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 seven installments, check them out here, first:
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #1: Performance
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #2: Rescue
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #3: Countdown
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #4: Portal
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #5: Nyarlathotep‘
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #6: Sweet Dreams
- The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #7: The I in Team
Note: This installment contains several words that some might not consider appropriate for young readers.
The Nyarlathotep Event by Jonathan Wood: Case File #8 Interrogation
I never thought I’d say it, but once you get used to a dimension of fear and chaos, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Yes, it’s driven my partner, Clyde, insane, and yes, it does keep trying to kill me with more and more depraved horrors, but, well it could be worse.
Take the field of flying knives I have to traverse. Blades whirl, shearing life from plants, small rodents, the odd offensive-looking rock. But a little concentration on my part, and I manifest a titanium steel umbrella and, with Clyde balanced on my shoulder, I cross the place in relatively safety.
And when I reach a river of blood leeches—each creature a foot long, each with a spine-filled maw reaching for me—I just think hard and then I have wings. Clyde and I sail over them easy as blinking.
Seriously, I’m like the Green bloody Lantern in this reality. It’s awesome.
Really the only serious fly in the ointment is that if I don’t find its ruler, Nyarlathotep in the next fifteen minutes or so, all of regular reality is going to be permanently buggered. And I have no idea where I’m going.
Fortunately I’ve always been more of a beta male, so stopping to ask for directions isn’t a serious dilemma. If only I could stop people trying to kill me long enough to ask.
I finally strike gold in a castle that drips gore and is chock-full of tiny gremlin-like creatures armed with stilettos. An old-school suit of armor makes maneuvering difficult but renders their attempted stabbings utterly ineffective. After a few attempts I finally seize one around the midriff and heft it to eye height. It kicks and spits with its full eight inch frame. Really, if it wasn’t so full of bile it’d be quite adorable.
“I’m looking for Nyarlathotep,” I inform it.
It lunges for my eyes, hurling its blades at the grills in my armored mask. I flinch back and fling it away. Possibly a little too hard. It hits a wall and becomes an ugly stain.
I keep the next one further from my face.
“Which way to Nyarlathotep?”
It suggests some awful things I should do to my mother.
“I’m not a violent man,” I tell it, “but I can apparently crush you like an insect.”
More profanities follow. Small he may be. Easily intimidated he is not.
“Please?” I venture.
Further obscenities. And then my jaw starts to tremble, because all of this abuse is delivered by a voice so high it’s barely in human hearing range. And then I laugh. It doesn’t feel at all appropriate as chunks of viscera rain down the castle walls, but I’m starting to become immune to the shock horror aspects of this place.
As soon as the sound is out of me, the gremlin shrieks and does its best to claw its way out of my hand. I’m so shocked I stop laughing and stare at it. It recovers slowly. I chuckle. It slams its body backwards, wrestling an arm free to cover its ears.
“Nyarlathotep now, or I bust a gut all over you,” I tell it. Not the most threatening thing I’ve ever said, but it has the desired effect. The thing grimaces and screeches, and jabbers, and around me the walls of reality flex and then-
I stand (and Clyde whimpers) on a cliff overlooking a barren, dusty plain. Rising from the center, like red wax dripping toward the sky, is a many-spired citadel.
“Nyarlathotep,” the gremlin gibbers at me. “Nyarlathotep!” Looks like the sort of placean extradimensional avatar of fear and chaos would call home. I nod my thanks to the gremlin and then throw it over the edge of the cliff.
Seriously, the murderous bastard could have brought us a little closer.
Read the next installment, The Nyarlathotep Event: Case File #9: Citadel.