Island Paradise by J.R. Boos and Graeme Stevens

Who would you like to be stranded with on an island paradise?

June 11

With no communications devices and a depleted supply of signal flares, we are, in essence, stranded. I estimate we hit a large coral reef at about three o'clock in the morning, though strangely, nobody I asked afterward could elaborate on the subject, as if they'd forgotten it already.

My watch stopped when it became flooded with sea-water, and it proves that I escaped the Aurora at exactly three-twelve this morning. Still, I can barely remember the sinking or its immediate aftermath at all. Maybe it's just the shock.

However, I vaguely remember a certain grating sound, the sound of hardened coral and raised outcroppings of rock tearing long streaks in both sides of the hull. I awoke groggily in my quarters at the sound and somehow made it to the deck where hundreds scrambled madly for the precious lifeboats as the ship began to ominously tilt. Under the light of a full, fantastically luminescent moon, the ship was going down. I pushed my way onto one of the waiting boats. We paddled away from the steaming, sinking wreck, and after that, I remember nothing. I don't know how long I was out, but the sun tells me it's about ten o'clock in the morning.

I don't know where we are, exactly -- nobody does. We haven't seen hide nor hair of the navigator or captain, or any of the crew for that matter, since the Aurora went down, and I fear they may be lost. I estimate our position to be near N. Latitude 30, W. Longitude 135 -- we were en route to Hawaii when it happened.

It is quite hot, and I'm tired of writing. I'm only really doing this for posterity, but I suppose if we're stranded forever I can always use the water-bottle from the lifeboat to float this thing back to civilisation. Besides, it's something to do. This place is boring.

* * *

The head count has long since been completed, but I've been busy walking the shores, thinking. There are thirty-six of us present here, out of the thousand or so who boarded the liner back in San Francisco. There had been lifeboats for everyone, and even now I can't believe how few of us made it to safety. I fervently hope there are other, similar islands nearby, and that they, too, harbour survivors of this tragedy.

The heat is abating somewhat. We took refuge in the shade of the palms, and if the night becomes too cool, then I assume we'll use the emergency blankets provided on the lifeboats. I believe, however, that the heat, or lack thereof, will not be the worst of our problems.

Besides what little I gathered from my walk along the beach, I know almost nothing about the island. I get the impression that it is round and roughly three or four miles in diameter. It's capped in the centre by an unusually high volcanic peak, jutting grey and lifeless into the sky like the crumbling spire of a forgotten cathedral. Something about that hill, and indeed this whole island, makes me feel uncomfortable. I can tell some of the others feel the same way -- I see their uneasy glances into the darkness of the palm forest, and the way they shiver when they hear some untraceable sound from deep within.

Tonight we will sleep, and tomorrow? Hopefully, rescue.

June 12

It's twelve-thirty in the afternoon. Richard Fairweather, a software developer by trade, if I'm not mistaken, came to me this morning. Apparently, due to my debatable reputation in the literary field, a few people on the island have come to think of me as the intellectual of the group -- a chronicler, counsellor, and peacekeeper all in one. I fear they may think of me as a leader, for I'm not near qualified enough for that role.

Fairweather complained of that same uncomfortable feeling that had begun to unravel my own nerves, and added that he'd had a strange dream the previous night. As he told me about it, I got a feeling of recognition, as if I had dreamt the same thing, but subconsciously put it out of my mind upon waking.

He dreamt that he'd been walking the beach of this island in the dead of night, when he began to hear terrible screams -- screams of ecstasy and terror. The ceaseless wails seemed not to have a definite source, but rather to emanate from underground somewhere.

The description struck a chord in me, and, as he went on, I instinctively stole a glance at the looming mountain and shuddered. I asked Fairweather what his dream-self did at that juncture.

He told me that after he heard the cries, he began to walk down a trodden path deep into the palm forest, following the wails as best he could, though the source of the noise never revealed itself. After repeating his dream experience to me thus far, Fairweather had a certain reluctance to go on -- either he could not remember the dream's finale or his subconscious mind had locked the experience away. I hoped for the former.

