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Title: A Blinking Light up on the Mountains of Madness
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale/Cthulhu Mythos
Author: tikistitch
Rating: M
Characters/Pairings: Cecil/Carlos, Telly the Barber, John Peters (you know, the farmer), the City Council, Big Rico, Intern Dana, various characters from Lovecraft
Warnings: AU. Cursing
Word Count: ~30,000
Summary: 1930s-era AU (yes, really). Carlos, an impoverished graduate student attending Miskatonic University, joins an expedition to the Antarctic. But the explorers get more than they bargained for when they stumble upon a weird lost civilization.
Notes: At the end.





Cecil had never flown in an aeroplane before..

On any other occasion, this would have been cause for some celebration. As it turned out, Cecil was the world's best passenger, sitting eagerly in the copilot's seat, asking a raft of intelligent questions, seeming overjoyed just to be up in the air.

Carlos felt a little guilty as his replies were often limited to short, clipped sentences. He wasn't in the best of moods. Although he had made several attempts at wireless contact after the frantic call from Atwood, he had been unable to raise anyone at the Erebus camp.

“So, you've been to Tundra Bluffs?” he finally asked.

“We go regularly for rugby matches.”

“It's dangerous over there, but you got for sports?”

“It's my home team! It's important. Though they cheat.” Cecil narrowed his eyes. Carlos had already learned that the radio host's genial disposition could change in a flash either over mention of Tundra Bluffs, or some man named Steve Carlsberg.

Despite his dark mood, Carlos chuckled. They were nearing the end of the mountain pass. The sun had already faded. “But you've been on this side of the pass before?”

Cecil became contemplative. “When I was younger, I traveled. I journeyed all over the world, and had many adventures. But I have responsibilities now.”

“I'd like to hear about that some time.” The plane emerged from the pass into a stark, wind-swept environment. Carlos immediately banked the aeroplane towards the camp. He was concerned that he hadn't been able to bring along any weaponry, not that it would have done much good against the Old Ones. But Dyer had tossed away his pistol, and evidently firearms were unknown in Night Valhal-La, so he had been unable to arm himself to his satisfaction. All in all, he would have felt better if he had been carrying his father's shotgun, although he had thought to bring along a bagged lunch from Big Rico after seeing its effect on the Shoggoth.

He made a low pass over the camp. There was no movement; not a hint of human habitation. They circled around and flew low once again. It was obvious that the area was in some disarray. And then Cecil quietly pointed downwards, and Carlos felt a chill.

“Stay close to me,” said Carlos after he had landed the plane. He rummaged around in the back and picked up a crowbar.

Cecil sat back in his seat, his eyes going a little out of focus. “They've gone,” he said.

“What?”

Cecil shook his head, blond bangs falling into his eyes. “The Old Ones. They're not here any more. At least, not any living ones.”

Carlos nodded grimly, but grabbed the crowbar anyway. It's weight in his hand gave him some measure of security. The wind had stilled, and the area was silent, blanketed by a dusting of newfallen snow. They made their way to the place Cecil had spotted from the air, near where the party had broken through into the cavern containing the bodies of the Old Ones. Carlos looked out over the red-stained snow, disbelieving what he saw. His mind was not prepared for the horror that lay strewn there around the cavern opening.

“We should- We should give them a decent burial, I guess,” he finally managed to whisper. “After we have a look around.”

“This doesn't seem like them,” said Cecil. “Shoggoths will attack when they are provoked, but the Old Ones are different. Usually they leave us alone.”

Carlos gulped. “I wonder what set them off?”

“Digging up a grave may have done it,” said Cecil. “But I don't know. They get touchy about the strangest things sometimes.” He walked among the bodies, staring intently. “Is this everyone? Can you tell?”

Carlos forced himself to focus on the hideously mangled corpses for a time. He felt ill. “N-no. I don't see Lake, for one. He was the head of the Erebus camp expedition. Nor Atwood.” He looked at Cecil. “Do you think some of them may have survived?”

Cecil didn't reply, but pointed to the snow. The weird five-sided tracks were there, heading off towards the camp. Carlos nodded and, holding his crowbar, followed the tracks. The trail led to one of the biggest tents. “This was Lake's laboratory.” He frowned at Cecil. Something smelled bad inside. Gripping the crowbar, he opened the flap and slipped inside. His eyes slowly adjusted. He sucked in a breath.

There were two bodies in here, if you could call them that. One was, or had been, an Old One. It had been eviscerated, cut into pieces. “I suppose,” Carlos said softly, “Lake finally got the drill working.”

On the other table....

Well, it had once been Lake.

He felt Cecil's hand on his forearm, tugging him out of the room. He brushed the tears from his eyes, and allowed Cecil to lead him back outside.

