Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Here's one of my favorite stories of all I've written thus far.  It's self-edited so you may find a few errors.


Chapter 1

A Blood-curdling shriek pierces the night, on the Quadrangle, of Brown University's campus. Seconds later, Professor Charles Beauchamp, accompanied by two members of campus security, is pounding on the door of room #212 in the dormitory, Wilson Hall.

"Metcalf, Brian Metcalf, are you in there?" Professor Beauchamp yells through the door. When he receives no response, he says to one of the campus police, “You better open it up. That scream came from this room.”

The door is immediately opened, and to their astonishment, the room is empty of its occupant, only a vapor or mist hangs in the air, in its center. On the floor, is a leather-bound journal, with the seal of Brown embossed on the cover. This is standard fare from any Ivy League university's book store. Professor Beauchamp picks it up and tucks it under his arm.

"Perhaps we're mistaken, but from what Metcalf said on the phone, he sounded as though he was seriously freaking out, and on the verge of a total mental breakdown. That's why I called and asked you to accompany me to his room. Now I hardly know what to think. He may be running around campus ranting like a madman. I think you should alert campus security to search for him."

"You bet Professor. We'll get right on it. I sure hope he doesn't hurt himself or someone else," replies one of the policemen.

"He's never been a problem with us before, and he's been here nearly six years," adds the other policeman.

"Metcalf has been acting extremely peculiar of late and may have suffered a breakdown over that damned master's thesis he's been obsessing on."

"We'll do what we can and get back to you ASAP with anything that turns up."

"Great, I'm going back to my residence and look over this journal. It may give me a clue to what is making him so frantic these last few weeks."

Beauchamp leaves the two policemen standing in Metcalf's room and heads home. He lives in a brownstone, albeit a small one, the university owns and uses as staff housing. Brown owns many houses in the East Side area of Providence, that it's acquired over the years. Beauchamp's is modest; only two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and a parlor, library and kitchen downstairs. He is a bachelor and quite comfortable in the house.

He settles into his favorite leather-upholstered chair, by the fireplace, with a snifter of brandy and takes a small, digital audio recorder from his jacket pocket, and begins the following narrative:

"This is Dr. Charles Beauchamp, head of the Psychology Department at Brown University. It is October 13, 2013.

"One of my graduate students, Brian Metcalf, has been working on his master's thesis dealing with a phenomenon experienced on the internal screen of the visual matrix, i.e., what you see when you close your eyes. He had been working on the thesis for six months with everything going smoothly up until a few weeks ago, when he started showing signs of stress and mental distress.

"It started with his being late for class, in which he was acting as a student teacher. In the beginning, I was not overtly concerned. I assumed he'd been spending his nights with a certain young lady, who had made it quite clear, in class, she was particularly interested in him.

"And why not; he is well built, 26 years old, with piercing blue eyes, and a charming way. I simply thought the young lady had been keeping him up late with a college romance. That turns out to be not at all the case. It seems he was seeing the young lady for some time and then he cut it off abruptly, for no apparent reason. It is these last few weeks since the breakup that most concerns me.

"Always impeccably groomed, he now looked unkempt, unshaven, and as though hadn't slept a wink in days. He had lost weight, was constantly mumbling to himself and looking around furtively, as though he suspected he was being followed.

"I had seen this pattern before in students who had quickly become addicted to drugs.

"Metcalf, during the nearly six years he's been here at Brown, has been a model student. Never attending parties, never drinking, and spending most of his time in the libraries. When he was involved with young women, they were always like-minded and would spend much of their time in studies.

"This strange behavior began in the last weeks of September. Being concerned for my star pupil, I asked one of my other graduate students about Metcalf. I am told that he spends all his time either in the libraries, on line researching, or in his dorm working on a project that he refuses to discuss. When I asked if Metcalf had taken up drugs, I am told, 'Metcalf wouldn't take an aspirin or a drop a champagne for a toast'.

"So now, with his maniacal phone call tonight, stating that he was sure he is being drawn into the 'phosphenic realms, and the scream we heard, just before we reached his room, I see no alternative but to read through his journal, and try to unravel what is going on with this young and promising student."

Beauchamp turns off the recorder and begins to leaf through the journal from the floor in Metcalf's room.

Excerpts from the Journal of Brian Metcalf:

May 18th 2013:

I'm starting this journal to organize my research for my master's thesis. I have decided, after months of thought, to write on the inner mental screen.

What, exactly, is it, we see, when we close out eyes?

Where does it originate from?

Is this a source of belief systems and mythology?

What are the mechanics of these swirling shapes and images we see when we close our eyes?

I intend to find out.

I'll list the different aspects of this research that I must look into to clarify the true nature of this well reported but little understood Phenomenon:

1.) The physical mechanics of the human eye and its relationship to the inner screen.

2.) Is there a relationship between the inner screen and the subconscious and dreams.

3.) The psychological implications that this realm has to the Id, the ego, and the self/not-self perceptions.

4.) How this affects our perception of the outer world.

5.) The theological implications of this phenomenon.

6.) The metaphysical and Occult implications of it.

I am truly excited to begin my research. I am puzzled, however, by the seeming lack of research already done in this area.

May 21st 2013:

I have begun my research and have found some research had been done in the 1960's pertaining to the inner screen. It would seem that the phosphorescent motes, populating the inner screen, are known as phosphenes. Phosphene is described on the Internet as follows:

A phosphene is an entoptic phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye. The word phosphene comes from the Greek words phos (light) and phainein (to show). Phosphenes are flashes of light, often associated with optic neuritis, induced by movement or sound. Phosphenes can be directly induced by mechanical, electrical, or magnetic stimulation of the retina or visual cortex as well as by random firing of cells in the visual system. Phosphenes have also been reported by mediators (commonly called nimitta); people who go for long periods without visual stimulation (also known as the prisoner's cinema); or those who are using psychedelic drugs.

The nearest correlation in the external world is the effect of Dayglo paints on a black field, illuminated with a black light. There seems to have been an entire industry, in the 1960's and 1970's, based on black-light posters. Most of the art was fantastical and inspired by the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Evidently the use of hallucinogens markedly enhance the production of phosphenes and effects their organization into patterns and shapes. I am now searching the Internet for images of these posters and artwork collectively known as Psychedelic Art.

May 28th 2013:

A great week! I have started dating a terrific girl named Becky Thornton. She's a psych major too, and we have much in common. She is beautiful and intelligent, and she may be the one.

Back to the thesis, I have found a large number of images in the genre of Psychedelic Art. Many are in the black-light style, but a fair number are not. I see that some of the art is reminiscent of Tantric mandalas and the intricate religious art of the Hindus and other Eastern religions.

Is there a correlation here between the visions of the saints and Gnostic and the use of hallucinogens? Further research is needed.

In my quest for inner screen imagery, I have discovered some medieval art, by Hieronymus Bosch that could be of inner screen origins, albeit from a much suppressed, guilt-ridden mind set, typical of the overbearing influence of the Church, during those times, when every man was a sinner, and guilt and penance was the order of the day.

On an odd note, I also seem to have found some disturbing....how should I put this? I guess portraits, would best describe them, of entities that I can only assume are perceptions for the inner eye. I must look into it further.

(Note: there are entries for each day, but much of this material is off topic from the problems I seek explanations for. Much is about Metcalf's everyday life in class and his growing affection for Miss Thornton. There are pages and pages solely devoted to their growing relationship and his love for Becky. Near the end of the journal, at the time of the break-up and the culmination of Metcalf's mental problems these two themes coincide and I will report on those developments at the appropriate time. C.B.)

May 30th 2013:

I have found some exciting new areas relevant to my research. It seems that in the 1970's an Indian named Satguru Maharaj Ji made a tour of the U.S. And was teaching some sort of transcendental meditation. It involved a technique that consisted of placing the thumb and middle finger on the outer edges of the eyes, and gently pressing, while the index finger is pressed to the forehead, above and between the eyes. The third eye, as I understand it thus far, is stimulated and forms a golden oval that, with meditation, along with this technique, will, with practice, open and allow one to see with the mind's eye, similar to what is called remote viewing today. Whereas remote viewing is used to view locations in the external world, the third eye could also be used to view the spiritual realms or the astral plane, as well as the different levels of consciousness and the mind.

I find the Internet a superb research tool that leads one search to other searches only vaguely related to the original. I have not neglected the libraries at Brown and have checked out books relating to Tantric Meditation, Gnosticism, Transcendental Medication, Kundalini Yoga, Sikhism, Astral Projection, the Third Eye and Mahayana Buddhism (Zen) as well as a few books on mysticism, both the Christian mystics and Zoroastrians.

Professor Beauchamp stops dictating into his DAR and puts down the journal to answer his cellphone.

Chapter 2

"Hello, Charles Beauchamp here," he says.

"Oh Professor, I'm so worried about Brian. He seems to have disappeared!" cries a voice on the phone.

"Who is this?"

"Oh I'm sorry Professor, I am Becky Thornton. I was engaged to Brian until a few weeks ago, when he broke off the engagement for no reason he would explain. I've been heart-broken and very concerned for Brian. I think he may be going insane," Becky blurts out before breaking down into sobs.

" Easy, my dear, we should meet to discuss this. What say we have coffee in the dining hall in thirty minutes? It's nearly nine now--let's say nine-thirty," suggests Beauchamp.

" Thank you, Professor, I have to talk to someone about Brian's recent behavior. The other girls in the dorm just think he's dumped me for someone else, but I know the problem is his damned research he's been obsessing over. It's destroyed our relationship, and it's destroying him.

"I'll see you in thirty," Becky manages to convey between great shuddering sobs.

"Okay, see you then," says Beauchamp as he hangs up.

What could be going on with Metcalf, he asks himself. Becky Thornton is a delightful creature, and any man would surely have to be insane to abandon her. The mystery deepens, he thinks to himself, as he gets his coat and hat, and leaves for the rendezvous.

He enters the dining hall, orders a triple espresso and sits where he can see the door, since he is a little early, and has arrived before Becky.

When she enters, he meets her at the door, orders a coffee, the same as his, and they proceed to a secluded table.

