I wrote the original version of this story back in 2000, it's more than slightly a horror story with some fetish bits woven in. I like it, but don't claim to be any great writer much less an accomplished Lovecraftian writer.
Standard warnings apply; contains elements of fantasy, horror, rapid pregnancy, popping, gore and messed up ideas. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Let me know what you think.
-Dr.A.Phibes Jan 2017
By Anton Phibes
It all began just about one year ago. Upon the urgent request of one of my oldest and dearest mentors- Professor Martin Carter, I made the journey from USC to the infamous Miskatonic University's Sanitarium in Arkham Massachusetts. I hadn't seen the Professor since I graduated from Berkley some 5 years ago, but his plea sparked my interest. All his E-mail had said was:
James, I've got a case that I could really use your help on. Tickets waiting at LAX. I'll explain everything upon your arrival
Martin Carter @ Miskatonic.edu.org
Apparently he was still working in the field of advanced human psychosis, but now was at Miskatonic and wanted "someone he could confide in"... the whole thing seemed overly melodramatic to me, but I canceled my classes and lectures for the upcoming few weeks and headed to Arkham. I remember thinking it somewhat strange as that Prof. Carter would be working at Miskatonic U.
MU is of course, world renown for it's studies in Metaphysics, Anthropology and the ongoing research of the ancient text known as "The Necronomicon", but not much in the field of human psychology. Although I'd read much about the place, I had never been to Arkham, and my first impression was one of amazement and awe. The whole city is like something out of some bygone era! Half the city is gleaming new corporate buildings, the other, old crumbling buildings and great stone edifices separated sometimes by only the smallest of medieval looking streets. The University itself looked like some sort of amalgam of European and Eastern temples, all older than anything I'd seen in other states. From Arkham I was directed out of town towards the cliffs and the sea to the location of the Arkham Sanitarium for the study of Psychological Recorperation. A great storm was just rolling inland peppering the windshield of my rental car with rain when I caught my first glimpse of the structure. It was huge, like some sort of weirdly converted Mosque or Eastern European Cathedral dominated by three great towers and an enormous central stained-glass topped dome, with elaborate carvings of bizarre otherworldly starfish faced gargoyles adorning every rooftop. I've been told that the Sanitarium is the oldest building in these parts dating back to 1589, the whole thing built atop the foundation of a much earlier structure of some kind. The whole effect--- the ancient building, the dark forboding weather and the strange unknown mission I was undertaking, were beginning to send shivers up my spine.
It was raining heavily as I struggled to find a parking spot.
Surprisingly, there were no real lights outside the Sanitarium and with night coming on, between the angry dark gray of the storm and the blackness of the night sea, I could barely see to drive. Finally settling on a spot a good football field away from the Sanitarium, I gathered my things and headed out into the now raging storm. In the haze of rain, wind and wet glasses I thought I saw something white and round, like a great balloon moving in one of the huge dark windows in one of the towers high above me. Dismissing it as a trick of the light and jetlag, I went Inside.
Inside I was refreshed to find myself back in the 21st century. The front hall, despite it's age was bustling with the activity of a regular, modern (mental) hospital. People rushing about, huddles of white coated doctors conferencing together and the occasional white smocked patient walking from room to room. The inside was just as elaborately decorated as the outside, the walls and floors covered in mosaics of black and white tiles, the great vaulted ceiling looking like the inside of a steampunk cathedral- wires and cables snaking down from hidden recesses all over.
Dripping wet, I inquired at the great oaken front desk where I might find Prof. Carter. With a smile, and a set of directions that had to be practiced, the young, pretty attending nurse instructed me to head to the observation ward but not before handing me a visitor's badge.
I walked through the maze of hallways and offices for almost ten minutes, dodging fewer and fewer doctors and screaming patients as I went deeper and deeper into the body of the Sanitarium. Then, suddenly, when turning yet another corner, I ran head-on into a young brunette nurse, whom upon crashing into me, went sprawling onto the floor, papers flying everywhere.
"I beg your pardon!" I immediately said bending down to help the girl gather the spilt papers.
"That's OK... I should have been watching where I was going." She answered quickly as we both stood up. I couldn't help but feel incredibly awkward as I felt myself staring at the girl. She was stunning! Short, with medium length jet black hair, a fit yet nicely buxom shape and steely light blue eyes almost like a wolf's.
Quickly regaining my composure, I handed her the pile of papers I had gathered. I glanced down at the name tag on her crisp, pleasingly full blouse. It read PHOEBE. "I'm awfully sorry about that." I stammered. "I seem to be lost, this place is huge! I'm looking for Prof. Carter in the observation ward?"
Nurse Phoebe flashed me a brilliant smile and replied, "Just follow me. I'm heading that direction now... Doctor?"
"Lawrence. Jim Lawrence, not Doctor, just call me Jim!" I answered with a big smile. "Well it's nice to meet you- humble Mr. Lawrence!" She answered smiling back. "Come this way and we'll get you to the Professor!"
The girl walked me through another maze of hallways, passing patients, and doctors in increasing infrequency, until we were walking along an almost deserted hallway that appeared to be far older than the ones I had previously traversed. Finally after some minutes, standing at "checkpoint" in front of a great metal door which was flanked by a security booth and two burly security guards. Ahead of us , I could see the hulking, bearded figure I at once recognized as my former mentor, Professor Martin Carter. "James my boy! Good that you could come!" The words came booming down the hallway at us like thunder. "Well, I wouldn't have made it at all if not for this charming young woman." I answered back, offering my hand as I approached. I glanced over at the now blushing Nurse Phoebe and then back to the Professor, who clapped a powerful arm around my shoulders and grabbed my arm and began pumping it furiously. "Good Good Good! You're just in time my boy! I'm just going in to check on the case I wrote you about!" The huge man grinned at me. "That is, if you're done with him Nurse Stowe!"