Cecil pulled Carlos's jacket tighter around his shoulders. Cecil apparently didn't possess a heavy coat of his own, so Carlos had insisted he borrow one, even though Carlos had few possessions here. The fur trim enveloped his head, so Carlos could only really see his eyes peeking out. “Your friend dissected one of them, so they dissected him. I think they would consider this a fair turnabout.”

“One more stop,” whispered Carlos, though he found it hard to choke out the words. He and Cecil walked towards the radio tent. They found Atwood there, or at least what was left of him, though he was in better shape than Lake. Carlos was given proof that firearms did no good against Old Ones, at least if the twisted hunk of metal that used to be Lake's pistol was any indication.

He sat down at the wireless radio. “Erebus camp to base. Erebus camp to base. Over.”

“This is base!” came a voice. “Well, fook me for a joke! Carlos!”

“Pabodie!” said Carlos, cheered to hear his friend. “It's so good to hear your voice. Over.”

“We got a frantic call from Atwood. Then when we didn't hear from them, we feared the worst.”

Carlos began to speak, but then found he had no voice. He sat for a moment, sobbing quietly.

Cecil, gripping Carlos's shoulder, slid the microphone close to himself. “My name is Cecil.”

“Cecil? The real one?”

“Yes, I'm quite real. Though I am grieved to report that evidently, none of the personnel at this camp have survived.”

There was a long pause at the other end. Finally, a single word, “Damn.”

“I have some good news for you too, Mr. Pabodie. We have located your Mr. Gedney. He is safe from harm.”

“Carlos! Is this true?”

“Yes,” Carlos managed to choke out. “Yes, we've found him.”

“Well, how is he? Tell me, lad!”

Cecil and Carlos exchanged a glance. “He was flustered by his adventures,” said Cecil. “But I believe he will make a quick recovery. One of our station’s best employees is looking after him.”

“Can you get him to us?” asked Pabodie.

“Evacuate him?” asked Carlos.

“We've got a ride out, lad,” said Pabodie. “We've contacted an icebreaker. Some Russkies. They'll be here within the week.”

“You're leaving?” asked Carlos.

“We're leaving boy. You need to get out. And bring your friends. There's bad things afoot. Remember the Germans, the ones that brought us here on the airship? They're coming back, and they're bringing lots of company.”

“An invasion?”

“Yes. Word from our Russian friends is they want your city, Cecil.”

“They cannot have Night Valhal-La,” said Cecil. And once again, Carlos felt the room darken as his friend's anger rose.

“Don't worry. We won't let them,” Carlos told him, although he had no idea what they were going to do. “Frank, what the hell would they want with Night Valhal-La?”

“Who knows? The Fuehrer is a madman! He’s just taken Poland, and word is he’s eyeing the rest of Europe, and Africa as well.”

“Africa?”

“Africa, the Orient! He wants the world. Why not the Antarctic regions too?”

“Adolf Hitler is a stroppy little punk with a ghastly mustache,” grumbled Cecil.

Carlos pulled the microphone nearer to him. “Frank, we’ll come back with Gedney. Oh, and I’ll talk to Danforth and Dyer, see if they’ll come as well!”

“Danforth and Dyer escaped? Well, that’s good news. So they must have come after you I’ll take it? I'd been worried sick, you know. Though I kept up with your adventures on Cecil's show.”

“Yes, it’s a long story. But we need to get back before dark, and…. We need to properly dispose of the remains here. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Seems we can’t contact you directly, but if you have news, tell your friend, Cecil. I listen every night!”

“It’s always rewarding to meet a fan,” said Cecil, who was beaming.

Carlos headed first for the tent that contained their cache of equipment, sorting through for anything that could possibly be used as a weapon. Cecil was perfectly happy to assist him, although he remained skeptical that any of it would do much good. After they had an assortment of guns and ammunition, plus what they could salvage of the party's journals all loaded on the plane, they turned to more grim matters.

Since the ground was frozen solid, they decided to inter the bodies of Carlos’s fallen comrades in the cavern that had contained the Old Ones, sealing it up when they were done. Carlos marked the area carefully, in case their loved ones should want to disinter the remains at a future time.

As for the remains of the partially dissected Old One, he let it be. As it was inside the tent it had been protected from sunlight and so had reverted to the frozen form they had found.

“Um, I suppose we should say something,” said Carlos as he finished packing snow over the cavern entrance. He had never been terribly religious, so was at a loss.

“These were scientists,” said Cecil. “And they were glorious. They gave their lives to bring order to the chaos, and now have returned to the great void. Did they have an eternal soul, and will that essence live on? I cannot say. But we will celebrate them in Night Valhal-La, for a life well-lived is never wasted. And so may they inspire a show-stopping new song and dance routine from our City Council as our citizens weep and rend their garments, humming along and always remembering as they tap their feet in unison, that it's probably not a great idea digging up an Old One as they’re really grumpy old shits in the morning. Goodbye, Erebus camp. May the deities of your choosing comfort your families back home.”

