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The City from the Depths

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(Found among the belongings of the late Carolyn Fern)

The most merciful thing in the universe may well be the inability of the human mind to understand all of its contents. We live on an isolated island of ignorance amidst black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should travel far. So far science has harmed us little. In fact in many respects it has done good, but one should always fear the possibility that one day it may uncover some dark unfathomable secret that was best left unknown.

It was in the summer of 2013 when the dreams began. I had just graduated from the University of Toronto and had an apartment to myself. I mainly made my living writing stories for local magazines along with the occasional film review. I recall waking up after a horrifyingly vivid nightmare in which I found myself in a strange eldritch world. I could still recall it ever so clearly when I woke. I was in a city of some kind, but the design of the non-euclidean architecture made it clear it was not made by human hands. I also recall the voices I could hear, endlessly chanting those mysterious words which I shall try to spell here:

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

At first it seemed like nothing to worry about. I was visibly shaken but I managed to progress through the day normally. When I closed my eyes, it seemed to start once again. I heard those awful words and found myself back in that nightmarish eldritch realm. I seemed to wander through the city, I got further in this time, into the heart of the ruins as those disembodied voices continued to shout. The true terror was that I seemed to know where I was going. I did not know for sure where I would end up, but I always seemed to know the way.

For weeks those dreams persisted. Every night I would find myself back in that nightmarish city. I began to fear sleep, but realizing my inability to avoid it I sought help at 1001, Queen St. West. The doctors were nice and did everything they could to help me. They tried putting me under medication, but it did no good.

It was while I was here that something strange happened during the night. After I woke from another dream of that city, I climbed out of bed and found myself oddly compelled to pick up a pencil and paper on a nearby table. I began to draw a picture. I did not know what, but I felt compelled to keep at it to the finest detail. The result was something I could never have accomplished on my own. I am no artist, but this drawing was extraordinarily precise. It resembled a strange creature. My mind brought up simultaneous images of a dragon, a human being, an octopus, and other things.

The next morning the other patients in the ward began to see it. Most of them were puzzled greatly, but there was one young woman—reportedly a paranoid schizophrenic, who cried out in terror upon seeing the ghastly image which I had made. A nurse was able to calm her down just enough to tell me she knew that thing, and that I should burn my drawing the first chance I get.

Despite assurances that my friend’s outburst was merely the result of delusions brought about by her condition, I found myself curious and determined to find answers. I left the ward and after returning home I began searching online. I thought about those ominous words in the dreams, and then typed the one thing that seemed to stand out: Cthulhu. The results were numerous, and I found pictures of strange idols resembling that horrible image I had drawn.

I was surprised to find a similar case to my own reported in 1925. The file described a young sculptor named Henry Wilcox, who made a bas-relief out of clay almost identical to my drawing. He claimed it was inspired by strange dreams, and his descriptions reminded me extensively of the ones I had experienced.

From that moment on, I became scared to go into public. Every time I stepped outside I felt someone was watching me. Once in a while I’d see a man or a woman curiously watching me, observing. I finally talked to my psychiatrist, who suggested I get a vacation. He knew a good place on the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, and I agreed to go.

The dreams still haunted me each night, and when I was awake, I quickly grew bored. I had to find something to do to keep myself occupied, and finally found a solution when I learned a local fishing trawler was hiring. We put out to sea and I did everything I could to keep active. I spent more time awake than ever before, and the Captain started to get worried. Finally he ordered me to get some sleep.

I had the same dream that night. I wandered through the city until at last I came upon a door. It was a strange shape. I could not be certain if the door was supposed to open horizontally or vertically, but I managed to open it. Before I could see beyond, I was tossed out of my bed with a sudden force.

It turned out that the ship had been caught in a massive storm. The Captain had no idea how to deal with it; no meteorologist had seen it coming. The ship was rocked around impossibly. The waves were of insanely massive size as to make the Perfect Storm seem weak by comparison. A few of the crew fell overboard. They tried calling the coast guard but the radio was dead. We were almost capsized at least once before at last the sea calmed.

The crew attempted to plot their location, and that alone was a shock to us all. We had been thrown miles off our starting point. In fact we were tossed deep into the middle of the Pacific in the Southern Hemisphere. As we were soon to find, that was the least of our problems.

It was the Captain who first caught sight of land. An island had apparently appeared, strangely where none seemed to be charted. I joined the remaining crew in a longboat as we investigated this mysterious new mass of land.

As we pulled ashore, we began to see this place for what it really was: a massive ancient city. As we explored, I found that I seemed to intuitively know my way. That was when I realized the awful truth: it was the same as I had seen in my dreams. I tried to talk the others into leaving but they refused to listen. Finally we found that ominous door, and it opened.

Thankfully, if anyone saw inside those secrets were lost with them, but we all saw what emerged. I shudder at the thought of that monstrosity. Its six eyes seemed so impossibly alien, and several of the men were consumed by that mass of tentacles where there should have been a mouth. We all fled, but one by one the sailors succumbed to the non-Euclidean geometry or the beast itself. Only I, with my intuitive knowledge, managed to avoid stumbling and returned to the longboat.

I rowed to the ship and climbed aboard. That thing came towards me. As it stepped into the water, massive enough to stand as I would in a puddle. I ran towards the bridge and tried to start the ship. I barely understood what I was doing. I fumbled with the controls trying to get started, and then the beast reached out and took it, picking it up out of the water. I managed to jump off and into the abyss below just in time to see the boat crushed as though it were nothing.

I don’t remember what happened next. All I can recall is a piece of debris being found by a container ship. I was brought aboard in a delirious state and taken back home to Canada. My mind cannot help but go back to the encounter with that beast. It looked exactly like my drawing and the idols I had seen, and I still recall that we never managed to stop it. I fear now I may know too much, but I know one thing for certain.

The stars are now right, and the Great Old Ones have returned.

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