The girl went white and flustered. "O... Of... of course sir!" She nervously stammered. "I'll just get back to my duties..." And with that she hurried off back into the maze of halls. We both watched as she left. Her pert behind voiding any other thoughts I had in my head.
"Hurm... A good assistant." added the Professor, "But I think we're going to need to move her to 'Special Projects' where she can... be a little more... productive!"
There was a loud clank and a buzz as the great steel door opened and I was ushered inside to darkened room on the other side. The observation ward was a stark contrast to the outer Sanitarium. The room was octagonal and the rough hewn walls looked even more ancient than the outside of the building and seemed to be made of some sort of polished black stone I had never seen before. Each wall had a single steel door with a large glass and wire-mesh window in it. The setup was not unlike other wards I'd seen, despite the medieval feel of the place. I could tell this was where the more intense cases were probably kept, hence all the security.
"What kind of case would make you drag me all the way out here sir?" I queried as I took in the room. "What's all this "Sir" crap my boy?... I needed you, you came! I've kept up on your work! Your work on mental reconstruction is unprecedented and possibly a necessity in this case. And besides, I knew you wouldn't turn ME down! HA HA!"
Besides the Professor and myself, there was only one other person in the room, another security guard... armed. "Look here" The large man said leading me to the door opposite us. I could hear the screaming even before I came close enough to see. Inside the brightly lit, padded cell was a young, very pretty Asian woman, being restrained by two orderlies. "Poor thing..." My mentor boomed. "She was a student here until a few weeks ago." The Professor offered as he gazed over the patient's chart posted on the wall. "Well James...What do you think?" The girl was hysterical. Her eyes wide with anguish and terror, her long black hair strewn all about her face and shoulders. The two orderlies held her down as they tried to fix an ill fitting straitjacket around her. But her disheveled appearance, obvious fear and wild eyes weren't what made me drop my bag and gasp. It was her abdomen. It was immense. Barely covered in a straining hospital gown, it looked like the poor girl was somehow pregnant with an elephant. Her belly was a great 3 foot wide moving dome protruding before her like a weather balloon threatening to split her hospital gown asunder. She screamed something in Japanese before collapsing against the back wall, pinned by the orderlies. Her impossibly large stomach obscuring all of her frail body except her flailing legs. "My God" I whispered.
I stayed for the whole observational session. It went till almost 10 0'clock, and I guess I was starting to look fatigued, because Professor Carter decided that we could continue the next morning. The whole case was like nothing I'd ever seen before. According to her chart, the girl's name was Mia Senga, 23, an exchange student from Japan with no family and in good health. All tests concluded, that the girl was indeed pregnant, but most likely suffering from a condition called "Polyhydramnios" which explained the monstrous size of her stomach, and the inability of the Doctors to find anything using the ultrasound. My job was to try and figure out why she was so terrified and get her into a more manageable state of mind. We had about a week to work on the case. Professor Carter and I had worked with hysteria cases not unlike this one when I was an undergrad, and since going to USC, I had great success in reaching phobic and hysterical patients that others that given up on. The poor girl was sedated now, lying on her back, the immense protrusion of her great round belly rising above the bed almost three and a half feet. And even now she kept mumbling incoherently in Japanese and shaking her head. As we headed out I looked back at the great taut globe of her belly. It just had to be a trick of the light or maybe I was tired. For a minute there, I swore it looked like it was bigger...
Once back in the main observation room I chatted with Prof. Carter. "Well my boy? Can you help us reach the girl?" He asked as he lit a cigarette.
"Well" I said, pulling out the pipe I kept to keep myself from taking up smoking again,
"I think so... It would help if I knew more of Miss Senga's history, how long has she been pregnant, what was her mental state when was she brought in..."
"HahA!" Laughed Professor Carter. "I knew you were the one for the Job! You can find all that information Here..." He Boomed at me, slapping a huge file into my chest. His pager gave a musical beep. " BLAST! I've got to go... Appointment with another patient.. You understand. Listen, I'll catch up with you later... Bob here will see that you don't get lost again!" He thundered, clapping one huge arm across my back and the other on that of the security guard. There was a loud buzz and a clank as the door released and Bob and I were pushed out into the hallway. "Great to be working with you again James!" Professor Carter called out, then before I could respond, the door was closed again.
"So yer from California?" Asked Security Officer "Bob" as we made our way back into the main building. Bob looked to be about 50ish, but sturdily built with a heap of white hair atop his head like a mop. He pronounced it Cal-ee-Four--neeya. "Yeah, I studied with the Professor at Berkley, but now I'm at USC." "Hell of a football team eh?" Bob chortled as we rounded a corner. "So doya think yer gonna be able to help that girl?"
"I don't know Bob, But I'm gonna try..."
Suddenly Bob stopped and looked up and down the corridors and then back at me, then in a low voice. "It's an epidemic ain't it? I mean you shoulda seen the last girl they brought in... a pretty black girl all swelled up... even bigger than that Jap..."
"What do you mean?" I asked also in a hushed tone. " Bob looked around again. The hallways were mostly empty and quiet now, giving the Sanitarium a suddenly hollow and creepy echo. "I mean that girl from the tour group a few weeks ago of course... Belly big enough to hold a horse I figgir, pretty like this one, but with the biggest set of..."
"So Miss Senga's case isn't the only one like this at the Sanitarium?" I interrupted.
"Hell no, that Jap gal's what... the tenth case in the last two months!"
Later, sitting alone in the now all but deserted cafeteria, gnashing on my unlit pipe, I went over the case inch by inch. Miss Senga had been in the Sanitarium for about half a week, remanded to the care of Professor Carter after his reviewing the case. Apparently no medical doctor had seen the poor thing since her admittance. The girl was in obvious distress, either because of something that happened to her or because of her condition, or both.
God! her condition! Pregnant women were not supposed to get that big!
There was also no mention of Miss Senga's condition when she was admitted a week ago... Nor an explanation of WHY she was admitted. This unnerved me. Why hadn't Professor Carter put this into the file? Did he know why, and didn't tell me? What had become of the black girl and the other nine girls Bob had told me about? I'd read the accounts of some of the things that were rumored to happen up here in Arkham and over in Innsmouth, but they had to be just stories... urban legends...
