Estimated reading time — 14 minutes
“So long as man is protected by madness, he functions and flourishes.”
-Emile M. Cioran
Move it, now! I shouted as everyone reached the staircase, their ragged breathing and obvious exhaustion did nothing to stop the water that was flooding the lower levels of the building we had taken shelter in nor was it going to give any of us the rest our burning legs and thumping hearts ached for.
Being the thinnest and possibly the youngest of the group I charged my way up the stairs first as fast as I could while the others screamed looking down the hallway as we all ascended the salvation of our watery hell; the walls of the corridor were slapped violently by the water that was surging its way toward us.
Stair after stair the concrete walls were met with the echoes of severe clanging and thumping of exhausted hands meeting metal and the desperate panting of a small group of people trying to reach homeostasis on higher ground.
A few floors higher up I decided to look down the center of the railing, my eyes glaring wide at what my sight was met with I turned facing forward and continued the climb with haste.
It has to stop soon, it has to stop soon I repeated over and over again in my most urgent of thoughts, my legs burned and my rib cage ached, my ears throbbed from the screams of terror that seemed to follow us like a creeping stench up the staircase.
Suddenly something went wrong and one of the younger women fell flailing down the staircase right past me, she must have fallen two floors in a square pattern down the steps before she met the dense concrete wall with a loud thud.
I raced back down after her alone while the others made for the top; obviously no one was related to this girl. My very instincts themselves demanded I leave her for dead and worry about myself but I couldn’t ignore my sympathy for her pain or tears as I pounded down the stair way.
I grabbed her hand and yanked her as hard as I could “HURRY UP” I yelled impatiently, she looked up at me crying and it was then obvious she had broken her pelvis and twisted her ankle at an obscene angle. Being your average skinny nerd I wasn’t big or strong enough to carry her, so I tried to drag her by the hand I originally grabbed. She wailed in agony as I tugged her up stair by stair but after a few minutes it was no use, the water’s stalking presence closed in around us.
I refused to give up on this girl; I began to hear the splashes of the water around her feet every time I made progress elevating her higher but it just fueled my adrenaline more; without warning the mammoth jaws of a great white burst from the water! Its enormous mouth of red and hollow struck down on her torso with a nightmarish crunch, ravaging her back and forth. Until leaving only her top remains and a ‘clank’ to echo through the concrete tower as its giant head banged the staircase upon exit.
I screamed with every vocal cord present in my throat as I was splashed with blood and recoiled violently as the shark left her top half to sit lifelessly against the wall with a look of twisted horror on her face; she was still attached to my hand and as a consequence dangled and squirmed around like a rag doll until I finally shook her death grip free.
I ran up the staircase as fast as I could, my legs no longer burned as my terror driven body and mind realized they made the wrong choice going back for the girl, I was struck with the realization I had been left behind.
“Hey! HEY!” I called out terrified covered in blood and tears as I ascended the staircase faster than I had before. I was met in response by the loud flicking of a metal door opening and was greeted by the reassuring voice of an older man “we’re in here!” he yelled, his voice only sounded two floors up so I followed accordingly.
Upon entering the room I was met with the sight of a near empty office block, water coolers, desk cubicles and the faces of everyone that had accompanied me up the staircase moments before, including some fresh ones. There were twenty two of us now in total; about fifteen of us had made our way up the stairs.
“Look…” a man said pointing towards the window, still out of breath from before, I approached it with him, meeting five others that were already taking in the sight of shock I was about to witness.
As I stood in front of the window I was greeted by one hellish scene of an apocalypse. The sky was illuminated by a sinister orange, which seemed to set the clouds themselves on fire, the surrounding buildings were set ablaze and in crumbling ruins as if some asteroid had smashed into the very heart of the city itself. The heavens were full of strange looking monsters with wings that slithered in the sky like serpents, meeting helicopters in confrontation and coiling around them as if they were prey.
Down below the screams of terrified citizens and hail fire of desperate soldiers and police weapons could be heard ricocheting through the streets that were not yet flooded. Black and dark green crustaceous monsters ran through the streets and over cars like gorillas as man met monster for the first time and battle ensued. The parts of the city that were flooded contained an eerie silence as sharks of every kind dominated the streets they swam in, because it was ever clear that where they were, life was not. A haunting “splash, pop, splash” could even be heard through the thickness of the glass we looked through, as colossal tentacled limbs from unseen monsters bursted from the inside of buildings, exploding the bodies of the victims in their grasp, dropping their limbs into the waters below.
