Fetch: A Gate to Hlanith

Copyright Patrick Jennings

A Gate to Hlanith
Henry Zambrano

This piece is written in the voice of our supporting character and friend to the Clifford brothers, Henry Zambrano
This piece is rife with profanity, so if you are sensitive about swearing, don't read it.
Earth's Dreamlands, Dylath Leen, the Cerenarian Sea, Hlanith and Mormo are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft

As we were about to exit the storeroom of the Dark Room underground nightclub in Dylath Leen, a gate opened in the floor and sucked us in. We fell for what seemed like 666 years but in reality was more like six seconds. We tumbled out on the shores of the Cerenarian Sea near Hlanith. A pair of small handmade boats were moored by a dock.
"Well, Henry Tharapithia was right," I said. "Gates do have a way of turning up in the strangest places. One would think it was some kind of conspiracy."
"Ain't much of a conspiracy," Gerry Clifford said with a shrug. "There's a certain faction of the demon aristocracy that still wants to see me and Paul tortured in one of the hells for all eternity. Since General Wylie and General Mondegreen's hearts went and grew six sizes too big when they became best bosom chums and all, them blighters hired that Tatiana Sawyer hag who's mates with Yadira Root to off me. She don't seem like the brightest bulb. One might have thought that when she realized I was about as nutritious as cotton candy, she'd have dropped me like I was hot, but she kept drinking me ectoplasm till all that was left was a soggy outer skin."
"Maybe she likes cotton candy," Paul speculated.
"Maybe she likes you, Gerry," Pepper suggested.
"Blech! Wash yer mouth out with soap, Woman! I'm hardly keen on the idea of some essence-drainin' harpy being keen fer me, 'specially after that vicious hickey she left on me neck when she tossed me spirit body in the corner like a feckin' limp dishrag and all."
"No offense, Pepper, but Gerry is a bit too adorable and waifish to appeal to the appetites of Tatiana Sawyer," General Deborah Wylie said. "She tends to like her man candy a bit more in the needful scientific nerd category. She'd have been all over that slimy scientist Octavian O'Hara if he weren't gay as a goose."
"Papa Legba isn't exactly a scientific nerd," I countered. "But she's offered herself up to him more than once."
"Papa Legba is a powerful Loa. Tatiana likes sex, but she likes power even more," General Wylie said.
"And she's a vengeful bitch, ain't she?" Gerry asked.
"Yes, that she is."
"Right. So, I just figured out why she turned me into a vampire and also why she accidentally killed Laddy Babylas and tried to get the blame put on you."
"To answer your question, General Wylie, his full first name is Ladislaus," Paul interjected. "Saw the puzzled look in yer eye and thought I'd clear that up."
"Anyways, fer all her belief that she's so cunning and smart, Tatiana is a bit of a bumbler," Gerry continued. "She's arrogant as fuck, which trips her up. She's impulsive, which trips her up all the more. She also can't feckin' stand to hear the word 'no.' Bit like Mormo in that regard."
"So, Laddy Babylas' death was an accident?" I asked.
"Right. I was the actual target," Gerry said. "I've also figured out me obsession with writing about vampires. I remembered something that Odinn said on an unfortunate occasion where I was hoping to surprise Pepper with a sexy moment involving me bits and a bottle of party streamers but instead ended up flashing Paul and Odinn. See, whilst Paulie was busy being all melodramatic about it, Odinn asked me if I was gonna involve that bit in me penny dreadful, as he calls Pepper's and my Bloody Velvet story. Well, as I was channeling me former self who was cursed by a spiteful sea witch callin' herself Gale Storm to be a disaster around boats, I'd no idea what he was talking about since Cap'n Seafaring Gerry were no wordsmith. But me affinity fer vampires does come from that lifetime after all. And by the way, Henry, I think Gale Storm sounds like a bad porn star name too. Gale was either one of our old friend High Priestess Yadira's chums or she was Yadira. I'm sure of it."
"Mormo got us, didn't she?" Paul asked. He reached for his brother's hand so he could better attune with Gerry's memories.
"Mate, she got me. I got complacent and I was careless. Thing is, I always knew that lifetime wasn't just fun and games, you and me bein' seafarin' Robin Hoods havin' hijinks on the high seas. I remembered that after Gale the Sea Witch cursed me, I sank our ship. I had a moment of joy when I saw that I'd conked Yadira, who was at the bottom of the briny in the guise of an octopus on the head with the falling anchor, but I knew that wasn't the way I died. Mormo, she..."
Gerry wiped bloody tears from his eyes.
"Her devotees got to Pepper and Sophia--our Barnacle Bess and Seafaring Sue. We had to off them to stop them from becoming soulless, sanguinary slayers, and it kinda took all the joy out of that otherwise pretty bloody jolly lifetime."
Paul sniffled and gave a soft chuckle.
"Am I feckin' horrible because I think that 'soulless, sanguinary slayers' sounds like a bloody good line to have in a song?" he asked.
