The Face Behind My Eyes
I cannot continue in this state of horror. I have been afflicted with a malady, a mental aberration so terrifying that I can see no relief save my own demise. The continued torment and anguish has become unbearable. I have finally deciphered the inscriptions from the site where all my misery began. I cannot bear to endure this knowledge and will, in the hopes of warning others away, commit this to paper before I end my torment. I fear if I wait much longer I will completely lose control of myself and this evil will be free once again in the world.
My sad tale begins in 1934 in the Carpathian Alps. I was on expedition from the Miskatonic University with a group of archeologists investigating rumors of eldritch ruins found high in those grim reaches when the face of a glacier had collapsed and revealed an archway that led deep into the heart of those unnatural peaks.
We started out in a state of great anticipation and excitement, expecting to perhaps make our name in the annals of archeology for discovering some unique remnant of a lost civilization. Fully equipped with the latest gear and the best guides—one the actual discoverer of the ruin—with high spirits.
All went well and in less than a day we reached the entrance after departing the local village on horseback as there were no roads in this area of the range.
The local villagers had legends of some unspeakable evil residing within those peaks but we dismissed it. The locals always have tales of evil in the ruins no matter where in the world one goes.
On our first approach to the archway we were struck by two things. One was the immense size of the aperture and the other the unknown writing that inscribed it.
As we stood at the opening we could see it was no less than thirty feet in height and half as wide. The inscriptions were vaguely familiar appearing to be written in an ancient form of Cyrillic not used for many centuries.
Our first bit of bad luck happened even before we entered. A loud crack was heard overhead and a large icicle broke loose over our guide. Looking up at the sound the guide, mouth agape, was struck by the ice stalactite. It struck him in the open mouth and extended through him while tearing his mandible nearly off, and exited through his back just below the shoulder blades. He stood silently looking at us with his jaw hanging by shreds of skin from his left cheek for several seconds before collapsing to the ground, dead.
I had unfortunately seen such savagery during the great war but several of our expedition were unnerved and a few vomited at the sight.
This set the tone for the entire exploration to the ruins.
We had started out with a compliment of a dozen scientists and twice as many local men to manage the pack animals and camp. We had the men wrap the body in a tarp and sent it down the mountain with a man on horse back so the family could properly inter it according to local customs.
We set up camp and settled in for the night ,each of us reflecting on the terrible accident of the afternoon. We planned to get an early start exploring the ruins that had cost the discoverer his life.
The morning was overcast and grim, dark and foreboding with the promise of severe weather soon to break. We entered the arch which turned out to have once been barred with thick wooded doors that had long since crumbled away. Only the hardware was left to indicate their existence. This, it was discovered was not so much a ruin but the entrance of a series of caverns that had been worked to resemble great halls and galleries.
We ventured slowly into the first gallery and encountered the remains of an epic battle. We were shocked by the sized of the combatants, considering our first view of them was from a massive peal of thunder and a flash of lightening that illuminated the entire chamber. What was particularly startling was the number of the dead and fact it appeared they were fighting to get in. Because of the cold and dryness within the cavern more of the bodies were mummified than not. Many appeared to have been burned and others seemed to have literally been torn apart. But what was most unsettling was the massive size of the remains. Most were eight to ten feet tall with some as large as twelve feet. Although they resembled men they were not. These were a different branch of evolution, no doubt related to humanity but not of it. The skulls had double rows of teeth and the hands six fingers each.
These appeared to be the giants of legend and lore, spoken of even in the bible.
The number of the fallen was astonishing, we estimated there were better than ten thousand dead.
As we ventured further in we reached the end of the battle. At the back wall of the last gallery sat a creature on a throne. The throne looked to have been wrought from a single enormous emerald.
Seated on this throne was a creature not of this world. It was larger than the largest of the fallen and we estimated it's standing height would have been over twenty-five feet tall. It too had been mummified and was something from which nightmares are made. Its head was like a humans in shape but with the bottom half of the face a mass of tentacles with a beaked mouth like that of a squid or octopus. Its hands and feet were over sized with webbing and long claws. It was dressed in golden armor and had a very large spear thrust through it's chest. The giants too were dressed in exquisitely crafted armor as though all parties concerned knew there would be no survivors so they dressed in their finest for their last battle.
