A short story that has taken me quite a few hours to write up. You can read it in the forum right here. (Or, look below.)
The Journal of Nahzeem the Scholar
After many months of perilous searching, I have finally claimed a copy of the famed Codex Anathema for my own. I have read much about it and its author, Iphegor of the Ebon Mirror. Such a fascinating man he was, although obviously not the strongest of will. His failure is of little consequence, however, except to learn from. His book is now mine, and with it my research will go far beyond anything he was said to accomplish.
It is with a little anxiousness that I undertake this line of study. All the legends of this place speak of horror unparalleled and certain destruction, and less reasonable parts of my mind cannot help but wish to avoid this work altogether. But such things are just that; unreasonable. I have taken all the necessary precautions against any potential for misfortune. At the absolute worst, I may encounter something as disturbing as one of the fearsome demons of the Abyss, but I am well-equipped even for such a formidable adversary as that. There is absolutely nothing to fear.
It took a great deal of my personal wealth to secure this book, but I can say without a doubt that it was worth every last coin. The things discussed within the tome are nothing short of remarkable. I have obviously underestimated the author; Iphegor was clearly a man of brilliance. Every page fills me with more enthusiasm for the next.
And yet I cannot help but be concerned. If the essays and dialogues contained in the Codex Anathema are to be taken at face value and are not simply the exaggerations of a man pushed to the brink, then humanity’s place in the world may not be as secure as we like to believe. Much as I would like to push such thoughts out of my mind, I cannot release myself from the horrible possibilities this book has brought up.
To exist only because of the whim of some unspeakable creature beyond my senses is a dire possibility indeed.
What a fool I once was. What an arrogant fool. To think that I, Nahzeem the Scholar, could have been so ignorant of the truths that resonate throughout existence. I once held the accomplishments of humanity to be something to boast of, but now I see our race for the insignificant insects we truly are. What hope do we truly have? We pit our infantile knowledge against beings who whisper of knowledge that will destroy any mortal who dares listen.
I have not given up, though. I’ve not finished the tome yet. Iphegor must have discovered some way to counter the efforts of they who lurk Beyond. And if there is not, then I can take comfort in the fact that they will remain where they are and I will remain where I am. I remain safe, though I would rather not sleep this night. The nightmares are getting worse.
How could this have happened? Nahzeem was asleep, and yet he drew the summoning circle. WHY DID HE DO IT!? Now it is here. It is watching Nahzeem, yes, and he cannot sleep at all. Surely it would follow Nahzeem into his dreams. It’s too horrible. How does it watch Nahzeem? How does it watch him without eyes? No eyes, but it sees more than Nahzeem has ever seen in his long life. NO EYES!! It hurts to look, but it is so beautiful. It is perfect, but before now I could never realize this. Humans know nothing of the true splendor that lies Beyond. NOTHING AT ALL!!! Does it see what Nahzeem sees? Can it see without eyes?
Can he? Can Nahzeem see without eyes?
I’ve only recently awaken from what I think could have been three days of unconsciousness. Based on my previous entry, and the evidence that quite literally stares me in the face, I realize I must have succumbed to a temporary state of madness, in which I must have removed one of my own eyes, which no doubt resulted in enough bleeding for my fevered mind to collapse into a state of much-needed rest.
I have eaten since then, for the first time in nearly a week, and I feel much better. Unfortunately, what little remains of my eye is far beyond any hopes of healing, and I doubt that I could properly reattach it even if it were fresh and intact. I have yet to clean up the blood, because it seems to hold an important key to whatever triggered my loss of sanity. In the dried pool it appears I have written a word; “UVUUDAUM”. Thus far, I have found only one reference to the word, which I found in my latest possession, the Codex Anathema. The book does not give any information on the subject, save for a brief ranting which I will quote here:
“You must not know of Uvuudaum. Save yourself from such knowledge as this! How I wish my memory would forever vanish!”
There are few other topics in the book that Iphegor seemed so insistent about. I wish there was more information on this “Uvuudaum”.
Unfortunately, the Uvuudaum remains elusive. For now, I blame the celebration of the New Year, which was quite distracting. Between the preparations over the last few days and the day itself, there has been simply too much noise from outside for me to make any progress in my research, and it is only today that I’ve been able to properly devote myself. I would go so far as to say they were being loud for the sole purpose of making things more difficult for me.
