Chronicles of the Mark #1: The Crazy Place

July 8, 2014 at 12:00 AM

This is an entry in the ongoing Mark of Canus pasta series.

Two concepts exist in our world, the natural, and the supernatural. Humanity actively sees and understands the natural, as we progress in science and mathematics, but most of us refuse to observe the existence of the supernatural, as we usually cannot perceive it. Many outright deny the possibility of supernatural occurrences, artifacts, or entities entirely, on the grounds that these things cannot be logically explained. The supernatural cannot be explained logically because it is not based in logic, as logic itself is a natural principle.
The human mind, or at least the part our basic consciousness resides in, is another natural thing, an article of logic. This is why we are not able to accept the supernatural as real, because it goes against the very basis of our understanding. Many argue the supernatural is in a part of our minds, the usually dormant part from where psychosis comes from, the crazy part, and that our minds have the capability for the supernatural, but that portion is almost always locked for some reason. Either way, the supernatural most certainly exists, and there is a lot of power in it even today. One such case of supernatural power in the world is the Mark of Canus, a manifestation of evil in the universe, and a driving force for violent insanity and even deeper darkness in the confines of the mind.
Throughout time, the Mark of Canus has touched certain individuals to the point of total, unfiltered madness. Francis Bandersnatch, an English archeologist of the early 20th century, recounts his encounter with the Mark as it drove his compatriot off the edge of the human psyche, and sent him spiraling in to the dark depths of lunacy:
The year was 1912, and I, Francis Bandersnatch, had only just earned the position of head archeologist of a dig team at Oxford. A fetching 27 years of age, I was in the prime of my life, and ready for any kind of adventure, or so I had thought. When my first assignment came in, I was eager to test my wits and determined to make my country proud through discovery. However I was not prepared, contrary to my attitude, for the horrors to come.
Apparently, some American chap by the name of Edward Kripp had been exploring in the Yucatan, a jungle peninsula in Mexico, when he stumbled upon some odd ruins from a seemingly ancient civilization. He then proceeded to enter the main structure, as any self-respecting explorer would have done, and scope out the place. He found things quite interesting, obviously, interesting enough to contract a dig team from Oxford, with yours truly as head, to excavate to ruins and uncover the secrets within.
I must admit, it sounded marvelous, a great first assignment for my team, and I accepted without hesitation. In two weeks’ time, my team arrived in a small village outlying the jungle and met up with this American fellow. At first sight, he seemed like an eager man, full of energy and passion. We only exchanged a brief greeting, but I liked him immediately. The locals at the village, however, did not.
Strange lot, these Mexicans, they completely avoided Kripp, and refused to speak with him. The night before we set out for the ruins, as my team and Kripp all retired to get some sleep, one of them came to me. He looked grave, almost frightened, said he had come to warn me.
“You and team go to ruins. Stay away! I warn you, evil crouched in old temple. Aztecs from here, they build great temples all over. This one different, no Aztecs, someone else. They deny Aztec Gods, worship true evil. They gone, but evil remain.”
I listened intently to the man’s story. It was foreboding, I must admit, and I was a little spooked, but nevertheless I had an assignment. I was hungry for adventure. I realize now I should have heeded his warning, and left right then, that night. But I didn’t listen. The man looked agitated; he continued.
“That man, American explorer, he went inside temple. Now he branded with Mark. Evil has him. Stay away from him, do not keep him with you. We have seen It with him, the Mark has him, the evil is in him. Please, leave this place now, leave American! Run away!”
Determined to stick to my assignment, I told the man to leave my room. Yes, his words were marked with grave honesty, but I didn’t care. I mostly considered him a nut, as these Mexicans usually are. I decided to sleep off his weird story, to be refreshed for the next day’s journey.
In the morning my team packed up and left for the ruins, right on schedule. We would have to trek through the jungle for a day and a half to get to the ruins, and then commence the digging the following day. As we moved through the dense tropical foliage, I had a chance to speak with this Kripp. In the back of my mind, the Mexican’s words still sat. I had been mulling them over all morning. Now was my chance to actually see what the Mexican may have meant, why he was so spooked.
“So, Kripp. Tell me more about these ruins you’ve found.” I started the conversation off, and studied the man’s face as he began. Yet again, he seemed passionate about his find, as was evident in his words. His face held an almost enlightened expression as he spoke of the discoveries we would make.
“Well, Mr. Bandersnatch, I was just mapping out some of the terrain when I came on it. It was magnificent, the stone temple looming over me, just hiding the sun’s light; it seemed to almost glow. The normally aggressive flora of the area seemed to surrender to the temple, as it was completely clear for about fifty yards all around the structure, not a vine or tree penetrated the stone either, as was normally the case in these parts. I have to say it was glorious. The dark entrance just screamed discovery! So of course I went in…”
“Then what?” I pushed for some information, at this point I was equally excited for the dig. Suddenly his demeanor changed, only slightly though. An infinitesimal sense of confusion, almost irritation, was present on his face here. There was an almost unnoticeable twitch in his right eye as he continued.
“That, my British friend, is the best part. But explaining it wouldn’t do it any justice, so I’ll just let you see when we get there. Anyway, I’d better move a little ahead, the jungle gets pretty tricky at this part of the journey. You men can follow behind a few steps.”
As Kripp walked ahead, one of my own men came to my side to replace him. A taller, burlier gentleman named Harold Ross studied Kripp as he walked away. The man was one of my diggers, and a veteran of the trade, who had been to numerous excavations in Africa. He was a trusted member of my team whom I held highly. The look on his face was a distrusting one.
“Boss, I want to talk to you about something, if I may.”
“Why yes of course, Mr. Ross, what is it on your mind?”
“It’s just that I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with the American. I’m not so sure of his story.”
“What do you getting at, old bean?”
