AT THE MOUNT ROYAL OF MADNESS


Not particularly religious, these art student types, thought Mike Clevasse as he stood there in the sadly disused chapel of the Maryland Institute College of Art building in the Mount Royal neighbourhood of Baltimore.

Actually, this unspoken thought more likely expressed itself in far less eloquent words in the mind of Mr. Clevasse. As the head janitor at MICA, Clevasse was not actually all that well educated. He realised this, and it indeed rankled upon him. He often thought that if only his parents had been wealthy, like the parents of the vast majority of the lazy, shiftless students here, he would have himself attended college and not now have to spend his life cleaning toilets and mopping floors.

But tonight all that changes, thought Mr. Mike Clevasse, as he caressed the worn, worm-eaten old book that he had only recently stolen from a nearby antique shop. He looked at the faded gold lettering declaring the volume’s title on the tattered leathern cover: LIBER URILIA.

Mike Clevasse was a short, stocky man of fifty. He had grown a full beard in a vain attempt to atone for the shame of his bald head, but it had only succeeded in making him look more ridiculous. Some of the less kind students, behind his back, joked that he appeared as if he had his face on upside-down. Clevasse, having no comprehension of this, thought instead that the smiles he sometimes saw from the female undergraduates were a sign that they secretly desired him. His unattractively dull, disturbing eyes often betrayed his hidden lusts as they followed the young women down the halls of the school.

Clevasse had stayed late this evening, ostensibly to finish up some cleaning and other janitorial duties. In reality, he had planned to enter the chapel and commit an unspeakable blasphemy. He was determined that, after tonight, all of his desires would be fulfilled.

The lights only turned up as much as was absolutely necessary, the vile Clevasse shuffled to the centre of the old chapel and spoke the words which he had chosen from the horrid book:

“The gods of light have gone to sleep in Heaven. They are not passing judgments. They are not defending their holy laws. Veiled is the night.

“I do call you forth, gods of darkness. Gods of realms outside of space and outside of time. I do call you -- O Ancient Ones!

“O Ancient Ones, hear my cries and do give your power unto me! I do summon you, lords of hatred, by the works of hatred! I do summon you, lords of pain, by the works of pain! I do summon you, lords of darkness, by these very words of darkness!

“O mighty Ancient Ones, I worship you! I do adore you, O lords of evil, O most powerful forces of destruction, of avarice, of gluttony, and of lust!

“I do offer you my own very soul! My life is yours! Give your power to me, I do beseech you O Ancient Ones!

“Come to me now, and do accept me as your worshipper, O eldest gods of evil, of pain, of hatred, and of deepest darkness! Come to me, O Ancient Ones!!!”

And with this, a cloud of swirling grey-and-ebony energy surrounded Mr. Mike Clevasse, as a strange sound of discordant music was heard: a bizarre noise as of piping along a wide scale. Clevasse shuddered with mingled pain and ecstasy as the unholy, eldritch force entered his disgusting body -- as the unspeakable, phantasmal power of the Ancient Ones burned away any vestige of human civilisation, decency, or morality that may have lingered in the already-corrupt self of Mr. Clevasse. He trembled with ungodly anticipation at the deeds which he was now empowered to perform and then, right there in the college chapel, he laughed with evil, satanic hysteria at the thought of the sinister, wicked, and foully sinful pleasures that he knew would very soon be his.

*****

My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos, Occult Private Detective. Although I have the physical appearance of a human male in his late 30s: tall; muscular; with long, black hair; dark, piercing eyes; and handsome Semitic features -- I am actually many thousands of years old. Not a mere mortal, I do carry within myself the vastly superior genes and most mighty powers of the enigmatic Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, the place of my origin which is part of the Constellation Perseus, ninety-three light-years from Earth.

I addition to my extraterrestrial abilities, which appear to be what humans term supernatural, I am a Byzantine Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop, a Cabalistic Rabbi, and an Interfaith Minister.

I am married to the incredibly beautiful and eternally-youthful Mrs. Katrina Rumanos, also known as the wonderful Heaven’s Hell. With her gorgeous red hair, her sparkling azure-blue eyes, and her slender figure with legs that seem to go on forever, she was created by a mad scientist from the DNA of a deceased sorcerer, and has the power of generating and controlling the Infernal Flame, in such using the very powers of Hell itself in the service of Heaven.

My wife and I had come that night to the Maryland Institute College of Art in order to investigate the activities of a certain Mr. Mike Clevasse. Three months previously, so our sources had informed us, Clevasse had succeeded in invoking into his very self the forces of the Ancient Ones -- those unholy, false deities that had ruled the Earth many ages ago.

