Okay, so this is what I'm taking part in, and here is the previous chapter (both chapters, actually). After the whole "serious scribbler" thingy, I've tried to shy away, but this looks like fun. Here endeth the intro...
I could feel my heart beating in what felt like my throat, and I began to sweat again, reflexively wiping it up before it reached my electric eye. The eye that seemed like such a good idea after that horrifically ricocheting Yachtzee die two years ago claimed the one I was born with. The eye that got me into this sanity-draining predicament in the first place.
It was just this morning that I was presenting my proposal for my doctorate in theoretical physics, explaining how the inadvertent discovery of zero-mass gravitons at the Large Hadron Collider makes possible the existence of black holes that are mere "portals" - rips in space-time without gravitic influence - to other dimensions, presenting theory and a proposed re-engineering of my electric eye that could detect the EM spectrum emissions surrounding these portals and anything from the "other side" that could exist here. The reaction of the board members was less than encouraging. They jumped upon each other's attacks, like sharks on a bloody chum-bucket. "This is so underdeveloped, seriously, how much time did you take on this?" ... "We don't deal in such pseudo-science" ... "You do realize this is a secretarial junior college, don't you?" All except for the leering silence on the fourth board member. A mister "A. L. Hazred", who simply watched as I dejectedly gathered my work and walked out.
Two hours later Mr. Hazred called. He told me he found my proposal interesting, he would love to see my eye developed to its full potential, and he had pulled some strings and got me a seat on the graduate staff of Miskatonic University in the Department of Theoretical Paranormal Studies. I told him I wasn't interested, I'd just burned that piece of shit proposal and what the hell is Miskatonic University anyway. He said there was a more than generous research grant waiting for me at the university, as well as a ticket on the 1:15 bus to Arkham at the bus station. I have until tonight to get to the university, someone at Arkham will show me to the university. If I was not on the bus I would not hear from him again, but it would be such a shame and waste my talent if a shoggoth were to ooze out of the overhead ventilation of my apartment and decapitate me. It was just about then I heard a faint piping coming from the crapper. I bolted. No coat, and only the aforementioned wallet, nine-volt, pen and paper that I keep slung across my ass in my trusty fanny pack during every waking minute of the day. I made the bus with minutes to spare, without even time to grab a bottle of water after my hectic run across cold, slushy streets. My mouth and throat were parched. I needed a drink. I wondered if I might get any relief from the foetid, eldritch goo that was seeping out of the box. I fought off the thought. But I needed to drink. I stared again at the puddle. Grants. Waiting for me. How much? Who? Where? Arkham is not a nice place, I'm told. What am I doing here? What am I doing here?
"What am I doing here?!?!" I found myself croaking, almost too loud, as I snapped out of my my skyline-induced trance and instinctively looked at the closest face - it's face as fortune would have it. It emanated a brief sound that sounded somewhere between a cough, a grunt and a wet fart.
"Ooourglphghprblbl ... yew ookay, sonny?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, thanks," I toed the box again as I wiped his cheap-whiskey-and-rotting-marine-life-smelling spittle from my lower lip, "hey, how easy is it to get to the university from the terminal?"
It looked me up and down for a brief moment, it's neutral facial expression broken only by a tentacled appendage pushing a Riccola cough drop past his slavering, putrescent lips. It sighed briefly, turned, and lurched its way back to the front of the bus. I felt waves of exhaustion coming up through my body and into my head, along with a frantic, panicky nausea. My hearing grew fuzzy, the gross, ululating murmurings of the other passengers fading and white noise, ever so faint at first, growing, becoming louder, as my skin seemed to vibrate into concentrated gooseflesh, a dark tunnel enclosing my view of the bus as my vision failed me and my oxygen-depleted brain, leaving me only vaguely aware of a dim glow in my right eye socket as my eye shut down.
I sat bolt upright in a freezing cold bus, my billowing breath - the first thing I noticed in the dim light coming in from the bus lot - wrapping itself over the top of the seat in front of me, along the windows, and into the darkness of a now empty bus. How long had I been out? Where had It, the miniskirted maniac, and the rest of the degenerate, vaguely fishy-looking occupants gone? I felt my pockets again. The wallet and battery were still there.
As I rose up, I kicked something solid and heard it skid across the floor. It was the tentacled spawn, now out of its box, the watery ooze now freezing into a slushy ice in the cold. Looking quickly through the seats I found a small plastic shopping bag left by another passenger. Dumping out the contents I saw a half-eaten granola bar and a pair of nail clippers encrusted with some dark, fibrous material. I pocketed the clippers, maneuvered the bag over the half-frozen thing, and slunk out of the bus into the abandoned terminal - cold, exhausted, and unsure of where exactly I was or where I was going.
Here endeth the chapter.
Hmmm...a few creative writers - Briwei, DrMomentum, Dawn. (I know at least one of you doesn't care for these, so no biggie...you can kick me next time I see you if you want.)
Randall, thanks for this.
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