All Right, Who Started the Apocalypse?

Copyright 2007 by Frank Mitchell

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Kyzrath scuttled timidly into the chamber. THEY would commend it, surely THEY would commend it, but Kyzrath had survived uncounted centuries in the shadows while mortals had ruled the Earth, and THEY were far more terrible. Far more terrible.

(The last pair of true eyes were being plucked out of a screaming woman's skull at the same time this meeting occurred. If there had been a pair of eyes observing this chamber, they would have noted that Kyzrath might have passed for a human, except that its knees bent in the wrong direction; the shabby clothes and shapeless broad-brimmed hat that it yet wore hung at odd angles, and the glowing yellow eyes, all three, swivelled in peculiar ways.)

"Masters?" Kyzrath called, timidly, in the speech of Srath. (If the last human ears had not been chewed off some minutes ago, they might have thought Kyzrath whispered eldrich secrets, forbidden to mankind. In fact, the speech of Srath, in principle, differed little from the speech that humankind had once uttered. Noam Chomsky would have felt vindicated, if his deep structures were still intact.)

"Masters? Thou hast summoned me into Thy dread presence?" Kyzrath inwardly wondered if Sargan the Trickster had made one last jape.

KYZRATH, IS IT NOT? boomed a voice that shook Kyzrath to his very cartillage. Where the chamber had seemed empty before, it was now filled with three dread entities. Three of THEM.

The first, who had spoken, appeared on Kyzrath's left as a mountain of rotting ichthyoid flesh, a bloated parody of the mortals' now dismembered form; tentacles wreathed Its head, and Its obsidian eyes, vast and cool and unsympathetic, bore into Kyzrath's very soul. The second, on Kyzrath's left, was of a shape -- every shape, no shape -- that would have driven a mortal mad, angles and curves alien to this space-time continuum. In the center sat the most familiar and most threatening, an ebon humanoid the approximate shape and size of the statues which towered over what was once called Egypt in antiquity; despite its stillness, the figures eyes blazed with the mad, unquenchable light of the greater Power of which it was a mere emissary.

It was the last who spoke, in cool, almost friendly tones, also in the speech of Srath. "Kyzrath, lurker in the dark, eater of filth, thing of the Outer Wastes. One of the least of our Servitors. Yet you are responsible for releasing us from the Spaces Between. Is this not so?"

Kyzrath alnmost hopped in his glee. At last, at last! "Yes, Great and Terrible Masters! It was I, Kyzrath, who called the Children of the Eidolon together when the stars were right! I, Kyzrath, who gave them the Nameless Litany! I, Kyzrath, who when the mortals failed plunged the Silver Knife into -"

"Yes, yes," the Dark Man sighed. The Three conversed, not in the limited speech of Srath but in modes that Kyzrath could only dimly perceive. At last, the Dark Man spoke again, "Calling us all forth is quite an achievement. Of a sort."

YOU HAVE BROKEN THE ARRANGEMENT, YOUNGLING, the Great One rumbled.

"Master?" Kyzrath ducked its head, reflexively.

"Did you ever wonder why creatures of our power slumbered countless aeons? Why some of us waited in the Spaces Between? Why we did not open the Gates of Madness ourselves?"

this earth was the last planet in the last galaxy in the last multiversal plane to host sapient life, piped the Keeper of the Gate, shifting its angles in a disquieting way. at this moment only one untainted sapient is still alive. at this moment yzmarzuk the burrower devours her entrails. at this moment her mind screams in the depths of insanity although her physical apparatus can make no sound. at this moment her circulatory organ has burst. at this moment her terror peaks. at this moment her mind has become blank. at this moment the last of her life functions have ceased. at this moment the many mouths of yzmarzuk divide her meat among them.

There was a collective ... emptiness in the room, almost like a sigh. "That's it, then," the Dark Man sighed. "Now it's over."

"Masters, Kyzrath does not understand. Kyzrath serves the Masters --"

WHILE WE SLEPT, WE COULD FEED SLOWLY. WE COULD DEVOUR THE FLESH OF A FEW, SAVOR THEIR TORMENT AND THEIR MADNESS, LET THE REMAINING PREY BREED. NOW WE AWAKEN, AND EVEN THE SIX MILLION SAPIENTS WERE NOT ENOUGH. NOT FOR ALL OF US.

"If you had merely stopped at awakening one or two of us ... say, those of us in this room ... we could have ruled for a little while, gotten a snack, and then contrived for some hero to 'banish' us once more." The Dark Man's serene face twisted into something Kyzrath could not stand to look at. "But you awakened EVERYONE! EVERYONE, you stupid creature! ALL the mindless lurkers in the Furthest Dark! All the brainless devourers! All the Eaters of Souls and Renders of Flesh! All at the SAME TIME!"

Kyzrath quivered, meeping in fear.

The Dark Man's features became placid again, although His eyes still burned. "Every other species is gone. Yigg is a radioactive rock, Skandra has only sand and dholes. We drained Yuggoth centuries ago. As we speak the One of which I am but an emissary is devouring the stars. I mean, we are all here, so we need none of them to align anymore. There is nothing left now."

Kyzrath at last found its voice. "B-b-but Masters! I seek only to serve my Masters ..."

you will serve us again, piped the Keeper of the Gate.

INDEED YOU WILL, rumbled the Great One.

"Yes, we have found a new source of food, at least for a little while."

A tentacle-tip encircled Kyzrath's left leg, an indescribable thing grasped his right. A giant hand that absorbed all light grasped Kyzrath's right arm daintily between thumb and forefinger. Together they pulled.

As Kyzrath flailed and screamed on the basalt floor, all three Presences gnawed on foul, stringy, corrupt flesh. All three tried, and failed, to enjoy the pitiful creature's short descent into an imperceptably different madness.

Nevertheless, a Thing has to eat, and all three reached for another morsel.