“I’ve seen a lot of weird things in this business, things no one should see, but this man is odd. I don’t like him. Ever since I saw him, something about him seemed off, like he was hiding something. And when he wouldn’t tell you just now about the inside of the temple, which I’m sure any explorer would have relished in doing so, it just didn’t seem right. Also, the villagers back there never said a word to him the whole time. They all avoided him. I’m telling you, boss, I don’t think he checks out.”
I didn’t want to unsettle any of my team, I would have hated to dislodge their focus on the assignment, so I neglected to mention the Mexican’s warning. No doubt, Kripp did seem kind of odd, but I had no reason to be suspicious. However, I though it a prudent fear, as many criminals have been known to stalk these kinds of ruins. They would hire dig teams like mine, only to have them dig up treasure then in turn shoot the diggers dead and haul it off for their own gains. It was a legitimate concern for archeologists like myself. To ease his mind, and the fraction of mine which was paranoid, I told him we should keep an eye on Kripp, and he agreed.
We traveled the rest of the day through the jungle, and when night came we set up camp to rest. After dinner, we all retired to our tents and got ready to sleep. I was updating my logbook when I heard some voice talking at the camp. I thought everyone was asleep, so I left my tent to investigate. The voice was coming from Kripp’s tent.
I leaned in to get a better listen. It appeared as if he was talking to himself, but I couldn’t make out any words or sentences in his speech, just obscure ranting. It was mortifying, listening to his hurried nonsense, gapped by outbursts of chuckling and awful gargling sounds. The sound was positively unsettling, it touched the bottom of my gut and made my neck hairs stand. Just as I was about to open his tent to see if the fellow was alright, he fell silent, and I heard the sound of his head dropping on the pillow. Aghast at this incident, I crept back to my tent, and attempted to get some sleep.
In the morning we set out again. I was considerably less energetic than before, as I was unable to sleep well after listening to Kripp the night before. He looked worse as well, his eyes now lined with dark bags. He looked pale, worn out, quite the opposite of yesterday’s Kripp. The more I observed of this man, the more he puzzled me.
The jungle became denser and denser as we moved closer to the temple. The aura of it changed as well. Unlike the day before, no animals were around. Gradually, the sounds of the jungle started to fade out, until the area became completely silent. The only sounds were of everyone’s steps and breathing, everyone’s except Kripp’s. His breathing was inaudible, and is couldn’t discern his footsteps. It was perplexing.
We trekked on through until my watch read noon, and shortly after, Kripp stopped. He looked back at us, and with a grin revealing all of his teeth, he pulled back an elephant’s ear leaf, revealing the temple. It was not as he described. The stone temple had an ominous look to it, the grey stone appeared to be untouched by the elements. The structure was plain, yet almost insinuating vanity. The feeling I had from looking upon it was confusing. I had never seen architecture like this.
Then, my eyes settled on the large image above the entrance. It was a symbol of some kind I had never seen before, utterly unknown and mysterious. It had a parading look about it, but just seeing it gave me deep chills. I didn’t know what this place was, but I was starting to believe the Mexican’s words about some evil, as the building practically poured out an alien energy, felt in the deepest reaches of my mind.
I couldn’t take my mind off the marking on the stone face, until a member of my team fell to his knees. I watched him start crying and heaving, stupefied at what was happening to him. He heaved more violently now, and then he let out a mouthful of blood onto the ground. Terrified at his own blood before him, the man started shaking and looked up to me.
“Probably the jungle,” noted Kripp, “There are a lot of sicknesses that can be contracted from the various insects and plants out here. Let’s get him inside.”
I looked at Kripp’s face. I had a very dark quality to it now. This man was totally different, there was an insidious look about him. I turned to Ross, who was studying Kripp as well, that look of distrust intensified.
We drug the coughing man into the dark temple entrance. Kripp lit some torches, and when coupled with a few of our lanterns revealed a large chamber. I looked around at the walls, all bearing the same mark from outside. Corridors on all sides remained pitch black for now, to be explored later. I must admit, the find was incredible. To have a structure as old as this, completely intact, was an oddity. It was the discovery of the century.
The sick man was given some water and made to rest in the main chamber, and the rest of the team split up to start mapping the temple. Ross and I stayed together with Kripp, because I was the head, and because we wanted to have our eyes on him. We found passageways that led us underground, and the deeper we got, the more the temple appeared to have succumb to nature. We came to a point where the way was blocked by earth. And so, the digging begun.
The whole time I was in the temple, I kept hearing frightening sounds from the blackened corridors. The overwhelming sense of lurking darkness got to me after a while. It was like nothing I had felt before. The fear in my heart rose with every step, and a feeling of some terrifying discovery waiting for me kept reentering my mind. I never knew my digs would be like this. I began to feel sick, and agitated. My mind started wandering, until I had completely lost focus.
Suddenly, I felt I had gotten lost and separated from the two others. I felt completely alone, that is, except for the creeping entity which lurched forward in the darkness towards me at every turn. My mind kept going back to that mark. I saw it over and over again, covered in ancient blood. I had a vision, a nightmare from the very depths of my mind. A sacrifice, blood all over the walls of the temple; that Mark everywhere. People dead. Then the sounds came, a horrifying song in some foreign tongue, dancing to the beat of some drums, a great crescendo until the finale I felt was coming. That Mark the whole time. I felt a slight slithering inside my bones.
I wanted it to end, I reached for my eyes; gripped the eyeballs themselves, realizing the ultimatum of my situation. I was then yanked from my state by Ross, who said I’d gone blank for a moment. I shrugged off the shivers as those feeling completely resided. By then Kripp was looking at me. I could see him in the corner of my eye, grinning a dark grin.
A member of my team ran up to meet us, said that they had discovered something I should see. We followed him back to the main chamber, and down an opposite hall which led underground even deeper than the tunnels we were just in. At the bottom, the hall opened up to another dark room, with a great circular door at the opposite end. The Mark was carved with special attention to detail on this door, and I feared for what was inside.
