Tales Of The Apocalypse: Book II - The Rift
Several days had passed before I recovered enough to talk to Andy. Even then I shied away from the topic of what happened that night, and was very limited in my exchanges. My mind was trying to retreat into the darkness that shielded me from confronting the horror of what I had experienced. The morning of the third day I heard a shriek, and then the sobbing of someone in mental torment.
All my life I had looked after Andy, smoothing obstacles that would have otherwise ruffled her path. Up until she turned 12 anyway. Andy was attractive, enough so as to capture the eyes of many an older male. But she was smart too. She did not let any of the smooth talkers worm their way into her life or her pants and soon after took up Krav Maga for a self defense class.
Six months later she was accosted by three High School Jocks that began teasing her relentlessly. The stupidest brute made the mistake of grabbing her and she put him down, hard. The other two jumped in to help their friend and got a repeat of what their friend received. To make matters worse for the three, one of Andy's friends got the whole episode on video and uploaded it to a video sharing service. It went viral of course, and the three idiots caught a lot of flack over it.
One night when Andy was leaving a friend’s house 2 blocks from home, she got jumped by the same three. She put all of them in the hospital this time. The police declined to press charges against her, and instead filed felony assault charges against the three fools.
So when I heard her scream, I snapped out of my mental fog and jumped out of bed. I found her curled up by the front door, sobbing. I knelt down to comfort her and she immediately wrapped herself around me. It took a bit, but I was finally able to unwrap her and ask her what was wrong. She calmed down after a bit of coddling and explained she had saw something resembling a bunch of glowing balloons float past the window. As she went to the window to investigate, it had called to her in her mind, and when she had resisted it began laughing at her.
I told her that I knew what she spoke about as it had happened to me also. It seemed that the entity known as Yog-Sothoth was attempting to get at her as it had me. We sat down at the table and I began to tell her about my experience with the City in the Lake and the lunatic drummer, called Shub-Niggurath, in the clearing.
I apologized for not telling her sooner but that I had wished for us to reach the cabin and get settled before bringing it up. This seemed to console her some, she was not losing her mind and she was happy that I had finally snapped out of my funk. It was causing her no end of worry.
We set about making some breakfast and found that we were reduced to oatmeal, which was okay with me. It just meant that we needed to get to the supplies dad had cached and get them moved into the cabin. At least some of them anyway. I would feel more comfortable with them cached in several spots to preclude discovery of all of it by any entity.
Breakfast was over and cleaned up, the beds were made and the cabin organized. We were sitting at the table looking over the map for possible cache locations when I was overcome with the “urge”. You know the one, it can't be denied and to do so would end in disaster, so we put on our coats, EDC kits, and finally our firearms. Laying in bed for several days had left me needing to visit the facility and now it was imperative to do so. We had determined that no one would venture outside alone or unarmed, so out we went with Andy to stand guard.
Had I only known, I would have had her stay in the cabin. I went inside and began my business, keeping up a chatter with Andy to keep track of her . She had declined my offer to "come on in and share the aroma." I was rambling on for a minute or so before I noticed she had gone silent. Calling her name with no response made me finish up as quickly as was possible. Rushing out the door, I called her name again with no answer. Thinking she had returned to the cabin I went back there but could not find her anywhere inside. I tried the woodshed outside and she was not there either.
I was in a panic! I ran around the cabin, shouting her name but there was no reply. I sat on the edge of the porch, trying to regain control of myself so that I could organize my thoughts well enough to begin a intelligent search of the area. Recognizing that the area around the cabin for about ten to fifteen feet was saturated with our footprints, I began to look outside this radius for tracks that might be hers. I searched for about twenty minutes, ever expanding the circle until I found what I thought were her tracks leading off into the forest.
I followed them for about an hour through some of the thickest parts of the forest. Several times I lost them, and then I had to start a search pattern in order to pick them up again. After about a half an hour I found them again and was soon back on her track.
Before me lay a small glade, nestled up against a steep cliff. In the glade there was a mirrored pool. All surfaces of flat water will reflect the landscape surrounding them without exception. This one also reflected a landscape, only it was not of this world. Strange geometric shapes and angles filled this one and it was almost painful to behold.
I saw floating there above the pool, a cluster of basketball sized Amber globes, pulsating with scarlet veins shot throughout, dangling malignant tendrils hanging from them like those of a jellyfish. There exuded an maleficent aura from them, a feeling of extreme dread and terrifying darkness. Under the tendrils was a black fog like mist that followed the creature not unlike a shadow, but more sinister and oozing malevolence like a festering wound. As soon as I stepped into the small glade it vanished, but not before I experienced that insane laughter once again.
Examining the glade, I saw Andy's boot prints in the soft dirt at the edge of the water. It appeared she had entered it, coerced or of free will!
I moved to the edge of the mirrored pool and was just about to enter it, when I felt a restraining touch on my shoulder and a voice spoke in my mind, "Wait!"
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