“But what shall I eat now?” wailed Pym.

Carlos, who had been carrying a shotgun on his person, already had it up and aimed. The journalist had crept up to the grave site so silently he had taken both Cecil and Carlos unawares.

“Good God, Pym! You scared the daylights out of us!” said Carlos, letting the shotgun’s barrel drop.

“Is this one of your scientists?” asked Cecil.

“No, he’s Dyer’s pet journalist. Pym, you haven’t been cannibalizing the corpses, have you? The pantry is still stocked, we just left there.”

“But Atwood had such appealing tenderloin,” moped Pym. “It was a matter of survival!” he added.

“He subsists on human flesh?” asked Cecil, who oddly enough, did not seem much put off by Pym’s peculiar dining habits.

“Apparently,” said Carlos.

“Well, we’ll have to take you back to Night Valhal-La,” Cecil told Pym, taking the man’s elbow. “We have a couple of City Council members who could stand to lose weight.”

Carlos sighed deeply and followed them to the plane.



“You're feeling better, then?”

Gedney grasped the cup of hot chocolate handed him. His hand shook a little bit, but then he relaxed, and took a sip. Dana, who was sitting on the chair arm beside him, patted his back. 'Yeah, a little groggy. But I think I'm all right.” He put his hand up to his nose and took a sniff. “I still smell a little like herring though.”

Dana snorted.

Carlos nodded, greatly relieved. They were all relaxing in what Carlos guessed could be called a sitting room in Cecil's enormous house. Gedney was still looking a little peaked, but seemed immeasurably improved from when Carlos had seen him before. Cecil offered up a plate of little cookies. Gedney waved him off, but Dana snatched one, as did Carlos. Cecil was quite apparently having a wonderful time bustling around playing the perfect host.

“Do you remember anything?” Carlos asked as Cecil set down the silver tray and curled up on the couch beside him.

Gedney gripped his mug tightly. “There was a lot of confusion, chaos, people yelling. Danforth swore he saw something – something big. I thought he was seeing things. He'd gotten a bit twitchy, especially since they'd pulled those … things out of the cavern. But then I saw it too! I was bringing up the rear, and it spooked my dogs. I fell off my sledge, and they ran away, and I couldn't catch up. Then I'm in the middle of a storm, alone, no idea which was to go. I must have gotten turned around. I walked until I couldn't any more, and then I lay down. I figured I was done for. But then I remember waking up some place warm, and I felt safe. And … it was kind of nice.” Gedney’s forehead creased into a frown. “Other than the raw fish, I mean.”

“The Elementary Penguins are reputed to be excellent parents!” said Cecil brightly. “More cookies?”

“Wouldn’t mind something stronger than hot chocolate,” sighed Gedney. Cecil fluttered off the couch and returned with a crystal decanter containing a smoky, amber liquid. He poured a dab into Gedney’s cocoa. Gedney took a sip, choked violently, and then waved a thumbs up.

Dana and Carlos immediately held out their cups of cocoa to Cecil.

“So, you want to go with Pabodie and the Russians, Gedney?”

“Yes, we’re going,” said Dana decisively, as Gedney was still clutching his throat.

“We?” asked Cecil, who suddenly sat forward, head in his hands, batting his eyes.

“Uh, if it’s all right with you, Cecil?” Dana backtracked. “I mean, like I told you, I wanna travel, like you did, and see the world.”

“And…?” Cecil prompted.

Dana and Gedney suddenly shared a sheepish glance.

“Ah, young love!” sighed Cecil. “How could I possibly stand in the way? Especially when I myself have recently found love.” And here he clasped Carlos’s hand and stared at the scientist with complete adoration.

“What?” sputtered Gedney.

“I knew it!” laughed Dana. “All that ranting about his hair.”

“He has lovely hair,” said Cecil.

Carlos felt his face grow hot. “Um, yes, Gedney. I had meant to tell you. And….” He gripped Cecil’s hand. “I’ve decided I’m going to remain here.”

Cecil beamed like he was going to explode with pure happiness. Carlos couldn’t help smiling.

“Is your grandma gonna be OK?” Gedney wondered.

Carlos sighed. “I hope so. You’ll look in on her?” Gedney nodded. “I am concerned about my family back home. But we need to do what needs to be done right here!”

“What exactly are you planning to do, Carlos?” asked Dana.

“We’re all done for,” said Pym. Carlos heaved a sigh as they all looked over to the morbid little man perched on the divan, where they had forgotten all about him. Carlos would have liked to forget all about him permanently. “And then we’ll have to select who shall be sacrificed!” Pym continued, eyeing Carlos’s haunches.

“Wouldn’t you rather have a cookie?” asked Cecil, holding out the silver platter. Pym formed his features into a moue, but nevertheless leaned forward and snatched a macaroon.

