Stygian Blue Moon
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On a fecund night, the old man was walking on the beach, cursing his luck, and his life. His sweet wife, the light of his life, was gone, in a chance accident. The only person whose words could soothe his aching mind, the only one whose hands felt as soft as silk, the only one who would deign to gift the man with a warm body in a lover's bed. All of that meaning is gone. Struck away like a match in the dark. Emptiness consumes him, the anger at the earth itself a primordial force so ancient and strong it can be seen by other powers. perched on a cresting wave, a monster smirks, teeth like jagged graveyard spokes jutting out of the blood-stained lips. It has eaten well as of late, but not its masters, its mothers, that look down upon this world with the lustful gaze of hunger. It can hear them whisper to it, a language incomprehensible but powerful, ancient tongues that were spawned in a far-off time before humans were ever an evolutionary possibility. They yearn for an escape, and this old man has exactly what they need. The creature wastes no time, beginning the ancient ritual as they swim towards the shore. Its skin shifts and tears, its organs disintegrate and reabsorb, its teeth fall into the spine and thread the needle, its sinew acting as binding. Its final words are a screech, not dissimilar to a rabbit dying, On the shore, the man stops at the sound, and the waves bring him a gift, a force that emanates at his feet. A book of deep blue, wavy patterns delicately stroking the cover, the pages a dripping crimson. The old man makes a guess- his grandfather always told him the ocean held more than it was comfortable showing. The book is picked up, and the monster's masters and mothers nearly whimper in delight. The spine is cracked, the cover opened and its contents are revealed to the old man. Understanding pierces his brain, an arrow shot from a cosmic quiver. It begins.

The wooden chair creaks as he rocks, the summer night air crisp and sweet with dried leaves rustled by its motion. The old man sips his iced tea, sweetness washing over his weathered tongue, cramping fingers delicately bringing the mason jar to his lips. It is a tired, weary stare crossing his face- the summer heat has hit him hard. It is nearing the anniversary of his wife's death. The house behind him, groaning in the wind, is yet another source of pain. Its walls contain nothing but reminders, memories, painful stabs at his ailing heart that inflame his mind with rage and fuel his actions. The old man smiles wryly- the world shall know what it feels to see loved ones perish. Aged anger, deep and true, spills out from the man, emanating like a curse written upon his soul. No matter what doctors he saw, no matter what phony cures he attempted, that anger remained, written on his face, the wrinkles grown from constant frowns and sneers.

The generator, telescope, and water heater the old man stripped from the house lie behind him, looming monolithic in their mechanical beauty. They are efficient, engineered, and exact. They are pieces of technology the ancients understand- power, pain, precision. Their instructions were clear and concise to the old man- gather the materials, wait for the proper angle and fullness of the moon, intone the chants, encroach reality with your rage, and watch it all burn. Simple, easy steps. World-Ending for Dummies. The old man smiles gently, the spell complete. The words he repeated were incomprehensible, syllables clashing in his mouth. A second tongue shoots out, clasping to the top of his mouth and digging into the flesh. Tentacles soak through the soft palate, splitting it apart like wet paper. The man is no longer a man. His body is now an oculus, a focusing piece of equipment. The creatures shivered in pleasure, the taste of blood on their lips, and their memories awoke. They will rule everything with an iron limb.

Upon his lap, the ancient tome- the smell of sea salt heavy in the air, emanating from the pages like so many eons of molecular decay shed from radioactive material. Seaweed wraps around his legs, stabbing into varicose veins, and pumping seawater into the clogged veins. The tools are pulled closer, the book not just a book. Within the spine of the tome, the brain of the creature stirs, the old man's preparations finally finished the wait for a perfect moon position frustrating. The cortex seeps out again, reabsorbing nutrients from the tattered pages, becoming sentient again. It needs to do its work, to bring its masters home once more. The seaweed shivers with syncretic delights, the desire for destruction returning, lust for power always present. The man is not a man. It is a tool now. The seaweed grows, the power now present, a power as of yet unseen on the surface of this Earth. The monsters writhe under their chalky prison. Alan is ready for his elevation.