Just then, a cool hand touched my shoulder and I yelped in surprise. It was Nurse Phoebe Stowe.
"Haha! I'm so sorry Mr. Lawrence! I didn't mean to scare you!"
Immediately I chuckled a response and took off my glasses. "That's OK Nurse Stowe. I... I was just deep in thought."
"Please call me Phoebe." She said.
She stood awkwardly for several moments before I managed to get out, "Won't you join me Nur... er...Phoebe? Oh and please call me Jim!"
"I thought you'd never ask... Jim. My feet are killing me!" She said as she sat down next to me, the sent of her perfume filling the air. "So you're working with the Prof. eh?" She asked, glancing at me over a sip of her coffee. I closed the file and turned to her. I couldn't help but stare at her. She was gorgeous.
"Er... Yes, I did some work with him some years ago dealing with fear therapy, and with all these new cases, he called me in to advise."
"Hmmm... Sounds interesting. The Prof. doesn't let just anyone into that ward you know, I knew you were special." Her eyes sparkled. She was flirting with me now. "I haven't been in there myself. That's OK though... that creepy administrator... Mr. Munigan that he works with is always staring at my chest." Nurse Phoebe added with a shudder.
I nodded. Mr. Munigan? I hadn't heard that name before.
We talked as people trying not to appear too interested in each other do. Phoebe was 22, a student here at Miskatonic U, working at the Sanitarium to qualify for her financial aid, currently single and in no hurry to be otherwise. I told her about my studies at USC, my lack of a girlfriend and my goals for the future, then after about an hour she sat up straight, straightened her nurse's blouse and looked at her watch. "Listen I gotta go.. I work the early shift tomorrow, maybe we could continue this another time... maybe over some drinks?" She asked standing up and giving me her best I'm-too-cute-to-refuse look.
I assured her that I would be around for awhile and we parted company with a soft warm handshake.
What a beautiful girl, I thought. Maybe tomorrow I'll take her out to dinner. I shook my head trying to get Nur... Phoebe... out of my head. I had to figure this case out! I looked at my watch it was almost 2 am! No wonder my mind was wandering! I had to get some sleep. I searched around the empty semi-lit halls for a few minutes. It was strange, but now late at night, and mostly empty, the whole mood of the building seemed to have changed... giving it an almost sinister appearance. Finally, I came across the doctors lounge. I laid back on the couch and closed my eyes, my head filled with the eyes of Nurse Phoebe Stowe, and then I was asleep.
Over the next few days, I continued to assist The Professor and his attempts to treat poor Miss Senga. I was given temporary lodgings in the city in one of the dorms in Arkham, although I actually ended up sleeping most nights in the doctor's lounge. As when I had worked with him before, Professor Carter had me working long hours on the case. As a result I never did get to take the exquisite Nurse Phoebe out for dinner, but I did manage to see her regularly for shared lunches and dinners at the Sanitarium. She was truly an incredibly beautiful woman. And very interesting. I often found myself thinking about her steely blue eyes, impressively full bosom and the lovely nape of her neck. Our relationship had grown to the point where when we always parted she always left me with a small kiss, but time hadn't allowed for much more... yet.
Those all too brief breaks with her were almost the only respite I had from the growing mystery of Miss Senga's case. We were not making any progress. Even Professor Carter was starting to show signs of strain--- his huge, powerful form starting to look gaunt and tired all the time. I have to admit, the most disconcerting aspect of the whole case was Miss Senga's condition. Shocked as I was that first day I saw her, she had still looked humanly gravid... albeit far more so than traditionally normal. Now only a few days later, the same could not be said.
The poor girl's abdomen had continued to expand... now looking like it contained a full grown man, protruding four and a half feet past her ribs. Her breasts, which I could only assume were filling with milk, had enlarged to the size of huge round bowling balls. It was... distressing.
Like I said, we were getting nowhere in our attempts to reach the poor thing, besides the initial shock that put her into this quasi-hysterical state, the very presence of her monstrously distended belly only served to terrify her all the more. The only form of therapy I had left to try was hypnosis, which is notoriously unreliable.
I was able to ascertain that Miss Senga was in fact the the fourteenth such case in the last three months, although I was only allowed access to Miss Senga.
All the patients involved were young women, all displaying the same massive, abnormal expansion of the abdomen, all had been almost incoherently traumatized. It was because of the second case, the daughter of a local well-to-do family, that the whole thing had been hushed up.
Professor Carter, being a close friend of the family promised to solve the case. It was this promise, and the failure to find any sort of treatment, that was causing his physical deterioration and despondentness. It was starting to show more with every passing day.
As time passed, and I had more and more sessions with the unfortunate Miss Senga, I became more and more wary of actually having to see her... that immense bloated belly... I slept less and less, my dreams becoming more and more nightmarish, filled with sounds and things that I could never quite remember the next morning.
There were times, when I stayed in the Sanitarium, that I was awakened by what sounded like the wings of something tremendous were flapping around outside the Sanitarium. I don't know... maybe I was just dreaming. It was during these long sleepless hours that found myself reading more about the history behind Miskatonic University and the sometimes terrible costs that accompanied the study of the Necronomicon and a failed expedition to Antarctica back in the 1930's. It was almost as if I'd somehow stepped over into the realm of nightmares... These stories about the legends of the last human on Earth called the "Lastman" , the "Elder things" in Antarctica or about this "Cult of Chuthulu" couldn't possibly be real! The reading was fast becoming more disturbing than this case! I had to stop reading this stuff!
At this point I took to exploring the Sanitarium's maze of hallways and rooms instead. Due to my position as a "visiting Doctor", I was allowed access to almost every ward in the institution. At night with only the night staff working, and the patients asleep, the walks gave me the peace of mind I was looking for. I can remember thinking how inappropriate the gothic style surroundings were to the Sanitarium's mission. Every hallway, doorway, chandelier, staircase looked somewhat arcane... How had I not seen it before? Even a sane man would go mad if he were cooped up in this cursed place long enough.