“Well, there’s a City Council meeting today.” Carlos put up his hands as both Dana and Cecil began to chuckle. “All right, all right. But I need to at least try.”

“Have you figured out how to phrase your request in the form of a show tune?” giggled Dana.

Cecil looked at Carlos, stars in his eyes. “Dana, you’re brilliant!” he declared.



“I’m not sure about this Cecil.”

Cecil was sitting next to Carlos in the auditorium, waving cheerily as various friends and fans arrived. Gedney was next to them, holding a phonograph on his lap. “This will be a showstopper. Don’t worry your pretty head!”

Carlos self-consciously passed a hand through his hair. It was getting a little long. He half-wished he had let Telly cut it the other day, although he knew it would have driven Cecil to a homicidal rage. Carlos wasn’t the kind of fellow who gave a lot of thought to his looks, but Cecil treated him like some kind matinee idol, and the townspeople here followed suit.

And then the lights lowered, some music played, and an array of robed figures bustled onto the stage. “Any new business?” the City Councilman asked, his gavel poised.

“Yes, I have some new business!” said Carlos. And then before he could be interrupted, he pressed on. “I have some information. This city is going to come under attack by a group of evil men.” The citizens in the audience started to murmur with concern.

“Evil, schmeevil,” said the head of the City Council.

“What does that even mean?” asked Carlos.

“Are any of these evil men over aged sixty-five?” asked one of the Council members. “Because then it would be old business!”

“These men have been storming through Europe, like a Shoggoth!” Carlos declared. The murmuring in the audience grew louder.

“I'm about to bang my gavel at you, Carlos,” the Councilman warned. “You're out of order!”

“You're a troublemaker!” yelled another City Councilperson.

Carlos turned and addressed the audience. “But this is serious! This could end your way of life.”

“I’m warning you, Carlos,” said the head of the City Council just as the lights dimmed and music started.

“At words political, we are critical
That we need to state
Instead of your constant hate
Of our fine estate
You go on complaining and shaming
How ineffective we are
But if our ditty is petty
At least we’ll warn you
How annoying you are….”

The rest of the council stood up and gathered around for a high kick number.

You should stop
You should really quit it
You should stop
Do we need to spit it?
Your constant mewling has got us brewing a pout

You’re a constant whiner
A big shoe shiner
You’re such a drag
And a crowd displeaser
You’re anchovies
Spread out on our pizza

You’re a total downer, a creepy frowner, a sop
Cause Carlos this interrupting’s gotta stop!”

There was a round of polite applause. The City Council paused, breathing hard.

Steeling himself, Carlos approached the stage and stepped up, nudging the City Councilman away from the microphone. He signaled to Gedney, who set up the phonograph. The needle scratched, and then background music began to play.

Hesitantly, Carlos began to sing.

“I’m here to tell the story of a voter
Much plagued by politicians of no note
You guys are pressing your luck
And too much passing the buck
Cause mainly you don’t give a heck
But then my thoughts turn to the primary race….”

Cecil leapt up on stage, to a hearty round of applause, and the two began to dance as Carlos sang.

“We don’t get to kick out a king
Hereditary rulers we’re stuck with for life
But you guys are elected, so it must be true
Then we’ll get to kick out all of you.

Some may think of Elder Gods
Those tentacled folks are here to stay
But I’m telling you guys, listen you’re not Cthulhu
So we’ll get to kick out all of you

We’ll get to kick out every one I see
You all singing four-part harmony
We’ll get to kick out every soul
And have you asses living on the dole

You never let me finish my speech
Democracy you all wanna breech
Wait ‘til my polling place is in view
Then we’ll get to kick
Yeah we’ll get to kick
Yeah we’ll get to kick out all of you!”

He finished by dipping Cecil, to a thunderous standing ovation, and a bit of whistling and cat-calling (though from Carlos’s point of view, that may have been a bit over the top.).



“Listeners, we’re being invaded by cruel men from another country. And it’s fabulous! Are you part of a neighborhood watch program? We have the most stunning helmets for you to wear, and Big Rico’s is sponsoring torches and pitchforks for your rioting convenience!”



“I’m still nervous about this, Cecil,” Carlos confessed when the show was over and he and Cecil stood outside in the parking lot in back of the station.

“You’re even more beautiful when you’re worried,” mooned Cecil, tipping Carlos’s head down so he could kiss him on the forehead.

Carlos bit his lip. “We could get out, you know. Along with Gedney and Dana and Pym. We could just leave here with Frank’s Russians.”

“Russians are lovely people in general, but they do tend to spit on the sidewalk. And they have the annoying habit of threatening people with sharp objects.”

“Is that a no?” Carlos leaned back against Cecil’s jalopy, and Cecil cooperatively snuggled into him.

“As I’ve said, this is my home. And yours.”

“Cecil, can I ask you a question?”

