From the tender days of my youth, to the autumn of my years, I walked the dream landscapes of T’aren-Migh. Twisted shadows devoid of physical source to animate them crept and climbed in horrid formation along its obscure, nether corridors. From its hellish landscapes, grotesque abominations of perverse origin jutted offensively from its pus-vomited terrain, not unlike how decaying corpses might protrude from an ill-made grave.
Vile are its cities with its crumbling spires defiantly clawing through the mist-shrouded perpetual night that settles over the land. No dreamer who has ever traversed those fabled megalopolises has returned to tell of its reposing horrors. For it has been writ long ago that things too terrible for descriptive utterance shamble with nefarious intent through the grey cobbled, reddish hue, streets to steal the minds of those who enter unaware.
It was in the season of my elder years when the chill of winter nipped at the heels of fall’s harvest that I once again returned to that perilous, benighted place. I passed through the dream gates carried by mephitic winds to charnel realms. Decrepit things rejected by the grave greeted me as they lumbered in their awkward gait. I dared not look into the remnants of their mold-covered, tattered faces lest insanity abscond with my already fragmented mind. Angst gripped me. Mad, ethereal flute pipping wafting down from the stars violently blasted chunks out of reason’s foundation leaving only shards behind. He drew nigh as I came to darkened paths lit only by the sickly light of a gibbous moon feebly tearing through gnarled tree branches writhing from the putrid terrain that held them.
In horrid fascination I shuddered. In the distance atop a wildly sloping hill, he stood at the appointed time and place. His worm-gnawed shroud undulated though the noxious air remained motionless. The cold, familiar sweat that I remembered from long ago returned. Firm resolution motivated me nonetheless, even here, in this place. With each stride, the wretched fiend turned slowly toward my direction until he faced me full as I stood atop the mound. From beneath that ancient black cowl, piercing eyes forged in the fires of primal human awareness bore into the depths of my being as they had so long ago when life was a tender twig.
“Who are you? Speak!” I charged.
“I am the dagger of the mind; the false creation proceeding from the heat oppressed brain. Deceptive illusion flows from me. I am the enslaver of hope and the destroyer of dreams. I dwell in the house of madness. Disease and Anxiety are servile to my command. With me Death abides. Circumstances are mine to control in chaos for I am seated high in ascension in the hearts of men. Ultimate Darkness empowers and strengthens me to do all things in mayhem. My purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. Joy bows down before me. It dies by my sword. Peace flees from my presence. I am great and known to all.”
Silence of the grave engulfed us. Vexed screams made vocal by things unknown to the waking world came to an abrupt end, the mad, discordant flute pipping stilled – everything ceased at a single gesticulation from the one who dominates this wretched domain. An eternity lapsed.
“Fool! For your amassed education and knowledge with its profession of wisdom have you still not understood? I am Fear.”
A shrill, maddening, mocking laugh ensued by a cacophony of indescribable diabolical sounds filled the bowls of T’aren-Migh.
Once again, the Daemon of Life that bade me to the toilsome hours of existence ushered me past the dream gates of nightmare to the corporeal world for one more brief and desolate hour.
Art William L. Breach is a native born Texan from El Paso. His inspirational roots as a writer stem from the master, if not founder, of the Dark Fantasy genre — H. P. Lovecraft.