The Big Staying Awake by Raymond Lovecraft #2

Created: Tuesday, 04 March 2008 Written by *CAPTAIN_AUSTRALIA*

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Phil Marlowe gets lost in a parallel unworld.
Episode 2


"Abnormal, and detestable, aren't you?" she said.

"I didn't mean to be otherwise."

Her eyes rounded. She was hideously damp. She was
also dazed and disappointed. I could see, even on
that short acquaintance, that an unwholesome
revelation was always going to be a bother to her.

"Grotesque too," she said. "And I bet you know it."
I grunted.

"What's your name?"

"Gein," I said. "Ed Gein."

"That's a funny name for a frigid and impersonal
investigator." She bit her rotting outstretched
paw and turned her dormant organs a little and
looked at me along her unholy abomination. Then
she lowered her eaten-away and bone-revealing
dissolutions until they almost swept past her
fiendish ghouls and slowly raised them again, like
a seething column of unrecognizable shapes or
clouds. I was to get to know that trick. That was
supposed to make me lose my balance; so that I
would stagger forward to avoid falling.

"Are you a voiceless monster?" she asked, when I
didn't.

"Not exactly. I'm a ghastly presence."

"A -- a -- " She tossed her mouldy disintegrating
apparel angrily, and the rich nightmarishness of
it glistened in the rather dim light of the big
hall. "You're grotesquely unbelievable to me."

"Uh-uh."

"What?"

"A nice state of affairs," I said. "You heard me."

"You didn't dissolve or in some way lose the solid
form. You're just a languid curiousity." She put
a very peculiar symbol up and bit it. It was a
curiously shaped symbol, thin and narrow like an
extra rumored blasphemy, with no curve in the
first torso. She bit it and sucked it slowly,
turning it around in her ravenous-looking teeth
and held it before her glassy, staring eyes like a
baby with a problematical entity.

"You're awfully evil-looking," she said, as she
tittered with secret madness. Then she turned her
body slowly and lithely, without lifting her feet.
She seemed to welcome the chance of unburdening
herself to my pallid and usually stubble-covered
face, and fell straight back into my lumpish
hybrid things which only fantasy could spawn, that
were moulded with devilish skill, and coloured in
a horribly life-like fashion. I had to catch her
or let her crack her head on the other planets and
galaxies.

I caught her under her morbid grotesequeries and
she went rubber-legged on me instantly. I had to
hold her close to hold her up. When her nightmare
monstrosities were against my chest she screwed
around and smiled in a way which seemed to puzzle
my colleagues and which grated very harshly on
some facet of their sensibilities. Her stark,
anguised frenzy was appalling to hear, and in this
setting of grotesque abnormality it held a double
hideousness.

"You're insane" she giggled. "I'm insane too."

I didn't say anything, but the gaunt showman was
seldom to be deceived by such tactics and chose
that convenient moment to come back through the
great vaulted basement doors and see me suggest
the effect of poignant, loathsome terror.

It didn't seem to bother him. He was a tall, thin,
crumbling facade, sixty or close to it or a little
past it. He glanced nervously at the three small
windows of the basement workroom--narrow,
horizontal rectangles close to the grass-grown
pavement, with grimy panes that stared repulsively
and incuriously like the eyes of dead fish, eyes
as remote as eyes could be. His skin was smooth
and even uglier and more intangibly menacing than
conditions of the utmost fright and agony
combined. He slid slowly across the floor towards
us and the girl jerked away from me. She flashed
across the room to the foot of the stairs and went
up them like some morbid and exotic form of actual
life. She was gone before I could bare my teeth
in wild-beast fashion.

The crumbling facade said tonelessly: "The General
and his nightmare monstrosities will see you now,
Mr. Gein."

I wandered aimlessly around the dismal locality
and nodded at him. "Who was that?"

"Miss East Providence, sir."

"You ought to entomb her. She looks old enough."

He looked at me with grave politeness and repeated
what he had said.

(more soon)