I looked back to see if Kripp had discovered this as well, but he was gone. Ross looked surprised that he has lost Kripp, having kept a close watch on the man. We studied the current room for a bit, then went back up to the main chamber, where a base had been set up, and found Kripp there talking to a member of my team.
“He says a group of diggers hasn’t come back yet, as they were supposed to.” Kripp looked grim as he spoke, “I warned everyone to be careful around here. Someone could get lost easily in this place.”
A team was sent to look for the diggers, with Kripp leading them, and by nightfall there had still been no word. The rest of us decided to turn in for the night, and as we all sat around eating I studied their faces. My men looked worried, frightened, and irritated. They all had a desperate nature to their tone of voice, and a resigned quality in their movements. They talked about odd feelings they’d been having since the dig started, swapping stories of creepy moments that concerned them. Not a one felt comfortable in the temple. They said they could feel it enveloping them, and if they didn’t get far away soon, they would go missing as well.
Their concern was genuine, I had felt the same thing since entering the temple. I noticed a great many of them scratched their eyes a lot. When I asked a few about it, they said that their eyes hurt from the darkness, and the markings on the wall seemed to exacerbate the problem. Greatly puzzled and afraid, I agreed that we needed to scrap the dig, and leave as soon as we found the rest of the team. For now, we would try to get some sleep.
I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of terrible screams. When I fully I came to, I realized I was tied up, and being drug along the ground through a familiar passageway. My thoughts scattered, and the screams continued from down the hall. I looked up at who was dragging me, and found it to be one of my team, he was moaning. When I called to him, the man stopped walking and turned towards me. He continued his moans while he revealed his face.
Blood ran down his cheeks like red tears, his eyes were shut. When I shakily asked what happened, he opened up his eyelids to reveal his sockets were empty. Blood poured from them down his face. I was terrified, it was a nightmare. I screamed for help, but he just turned around and kept onwards. When he reached his destination he pulled me to my feet, allowing me to distinguish the room from before with the circular doorway, which had now been cleared away.
I was led forward and into the bottom chamber, which gave me the single most gruesome, horrific sight I had ever and will ever encounter. The walls and floor were red with fresh blood, and mangled corpses littered the whole room. My entire team, even the missing men from before, all dead and mutilated. Their bodies had been positioned in ways that resembled a twisted reenactment of an excavation. Their faces had all been ripped away, and their chests opened up, their hearts removed. I fell to my knees immediately and vomited. This could not have been a nightmare, it was way too real.
That damned Mark was everywhere, covered in blood as in my vision. I gaped at the overwhelming terror as I realized just what that Mark really was. I was, as the Mexican had put it, ‘true evil’. Nothing in the world came close to its intensity of utter horror. I was paralyzed by the scene before me.
There was a stone table in the middle of the room, on which rested a miserable Ross, he looked over and saw me. His eyes bulged out of his head and he called out to me for help, but I was still tied up and paralyzed with fear. He was bound by his wrists and ankles, and was naked from the waste up.
A figure appeared before him. It was Kripp, covered in blood. He started laughing maniacally and turned his attention towards me.
“Cut him loose.”
The eyeless man who dragged me now cut the ropes, but for some reason I still could not move. I watched in horror as the eyeless man, now having no use left, was ordered to kill himself. He proceeded to take the knife he just used to cut my ropes and slit his own throat, gargling as his blood spilled out on the ground. He fell over dead.
“Welcome, Mr. Bandersnatch, to my Crazy Place.” Kripp cried out with a degree of lunacy, “When I found this temple, I discovered an ancient evil more powerful than any God or Devil. The markings on the wall are that of the Mark of Canus, they have revealed themselves to individuals over time. This was a place of practice for those taken by the Mark, as I am. I’ve been ordered to let myself go free, submit to my dark desires, and kill for the Mark. I must obey its blessed commands. I was told to gather a team to open this chamber, and kill them all. As you can see I’m almost finished. Now, I’m creating art. Care to watch?”
My feet moved instinctively closer to the table where Ross lay. Kripp laughed uncontrollably as he took a knife and slowly gouged out an image of the Mark onto Ross’ stomach. I watched in disgust at his practice, and Ross screamed as the blood ran down his sides. Kripp looked in ecstasy as he proceeded to make large craters in the squirming Ross’ cheeks.
“Now, you shall see the Mark with clearer eyes! The very Mark which haunts my own mind and drives me to this! Welcome it inside you, it loves you. Its loving insanity will be your life blood and your poison. The Mark is, and always was, and it lives in us now!”
The madness became much deeper as he continued his dark art. He revealed a mass of eye balls wrapped in a cloth. Carefully placing them into the sockets he’d made in the dying Ross’ face, he reveled in his craftsmanship. Having ran out of eye balls, with only two sockets left empty, he turned to me.
“Come now, Mr. Bandersnatch, let us have those eyes of yours, and your sight will be joined with theirs!”
I could feel my hand reach for my eyes, as I had done earlier, and a grinning Kripp extended his hand in anticipation. I fought hard, but the Mark had insinuated itself into my mind, and I had little control. I fought it, and with my other hand reached for my pocket knife.
Kripp loved the idea, “Ooh, nice choice, just be careful not to damage them.”
He didn’t realize my intention. I pulled out the knife, and stabbed my other hand. The blood ran down my fingers. The pain kicked in, freeing me from the Mark’s hold. I turned and ran, much to the surprise of a deeply insane Kripp. I ran hard, all the way out of the temple. The whole way I heard his incensed laughter and growls of intent, as I knew he was chasing after me. Running for my life, the darkness closing in on me, I ran into the main chamber and right out of the temple into the night.
I just kept running out into the jungle until I was stopped by a hand on my arm. Screaming, I lurched back, not realizing at first that it was the Mexican from the village, alongside several armed villagers. I looked back at the entrance to the temple, and saw two figures in the dark corridor, both had glowing eyes. One had multiple sets on his face.
“You see, true evil in its form.” The Mexican said, trained on the entrance, “Time to go. They will not follow us now.”
I stared as the two figures backed up into the darkness of the temple. Never to be seen again. I could still hear the maddening laughter and screams.