His description seemed to have awakened the pseudo-memory in myself, but I could recall nothing other than what Fairweather himself had told me. Upon reflection, I remembered that both of us had come to shore on the same lifeboat, and we'd endured similar trauma. With that in mind, it is likely that due to this, our subconscious minds manifested the previous morning's horror into similar nightmares. Still, I hesitate to think about it, for the memory of those tormented screams still makes me shudder.

* * *

A lifeboat came up on the shore today, just after I finished writing the previous entry. It was devoid of life, though I was certain that every boat had been filled during the sinking. The boat brought with it a malevolent aura of the most loathsome sort, as well as the stench of ozone, such as after a powerful electrical discharge. The pestilent, evil aura was so powerful that I immediately began to push the hateful object out to sea once more. I didn't turn away until I saw the lifeboat disappear over the horizon.

* * *

We've decided to build shelters, just in case help does not arrive for the next week or so. This will be no easy undertaking, but out of the crumbled palms and creepers near the shore we have salvaged quite a bit of useful material. I figure it will be easiest to build lean-tos near the shore. Fifteen of us are actively working on this task as I write this, but it is a daunting one indeed with no tools to speak of.

For now, we eat the natural fruit of the area. It tastes odd and bland, quite unlike that which one would expect to find on an unsoiled place like this. I suppose the bland food will have to sustain us until help arrives, as I haven't seen any animals worth hunting thus far. One man, a junior executive named Spacey, told us that he'd seen a shadow darting deep in the woods. I sure hope he's right -- we could use a bit of meat with our meals.

June 13

Another grotesque dream came upon me last night -- this one I remember clearly. Maybe I'm under too much stress -- the shelter construction is not progressing as smoothly as hoped. The creepers, once dry, become brittle and utterly useless in stringing together the palm-leaf walls. Hopefully we'll find a suitable substitute in the near future, but tonight most of us are sleeping outside again.

My dream was little but a continuation of the previous night. I walked the beach in the dead of night, the leering moon casting a deathly pallor over every conceivable surface on the island, reducing my surroundings to a monochrome alien landscape.

The screams, those hideous inhuman cries! Even now, the memory of the sound makes me shudder! If there is a single image that could convey the intensity I heard, it would be one of an infinite multitude of idiotic beings, screeching in exultation as they dance and flop around an unholy bonfire in the blackest of forgotten woods. Yes, I know it sounds maudlin, but there is no other way to put it.

I thought I heard instruments behind the screams. If my quaking ears were correct in interpretation, and if my frenzied mind still holds the hateful memory, I would say that the instruments sounded a lot like flutes. Flutes, loud and squealing, following no rhythm or pattern to speak of -- or maybe just one that my overworked mind can't grasp.

However terrible, I made no attempt to shield myself from the blood-curdling noise. I believe that to try would have been useless anyway -- the sound seemed to well up from the deepest recesses of the island itself, just like in Fairweather's dream.

My dream-self turned toward the towering volcanic peak, which even in the darkness stood out bold and angry against the stars. I half-thought I could see a light emanating from the peak, though of its colour I couldn't guess.

Then I woke up, shivering with fear.

Nightmares aside, it seems we have a worse situation on our hands. Spacey, the one who worried of flitting shadows in the darkness, has disappeared. His wife Darla, a tall old woman with greying hair and a perpetual expression of fear on her face, says he told her he saw the shadow again, just before he went missing.

He's been gone about four hours now. The shock of the dream, combined with the unusual events of the last few days, make me think that there's something terribly wrong around here, and that some terrible fate may await us if help does not arrive soon. I can't prove it, of course. I can't even name it.

Russell Meyer, one of the more vocal members of the group, wants to go exploring, partly to find Spacey, partly to ascend the mountain and get a clear view of the island. He tells me he'd spent a few years in the army and received advanced survival training. He's a vice-president of some contracting firm and about forty years old, but he says his skills are still sharp. I hope for his sake the old boor is right.

None of us has a compass, but I suppose that if worst comes to worst, Meyer and whoever goes with him can find the beach and circumnavigate back to the main encampment.