Sleep does not come easy to me, and when it does I have the most peculiar of dreams. I cannot properly explain them, because I scarcely understand what happens in them. Suffice it is to say that I prefer staying awake, where I feel at least some measure of control over where my imagination drifts to. I will continue to research the Uvuudaum, and hopefully I will avoid any future episodes of madness. As for my previous areas of study…they suddenly hold no interest to me.
The meddlesome currs. Just as I was on the verge of a breakthrough, the town Constable decides to come into my home uninvited to interrogate me about the dissapearance of some fool. I knew it was only a matter of time before their hatred and jealousy of a man of knowledge would manifest. It is uncertain how safe I am so long as as I stay in this village. They are waiting for an excuse, any excuse, to lock me away and destroy all my life’s work.
Even in the dead of night, when decent men and women are fast asleep, they keep me awake with their stares. I can feel their paranoid eyes watching me through the walls. I would be fully justified in pre-emptive protection, but that would just let them justify themselves in their own eyes. No, I will keep myself as blameless as possible.
I have made little progress in researching Uvuudaum. Even in my most obscure texts it is mentioned briefly and without any real explanation. I am beginning to wonder if it was even I who wrote that word. This Uvuudaum could simply be a cruel joke played by my enemies in the village.
I had my suspicions, but I never believed it would truly come to this. The missing village lad has been found dead, and from what I have heard it was a truly gruesome death. To be strangled by one’s own entrails, only a true monster could deal such a cruel fate. I know that the villagers believe me responsible, and it is only a matter of time before they come at me with a misguided vengeance. The savages probably killed the boy themselves just to have a reason to kill me too.
I won’t let that happen though. I am not some pitiful old man to be trifled with. I will see every last one of these beasts dead before I am slain by their hands. If I am to die, it will be a man’s death, not from a cowardly assault from ruthless animals.
My hand shakes violently even as I write these words, but despite my great fear I shall write on. Three more bodies have been found since yesterday, two of which were too mutilated to identify. For my own protection, I have barricaded my home, because I know the witch hunt will come for me soon. I have moved my most valuable possessions into my cellar, where they, and I, will be safe even from the torches they will no doubt use to burn my home to the ground.
Last night I had a dream most horrifying, most of all because I understood it with crystal clarity. I saw the last moments of the life of the first murdered boy through his eyes. He ran for his life, but could not escape. Then I saw it. It had arms like a man, but where it should have had a body and legs it had only more arms and hands to walk on. No head, at least nothing that I could call a head. Just a long neck ending in a great black spike. It had no eyes, but I could feel it looking right at me. It was too much for the body to bear. The boy’s organs burst from his abdomen at the mere presence of the entity and wrapped themselves around his neck. They boy’s body killed itself to save itself from the creature.
Though it was but a dream, I still feel the being staring directly into my mind. It seems so illogical, that a creature with no eyes could stare, but it was just the same. Reading my entry on the 25th day of the 12th month of the previous year, I am beginning to fear the possibility that it was that being who inspired my so-called madness on that day. It is clear to me now; this entity, this “Uvuudaum”, is being used by the enemies outside to frame me for murder. I would not even think it unreasonable that they plucked my eye out and faked my handwriting to make me believe I went insane. The fools think they can pervert justice and have me executed! I will show them who will be executed!
Don’t you see, I had to do it! They were going to kill me! They would have formed a mob and destroyed my home and dragged me from my cellar to burn me for all of them to watch! They had to die so that I could live! The evil ones did not deserve to live, but I would have left them in peace if they had done the same. But no! They stoled my eye and left me bleeding on the cold floor, letting me believe I had gone mad. Mad indeed!
They are all dead, but I can still feel the staring. No eyes, but the staring goes right through me! Are they truly dead? They are toying with me. I can no longer stand looking at them. I’ll pull out my other eye so that I won’t see them. I open my mouth to speak, but I can only speak one word; I will cut out my tongue and cut off my ears to keep myself from hearing it. If I still feel the staring, I’ll cut off my skin as well, so I will feel nothing. Better to have no skin than for this torment to continue! Much much better.