Mr. Bandersnatch’s story is only one of many involving the Mark, and all its innate evil. Bandersnatch would return to England, where he would spend the rest of his days haunted by the memory of his trip. In June, 1956, Bandersnatch would be found dead in his apartment. He had a knife in his hand, and he had gouged out both of his eyes. He must have figured it was the only way to rid himself of the visions he had of the Mark of Canus.

Credit To – Greg P.

Chronicles of the Mark – The Snake In the Sun

April 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM

View the original story here: The Mark of Canus.

Two concepts exist in our world, the natural, and the supernatural. Humanity actively sees and understands the natural, as we progress in science and mathematics, but most of us refuse to observe the existence of the supernatural, as we usually cannot perceive it. Many outright deny the possibility of supernatural occurrences, artifacts, or entities entirely, on the grounds that these things cannot be logically explained. The supernatural cannot be explained logically because it is not based in logic, as logic itself is a natural principle.

The human mind, or at least the part our basic consciousness resides in, is another natural thing, an article of logic. This is why we are not able to accept the supernatural as real, because it goes against the very basis of our understanding. Many argue the supernatural is in a part of our minds, the usually dormant part from where psychosis comes from, the crazy part, and that our minds have the capability for the supernatural, but that portion is almost always locked for some reason. Either way, the supernatural most certainly exists, and there is a lot of power in it even today.  One such case of supernatural power in the world is the Mark of Canus, a manifestation of evil in the universe, and a driving force for violent insanity and even deeper darkness in the confines of the mind.

The Mark of Canus has had a profound impact on certain individuals throughout time. James Dodd, an outlaw turned lawman in the American West during the time of expansion and greed recalls his experience with the Mark:

The year was 1876, a full one hundred years after this country was founded. During that time we have seen many wars with the natives, continued fighting with the British, and a full blown Civil War, but all those horrors pale in comparison to the man known as The Snake in the Sun, Darrel Shrimer, the gold tycoon.

Shrimer was an ambitious man, known for his drive and ability to get things done, but there’s more to him than that, alright. He was sadistic, ultimately evil, and it all had something to do with this symbol he always had on him, on a belt buckle or boot. They say you could see it in his eyes, pure evil in that symbol. I shiver to think of when I looked on it. My story with him begins with my return to Albright, Arizona.
I rode into Albright in the late evening, had taken me all day to get here from Tucson. Things felt different going into the town this time, could be because I wore a badge now, instead of a bandana. I was born in Montana, but Albright had been my home for a while, when I was with a gang. Things are different now, I protect people. I cleaned up myself and became one of the best, an Arizona Ranger. Yep, I wore a bright badge and a lot of responsibility with it. The last time I’d been in Albright I had been a criminal, so naturally I knew things would feel different riding in with that weighty title.

Maybe it wasn’t the badge at all, I couldn’t really explain it, but something had come over the town, a heavy feeling. I thought nothing of it, maybe it was just me, after all I’d killed men here years ago. I rode up to the bar for a drink and some food when I noticed a strange marking on one of the posts, it was some kind of symbol, a symbol I would later come to abhor for the rest of my life, but back then it seemed like just an odd little scratch in the post, so I went on in and sat down at the bar.

I looked around to exactly what I expected, people staring. They had a scared look in their eyes, they knew me from before. I used to be a stone cold killer, a criminal who’d rob and steal and shoot men for a living. It’s no wonder they all looked frightened to see me. I’d been brought to justice by a lawman, but not all justice in the West ended in blood. He took me to Tucson to be tried, and they stuck me in prison for many years, many turned to few as I was let off for good behavior. I was completely reformed, cast off my old life in crime, to seek a new one in the law.
I ordered a steak and some Dawson brew, and was waiting for my food, thinking about my new life here when a young man came up to the bar and sat next to me. “You that Jim Dodd they talked about, the outlaw gone put on a badge?” I looked over and saw his face. He looked young, his face not yet rough. He looked innocent enough, and yet there was something off about him, an odd feeling I got. I said nothing, only turned out my badge and nodded. The boy said, “So it is true then. You’re gonna keep the law round here?” I nodded again, eyes still on the boy. “That mean you gonna take Russell Lewis and the Snake in the Sun?” He asked. I cocked my head in curiosity, partly as to who these people are, as well as that the boy was so frank with me about the nature of the law. Sensing my puzzlement, he explained, “The Snake in the Sun is Darrel Shrimer, that gold boss who’s been sweepin’ cross Arizona lookin’ for gold and fortune. They call him the Snake in the Sun on a count of he will kill a man in broad daylight, as much as the dark night. He’s had the whole town in his hands for comin’ on two years now, and I reckon he won’t let us go till someone puts him down or he gets bored. Russell Lewis is his right hand man, he’s just as scary. This guy is like the Devil ate a scorpion and spit him back out into the desert to mock the Lord by puttin’ him in the image of a man.”

I was intrigued at these man he talked about. I’d heard once of Darrel Shrimer, apparently he had gone out on a mining expedition with a whole company of men, went up into the mountains, and returned alone, with a large fortune of gold and a ruthless ambition to get more, but that sounds like most all other gold tycoons around the West. This is the first I’ve heard of murder and settlement extortion, and who was this Russell Lewis? If these claims were true, I’d have to do something, being a man of the law.

Just as I decided to open my mouth and tell the boy I’d look into it, his stare changed. He now looked pale, almost grey, and those eyes, they were empty. The eyes were as empty as the night sky in the Mojave, and just as deep. My blood ran cold, I was frozen stiff. I could not look away. Then the boy said, in a raspy voice unlike what I had just heard from him, “You can’t stop the Mark, it lives everywhere, inside you, inside your mind. The Snake in the Sun will make you submit, submit to the warming insanity of the Mark. We have given in, all of us, Albright belongs to the Mark, to the Snake in the Sun. Can you feel it, man of the law, can you feel the Mark in your mind? It’s there, waiting for you to see its glory, and love it eternally in darkness as the Snake in the Sun, and all of us.”