I've noticed most of us are getting fairly filthy and most of the men need a shave. The few who brought personal supplies with them are guarding them fiercely. The level of apprehension is high, and I fear the development of conflict over these small items. People are suspicious of each other, seemingly trying to pin that unwelcome feeling that has become universal among us on those who've done nothing to warrant it. I hope that we can pin down the yet-intangible feeling on something outside each other -- perhaps Spacey's mysterious "shadow" can serve as a possible scapegoat until we have a better grip on the situation.

* * *

Still no sign of rescue, even at this late hour. There is something that scares me about the way we all seemed to have lost our memories during the trip from the Aurora to the island. I don't quite understand it and I find it hard to put into words, but it feels almost as if we were 'put out' and taken from the swirling Pacific waters into another place entirely. It's eleven o'clock at night as I write this, and I suspect something that chills me to the core when I dare to think about it.

The days, nights, and tides progress as they should, but the moon has been full the entire time we have been here. I don't know what this means. Perhaps it's a trick of the light, or a product of a strange solstice phenomenon, but I do not like it one bit. It only adds credence to my growing suspicion that we are farther from Hawaii than I originally thought.

June 14

That damn dream again! I fear that if this continues, I will be a nervous wreck by the end of this week! In all respects, this new dream was the same as the previous night's. All respects, but one, that is.

I was walking through one of the clearings, looking down, listening to those mind-paralysing shrieks, and then I looked at the mountain.

When I turned to face the alien light on top of the peak, I noticed that it seemed to pulsate, almost lifelike in its regularity. The offensive, sourceless wails swelled up like the souls of the damned released from Hell, and I was thrown awake at the very thought. But the noise didn't stop until a few seconds after I awoke.

Three men and two women, all of whom had been working on the shelters the previous day, all woke up screaming at the same time this morning. I, and other interested individuals, asked them if they remembered what had caused the disturbance. They could not, or would not, reveal to us what had sent them into the fits as they huddled shivering in their unfinished lean-tos, half-mad with the terror of what they experienced. I think possibly this dream-phenomenon has spread, and that it may continue to do so until every one of us goes stark, raving mad. That foreboding atmosphere is growing stronger by the day, and I get the distinct impression that we are running out of time.

* * *

Meyer is gone, along with two of his associates who'd accompanied him on the Aurora. He set out early this morning in the hopes of finding Spacey, taking enough fruit for three days. Darla mopes about the encampment, worrying herself sick about her husband. She will not let herself be consoled, and I think she may be slipping into madness. Lord knows I don't blame her.

Myself, I have no theories about Spacey's condition -- at least none I care to repeat in detail. I will say this, though; I think we will never see him again. Perhaps the "shadow" he warned us about carried him off. I myself have begun to feel as if I am being watched.

* * *

We've found a certain forest-floor weed that, when sun-dried, makes a sinewy ropelike vine. This will aid us in finishing the crude shelters we started. The weather has been pleasant, and the building is a lot of work, but I realise now just why everyone seems so eager to put walls between themselves and the forest, though nobody will admit it. I think that, subconsciously, they want to build shelters because they, too, feel as if they're not alone on this island.

I admit that I dread the coming of night more acutely than ever before. It's eleven o'clock at night now, and again the moon is full. When I look at it, I get a shuddersome feeling that this whole place is an illusion, a half-baked attempt to cover up some hideous reality. I feel that we may be intruders in a place wholly beyond the comprehension of our minds, and that there is no escape.

June 15

Oh God, oh -- can't write

I've been awake an hour now, and the screams won't stop. Somehow what has shown itself in dreams has become manifest reality -- I don't know how, I don't know why, it just happened suddenly this morning --

They swell up from the bowels of the island, blasting us with their frequency and intensity. I think a few of us have gone insane -- I hear human laughter behind the indescribable noise, and it rings in the distance even in the relative silence.

The ones who desperately ignore the noise try to finish off their crude shelters, but most of the workers have lost interest. They huddle together, stiffening their bodies in anticipation of the next burst of obscene cacophony.

