The Nyarlathotep Event by Jonathan Wood: Case File #7, The I in Team

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The excitement continues! Yes, 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 six installments, check them out here, first:

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


The Nyarlathotep Event by Jonathan Wood: Case File #7, The I in Team

Every time I fight unspeakable horrors from alternate realities, I am reminded of the value of teamwork. Say, for example, that I am forced into a dimension of fear and madness to act as the government-sponsored assassin of its avatar, Nyarlathotep, then back-up is about my favorite thing in the world.

So now, forced into a dimension of fear and madness and acting as the government-sponsored assassin of its avatar, Nyarlathotep, it’s really not an awesome time for my partner to lose his shit.

But Clyde Marcus Bradley, MI37 field agent, geek, cat-lover, and bloody wizard is lying on the ground whimpering, while I’m stuck with defending us from a reality gone awry.

Untethered nightmares come at me. Balls of blades, steely and sharp; beings of arms and bone, scratching, clawing; creeping insectile horrors; nuns with switchblades; rats the size of terriers; tentacular masses, sticky, viscous, and clutching. I scavenge weapons, improvise barriers. I duck blades, catch punches, wrestle limbs. I am beaten, blackened, bruised. I come up with something in my teeth. I am an animal. I am pissing terrified.

Space ripples and changes about us. Maybe we are traveling, some dream logic carrying us along like a current through rooms of living flesh, of bone, of chitin, rooms threatening to drown us, rooms I cannot bring myself to describe.

I can feel it slipping in behind my eyes. After-images of travesties that clamber into my brain and breed. I lose track of what is real in a place where everything is unreal. And I need to pull back. I need to get him good and grounded. But there is no ground. There is just Clyde, just me. Circling. Falling. Falling again.

I land. A plain. Some tundra. A dust cloud on the horizon. I pick myself up. And Clyde is still there, right next to me. And I know something big is coming. I just need to get to him, to get us both away. I start to run, but dream rules apply. My limbs do not obey me. Each step is a tottering nightmare of minimal increments.

And the cloud. The cloud is fast, is impossible in its speed. Closing. Closing. And in the dust I get an impression of hooves, of horns, of teeth.

“Clyde,” I yell. “Clyde!” I’m begging him. He has to help. I was never built to be the man alone.

Finally I am at his side, I slap him, shake him. His head lolls. His eyes roll. “Come back to me,” I whisper. The cloud comes closer.

He is not going to snap out of it. He is gone. I am alone.

I gather him up in my arms. I stagger. Another step of glacial slowness. The cloud’s thunder shakes this world.

And it would be so easy to slip away, to give in, to let the madness take me, to be consumed by this reality.

But there is a home, a place to get back to, friends and family. And Kurt Russell movie marathons. And bacon.

And screw this. Clyde and I are getting out of here with Nyarlathotep’s head on a bloody platter.

I turn. I face the cloud. It’s almost on me now. Massive. Thundering.

Just a cloud, I tell myself. Just dust and wind. I don’t know the rules of this place, but I know the rules of dreams. Of nightmares. And I pray that they apply.

The cloud breaks over me. Just dust. Just wind. It scours my cheeks. Hoofbeats crash around me. Just echoes. Just the boom of the wind.

And then peace. Then a breeze. I open my ways. The cloud has blown away. I still hold Clyde.

Reality slips. I stand in a corridor full of doors. I can hear scampering about and above me. And I know I can hear the rats in the walls.

I am still afraid. I would still favor flight over fight. But fight I will. Because I can face my fear. Because now, Nyarlathotep, you get bloody yours.

Read the next installment, The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #8: Interrogation.

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 http://www.cogsandneurons.com.

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