“Anything, my dear,” said Cecil, his eyes bright.

Carlos patted the fender. “Why is it you have the only car in Night Valhal-La, and how the heck have you been getting gas for it.”

Cecil pulled back. “That is a very interesting story!” he declared. “You see-“

But just then, there came the roar of an aeroplane engine, flying low over the city. Carlos grabbed Cecil and threw him to the ground, covering him with his body.

“What is it? Are they here?” asked Cecil. “I’m not really dressed for an invasion: do you think I have time to change?”

Carlos sat up, scanning the sky. “That’s not the Germans, it's our transport plane. Danforth and Dyer! They're back!” He leapt to his feet, holding out a hand to help Cecil.

“That was terribly romantic, shielding me from anti-aircraft fire,” signed Cecil.

“Can you take me to the airfield?” asked Carlos.

“Hop in!” said Cecil, and they were off. Carlos had grown somewhat used to Cecil’s innovative driving style by now, but he was anxious about the well-being of his colleagues.

They drove clear of the city, and approached the flat area where Carlos’s light aircraft was parked. As they hopped out of Cecil’s car, the transport veered and dipped overhead, as if it were having trouble staying right in the air.

“He’s coming in too fast! He’ll never make it!” said Carlos as they stood and stared. The plane dipped, but then looked like it would abort. At the very last moment, it descended and came careening down the improvised runway as Carlos threw himself over Cecil.

The plane finally screeched to a halt just past the flat area, setting into some bushes at the end of the runway.

“Have I mentioned how stimulating I find it when you’re protective?” asked Cecil. Carlos pushed away, as they didn’t have time for such things right now, and ran down towards the plane. Cecil popped into the car and drove down nearer to the end of the field.

“Do you have a crowbar?” Carlos called. But to his surprise, the plane's door wrenched open, and Danforth stumbled out, falling into Carlos’s arms. Carlos pulled him clear of the wreckage, and then crawled through the doorway and into the plane. He emerged a moment later, looking frantic. He rushed over to where Cecil was tending to Danforth, laid out on the runway, looking deranged.

“Danforth, where’s Dyer? What happened to Dyer?”

Danforth blinked at Carlos as if he did not recognize him. “The black pit,” he muttered. “The black pit!”

“What?”

“The windowless solids with five dimensions,” said Danforth as his eyes stared somewhere in the far distance.

“Danforth!” shouted Carlos, shaking the man by the shoulders. “Where is Prof. Dyer?”

Danforth suddenly reached out and yanked Carlos by the collar, nearly strangling him. “The primal white jelly.”

Between Cecil and Carlos, they managed to loosen Danforth’s grip enough to pry him off Carlos. “What’s gotten into him?” Carlos asked Cecil, who was helping Danforth to his feet.

“Probably spotted one of the Proto-Shoggoths. Can make a man a little blinky for a time.”

“A Proto-Shoggoth?”

“Bound to happen, when you’re out poking elder gods with a stick,” sighed Cecil as they placed Danforth in the back seat of his car.

“I suppose we can ship him out with Pabodie,” said Carlos, settling into the car. “It’s too bad we can’t set the Old Ones against the Nazis,” he reflected.

“The mooooon ladder!” moaned Danforth from the back seat.

“The Old Ones have their ways,” said Cecil, turning over the engine. “I wouldn’t try to meddle with them. Well, unless you care to end up like our friend. Though he does seem livelier!”

“Yog-Sothoth!” mumbled Danforth.

“You might have better luck pinning those Germans between the Old Ones and the Shoggoths,” Cecil mused. “That would be colorful indeed!”

“The color of spaaaaace,” said Danforth.

“What did you say, Cecil?” asked Carlos.

“If you stuck the Germans between the Old Ones and-“ Cecil had to stop here, as Carlos had lunged over and kissed him. “Well,” said Cecil when the clench broke.

“Cecil, I love you!” said Carlos. “Let’s get into town.”

“The eyes in the darknessssss,” raved Danforth from the back seat.

“Yes,” said Cecil, who appeared a little stunned himself. “Yes, town.” He ground the car into gear, and they lurched forward.




As it turned out, parting with Pabodie was more difficult than Carlos had imagined.

He had gotten his passengers out to the base camp just in time. The Russian icebreaker was visible in the harbor. The ship, for its part, carried grim news: the German aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin, had been spotted steaming its way south, and should be in range within mere days.

Carlos had dropped off Gedney, Dana, and a still raving mad Danforth, as well as their baggage. As for Pym, nobody had any bloody idea where he was, so at the last minute, Cecil had taken his place in the jump seat. Carlos was glad of this, as Pabodie seemed overjoyed to meet his favorite radio host, just as Cecil was thrilled to meet a fan.