Fingers of seaweed grip and pull, bringing the machines closer. Gripping, turning, unwinding gripping, ripping. Take apart the machines, the human-tools, and rip out the component parts. Lens from the sight-tube. Eyes from the walker. Put them together, keep the nerve intact. Snake inside the thought-meat, warp it to desire. Teeth come back, bite into the veins, inject the venom. Give the walker some joy, gift for their work. The walker grins. He understands now. What we've known all our time. Good. Pull apart the heat-pillar. Find the pipes. Stab. Reflectors in place. Find the elec-machine. Tear. Find the wires. Thread, thread, thread, through the smell-holes. Pierce the carapace, grip the organ-cage, widen. Pump-tube snake into the chest. Cut the out-blood and in-blood tubes, insert the pump-tube. Burn, bind, bestow. Pump-muscle begins to glow. Good. More heat-pillar work- attach to elec-machine, plug. Open the food-pouch, remove the hot stomach-pipes, reattach, reassign, redistribute. Coil around walker. Ready. Prepared. Focusing good, ocu-sacs working. Think-meat still intact. The tool is ready. Part one complete. Now wait, wait for signal.

The woman sobs, her feet stuck in a nest of nettles. Stinging, they cut into her feet, soothing a speak of the intense depression within her heart. The midday sun screams down, harsh rays disrupt her corneas, and her headache grows even worse. The presence of the moon in the sky makes the day even more auspicious, for the young woman has just learned something terrible- her parents are gone. Taken from her in a random accident- a drunk driver, streaking through an intersection. He's fine, of course- the drunker you are, the better you take a crash. But her parents are gone. Pancaked together in an orgy of violence and steel and carbon. Smooshed, bones broken, brain pans splattered across the dash like so many pieces of sand from a broken hourglass. Gone. Dead. And the woman is left alone. She loved her parents dearly- they supported her through school, through a divorce, through getting kicked out of her home, and through every issue large and small. Once again, the world has shunned her, shunted her away, and shifted her life massively. She has been left adrift, stranded on the Atlantic shore like a piece of driftwood, the city behind her bustling with not a care for the hot near-equatorial sun. The waves crash against the shore and within those waves, a crab dwells. Many claws adorn its shell, snipping and snapping, and a quadraclasp of eye stalks sit above its hungry and snapping mouth. Within it's vision, it spies the woman- sad, decrepit, waiting for a purpose. The crab has a purpose and knows the woman will be perfect for it. It digs into the soft sand, burrowing deep within the beach, retrieving the tool it was entrusted with. It has guarded it for centuries- the plan is finally nearing execution. It skitters up, the ancient tome held aloft, and presents it to a crying woman. For a moment, she is shocked. But in another moment, she can feel the intense knife of depression slide everything aside, focusing her thoughts. This is a way to get back at the world. And she is more than willing to enter into this aquatic combat.

The young woman sips her beer. She sits on the roof of her apartment building, the corpses of her fellow residents arranged around her and the tools she was ordered to gather. 4 dead bodies, dragged up several flights, arranged in a pattern. Feet touching under the woman, hands joined, a square of pain with a center of depravity. The instructions were clear, and the ingredients were even more explicit. They were expensive, sure- but the inheritance from her dead parents made good fuel for this bonfire. Between the dead bodies, tools for the ritual. Between the superintendent and the single resident of 4C, a large space heater, the most advanced available at the hardware store. Between the corpse of 4C and the penthouse resident, a collection of jewelry, and high-quality diamonds shimmering as their golden thrones sit. Between the penthouse renter and the male resident of 2A, a diesel engine stripped from a truck, carried up by the crab that skitters around the bodies, doing final preparations. Finally, a pipe juts between the superintendent and 2A, a direct line to water, a remnant from an error in construction. The crab is ready- it smells of sewage, the only way to get this close to the city without arousing suspicion.

The young woman strokes the tome, the angst it emanates mirroring her own. Doubt as to the future is no longer present- the idea of a future with no more support system is no longer an issue. The time she has spent growing in these emotions, time spent flooded with anxiety and fear and doubt. They mix in her chest like a typhoon, the only respite the pills she drowned herself in for decades. When one stopped working it was time for another, another doctor, another expert. Shifting, never solid, never secure. Her parents were always there, a kind hand on her shoulder, a guiding force in a life that never made any sense. But the world took them from her. The remaining piece of sanity she had ripped away cruelly. The beer is now gone, bottle chucked over the side to fall on the roof of a passing station wagon. It is time. The ritual must begin. The crab chitters with delight, knowing its masters will be pleased.

