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Here's a reprint of something I wrote for The Bahlasti Papers back in the mid-'80s, for those of you who might not have seen it before. It was intended as an answer to the question, “What if H. P. Lovecraft had written letters to Penthouse?” The further mystery of why anyone would bother to ask that question remains unsolved.
Lewis descended into the basement with a reluctance which surprised him. It was true that he was the first to re-enter his grandfather's sanctuary since the old man's puzzling death a month earlier. But he had been eager to look for some key to the mystery in the books and shadows of the underground lair. Eager, that is, until the dank atmosphere penetrated his sinuses and a shiver ran through his frame.
Slowly, he made his way to the old wooden desk where he knew Grandfather must have spent his last hours, most likely pouring over some ancient text on some unguessable quest.
He knew, somehow, the volume which he would find opened on the desk top: that mysterious book which had seemed to possess the old man in recent years. What did come as a surprise, however, was that it was still open to a weirdly illumined page, marked by a talisman which Lewis had never seen before.
It was identical in design to a mark on the corner of the arabesques on the page: roughly pentagonal, and oddly asymmetrical. As he gazed upon it, the shadows in the room seemed to deepen. An odd tension, like an electrical hum just below the threshold of hearing, built in his head, and he repressed an impulse to run from the room immediately.
Instead, perhaps in defiance of his trembling nerves, he picked up the object to examine it more closely. As soon as it was in his hand, Lewis felt the room spin around him. It seemed that there was something in the talisman, a lens perhaps, which at first distorted just the light coming through it, then spread to warp his entire visual field. As a backdrop to the pantacle's weird display, the hieroglyphs of the book danced about and burned into his eyes with a surreal intensity.
Suddenly, Lewis felt that he knew what had to be done. Without letting go of the lens-device, he slowly unbuttoned his shirt, and wriggled it off of his shoulders. Becoming increasingly uncomfortable in clothing, he immediately unfastened his pants, lowered them, and kicked them free.
He then very carefully, but without fear, walked around the desk to the other side, something which had never before occurred to him. It was now possible to discern a circle which his grandfather must have drawn on the floor ages ago. What had he been doing here, Lewis wondered.
He peered into the darkness, no longer entirely confident. He was suddenly aware of his vulnerability, his nakedness. He then realized that the darkness was staring back at him.
Do not run away, the mist seemed to impress on his mind. If you turn back now, this will never come to you again.
With a deliberate effort of will, Lewis raised the talisman to his eyes, looking through it into the circle.
For a moment, the echo of the identity which had been Lewis Webb recoiled at the utterly alien nature of what was coalescing within the circle.
At the same time, he felt a draft of air caress his belly. An urge welled up in the base of his spine more powerful than any desire he had felt in mortal life.
A womb-like mouth of gelatin and serpents beckoned to him from within a chamber of unguessably distant emotion.
Mother of Abominations, he prayed, astonished at his own words, I release my soul to your expanse.
He came to her. He plunged into her sphere like diving into a pool of warm oil. His head reeled with the delicious scents of assafoetida and brimstone. As he drew closer to her, he could feel his penis engorge with hot blood, propelling his body forward with a will of its own. The blackness of this viscous space grew iridescent, and he could see rainbows gleaning off of the tentacles of his beloved. They embraced him, surrounded him, and then Lewis could feel the size and shape of his own being shift and grow in response to inhuman caresses.
True: he could recognize some source of suction tickling his chest, pausing now to focus on his sensitive nipples. He could also identify the tantalizing sensation of pulsating currents of gelatin swirling around his genitalia. But beyond all of this came wave after endless wave of bliss from parts of his soul entirely new: rows of pods which seemed to extend for miles in unknown dimensions, inundated by the passionate dance of his lover in her wild frenzy of union.
Stretched beyond all imagination Lewis tossed his head back and screamed. What escaped from his throat, however, was no recognizable sound of joy, but the cry of Leviathan, echoing beyond the stars.
From within the web of their energy, Lewis felt a tugging to focus his attention on the final stage of bonding. On the perimeter of what they had become came a crystallization of perfect timelessness and omniscience. More than joy, beyond pleasure, this state included these, yet completed them in silence. At the same time as this appeared as a coating of sorts on the farthest reaches of space, Lewis felt this as an emanation deep within his testes, still being drawn into fiery reaches of desire. As the cosmos began to resolve into explosive recombination across galaxy, nebula, star, and void, he could feel the irrevocable building of tension in his loins and perineum. Chaotic matter, dancing energy of suns and quasars, laughing beings of light and land, civilizations, dreams and nightmares, all came to communion and passed beyond, to form an eternal palace of infinite crystal, built from the conscious sap of all moments joined as one, catapulted into finality as, with a scream of glory through the halls of Heaven and Hell alike, the essence of Lewis Webb flung from the inmost point of being into all that was not familiar, human, or even possible, anointing his bride and daughter with irredescent semen.
Lewis quietly resumed his clothing, alone in the room once more. He placed the talisman within his pocket, closed the old book, and tucked it under his arm. Who could have guessed the mood of those eyes, now a strange smokey gray, that emerged from the basement stairwell?
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