What was initially an exciting day for geologists and climatologists soon turned into a nightmare of apocalyptic scale. Of the fourteen-man crew sent to survey a section of the recent fissure in Antarctica, only two returned, one of whom, a seismologist named Richard Arlington, had gone completely insane. “Millions of eyes!” He screamed in my face, writhing in his straitjacket. A large orderly stood behind him with sedatives at the ready, “A blackness with nothing behind it! A vacuum filled with naught but hatred! The time of the ascension is come!”
I then spoke to his much more lucid partner, a paleontologist named Quentin Bright. We were sitting on a park bench. He lit a cigarette with a shaky hand before speaking. “We were about three miles away from the crevice when we first saw them through our binoculars,” he said, “these black amorphous pustules of writhing anger. Simmons, god rest his soul, wanted to run right to ‘em [sic]. But we wanted to get a recommendation from back home, so we set up camp for the night.”
But Quentin wouldn’t get a response from Washington. “I still think the Shoggoths jammed our signals. They wanted us to come, to know what was coming, who was coming.” Quentin was of course referring to the imminent return of the Elder Gods to our plane, as foretold in the Necronomicon (now on display at The National Archives). “They came that night, killed Crandall and Jennings. A storm started approaching from the way we had come. Our only choice was to move closer to the abyss, the Shoggoths forming a wall, like black holes guarding the edge of the universe, lest anyone pass and see what lies behind.” He lit another cigarette, the previous one reduced to ash and a filter.
“We tried to stay ahead of the storm, but the path was treacherous. We could only travel about half a mile every day. And each night, two of our group would be killed. Their bodies twisted like contortionists in an obscene performance, a look of hatred and sadness on their face, and their eyes; I'll never, their eyes were coated in a layer of frost.
“By the time we got within striking distance of the crack, only Richard, Peter, Angela and I were left. The Shoggoths were stationed a few miles apart, one a quarter mile in front of us. Angela screamed at it from where we were, asked it what the hell it was. There was a sound, like the cry of an anguished soul. I can’t reproduce the sound, even if I wanted to. But we knew that we were to call it Shoggoth. She asked them what they wanted.” Quentin lit another cigarette. “They answered ‘a harbringer.’"
“The storm was closing in on us, so we had to keep moving. Soon we were standing not twenty feet in front of it. A seething black mass that seemed to almost take form, a shape so odious that I am unable to even ponder it. It slid aside, giving us passage to the abyss. I was weak with exhaustion, we all were, but myself more so than the others. They went before me, and together they looked into the abyss. And the abyss looked back. I was nearing the edge when Peter let out a scream, so loud and so long that a mist of blood sprayed out of his gaping maw, before he collapsed into a spasmodic heap on the ice. Angela was quieter. She simply tumbled forward into the darkness. I would have ended up like them, too. But a navy rescue copter approached. They fired at the Shoggoth. I saw the bullets hit it, but it absorbed them like so much more hatred and violence. I grabbed Richard by the jacket and ran him to the copter. They flew us out of there. I don’t know exactly what Richard saw. He just told me that soon, The Elder Gods would reclaim what was rightfully theirs.”
Finished with his story, Quentin thanked me for listening and walked away.