The tome is opened. Reading begun. The words of an ancient tongue spill out, her body prepared. The cuts and symbols arranged on her skin, standing out on her driven-snow skin, begin to bleed. The powerful liquid spills down, touching the newly murdered corpses. The skin on their feet is peeled away by the crab. The blood mixes. The words continue. Her uvula begins to morph. A second tongue invades her mouth, the jaw expanding to make room. Claws clap in applause. Assembly begins. Annalisa begins her transmogrification.

Cut, chop, crease! Let the metal boxes sing with joy. Wait for just the right moment. Inject, infuse. Let your life-liquid flow with hers. She is joyful. Rip open the focusers. Split the chest. Reveal the pump-muscles. Snip, snip, snip, snip. Find her chest. Incise, incise. Insert the heat-tube. Attach heat-box to water pipe. Reshape. Restructure. Shimmer-rocks, grab and insert. She is close. Grab the cold-box, smash. FInd the freeze-fluid. Spread it on the dead-eyes. Let them melt. Hey blood mixes well. The corpse-men rise. Joining hands. Focusing. The chants continue. Close! So close! Take her chest, rip it open. The cold-machine tubes, replaces the meat-curves. Ready! All of it flows. Let the life-water pump, pump, pump. She is full- the corpse-living are too. The Glow! It is beautiful! I must go. Split my shell, touch the book. Melt. Become one. let my claws flow onto her. I am her- I am it. I am them. I am everyone at once. We are ready. The light! It is so glorious! My masters! Beseech me, return!

Anderson Alacram Horowitz smiles as he slides the knife across the steak. Blood spurts from the raw meat, and the cutting board is stained with the fluid. His knife is sharp, ready to be used on anything. His temple is nearly complete. The middle of this damned country has been his home for the past ten years, time spent dealing with petty humans and their notions of the world, time spent so far away from his true home, the sea. The small joinder in his back wriggles in pleasure as the blood flows along the table towards a stack of steaks. The cow that served as the sacrifice for this meal sits nearby, its skin already stripped and tanning. His work is joyful, the fire crackling with a similar joy. The books he must make are jostling within his mind, their image rotating. The pact he has entered with the moon and the sea is strong. The powers it grants elevate him above a mere mortal. The webbing has begun to grow in. The meniscus of his thumb has almost grown to the first knuckle. Gills have begun to split the neck. Thighs and biceps grow more powerful, muscle growth shoots up. Every fish he sees is his fellow brethren. Every aquatic animal is a soldier in the coming war. The leather is prepared. He removes it from the rack and begins cutting, two rectangular shapes prepared. The spines are nearby. He readies the eldritch brochures, casting, focusing, empowering, and writing. The pieces are near completion- a blessing from his joinder, and they are complete. The bulge travels across his back, up his shoulder, down the bicep, and to the wrist. A sharpened nail splits the skin and pumps blue-red blood onto the tomes. They glow gently, seaweed sprouting from the ground and embracing them, wrapping the novellas in protective and blessed material. He brings the wrapped packages to his friends, smiling down at their beauty. His friends will bring the tomes to their destined owner, and Anderson begins to cook the steaks. He needs to feed himself, and his friends. A crab clicks its claws, and a monster claps its jaw together. One has the power to transform. The other can think abstractly. Soon, they will help bring about the end of this world, and the beginning of another.

