We’re serializing author Jonathan Wood’s short, “The Nyarlathotep Event” here at GeekDad for the next two weeks, It’s set in the same world as his debut novel, No Hero, the Lovecraftian urban fantasy that dares to ask, what would Kurt Russell do? The first chapter of No Hero is available for free, and the novel is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other independent book stores.
If you missed the first three installments, check them out here:
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #1: Performance
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #2: Rescue
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #3: Countdown
Note: This installment contains several words that some might not consider appropriate for young readers.
The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #4, Portal
Oxford, England. Not a good day.
Some days, I think, I really need to ask for a transfer. You get told you’re going into a department called MI37, and you think, oh that sounds cloak-and-dagger exciting. They charge you with defending the realm from all things supernatural and tentacle-y, and you think, well that could be exciting.
Then you find you find yourself in the middle of Christ Church College facing a pack of yellow-robed cultists standing around a bubbling rip in reality.
“Not good,” I say to Clyde, my equally up-shit-creek partner.
The cultists are chanting, of course. Limited options on the daily duties for a cultist I imagine. Chant or sacrifice. And for all my bitching about my employer, at least working for MI37 isn’t tedious.
Take the portal for instance. If I don’t close it in the next three minutes, all of Oxford is going to be permanently infected by another reality constructed of humanity’s collective fears.
Likely a suicidal task, but not a boring one.
Unfortunately Clyde and I lack the appropriate color coordination, so cultists catch on to us pretty fast. Three break from the circle, pulling large knives.
I really wish I hadn’t dropped my gun earlier. But things tend to get distracting when an entire city goes insane. Still, this is where Clyde comes in. No need for a gun when the chap next to you can access interdimensional energies and sling them at bad guys like exploding basketballs.
“All yours,” I say.
“Actually,” Clyde looks apologetic as the cultists circle, “I’m sort of going to be busy with closing the portal. Rather need you to handle this.”
“What?” I turn to him, the cultists momentarily a secondary distraction. “Don’t we just take out the cultists and then…” My hands describe the portal collapsing
“Well, yes,” Clyde says. “They all have to stop chanting, but I still need to have the spell to collapse the portal going when that happens.”
“Whatever happened to teamwork,” I say. And step forward in order to have my arse handed to me.
The first cultists swings at me. I duck, grab a piece of shattered clocktower, use it to shatter most of his jaw.
That gives the other two a good time to sneak round behind me. One slices at me. I roll with it. My jacket takes the hit. The second cultist gets a good kick in. There’s a better range of movement allowed by ragged yellow robes that you’d think. I double over, wheezing.
They come at me from opposite directions, knives held high. I do the best I can and collapse.
Knives whistle over my head. I use the rubble to crush one cultist’s foot. He drops away howling. Meanwhile the other knife comes down and opens up my shoulder so I have some howling of my own to do.
I go at the guy angry then. Fighting is not exactly my forte. I resemble an off-balance ballerina pinwheeling across the Christ Church quad. Fortunately the cultist’s hectic chanting schedule hasn’t left him much time for self-defense classes. He swings the knife low. I stagger-step out of the way. My tie becomes noticeably shorter, the end fluttering away. The cultist becomes noticeably less conscious, my chunk of rubble colliding with his left ear.
And all that would be great if there were only three cultists. But three more separate from around the circle, which draws tighter.
I close fast. My shoulder connects with one before he gets his dagger free. I step into him, whirling wide with the rubble. A second cultist comes in low and hard, head slamming into my stomach, knife nicking my thigh. I bring my knee up into his nose. He drops away. The other grabs me from behind. The knife comes up. I slam my head backwards. His nose crunches. He drops me. I spin, the rubble held tight in my fist. More of his face crunches.
The guy on the floor is thinking about getting up. Me and my rubble encourage him not to.
Three more cultists, but the circle is tight now and I’m close.
I break into a run, slam past one, spinning round but still moving. One goes to trip me, I hurdle desperately, mis-step, sprawl, roll.
I connect with the legs of a cultist in the circle. He trips, crashes forwards. Forward into the portal.
An ugly ripping sound. Then the cultists are down one member. The chanting falters. The cultists stare in a tiny moment of shocked silence.
Except… Not quite silence. Clyde chanting his spell.
With a sound like a wet fart, the portal collapses in on itself.
Strike one for the good guys.
Now if only I hadn’t just given twenty angry cultists nothing to do but use me like a piñata…
Read the next installment, The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #5: Nyarlathotep.