"Fuck no! Yer right on target, Mate, and we'll write it as soon as we're back at me place in the Katharian Hills celebratin' with Pepper's frost giant sons. Yer pretty much not ever horrible, Paulie. Sometimes yer a bit of a prat, and sometimes you drive me up a wall 'cause you've this baffling tendency to be so smart but so obtuse all at the same time, but you have a huge feckin' heart, and even though you tend to play the class clown, I know yer way sensitive and the shite that goes on in a rather heartless cosmos cuts you to the quick. Anyways, back in that other lifetime, we was hell-bent fer leather, so to speak. I'd me sights set on Mormo, and with the spell cast by our mate Laddy, who was a feckin' badass sorcerer in that lifetime, her devotees was catchin' their z's, leavin' her bloodsuckin' arse vulnerable to attack. You remember that time we was in the courtyard in Nyarlathotep's dead world and she came out of that fountain?"
"How could I forget?" Paul asked. "It was yet another one of the 666 bazillion times that hanging out with you caused me to come near to soiling me drawers. At least that time I was on the astral, so it wouldn't have been a smelly mess, just a load of ectoplasm and all."
"Would you...yer ridiculous, you know! Here I am tryin' to impart a tragic tale, and yer off on a tangent about having a huge ectoplasmic shite. Anyways, just like on that occasion, Mormo's undead marble carcass leaped from the fountain and vamped me."
"Oi, did she leap?" Paul inquired. "'Cause on that occasion when we was in Nyarlathotep's courtyard, she didn't leap so much as creep, and she was right slow about it too."
"Paulie, I swear..." Gerry sighed. "To be honest with you, Mate, I don't know if she leapt or crept from the fountain. I was on the lookout for ghouls. I wasn't thinking about the fountain. So, however she got out of the fountain, once she was out she was ready to spring, and spring she did, and sank her fangs into my neck, and that was all she wrote fer that lifetime, but it explains why I've a thing fer writing about vampires in this lifetime."
"You've also got a thing fer playing vampires with Pepper. I always know when the two of you have been working on your story, 'cause she has hickeys all over her neck."
"Yeah, well, it makes me feel young again to write a fanciful story with me hot--I mean, talented co-author and to act out the good parts."
"I'm just windin' you up, Ger, I'm sorry. It's nice that yer enjoying yer unlife."
"Yeah, well it breaks me heart every time I know yer cryin' fer missin' me. I love you, Mate, and I always have. Yer the other half of me soul. So, when I got turned into a vampire, I'd a terrible decision to make while me mind was still mine. I knew I needed to off meself, and I knew you'd have a target on you fer the rest of your life. When we went out on the water that day, my intention was to convince you to go through a gate to another world, but..."
Gerry couldn't say the words. Paul embraced his brother, who broke down and wept.
"I killed meself too," Paul revealed. "But it ain't as straightforward as how it sounds. We...there was a ceremony to it. Gerry was startin' to change before me eyes, and..."
"Let's back up just a tick," Gerry interrupted, regaining his composure. "Paulie and I had nothin' left to live for in that life. We'd had to kill the women we loved so's they wouldn't become Mormo's eternal devotees, all devoid of any emotion except cruelty and bloodlust. Our bonny ship was at the bottom of the briny. Our friends and family were all dead or changed, and Mormo was pissed as fuck at us fer setting her chambers afire. So as dawn approached, we commandeered a couple of little handmade rowboats and headed east."
Gerry looked to the east and swallowed hard before continuing his story.
"Paulie's right, I started to change," he said. "Me own brother was lookin' more like a meal than a mate with every passing moment. Luckily, the sun came up when it did, and me morphed body caught fire. But as I returned to me senses fer a last moment before departing the world, I watched as he transformed into his true self, and it was bloody exquisite! Beneath the class clown alter-ego that everyone thinks is this blighter's real identity, he's a glorious infernal being. Granted, he physically set the boat afire with himself right in the middle, but his true self rose from the ashes like a feckin' Phoenix, all red and gold infernal flame."
"Yeah, I remember now, seein' your true self, all red and blue energy, an avenging angel," Paul recalled. "There was a moment of joy when we rose up away from all the sadness at the end of our lives, but it wasn't long before we was plopped down in another life. No rest fer the wicked and all."
"So Tatiana thought she'd get brownie points from Mormo and Yadira for offing you," I speculated.
"Exactly," Gerry confirmed. "But, as I said, Tatiana is a feckin' bumbler."
"Yah, while I have enjoyed listening to you regale us with tales of your yesterday, you need to bring your arse through this gate," Ketil Nagel proclaimed as he stepped out from behind the dock. "Come along, there isn't a minute to spare! ."

From the diary of Henry Zambrano

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