I looked at the boy for a moment longer, trying to figure out if what I heard was even real, I was very tired. I blinked a few times, and to my surprise he was still there, with that grey look about him, but now the symbol from the post was there, inside both his eyes, this time terrifying, its silent glare penetrating my mind. It was like looking into the essence of the symbol itself, which I now knew as the Mark. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, that Mark. It’s the face of terror, the face of sin and greed and corruption, it’s the origin of all evils. I turned away, towards the rest of the bar, only to see them all the same, silently staring with the Mark in their eyes, silent, unmoving. All of them. I got up without my food and left the bar.

I ran out into the street, unhitched my horse and saddled up as fast as I could and spurred the old bronco out of town at full speed. The Sun was down but I didn’t care, I was so mortally terrified, and every part of my being was screaming at me to leave, leave while I can. Think of it now what I did was pretty dumb, but I was just so scared I couldn’t think of anything else but to turn tail and run like a child. I rode and rode into darkness until I the horse was so exhausted she just collapsed in full gallop. I flew off her and hit the ground hard, then I blacked out. The last thing I saw as I flew through the chilly desert air was my horse, eyes gaping, the Mark in those eyes.

I came to when a hand tugged at me. In a daze I realized my own hands were tied up, and I was sitting atop my horse, walking along behind another man on a horse. He held the rope. I could tell I wasn’t speaking complete sentences, but I tried to ask what was going on, said I was an Arizona ranger and I demanded to know why I was tied up. The man ahead of me wore a black coat and brown hide hat, all dusty. He didn’t turn back, only laughed, the kind of laugh you hear in a looney bin. He then spoke, still facing forward, with a voice that could cut stone, “That’s a good one, friend, but the law don’t make it round these parts, law dog. And that shiny badge of yours, well it just got you in a world of hurt!”

He continued to laugh, and by this point I was all cleared up. “You trying to be funny?” I said, “Sounds to me like you’re the one about to be in a world of hurt when I get loose here friend.” He was silent for a second, then replied, “Who you think you are anyway, Dodd? The only reason you’re still alive is because It wants you somethin’ bad, and the Snake in the Sun wants to watch you suffer It’s madness. That’s the world of hurt I was talkin’ about earlier.”

I was surprised he knew my name, the Arizona rangers are officially anonymous, I had no ID. I finally asked “How’d you know my name anyways, slick?” “Oh It always knows, Jim.” he replied quickly, “It told me ‘fore I laid eyes on you yesterday. Besides, I heard about you, been an outlaw in Albright stirrin’ up trouble daily, caught by Manny Gargas with that six-shot .44, and put in jail. Then out of the blue they let you out early and you change colors, swappin’ your red sash for a white hat, and go on slaughterin’ outlaws like you’re some patron saint of Arizona. I hate lawmen like you, who use violence as means of ending violence.”

He made a point, but I was still baffled he knew so much of me. “And just who are you then?” I asked. He finally looked back at me, his face was rough as sun-bleached leather, all cut up and dusty. He looked like he’d been dragged through Hell by the spurs and pulled back to Earth again. “Why little old me? Name’s Russell, Russell Lewis, friend. I work for the Snake in the Sun, and I’m an outlaw through and through. I hope that hurts you inside, Jim, seein’ an outlaw you can’t kill? And, I serve It, our master, the Evil of Humanity. I serve the Mark. That’s all you really need to know there, Jimmy boy.” “Pleased to meet you.” I said, as we came upon the town. I looked ahead and saw him.

From a distance he looked like anyone else, a man on a horse, in a hat and coat. As we got closer and closer I began to make out features, He was older, snowy hair and mustache. He had a rough, stern face which was ever the norm in the West. He wore a tan coat, a hide hat and a nice shirt. On his boots was sewn an image of the Mark, and on his shirt and hat.

Then, as we got really close, I saw something different in him. His face was like an animal, he looked borderline insane, like he could snap at any minute. He looked evil. “So this is the James Dodd I was so compelled to have brought here.” He started, “you know something boy? You should have stayed in that jail cell, cause it ain’t half as bad as what you’re about to go through. You’re in Hell now boy, God can’t save you now.” I was thoroughly convinced of his words, but I wouldn’t show it. “You got a pair of balls holding an Arizona ranger like this. I’ll see you tried and hung, but that’s if I don’t put a hole in you first.” He chuckled, the kind of chuckle that made it clear he was confident of himself. “Well boy,” he said, “that sure sounds nice, but the Mark has different plans for you.” He reached in his shirt and pulled out a necklace, looked silver, with that unholy Mark on it. “Do you even know what this is, boy?” he got off his horse and I was pulled off mine.

He came up real close, held up the necklace. I could hear whispers in some odd language, saw lines coming off it, like sometimes in the middle of the desert, under the hot sun, when you’ve been out there too long and things get to your mind. He looked closely at me, I saw the ferocity in his eyes, after a long moment he spoke again, “This, boy, is the Mark of Canus. It’s as old as time itself, and it’s as evil as it is powerful. It can make men do terrible things, to others, to themselves. I feeds off us, our sheer horror satiates its terrific hunger. Men have lived and died wearing this Mark. I found it on a Spaniard some time ago when were on a mining trip. Said he got it from Spain, and it had great power. It haunted me from the moment I laid eyes upon it. So one night, in the mines while everyone was sleeping, I took the Mark, and I killed everyone there. I ate their rich hearts, and cut off their sad faces. It was ecstasy, the Mark had me from then on, and I’ve served it in madness to acquire my fortune. But now, now the Mark wants you too boy. And it’ll have you. You’ve seen it, I know you have, there’s no going back now. The insanity will come over you, then to serve the Mark, you’ll cut out your own heart for me, so I can taste it.”

I was not going to do that, but he spoke so confidently, as if it was inevitable. Suddenly, my head started spinning, I saw the Mark everywhere, on the walls, in his eyes, on the ground. I took a step back, tripped and fell. My hands were still tied, I sat there in horror as the Mark permeated into my mind. “Where are my manners?” Shrimer snorted, “Russell cut him loose.” Russell did as he was told, and I was free, or I thought I was. I then tried to run, but the whole town crept out onto the street and blocked me, they all looked grey, soulless. The Mark was in their eyes, all of them.
They started closing in, cornering me. All the while I could hear a thrum of some odd sounding drums getting louder, and whispers. The Mark was taking me, my own evils from long ago coming back out to claim what was theirs. There, back in my head the faces of the men I killed, the nightmares I’d woke from in my prison cell, all I worked so hard to erase back again. The sins I thought I had absolved, dropped on by as if they never really left. I screamed, fell down again and writhed on the ground, I could feel a slithering inside.