Fairweather now stares out at the horizon, twitching and muttering to himself every so often. I think that he may try to swim for it, and I half feel like joining him.

* * *

The cries die off every so often, leaving us with silences for up to half an hour at a time. For this I'm truly grateful -- if they were ceaseless, I would tear out my eardrums just for the privilege of experiencing the blessed quiet. I've tried everything -- putting my hands over my ears, singing loudly to myself, even stuffing bits of leaves and plant-cotton into my ears. Nothing works.

Now that I think of it for a while, I don't think the sound is aural at all. It seems to affect the brain directly, like a psychic signal that our minds can only perceive as sound. I don't know what I'll do to protect myself from it in the coming days. I've developed a nervous tic, and my reflection in the still pools of the forest is one of a gaunt stranger with frightened, sunken eyes. I don't know what insanity feels like, but I imagine it's something close to this.

* * *

It's ten o'clock at night. The moon looms just over the horizon, as full as ever. I hate, I detest it! Why won't it go away?!

When I look at the damned thing, sometimes it appears to shimmer like a sheet caught in the wind. I have to look away because it hurts my eyes.

In between periods of clenching my teeth and putting my hands ineffectually over my ears to shield myself from the screams, I wonder to myself how any loving God could allow such a hateful place to exist in any sane and ordered world.

As I write this, in a period of silence, I hear a far-off scream of terror. It sounds a lot like Meyer.

June 14

The screams during the day are growing in intensity, and have begun to bring with them whispering, inhuman voices. They say different things to each of us, near as I can tell. They linger just on the brink of comprehension, babbling sinister things that I am sure would drive me to the breaking point if heard clearly.

The voices plague us with visions, waking terrors inconceivable to those who haven't experienced them firsthand. I had my first vision today, and what I saw sent me screaming across the sand in a blind and futile attempt at escape. I now have a clear idea of what is making the flutelike noises, but I'm damned if I will tell any living soul what it looks like.

If luxury and sloth bring out the evils in a man, then this, the most obscene of horrors, seems to bring out the absolute best. We work diligently during the periods of respite, building shelters, gathering food, and starting fires with which we hope to signal for rescue. The insane, -- there are four at last count --, shiver and laugh in the lean-tos, causing no harm so far. God, I hope I don't end up like that.

When I am not building lean-tos for the others or chronicling the events, I am wandering the beaches, looking for signs of boats or aircraft. I've seen none yet.

* * *

Meyer came back this afternoon, he and his companion dragging the pallid corpse of a third behind them. Meyer's living companion, a thin dark-haired man of about thirty, dropped the body to the ground, and collapsed into a blubbering heap on the sand. An hour later, he still remains there, weeping silently in a pathetic foetal position. We would take him to our 'asylum,' but there's a strange, dangerous glint in his eye and nobody wants to touch him.

Meyer babbles insanely about something he saw last night, up on the peak. He says that Spacey was right, about the shadows. But they aren't shadows at all, he says. They're blasphemies against nature, pink like a cooked lobster. And he said that the things weren't the worst of it.

They dance around the abyss, he said. Then he looked to the volcanic peak, and broke down and cried. He cried like a child, and wouldn't stop. He lives in the asylum now.

June 15

The dreams, if they can rightfully be called such, are now living nightmares -- not merely the evil cacophony of the day, but perverse and hideous mockeries of our lives and memories. We watch helplessly as loved ones writhe in agony, and grievous wounds are inflicted on our own bodies by unseen hands. Of the particulars, accounts differ wildly, but not one living soul on this island, I'm certain, has seen peaceful sleep this past night.

Meyer is dead. Apparently the newest horror had simply been too much for him in his weakened condition. There is something chilling about the way we found him -- his face was in a contortion of such terror that it hurt me to see it, and all around his body hovered the stench of electrical ozone.

* * *

I thought I saw something in the air today. Too small to be a plane, yet too large to be a bird. Funny, it looked kind of like a bat from where I stood. But I waved to it anyway, jumping up and down on the beach like a madman. I know it saw me, because it altered its course almost immediately. I think it headed for the mountain. I actually think it wanted to avoid me.