With the eldritch powers of these unhallowed “gods” within him, Mr. Clevasse had fast risen from serving as the college’s custodian to being its chaplain, and accordingly began holding evening “services” in the old school chapel -- services in which hideous hymns of unsanctified darkness were sung in honour of the horrid Ancient Ones!

The way in which such a worthless individual as Mike Clevasse had actually managed to so easily call the powers of the Ancient Ones into himself was this: That mentally-arid wilderness of steel and stone which is known as the city of Baltimore is itself one of the manifestations of what is known in some hoary occult lore as the plateau of Leng, an area in which several different realities converge. The Mt. Royal area is a particular centre of this which is called by the name of Tsang -- and it is indeed a region in which the influence of those vast and demoniacally-powerful elder beings is distinctly potent. Hence, the presence of the art school itself in the neighbourhood. The Ancient Ones do work their evil, malignant magic primarily through the worthless imaginings and puerile, inane fancies of persons such as the pseudo-intellectual but indeed rather listless, unaccomplished types who tend to make up a large portion of the student body of such institutions.

The waning gibbous moon hung grotesquely over the cold, misty streets of Baltimore City on that evil night as Katrina and I stepped into the main MICA building and stealthily made our way down its hallways to the chapel. The satanic services had already ended, and all of the students who made up the membership of the mad Mike Clevasse’s bizarre Cult of the Ancient Ones had already departed the building for their various lodgings -- all that is, except for one of them.

As we entered the chapel, my wife and I saw, in that dimly-illuminated room, Mr. Mike Clevasse himself in the far corner. A young blonde, clad only in her bra and panties, was up against the wall in front of him, and the sickening Clevasse had only stepped back from her in order to undo and remove his trousers.

“Halt, you ungodly fiend,” said I. “You shall not violate and defile this innocent damsel.”

Clevasse turned quickly toward me, and the lustful look upon his face quickly transformed into one of total, unabashed hatred.

Katrina looked at the girl and said to her: “Go now from this place. Escape to safety while you can still do so.”

The blonde, wide-eyed and frightened as whatever spell that had been upon her was now broken, retrieved her dress from the floor nearby and then ran haste-fully from the building.

“Clevasse,” I stated with authoritative command, “I am RUMANOS of the Daemon-Star. By your unholy actions you have proven yourself unworthy of continued existence.”

“Rumanos!” returned the perfectly-possessed Mr. Mike Clevasse. “Rumanos the Cosmic Meddler! Rumanos the Magical Busy-Body! Rumanos the Paranormal Security Force Jack-In-Office!”

Following this strange, grotesquely outlandish attempt at insult, the unspeakable Clevasse raised his arms directly before him and sent forth a phantasmagorical blast -- an eruption of shockingly horrible and horrendously, appallingly, indescribably powerful grey and darker-than-shadow ebony black energy.

It was the awful, horrifically formidable and violent energy of the Ancient Ones themselves -- and it was directed precisely at me!!

*****

However, what the demonic, obsessively-hateful Mike Clevasse had not even noticed while concentrating upon his disdainful and sickeningly disrespectful attacks towards me, is that my lovely Katrina had surreptitiously slipped around him and used her Heaven’s Hell abilities to construct a magic circle of ultraviolet fire. When Clevasse then sent forth his burst of dark energy at me, the magical barrier became visible as a ring of vermillion and violet flame surrounding him, and the hideous discharge of ancient preternatural power was stayed by it -- cut short and absorbed by the circle which now surrounded the utterly repugnant, dreadfully depraved Mr. Clevasse!

Before the vulgar Clevasse could further react, I began the prayers of incantation against the Ancient Ones:

“And now, I pray, let the power of the LORD be great, according as hath been spoken. Remember, O LORD, Thy tender mercies and Thy lovingkindness; for they have been ever of old.

“Magnified and sanctified be His great Name in the world which He hath created according to His will. May He establish His Kingdom during our lives and during our days, and during the life of all the House of Israel, even speedily and at a near time, and say we, Amen.

“Let His great Name be blessed for ever and to all eternity.

“Blessed, praised and glorified, exalted, extolled and honoured, magnified and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He; though He be high above all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations, which are uttered in the world; and say we, Amen.

“Let the Name of the LORD be blessed from this time forth and for evermore.

“May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life for us and for all Israel; and say we, Amen.

“My help is from the LORD, Who made Heaven and Earth.

“He Who maketh peace in His high places, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say we, Amen.

“Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever. Amen!”