Becky, Rebecca Thornton, has been a student at Brown for three years, after graduating from Cranston High with honors. She decided to major in psychology and has been attending Professor Beauchamp's classes ever since. It was there she had met Brian Metcalf, and soon she was infatuated with him. After dropping many hints, she would like to get together with him, he finally got the message, and they had been dating since May. They got serious, and he asked her to marry him in July. Everything was perfect, until in mid-September, when Brian began to act very strangely.

"He had gotten some old books from the John Hay Library on campus. They were about occult practices and mysticism," Becky started, "He began chanting what he called mantras, and doing meditation and go into trances. That in itself was not the problem, but he began to have disturbing visions in these trances, and sometimes wouldn't recognize me when he came out of them. It was almost as though he was sleep-walking; it was eerie. I asked him to stop, but he just laughed and said he was on the verge of a great breakthrough, in the field of psychology, and his discoveries would make him famous and rich.

"It was at this time he began to treat me coldly, no longer the loving, affectionate man I knew. It was like he was another person, at times, and at other times, he was his old self.

"Then, about a week and a half later, I was waiting for him in his room, to come out of a trance. I was using his laptop to answer some emails, when he suddenly jumps up from the lotus position, he sits in while meditating, with a maniacal look on his face. I swear, he looked possessed. He threw me down on the bed and violently raped me. He clawed at my breasts and bit my shoulder and howled like a beast when he climaxed. Then he grabbed me by the hair and roughly flipped me over and violated me from behind.

"When he was done he collapsed in a chair and left me on the bed bleeding and crying.

"He was unconscious when I ran from the room, and when I got back to the dorm, while I was debating whether to call the police, he called my cell and said he was terribly sorry for the way he had abused me, and that his research had become too dangerous for us to continue our relationship, and we should not see each other again. That was about three weeks ago. I still have bruises and soreness from his assault. Then, tonight, the campus police came to my room, asking if I had seen him. They said he was missing after some disturbance in his room.

"Professor, what is going on? What's happening to him? Can you help me find out?

"I still love him, even after what's happened and I want the old Brian back."

She took a sip of coffee and began quietly weeping.

"Becky, I will help, in any way I can, find out what's happened to Brian," said Beauchamp.

"I know he's been acting very strangely lately, and I was reading his journal, I found in his room, just when you called. It sounds as though he has delved into some pretty deep metaphysical stuff of late. All the chanting and medication may have unbalanced his mind. I dare say his assault on you is completely out of character for him. His fellows call him Milquetoast Metcalf he is so meek and gentle. Are you sure he hasn't been taking any drugs?"

"Oh no professor, he won't even have a glass of wine with me. Whatever is happening to him is a result of his research," she whimpers.

"All right then, you go home and get some rest, and I'll contact the campus police and see if they've found him. If not, I'll swing by his room and take a look at these rare books he has, and see if I can sort any of this out."

He gave Becky a reassuring hug, and they went their separate ways; she back to the dorm and he to the campus police office.

Chapter 3

The campus police had not found Brian, but had received several reports of a glowing form--some called it a ghost--at different locals around the campus. The police tried to laugh it off, but one account was reported by a hysterical young woman, who had been running, and had been assaulted by the ghost. It had torn her clothing off, below the waist, and was attempting to have intercourse with her when it just faded out. After that, the other reports seemed more feasible. Two of the sightings had been before groups of six to ten students, and all swore the apparition was real.

Beauchamp saw no connection between the incidents and Metcalf, so he requested a key to Metcalf's room. They readily complied with him although it was a breach of university policy to give out keys. He had worked with campus police on other occasions, to help solve strange happenings on campus, and a few crimes.

He went to Metcalf's room and did indeed find some strange and unusual literature.

He found a tome on Kundalini Yoga and the Chakras, that showed how to open the mind's eye and unleash something called "The Serpent Power", authored by a man called Leadbeater. A book on Tantric Mantra and sexual yoga, a treatise on astral planes and how to travel there, a book on the occult subject of Scrying and Farsight.

There was a book on how to communicate with spiritual beings in different realms, a book on Zen called "On Transmission of Mind" by Huang Po, "The Center of the Cyclone" by John Lily. The Necronomicon, a Book of Shadows by a witch who was burned in Salem, a book on opening dimensional portals, and a book on demons and angels. There were several written in a language he didn't recognize, and one that appeared to be bound in human skin. He got a shiver just touching the last, and a general sense of forbidden knowledge and evil from the lot of them. He packed them into a convenient gym bag, And, as a final thought, took Metcalf's laptop too. He left a note, should Metcalf return, stating the grave concern he felt for him and had taken the research material to try and unravel the mystery.

Across campus, a couple of lovers is walking by the athletics field enjoying the cool evening and the crescent moon. Just as they pause for a kiss they hear a sound like howling wind and static electricity crackling. This is accompanied by a long wailing moan.

Suddenly, there is a glowing oval of golden light with a silver disc in the center, surrounded by a stomach-churning Moire of phosphorescent colors. Abruptly a figure appears, attached at the forehead to the silver disc. The figure seems to float for a moment, with knees bent off the ground, held up only by contact with the silver disc. With a sickening flash, the oval and the disc disappear, and the figure drops to the ground.

Terrified, the pair quickly call campus police and send a photo, using their phone, of the figure to the police. The couple stay nearby, but not too close, until the police arrive.

The figure on the ground is obviously injured. He has gashes and flaps of skin covering his torso and limbs. His clothes are in shreds, and, in addition to the capacious blood, he seems to be covered in mucus or phlegm, great gobs of it, and it stinks with some extremely foul but unidentifiable odor.

When the police arrive, they call the paramedics, and, in a few minutes, the man is rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital. The man was cleaned up, with samples of the ichorous material saved for analysis, and found to be in relatively decent condition, contrary to first appearances.

All his injuries, although extensive, are essentially superficial, with no internal injuries, contusions or concussion, or any broken bones. After two hours of stitching and two pints of blood, the patient was resting comfortably, under sedation, in a private room.

The police, understandably, think this is Brian Metcalf, and they are correct. They contact Professor Beauchamp, as Metcalf had no relatives who could be reached, and those he has, are on the west coast. He calls Becky, and they meet with the treating physician, in the visitor's lounge.

"Hi, my name is Dr. Jawoski and I've just come from treating Mr. Metcalf."

"I'm Professor Beauchamp, and this, is Miss Thornton, Mr Metcalf's fiancee. What's the nature of Brian's injuries?"

"To tell the truth, I've never seen anything like it before. He was found covered with mucilage of some sort, and he has dozens of wounds covering his body. All the wounds were only to the skin but were extensive enough to require a few pints of blood to save him. Aside from that he has no other injuries. He required something in the range of twelve hundred stitches to patch him up. We have him sedated. If you like you can peek in on him, but he won't be awake until sometime tomorrow evening."

"You said mucilage, is that correct doctor?" asks Beauchamp.

"Yes, very puzzling. We will have it analyzed to determine what exactly it is, but right now I haven't a clue."

Beauchamp and Becky look in on Brian, and are astounded by the number of sutures and staples that cover his body. He is not in a regular hospital bed, but one of the new floatation beds, used for severe burn victims. He floats in an oxygen-rich solution suspended by lightweight slings hung from a framework over the bed. Metcalf is wearing only a very brief pair of shorts, and there is an oxygen mask covering his face. This setup allows him to heal without the weight of his body pressing down on his many wounds. A traditional bed would have caused the wounds to split open and invite infection. Luckily, St. Joseph's Hospital prided itself on its special burn victim unit, and apparently a bed had been borrowed from there.

"My god! What could have done that to him," gasps Becky, "You don't think he did that to himself do you Professor?"

"Heavens no, he couldn't have," says Beauchamp. "I can see why they heavily sedated him. I imagine he's in considerable pain. We can only pray that he recovers both in body and mind. The poor bastard looks as though he's been dragged through hell."

"How could this have happened, Professor?"

"We'll know more when we can talk to him, and analysis of the mucus, he was covered in, comes back. He's in good hands and is safe here. I suggest you get some rest, and I'll read more of his journal and try to discover what the hell has been going on."

Becky nods in agreement and the Professor calls a taxi to take her back to her dorm. He drives his old Renault back to his house and dives into the journal and the books.

Chapter 4

(Beauchamp's DAR)

Oct. 14th 2013:

"This is a continuation of the narrative begun earlier this evening. I have just returned from St Joseph's Hospital. Campus police got a call around ten thirty pm reporting a man suffering from severe lacerations. This was accompanied by a photo from the cell phone by one of the callers. The man was Brian Metcalf, and he was in dire need of emergency medical treatment. When it was sorted out, as much as it could be under such bizarre and horrific circumstances, he was admitted to St Joe's with extensive lacerations over his entire body which required over twelve hundred sutures and staples to close. When I left the hospital, shortly after 1:30 am., he was heavily sedated and not expected to awaken until early evening. Clearly, something extraordinary has happened to the boy.

"It's my hope that further study of his journal sheds some light on the subject."

(Excerpts from the Journal of Brian Metcalf continue.)

June 3rd 2013:

After reading several books on the third eye, astral travel, the spiritual realms and meditation, I intend to begin training myself to meditate, with the goal of eventually opening the third eye and doing some astral travel. It seems these things are rumored to take years to master, but I am convinced that, with scientific reasoning and methodology, I can accelerate the time it takes to achieve results. There are warnings about dangers using these techniques, but I believe much of it is superstition, and to maintain the mystery surrounding the closely-kept, secret techniques. In ancient times, when most of this lore was written, there was a belief in all manner of deities, entities, demons and spirits surrounding these practices, but this is the twenty first century and man has intellectually matured, and we are no longer afraid of things that go bump in the night.

June 9th 2013:

I have begun a strict regime of meditation and fasting. I meditate four hours in the morning before school, drink a quick protein/energy drink and do four more hours after class until Becky comes by in the evening. I visit with her for a while, perhaps eat a light salad with her, and when she leaves around ten or so, I meditate for two to three hours more.

The meditation has progressed splendidly, and I can almost go into a kind of waking trance. I have experienced a phantasmagorical array of shapes and colors, patterns and even numbers floating across my inner screen. There also seems to be shapes moving around the periphery that I can't quite bring into focus.