On my fifth day at the Sanitarium, during our usual afternoon session with Miss Senga, I finally met the Professor's mysterious confidant. Introduced to me simply as M. Munigan- Administrator, The incredibly short ancient looking man immediately gave me the creeps.
He was dressed all in black, maybe standing 5 feet tall with short black hair cut close to the pale skin that barely covered his skull, a long pointy nose, large pop eyes, and unnaturally huge protruding front teeth... like some sort of mutated gerbil/human hybrid. M. Munigan's cold slimy hands shook my hand as one would pump an tire pump. "Ahhyes... yourrassistant... Uunexpected... but Goodto haveyou! Goodto haveyou!" The gerbil-like man replied in his high pitched whiney voice.
It was he, the Professor explained, that took charge of the women's care after observation, he was finding and placing the affected women in hospitals around the state "to ensure they got suitable medical care". He was looking for a hospital that could take Miss Senga as we spoke.
I could understand why Phoebe avoided the little man, his very presence was... well unsettling. We were on one of our last attempts to treat the unfortunate Miss Senga, Our allotted time for observation was up tonight, she needed to be treated by the proper doctors now. Besides, if we waited much longer, her abdomen would grow too large to get her out the doors. The little man seemed to have some sort of unhealthy attraction to poor Miss Senga's gigantic stomach--- now so large that it could no longer be covered by conventional clothes. It looked for all the world like a huge skin colored balloon. Only the poor girl's protruding navel and labored breathing spoke of the belly's vast bulk. It was solid, moving. Her skin tight and shiny. Her breasts now resembled beachballs and had to be restrained by an industrial strength makeshift bra to keep them from smothering her, giving them an odd unintentional allure.
M. Munigan stood very close to the girl, smiling with a hideous facial grin, with a look of concern on his face he stroked the great golden dome repeating "It'll be all right... It'll be all right.." It almost seemed like he was trying to comfort whatever was in her monstrous abdomen.
At the end of the day, a team of paramedics arrived to take Miss Senga away. We had failed. Her mental condition had deteriorated considerably in the last few days, and she no longer spoke or moved much at all. She just lay there trapped by the immensity of her bloated stomach... her eyes staring blankly upward.
"Well my boy, can you see what I'm up against?" Asked the Professor. "I really don't know what to do at this point... I'm just glad that Mr. Munigan volunteered to help out". His voice wasn't it's normal booming tone. He was really upset.
"We tried everything sir.. er Professor" I answered. "Have any of the girls recovered? At the hospitals I mean?" "I... I really don't know my boy" He said shakily as we watched them wheel out the poor pregnant girl. They'd draped the poor girls colossal belly with a sheet, making her look like she had a weather balloon on her tummy. As she was
wheeled past I swear I could actually hear the fluid in her ballooned belly slosh as her gurney clacked over the tiled floor. Poor thing.
"I haven't had the time to check much with every new case... But Munigan tells me that he'll let me know as soon as he hears something... and I'm doing some checking of my own..." There was something in the way he said that... something he wasn't telling me. He forced a grin onto his pale face. "But nonetheless, It's been good to see you James! Sorry It couldn't have been under better circumstances!"
It was later in the doctor's lounge while I was packing that security officer Bob snuck into the room. "Hey! hear you're leavin us!" He said rather loudly He looked over his
shoulder "Yeah... Back to USC for me I guess..." "Well Sorry to se ya go!" Then he grabbed my hand in a firm handshake and whispered " The Prof wants ta see you tonight... that stuff about the Administrator taking care of the girls is a bunch of shit... they're all still here!" I looked down into my palm. He had palmed me a message. Still whispering he added "And watch yer back...". "Well I gotta be going!" He said loudly again "Good luck!".
"Er... yeah you too... " I answered. And with that (and a serious stare), he left. What was going on? The girls were still here? With my back to the door, I opened the message... It was from Professor Carter. It read:
My Boy, sorry for the cloak and dagger routine, but Bob and I have stumbled onto something and need your help. If you really want to help Miss Senga and the other girls. If I'm right we're the only ones who can stop them. I'm including the list of girls "affected" just in case. I'm sorry I didn't clue you in on my suspicions earlier. That damned Munigan has eyes and ears everywhere. I'll explain everything to-night meet us at the stairwell to the Eastern Tower at 12:00.
Now this was strange. Almost Paranoid. I looked at the list, scanning the names there.
-Melody C**** 23 Caucasian; successfully seeded 7/18
-Yasmin S******** 18 Caucasian; unsuccessful seeding-terminal outcome
-Sybil C**** 19 African American; successfully seeded 7/19
-Kathy B****** 23 Vietnamese/American; successfully seeded 7/26
-Tammy C****** 20 Caucasian; successfully seeded 8/3
-Jeri H***** 21 Caucasian; successfully seeded 8/3
-Sandie M***** 19 Polynesian; successfully seeded 8/10
-Hiromi H***** 21 Indonesian; successfully seeded 8/19
-Lisa H******* 18 Hispanic; unsuccessful seeding-terminal outcome
-Barbie H******** 19 Hispanic; successful seeding 8/22
-Jennifer K* 19 Korean/American; seeded 8/26
-Amy W***** 18 Caucasian; successfully seeded 9/3
-Anna H******** 19 Caucasian; seeded 9/3
-Bess W******* 22 Hispanic; seeded 9/7
-Dana C**** 22 African American; successfully seeded 9/19
-Mia S***** 19 Japanese; successfully seeded 9/26
-Phoebe S**** 22 Caucasian
What the hell was I looking at? This list wasn't a hospital list of treated patients... My god, I thought. This was unbelievable. Like some sort of unholy shopping list! What was going on? Was I to understand that someone... Munigan... had especially selected these girls for some sort of... what the hell did "seeding" mean? Miss Senga wasn't pregnant in any normal human sense, but she was gravid... that was for sure. I shuddered to think what had been "seeded" into those poor girls! There seemed to be little or no regard for the "terminal" cases! and the one name on the list not "seeded" My God! I thought. Was that Phoebe's name on the list? The coincidence in initials, name & age were too close! That was why the Professor wanted her transferred! To protect her! I hadn't seen her since yesterday. This was not good. The image of Phoebe falling into the hands of Munigan and being subjected to the same fate that befell Miss Senga and the others suddenly snapped into my head.