But then it came time for farewells, and a goodbye toast turned into two or three for the old Scotsman, who Carlos suspected had gotten a head start on them anyway. He hugged Carlos with all his might, and then repeated the gesture for Cecil, warning him to take care of his beloved student. Carlos, by that point, had turned into the best student ever in the history of mankind, at least in Pabodie’s mind.

Wiping a tear, Carlos taxied away and, dipping a wing in farewell, departed the base camp. But he and Cecil had one stop on the way back: they were going to land one more time at the ill-fated Erebus camp to pick up something.

“You’re mad, you know,” Cecil told him.

“As mad as Danforth?”

“He’s perfectly sane.”

“How is that?”

“It takes a sane person to lose his senses at the Shoggoths.”

Carlos nodded.



“And now, listeners, a very special message for our guests! Here is Night Valhal-La's most beloved citizen, Carlos the scientist.”

“Thank you, Cecil. Treffen Sie mich auf dem Flugplatz. Ich habe ein besonderes Geschenk, Sie hier begrüßen zu dürfen. Ihr Führer wird sehr glücklich sein.“



“My poor, brave Carlos,” sobbed Cecil.

Carlos put a hand on his friend's shoulder. “We've talked about this Cecil. I need to go alone.”

“But the City Council wanted to sing them a welcoming song!”

“We don't want them to fear any threat,” said Carlos. He and Cecil finished hauling the bulging sack out of Cecil's trunk, depositing it on the airfield. “Now, this is going to start to reek any second. You need to get out of here.”

“Why not me instead of you?”

“Because I speak German, and you speak Modified Sumerian.”

“Curse my inadequate secondary education!” said Cecil. “Are you certain you gave them the right message? I thought you said you were rusty?”

Carlos looked around, uncertain. “I think so. I either invited them to the airfield, or asked them to snuggle with a llama.”

“Carlos!'

Carlos cupped Cecil's face and gave him a kiss. “Cecil, I'm going to be fine. I'm not suicidal! I want to get back to you. You … and that thing you were doing last night.”

Cecil smiled through tears. “You liked that?”

“Oh yeah,” said Carlos, rolling his eyes.

The noise of engines sounded overhead, and several airplanes now darkened the sky.

“They're here,” Carlos told Cecil. “Get back into town and make sure the preparations are in place. This is very important!”

Cecil nodded grimly and got back into his car. Blowing a kiss at Carlos, he drove off, and Carlos stood alone in the middle of the airfield, feeling like a complete chump. Though he was never going to tell Cecil this, it was a stupid plan, and between the Nazis and the Elder Gods, he would more than likely end up getting killed.

He just prayed he would somehow save the town in the process.

The enemy aeroplanes had started to land. Messerschmitts, unless Carlos missed his guess. They were lovely planes: too bad they were being used in the service of evil. Carlos has parked his own light aircraft far from the airfield, and they had towed the wrecked transport away as well. They didn't want to take any chances.

Carlos was the one taking chances right now. He held his hands up as the pilots approached him. “Guten Tag,” he told them, when they had drawn within hearing range.

“Heil Hitler,” said one that he took to be the leader: bright blue eyes and a strong jaw. The master race indeed. He cocked his head, and said in heavily accented but perfect English. “We are fans of your radio program.”

“Oh, thank you.” Carlos squinted at the man's insignias. “Leutnant, is it?”

The man nodded crisply. “You said you bear us a present?” He looked around, and there were sharp nods.

Carlos pointed to the bundle at his feet. He spoke slowly and clearly. “I have two gifts for you. This is the first one. It is the remains of an Elder God. I believe your leader will be pleased to hear of its existence.”

The lieutenant gestured at the package. Noting that he and the other pilots carried sidearms, although none of them were drawn, Carlos crouched down and, being careful to make only slow, deliberate gestures, unwrapped the package.

The horrible stink began to permeate the area as soon as he had opened the outer layer. Some men groaned, and a couple moved away. He finished unwrapping, throwing off the final flap with a small flourish.

The stench was unbelievable. Several of the pilots fell to their knees, and at least one began to vomit. Carlos stood, the lieutenant in charge still stood stock still, staring at Carlos. “This is a fair gift indeed.”

“It is an abomination!” shouted one of the men in German. “It is a foul thing. It should be burned.”

The lieutenant swiveled around, drawing his sidearm. He shot the man in the chest. The pilot crumpled to the ground. “Any other opinions?” he asked. His men, pale and sickened, shook their heads. “This is a great prize, and it shall be returned to our leader. Is that understood?”

He turned back to Carlos. “You said this is the first gift. What is the second?”

Carlos smiled. He heard it already, the soft call of “Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!” coming over the hills. The stench had attracted it, as he knew it would. Living or dead, they could not abide the Old Ones.

“That,” he said, pointing up the hill, “is a Shoggoth.”

The men, possibly sensing the danger, as one all turned towards the hill, and the black abomination now hurtling towards them like some freakish version of a steam train.

