The Nyarlathotep Event by Jonathan Wood: Case File #6, Sweet Dreams


As you’ve likely noticed by now, 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 five delicious installments, check them out here:

Note: This installment contains several words that some might not consider appropriate for young readers.

The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File , Sweet Dreams

Christ Church College, Oxford England

Some days I really get the vastness of the universe. I’m tiny. It’s big. I don’t matter. I get it.

Then, some days, you save the world—you know, for example you close an interdimentsional portal infecting the world with madness, kill an avatar of fear called Nyarlathotep when armed only with a bit of two-by-four—and you think the world should really pay more attention.

But no. Instead, Oxford remains a twisted fun house version of itself and the populace remains howling at the moon.

Clyde—my spell-slinging partner in government-sponsored world saving—and I exchange a look. Clyde puts a finger to his ear.

“Tabby,” he says to our handler back at MI37, “any chance you know what’s going on?”

“Dimensional portal’s definitely closed,” Tabby says. “QED Nyarlathotep’s not as dead as he looks.

Twenty or so of Nyarlathotep’s cultists are scattered around us waiting for the concussion to kick in. Except one of them starts to laugh.

“You really thought just stabbing him would work?” He laughs harder.

And to be honest I rather had. But I don’t want to give the bastard the satisfaction of hearing me admit it.

“Oh pants,” says Clyde. “Great big bloomers. We can’t kill him outside of his home reality, can we?”

Wait… Now we realize this?

The cultist laughs harder still. “And you closed the portal.”

So we can’t even get him. Oh bugger and balls.

And then Clyde mutters a few words under his breath. And next to him time and space bend. Like a bubble rising through viscous liquid.

“Ta-dah.” He indicates the reborn portal.

The cultist stops laughing.

It should be a satisfying moment, except-

“Wait,” I say. “We seriously have to go into a dimension representing humanity’s collective fears and madness?”

“Well,” Clyde says, “the travel brochure mentioned something about beaches.”

I give him the finger because I’m not at my most eloquent in the face of certain death.

“Also,” Tabitha adds, “top him, get back, and close the thing in thirty minutes or less. Otherwise permanent world buggering. OK?”

Perfect. Just bloody perfect.

“Tick tock.”

I brace myself and step through.

Another time. Another place.

As it turns out, humanity is afraid of pretty weird stuff. At least that’s the only reason I can think of that a giant version of Snuggles the teddy bear is trying to kill me with a meat cleaver.

We’re in something that looks like an airport terminal. Stepping through the portal put me six feet above the floor. With a feeling like slipping out of jello, I fell to the floor. And there was Snuggles. Six feet tall, eye buttons dangling on threadbare strings, a cleaver the size of my chest balanced in one hand.

“Passport!” he giggles and takes another swing at my head. I duck. He buries the blade into a cement pillar. He tugs it free with an adorable chuckle. A stitch bursts in his arm at the effort. Stuffing spills loose.

This is typically the point at which I cower and wait for Clyde to sling a spell that makes him seem more like a walking missile launcher than most people you meet. Except, when I look over, Clyde is sitting with his hands over his eyes, screaming.

Seriously? This is Clyde’s personal hell? Really?

Snuggles takes another swipe at my head. I duck, roll, come up behind him. Snuggles wrestles the cleaver out the floor. Another stitch pops while he giggles madly.

And I am not particularly good at this whole fighting thing, but at times like this you do what you have to do.

I kick at his loose arm. More stuffing spills. I kick again.

Snuggles looks back at me, his cotton line drawn up in a smile. “Playtime is over,” he says as sweetly as can be. He heaves on the cleaver. I kick one last time.

Another stitch pops. Snuggles heaves. The whole joint gives way. He staggers back uttering things no beloved children’s character should ever say, still laughing between the curses.

At this point, opportunity and the cleaver are the same thing so I grab them both. I stagger under the massive weight. Snuggles’ detached arm still clings to the cleaver. I swing madly, spin round and round.

And then the blade buries itself in Snuggles’ gut, and he chuckles one last time and lies still.

I stand up sweating hard. And now would be a great time for me to snap Clyde out of it. Because I can see the Care Bears coming and they have machine guns.

Read the next installment, The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #7: The I in Team.

Jonathan Wood is both a geek and a dad–two great flavors that go great together. He posts on twitter as @thexmedic and intermittently blogs at

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