Oh no... I was going to get her out of here. Put her on the plane to California, come
back help the Prof and Bob put an end to this... this atrocity in the making, and get the hell out of Arkham myself. Quickly shoving the note into my pocket, and my pipe in my mouth, I rushed out the door and down the hallway to the main desk, slowing down my run to a brisk walk was I swung around to face the attending nurse. "Has anyone seen Nurse Stowe today?" I queried the woman behind the desk... trying not to look out of breath.
"Oh! It's you Mr. Lawrence!" The young nurse said with a twitter. "Phoebe told me about you!..." She was playing games with me because Phoebe and I's lunch-time meetings were quickly becoming the favorite rumor among the staff. I didn't have time for this! "Er... Yeah... It's me!" I said.
"Listen I'm leaving tonight and have to reach her.. can you help?" I said with a for-you-know-what smile. The girl behind the counter leaned forward on the desk. Her blouse was open past the second button and the truly amazingly beautiful breasts inside were displayed for my viewing. "No.. She didn't show up for her shift this morning..." The girl said in a sultry voice. "Are you sure I couldn't help you?'
You know in all my years as a pre-med. student, as a grad assistant and my own studies, nothing like this had ever happened before. Why is it that women don't come on to you when you're actually interested?
"Didn't show up eh" I said half to myself. "Can you give me her address?" I smiled again. The nurse sat back and looked me up and down with a queer look on her face. Then with a downtrodden look replied "yeah here it is" and scribbled the address on a yellow sticky note.
"Thanks!" I replied and headed out into the parking lot. I drove through the maze of Arkham's ancient streets as best I could. It took me almost thirty minutes to find the address the girl at the front desk had given me.
It was a vacant lot.
The sky was darkening quickly as massive storm clouds blew in from the bay, heavy with rain. It would be dark soon, and raining. What the hell was going on here? I drove my car back towards the Sanitarium, frustrated, and angry, trying to puzzle the whole thing out as the rain began to pepper down on my windshield. Munigan and the others had Phoebe.
What others? Well... that girl at the desk certainly sent me on this wild goose chase... The Professor and Bob knew Munigan was up to something with those girls, that he was planning on doing something tonight and they needed my help to stop it. Was that it? It was all too surreal, like one of those old pulp novels about the mad scientist. But this was real. I'd seen Munigan's handiwork, if that's what you would call it... on poor Mia Senga. What had been done to her? Some sort of genetic manipulation? I mean good God the poor girl had blown up like a balloon... a pregnant balloon. I shuddered to think what could have been gestating inside that poor girl's monstrously distended belly. Inside all those girls... Bob had said that the black girl he'd seen was from a tour group. Whatever was being done to the girls, it had to happen pretty quick, that is, if her belly was already inhumanly pregnant when they brought her in... and they weren't holding the girls elsewhere in the Sanitarium...Why fifteen girls? Why here, why now? There was a greater plot behind all this. I was sure. Then the thought struck me. Those articles I'd read about Miskatonic's studies on the existence of other... older beings... all that metaphysical stuff in the Necronomicon...
It was too fantastic... Too horrific...
But it... it fit.
Could it be that Munigan wasn't using the girls to create new human life.... Was he... was he collaborating with monsters to bring something here... Or trying to populate the Earth with a new generation of ancient mythological alien beings? Was I going crazy?
The parking lot was almost deserted by the time I arrived back at the Sanitarium. I have to admit, by this point I was really beginning to question my own sanity. The rain had just really started to come down. And the night was so black it seemed to suck the life and hope right out of me. My only glimpse of the Sanitarium as I drove up was in a flash of lightning. But the silhouette that lit up wasn't the Sanitarium
I'd seen the building dozens of times before, but this, this was more like a twisted mockery of it... looking dark and ancient, it's three great towers punching up at the sky like five pointed talons. It had to be my imagination.
Turning off my headlights, I dug around in my bag for a moment until I found my pocket knife. It's a small, but large bladed fishing knife I always carry on trips. A little protection's better than none right?
I think I still hadn't convinced myself that any of what I suspected could be true, much less was true, and considering the amount of sleep I'd got in the last few days, I could be making this all up in my head.
As I ascended up the slight slope to the front door I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being followed. There were even fewer lights on outside the dismal gray/black edifice than normal, and the constant cold wind whistling eerily like a twisted flute around me.
The whole place looked somehow darker. As I walked inside, it struck me that there was no one around... (and there wasn't) the place seemed deserted, No it was that the structure itself was darker, spookier in every way. I tried to shake it off as a trick of the light but it was no use.
The floors were more uneven, the statuary gargoyles were... no longer at all recognizable, now depicted horrible, fiendish creatures straight out of nightmares, each starfish headed image complete with miniature human figures being devoured,
defiles or eaten in countless ways.
There were no lights other than the great flickering chandeliers, which creaked and swayed slightly of their own volition.
Somewhere I couldn't identify, I could hear voices... like that chanting you hear in horror movies like the Exorcist. The echo in the great empty halls made locating it impossible though. From memory I turned left towards the observation wing where the stairwell was, and my rendezvous with Bob and the Professor.
I shuffled around in the dark empty hallways depending on my lighter for light for about ten minutes when I stumbled on something and fell flat on my face in something wet and thick.
