In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Fifty Eight
BY AL BRUNO III
Wednesday, November 27th 1996
“This is the book I was telling you about,” Hao said. She and Warren were alone in the dining room; the plates from their midnight supper had been set aside and they were bent over a thick old book.
“So what exactly are The Kiely Fragments?” Warren asked; when he had asked her to explain to him what a Castellan did he hadn't expected there to be homework. The book itself looked brand new but she told him it was almost a hundred years old.
How awesome can this book be if I’m the first person to read it in a century?
“He was a contemporary of Madame Blavatsky, partly a mystic and partly a celebrity,” Hao was straddling her chair, a distracted smirk on her face, “I think Jack knew her.”
“Madame Blavatsky... you have no idea who I am talking about do you?”
“The name sounds slightly familiar,” Warren leafed through the pages, paying more attention to the occasional illustration than he did to the prose. The artwork was a series of rough-looking ink sketches that depicted things Warren hoped would be explained in the accompanying text. One illustration was of a robed figure with a face that looked like a cow’s skull. Another showed what looked like a series of interlocking gears and pistons, shapes seemed to be moving along the cogs but Warren wasn’t sure if the shapes were small or if the machine was impossibly large. He flipped past that to see something that looked like a Stephen Spielberg style alien but with teeth. And what teeth!
All the better to eat you with my dear...
“Blavatsky...” Warren thought aloud, “I think Lovecraft mentioned her,”
“Ah ha!” Warren said, “Now you know how it feels, and I see a game of strip Trivial Pursuit in our future.”
She shrugged, “Sorry, the only boardgame here is chess.”
“Oh no thanks, I'd be naked in seconds.”
“I like the sound of that.”
Warren stood and started unbuttoning his shirt, “Your wish is my command.”
“Are you crazy? This is the dining room!” Hao looked like she didn’t know if she should blush or laugh. She ended up doing a little of both.
“So?” Warren thew his shirt over her head.
She pulled him back down int his chair, “And you're supposed to be paying attention.”
“Oh I am,” he kissed her mouth. Warren didn’t see what the big deal was, if Laurel House was a home for supernatural refugees then he was sure a lot of freaky stuff had gone on in this dining room. All he wanted was his chance for some.
“You’re supposed to-” Hao snatched one more kiss, “-to be paying attention to the book.”
“Read now, play later,” her expression became all business. She got up so she could light some more candles.
“Ok so this Kriely guy...”
“Thomas Kriely. He claimed that with the right combination of drugs you could experience other realities.”
Warren nodded, “They're called blacklight posters now.”
“He said that he traveled to a world that was was barren save for a beast in yellow robes and the beast told him secrets. When Kriely's mind returned to his body...”
“In other words, when he sobered up.”
She shook a finger at him, “...when his mind returned to his body he found he had filled an entire journal with ancient Aramaic. A language he didn't understand.”
“Then how did he know it was Aramaic?” Warren crossed his arms.
Hao put her hands on his bare shoulders and leaned over him, “Keep this up and you're going to get a spanking.”
“My day keeps getting better and better doesn't it?”
They both laughed at that, Warren pulled her down onto his lap. Hao had to keep swatting his wandering hands away as she spoke, “A lot of the writing in his journal was illegible...”
“Because he was baked when he wrote it.”
“No, because he wrote in blood.”
Warren blanched, “He wrote it in his is own blood?”
She raised an eyebrow, “Did I say it was his blood?”
She put the book into his good hand, “As you can imagine he died in a madhouse but the journal was passed around for years, a lot of people tried their hands at translating it and these fragments were the best they could come up with.”
Warren read from the page before him, “There are creatures that come from beyond reality. From beyond the realms of time and space. Beware them for their purposes are unfathomable.”
“Keep reading.” Hao stood up and stretched.
“May I ask why?”
“If you're going to be a part of this world...” she batted her eyes slyly, “and of my life then you should know more about it. The Monarchs aren't the only game in town. They're just ascendant.'
Man, she fucks like a dream and she uses ascendant in casual conversation... Warren thought, Could she get any more awesome?
Using his good and his ruined hand he turned the thick volume over so he could read the gold lettering on the spine; Broken Pantheon: A Socio-Archaeological Reexamination of the Kriely Fragments. “Ok I’ll read it, will there be a test later?”
“Oh I’m going to put you through your paces,” Hao gave him his shirt back and then with a mischievous smile began pulled her sweater over her head, “don’t you doubt that for a second my love.”