I want to start by saying this is heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft’s “cosmic horror” genre. There are some elements in here readers may find disturbing as horror seems to be my favorite style of writing. Also of note, this story was written in October of 2016. Enjoy!
Washington was a sight to behold, the State that is. Escaping the abhorrent inferno of Texas summer to the crisp-cool weather, overcast skies, lush forests, imposing mountains, and the scenic Pacific coast was an axiomatic improvement for my soul. My eclectic and eccentric uncle (rest in peace) had always been a favorite of mine and I always loved when we would embark on family vacations to visit him in the magical northwest. Naturally upon his passing I was grieved and simultaneously taken aback at the news that he had left a portion of his estate to me in his will. I suppose the fact that he did wasn’t what surprised me but what it was. A property a little ways from his home near the coast. It was just outside Grisdale, an abandoned ghost town at the edge of the Olympic Peninsula Forests. All these years my dear uncle not once made mention of this property and my own father was unaware of his brother’s second house! I could hardly contain myself at the thought of owning a home in Washington just outside of a large national forest. I made preparations to drive up there and meet a couple acquaintances our family had made through our uncle over the years. We would check it out together which accomplished two things; open the possibility of renting this property out to a couple roommates, and put my mother’s mind at ease. No matter how old one grows a mother always worries over her children.
Meeting Michael and Chris in Olympia we prepared to make the 70+ mile journey toward Grisdale where we would follow the directions given by my uncle to the aloof property. The atmosphere was exquisitely ethereal in the whole state! I couldn’t wait to see this house hoping it wouldn’t be too dilapidated so I could move in as soon as possible. Passing through the ghost town that is Grisdale I must confess to having an ominous feeling. Where once there was bustle and life now only silence. Albeit human silence. Life still abounds regardless of whether or not man treads. That I know very well. Driving further and further towards the Olympic forest the atmosphere became ever more placid. How much more foliage could burst forth from the earth’s womb were it to do so unabated? Finally we came upon what had to be the property. It was a two story that was rather dated and to my dismay in my uncle’s absence the forests had seized upon the old house making it quite verdant. Working to free the old dwelling of the vines and foliage proved most difficult as the truculent nature had become most recondite. Still we were determined and our persistence was rewarded once we entered the home as nature had not made its way inside. Dusty and neglected absolutely but that was the least of my worries. With nightfall fast approaching we pulled out our electric lanterns and went about hanging and sticking our lights where it was most needed.
Fixing up the old building was not as hard as expected. It was not a tawdry structure which I believed to be a testament to old architecture. In times past things were built to last. Perhaps it’s a revealing commentary on the stark contrast between our cultures. For another day I suppose. We spent the next few nights there before supplies began to run short and we deliberated on the closest city where we could scavenge sufficient food and water. Before we left Michael mentioned that there was a room on the second floor that he had not been able to enter and inquired if I had a key. Chris and I were taken aback as neither of us had found a room we could not enter in the 3 days we spent in the home. I told him I had no key and we followed him upstairs where we passed 3 doors two on one side. One held living quarters, one was a bathroom and the last a den of sorts. But shockingly there it was! A fourth door at the end of the hallway. Solitary and defiantly clear as day even while being shrouded in darkness. I noted how remarkably cold it felt here. Almost unnaturally cold. Chris and I turned to each other and gave each other a dumbfounded glance before laughing at our own carelessness. After trying the door and giving it a good nudge I realized I would have to pick the lock which shouldn’t be too difficult as it was rather old. I advised that we should re-supply before we carry on and with everyone in agreement we headed to the nearest town.
Although it had been an adventurous and rewarding few days it was nice to be back in a little bit of civilization. Lamp posts, grocery stores, gas pumps, and tarmac roads were a most welcome sight. After having a few cups of coffee we headed back to the house where the forests had become vivacious and the nightfall voracious. I knew it would be vastly different from the Texas summer nights I was raised in but this was like being on another planet. We made a few trips back and forth into the house all the while looking out at the pitch blackness before us listening to the hoots of owls wondering how many creatures out there were capable of killing us. We dared not ponder too long and moved quickly to secure ourselves inside. Before even unpacking our supplies I pulled out the lock pick set I purchased and Michael and Chris’ eyes lit up. We grabbed our lanterns and headed back upstairs but to our supreme shock there was no fourth door! It was gone. At the end of the hallway was just wall! This could not be and yet it was. The others and I all wondered and deliberated among ourselves as to this insane mystery positing theories each one more vacuously implausible than the last until we gave up in frustration owing it all to imagination or the trick of shadow. Secretly I think we all knew better after all I had physically tried to force my way in!