I flicked on my lighter... it was blood. I shot a look down at my feet, still draped over whatever I had tripped over. A body... or at.. at least I think it was a body, for the mass of tissue, organs and crushed bone under my feet didn't resemble anything remotely human... at least not anymore. I scrambled to my feet, off and away from the horror and vomited. In the dark I could smell the blood and... and death. I swear I could smell death.
I had to get out of here. I wiped my hands on my pants and flicked my lighter back on. The hallway ahead of me was filled with... with parts of bodies. Doctors, Patients, Nurses, arms, legs, entrails, heads and blood oh God so much blood... everywhere. My mind reeled.
Lightning outside flashed through the windows momentarily lighting the blood soaked hallway. I heard a flapping noise coming from behind me. Something was headed towards me out of the dark... huge, black and many tentacled. I caught sight of eyes... many many eyes and long tentacle-like limbs and teeth as this half seen horror rolled towards me like liquid all of it's mouths emitting a high pitched screeching. My mind screamed.
I may Have screamed. I... I honestly don't recall.
This was not possible. the only thought in my head was No. NoNoNoNo... I ran. The... the thing whatever it was, was tumbling after me slowly, its amorphous body devouring the flesh on the floor and walls it touched. I don't know how, but I reached the great Iron door to the stairwell and pushed myself inside, slamming the door shut on the other side. I could hear the thing on the other side.... ea... eating.
There were torches going up the staircase. I had no idea how strong that... that thing was, and wanted to put as much distance between myself and it as I could, so I headed up the stairs cautiously.
After what seemed several flights, I slowed down. The thing wasn't following. Catching my breath, I noticed, there was something on the stairs ahead of me I grabbed one of the torches off the wall. It was another body... minus it's head and most of it's shoulders. Even in the bad light I recognized the shirt and tie that the Professor had been wearing earlier.
I kneeled beside my mentors body silently for a moment. I stood up, taking everything out of my coat pockets, I took it off and covered his... his body.
I remember thinking, Oh Shit. I'm, on my own!... If the Prof was dead, chances were that so was Bob. What was I up against? Munigan's creature down there if he was indeed the mastermind here wasn't going to let me leave...
Maybe I could still stop him. Yes! In the horror of the moment I forgot my original intent... Phoebe!
Yes. That was it. I had to get her out of here... If she was still alive.
After what seemed an eternity of climbing stairs, I reached a great, ancient looking wooden door surrounded by ornate carvings and strange glyphs. I could hear that piping flute noise again... from within.
I slowly opened the door and peeked in. To my left was another great arch into a great fire was burning in a great cauldron. At the back of the room, I could just make out the tiny, mishappen form that might have been M. Munigan or maybe the thing I'd seen downstairs... Or maybe both. He/it was standing before an immense shiny black statue of a great and horrible creature with tentacles reaching down from what I guess could be called it's face. He/it was reading from a large text in some sort of language I didn't recognize.
To my right was a great dark chamber... from the lightning flashes outside, I could tell it was under the massive glass dome in the center of the three towers. I crept in. Ask me and I'll tell you I'm still not sure how I managed to get the courage to do that.
As I crept past the archway, I could see where the chanting was coming from. Along the walls, people clothed in dark robes and cowls chanted monotonously. I could still make out the distorted faces of some of the Sanitarium staff I had worked alongside. The whole group was working themselves into some sort of trance-like religious stupor. I couldn't understand most of the words they were using, but I recognized the names Nyarlathotep and Yog-Soggoth from the readings I'd done.
Still unsure where I was getting the nerve, I stole across the doorway and entered the main chamber. Compared to the rest of the Sanitarium, the great glass ceiling-ed chamber was gigantic. The ceiling was some hundreds of feet or so above my head not including the glass dome, the walls about a hundred yards apart at the corners. Despite the darkness(I hadn't been stupid enough to have brought in my torch), the room was suffused by a dull glow. As I entered the center of the room I found myself surrounded by fourteen gigantic round orbs... each giving off a different hued soft, pulsing glow.
The rest of the room was totally black, although the occasional flash of lightning revealed more statuary, carvings on the walls and a coupl of doors on the far side of the room. In the dim light of the chamber, it was only when I approached one of these "orbs" out of a sort of pushy curiosity that goes along with sheer terror, that I realized, too my horror what I was looking at. They were the missing "afflicted" women--- Or
their tremendously enlarged bellies anyway. My eyes nearly bugged out of my head at what I was seeing. The women were all laid out on great stone slabs in a vast circle.
My God! I thought. These poor women! Each girl's abdomen was now a great round sphere that had to be at least ten feet across and ten feet high. All I could see of each girl in the dim glow, were her legs, arms, breasts, and of course, massive abdomen. On a few I could make out hair just atop and underneath the tremendous globes that were their breasts... all bursting out of the same kind of makeshift bra that I'd seen on Miss Senga before... all swollen to the size of pumpkins, skin stretched shiny like overinflated balloons... full past the limit and leaking a milky fluid from their engorged, erect nipples. Their bellies had expanded to the point where the skin was nearing transparency. The tight surfaces perfectly smooth, with only the occasional internal ripple of movement. I rounded the circle once, looking for Phoebe. She wasn't here.
I looked over the girl closest to where I was standing. A young pretty black girl. Her eyes were wide open and staring straight up. I briefly wondered what these girls still had in store for them. No, I couldn't think about that now... I had to find Phoebe, maybe find some way of getting help to these girls. I looked up at the incredible distention of the black girl's abdomen. Her skin looked so tight, that if I had touched the great protuberance, it might explode. Whatever it was growing inside the girl was glowing softly... the light brown skin of her belly giving the glow a brownish tint.
God! I thought... What kind of mess have I found myself in?
There was no way to save these girls... Their bellies alone must weigh hundreds of pounds... On top of that, I doubt any of them had anything resembling a human thought left in their poor tortured brains! I looked around the darkened room. Each belly had some sort of glyph scribed on it's side, facing inwards towards yet another great stone slab in the center... but this one was empty. I guessed that this was the slab Phoebe was destined to lay upon... but she wasn't here.
