On Monday, I summoned a shoggoth.
It would have been more traditionally black-cowled sinister to do it on Sunday, but I had underestimated the amount of preparation necessary. (God, the smells!) Also, Monday’s the most cursed day, is it not?
On Tuesday, I finally got my wits and my nerve together, and took a look at the beast.
On Wednesday, I took a stiff drink, and resolved to not look at a shoggoth again. You know the paradox of the Uncanny Valley? How when you make something more human-looking, the remaining dissimilarities jump at you more and more? That’s the reason why cartoons are nice but human-looking haired, skinned robots oh God no. Here’s a note: Shoggoths know what people look like. A lot of people.
I took several more drinks after that.
On Thursday, with a hangover and a dread for my sanity driving spikes into the back of my skull, I did the Sign of Koth and the Circle of Pnath and the Mark of Hophilo, and cursed the size of my flat.
Metaphorically, that is. I am not a fool enough to start using eldritch powers against the basic geometry of the space where I reside. Nothing good would come of that.
I cursed the size of my flat, metaphorically, because it had left only one place where I could daub and enlineate the three-dimensional wards, lines, sigils, runes and whorls for the ritual of Veermis. Wouldn’t the landlord be surprised if he saw the pictures on the walls, I chuckled to myself, as I reached for the bathroom door.
And found it ajar.
That it had turned into a jar, I could have handled. That would have been just insanity.
But no, the door was ajar; unlocked; half-opened.
And through the dim gates of smashed memory I recalled a knocking, a knocking on my apartment door, as I lay sprawled dead dirty drunken on my bed; a knocking that then went away, or came inside; and recalling that flyer about bathroom renovations and inspections, I fell to my knees screaming.
On Friday, I had worked up the courage to peek inside. The shoggoth was there, of course; but there was a new vitality in it, and a new face in the hurly-burly of it, in the vortex that rose above the seat of comfort, which I now resolved I would never sit on, not with all the detergents in the world.
On Saturday, I got a long, strong stick and tried to push the lever.
It would not flush.
On Sunday, the police finally came. I had a dim memory of gibbering through the mail slot sometime during the night. The mode of speech was because of the flushing episode. As if it had wanted to show me all it could. And a part of me was tempted. That I spoke, through the slot, was because someone was asking for the landlord.
I remember screaming something about him “being eaten in the loo!” and something about “a face for too many eyes the porcelain pit the porcelain pit the unreconstituted bone lathe!”
Reckoning that pseudo-homicidal raving, a wonder the police took so long.
Then again, maybe they thought I was drunk? And who knows, maybe the shoggoth vocalized as the landlord once did.
That could have been me hearing voices, too; sources vary on whether shoggoths are really good in directed bellowing, or if that’s just the sound of the hinges of your sanity being screamingly unhinged as the doors of perception are opened into the whispering horizontal abysses of the plains of L—
Anyway, on Sunday the police finally came. I opened them the bathroom door, and now the shoggoth has three faces.
I went to get a drink of water, and then spent an hour breathing heavily in a corner because there was no water from the tap and dear God had Ibn Schacabao told lead made proof against the Bindings oh dear God oh dear God.
After an hour, I convinced myself water pipes were not made of lead, no, not anymore.
Got a bottled drink to celebrate this technological advance in accidental protection against unspeakable horrors.
Then got a pen, and wrote this all down. Not sure why, but apocalypse logs like this are traditional. (“Apocalypse log you say? Why? Look in the toilet look in the toilet for the apocalypse log I dropped there—“)
I am fairly sure I had a reason for summoning the shoggoth.
I am fairly sure.
Because it goes this way: you have perfectly reasonable goals that will through some sensible pathways come to be and happen through you opening a gate for that amorphous thing, and it comes through not by its own volition, but because you will it to come.
You will it, you open the gate, wait for the wards to decay, and do your will; it is your will that drives it all. You have free will and the other side does not.
And by your will I mean my will.
Because I had a reason for summoning the shoggoth.
Because I had a reason, and I’m fairly sure I can remember it before the wards decay.
* * *
Ah, imagination. Someone mentioned shoggoths (or “servitors”) on a comment thread over on Charles Stross’s blog and bam this piece crawled out.
The title is from a Tom Smith song.