Carlos was already running in the opposite direction. He heard shots and screams as he leapt into the tunnel Cecil had shown him the day before. He did not let up running. Anywhere he went, Cecil had warned him, a Shoggoth could follow, and now that he had picked up the vile scent of the Old One, it would be on his tail.

He ran up a set of steps two and three at a time, and emerged in the ruins at the very outskirts of Night Valhal-La. Just as he ducked behind a crumbling wall he heard the shot behind him and felt some masonry break just over his shoulder. At least one of the pilots had escaped the Shoggoth and was giving chase. Madness!

Another shot fired. Keeping his head down, he ran up more stairs and crossed an overpass, praying that he kept his sense of direction in the maze-like city. He came to an open space and nearly ran into one of the massive, blind Elementary Penguins wandering obliviously nearby. It was one of their smaller nesting areas. He skidded to a halt, and started to go around the thing.

“Stop right there!”

Carlos froze. Slowly, he turned. It was the lieutenant, aiming the gun right at his heart.

“You knew,” said the lieutenant. “You knew what that monster would do!”

“It's still chasing us. Listen!” said Carlos. Far off in the distance, they could hear the call, “Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!” “You can shoot me, but the sound of your gun will only draw it here, and you'll be obliterated.”

“I'll take my chances,” said the lieutenant, aiming his pistol.

A gunshot rang out.

The lieutenant fell, shot right between the eyes.

Carlos gasped and turned. There were several Elementary penguins out here now, fluttering and agitated from the harsh noise.

“Pym,” said Carlos.

“All is lost,” said Pym, waving the gun. “We will have to draw straws.”

“Pym, you madman! The Shoggoth is coming! We have to get out of here.”

Some of the penguins had taken up the Shoggoth's call now, “Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!”

“I have no choice,” said Pym, now aiming the gun at Carlos and the blind penguins began to swarm around. “Your haunch will provide me with what I need.”

“Pym you idiot, you can't eat me!”

“Why not!”

“Because … because I'm a vegetarian! It's my religion.” And then, as if to prove it, Carlos hopped up and down, and sang, “Hare Krisna! Hare Krisna! Krisna Krisna, Hare Hare!”

Several of the Elementary penguins, hearing the rhythmic chant, began to echo it. “Hare Krisna! Hare Krisna!” The one closest to Pym called out, “Hare Krisna! Hare Krisna!” and kicked the little man over with a massive webbed foot. The gun flew from his hand and went skidding away.

The call of “Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!” was growing ever louder. Carlos rushed out of the nesting area, ran along an overpass, and hurried down a set of stairs, falling to his knees at the bottom, panting.

A pale hand was extended towards him.

“Come with me if you want to live,” said Cecil.

Grinning gratefully, Carlos grasped Cecil's hand and ran for his car. “The Shoggoth is coming!” he warned. The call of “Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!” echoed behind them.

“There's nothing that can outrun me and my flivver. Get in!”

Carlos leapt into Cecil's car, and with a couple of backfires, they were off, driving as only Cecil could drive. As the Shoggoth's cries grew louder and louder, they zoomed along overpasses, through tunnels, around blind corners, and one at least two occasions, down stone staircases. Carlos didn't see Cecil used the brake even once as he spurred his jalopy ever onwards, only a few meters, it seemed now, from the oncoming Shoggoth.

And then they came to a clearing, just on the outskirts of the main part of the city. There were several townspeople there, all wearing their civil defense helmets. Carlos saw Big Rico, Mrs. Rico, Teddy Williams, Telly the Barber, and Jon Peters (you, know, the farmer), hooded figures, as well as a number of City Councilmen and women.

And they were all lining the streets with chunks of a substance that looked a little like meat and a little like a vegetable. It throbbed weirdly.

Cecil raced his car through a narrow gap in the bait, and then the workers moved to fill the hole with more of the substance.

“Big Rico's lunch special?” asked Carlos.

“He's been cooking for days.” Cecil brought the car to a halt, and they turned around, staring over the back of the seats. “If this doesn't work, then....” Cecil interlaced his hand with Carlos.

“It will work!” said Carlos.

And then there was a roar of “Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!” as the Shoggoth hurtled into the clearing, bearing down on the city like an unstoppable freight train. The crowd cried out, and people retreated.

Sitting inside the car, Cecil and Carlos watched in fascination through the back window.

The foul creature slowed, and then abruptly halted right on the perimeter of the piles of Big Rico's lunch special. It formed eyes at the front of it's amorphous bulk, and then a thin tentacle reached out and picked up one of the morsels. It popped one into a mouth-like cavity, and then made a motion that almost looked like chewing.

The creature burped.

And then it reached out more tentacles and snatched up more Big Rico's special. After it had gobbled up a rather large share, it slapped the tentacles on its midsection, emitted another, somewhat louder burp, and, with a satisfied cry of “Tekeli-Li! Tekeli-Li!”, began to ooze away.

