Did I scare you?
Sorry. I was just…unsettled when we reached that Mall. There’s a reason why I don’t like dark places nowadays. Come on, I’ll tell you the story over coffee.
There was a fabled Hole in the Wall located somewhere here in Providence, that seemed to be the center of controversy. Hitchhikers and night wanderers often pass by the hole, only to be haunted by whatever malignant force lay inside. No officials have started investigations, to lessen the brushfire it caused with the RI media. The most interesting of these cases, are those that ended in madness. Almost fifty cases of hallucinations, delusions and schizophrenia were all caused by that eponymous “Hole in the Wall”. The Hole was located on the side of an ancient stone derelict. The strangest thing about the Derelict and the Hole in the wall was their origins—no one had claimed the thing as a Historical monument, even though the thing obviously looked as if it was older than dirt. The surrounding areas seemed to have less people each day I was there, and I saw a few shops being torn down. Businesses were failing.
Over two years ago, before I met you, I was still a novice writer and a mundane schoolteacher living in nearby Arkham, and I heard the story from a friend. So I travelled all the way to Providence to investigate this strange “Hole in the Wall”.
At first, I decided to look around and see the stability of the civilians living near the derelict. I’m no doctor, but I saw something in their faces that something was sucked out from them—energy or life-force or something like that. I interviewed a few families who encountered that hole in the wall, which, they tell me is ‘strongest at night’, though even in day it was not impotent. Which was why the derelict was abandoned in the first place—people couldn’t linger there for long. Most who tried almost died, and certainly had problems in their heads afterwards.
I interviewed a few people, most of them the maddened, catatonic survivors of the Ills that plagued that derelict. I can’t tell you how unsettling it was to talk to them. Some of them refused to make eye contact, while others couldn’t even speak—those usually stared into space. A few told their tales, and it always ended in the same way: in some kind of terror that rippled through the air, and a strange blast of horror. The victims started running away, only to see some nameless dread creeping from the shadows.
Oh, good. You’re not laughing. I thought you would—I didn’t recall anyone whom I told this story to take it seriously. But I’ve known you for a while now, and both of us have a strange tendency to enjoy the more horrifying things in life. Honey, you know I’ve read of that guy—Stephen King—and his predecessor, Lovecraft, and how they talk about ‘Thin Places’ in the Universe, with strange things lurking behind them. People in those stories often go mad from the unnamable horrors behind these tears in reality. Who could have known that all of these were happening around that little Hole in the Wall?
I found myself thinking more and more of the Hole in the Wall, and its unnamable origins, and I shudder when I do. I used to have dreams of that hole, and the things that lurk behind it. And I shudder again. I shudder because whatever thing I imagine does not add up to whatever thing hid behind that blanket of darkness. I do not believe my mind could comprehend the strange, alien things that hid in that Hole in the wall.
In that darkness, there was nothing, and there was everything.
After day of sleepless nights, my battered self decided to know what was inside that dark hole. Was something lurking down there, looking at me with eldritch eyes? I had to know. God help me, Elle, I had to know.
When I started to sleep again, the Hole tortured me in my dreams. I cracked, and I bought a gun to kill whatever thing may have inhabited that hole. It was the most foolish thing I have ever done, and to this day I should have known to leave the maddening thing alone.
I drove there at night, in the pouring rain.
A drunk saw me on foot, walking up the path that led to that derelict. He told me repeatedly to stop what I was doing and get the hell out of there. He tried to stop me with words, but to no avail. After repeated arguments, the man just stood there as I walked a few steps forward. From him I heard a strange moaning sound, and I took a look back to see what was wrong.
The abomination standing behind me was a strange caricature of the drunk, only the creature had more eyes and smiles. Under the rain and the pale moonlight, I saw what seemed to be mouths replacing the thing’s eyes, and a huge, pallid eye in the place of a human mouth.The head was convulsing from side-to-side, and the aberration moaned as its head recklessly jerked from one side to another. Its limbs were nothing but appendages with mouths, and a black mass of feelers constituted as his legs. The thing was looking at me and with a daemonic, guttural groan, its spoke.
“He who Walks behind the Rows. He who wails beyond the Wall. He who speaks with sullen screams. Hehasmanynamesandinthedarknesshewaits. Inthedarknesshewaits. Inthedarknesshewaits.”
It spoke of the madness that waited beyond that dark, desolate hole, of which I saw in my dreams—rectangular, and large enough for a man to fall into—and it sometimes said the names of the dreadful things I conjured up in my sleep. It beckoned me to leave. It reached out to me with one rubbery appendage, and I almost screamed with fear at that eldritch thing, when I heard the Song of the derelict. It told me to kill the Thing. Shoot it. The derelict whispered. It’s bad.
I looked back at the maddening Guardian, and shot it in the ‘eye’.
The derelict was singing to me. It easily could have been the wind—sometimes it moans, sometimes it whispers. But I knew whatever things haunted that stone thing were trying to talk to me. They spoke of different worlds—of cyclopean ranges of eldritch proportions, to geometries that shamed Euclid. It was something that would cause a normal man to lose his sanity. And at that moment I almost did. Yet I pulled through, baring the rain and the voices.
Come closer. They whispered.
I pushed through, flashlight in hand.
The whispers and moans became nothing more than warbles. It was like a siren in the hands of a dying man. With a few more steps, I reached it. The Hole.
I pointed my dying light at the object that haunted me so in restless dreams.
For a split second, I saw the madness that had stalked me—a body full of wrong and nothing right—aberrations that freeze the blood; sounds that would have driven a man into his very death. And in the madness of this gnawing cavity—this void of reality, this Thin place—I heard it speak my name. I heard it cackle, and it beckoned me to stay with it; to meet its Master, the true God of the Void
I fired again. The nameless dread that lived in the rectangular hole screamed, and for once I beheld the births of negative-suns and anti-Earths; of black universes where nothing existed, and everything existed. I saw, at the Daemonic center of the universe, the sleeping madness—the True Opposite of everything. You understand opposites, right? Hot and Cold, Love and Hate, Light and Dark. But these are not opposites—these are the lack of something. A lack of heat leads to coldness. A lack of love—your love—brings me to hatred. A lack of light does not let me see.
But this was different. This was the True Opposite—the antithesis of everything in Order. It was Chaos incarnate. Before I went insane I was forced back into this world.
I found myself in the car. My gun wasn’t with me, and a dead body lay where the drunk turned, shot to death. The keys were in the ignition, and the Derelict was not there. Something felt different about the place. It felt, strangely, safer. Better. The torn reality between the realm of Sanity and Madness was repaired in Providence, Rhode Island, on that day.
But the nightmares kept coming.
That was two years ago. Things changed—the place was lost forever. Last I heard of it, the place where the derelict was built upon was turned into a shopping mall, and after that, I never heard of it again.
Do you believe that even the tightest repairs on fabric can easily fall apart, again? That mall we passed by looks like it’s running out of business, and I have been having the dreams again.