My attempt to open the third eye are not as successful, thus far, but I have been able to visualize the golden oval, with the silver disc at its center, but that is all. I am unable to make it congeal into the shape of an eye and to open with a view of the astral plane. I never expected this to happen quickly, and I am still hopeful that, with a few months of practice, this will be achieved.

June 14th 2013:

Things are progressing nicely on all fronts! My relationship with Becky is pure bliss. I intend to ask her to marry me on the 4th of July. I've gotten a ring, and I see no reason why she'd deny me. My meditations are hugely successful. I now slip into a deep trance in a remarkably short time and am utterly oblivious to the external world around me while in it. I think I am on the verge of some revelation of a spiritual kind. I plan to continue with these practices, meditation, and the opening of the third eye until shortly after the 4th. I will then try some of the exercises in Mr. Leadbeater's book on the Chakras and Kundalini.

July 5th 2013:

I've asked Becky to be my wife, and she said YES!! I can't believe what a lucky guy I am to be marrying her.

I have had some success with opening the third eye, but, as yet, all I see is unrecognizable landscapes. Some earthly, and others alien. I also see figures moving in the scenes, both creatures and people. It is still as though I look from a great distance, and it's difficult to bring it into focus. I have begun the Kundalini exercises which consist of meditation on each of the chakras with the intention of starting with the lowest chakra and progressing to the highest. The ultimate goal is to cycle through the chakras from lowest to highest until something called the "serpent energy" is released. This is alleged to give the ability to project the mind into higher states of consciousness and travel to spiritual realms.

July 12th 2013:

I've read all the books I've gathered up and am now convinced that all disciplines are related, in as much as, all the experiences described originate from the same place, the inner world. Oddly, the works on black magic and the occult contend that certain entities, from the inner world, can be summoned into the outer world. I must admit some skepticism, but I was also skeptical at the start about the trances and the third eye. Some of the Hindu books actually claim that certain deities, even gods, can be summoned through chanting mantras; fascinating!

As a result of the meditations, I seem to require much less sleep, only and hour or two. I'm in a constant state of heightened awareness, as though I can see one layer deeper into the visual matrix of the outer world. Colors are brighter and there are intricate patterns everywhere, that I was not aware of before. Everything seems to be alive and vibrating. Feelings and perceptions are far more intense and vibrant.

"I've read Metcalf's journal up till mid July and everything seems quite normal, except for the fact that he seems to have drifted a bit from his original plan of explaining the internal screen; but not necessarily. He is involved in researching the different historical aspects and traditions surrounding the inner world experience.

"I'll know more when I talk to him later this evening. It's well after 3:00 am, and I have a lecture at 9:00 am."

Professor Beauchamp retires, wakes, and delivers his presentation in the morning. When he's finished with his academic responsibilities, he stops by the campus security office, and tries to ascertain the circumstances in which Brian Metcalf had been found.

"It's the damnedest thing, Professor," says Toni Johnson, director of campus security, "The kids who found him swear that he just appeared out of thin air. They say he just floated for a few seconds, and then there was a flash of light that made them nauseous, and he hit the ground. They sent this picture with the call."

Ms. Johnson shows Beauchamp a computer print taken from the kids phone. It showed a figure crumpled on the ground covered with a strange yellowish/greenish muck and blood. He appeared to be wet aside from that caused by the blood and muck. There is a faint phosphorescent glow, in the orange/pink range, surrounding Metcalf and hugging his form; extending out roughly 10-12 inches.

"Wow, he sure looks a mess," Beauchamp says, "I wonder where that muck and glow comes from?"

"I don't know, but the kids swear he just appeared. First they saw a golden cloud with a hole in the center, then a silver disc appeared in the hole, and then Metcalf floating with his forehead touching the disc. Then there was quote, 'a sickening flash of light' and he hit the turf. Paramedics arrived about two minutes after my people got there. He wasn't even breathing, until, the paramedics cleared that muck, covering his face; then he inhaled with a long shuddering gasp and started breathing regularly. He was cold too; the PMs said he was very cold."

"This is the most incredible thing I've ever seen. I think I'll wander over to St Joe's and see what the lab has come up with on that muck."

"Please, let me know what you find out. This is the most baffling thing I've ever seen on campus, and believe me, I've seen some weird shit from these college students. I remember one time, in the early 70's, when I was just a rookie, this kid in Spanish Inquisition robe and hood, made of brown Naugahyde, was walking around campus with a gallon of mayonnaise that had been spiked with LSD. Well he dosed about half the campus before....."

"I'm sure it's a gripping story, Toni, but I fear current matters are more pressing," interrupts Beauchamp, "I'll call you when I find out more."

With that, he leaves to get his trusty Renault for the jaunt to St. Joseph's a few miles distant.

St. Joseph's Hospital has the most advanced group of labs in all of New England, with the exception of Boston General, with top biologists, immunologist, and toxicologists in the country working there. So, it was both a stroke of luck and a deeper mystery that a leading herpetologist was on hand for a workshop on reptile venom. He was touring the labs, when, some of the mucus or muck, that had covered Metcalf, was being viewed with the use of an electron microscope.

"This is our toxicology labs; we're proud of our new electron microscope, we've just purchased," says Saul Bergman, the Executive Director of the hospital, to Jim Eagan, the visiting herpetologist, "Say, what are you gents looking at today?"

"Not quite sure," says Truman Vang, the resident toxicologist, "We got this sample from a very strange case."

He explains how Metcalf had been found covered with it.

"Mind if I take a look?" asks Eagan.

"It appears to be mucus of some sort," injects one of the lab techies pondering the mystery.

"You boys are in luck," smirks Eagan, "I was analyzing samples much like this just last week in Phoenix. You say this guy was covered with this stuff?"

"That's right," says Vang, "He was nearly drowned in it, covered with a thick coat from head to foot."

"Wow that's very unusual."

"And why is that?" asks Vang.

"Because this mucilage is usually seen in much smaller quantities."

"But you can identify it?"

"Why, yes. If you increase the magnification you'll clearly see the masses of dead white blood cells that this is largely composed of," says Eagan.

The lab tech increases the magnification, so the individual cells were visible.

"See," says Eagan, "The shape of the cells is unmistakable, but surely you must have mixed up the samples or contaminated it somehow."

"Why do you say that?" asks Vang, a bit annoyed by the accusation of incompetence.

"Why, because this, my friends, is the lubricant that is secreted when a reptile lays eggs. It lubricates the egg canal to aid in the laying," says Eagan, "Even in large sea turtles or alligators only maybe half a pint is produced. So whatever produced the quantity you describe must have been enormous."

"What about a very large Anaconda?" Asks Vang.

"Well it would have to be very large indeed. Probably in the neighborhood of 80-100 feet laying eggs the size of watermelons."

They all just stared at the screen wordlessly pondering the possibility of a 100 foot snake, running loose on the East Side.

Chapter 5

Beauchamp arrives at the hospital and is met at the desk by Vang. He told the story of the analysis of the mucus.

"My God, there has to be some mistake Vang!"

"I wish there was Professor. We doubted it too, so we logged on to the species identification data base, maintained by the Smithsonian, and found the identical stuff. We managed to narrow the identification to monitor lizards. The match was nearly perfect, close enough to where there is no doubt whatsoever that it came from an extraordinarily large lizard.

"There is one thing, though, when I say the match is nearly perfect, although the sample we have, and the one at the Smithsonian, are identical, they are mirror images of themselves. The chains of organic molecules, on which they are composed, are arranged on the carbon ring diametrically opposite. We've never run into this before, Professor, Where did it come from?"

"I wish I knew, Vang, I wish I knew."

Vang just walks away shaking his head. Beauchamp goes to the third-floor office of Dr. Jawoski. He taps on the door and is invited in.

"Hi doc, how's Mr Metcalf doing today?"

"Hello Professor," says Dr. Jawoski, "Very hard to tell at this point. There have been a few developments over night. Our patient seems to be healing at an accelerated rate, but, he is running a high fever. Some of the wounds are nearly healed, in fact, most of them, with the exception of the one on his forehead. That one seems to be infected, and may be ulcerating the skull below it. We may have to operate and excise the thing. A Very unusual case."

"It would seem everything about this case is highly irregular. Will he be waking later this afternoon?"

"I do believe so, unless that head wound infection gets into his brain; then he may lapse into a coma. But we'll try our best to prevent that from happening."

"I'll check back around dinner time and see how things are progressing."

"Great Professor, thanks for stopping by."

Beauchamp left Jawoski's office a troubled man. This was turning into some sort of Lovecraftian horror show. He didn't like it a bit. Out of desperation, he stops by the office of his colleague, a professor of Eastern Studies.

Professor Mohararabadim is an old Brahman from India. He is an expert on eastern religions and spiritualism.

Professor Mohararabadim is an unusual character. He dresses like a refugee from the 1970's with wide collars, lapels and ties. He usually wears a pair of bell-bottoms polyester pants patterned in one type of brown plaid or another and always a bit too short for his 6' 2" frame. He always wears a stripped shirt and a Paisley vest, and a sport jacket with suede patches on the elbows. This is topped off with a blue turban with a ruby broach at the front. On his feet, he wears black boots with raised heels and zippers, commonly know as "Beatle Boots". He is in his 80's, but could pass for his 40's, on a good day. He has been at Brown as long as Beauchamp can remember, who had been there for 16 years.

Perhaps Mohararabadim would shed some light on the Metcalf situation, or so he hoped.

Mo (Mohararabadim's nick name) was sitting in a sunny window enjoying a smoke in his Meerschaum pipe. It smells as though he was taking a bit of ganja after lunch.

"What in the hell are you smoking?" asked Beauchamp.

"Just a little something for my glaucoma, perfectly legal I assure you," he answers and giggles a little. "What brings you to my lowly office, Professor Beauchamp?"

"Well Mo, I have a grad student that has been acting very strangely, and has had some sort of accident. I thought you may shed some light on the problem, since it includes meditation, chakras, and kundalini, as well as a little Zen, and maybe black magic."