Towards the end of today, the screams increased in intensity until I thought my head would explode. I almost feel like dashing my brains out against the rocks, and I'm sure I will if this continues. I can't take it any more. I can't.

June 15?

The nightmares -- the --

* * *

Death would be a relief now. I won't -- can't go into details. I realise the subconscious mind is capable of great and horrible things, but I never suspected my own thoughts would turn against me! Front row seats to that orchestra of flutes and screams, that's what I got! And they were playing for something -- it was dark, I didn't see it, but God! The sound!

I think . . . I know . . . this is deliberate punishment by something heartless and ancient. Something wants us to leave, I know it now. We're interlopers, and now the puppet-masters behind it all are exacting revenge.

Three of us disappeared last night, leaving only the stench of ozone behind. They were insane anyway, all from the asylum. Meyer's catatonic companion from that excursion up the mountain was one of them. Two people who were fighting off sleep at the time told me of shadowy things, vaguely insectoid in outline, dragging something heavy through the forest. I don't even want to think about it.

I desperately want to escape, even to the vast sea to risk starvation, but the lifeboats are gone -- sunken somehow. Rescue? That is a cruel joke.

* * *

Tonight, I know the shadow-things will come again, as they did last night, to take the insane and infirm among us. There are only twelve relatively-sane people left on this island, and I don't know if I can be counted among them.

I dreamt that I will be cursed to this existence even after death, and I worry of the dream's truth. There is something false and flat about the sky that I never bothered to truly notice before, as if it were a fabulous construct instead of a sky. The moon isn't the only thing that seems to bend and shimmer -- the clouds, the sun, everything shifts slightly every so often, usually during the silences between the screaming. If it is as I fear, we will never escape this nightmare prison.

So we're going to stay up tonight -- see the shadows for ourselves. We've got nothing to lose.

* * *

I lie in wait for the shadow-things, along with three others. We have only sharpened sticks and crude clubs to use against them, but we are prepared to give up our lives if necessary to preserve whatever illusion of happiness we can temporarily obtain. I think we're all a little insane right now.

We aren't warriors. I'm just a writer, Fairweather works in an office, and the other two, Callum and Bennett, are partners in a successful law firm. But, nonetheless, we wait with spears in our white-knuckled hands, prepared to come face to face with . . . I don't know.

I can see a swirling of unutterable colours from the top of the hill. Some bizarre, half-seen creatures fly around it on huge bat's wings. I think they're coming.


We killed one. Oh, God! Our first victory! Hope returns at last! I'm excited now -- I think maybe we can win. I write this in the morning, in a silence that seems much quieter than usual. There's a rumbling underground, just slight. Not an earthquake -- too regular, pulsating like that light on the hill. Maybe it's because we killed one of the accursed things.

It was about twelve o'clock when it landed on the beach outside our lean-to. It was the most god-awful thing! I don't know what perversion of natural law could give rise to such a monster, but there it was. It was like a big crab, or a beetle, standing on segmented legs ending in dual claws. Its head -- well, it didn't have one. Instead, it bore a spherical, writhing mass of short tentacles where its head would be. It carried some sort of round stonelike device in its foremost right claw, apparently a weapon of some kind.

We made the first move. I went to the doorway and heaved a rock with all my strength at the thing. It turned toward me that very instant, and its tentacle-head blanched from bright pink to a fishbelly white before the heavy stone struck it dead centre. The thing was nearly knocked off its feet, and its wings made a feeble, failing attempt to bring the creature skyward again. As it fell, the stonelike device in its claw went off, firing a thick arc of electricity into the sand and turning the target area to a puddle of molten glass. The hot, acrid smell of ozone assaulted us, bringing tears to our eyes and rage to our minds.

Within seconds, the others were upon it with their spears and clubs, jabbing through its leprous pink flesh in myriad places before it could aim a shot with the electrical weapon. With every wound, a gout of putrescent, foul-smelling green ichor drooled out, nauseating us to the point where we had to stand back to get a breath of clean air before we could continue.