“You feel that boy?” called Shrimer, “That’s the Mark inside you, that’s me inside you. Do you know why they call me the Snake in the Sun? Because I slither through the desert and eat any rats I find. You’re no exception, boy, you’ll succumb just like all the others!” I fought it, I fought it hard, but it didn’t matter, the Mark was quickly taking me.

As the darkness closed in, I had a thought, something that sheriff Gargas had told me when get finally took me. He said ‘Evil is everywhere, friend, it is even inside you. Fighting that evil is all we can do, all we can live for, because it is the only way we can redeem ourselves. We do bad things, no one is perfect, but it is how hard we fight it that makes the most difference, because in the end, we are all judged by our efforts. Even if we never really win, what other choice do we have?’ That thought inspired me, I fought back the Mark, not completely but only for now, accepted it, and pushed it from controlling me.

My hands free, I reached for my hip, and pulled up my .44 Magnum handgun. I was surprised they left it on me, Shrimer was really convinced that I’d be taken. Things happened fast after that, Russell reached for his rifle, but I was too quick, and I nailed him twice. Two of the other henchmen tried after that, each went down with only one round, ranger training is extensive. There was blood on the ground, and Shrimer reached for his gun, but I shot him in the leg. He dropped it and went to his knees, I had him now.

The man dragged himself back as I came to him. “What are you gonna do now?” He puffed out a few more mad chuckles, “You’re out of bullets, you gonna cuff me, boy?” He seemed confident still, even wounded and outmatched. “Not today, Shrimer. Look again, and count my bullets before your blessings. Normally they have only five, but I had this one made special like Gargas’. There’s one round left, friend.” He stopped lurching backward, but I kept towards him.

He just continued to laugh, “Killing me won’t help you, Jim. The Mark still has you, though you managed to beat it back. We all go sooner or later, and the Mark is always there. You haven’t won, boy, not by a long shot. Evil will always be with us, and you can’t escape your wicked past! You can’t change!” I put the gun to his forehead, and looked down on him. “That doesn’t matter anymore. I am the law now, and I’m gonna bring you to justice. And you’re right, I can’t change. I killed back then, and I kill now, but the difference is I kill the killers, and not the innocent. Condemn me if you will, but if killin’ you saves someone else, well I’ll be damned if I let you go. You made this personal, you brought the hawk down on you, snake. Now I’m gonna cut you down, just like I promised.”

I pulled the trigger, and he fell down. The Snake in the sun was dead, and already I felt a weight lift off the town, suddenly the townspeople weren’t looking grey anymore, though they were confused. I plucked the necklace off Shrimer, and put it in my pocket. I would return it to Spain where it was found, and evil like that needs to stay buried.

Dodd’s story is only one of many like it. Throughout time, the Mark has always been there, tormenting souls and enforcing its evil on the world. However Dodd, unlike many, has been able to keep the Mark from taking him, it would always be there, and every once in a while a chill would creep down his spine, and he knew the Mark was present. He battled with the evil in him until his death in 1919, when the fever got him in his sleep. It is said he rambled in his last days, talk of something coming for him, and he mentioned the Mark over and over again. He passed away in the late night, a look of fear on his face, fear of the Mark and its madness, that same madness he had beat, if only temporarily, on that day in Albright, Arizona.

Credit To – Greg P

The Mark of Canus

October 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

In today’s society, the advent of science brings an understanding of the world which puts people into a sense of security. We know what the world is made of, the way chemistry, physics, biology, and geology all fit in to the picture. There’s not much humanity doesn’t understand anymore. But we do not have it all figured out, not entirely. There is still mystery out there, darkness hiding in the cracks between human understandings. Monsters, spirits of nature, artifacts of extreme power, these entities act on the world without our knowing, but every once in a while, perhaps only for a moment, they are perceived, that moment where the blood goes cold and the skin shivers, when we are struck with the realization that there is a reality of things is beyond science and mathematics. Some go insane, the mind broken by its sense of insignificance, or by something so frightening that the brain is thrown into despair so deep it turns over, accepting the new reality by way of erasing every facet of the old one, souring it in a debilitating logic vacuum. In some occasions, the mind is so affected by the supernatural that it becomes twisted, not fearful or stagnant, but psychotic, as if the supernatural unlocks a part of the human brain dormant, where the most twisted thoughts and notions are born. This part of the psyche creates terrors to rival the supernatural, and can cause us to commit unspeakable acts. There is no way to fully understand this part of our brain, but it exists, and the truth of it is a testament to the supernatural, even in the natural confines of the mind. In one case, an artifact of power has had devastating effects on humanity over time, and its nature cannot truly be perceived, unless one completely embraces the dark nature of the artifact itself, thus succumbing to that evil part of the mind, and saturating oneself in eternal darkness. One such artifact is the Mark of Canus, a manifestation of extreme evil in the world which predates man by some time. Many believe the Mark is eternal, it is, always was, and always will be, some others believe it was born of the deepest, darkest sin in some ancient ritual, others believe it was made by Satan, though it predates him as well. The Mark has inspired mass killings, suicide, and various other evils, too disgusting to explain in detail, and it has permeated into civilization for millennia. To some, it is a supernatural artifact which causes insanity, but the truth of it, the unknown, is so much more insidious.