"Oh, Professor B, that is a vedy, vedy bad combination of metaphysics to be tampering with. Kundalini alone is very dangerous indeed."

"How so, Mo? I thought all those meditation techniques were relatively harmless."

"Not true, Professor B. Many have been outlawed in my country. I'm sure you're aware that Dervishism and Shiva worship were banned nearly 100 years ago, and other, lesser known practices have also been outlawed. Some are vedy evil, others are just too dangerous to the practitioners. If this young man has gotten involved with the wrong combination of techniques, his life may be in considerable danger.

"The cult of Kali turns men into mindless slaves to the priests who are possessed by demons. There are many evil entities to be encountered in the mystical realms. They are vedy cunning and not easily avoided. Once one of them fixates on a pilgrim, they are vedy difficult to be rid of. The elimination of such entities is vedy costly and not always successful. Many times the person must die to be free. According mythology in the Mahabharata, a famous battle was fought, many thousands of years ago, to expel such demons from theis world. The Victors, Lord Krishna and Arajuna, drove them all into the astral world. They are still there and always eager to return.

"That world was occupied by even older, more evil, alien gods, from before the time of man. These gods are so powerful and evil the demons are terrified and are desperate to get back into this world. These elder gods are not from here, I mean to say, not from the astral world linked to the minds of men. They are invaders from another dimensional universe. Their goal, just as the demons, is to break into the physical world and twist the universe to their will. Certain rituals and practices can open a gateway, so both they and the demons can enter the physical world. If an odd demon, here and there, gets through, it's not so bad, except for the person possessed. But were one of the 'Old Ones', the Eldritch Gods, get through it has the power to keep the gateway open and that will lead to the end of everything."

"Wow, that's some heavy shit. Surely none of that involves my grad student, Mo."

"I have seen proof of some vedy unusual things, in my eighty-seven years, in this world, Professor B., and I have felt a powerful ripple running through this world, from the other, in just these past few days. Something vedy much unwanted is trying to happen."

"You're scaring the shit out of me Mo," says Beauchamp, "In fact, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that Metcalf is dabbling in waters way over his head."

Beauchamp relates the events of the last day to Mo, and the old Brahman sits quietly for a few minutes, puffing on his Meerschaum. Finally, he speaks in a low tone, almost a whisper.

"Professor B., I can tell you what is happening to this Metcalf person. He has attracted the attention of both demons and one of the Old Ones. Let me explain. It would seem that he was pulled into the astral plane, through the powers of an Eldritch God, the demons are too weak to do this. They are, however, capable of possessing flesh. That is where the wounds are from. Each injury is where a demon has entered his flesh while in the astral world. This man may have had many demons in his body at one point. The viscous mucus that covered him, is from the body of one of the old gods, who tried to be born into his flesh and to manifest in this world. Perhaps the fact his flesh was already violated by the demons, when this attempt was made, caused all involved to fail and when Metcalf was expelled from the belly of the Old God, he may have come back alone. The festering wound on his forehead is from both the demons and the old one, trying to maintain their connection to the flesh, through the third eye, so they can make another attempted break through into the physical world. This young man is doomed, he must be killed at once, to prevent any disaster from happening."

"Surely there must be some other way to deal with this. We don't even know for sure that what I said is true. We can't just kill students based on wild theory."

"Actually it happens quite often around the world. Not so much in America, but in the poorer countries, where evil has a greater opportunity to enter the world, many, many people are killed each year for just such reasons. The last time the old ones were loose in the world they were responsible for the destruction of all the sentient species on this planet. Man evolved after they were expelled and much time had passed. They must not be allowed access to this world, through your student, Metcalf.

"Perhaps Professor B, God will take care of this problem, and the young man's fever will kill him, before the evil ones can muster the energy for another assault."

He goes to a book shelf and pulls down an ancient tome written in Sanskrit, and pores over several tables and charts within it. He turns to Beauchamp and continues.

"The astronomical conditions, for another attempt, will be vedy, vedy favorable, in just three days time. Unless the young man has died before then, they will have the most favorable conditions to open the gateway that has occurred in the last twenty-three hundred years. It would seem, Professor B, that Mr. Metcalf chose the most unfavorable of times to begin his studies. He couldn't have chosen a worst time if he tried. You look very pale, Professor B, perhaps you need to have a cup of Chai and a few puffs on my Meerschaum."

Beauchamp gets back from Mohararabadim's office and goes to his small bar set up on an antique sideboard in his library. His hand trembles as he pours a generous amount, of his strongest liquor, into a glass. He downs it in a single gulp and collapses into his favorite chair. It's early afternoon, but he feels like he hasn't slept in years. Was it truly only last night that this nightmare began? How could Metcalf have gotten himself in such a mess, in the course of routine research? Something else must have happened to explain it. He returns to Metcalf's journal to try and find a clue.

Chapter 6

July 17th 2013:

Another breakthrough. I have actually made contact with an entity from the astral plane!

He's a small blue fellow dressed like something from a Bollywood video, with the embroidered vest, pantaloons, slippers and jewelry. I did not have a conversation with him, he just dances before my gaze. With each movement of his dance, he pauses for an instant, and when he does, it seems that a ripple, as with a stone cast into a pond, but on the vertical, would emanate from him and spread through all the universe. I feel that each ripple is a wave of the creative force of the universe and that his dance is an ongoing re-creation of space and time, with all its diversity and grandeur.

Becky gave me a splendid, hand-woven, wool rug, with an elaborate five point mandala in it. It is much more comfortable to meditate on the rug than the cold floor.

July 23rd 2013:

I have not seen any other entities in the astral world, nor has the blue being returned. I have been practicing the Kundalini exercises and actually feel a power rising up my spine. That is supposedly a sign of the serpent power rising. My third eye has stabilized to the point where I can effectively will it into being, with just a few minutes of concentration.

Becky has begun to spend more time with me while I meditate, and it's tremendously gratifying to come out of a trance and see her smiling face.

Aug 1st 2013

I am beginning to experience some strange phenomenon during my non-meditation times. It would seem, that, when I close my eyes, in the course of normal activities, there are eyes and faces watching me from the astral realm. Just this morning, I closed my eyes for a second and was startled when I was confronted with the visage of some sort of demonic creature, on my inner screen. He was remarkably close, as though we were nose to nose. It was oddly disquieting. In fact, it scared the hell out of me.

Aug 9th 2013:

I am spending more time in a meditative trance, and am getting more concerned by the leering faces, that manifest when I am not meditating. It's as though I have counter-parts in the astral world, who are meditating on this world, and vicariously viewing it through me. Some are peaceful and pleasant looking, others are horrendous abominations of the human form. I am now getting hardly any rest as the faces disturb me when I try to sleep.

Aug 19th 2013:

I am still plagued by the faces, but have become somewhat accustomed to their presence. There has been no communications between us. They neither try to speak to me or interact in any way. They may just be hallucinations on my part. At least I have managed to get some sleep. During my meditations, I have been to many wondrous places, some of which seem to coincide with places in the real world, such as Tibet and the upper Indus valley, in northern India and Pakistan.

Aug 23rd 2013:

Another breakthrough!! I have undoubtedly experienced the release of the serpent or kundalini energy. I believe it is what is known as satori in Zen. I am now in a state of consciousness I can only call enlightenment. I can sense the gods and spirits in all things and all around me. Everything seems to be a part of a Great Oneness. I see the cohesive order of all things, as part of the whole. It is a truly joyous and glorious feeling.

Aug 29th 2013:

I feel as though I am losing myself!! I may be going mad!!! One of the faces has become malevolent and has actually tried to enter me through my third eye. I cannot determine if this is real or imaginary. I don't have a clue as to how to deal with this. There also seems to be something more sinister, lurking around the edges of awareness, that seems to be drawn to my consciousness. Chanting Tantric Mantras seem to drive them both away, for a while, but as soon as I stop, they return. I don't know what I'd do without Becky's support. It seems she is always there when I come out of a trance.

The phone rings, and Beauchamp closes the journal to answer.

"Hello, Beauchamp here."

"Professor B., I have done a bit more research since our talk this noontime. I suspect there is more going on with your Mr. Metcalf than meets the eye."

"What do you mean, Mo?"

I suspect he is being manipulated by some outside forces, perhaps a cult of some sort, who worship evil. Do you know of any cultists here on campus?"

"None that I'm aware of. Why do you say that?"

"Because, after some thought, I believe Mr. Metcalf could not have gotten into the mess he is in by just his own actions. Some other dark force is using him, as a conduit, to open the gateway, I fear. I have some little knowledge of these matters.

"I have a book, I wish to show you, that concerns demonic possession in India. Please to come by my office for some Chai and we will discuss this further. I do not like to say too much on the cell phones. Any techie can eavesdrop on a conversation. That could be bad, vedy, vedy bad."

"I'll stop by after I see about Metcalf. I'll be there shortly."

He hangs up and drives to St. Joseph's Hospital where he is met in the lobby by Jawoski.

"Hi doc, how is Brian doing?"

"Not too good, I'm afraid. Oh most of his wounds seem to be nearly healed, which in itself is miraculous, but the one on his forehead has turned a livid purple and looks as though it is about to burst. He is semi-conscious and delirious. He keeps chanting the same phrase over and over. It's in a language I can't understand."

"Can I see him?"

"I don't see why not. His girlfriend is in there now, she arrived a short time ago."

"OK, thanks Doc. I'll go on up."

Beauchamp takes the elevator to the third floor. When he gets to Metcalf's door, he hears voices and hesitates a moment. He can hear Metcalf chanting a mantra, and it seems Becky is saying a prayer, in Latin, at the same time. He taps on the door and enters.

Becky has brought Brian's prayer rug and has it laid out, under the bed. She is leaning over Brian, and has removed the bandage on his forehead. She has a small jar of some unguent, that she is gently massaging into the wound. As soon as the door opens, she jumps, stops praying and quickly puts the jar in her purse.

"You startled me Professor, I was just checking to see how Brian's head was doing."

Beauchamp looks at the wound on Metcalf's forehead. It is red and purple, like a bruise, and has swollen into a half-round mound. It has a row of stitches running horizontally from one side to the other. It strikes Beauchamp how much it looks like an eye, that is blackened and swollen shut, with the lids stitched together.

