essentia

essentia

genre: cosmic horror
style: short story

Determined to prove her merit to the 19th century boy’s club of the Geological Society, archaeologist Nora Latimer discovers a gateway to a world of insectoid demons who’ve been feasting on human bodies for millennia—and why her peers have been covering it up.


Of that place there exist no words rich enough in deplorability, in unholiness or debaucherous abandon, to capture the sheer iniquity toiling between its dimensional bounds. Within its walls. Beneath its floors. Behind its every door. For truly this hell, (which I wholly regret exhuming from the sandstone annals of ancient history), is but a writhing nest of horrors both Lovecraftian and Freudian, and another nameless -ian as yet undiscovered; undiscovered because such a school of fear could not—should not—be real, incomprehensible and corrosive as it is to the natural human mind.

I am no better equipped to dive into this recounting than I am to return, physically nor mentally, to that abysmal pit, laden with despair as a wealthy woman’s bracelet hangs heavy with diamonds. I am, in fact, not equipped at all, but I remain the final soul to flee this existential void intact, at least in body if not in brain, and as such it is my duty to divulge what may very well be mankind’s final warning before its inevitable fall before the darkness encroaching.

‘Inevitable’ is not a word I use without shouldering the weight of its intended meaning, and as such this is the only circumstance in which I feel its use appropriate, if not devastatingly insufficient.

I pray these words, however incapable of conveying the horrors that lay in predatorial wait beyond the veil I dared pierce, not come to rest upon deaf ears.

But I know they will. I write this, now, only as a last resort—the only resort—one that shall not be heeded; one destined for unceremonious burial beneath the soil of unintentional ignorance; one that shall rear its head, in ghoulish fashion, on a day soon to come when our race has been deemed unnecessary by beings deemable only as demons, or gods. For what tools, what technologies have we to resist the irresistible crush of the cosmic unknown; of beings thrice as old as the very planet upon which we dare walk, let alone abuse?

And so, with that thought held fast in mind, I write this as a log; a record; a final history of our histories, a truth among centuries of falsities, so that if a race or species might arise after us, they might know our plight, and avoid the fate we befell for pride’s sake.

For it is pride and pride alone that hammered every letter of every word composing the mournful song that would become our death knell, as a nail to a coffin.

And how we danced to every hammering. Every pummeling. Allowing wishful thought to take the lead (like a broken horse to bridle), turning that metal-on-wood clang to a rhythmically blissful naivete, lined with skepticism and sarcastic laughter like fleece trims a wintry coat.

We were wrong to bury such credence in our own uncertainty.

We were foolish in a time when our skepticism was a blade against the throat.

We were not afraid in an era when fear would have saved us.

And so we shall die…

But we—like the tens of thousands of species we’d casually murdered for the sake of industry—of progress—we will die slowly. Not overnight. No explosive ends nor cataclysmic catastrophes, no; we will die like they did, like they all did: strangled by silence, by an inability to interfere.

A fate deserved.

Well deserved, as concluded my misanthropic mind at the tender age of twenty-one, riding the train from Arkham, to Lemarchand, to Crampton and Blyton Hills and finally a bizarrely rugged stretch of green on Long Island, New York’s eastern, wine-and-peach-loving farmland: Astund Wick.

What my misanthropic mind failed to account for was the suffering.

It was surreal.

It was all-consuming.

And I, human, undeniably real in this realm of unreality, was to be counted among those upon whose backs our fates weighed…

The afflicted.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves—or rather, myself.

Let us return to the train: to the mistake I made, opening an unclosable door to the very place of which I speak...