I quietly walked to the far, dark end of the room, towards the second, smaller door there. Glancing back at the unfortunate women in the circle... I could hardly call them women anymore... Now transformed as they were into some sort of unholy breeders (of what, God only knows). From my spot deep in the shadowy coner, I watched the great chamber for some sign of how I could proceed. After about an hour, the "congregation" of cloaked men and women slowly filed out and into the stairwell I had come up.
Soon only the Munigan (thing?) and a great hulk of a man I vaguely recalled as one of the orderlies I'd seen that first day trying to subdue Miss Senga were left. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but Munigan was flitting from girl to girl stroking and patting their grossly distended bellies while smiling that horrible big toothed grin of his.
He gestured in my direction absently and the hulk-like man started my way. Quickly I shut the door and scrunched myself in the behind it. I don't think they saw me... Munigan was probably sending him on an errand of some sort.
I must have looked a sight. Disheveled, crazy eyed, and covered with blood crouching in the corner. I almost laughed at the idea. I felt in my pocket for my fishing knife and pulled it out, snapping it's long blade into place. In those few moments of expectant silence, I noticed there was some kind of whimpering noise coming from further down the hall. Then the door opened and the still cloaked orderly came through. He didn't see me.
I waited until the door was closed again, then I jumped, grabbing the huge man around the neck with one arm and drove my fishing knife into his left eye with the other. He didn't make a sound.
J****, Mary and Joseph... I had just killed a man. What was I doing?
I kept telling myself he would have killed me if he'd seen me. I was just defending myself. Not that I really had any choice, the deed was done. I sat there staring silently at the big man as his blood welled out of his ruined face. I quickly went through my victim's robe, looking for a weapon or something I could use. In his right front pocket he had a large ornate key. I slipped it into my hand and started off down the hall. I had to find Phoebe and get out of here.
"Too bad you hadn't been Munigan" I muttered under my breath to the corpse and turned down the hall towards the noise.
It wasn't a long corridor, but it was ancient. I had to wonder how old this accursed place really was. The walls were the same kind of dark rock I'd seen in the observation room, but not polished. The floor was worn down from what must have been centuries of use. This part of the Sanitarium was positively primeval. There were two doors ahead of me. Quickly I looked back towards the door to the central chamber checking to see if anyone was following. No one. Checking the first door, I found it to be locked. I heard the muffled noise again behind the door. I could be a voice. I listened cautiously at the door. It wasn't a clear voice, but definitely a voice. I pushed on the door... No luck. The noise inside seemed to become more insistent... I could almost make it out. High pitched... female? Phoebe?!
I pulled the key from my pocket and tried it. It fit. Once again, I looked over my shoulder down the hall... Still nothing... Carefully I unlocked the door and swung it open, ready for anything. Sure this may seem a little brash at this point, but by this time I figured whoever or whatever was in the room knew I was out here, so why stall? It was a relatively small, white and black tiled, windowless room, with electric lights. They were on. There was another door to my right. To my left, sat a great oaken desk and bookshelf, filled to the brim with really really old looking books and rolled up parchments. On the desk, besides the usual office amenities, sat a large glass jar with some sort of tiny fetus-like figure floating in it. This was too weird. The room was sort of half demonic library, half regular business office. I was just picking up the stapler looking at the standard Sanitarium files underneath, when I heard the muffled voice again... I quickly walked over to the door and creaked it open. At first I couldn't make out the interior of the room, there were no lights, but as near as I could tell, it was furnished like a bedroom. I heard another muffled grunt and swung my head towards the noise... There in the middle of the room, tied to a large bed was Phoebe!
I snapped on the lights and rushed towards her. The moment the lights came on she began to scream into the gag she had in her mouth. "Phoebe! Phoebe!" I whispered "It's me... Jim!" Her eyes focused for a second and then met mine with a tremendous look of relief. She looked horrible. Her face was a mask of fright, her limbs had been tied spread-eagled to each corner of the bed, her body stripped down to her panties and bra. Even with the horrors I'd recently witnessed, my first reaction was Jeeze she was gorgeous.
I removed the gag. Immediately she called out my name softly. "Jim.. Jim oh God!" I undid the ties to her legs and arms quickly. I looked into her beautiful eyes and asked if she was OK.
"Those girls... He was.. he was gonna... gonna..." then she broke down entirely, throwing her arms around my neck sobbing. I clenched her tight and said "I've got you now... It's going to be all right.." I bent down to kiss her and met her lips coming up. So warm and soft and urgently needing.
I don't know why we did what we did next. Maybe it was because of all the horrible things going on around us... maybe it was just to prove to ourselves that we were indeed in the arms of someone we cared for, I don't know. All I can say is the next thing I knew we were making love like teenagers in a cliche'd slasher flick. Our tongues played together as I undid her overfull bra and she unsnapped my pants. All thoughts of where we were and the horror that lay so close vanished as we coupled. There was little need for foreplay, my body mindlessly pumping into hers, her voluptuous young form gyrating beneath me, in a kind of desperation brought out of need and adrenaline.
"We've got to get out of here" I told her as I walked to the outer door and peeked outside... still nothing. "I've only got a knife, " I called back into the bedroom where Phoebe was doing her best to wrap the bed sheet around her now nearly naked form. " But I think I can deal with that Munigan thing..." I continued. "It's that thing down in the hallway that I'm not sure about..."
"You shouldn't worry about the Shoggoth Jim... It wouldn't have harmed you..." Phoebe replied.
I stared blankly at the door for a minute. What?
"You know we couldn't have done it without you... I'm so proud!"
Oh no, my mind said. "Ex..excuse me?" I stammered, walking cautiously back to the bedroom and Phoebe. "What did you... URk!" I never got to finish that question, as suddenly, strong hands gripped my arms and pinned them behind my back causing me to cry out in pain.
"Listen to 'er Jimmy Boy!" A familiar voice said behind me.
"Bob?" I managed to spit out, as I strained to see my attacker.
