up and tried to understand what was going on. For a while I didn't see anything besides the colors that seemed to be dancing around my field of vision. When the swirling colors started to fade I saw that I was sitting in an endless red wasteland without any vegetation or signs of civilization. In the sky were two glaring red suns, mercilessly beating down on the barren landscape. Once more I stared idiotically at what was in front of me. Unable to fully comprehend the sight. Far away in the red haze, silhouettes of creatures that reminded me of the statue in the glade, staggered around. A shiver ran down my spine and I closed my eyes and tried to convince myself that it was all a dream. Something grazed against my cheek when I tried to escape the horrible landscape. I became paralyzed with fear and fell over to the side.
I hit my head when I landed then I imagined how everything became darker than black.


When I once again saw colors, I flailed madly in fear, rushed to my feet and ran screaming, far far away from where I woke up. I ran until I collapsed from exhaustion, then I laughed out loud of relief that I had escaped those horrible creatures.
It wasn't until I woke up lying on the floor of a soft, dimly lit room, dressed in a straitjacket with an orderly and a psychiatrist next to me, still giggling over my escape from those horrible things, I fully understood where I was.

Inspired by the writings of H.P Lovecraft
Written by J.H Bergström
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