The thing was resilient, but soon it lay belly-down in the sand, covered in its own green blood. As I watched, the dead creature's skin and carapace began to flake, as if the cessation of the monster's vital functions were resulting in the degeneration of its body.

No more of the creatures came, though we all expected more. The electrical gun was a temporary topic of debate until we inspected it closely enough to see that the casing had been broken during the creature's fall and was now completely useless.

The sun came up eventually, but by that time, the creature had flaked apart and evaporated to nothing, leaving only its imprint in the sand behind.

I realised as the sun came up that we had missed out on the nightmares that would have left us quaking, and for the first time since the sinking I managed a laugh. Then I heard the terrible unearthly cries again, and stopped.

* * *

Please apologise for my shaking handwriting. The punishment for killing one of the crab-things is a terrible one indeed.

I wrote before of the rumbling underground. Now I know why. It was taunting us, building up to this!

The screams are now almost ceaseless, and have increased in intensity tenfold. For up to fifteen to twenty minutes on end, leaving only minutes of respite in between, breathlessly they wail in exultation!

I notice now that they are filtered. I don't think the crab-things generate the voices themselves, but that they do have the power over whether we hear them, as if by a valve they can open and shut at will. Today they turned up the volume.

The voices mixed in with the screams, too, are more clear. They tell each of us different things, and what they told me I will not put down on paper. There are things too terrible for this world -- I realised that last night.

Everyone who did find sleep last night is now completely mad, and half of them have already drowned themselves in the sea. They'd seen something so absolutely mind-shattering in their nightmares that they could no longer continue living. This I think is also the fault of the crab-creatures. I don't know if they do it by technology, and I do not care.

If Callum, Bennett, Fairweather, and I are to avoid the same fate as the hapless maniacs all around us, something must be done.

Therefore, I am organising an excursion up to the peak. Something terrible happened up there to poor Meyer and his friends, but I feel that it may benefit us to learn exactly what we're up against. If these insectoid creatures are truly causing this foulness, then that peak has to be the source of their power, one way or another.

* * *

How foolish I've been. It's all so clear to me now, so very clear. This will likely be my last entry. On the plus side, the screams and the flutes have stopped.

We'd sharpened a bunch of sun-dried sticks, and bundled up in palm leaves enough fruit to last us a week. Fairweather's black hair was already white at the roots. If he's still alive, it's probably as dead white as mine is now, or maybe it's fallen out.

The sun, as always, was hot and stifling as we trod a beaten path into the woods. It was almost as if the trees were parting to let us through -- I'd look back, and the plant life had seemed to rearrange. I was too nervous to notice. The journey through the woods wasn't far, and soon we came to the looming hillside of that hideous blight of rock.

The ascent was difficult in the blazing sun, but we accomplished it, sustaining only minor cuts and bruises to our extremities along the way. As we progressed, I felt the malevolent aura surrounding me like a black, sticky cloud, and it was all I could do to keep from turning tail and scrambling back down the hillside to relative safety.

Twice I nearly fell, once when my mind was stupefied by a torrent of wailing that lasted an excruciating fifteen minutes, and once when I lost my foothold and nearly rolled back down to the bottom of the slope before catching myself on an errant tree branch.

We reached the apex at roughly four o'clock in the afternoon. I was the first who clambered onto the plateau. The rest followed quickly, and together we approached --

Surrounded by a ring of megalithic stones, and radiating the deathly aura of chaos that numbed the mind, was the pit. Words can scarcely describe the abomination that lay before us. It was an Abyss of Angles, a living impossibility so foul as to corrupt a man's soul and annihilate his quivering brain at a prolonged glance, a thing that simply should not be -- a black pit in which could be discerned the shapes of triangles which somehow appeared to be formulated entirely of obtuse angles, slipping away into infinity and churning in a maelstrom of colours so insane that the eye screams to look at it. And there was more. Oh, so much more.