The Mark of Canus is named after Canus Sepius Florius, commander of the Eighth Roman Legion, the man who is attributed to its discovery, and who brought the mark into Civilization. Canus was a bright young commander, very wary of each situation. He served under the Praetor’s great army during the defense against Hannibal in the Second Punic War, during which he proved his logic and skill on the battlefield against one of the most proficient strategists of all time. Canus was tasked with following Hannibal’s footsteps through the Alps and into Gaul, with the object of understanding the Carthaginian’s thinking behind his route, as well as setting up a defense against further potential attacks on Rome from Gaul. He brought with him 450 veteran legionnaires into the mountains, and two weeks later Canus returned, extremely ahead of schedule and completely alone. When asked what happened to his men, he replied “The legionnaires? Yes they returned home, they’re sleeping soundly in darkness.” This response deeply baffled the consul, and he had Canus taken into custody, for a real answer to the absence of his men. This is the testament of Haran Epiganus, the Roman who questioned Canus:

“As we were led to the chamber I noticed the distracted look of the commander. I thought nothing of it, after his response to the questioning of the consul I felt he had stress. Perhaps he was ambushed by barbarians and they broke his mind. It was only when we were locked in the room that I caught his eyes. They were made of terror, focused and alert, holes to the horrific mind of Hannibal himself. I could not bear to see them. I looked around, but Canus was locked on me. I finally got to the question, ‘What happened in the [Alps]? Those men, they are dead?’ Canus calmly started, ‘They are unto the darkness. May they feed the Mark.’ This answer was confusing, so I asked another question, ‘Canus, you were attacked?’ To which he quickly answered ‘May they feed the Mark.’ I asked around more, but the answer was the same every time. Then he went dazed, so I gripped his shoulder, then he jumped awake, and his eyes changed again. He took his necklace, a new piece, and threw it on the ground. He was frantic, rambling, I asked what was wrong. He replied, ‘The Mark! The Mark! Never let it touch me again, the terrible Mark!’ I asked what happened, what this Mark was, and what happened to the legionnaires. He told me he would only recall it once, and then begun, ‘We were marching up the [Alps] in Hannibal’s footsteps, making excellent progress. We made camp when night came, but I could not find sleep, though I had marched the whole day. I heard whispers, in ancient tongues, calling to me. I was disturbed, no way to sleep, so I went up to investigate. The whispers came from the cave, the unholy cave. I entered like a fool, lit a torch and ventured through the tunnels. The whispers became louder, and I started seeing shadows. Then I wished to turn back, but my legs kept onward, and I felt detached from my body. The feeling became more so, and then the visions stared. I saw visages of a single Mark, this frightening symbol as old as time itself. I do not wish to describe it to you. Then the visions contained blood, and killing, not like on the battlefield, killing from the most violent nightmares. I ventured for hours, farther and farther down into the mountain, until I reached a chamber at the bottom, perfectly round and made of the same stone as the cave walls. No markings anywhere, no furniture, but the chamber seems so perfect yet not man made. In the center, on the ground lay the necklace. A shining piece in sterling silver, no gems, bearing the Mark that persisted in my visions. I heard the whispers rise here, and the rapid beat of drums, the likes of which I had never heard. The sounds rose to a deafening volume, then suddenly dropped out to silence. I then took another look at the necklace, and saw the Mark again, and was filled with a terror so deep it drove into my being. It overcame me swiftly, I released my bladder, and took a step back in fear. Then something took me, seized my body, and gripped my soul. I felt a scraping inside me, all over a sense of wurms in my blood, shivering inside me. It stopped, and I heard a loud whisper, right next to my ear, slave. My mind burst then with images of the Mark, and then the brutalization of my men. It was uncontrollable, part of me released and gripping my mind in fury. The Mark all over everything. I felt a presence inside, one that was not my own. I went to the necklace, put it on, and realized the Mark itself was inside me, and I now lost control. I had to watch as I walked out of the cave, and went back to the camp. I slept in my tent, nightmares the entire night, the disturbing and silent images of the Mark coursing through me. I did not understand it, but I do now. The true terror would warp your mind if I spoke of the Mark in its full evil. It is ancient, beyond the time of men, working with a dark force so much more powerful than the Gods themselves. I woke up, washed over with insanity. I was outside of the person which was me, and I watched in terror as I led the men to a mountain pass, and ordered them to stop. I showed the Mark to them, and it took them all, stopped them in fear. I proceeded to slaughter them all while they stood. I took out the hearts, ate them, then cut off the face. The blood everywhere, I washed in a stream, and made my way back to Rome.’ I stood terrified at his testimony. I looked at the necklace and a shiver caught my back. That was all I needed, Canus confessed to killing the legionnaires. I wasn’t sure if his story was true however part of me believed it, when I saw the Mark. Either way, it was time to tell the consul…”

This chilling story is only the beginning of the Mark in humanity. Haran spread the word of the Mark to Rome, and it became known as Canus’ Mark, or the Mark of Canus. They say the Mark can affect anyone. It chooses freely, and you don’t need to look directly at it for it to take you. The necklace itself is referred to as the Mark of Canus, but the image itself has power as well. The relationship between image and necklace in terms of power is not entirely known, however it is known that wherever the necklace goes, the evil is always there. It has passed hands from the Romans to the Germans, then the English, then to America. It instills fear where ever it is, and the killings always follow. Many have tried to study the Mark, but its existence is entirely a mystery. Some say Canus did not actually find it, that he made it, others say it is alien in origin, most believe it does not exist, because it cannot be explained. In 1745, the Mark was found on a witch in America. The witch was found out, and the Mark confiscated. The magistrate ordered the Mark destroyed, saying it was of the Devil, but it was taken by one of his own men, Edward Tiller, a Puritan clergy. Edward fled the country by boat, went to Spain with the Mark, and committed suicide there without any excuse. It was said by Tiller’s wife that he left, “without any cause or reason, but with such obsession [She] never saw in him before.” Most likely the Mark had taken Tiller, as she found pictures of it in his closet, scribbled with chalk.