'My that looks nasty. What was that you were rubbing on it Becky?" he asks.

"Oh just an ointment I picked up at the health food store downtown. I used it on bruises and cut before, and it seems to work wonders."

"May I see it?" asks Beauchamp.

"Sorry Professor, I'm running late for a bus back to campus for a class. I'll let you check it out another time. Gotta go, see ya," she says with a smile and is gone.

Metcalf is not doing well. He is on an I.V. Drip that Beauchamp assumes is laced with antibiotics and is in restraints. He mumbles a chant over and over, but will not or can not open his eyes, if spoken to. He is thrashing about and seems to be sweating buckets. Beauchamp hits the button to call a nurse.

"How long has he been like this?" asks a nurse as she rushes in.

"I don't know I just got here. He certainly seems to be in distress."

"He was fine twenty minutes ago, when I did my rounds. Patients have their ups and downs very quickly sometimes."

Beauchamp touches Metcalf's forehead and gets a dab of the ointment Becky had applied to the wound. It is greasy and orange colored and has a rancid fat odor to it when he gives it a sniff. He wipes it on his handkerchief and jams it in his pocket.

The nurse gently pushes Beauchamp out of the room, as several medical personnel rush in.

"Come back in the morning and see how he is doing, but you must leave now," she says with an understanding look.

Beauchamp leaves the hospital gravely concerned by Metcalf's condition. Seeing he can do nothing here, he leaves to meet with Professor Mohararabadim.

Chapter 7

Professor Mohararabadim has a fresh pot of Chai, and English China cups and saucers set out when he arrives. He pours a cup for Beauchamp and himself, and says, "Professor B, I am vedy much concerned that another person or persons unknown are using poor Mr. Metcalf, for their evil endeavors. Since this morning, I have been through many of my books on the occult, and am certain that this is the case."

"The question is who could be using Metcalf? The only people he associates with are me and his fiancee, until the breakup nearly a month ago."

"It may be someone whom he doesn't know, that is secretly doing evil to him. He may have caught the attention of someone, at a library, who noticed the type of books he was checking out. There are some unusual persons that frequent the John Hay Library, where he got some of his books.

"All I know is this, Professor B, the combination of Eastern Mysticism and Western Occult can be a vedy, vedy powerful evil.

"I think we must do a little detective work, to discover who is using Metcalf, Professor B., and we don't have long until the optimum time to open the gateway. We must do whatever is necessary to prevent that from happening. We can expect no help from anyone in this matter, they are all either non-believers or suspect."

"I wouldn't know where to begin, Mo. Any suggestions?"

"We know it must be someone who can get near him, perhaps someone from the hospital, who crossed paths with him in the library. I know that to complete this opening of the gateway they will have to be near him for the next 48 hours. They will have to be reciting incantations during their time near him."

"Hey, wait a minute, Becky was saying something in Latin or some similar language and rubbing a salve on his forehead when I entered his room earlier. You don't think it's her, do you? I thought she was praying for him."

"Rubbing a salve on his forehead? Over the third eye? That may vedy well be the source of the problem. Where is this salve she was using and what was she saying in Latin?"

"You know it was the damnedest thing. It sounded like Latin, but I couldn't make it out. I asked her about the ointment, and she hastily put it in here purse and ran off.

"Oh wait, I got some of it on my finger and wiped in on my handkerchief. It smelled like rancid fat and was an orange color. I wonder if there's enough on my handkerchief to get it analyzed. I'll have to check with St. Joe's."

"That is vedy fascinating Professor B.. We must watch the Becky person vedy closely.

"I have several students I can rely on to surveil this Becky person for the next two days. They will report her every movement. They are from my village in India, and our families have known each other for generations. One is engaged to my niece."

"Tell them to be careful, Mo," said Beauchamp, "We don't know what we're dealing with here."

Chapter 8

Becky hurries down a deserted, burned out street in South Providence to an ancient Brownstone church, with all the windows boarded over. This is an area of desolation. Many of the buildings have been burned down over the years, and the area is unoccupied for blocks, with the exception of a few warehouses, some industrial businesses, and the homeless. It is urban blight at it's worst and successive corrupt city governments have ignored the problem for decades.

She goes up to the massive front door secured with a large padlock and inserts a key. Although the lock looks old and battered, it works smoothly.

Once inside she hurries towards the altar where there are several occult artifacts arranged around a statue of some misshapen horror, obviously the object of worship in this desecrated church. There are a few figures attending to the lighting and replacing candles, the recharging of incense braziers and the general maintenance of the church. Although the outside is a shambles, the interior is in superb condition. She hurries toward a figure near the altar who is attending to the statue of the monstrosity they worship. He is an old man who, at one time, must have been quite tall but was now hunched over and wizened.

"Becky, how delightful to see you, my dear," he rasps and kisses her on the cheek. "How goes the great work?"

"All goes according to plan, Master Thoth. I applied the unguent to the third eye as you instructed, and placed the rug under his bed. The eye looks to be nearly completely formed, and I am sure we can open it, at the appointed time."

"And are you ready too? Are you ready to give birth to the Ancient One, a god so old the he was worshiped before the advent of man?" asks Thoth as he freely examines her body, running his hand up her thighs to where they meet.

"Oh yes, " She gasps, "I hunger for the god to enter me and become flesh."

"Wonderful my dear, you will be the mother of a new age. No one suspects a thing, do they?"

"No, the only person even remotely interested in Metcalf is that nosy Professor Beauchamp, and he is a fool. He thinks all that has happened is due to Metcalf's dabbling in Eastern Mysticism. He hasn't a clue."

Thoth viciously tightens his hold between her legs and simultaneously grab her throat.

"Be very sure he doesn't. Many attempts have been made to open the portal, and all have failed. I have spent centuries preparing for this event and if it fails our punishment will be great. One opportunity like this comes but every two millennium. Although there have been other favorable times this is the most likely to succeed," he whispers through blackened teeth, his breath carrying the stench of carrion.

"Have no fear Master," she replies boldly, looking him straight in the eye, "I have been prepared for this my whole life, in fact, I was born for this event. I will not fail."

He releases her and smiles, "Good, good my dear, just as it should be."

"I go now to prepare for tomorrow night when the Ancient One will pass, through me, into this world."

Becky leaves the derelict church and hurries back to the East Side dorm, where she lives, on the Brown campus. It is there she picks up the tail that Professor Mohararabadim had arranged. She is confident in her action and begins the final preparations for the next evening. She has one gristly task to do, resupply her ingredients for the unguent that will open the gateway, through Metcalf's third eye, so the Ancient One can enter her body. There, she will nurture him, and he will be born into the physical world. She has all the herbs, which were extremely difficult to come by, and now all she needs is semen, blood and human fat.

"Human fat? How on earth did she make a salve using human fat?" asks Beauchamp.

"I can think of several, none of them pretty," replied Vang, "She could have gotten it from a cadaver in the medical school, dug through the hazardous waste from a liposuction clinic, or killed someone to get it."

Beauchamp had left Professor Mohararabadim and returned to the hospital to give his sample of the salve to Vang for analysis.

"There is also human sperm and blood in this, as well as a concoction of several types of finely-ground vegetable matter."

"What kind of ointment would these ingredients make and what would it be used for?"

"Professor, I Haven't a clue, surely not medicinally, it has far too many bio-hazards in it to serve any medical purpose. With the ingredients, I'm getting from this, I would say it maybe some sort of folk cure or...?" says Vang.

"What about occultists, would they use something like this?"

"Very possible, it could be associated with witchcraft; very likely, in fact, now that you mention it."

Becky leaves her dorm, and gets the bus to Kennedy Plaza, where she transfers to the Westminster Ave. Route. It's late afternoon, and she knows the waste disposal company won't pick up the hazardous waste container, behind the abortion clinic, until 1:30 am. This gives her plenty of time to find a late-term aborted fetus or three, that will provide her with the unchristened baby fat she needs for her recipe. She has gotten what she needed here before and had a key made from the serial number on the padlock that secures the bio-hazard container.

She smiles to herself every time she thinks how easy it was to walk into a locksmith's shop and say she'd lost the keys, but this is the number on her lock. They never question a pretty young blonde with that story.

She sits on the bench at the bus stop, across the street, and watches as the last staff member to leave, locks up the clinic.

She has all the tools she needs to do her ghoulish task: a scalpel, a scoop that one would use to make melon balls, rubber gloves and some zip-lock plastic bags. All the hazardous material is locked in a large red container, with bio-hazard warnings all over it. The waste is always sealed in individual zip-lock bags, in the container, from each "incident" that generates such waste, so all she has to do is look through the bags till she finds what she needs.

This she does. The one she finds is a the late termination she was hoping for. Clearly it had been aborted due to massive birth defects and deformities. She wastes no time in opening the bag slicing through the skin on the stomach and scooping out the bright orange fat.

She finishes quickly, re-locks the container, and is back at the bus stop, on the clinic side of the street, in time to catch the same bus back downtown. She never notices the beat-up bronze-colored Toyota that has followed her from the campus, nor the clean-cut young Indian who surreptitiously observed her activity behind the clinic.

"Yes, yes, Professor Mohararabadim, it was vedy disturbing. She cut open the fetus, which itself was a monster, and scooped something from its stomach. I will send you the photos from my phone. One would have to be vedy evil to do such a thing."

"Good work. Please try not to lose sight of her. This is vedy important. We must know her whereabouts constantly for the next 48 hours."

"I understand Professor, I will not fail," he says and hangs up.

He follows the bus to the Plaza, watches Becky walk to the Outlet Co. department store, and enter through the front door.

Chapter 9

Beauchamp returns home and sits in his favorite chair by the fireplace, his mind reeling from the events of the last two days. He decides to try and get through the rest of Metcalf's journal and see what else can be gleamed from its pages, before the next inevitable intrusion.