I think I lost control right then. How I ran screaming at breakneck speed down the mountainside without killing myself is a mystery entirely in itself, and I know that my voice was shattered and hoarse by the time I dragged my bleeding self back to the camp. The image of that terrible vortex is indelibly etched on my mind, and there will it remain until the blind, never-ending cosmos claims me as its own. I think that moment is not too far off now, in fact.

As I've said before, Fairweather is gone. There is only me. The others have disappeared. I think that they may have died of fright upon seeing the Abyss, or they may have thrown themselves down the hill to their deaths in the hopes of permanently sealing the rift the obscenity created inside their minds. Either way, they're gone, and they've left me here to deal with it.

I dread the coming of sleep, but I know I can't avoid it. I am too fatigued, too mentally exhausted. But even now, I look up to the starry sky and that fantastic full moon, and I weep. I weep for myself, for the others on the island, and for mankind itself. Armies would fall. Entire populations would tear out their eyes in insanity if they saw what had been laid bare to my frenzied mind for that single terrifying moment up on the hill. We would be nothing in comparison to the Abyss and what lies beyond it -- already we are nothing. We just don't know it yet.

Staring dumbly into that pit, I saw, or was shown, the true meaning and purpose of the Abyss of Angles. It is something that even the crab-things, the mi-go, as I know them now, can't fully explain.

We were not meant to find it. I saw how it had roamed the universe for infinite aeons, searching blindly for the victims which it so craved, camouflaged and protected by the sphere of superficial reality it had made. Someday it would return to the black depths of the universe from which it had derived, once its hunger was sated.

I saw the degenerate tribe of wayward mi-go, who had stumbled across the accursed thing back before our sun was born, and who even now protect it, bringing the sacrifices to its gaping maw, subsisting on the reality the Abyss created for them, and leaping and dancing around it in worship and praise of that which even they cannot understand.

I saw those who had fallen to it, many thousands of beings from all reaches of the cosmos, stripped of their very souls and swallowed up by the foul Abyss and the ones who served it, sent on a direct line to the centre of the universe to be destroyed in ways too terrible for human contemplation.

And perhaps worst of all, I saw the outer god Nyarlathotep, who created it, surrounded by multitudes of those damned screaming flutists who keep him and his master company in the interminable blackness in which they dwell, roaring in cruel delight as he harvests the sacrifices the Abyss brings to him.

Now I know there is not much time left. For me, likely for all of us -- the Abyss can take any form, look like anything. Even now it's rearranging itself -- today there was a terrible earthquake. The sky broke -- shattered like glass.

If anyone does receive these notes, and my efforts have not been in vain, know that we, as a race, are in great danger. For how to silence the maddening screams of the Abyss, I cannot even dream.

Editor's Note:

This journal was found floating in a bottle off the Californian coast by a fisherman who brought it to the authorities due to its apparent relevance to the Aurora disaster. The handwriting of the document has been identified as that of Edwin Blaire, the British mystery writer, who is indeed verified as being one of those who went missing when the Aurora sank almost four months ago.

However much the account parallels the sinking of the Aurora, including the disappearance of Richard Meyer and Scott Fairweather, among others mentioned, the contents of this document are not to be taken at face value. Blaire was a very creative man who was blessed with a vivid imagination, and any combination of circumstances could have warranted the writing of such an outlandish account. Perhaps these were the ravings of a man dying of thirst on the high seas. Perhaps they were another one of the strange stories which made him so famous. Or perhaps they were simply a black-humoured practical joke on his part, intended to inject a certain level of incredulity into a world he found mundane. Whatever the reason, this account could not even have a basis in fact, for the coast guard and myriad rescue squads have time and time again combed the area where the Aurora went down, and all they found was miles and miles of desolate sea.

Send your comments to J. R. Boos and Graeme Stevens


© 1999 Edward P. Berglund
"Island Paradise": © 1999 J.R. Boos and Graeme Stevens. All rights reserved.
Graphics © 1999 Erebus Graphic Design. All rights reserved. Email to: James V. Kracht.

Created: August 17, 1999; Updated: August 9, 2004