And there… in the very middle of Sydney’s darling harbor sat the very source of the invasion. A giant tear in the fabric of reality itself hovered over the pacific waters, illuminating the matter in and around it in a horrifying bright purple as water, sharks, monsters from the deep and other strange looking, things, spilled out of it. The sound of our city’s emergency horn rang through the streets in long drawn out whines, all hope was gone.
A couple of men and women beside me began to cry, I fell to my knees in shock, leaning my head and hands against the giant window. Why was this happening to us, it was only this morning I awoke in my hotel room ready to attend a supernova convention with my best friend. Now he and apparently everyone I know are dead.
We all just looked on as the world around us crumbled; the whining of the emergency horn was continuously being carried through the wind and stabbing our stomachs with dread and fear. As I knelt against the window with tears welling in my eyes someone behind us began to laugh. My focus shifted to the voice behind me and suddenly everyone started to scream.
I jumped to my feet without a moment’s notice at the screeches that rang through my ears. What sounded like paper crunching and tearing I turned to see what the commotion was. My entire line of sight was met with a third of the group stabbing everyone with knives! The laughter and screaming began to escalate; some reacted quickly and violently, defending others and themselves from the attackers. It wasn’t until a man’s throat was slit right in front of me, splashing blood onto my face that I reacted myself and bolted for the door.
I sprinted with urgency towards the door we had entered not moments before and slammed it open for everyone “RUN!” The men and women that were still alive exited the room as fast as they could while some of the bigger men punched their way out of being circled by these freaks and barged me out of the way as they escaped.
Everybody split once they were out of the room, “idiots! Stay together!” I heard another male voice boom behind me; I chose to follow him up the stairs as he made eye contact with me, not needing to explain what was expected of me. As we climbed the staircase once again we heard the metal door slam open from below as our attackers gave chase for their prey. I’m sure the tough guy I was following felt the noise assault his spine too and we both ran even faster.
We paced another five floors but hesitated going any higher as we heard the screeching and hissing of evil unknown things that were probably waiting for us at the top. “In here” the tough guy said, he opened the door going in first, we were once again met by an empty office block with paper and water coolers strewn about the floor.
The tough guy flicked off the office light and we could hear our pursuers footsteps ascending the staircase swiftly, suddenly the foot falls slowed down, it became apparent there was only one. They began trotting lazily up the concrete steps while whistling some random tune.
“It’s only one and they know we’re here…” the tough guy whispered, the footfalls were getting closer and closer “I’ll grab him, you grab the blade” he again whispered to me, I complied with a nod in response.
Closer and closer the steps came, we both stood against the wall waiting. Closer and closer the pursuer’s feet fell, until two adjacent shadows greeted the bottom light shining under the door. The whistling stopped, the door’s horizontal handle snapped and clacked as somewhere inside it metal met metal, creaking open slowly until the entrance way was illuminated by the long shadow of a man.
Our predator stepped inside, the silence was nerve racking, my heart thundered in my chest waiting for the fight to begin, he didn’t seem to see us with his peripheral vision and without any hesitation the tough guy charged at him knocking our stalker to the floor. They fumbled around in the dark briefly before I flicked the light switch on. The tough guy was immensely stronger and thicker, while our attacker was nothing more than a common office worker.
My defender had hold of our assailant’s wrist as they struggled and grunted while I started punching the man in the face as hard as I could. He seemed to be getting weak very quickly from both our efforts against him; as soon as I found the chance I wrestled the knife from his grasp, stabbing him repeatedly in the chest viciously. It felt strange, like cutting into a watermelon, the skin gave little resistance yet if I happened to puncture a boned area it gave the blade a swift little bounce, while with every strike warm blood splashed all three of us as the man screamed out for his life.
After no more than a minute or two of struggle our pursuer laid dead and the tough guy laid on the floor catching his breath while I looked down at the blade. It was a dagger of some sort, the hilt was long and covered in leather, while the next section of the weapon had a dirty green and rusted over crest of some squid looking thing with tentacles. The blade itself was nightmarishly twisted in a way that made it look like a snake, whatever this thing was, it was old.
I helped my savior to his feet, both of us catching our breath while he himself inspected the dagger, “you need it more than me, keep it” he said, our rest was cut short as we heard others approaching from below. I walked cautiously over to the stairway and peeked at what was below, I gasped in fright as I was met with the staring gaze of at least ten other people already looking up at me. There was one that stood out. He was wearing a dark purple, almost black robe that had a hood covering his hairline. His face was pale and covered in tiny black veins; he had glowing purple eyes that were just not human. He smiled at me with a filthy grin and I backed away from the railing, I looked at the tough guy and ran, he followed me with haste.