Sept 3rd 2013:

I have begun to lose track of time. Just today, I was meditating and chanting, and went into a trance. It was quite restful and enjoyable, a welcome respite from the haunting phantoms that malign me when not meditating. The odd thing is that when I came out of the trance I was not in my dorm but in the library, reading a book on the opening of dimensional portals through witchcraft. I have no idea how I got there and when I looked at my watch it showed five hours had passed. I found this terribly disturbing, I talked to Becky, and she said I had come out of the trance, as usual, and told her, I had to check a few things at the library. She said I appeared perfectly normal. Most interesting.

Sept 9th 2013:

I have clearly seen that there is, in fact, a vast, hideous entity in the background of my inner perceptions. It seems to be in conflict with the demonic faces that are always at the forefront. I have tried to stop all meditation and avoid the trances, but it is so ingrained into my behavior, that as soon as I relax or attempt to rest, I fall into a meditative state. Today I was in my dorm, then suddenly I was on the Quad, and I could not account for two hours time. I was late for class because of it.

On another note, I have noticed that the prayer rug Becky gave me seems to have some subconscious attraction for me. If I look at it, it seems to faintly glow and draw me to it. It has an unnerving aura about it that feels malevolent. I must remember to put it in the closet to break my preoccupation with it.

Sept 16th 2013:

I have gone mad!! I was working on my paper, researching the mechanism of the eye, in regard to the production of phosphenes, while the eye is closed, and suddenly, I was violently raping Becky. I had entirely lost control, and fear I am possessed by one of the demons, that have been trying to enter my body and mind, from the phosphenic plane. I have been forced to break my engagement with Becky, as I can no longer assure her safety, from me, when I am in one of my possessed trances.

Such a bright and promising future I had envisioned, just a few months ago, and now my life is in shambles, in fact, I can no longer assume that it even is my life anymore, What can I do?

(Metcalf's handwriting has become more and more difficult to understand. The last few pages almost unintelligible. It appears to have been written by someone trembling badly.)

Sept 23rd 2013:

I am in hell!! Not only am I possessed by a demon, but the monstrous thing, on the phosphenic plane, has actually torn me from this world, and drawn me into its own. There seems a battle for possession of me, between it and the demon. If the demon seizes control of me, then the entity can pull me into the phosphenic plane, using the demon as a conduit between the two realms. The demon seems maniacally obsessed for violent sex, with any female he comes in contact with. I have been a mere observer to these events, a passenger in my own body. When the demon and myself near sexual climax, it is then the vast entity can tear us both from this world into the other. I fear sleep; as soon as I do the demon takes me. My only defense is to chant a mantra. But how long can I do that before I collapse from exhaustion? Is there no way out of this nightmare? If no alternative occurs to me soon, I fear I must take the only path left to me, to escape this madness.

Beauchamp is once again interrupted in his reading by his cell phone.

"Beauchamp here."

Professor B., I have just gotten a vedy disturbing report and photos of Ms. Thornton doing vedy evil things."

"What did she do, Mo?"

"She went to the Abortion Clinic on Westminster Ave. at closing, broke into the hazardous waste container and took what appeared to be fat from the body of a deformed fetus."

"That's horrible, Mo. I talked to Vang at St. Joe's, and he was able to identify human fat, semen, and blood in the sample of the salve Becky used on Metcalf."

"Those are ingredients used for dark and evil magics, Professor B.. There is no doubt that Ms. Thornton is the missing piece of this puzzle. It is she who is influencing Metcalf in a vedy negative way."

"I'll call the hospital and talk to Dr. Jawoski. She must not be allowed near Metcalf. Then I'll call the police and report this."

"Professor B., this is not a police matter; they can do nothing. They could arrest Ms. Thornton, for tampering with hazardous waste, but that will tip her and her associates off that we are on to them. You must inform our Doctor friend that he must instruct the staff that Metcalf have no visitors, specifically Ms. Thornton."

"Yes, you're right of course, Mo."

"We must prepare for tomorrow night when Ms. Thornton and her associates will attempt to open the gateway and unleash the Ancient One. This must be prevented by any and all means."

"I'm nearly through Metcalf's Journal. I'll read the last few pages, then come by your office, so we can work out a game plan."

"Vedy well, Professor B. I will have some fresh Chai ready as well as a bit of ganga to calm the nerves. See you then," said Professor Mohararabadim and hung up.

Beauchamp makes a quick call to Dr. Jawoski, and then opens Metcalf's journal to the last few pages.

Oct 7th 2013:

Things seem to have calmed down since I've had thoughts of suicide in my mind. It would seem that both the demon and the entity do not wish me to harm their only link to the real world. They have backed off but are still present. It feels as though they are biding their time, in anticipation of something that will happen soon. I still fear to relax or sleep. My physical health is suffering for it. I may have a plan to rid myself of this curse. I will talk to Professor Beauchamp and ask his advice. There may be some drug that will suppress my perceptions of those horrors. I am now convinced they are real, and I am not mad, although this knowledge has brought me to the brink of insanity.

Oct 13th 2013:

The last 24 hours have been the worst so far, the demon has come for me. He has taken possession 3 times in the last day. I have nearly been drawn into the phosphenic realm twice. I know the entity’s next attempt will succeed; he grows stronger with every attempt. I must call Professor Beauchamp now, while I still have some control. I can feel the demon rising, trying to gain control as I write these words. Soon he will have me again. Then the entity will attempt to......

(End of Metcalf's Journal)

Beauchamp closes the journal and recalls the last call Metcalf made to him. Metcalf had been raving, on the verge of mental collapse.

"Professor they are pulling me into the phosphenic realm, and I can't stop it. I need your help. You must come now, and sedate me, so I cannot become conscious. That will stop them for a little while. Hurry!" he hung up and Beauchamp had rushed to his dorm room to hear a horrific scream just outside Metcalf's window.

Chapter 10

Becky has spotted her shadow, and has a plan to be rid of him, and to get the last two ingredients for her unguent. She has seen him follow her into the store.

The Outlet Co. is an immense upscale department store that covers an entire block in downtown Providence. It has egress on all four sides and three entries on two of the side.

She exits on the backside of the block and waits for her tail to exit. When he does she injects him, with a syringe she has secreted in her purse. It contains a drug cocktail that renders her victim docile and unable to resist any command she gives.

She has injected him, in the side of the neck, and it takes barely 15 seconds for the drug to take effect. It's effect literally reduces him to a zombie with no will of his own. His eyes are glazed, and he shows no desire to do anything except what he is told.

"Take me to your car, I need a ride back to campus," says Becky.

"Yesss..." he barely replies.

Becky decides it's best if she drive when they get to the car, as he is too out of it to do so safely. She could ill afford to get in a wreak so close to the time of the big event.

"Want to go out to Blackstone Blvd. And make out? I know a dirt road that runs behind Swan Point Cemetery, that's great for necking," says Becky.

"Do I?" he asks.

"Yes you do. We'll have a great time."

"A great time," he parrots.

Becky drives to the spot. It is where the grounds keepers go to dump cuttings, plants and flowers left by the bereaved. She parks the car in an out of the way spot that can't be seen by the road used by the landscapers.

"You want to have sex with me very badly. You are terribly aroused by my beautiful breasts," she says as she removes her blouse.

"Beautiful breasts," he mumbles.

She removes a zip-lock bag and the scalpel from her purse.

"Pull down your pants and masturbate for me, while you admire my beautiful breasts."

The young man does as she commands.

"You are very excited but must not cum until I say you can. Then you will have a massive ejaculation. But only on my command do you understand?"

"Yes." he mumbles.

"Good, now proceed and when I say 'go' you will have the most intense orgasm and the biggest ejaculation of your life. Use your other hand to feel my breasts. That's it, you can feel the pressure building, building, you can hardly stand it, but you cannot release until I say the word."

Becky holds the bag close to him and with the scalpel in the other hand watches as the stress on the face of the young man builds. He is quivering and sweating profusely.

"I am about to say the word. When I do you will feel the most wonderful sensation ever in your life. You may feel a sudden burning on your thigh but only for a moment and it will only increase your pleasure. Do you understand?"

"Yes," he moans.

"Good now get ready I am about to say the word. One, two, three, go!!"

As she says the word and he begins to ejaculate, she slices the femoral artery in his inner thigh. She catches his semen in the bag and tops it off with the spurting blood.

"That was wonderful, and now you are very tired and need to take a short nap. You will now go to sleep and when you awaken you will be in Nirvana."

The young man closes his eyes and begins to snore as his life bleeds out. Becky gets out and replaces her blouse. She climbs the rock wall behind the car, that leads to the cemetery. She has carefully zipped her plastic bag and tucked it into a secret compartment in her purse. She cuts across the cemetery and exits on the far side, near a bus stop, where she can catch a bus that will take her back to Thayer St. and Brown.

Beauchamp arrives at Professor Mohararabadim's office and sits down with him for a cup of chai. He fills Mo in on what he's learned from the last entries in Metcalf's journal.

"Professor B., tomorrow night will be vedy dangerous. You must understand that lives may be lost. Nothing can stop us from preventing the gateway opening. Are you prepared to kill if necessary?"

"I hadn't considered that aspect, do really think it could come to that?"

"Most definitely. These people, of which Becky is only one, are vedy evil and will not hesitate to kill us, if we try to interrupt their rituals. We must be prepared to do the same. I have several dedicated associates who are willing to kill or die to prevent such evil into the world; they will assist us."

"What do you think will happen, MO?"

"I think they will try to kidnap Metcalf tonight and take him to their temple or whatever they call the place they use to worship this ancient one. The ritual to open the gateway will take place tomorrow night at midnight. One of my students has provided me with a radio-tracking device. We must insert this under the skin on Metcalf's arm in the event they manage to get away with him and elude us. This we must do now. Let us go to the hospital."

They hurry out and get into Professor Mohararabadim's car, and old Ford Lincoln.

"We will keep a watch, an armed man, at the hospital tonight. He will check in each half hour, and if he is just five minutes late, we will active the tracking device and rush to the hospital," said Mo. "The young man trailing Ms. Thornton has failed to make contact at the designated time, and I fear for his safety. She may have discovered she was being followed and done something vedy bad to him."

"Surely you don't think he's met with foul play?"

"Indeed I do, Professor B. These worshipers of the Old Ones think nothing of killing to keep their secrets."