"Have you been properly introduced to my father Jim?" Phoebe questioned as she walked from the bedroom.
"I... I don't... Understand what's..." I stammered trying to ignore the pain. "What are you doing?!"
"What I was born to do. silly!" Phoebe cooed at me. "Just like the other girls" She was rubbing her stomach now. "We were chosen at birth to be the carriers of the first of the Elder Things to expedite their return, The only real difference is that my parents knew... raised me right and now It's all happening!"
My mind was reeling.
"Oh!" Phoebe cried as her belly began to appear swollen. My mind was still trying to grasp this all. Phoebe walked up to me and held my face in her palms. "It's simple Jim. We fifteen girls are the chosen vessels to bring the Elder Ones- the ones that created all life on Earth- back! Each of us has a part of the central hive growing inside See?" She stepped back and pulled up the sheet covering her abdomen. Already, it had swollen hugely... to the size of a woman pregnant at term, her lovely navel flattened away as the bulge visibly grew.
"This... last and most important pregnancy will insure the prober fertilization of all the others when their adult forms have grown to full size. It was only through the coupling of the two, the vessel, that's me" She blushed, running a palm over her rounding abdomen. "And the lastman- that's you darling, could bring all this forth... and now... here we are! Billions of years in the planning!" She beamed at me insanely.
I watched in horror as Phoebe's belly rapidly doubled in size, with a loud gurgle and a stretching noise. She already looked pregnant with overdue triplets.
"Now if you'll excuse me... I have to... OOOff... join the others for the birthing... Goodbye Jim." She kissed me fondly on the cheek and then, hefting the enlarging blimp of her belly, Phoebe waddled into the hall.
"No! Phoebe! They're using you! They've done something to you! Stop! You'll die!" I yelled after her.
"Save yer breath. We all die bucko!" Bob said into my ear. "That's the point... The Elders must return... to lead all terrestrial life in the war against the sleeping God Cthulhu, cursed be his name!" Bob shouted maniacly, deafening me on my right side.
They were insane That was it. It was all part of some elaborate psychotic hoax... It had to be. I struggled against his grasp on me. This couldn't be happening!
I... I had to do something!
"You really shouldn't worry though Jim. Nothing's going to harm you... Don't you get it? You're the Lastman!- Our creators... They OWE you!"
This was too much. These people were crazy! I had to get to Phoebe before it was too late and snap her out of it.
Quickly I collapsed to my knees, causing Bob to stumble forward. Then Standing up quickly, I caught his chin with the top of my head and knocked him against the wall with a loud crack. I didn't waste time to see if he was unconscious. I ran, quickly down the hall and into the great domed chamber.
The scene before me when I threw back the door is not easily conveyed. It was just not possible...
On one side stood the figure of the Munigan/Shoggoth... It's/his faces twisted into an inhuman mask of glee as he shouted out some sort of chant. On the other, there was the circle of swollen women... Their immense bellies, swollen even larger than before, a bright eldrich glow surrounding them as from the center rose what had to be Phoebe's belly. It was just unbelievable! Phoebe's abdomen was already far larger than any of the other women's bellies. I took a couple of hesitant running steps towards them and then stopped and fell to my knees.
It was all true and it was happening because of me!
I looked up at the circle of spheres, now glowing and pulsing in rhythm. I know this sounds crazy, but I could hear a loud flute-like whine building as all the impossibly round gravid bellies reached their zenith.
NO. Nonononono! my mind screamed, or maybe I screamed. This couldn't be
Then there... there was an awful popping noise... not like a balloon, but fleshy and wet. Then there it was again... and again... Oh God, their bellies were bursting before my
eyes! I... I can barely describe what I was seeing... Creatures... you understand great starfish headed creatures were bursting from those poor women. There was so much blood and waves of what must have been amniotic fluid.... Oh God!
I glanced over at the Munigan/Shoggoth still shouting out it's unholy praises, as the Elder Things began to stretch and unfurl their wings... the wash of awful fluids from the dying/birthing girls splashed over my knees and feet. I... I saw great winged shapes dart towards the vast unseen ceiling as the horrible bursting continued and... and the last thing I remember was... was the five eyes of one creature in particular staring at me... looking at me... like it... it was... was ... Thanking me.....
Don't give me another injection!
You have to hear this! Don't you understand? We've got to stop it! We had it all wrong you see? Chuthulu is rising! The Elders of old are readying for war! They only let me live because I'm the Lastman! I'm their... father!...
Can't you see? You've... we... no.. not sleep.........*
"Phew! That's a nutcase if I ever saw one!.. I really don't like having to medicate this one... poor guy... not that bad looking... he's not that old right? Creepy... all that white hair... Does he really believe that... shit Doc?"
"It doesn't matter what he believes Nurse Donavan, according to the Arkham police, Mr. Lawrence here single handedly killed over 25 people at that Sanitarium... His mentor, some staff, a security guard and 15 girls... one of which was supposedly his girlfriend... They're still looking for the bodies... The administrator back at Miskatonic Sanitarium said that he was some sort of consulting therapist... Nobody suspected a thing... I wonder if we'll ever know what pushed him over the edge..."
"What was all that stuff about Cuthu... How did he say that?"
"I'm not sure myself Nurse Donavan... the Sanitarium administrator told me he'd send what files they had to us as soon as things quieted down on the East coast... It must be getting pretty bad over there... I saw on the news that the National Guard is going to step in. Funny thing... the reports of mass-delusions coming in are similar to Mr.Lawrence's delusions... ancient monsters, hmph. Strange thing- Lawrence here, these cult riots... Maybe it's some sort of mass psychosis... Seems to be breaking out everywhere now... Almost like the panic before a real war..."
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the going is slow, but progressing😁
the going is slow, but progressing😁
The characters, the plot, the detail, oustanding work!
Anton, I've been a fan of your stories for years.
This is still an awesome, chilling story.
Keep up the good work!
This is still an awesome, chilling story.
Keep up the good work!