That night rest came quickly as we had exhausted ourselves throughout the day. And it was there in my deepest dream-state that I heard it. A wordless voice without any discernible source, just a deep sighing exhalation. I lay there half awake waiting for a sign that it was worth getting out of bed to investigate. Then a thudding from upstairs. It must be Michael or Chris. They had laid claim to the upstairs bedroom and den area. I groggily rose from bed throwing on pants, shoes, shirt and jacket as the nights here were much colder than i was accustomed to. The last thing I was going to do was walk barefoot in a frigid wooden house. I grabbed my lantern and headed through the kitchen and ascended the staircase quietly. I saw that the bedroom door was cracked open and headed inside to find it empty. Strange I thought, Michael must have gone into Chris’ room to check on him. But before I could open Chris’ door I saw the fourth door. It was there! I gasped in direful amazement. Not only was the door there but it was cracked open. Did Michael open it somehow and enter to examine it? I furtively approached and was met by that otherworldly chill. It was so cold even with my jacket on and I could not see anything beyond that slight opening. It was just a cloistered chasm of gelid blackness. No I thought, I’m not doing this by myself and turned to awaken Chris but as I turned I saw a black silhouette standing deformed in the hallway.
I raised my lantern to see a maniacal portrait of what was once Michael. His left eye had sunken and his right was wider than should be possible as if paralyzed with terror. He was completely naked and his posture was torturous to behold. His head was cocked to one side as though being pinched on the shoulder by an invisible force. His right hand was twisted like someone with advanced and woefully painful arthritis. In his left hand was a lumpy bloody pulp which I could not immediately identify. It just dripped and dripped until I realized it was a human heart.
“What’s happening!? Did you kill Chris?! Michael!”
A bestial wheezing emitted from his gaping mouth and suddenly he dropped the heart and lumbered forward! He moved as unnaturally as you could expect. He was more animal, thrusting his body forward like a gorilla on all fours. Without a moment’s thought I flung open the impossible fourth door and slammed it shut pulling the handle as hard as I could. The bang indicated that Michael or whatever he had become was throwing himself against the door to reach me. He wasn’t trying the handle just slamming his body as a mindless creature. Hesitantly I relaxed my grip on the handle and immediately he yanked the door open! I pulled back but not before he forced his head far enough in for me to behold his crazed eye and gaping mouth. He had blood running down his chin and to my horror I saw pieces of flesh still in his mouth. He had been feasting on Chris! I wanted to retch but had to keep my composure or become his next victim. His tongue wriggled out trying to taste my hands as his jaws snapped rabidly for my flesh. I managed to pick up one leg pressing it against the wall as I used my whole body to slam it shut once more slicing his still protruding tongue clean off. I heard a blood curdling scream on the other side of the door that I fear I will never forget as long as I live.
“Michael, my God….”
I slid down with my back to the door collapsing and curling into a ball weeping. What is happening?! Michael was fine a few hours ago! What boorish and vulgar sickness could have vexed him into a state of maddening cannibalism? I didn’t have long to ponder these violent events before that long exhaling sound pierced the air again. This time it was louder and vibrated through the ground and my body. For the first time I raised my head and peered out ahead to find I was not in a small room. The impossible fourth door had led me to yet another staircase. There were only two stories to this house and yet defiantly this staircase stood before me beckoning me up to the small light source at the top. It looked like yet another door with pale blue light outlining the edges just enough to make the steps. I dared not go back to face the madness that was my friend just a short time ago. Wiping my eyes with my jacket and rubbing my hands together to warm them I rose and began walking up the steps. One at a time my feet clicked and clacked echoing as if I were in a grand hall. It was inconsistent. As I reached the final step I was shivering. I did not know if it was from pure terror mixed with adrenaline or the absolute chill I felt in the air. I looked down at my shaking hand as I grasped the doorknob. I hesitantly turned and pushed the door open to release a brilliantly blinding blue white light which penetrated every inch of the stair case all the way down to the fourth door. I threw my arms up and over my eyes as I stumbled forward.
After several seconds I realized there was no more piercing light coming through my arms and I slowly lowered them. Turning back I looked through the doorway I just entered and could see the magnificent blue light still showering the long staircase. Yet i was not being surrounded by that light. It was as if a floodlight were being pointed down! There was no light source! What strangeness had I stumbled upon? As I shut the door a darkness fell over me with low lit hints of purple. When I turned to see what path lay before me I was awestruck at the sight. A vast and flat violet landscape as far as the eye could see. Above were billions of stars but not like ones I had ever dreamed of. They were breathtakingly patterned and larger than I had ever thought possible! Even as I stood admiring, meteors were beaming here and there. It was cold, sterile, wondrous, and had it not been for what caught my eye next I would have felt privileged to have been beholden to such celestial wonders. I saw a mountain in the distance. One lonely dark mountain that I began marching toward. This was about the time I noticed the ground I was walking on was pure ice. It appeared violet because some unseen magnificent purple light source was blending with the white. I walked for what felt like miles until I came close enough to realize I was not journeying toward a mountain at all. It was a cyclopean pyramid glistening pure black as though constructed out of onyx. The way the heavenly bodies just above kissed it to shimmer dark purple across its glossy surface will forever be the most beautiful sight I have ever seen yet tainted by the markedly insidious nature it exuded.