"What do you plan to do?"

"I have a techie, who assures me, he can track the young man through his cell phone. He is working on that now, and when they find him, I fear he will be dead. Then, Professor B, you will know how vedy serious this business is."

Beauchamp is silent for the rest of the trip to the hospital. Once inside they go directly to Metcalf's room. There is a large, young Seik at the door, who greets them in Indian fashion, putting his hands together and bowing his head, then he opens the door for them.

Metcalf is in much the same condition he was before. Mumbling his mantras in a delirious, semi-conscious state. Professor Mohararabadim is prepared to insert the tracker quickly. He has a small kit with a scalpel, a small capsule that was the tracker, an alcohol wipe, cotton gauze and a needle and suture ready. He deftly swabs a spot on Metcalf's upper arm, makes a small incision that Metcalf never responds to, inserts the capsule under the skin and puts in two quick stitches to close the wound. He is done so fast the wound never gets a chance to bleed. With Metcalf's 1200 other sutures and staples, two more will never be noticed. They are in and out of the hospital in ten minutes.

On the journey back, Beauchamp is impressed when Mohararabadim takes a dash-top navigator from his pocket and sticks it to the dash and turns it on. It shows a map of the area with a blinking red dot at the spot where the hospital is.

"I didn't know those things can do that," says Beauchamp.

"Oh yes, there is a company in partners with the manufacturer of this device that sells tracking devices for pet owners. So if your dog gets out of the yard, you can find him."

"You mean we just put a pet tracker in Metcalf?"

"Yes indeed, Professor B., No custom spy gear, just something off the shelf at Petco," he answers with a smile.

Chapter 11

Becky is back at her dorm within twenty minutes of exiting the cemetery. She quickly sets up her altar and the ingredients for her unguent. She strips naked and makes her pentacle. She cooks up the unbaptized infant fat, from the fetus, on a small brazier, and when it liquifies, she adds her herbs; mandrake root, Jimpson weed, a dried Amanita Muscaria, and some desiccated skin from a Bufo toad. She lets it cool while she chants the proper incantations. Finally, she adds the sperm from an uncircumcised non-christian along with his blood. She quickly pours the vile concoction into a small black jar. She dresses and returns here herbs and altar paraphernalia to their hiding place, and grabs her coat and leaves.

She walks down to Angell St. and enters a property on which sits a Brownstone mansion and a carriage house. Using her key, she opens the garage door of the carriage house. Inside is a black 1967 Mercedes-Benz, in perfect condition. It is part of her endowment as the chosen vessel of the Ancient One. All her worldly needs are provided, and she wants for nothing.

She gets in and drives to the derelict church, in South Providence. This evening is unusual as there are vehicles about, last-minute plans are being made to abduct Metcalf and secret him here, for tomorrow night's ritual.

She enters the church and is greeted by her mother, father and sister, she is surrounded by friends and family. It is a joyous occasion, there will be a grand feast and orgy tonight, for tomorrow, she will have opened the gateway and have the issue of the Ancient One, in her, or they will all be dead. There is no middle ground, they will succeed, or they will all die for failing. Thoth would be the only survivor, left to plan the next attempt to open the gateway. But tonight they would party with total abandon and while the two hundred or so faithful enjoy the last night before the ritual a few of the devoted would launch an assault on St. Joseph's Hospital to grab Metcalf.

Professors Beauchamp and Mohararabadim are back at Mohararabadim's office sipping chai when the techie student calls with grim news.

"I am most sorry to have to tell you that we have found Rashmir. He is vedy deceased. The artery in his thigh was surgically cut, and he bled to his death. His car was by a cemetery near Blackstone Blvd," said the young man.

"So now we know this cult will kill to protect their evil agenda," says Mo.

He rises from his chair, takes a small key from his vest pocket, and unlocks an antique Arts and Crafts bookcase, with leaded glass doors. He removes a wooden case and sets it on the table, between him and Beauchamp. Inside sits two ancient Luger, "broomhandle", parabellum pistols circa WWI.

He takes them out and offers one to Beauchamp.

"Do you really think this is necessary, Mo?"

"I do indeed. Those evil cultists have crossed the line. Not only do they conspire to bring great evil into the world, that will destroy it, and enslave the survivors, but they have stolen the future husband of my niece, from me and my family. This is a blood feud now. We are the vanguard in the battle between good and evil. We have been chosen, by the forces of good and light, to fight this battle, for the world, in the next two days. I for one will meet the challenge with deadly force if necessary. Will you Professor B.?"

"Yes of course, now that I understand the gravity of the situation. What else do we need to protect our world?" he asks, as he pockets the automatic.

"We must surely get a supply of holy water. This can be thrown, on any ritual artifacts, to desecrate them, and render them useless. Also, if thrown on the cultists, it will burn them. These guns have silver slugs that may or may not help, I do not know."

"What are the plans for tonight?"

"I have several men, who are part of my study group, who have trained to fight just this type of evil. We are a sect of Brahmanism who watch the world for signs of evil, such as you stumbled upon. We will try to protect Metcalf from them, and if we cannot, we are prepared to kill him. If that fails, and they succeed in abducting him, we will track him to their lair, and fight the final battle there. One way or the other this will all be over tomorrow night. I do intend to try and save Metcalf, if there is any way possible to do so. Let us finish our chai and have a puff or two of ganga. Then we will dine at a fine restaurant, my treat, and take up our vigil at St. Joseph's."

By nightfall, they are ensconced in the visitor lounge, where they maintain contact with Professor Mohararabadim's men, via cell phone. They are stationed around the hospital inside and out. They regularly check Metcalf's room. Professor Mohararabadim has gotten St. Joesph's Hospital to cooperate fully, to the extent that the security personnel are on the alert for intruders too. Each of Mo's people text him every 30 minutes with an "OK", to ensure none has been compromised.

The Cult of the Ancient One has planned well for the abduction. They have two people on the inside of the hospital, one a nurse, the other a security guard. The nurse is unusually friendly with the man at the door to Metcalf's room. She keeps bringing him coffee and makes sure he always has a full cup. The guard is in the security office waiting for their opportunity.

Their plan goes into effect with the arrival of a patient from another hospital who is a burn victim. He is brought in an ambulance and hurried up to the third floor burn unit. It has been arranged he be placed in the room adjacent to Metcalf's. In reality, he is a derelict who has been snagged off the street and drugged unconscious. He's been swathed in bandages and placed on a bed identical to Metcalf's. The strategy is brilliant in its simplicity. The nurse brings coffee, the security guard watches the monitor in the hall outside Metcalf's room. When the guard starts fidgeting the security man goes to Metcalf's room and starts a conversation with the man. He offers to watch the door while the man uses the bathroom. His proposal is readily accepted and as soon as the man rounds the corner, the nurse and the security guard switch the derelict with Metcalf. They pull the switch, in less than a minute, and the man is gone for less than two. He quickly peeks in on Metcalf's room and sees a man wrapped in bandages just as Metcalf is. The nurse with the real Metcalf tweaks the monitors to create an emergency response from the staff. They discover an unplugged sensor, plug it back in and leave. The nurse takes Metcalf to the elevator as though this was all part to the emergency. She places him in a waiting ambulance, and they drive away with their prize.

Chapter 12

At the church, festivities move into high gear, as word of a successful mission reaches the revelers. For most present, this is the critical event. The actual ritual to open the gateway, the next night, will only be attended by a small group of the inner circle. They cannot have two hundred panicking worshipers, screaming in terror, when the Ancient One actually materializes. To worship a god, especially an abomination out of space and time is one thing, to see that god in the flesh, is quite another. They can ill afford to have devotees running, screaming, into the night, struck senseless by the mere sight of the entity. So only a few of the most faithful and the oldest will be present. Thoth of course would preside as he is the agent of the Ancient One and has been trying to open the gateway for an extraordinarily long time. He is kept preternaturally alive, by the grace of the Ancient One, and this will be his second attempt to open the portal, under optimal conditions. Of course, he has tried on other occasions too, but all have failed. This time he has actually bred the vessel to meet the requirements. It has taken six generations of selective mating to get the perfect vessel, Becky Thornton.

Beauchamp and Mohararabadim are getting restless. Everything is too calm with the exception of one ambulance; an unusually quiet night for the hospital.

They decide to check on Metcalf around 10:30 and discover the man in the bed is an imposter. The cult had been clever to merely drug the bum instead of kill him. They know precious time would be wasted in reviving him and questioning him.

The man on the door is dumbfounded that a switch has been made. It took just a moment to realize when it had been done. They search for the security guard and the nurse, but they left with Metcalf, in the ambulance.

The Professors and their group quickly mobilize and start tracking the pet device in Metcalf's arm. It has a range of only a few miles, so several cars set out in different directions to try and pinpoint his location. This takes several hours. Finally, they find him. It appears he was taken to an abandoned church where a massive party is in progress.

"This is vedy bad, vedy bad indeed. We cannot go in to get him until those people leave," says Professor Mohararabadim. "We may have to postpone his rescue until the last minute, just before they do the ritual tomorrow night, when only the inner circle will be present."

"Why do you say that, Mo?"

"Because, should they succeed and this horror should come into the world, the vedy sight of it will drive men insane. This will not be good. They will want to keep it a secret until it has time to attain its full power. This may take some little time. But dozens of people running mad into the streets with tales of a monster in the church will not be part of their plans. Therefore, when the ritual begins only the inner circle will attend."

"I guess that makes sense. If this thing can drive people mad, with just a look, it must be some piece of work."

"Oh it is vedy much a piece of work, Professor B. Pray we never get to see it."

They decide to fall back to the campus to organize their forces and make their plans. Most of the sect that Mohararabadim belongs is mobilized, a group of eleven men and the two professors. They decide the best course of action will be to use tranquilizer guns on the cult. Nine would carry tranks, and the professors and two others would carry lethal weapons.

Becky is happily chanting incantations in a language that is the precursor of ancient Latin and smearing her unguent on Metcalf's forehead, where now more than ever, the wound looks like a bruised and swollen eye, ready to burst open, in spite of the sutures holding it closed. The carpet she used, with the pentacle on it, was left at the hospital, but Metcalf's bed had been placed on a huge pentagram, inlaid in the stone floor of the church. Many symbols and Kabalistic signs are inlaid around the points.