We pelted yet again up the agonizing flight of stairs while the maniacal laughter of these cultists echoed through what was now a concrete dungeon. Every floor we scaled we were able to hear their taunts; some doors of higher floors were already open as both of us ran past. Some had monsters flying around outside if there was a window, some had more cultists practicing with candles or sawing the limbs off of cadavers, others were just a black empty hell that made us run faster. We were accompanied by the screams of victims, laughter of maniacs and roars of unknown monsters which caused the lights to flicker above us, while the climb itself, carried us higher into our ascent of madness.
We finally reached the top exhausted but un-resisted. I practically kicked the door open and the pair of us were met with a sight that just made us both want to give up and die.
Right before us a storm raged outside the confines of our doorway and at least thirty people with sticks, brooms and other useless weapons were trying to fight off some gigantic ungodly thing with mutagenic claws, it had a mandible full of serrated teeth and a giant eye at the back of its mouth. Its body was black and un-proportionally thin compared to its head and hands that cleaved and maimed through its victims. There were body parts everywhere, people running around with no idea what to do; others were losing their minds cackling on the ground with insanity while a small minority decided to take their chances with the shark’s forty stories below.
I began to feel dizzy, everything moved in slow motion and my stomach churned like a rogue wave. This was it, it’s over, the top and bottom floors were feeding frenzies, the middle was occupied by madmen, we were fucked three ways instead of the usual two. The tough guy helping me from before pulled me outside as I looked back to see some strange candle light, dancing its way up through the flickering hallway.
Just as I turned forward to meet the black creature only yards away that awaited my demise it shifted its toying gaze away from its victims toward my new friend and I. It looked right at me, fixating on me with that strange eye at the back of its throat. Its silent focus was un-phased by the chaos of the smashing rain and gale winds that surrounded all of us, lowering its lethal extensions before it rose in its place. I raised my dagger with melancholy enthusiasm, ready to die.
It began walking forward towards me as my eyes scanned for a weak point on its oddly shaped body, I couldn’t see anything, and this thing’s skin was a type of dense exoskeleton, sort of like a lobster or crab, but smooth and black. When it got within a few feet of me, ignoring its mob of puny attackers it just stood there looking down at me. My new friend came out of nowhere and swung a fire axe into the side of its thorax, a loud ‘crunch’ was carried away by the winds. When he landed the failed blow he looked up at it expecting retaliation, it did nothing, just staring at me while others threw large rocks and debris at it.
“It will not harm you as long as you hold the dagger young one” an older and much matured voice rang through my ears as I turned around to see the doorway occupied by a group of wide eyed smiling people. Standing in the lead was the cloaked man I had seen down the stairwell earlier. He stood blending into the darkness of the archway with his hands outspread to his sides, smiling at me with his radiating purple eyes.
He stepped outside with his hands still outspread, “Nyth hrii hafh’drn!” he hissed viciously, making a demand in some unknown language as he approached the both of us. The creature stood upright in an instant and backed away from the three of us. The cultist hissed again “Ilyaa!” It moved back towards the edge of the building it had roosted on earlier.
The other cultists moved out of the doorway of the roof, surrounding ourselves and the other bystanders, backing our terrified mob into a circle as they stood around us. There were not just a handful of cultists now; there were at least thirty extra people that poured slowly out of the doorway. All of them in common office clothes, some of them police, others trade workers, but all each held the same dagger I did.
The leader that stood next to me and my friend turned around to give us another look; the face of evil itself smiled a wicked grin at us over his shoulder before turning back, unclicking something under his robe and holding a heavy looking tome over his head. He began chanting “Hrii hupadgh n’gha, vulgtlagln fm’latgh shugg!” The robed cultist preached again in his alien language, the crowd of followers cheered with vigor, while the victims in the circle cried in dismay. The followers all held their daggers up to the sky, they began to hum and glow a strange bright purple. I looked at my friend then down at my own dagger, it glowed as well.
