Tales Of The Apocalypse: Book II - The Rift
Over the course of the next two days there seemed to be no improvement in Andy's condition. She would eat what was put in front of her and take care of her bodily functions, but it was if she was an empty shell just going thru the motions. Frankly, I was extremely worried about this situation. Day 4 of Andy's return dawned and I rose as usual to stoke the wood stove as it was kind of chilly in the cabin. Making the morning meal was a somber affair in as there was no conversation and no hope having any. I got Andy out of bed and got her dressed, no mean feat in of itself.
After cleaning up after our morning meal, I made myself a cup of Dad's cappuccino mix and sat there sipping on it while Andy stared off into space. I felt myself battling an oppressive feeling of despair, as I considered the current situation. Lost in thought, I did not notice the footsteps outside the cabin, masked as they were by they crackle of wood in the stove. The radiant heat felt so comforting in contrast to the mental anguish battling for supremacy in my mind.
"Hello the House!" came a voice from outside.
Startled, I almost dropped my cup and quickly rose to see who it was. Opening the door I saw a giant of a man standing there, smiling.
"Greetings Monty!" said Than-Natuk "How is Andy doing? I have been concerned about her."
I felt a great sense of relief at the sight of my seemingly new friend. I motioned him to come on into the warmth of the cabin and told him she was not any different from when I found her on the porch.
"I apologize, Monty. I needed to address the problem of Shub-Niggurath being loose in this Realm. It has been driven back to its dark home beyond the stars and bound there. For now anyway.
While he was talking, I fetched Andy from the bedroom of the cabin.
'Oh!" she said upon seeing our visitor.
"It's the Man of Light." she exclaimed soullessly. "You made the shadows go away and rescued me from the place of pain and dread."
Than-Natuk looked at Andy with great concern. "She has lost her anima Monty." he said. "This is not good! Without it she will soon lose the will to live. Let me think on this for a bit." he added.
While Than-Natuk was lost in thought, I decided to take out the trash that had been accumulating over the course of a few days. Upon my return, he stated "I think I have a solution, although it is perhaps less than ideal." He continued "When someone loses their anima, they have no idea of who they are. They lose their definition of who they are, thus their purposes in living. What I need to do is join you and Andy in query, and transfer your mental picture of her anima to her, which will give her a definition of who she is, only from your perspective of her. "
He sat there and waited for my response.
I was astounded by what he had just told me, but was excited at the prospect of restoring Andy to a semblance of normalcy. After a few seconds of mulling this over in my head, I told him I was ready when he was.
Than-Natuk replied "It will be difficult for Andy to establish an anima that resembles what she had developed over her lifetime. This may cause her some distress at times. You must be ready to support her in this case. I am ready to proceed now if you are. This may be a little, strange for you..."
"Lets get to it!" I said apprehensively in response.
Than-Natuk brought Andy to a rocker and sat her down. "You are a nice man." Andy mumbled.
He smiled at that and said "And you are a wonderful girl Andrea." He then directed me to sit in the other rocker after placing it next to Andy. Then he stood behind us and placed his palms on each of our foreheads.
"Relax" he said.
I did, and then the images begin to flow. Everything I could remember about Andy, and much that I didn't began to flash in my mental vision, slowly at first, building momentum until all was a blur and then blackness.
Than-Natuk shook me gently, and woke me from my Stygian stupor. "Monty, wake up! We must see to Andy. Come on, snap out of it!" I blinked my eyes like a sleeping man once awakened and looked around me, taking in my setting.
Andy was still sitting in the chair next to me, sort of awake but not quite there. Than-Natuk was giving her a sip of water from her cup on the table. Her eyes began to focus, and then they were full of terror as everything came crashing down on her. My memories, her blurred memories from captivity, and the confusion as she tried to sort out who she was. She began to get very animated until Than-Natuk took her hands and looked her in the eyes. She settled down and he continued to look in her eyes until she spoke.
"Oh! Than-Natuk! You are the man of light in my nightmare! You rescued me and brought me home!" She threw her arms around his neck and gave him a big hug I thought would never stop. After a few minutes he gently untangled her arms from about his neck.
"Andy, how do you feel?" he asked.
She sat there looking at him with a bewildered look on her face. She then turned and looked at me and said "Monty! You, you brat!" She then burst into tears and ran off to the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. I looked at Than-Natuk with my jaw hanging open and he just shrugged. "I told you it could be difficult." he said. "Your memories are now hers and she knows all about you and your interactions with her previously. I left out the memories with the magazine under your mattress, and the other private stuff." He said this last bit, holding back a grin, at least trying to. I must of turned beet red because he started laughing.
"Give her a little bit of time to process some of these new memories. She is a strong girl to have survived several years in the abode of Yog-Sothoth, as you can tell by her apparent age.
"Time moves at a different rate in Yog-Sothoth's perilous world, as it does in the whole of the Dark Realms. Years pass in one as only moments in another part. It seems the part to which he had taken Andy moved much quicker than here where only days had passed before our return."
I decided to have another cup of the cappuccino mix and offered one to him. He consented and I proceeded to prepare the water for heating and find suitable containers for us. Mine was my usual cup, but his needed to be bigger as he was a BIG man. I finally settled on using a soup bowl with a bit of a handle for his and soon we were enjoying the mix.
Than-Natuk's face lit up, even more so than just the glow when he took his first sip. "Monty, this is delicious!" he said. "I think I will look for more of this in the town from which you came. It is still standing and now that I have driven most of the Tsathoggua from this Realm, it is much safer to travel. There are still dangers since the Realms have occupied the same space for a bit. That will soon pass as your world passes out of the rift and back into your proper Realm. Then I must leave to guard the Edges of Time where the Dark Ones cross over. It is a dreary existence, but without my vigilance, they may soon trouble your world again. I will however drop by to see how you and Andy are doing."
We sat and talked throughout the day, He telling me all about his life and his people, filling in many of the blanks that had not been revealed to me during our "Query". It was beginning to get late and I got up to check on Andy. She was fast asleep, something he had said would be common through the coming days as she regained her strength and rebuilt her anima through dreams and restful sleep. I lit a kerosene lamp and began to prepare dinner for the three of us, saving out a portion for Andy when she awoke.
Than-Natuk told me he would be leaving for a bit the next morning to check out a few things, but he would stop back in before he left for the Outer Realms and the Edge of Time. We talked a bit more and then turned in for the night, feeling satisfied with the many answers I had recieved to the questions in my mind.
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