Although the giants were fascinating the throned creature was the center of attention. It was while we were setting up lights, powered by a small generator we had brought along, the next fatality occurred. One of the scientists slipped and fell on a sword that was pointing upward still in the hand of a fallen warrior. This time the fatal wound was through the neck at where the scapulars meet and due to the width of the blade, severed the spinal column and separated the head.
We decided to take our dead colleague to camp to prepare him for transport back to town when we discovered the weather was a raging tempest with driving rain and high winds. It was decided we'd stay in the caverns until the storm abated.
I and another professor of archeology, Professor Long, decided to spend the time examining the strange creature on the throne. For some reason we decided to try and remove the spear from the chest. This was no easy task and it took all the strength of both of us to dislodge it. When it finally came lose the creature made a discernible groan and a green vapor seeped out of the wound. It caught Long full in the face. I was lucky, or so it seemed at the time, to have fallen backwards to the cavern floor six feet below and was spared all but the tiniest of the vapor which spread quickly through the galleries and affected everyone.
I was on the floor, semi-conscious, due to the fall, and watched in a dream-like state as the unbelievable events unfolded.
Everyone in the cavern went mad and grabbed whatever weapon was handy and began hacking each other to bits. This frenzy of murder only lasted a few minutes before the last person alive eviscerated himself and fell to the floor dead. At that point I lost consciousness.
The next thing I remember was being carried to a tent in the rain by the locals that were left in the camp with two of the scientists to prepare for our return with artifacts from the ruin.
The storm had abated to a light rain and I was transported to the village several miles away where I lay in a fevered stupor for several days before coming to my senses.
It was then I discovered the full extent of death's visit upon my party. Of the 12 scientists who were on the expedition only myself and one other survived. Fully twenty of the locals were dead. When the huge flash of lightening illuminated the cavern it had struck the camp and killed many including eighteen horses and a dog who had come along with his master from the village.
Upon my recovery I discovered the locals had decided the best recourse to contain the evil they had told us lived in those mountains was to dynamite the entrance closed and it was now buried under a huge overburden of stone and ice. I had no choice but to return to the university nearly empty handed. What was salvaged from the expedition was the careful drawings of the writing on the cave entrance that the professor who survived had made on that first afternoon from extensive photographs he had taken. It was remarkable the film had survived the storm and lightening strike but it had.
Professor Booth-Ames, the photographer, had provided me with a set of drawings of the writing and I was determined to decipher them.
I was never completely well after the events of the expedition and soon after began having dreams, nightmares really, of the thing in the cavern. It would appear in my dreams very close to me as though I was looking in a mirror from a few inches away. I tried to ignore them as they would happen only every fortnight or so.
Meanwhile I endeavored to unravel the writings. Finally with the use of several rare books on dead Eastern European languages I started to make some little progress.
Unfortunately the closer I got to the solution the more frequent and severe the nightmares. The frequency was now so often that I feared sleeping. The face now spoke to me in some inhuman dialect that although I could not understand the words I could grasp that it intended to possess my body and bring its evil back into the world through me.
Thus I have become the wreck I am today. My worst fears are true, the dreams are not just nightmares, but real. Some evil monster is trying to take my body from me and destroy humanity to bring once more its nightmare reign back into to the world.
Today the final piece fell into place. I finally completed the translation. It reads thus:
“Here lies an evil from beyond the stars and outside of time. Do not enter these caverns. We have sacrificed the last of our race to put it to rest here. Do not awaken it.”
I understand now what I must do. In some inexplicable way the green mist contained the essence of this creature and some small part of it lives within me and is trying to gain control. I must not allow that to happen. I only leave this journal to warn others to never open that cavern, never seek to investigate those sinister, evil galleries.
The police were called to the garret of professor James Whyte on Oct. 13, 1937, after the landlady reported the smell of something dead and not having seen the Professor for more than a week. Upon entering the suite they discovered the decomposing body of the professor hanging from the rafters, a pile of note and papers burned in a basin and a journal with the tale above written within. One of the coroners who autopsied the body noted that when the body cavity was opened there was a small wisp of green vapor released that drifted out through the ventilation.
(c) Rick Carufel 2013