The demonical blue-collar filth known as Clevasse was now greatly weakened and had fallen to his knees in a stupor as my prayer had its appropriate effect. But then, he suddenly and shockingly raised his ugly head and I immediately beheld an abhorrently wicked smirk upon it. He was looking at something behind where Katrina and I now stood; something indeed which was at the far end of that now horrifically unsanctified chapel.

We turned and beheld it. The thing was about fifteen feet wide and equally as tall. It was formed as an enormous mass of darkly-glowing, disgustingly iridescent black slime, and it was shaped indeed in the semblance of a gigantic amoeba. Copious pustules formed and unformed upon it in constant transformation -- many of them containing eyes. Appendages resembling tentacles, claws, and -- worst of all -- obscene mockeries of human limbs similarly appeared and disappeared from the creature’s hideous, fiendishly unspeakable form.

I knew what it was. Do you comprehend the horror, the frightful, chilling and bloodcurdling terror of this situation? For I knew that it was one of those monstrous servants of the Ancient Ones, summoned and come forth in order to protect and defend their satanic devotee: the possessed but plebeian, working-class scum Mike Clevasse. It was a SHOGGOTH!!

*****

“TEKELI-LI! TEKELI-LI!” shrieked the Shoggoth.

Holy flapdoodle!” exclaimed Katrina.

As the aberrant miscreation then began to shamble towards us, I quickly generated a tremendous blast of my own Algolitish energy, sending it directly at the gigantic Shoggoth as a mighty stream of orange and black power.

The phantasmal abomination instantaneously burst asunder when my energies impacted it, splattering its nauseous slime in all directions. Nevertheless, then -- then -- something happened beyond even all the terrors which we had so far endured that dreadful night. The substance of the freakish Shoggoth began to restructure and re-coalesce itself, and within seconds the appalling atrocity was again whole before us!!

“Kat, quickly!” I said to my wife. “Take my hand!”

She did so and together we concentrated. We concentrated upon something which we had before agreed that we would only invoke upon the most horrendous, the most unnameably dreadful of circumstances. It was indeed something that even we could only call forth in the most specific and phantom-haunted of places and situations.

In response to our meditation, an image appeared in the air towards the ceiling of the chapel -- a mist-enshrouded image of something the reality of which existed only about two miles distant from the Mt. Royal area. It was an image of our home, that large, Gothic-styled edifice which is known as the Temple of the Starry Wisdom, and which sits atop a lofty escarpment in the Roland Park district to the north of the mysterious city of Baltimore.

But the image was more, even more than this. For it revealed our home in its true, otherworldly form -- it revealed it for what it actually is: KADATH in the Cold Waste.

Kadath! Abode of the Dream-Gods, the Initiators of Illusion, the Weavers of Fantasy and of Fancy, of Delusion, of Daydream, of Nightmare -- and of Madness both delightful and of screaming eldritch horror beyond any mortal imagination. For that is what we truly are, and it is this, in its full realisation, that is the only thing which the Ancient Ones fear.

The phantasmal image of Kadath loomed huge before us, dwarfing the Shoggoth -- indeed making the entire world of wakefulness seem so infinitesimally tiny before it. The eternal light of dark trances flashed from the black tower of Kadath, and blazing sparks as of lightening bolts were sent forth to other peaks around it -- peaks which were themselves unbelievably towering in height, yet much below the soaring elevation and supernaturally elevated pinnacle of Kadath so very far above them all.

I heard the insane Mike Clevasse scream with an inhuman cry -- a cry in which the Ancient Ones themselves could be discerned. When they left him and this reality, he fell dead into crumbling dust. The presence of the unspeakable elder things had utterly destroyed him in perfect, unholy possession.

The Shoggoth vanished in silence, back to its inter-dimensional dwelling. Then the prodigious vision of Kadath itself faded from view.

I walked over and picked up the old leather-bound edition of Liber Urilia that stood upon the lectern from behind which the madman Clevasse had preached his unholy gospel of blasphemy, of lechery, and of hate. I placed the book in the pocket of my coat to take it to a place of safekeeping.

I glanced casually at the small pile of dust on the chapel floor that had once been the evil Mr. Mike Clevasse. No need to worry, as no doubt the new college custodian would surely sweep him up and dispose of him in the morning.

A few minutes later, Katrina and I were outdoors upon the sidewalk, walking along the shadowed avenue in that fatefully mystical neighbourhood.

“Are you all right, my love?” said my beautiful wife with some concern. “You seem so quiet right now.”

“I’m fine, sweetie,” I replied with a slight smile. “I was just thinking of something.”

“Of what?” she said, her exquisitely pretty face returning my smile.

“Baby,” I stated, putting my arm around her as we strolled on in the chilly predawn fog, “We’ll always have Kadath.”