The robed cultist turned around and paced forcefully past us, towards the towering black creature that waited out of time on its ledge of the roof. He stopped, standing before it. “Hafh’drn uln, hai” he hissed deeply at it. The creature again rose, turning around to face the sky in an eerily slow manner. It bent its claws over its serpent like chest facing down, before throwing its head back letting out a screeching roar that thundered throughout the rooftops and streets of Sydney. All fell silent for a few seconds, until other roars of the same kind bounced back through the city, I hadn’t taken notice before but every rooftop high or low each had one of these black creatures on it as I looked on. They all returned the same responsive roar that seemed to overpower the howling wind and emergency horn as the storm raged, creating a monstrous symphony for their attentive audience.
Almost as if it were act two of some play, the captors that encircled our mob all raised their glowing daggers cheering. The sky began to thunder… Lightning ripped across the fiery clouds and the invasive rift that sat above the harbor began to illuminate its purple essence, brighter than any day the sun had ever chose to. Everyone looked on as their attention was captured by the portals new activity.
Two giant, clawed hands grasped both sides of the floating portal from the inside, a loud crackling could be heard from the explosion of the lightning and thunder that roared through the sky, and then he came through. The divine beast first showed his octopus like head, a giant monstrosity of flailing tentacles that flapped about in every direction uncontrollably, possessed as if they each had a life of their own. Oh god those eyes, if ever there was a protective layer to the soul, the one which protected mine was pierced right to the core. He looked right through me, through everyone. An on look of malice and power dominated the courage of anyone that dared to meet his forward gaze.
Next his mighty body came, shoulder by shoulder he ripped through the fabric of our reality with power that a world united, could ever hope to fight back against. Throwing himself forward aggressively he slid from the rift into the sea, as if we all stood watching the world give birth to its end.
He rose from the depths slowly; water fell from his mountainous shoulders back to whence it came. The great one stood upright, allowing those worthy enough to have survived this long to admire his otherworldly torso. He stood looking over his new world. It was perfect, defences broken, hope stolen, the earth remade and the heavens on fire. The mighty one spread his enormous wings, casting a shadow that claimed ownership over us all.
He flew up high into the air, sending a shock wave in every direction as he flapped his powerful wings; many of the bystanders were knocked down including myself and the cultists. The dread god seemed to be looking everywhere at once, creating eye contact with all of his subjugates. He let out a gargantuan roar that dethroned any sense of power or fear that his summoners had previously filled the skies with; nature itself seemed to rage in response as the storm grew more chaotic by the second. Upon completion of his right to dominance he descended swiftly, smashing into the harbor bridge, obliterating it to pieces. Some from the mob which surrounded me began to cry, our world was ending. Australians gathered here each eve to usher in the New Year; little did we know that we’d ever usher in its end.
But the dread god was not yet done; his hind legs and forefeet stood proudly atop his predecessor’s broken monument. His eyes scanning the roof tops of each and every building, before throwing one of his massive claws into the air letting out a triumphant roar.
A giant luminescent orb matching the same color of the rift began to grow in his hand, before exploding in an endless series of beams firing in every direction. Each bright purple beam made contact with the chest of every human being in the city, including the cultists. When a beam hit my chest I felt nothing, like walking into a harmless laser. However I looked at my new friend, the tough guy that had protected me before and stood vigilantly at my side this whole time. He bent over putting his hand on my shoulder, giving me a look of pain and confusion before his heart exploded out of his chest, splashing blood and chunks of organs all over my face and torso.
Everyone that surrounded me and the robed cultist of the encircled mob fell to the same fate as four by four everyone hit the ground. Screams and terror rang through the air before falling silent as death himself seemed to float through the air paying the unlucky a visit.
The robed cultist threw his hands up into the air as I felt tears pour down my face in shock, he turned to me, grabbing my hand and looking at the dagger I held. “You spilled blood to be protected by blood, a fair trade” he said grinning wickedly at me, as he walked over the fallen like some unholy priest. While all the cultists rejoiced in the red mist, it was now apparent that everyone who held a dagger and had used it was safe from the magic of the giant creature.
The divine beast roared once again, this time his roar was met in response by the howls of other monsters and the cheering of cultists. The splashing and misting of blood in the air soon came to a halt, as the magic’s effect weeded out the unworthy efficiently. The divine beast turned the luminescent beams from firing and connecting in all directions to shooting in a straight line high into the clouds. The skies once more crackled and clashed, this time, turning the rain itself red.
“Kneel you fool!” The robed leader demanded of me, I fell to my knees beside him, and apparently beside my new brothers and sisters. The red rain fell between my fingers on the concrete as I could hear the unholy ones thundering voice off in the distance.
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn
All hail our new god Cthulhu…
Credit To – J.D Scythe