The townspeople cheered.

“Carlos, we did it!” said Cecil.

Carlos gazed fondly at Cecil. “We should remember to keep Big Rico cooking. The Shoggoth may come back for seconds.” He looked down at this hand, still entwined with Cecil's. “Have I told you how stimulating I find it when you act protective of me?”

Cecil stared wide-eyed at him for a moment, and then leapt on top of him, smothering him with kisses.

The flivver began to rock.



Epilogue

Carlos closed the hatch on his aircraft and and tossed the last of the packages into a canvas sack.

He felt the clasp fall away from his hair, and turned to see Cecil standing behind him, holding it up in accusation.

Carlos's dark, curly hair now fell down past his shoulders. He had kept his promise not to cut it until Cecil gave his permission. As it turned out, Cecil still hadn't given permission. The grinning radio host tangled his long-fingered hands in Carlos's curls and gave him a kiss.

“Why do you insist on keeping your perfect hair all tied up like that?” Cecil asked.

“Because I don't want it tangled in the instruments when I'm flying.”

“Well, all right then.”

Carlos shouldered the bag and they walked to Cecil's car. “Did you get everything from the Wish Book?” Cecil asked eagerly.

“Yes, our friends the Russians delivered the mail.”

“Do you have my package?” Cecil asked.

Carlos fished into the bag and pulled out a small box. Cecil eagerly tore it open. It was a hood ornament. He positioned it at the front of his car. “Oh yes this will be perfect!” He inserted it back in the box and tossed it in the back seat. “And what did you get?” he asked as he fired up the engine.

Carlos had placed the canvas sack in the back, but had kept a rubber band-bound stack of mail for himself. “Post card from Gedney and Dana,” he said, showing Cecil a picture of a large statue of Jesus dominating a hill.

“Oh, they've made it to Rio! Excellent.”

“Dana says they intend to travel north all the way to the pole.”

“Ambitious!”

“And another postcard,” said Carlos, showing a photo of a giant squid. It was unsigned, and the scrawled text read, “The original, the eternal, the undying.”

“Oh, good to hear from Danforth. So how is he getting on these days?” laughed Cecil.

“They've given him the professorship, according to Gedney.”

“But isn't he still mad?”

“Never made much of a difference in academics,” Carlos told him. “Oh and speaking of Pabodie.” He opened a letter to show a photographs. “The War Department built him a new lab. Here's the picture.”

Cecil glanced over at the photograph of Pabodie with an arm thrown around the shoulders of Cecil's cousin Ernesto. “Your cousin likes the job?”

“Well, with Gedney off traveling, he needed someone reliable. They can't tell me what they're doing, as it's top secret.”

“Of course.”

“And here's something from my sister-in-law.”

“Ah, the lovely Beatriz,” said Cecil, reaching for the photograph.

“My nephew,” said Carlos of the photo of a Ernesto and Beatriz and his grandmother holding a baby.

“Our first cousin once removed,” Cecil corrected. “Oh, look at that, he looks just like me!”

“Yes, I notice a family resemblance,” said Carlos with a grin.

“Oh, and speaking of family, I have a photograph for you!” Cecil fished into a vest pocket and pulled out a photo which he passed over to Carlos. It showed two rather large, rather white penguins surrounding an enormous, fluffy yellow chick.

“The egg?” said Carlos. “The egg we planted with the pair of father Elementary Penguins? It hatched?”

“It did rather.”

“Well.” Carlos stared at the photograph. “They all seem happy and healthy.”

“They do.”

Carlos gazed at Cecil for a while. “Makes me wonder what ever happened to Pym.”

Cecil laughed. They drove for a while in silence.

“Cecil?”

“Mmm?”

“You know, you've never told me how you happen to be the only person in Night Valhal-La with a car.”

“Oh! Yes, that's an intriguing story. Did you want to hear?”

Carlos sat back in his seat. “I would like very much to hear!”

“Well!” said Cecil.

The car backfired, and they lurched over a bump, heading on into town.




Notes: Not sure why I've made a habit of composing fics based on Lovecraft's stories, as I really don't care for his writing. “At the Mountains of Madness” is a case in point, as he spends most of the tale telling us what he's not going to tell us. I mean, it was your choice to write horror, dude. Get a clue! Anyways. In case you were wondering, the various City Council songs were based on “Anything Goes,” “You're the Top,” and “I Get a Kick Out of You,” all by Cole Porter. And, yes, the Germans did have an aircraft carrier in World War II, only they never quite finished construction. Pym is of course based on the E.A. Poe character. Lovecraft was reportedly influenced by Poe's short novel, so I originally wanted to include the author as a character. He was, unfortunately, dead by the 1930s, so I popped in his avatar instead. Pym ended up being sort of a one joke character, but it's the thought that counts, right?
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