Metcalf is still trying to chant his mantras to ward off the demon and the entity. This is done in total delirium, as he was beyond exhaustion, and can only parrot the mantras through conditioned response and nothing more. His mind is mostly gone but for a thin thread of consciousness that holds an image of Lord Krishna, the little blue god who's dance is sustaining him with the strength to chant.

The feast and orgy is over at dawn, and everyone has gone. Even those rendered unconscious, by the festivities, are hauled away. Only the principal players are left. This includes Thoth, five elder priests, Becky, Metcalf and seven guards with automatic weapons. No one will be allowed in or out, until the ritual is complete. Thus prepared, the forces of light and darkness wait for the night to fall.

Beauchamp tries to rest after being up all night, but sleep will not come. He has stopped by the church and gotten the holy water, and now his mind reviews all his views of God and religion. He still can't believe that such evil can exist in the modern world. On the other hand, even if the cultists are delusional, they had still kidnapped Metcalf and murdered Rashid. He lays awake long hours, it seems like nightfall will never come.

Finally, evening arrives, and Beauchamp and the other men rendezvous, at Mohararabadim's office, to go over their final plan.

Mohararabadim starts the briefing:
"The ritual will begin shortly after 11:00 pm. and end with the final incantations exactly at midnight. During that time, we will enter the church and render everyone but the priests doing the ritual unconscious. Do not hesitate to be liberal with the tranquilizer darts. We have vedy many, and it does no damage to those we shoot with them.

"Those of us with the real guns will try not to use them unless attacked in kind."

"I've gotten several bottles of holy water that can be used to desecrate their ritual setup whatever that is," said Beauchamp. "Our primary goal, as I see it, is to rescue Metcalf. I am not sure I believe they have the power to open a gateway to another world, but I am sure they are kidnappers and murderers."

"There vedy likely will be armed guards, with orders to shoot to kill. Therefore, our advanced guard will use the dart rifles to immobilize them from a distance, quietly, so as not to alert the others. This is vedy important. The less turmoil we create getting into the church, the better for all involved.

The guards may be members of the cult or just hired help, but the priests and Ms. Thornton are violent fanatics and must be dealt with accordingly," said Mohararabadim.

They check their gear, the trank rifles, the real guns, the holy water in squirt bottles, as well as a large bolt cutter, pry bars, with which to enter the church, and zip ties to bind the tranquilized guards.

The group will travel to the church in three black Chevy Suburbans the sect has come up with. They are brand new, and when Beauchamp asks where they'd come from, he is told they came from a relative's car dealership, and told to, "Try not to scratch the paint," by Mo, with a smile.

They had a few hours to kill, so they decided to go to a local Italian restaurant, fully knowing that this may be the last meal for some.

Chapter 13

While they are eating, the Cult of the Ancient Ones, as they officially call themselves, are making their final preparations. The armed guards are stationed outside of the church. They could take no chances that one of them would start shooting, if he caught a glimpse of the Ancient One, as he manifests. The windows and doors are barred, from the inside, to prevent anyone from entering during the ritual.

The church is dimly lit with long black candles, the altar lit with more of the same. The priests are dressed in blood-red robes, with hoods, and Ms. Thornton has on a silk kimono, which she will shed when the rituals begin.

Metcalf has been removed from his bed and placed upon the altar. His head lay in the center of a pentagram, surrounded by black candles. He has been sedated so he will not wake at an inopportune moment. All is in readiness for the big event.

The Suburbans roll up to within two blocks of the church. They easily spot the guards and sight them in their scopes. It is now 10:45 and they wait for their cue, when the priests start chanting incantations in the church.

Thoth is nervous, he has seen the forces of light thwart his plans too many times in the past not to hedge his bets. Known only to himself is a secret door in the back of the altar that leads to the church basement and into the storm drains under the city, and finally to Narragansett Bay. He will quickly bolt, should the situation turn hopeless. He has survived an extraordinarily long time by being cautious.

He looks up through the only stained-glass window still intact in the church. It is a large round disc set high in the wall behind the altar. He can see the half moon, the ideal conditions for their ritual, half in this world and half not. They will chant their evil spells until the moon is directly overhead and then invoke the Ancient One.

"Let us begin," he says as he and the five priests take their positions, one at each point of the occult star, upon which Metcalf's head lay.

Becky sheds her kimono, climbs on the altar and kneels with one knee on either side of Metcalf's head. She looks down his body and sees all the sutures covering his now naked body. She is in a trance like state, from chanting spells all day, in the ancient language, used in the worship of the Ancient One.

As soon as the chanting begins, the riflemen shoot their darts and the armed men, surrounding the church, slump to the ground. They are quickly relieved of their weapons and bound with zip ties, hand and foot. The plan is going perfectly. Now all they have to do is gain entry to the building. That proves harder than expected. Since the doors and windows are barred from the inside, they have no easy way in. They had expected to cut a padlock or two and be in. They huddle at the front of the church only to find the apparent plywood door actually conceals steel underneath. The same is true for the windows.

Time is escaping them, it is now 11:50 and they have yet to gain access to the church. Finally, they discover a way in. It is a small basement window that has been overlooked for the steel plate since it has bars on it. The bolt cutters are barely able to get a bite on the bars, but soon they are dropping into the basement, one by one.

Once inside they are befuddled by the extensive amount of clutter, filling the basement, nearly to the ceiling, but there is a labyrinthine series of passageways, that run through it. When they finally make it to the stairs, it is nearly midnight. Beauchamp and Mohararabadim, along with the two others armed with guns, quietly steal up the stairs. At the altar, the chanting has reached a fevered pitch.

"Yog sogotha portiliculus, yog sogotha portiliculus," the frenzied priests screech. Clearly, the effort to open the gateway is demanding. The priests are bathed in sweat with veins bulging from their foreheads and necks. Their eyes are bulging, and three are bleeding from the nostrils, and one from the ears. Becky is in what appears to be a sexual heat, thrashing around, clawing at her breasts while undulating her pelvis in mock copulation. Metcalf is trembling and convulsing to the rhythm of the incantations, his head between her thighs.

Just as the rescuers have crept close to the altar, several things happen rapidly.

The whole area of the altar begins to glow with a phosphorescence that is permeated with violet tendrils and a dark purple mist. The priests reach their crescendo in their incantations and all collapse except for Thoth, with blood seeping from eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. They have clearly been consumed by their dark magic. Just as they crash to the floor dead, Metcalf goes rigid, and the wound on his forehead erupts in a mass of pus and blood. Becky who has been resting on her hands, with her head hanging down, is hit squarely between the thighs with the eruption. It is rapidly absorbed into her body. She slowly raises her head, and her face has been transformed into some evil visage, with smoldering red eyes. Metcalf is unconscious or dead.

Thoth senses the rescuers and turns, glaring with a maniacal grin.

"You're too late! The Ancient One grows in the body of the vessel," he cackles and throws an athame at the group, hitting one of the men in the neck, who crumbles in a splash of crimson.

Beauchamp fires his Luger and hits Thoth who twists at the impact and ducks behind the altar to his bolt hole. Mohararabadim's other armed man is in quick pursuit.

Becky, meanwhile, has risen and already her belly shows swelling. She holds the drooping head of Metcalf, by his hair, and speaks in a voice that sounds like a garbage disposal.

"Long, oh long, have we waited for this day. We are in the world and cannot be stopped. Our power is limitless, and we shall rule here for all...."

Her words are interrupted by the bullet Mohararabadim fires into her brain. He'd hit her squarely between the eyes. But such is the power of the Ancient One that she does not fall. She staggers for a moment and then regains her balance. She lets go of Metcalf, and leaps down from the altar, and advances on the professors. Two more shots to the head and one to the heart finally drop her.

Beauchamp runs to Metcalf and takes his head in his hands. Metcalf has a gaping hole in the forehead, but it appears to be only superficial; Beauchamp can clearly see the intact skull at the bottom of the wound. Metcalf's eyes flutter and seconds later he regains consciousness.

"Professor Beauchamp, thank God. I thought I would never escape that nightmare. I was drawn into the phosphenic realm and feared I would never return. There was some sort of battle over me, and the demon was torn from me repeatedly, but would re-enter each time, tearing a new hole in me. The entity that kept tearing the demon from me was a vast horror, so large I could never see the whole thing, just black tentacles and huge eyes. The pain drove me mad, mad I tell you!" he said, and breaks down and weeps.

Mohararabadim's man returns through the door behind the altar and reports Thoth has escaped into the storm drains bleeding profusely all the way.

"I do not think he will survive the wounding. I could not follow, there was no light," says the man.

"Evil has a way of surviving," says Mo.

"We must get Metcalf back to the hospital," says Beauchamp.

"My men will see to him Professor B.."

The door has been unbarred, and the others are in the church. They carry Metcalf out to one of the Suburbans.

Suddenly Becky's body starts rumbling, and her belly begins distorting, as though something inside is moving. A point rises in her belly, just above her navel, and a black tentacle bursts through the gut wall, a talon on its tip. It is quickly followed by more. What finally emerges is a hideous mass of tentacles, a head like a Komodo Dragon with far too many eyes, attached to a body like a black tumor with a dozen lizard-like legs. Along the back, and where the tail should be, are a mass of thrashing tentacles each with a claw on the end.

The Ancient One is still alive and in this world. It skitters toward Professor Mohararabadim, with malicious intent, and rears up ready to strike. Professor Mohararabadim responds with shock. He rears back on one foot and stomps the abomination into so much slime with his Beatle boot.

The ancient One had achieved its goal of entering the world, but it had not had time to grow in the few minutes it was in its vessel, Becky. So it had been extremely unwise to attack Mohararabadim when it was only four inches tall.

Mohararabadim wipes his boot on one of the fallen priests and says, "This has been a vedy unsettling two days, Professor B. My men will see to Metcalf, and we can place an anonymous call, to the police, to clean up this mess. But I vedy much suggest you and I go to my office for some hot chai and a few puffs of ganga to calm the nerves," he says with a grin.