The Mark’s legend was strong by the 1930s, so strong that it sparked the curiosity of one such German leader who had been obsessed with the occult. Adolf Hitler, furor of Nazi Germany, led a campaign throughout the world to collect objects of supernatural significance, and studying their power to weaponize it. Hitler sent Gustav Kerch, an SS official, to Spain to find this Mark of Canus. Kerch was successful, the Mark around his neck when he returned to the furor. He handed the necklace over to the SS, but it didn’t matter, the Mark already had him. He then returned to his original post, the administration of the concentration camp Auswitz. He let the Mark control him, and with its darkness he became notoriously cruel, openly killing many prisoners with his bare hands, eating their hearts, and cutting off their faces. One Joshua Dicsh, a Polish Jew held in Auswitz, recounts his brush with Kerch,

“During my time in Auswitz, I saw many horrors. My fellow Jews, working themselves to death, through starvation. The Germans were merciless, but there was one man in particular who was even more disturbed then the worst Nazi, his name was Gustav Kerch. Kerch was the man in charge of Auswitz, and he was more terrifying than the camp itself. He stalked the camp, looking with those eyes, those terrible eyes. They were like pools of the bluest poison, ominous and deep. It was like looking into the eyes of Beelzebub himself. He was insane, often times breaking into fits of rage, scribbling symbols on the walls, and rambling in other languages. The guards said one of them heard him talking to himself in his chambers, in dual tongues. We dared not sleep alone at night, and in the day we worked hardest to keep him satisfied. One morning I was working in the mill with Deter, and Franz making helmets when Kerch walked in to inspect us. He had those eyes again, I could hear whispers around him, as is right out of my nightmares. He looked at Franz’ work and smiled his wolfish grin, ‘Excellent craftsmanship, Franz. Were it not for your foul Jewish nature you would be a master at your trade. Leave now to work in the yard!’ He dismissed Franz, then walked to Deter. “Oh Deter, this is wonderful. Very nice camouflage paint on the sides. The Bolshevik hordes will never see us coming! Now, you may join Franz in the yard. Go now!’ Kerch may have been a psychopath, but even he could not ignore superior metal working. He then moved to me, and he changed. The whispers became louder. He looked at my helmet, a ding in the side, the swastika unfinished, and he looked filled with a calm, almost otherworldly anger. ‘Joshua, a truly Jewish name. You must have roots in Canaan, don’t you? You’re filthy, this work is shameful. You’re good for nothing, besides to stink up the ground like dirt and mud.’ Then his voice changed completely, ‘Look at me, child.’ I stared into his eyes, and I saw it, the Mark, the terrible Mark! It was hideous, drenched in ancient blood, ungodly and disgusting. I thought it of the devil at first, demonic and Hellish, but as I stared it took on a different quality altogether, something much more terrifying, basing its power in fear itself, rather than torment. I could see the terror on my own face, then I was out of my own body, and I found myself in front of a room, not like any other I had seen. The Mark was all over the walls, and a light shone in the middle of the room. I went towards it, unable to control myself, and when I nearly came upon it, the light disappeared. In its place was Kerch, covered in blood and laughing hysterically. I had begun to weep when he stopped and called to me, he then whispered, but I could hear it as if he were right in my ear, ‘slave.’ I cried out, ‘No, no, no!’ I begged, pleaded, but Kerch only continued to laugh as he took out a combat knife, slit his own throat, and watched the blood drain out on the floor. I stood frozen in terror as the blood pooled and Kerch fell to the ground, then gaped as the blood on the floor started spinning, forming a whirlpool in the room. I prayed out loud to the Lord and begged for forgiveness, but then I started to see the scarlet whirlpool change, as if something was stirring inside, it begun to climb out, ever so slightly I noticed a form move from the puddle, then I blacked out. I woke up in my cot, soiled and sweating. The prisoners were cheering, and Franz came to me, told me Kerch was dead, had killed himself in his room. They found his body on the floor, he slit his own throat, but there was no blood anywhere.”

Legend has it the Mark itself was cast into the Mediterranean, and washed up somewhere in Africa. The myths were recognized by the US government as fear-inducing propaganda, and all traces of it were wiped from the archives. The reasoning behind this is shrouded in mystery, but the government continues today to deny its existence, and maintains tight internet censorship of the Mark. Most searches for it come up empty, but every once in a while something slips.

The power behind the Mark of Canus is unknown, we cannot imagine its true nature. What we do know, is how it can affect us. The Mark doesn’t need to be touched to affect someone, in many cases, merely seeing its likeness can cause it to grip you. Often times, the Mark finds you, as several have claimed to see the Mark clearly where others cannot. This signals its arrival into your mind, and you should be worried. The Mark existed before man’s impact on the world, it doesn’t need to be where people are. Some have claimed to see it etched in the woods, in deep parts where no one has been. One thing is for sure, if you see the Mark, you are not safe. Efforts have been made to secure the Mark, to contain it in order to protect humanity from its devastating evil. These attempts have all failed, as the Mark can control men, make them do crazy things. Most who see the Mark experience nightmares, hysteria, fever, hyper salivation, dehydration, sometimes blindness or paralysis, and always insanity. The Mark so far has not directly killed anyone, but almost all who see the Mark end up committing suicide, to escape the mind-numbing terror. Attempts to destroy the Mark have also failed, as it seems to be made of an unbreakable metal. People in exposure to the Mark have claimed to experience prophetic dreams or visions, images of the Mark as the creator and destroyer of humanity, and extreme love from the Mark, as it nurtures them. They claim the Mark is sentient, that it watched over everything, that it exists in the deepest oceans, the darkest forests, and in the confines of our minds. They claim the Mark is always there, even when we don’t perceive it, that it is fear, and whenever we are afraid the Mark is with us. The creepy part is that they can recite testimonies for events that they should not have known about, places they weren’t present. One cop was startled as an “odd-acting” perp once told him about his son’s birthday party as if he had been there, when the party happened in a private place over a decade ago. The Mark is all around us, thriving in fear and the unexplained. Some day you may just see it, even for a moment, then it will haunt you for the rest of your life, which may be shorter than you think. Is there something you can do? No, not so far, but you can only hope the Mark passes you by in silence, and you never have to hear that whisper in your ear, “slave.”

Credit To – Greg Padrick

Creepypasta

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