Within me stirred a sense of longing I had never known. I wasn’t going back now. I had come too far and witnessed much horror to retreat without finding answers. Washington and for that matter Texas seemed lifetimes away. I had no clue where I was but it couldn’t be on earth. Or could it? After all I had arrived here through that old house. Had my dear uncle known of this forbidden realm? All this I pondered with each baleful step toward the frozen and minatory structure ahead struggling to keep an equanimous mind about me. As I walked and walked the structure appeared to grow wider and rise higher. All warmth seemed to have left my body yet it was being kept in working order by some unseen force. Some mysterious force other than my own tempered will wanted me to behold the enigmatic wonders within the adamantine structure. Adamantine was the only word to describe its outer layer. I pucked up the courage to touch it and knew from an instant nothing on earth could penetrate these gloriously demonic walls. With a quick glance I estimated the base to be over four football fields long maybe even five and similar in height. Being this close to it even the cosmic beauty of my surroundings seemed insignificant. Examining the base for possible entrance I saw an unmistakable entry way. Though the gargantuan building glossed black and purple there was a space with empty darkness inconsistent with the rest of it. This had to be the opening. I timidly made my way.
Upon entering the opening behind me vanished. I can’t say a door closed because I had not seen one just that the outside went out as a wisp of air. The immense darkness that enveloped me threatened to crush my fleeting sanity until torches burst into flame along the walls all in perfect order starting closest to me almost as a trail of gunpowder set on fire. I ran to the incandescent light as a dying man to water in the desert. I removed the torch from its placement and turning I realized I was in a structure of archaic perhaps even primeval origin. The atmosphere had transformed from one of pure alien to something of the familiar and sinister. This place was a labyrinth of stone walls etched with ancient symbols. The labyrinth seemed to completely surround a perfectly round globe in the middle of the pyramid. Although the interior of the pyramid was infinitely black the globe it housed was comely and effulgent as a beautiful cream pearl. What wonders it must house! I entered the great maze in my effort to reach it. The stone walls that flickered in and out of view by the light of my torch had such an emptiness to them. They were carefully crafted but not with love. Perhaps the architecture of a slave’s hand like those ancient pyramids back on earth. Yet no one was around. Were the former inhabitants now extinct? I had so many questions and feared I would not find a single answer in this endeavor. If one were writing a horror story you could anticipate some Minotaurian creature to hunt after me in the maze and believe me I more than half expected such a scenario myself. But this was not a typical horror scene. It was a uniquely alien one.
I found my exit after what felt like hours. My lips were cracked and chapped and my extremities were so tired and cold I couldn’t feel them anymore. But I was here finally. My gaze ascended to marvel at the size of the pearl before me. I did not know how I would get in but it couldn’t simply be a solid statue. What a painful waste of time that would turn out to be! Almost as soon as the thought entered my head I felt lightheaded and as if my eyes were rolling up into my head. Something was in my mind. Invading my thoughts. Like my brain birthed tentacles and was slopping and plopping around inside my skull. The pearl began vibrating and the whole structure began shaking. I fell and helplessly watched in amazed horror as the pearl began splitting open. It was wet as if it were actual cream beginning to melt! There was a pitch-black line from top to bottom growing wider and wider with the cream color shell dripping profusely as it hearkened whatever waited inside. Then the familiar sound came. The mighty omnipresent sighing as someone exhaling. I realized I wasn’t cold anymore yet I was frozen in place. My torch still alight was flickering against the mighty rumbles pounding forth. I heard a slopping sound precisely as my brain had made inside my own head just prior to this most nefarious revelation. But now it was coming from the unsealed moist pearl. Out of the darkness inside I beheld a glossy black tentacle flopping around and finally smacking hard and sticking to one side of the outside of the pearl. Then another *SMACK* on the other side. I could hear the maddening squirming sound from inside hinting at countless other tentacles of inky blackness. Then the center of the mass was pulled forward enough for me to see an eye! Then another and another! They were in no symmetrical order that I could perceive and they were all shapes and sizes and colors. I wanted to retch and almost did but when several of the eyes darted down at my feeble countenance all my bodily processes were halted. More tentacles burst forth from the pearl making that dreadful slopping sound with no identifiable form. Just black tentacles and hauntingly human eyes all over. Then the screams and animalistic moan of a thousand people and beasts howled in demonic unison: “GULUUN YOMOTH”. My vision began blurring and I realized I was passing out from the fright.
Coming to I blinked a several times until my vision focused enough to see my mother and father in front of me. Smiling and holding each other in front of our Texas home. I smiled back and suddenly realized it was a photo. Sitting up I yanked my arms a few times before I looked down and saw I was bound in a strait jacket. Squeaky metal spring bed, bare walls, night stand with a single photo. This was all that was around me. “H-hello?” I walked to the door and kept shouting until a few men entered cautiously. They sat me down and when I demanded to know what was going on I was horrified to learn I had been charged for the murder of my two friends in Washington and since I was clearly unfit to stand trial I was put into this psychiatric facility. I tried to explain what had happened but they told me I rambled like this often before going back into catatonic states. This couldn’t be. I know what I saw. I wasn’t even on this earth! The 4th door! It was all in there. Had that demonic creature escaped? Did it follow me back to this planet?
“GULUUN YOMOTH. GULUUN YOMOTH. GULUUN YOMOTH.”
As I chanted it over and over the men got up and shaking their heads they walked out the room and locked the door from the outside.