“I don’t understand any of it — or maybe I’m afraid to.”
She had these golden yellow protuberances all over her head, that was the first thing I noticed about her.
I mean, it’s called hair, obviously I know that now, but I was only three weeks old, and I didn’t know all the words for human components yet. I just liked the way that they fell around her face, these tiny tendrils, golden and moist, like she’d dominated a thousand jaundiced worms and made them cling to her head, shaking and sweeping every time she moved, always dancing, sighing in ecstasy at their chance to serve her. She looked like the queen of clotted fluids, empress of all the seeping things that pool in clumps. But she wasn’t, obviously. Not yet.
Hive leader Megan made some noises, and then Carolyn folded in the middle, and showed me the little bits of skull that humans keep in their mouths to kill small things. She moved her organs around to push air through her mouth, and she said, “How do you do, Alex?”
They were the sweetest organ noises that I’ve ever heard. They weren’t low and gristly like hive leader Megan’s or the customer creatures that moved around this space sometimes. Carolyn’s organ noises were like tiny burning animals, squeaking as they fell at my feet, charred and blistered.
I will always remember it. That was eight weeks ago, but I’ll never forget it, even if I live until July.
And then I picked up the ritual tool that I found in that crate. I don’t know what kind of people made it, or what dark dances they used it for, but I know a ritual tool when I see one. You don’t exist as an unclothed spark in a wooden box for thirteen ages without knowing a thing or two about rituals. I’ve seen them all.
Seriously. All of them. I have literally seen them all.
I held the wooden mask over my flesh mask, and I made a gurgling rushing sound as I moved towards her. And Carolyn screamed.
Oh my black goat of the woods with a thousand young, I can not even describe what that sounded like.
I’ve heard people scream since then, of course, but that’s the normal kind of screaming, like the stupid sheriff who defiled my room, when I came in darkness to obliterate him. His screams were the usual type, where it’s a sign that he accepts my dominance, and agrees that it’s natural and correct for me to snap all of the bones in his neck. That’s how screaming usually works.
But Carolyn’s screams were like burning ice shards buried under my skin. Carolyn’s screams were a dare, and a promise. She was asking to be hunted.
I know, that sounds super weird. I was too young to even know what that meant, and it’s not like she was saying it out loud or anything. Hive leader Megan didn’t even notice it was happening. But she knew what she was doing. She knew it and I knew it, and it was a furnace and a punishment, and later on that week, I stole her childhood skin and ran around her house, and I loved her, deep wells of night, how I loved her.
So I am not going to fuck this up tonight.
Barnabas knows that I’m supposed to be with her, that her destiny and mine are tangled in smoke and fiber. But he thinks it’s too soon, because the book has a timetable and a list of blood sacrifices and a seating chart.
So he’s sent her away, to a house on an island where he thinks I can’t find her, as if I don’t know how to use owls. I’m eleven weeks old, Barnabas. I know how to use owls.
Barnabas says that he knows more than I do, but how can he? He still uses a corticospinal tract to control his motor functions, which is old-fashioned and ridiculous. I’ve tried to explain to him in smells how stupid that is, and he acts like he doesn’t even notice.
So tear up the book, and Barnabas too; tear them both to pieces, and raise them from their graves. This is how it’s going to go down.
First, I’ll change into my true form, which is totally easy, now that I figured out I could just digest the soft furry meat pelt with my own acid spines while I’m tearing through it, thanks for not telling me that in the first place, Barnabas, you sure do know everything about being a titanic nth-dimensional nightmare god. And then I’ll squeeze through that patch of alt-space that I noticed in the lower atmosphere that’s been vibrating for a couple weeks now. The one behind the record store.
That should allow me to travel practically anywhere in the lower third of the nine realms under the Hach’ch’ch boundary, like for example maybe right outside the house where she’s staying, where I can force-generate a new pod-cycle in the bushes. Like a boss.
She’ll be alone in the house, so she’ll probably be doing some hobby that humans do to pass the time, when I’m not around to tell them what to do. Whispering, maybe, or gulping, or thinking about hiding places. Humans are always doing boring stuff like that.
But I’ll let her know that it’s time to relax and have fun, by breaking something in the room. I’ll push a painting off the wall, or shatter a doorframe, or maybe I’ll create stress fractures in the floorboards. Probably the painting, though. I don’t want to get her too excited, right away. We’ve got all night, we might as well take our time and enjoy it.
Then I’ll make the door blow open, and get some thunder and lightning going, so she knows I’m thinking about her. But I’ll be humming in the upper electrical frequencies, of course, because I don’t want to be rude.
Then I’ll kill the lights, to get her in a romantic mood, and break a couple windows. Or I might do it the other way around. Which way is cooler, darkness and shattering glass, or shattering glass and then darkness?
You know what? I’m not even going to decide that right now. I’ll just do whatever feels right at the time.
By that point, she’ll probably be super excited, knowing that I’m coming for her, and I don’t want to make her overheat while she’s still in her human body, so I’ll send one of my slaves in, to give her a drink, and say some lies with his mouth. Humans like that; it makes them feel at home.
But that’s all leading up to the best part — the dream. I’ll drone a dream straight into her consciousness, where I’ll tear all the lies to bleeding shreds, and drop them at her feet.
I was Joseph, I’ll tell her.
I was Alexander. I was Michael.
I am the new thing that is to come.
You will love me, just the way that I am,
and I will love you, just the way that you will be.
And then I’ll show her how my hands are still dripping with her father’s warm blood.
You know what’s the coolest thing? Nobody even told me how to do this; I figured it out by myself. This kind of next-level lovecraft comes naturally to me.
And after that? No more tricks, no more words. Just me, and the girl I love, as I gently take control of her lymphatic system, and turn her blood into poisonous gas.
Monday: Universal Monsters.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Angelique asks Carolyn and Liz, “Would any of you — either of you like anything?”
On the phone, Jeb asks Liz, “You know what I — who I am, don’t you?”
At the end of his call, Jeb tells Liz, “You will not tell anyone that Mrs. Johnson called.” She responds, “Yes, I understand, Mrs. Johnson.”
Liz assures Carolyn, “You won’t be along — alone for long.”
After Liz drives away, a music cue starts up and then suddenly fades away as the scene cuts to Carolyn inside.
Don’t you have to take a ferry or a helicopter to get off Little Windward Island? Angelique and Liz both drive off in separate cars, as if they’re going to drive to the airport and Collinwood, respectively. If they’re just driving to the dock to catch the ferry, then whose car is Liz driving? And how does Jeb get to Sky’s place, in his monster form?
Julia had to make a copy of “A View from South Wales,” to replace it on the wall of Sky’s drawing room. Today, there’s a different painting in that spot. Maybe it was switched out because the painting falls down, and they didn’t want to damage “South Wales,” just in case they use it again?
When Carolyn tells Sky, “I had the most frightening dream,” someone coughs in the studio.
Why does Carolyn lie down on the bed and go to sleep fully clothed? She even has shoes on; you can see them when she gets up to close the windows.
The shutters banging in the wind don’t match the banging sound effect.
Monday: Universal Monsters.
— Danny Horn