Anderson sits cross-legged, peering out at the Gulf of Mexico, the landing place for his masters. The mobile home he has lived in for the past three months sits behind, the large horse trailer emptied of its contents which are strewn carefully around Andersen. Along with these tools of change are people, tied up and drugged beyond belief. Andersen may hate humanity with the blackened destructive mood of a tornado sweeping through a small town, but that does not mean he is cruel. These people will no longer be people, in a moment. On the cliff that lies above the Gulf, shale deposits jutting out haphazardly as small pieces of orange skin fall over the edge. Humanity may be a useless collection of dolts, harmful to the world and slowly destroying it, but they have created quite a few delicious consumables, in Anderson's opinion. The orange, a brand of sweet whiskey with a demon on the empty bottle, an empty package of candied circus peanuts. A few last pieces of the human world consumed. Anderson smiles broadly as he looks down at the bound and gagged humans, knowing they are dreaming sweet nothings, their tiny human lives about to end. Their five bodies will be the catalyst for a new world, their life force and flesh-perfect tools for focusing and magnifying natural powers. The orange is finished. The final piece of peel flapped down to the water below, the deep blue a thing of beauty. Soon, the warm embrace of those desultory waves shall wrap the world with cosmic anger, bought about by the minions of the beasts above, the moon gently floating through the sky with the midday sun.

It is time to begin. Anderson retrieves his satchel, a faded leather number with enough magical tools to destroy a small army. He withdraws several scalpels with colored blades, a bow and quiver with arrows made from the roots of a birch tree a slave was hung from, a sledgehammer composed of a chunk of cement from the building JFK was shot from, shears with blades made of iron from a collapsed mine in which 42 men died. The satchel is itself mystical, composed of the skin of a gorilla that murdered several children before being shot. Anderson has spent more than two hundred long years collecting these tokens of power. Humans are useless in many things, but focusing and creating large stores of potential energy is one of their few innate skills. These tools will serve Anderson well. And he intends to put their final show to good use.

The scalpel cuts and blood bleeds, Anderson slowly cutting a circle around both of his wrists. He grins as he rips the skin from his hands, revealing bone, tendon, and seaweed wrapped around the joints which poof out, still dripping wet from Anderson's blood. The volcanic gem embedded within his palm begins to glow a dull blue, power beginning to course through Anderson. His work begins. The sledgehammer is retrieved, and the knees get broken. The edgeless blunt tool slams down, sending shockwaves through joints, splitting them in half and causing audible popping sounds as the lower parts of human legs are shunted away. These limbs are collected, tied together with razor wire from a fence at Alcatraz a prisoner was shot on, and thrown into a pot of boiling salt water. The bloody stumps are then connected, the veins of each person warped and bought to each other, creating a five-pointed star of constantly pumping human hearts. The sledgehammer is then brought down on a diesel engine, an exact blow of focused power shattering the machine into pieces. What once fueled a massive truck that ran over a crowd of protesters is now in pieces, and it's all Anderson can do to keep himself from moaning in indulgent pleasure. This is his purpose. This is his journey's end. The sledgehammer is turned to the pointed edge of a surgeon's tool in Anderson's hands. It slams home four more times, splitting open and surgically disassembling with a flash of power the four remaining human tools collapse into their component parts, ready to be used for their mythical purpose.

The first man, found in a truck stop doing crack cocaine off a toilet, is first. Three swift surgical cuts with the reddish-hued scalped, the flaps of skin burning and falling away. His chest is exposed, ribcage glistening, heart pumping, innards trembling with the wind and the man's breath. First, the ribs. They are cut away, bone saw working through each one, each bone tucked into the gap left on the other side. The man's vital organs are now exposed, and Anderson begins his first ritualistic surgical procedure. The lungs are sliced open, alveoli breathing in the world hungrily. Pistons are snuggled within the gaps, the man's prodigious size indeed leading to large lungs. The pistons snuggled within, the gas tube poking out, the lungs are joined together, and changes start to flow through the items. The water outlet is joined to the intestines, and the man's full stomach begins to pump the water he was force-fed. Gears are melted down and blended with the lungs, their composition changing to become flesh-metal that binds to the pistons, ready to pump them. Sparkplugs are slotted into the flesh, the gallbladder becoming a perfect insulator. The liver and pituitary glands slowly move to encircle the heart, pumping in endorphins and adrenaline to prepare. A vein and artery are cut, a vein connected to a gas can on one end and the artery connected to the fuel intake of the pistons. The man's body is ready. He begins to pump diesel into his own body, the seaweed that has been working its way up the cliffs slowly moving to embrace him, shoveling more power into his already enchanted near-corpse. With a look upwards, toward that small white ball, the first part of the ritual is complete.

Death Ready Prepared Boiling Toiling Ready Prepared Death Excited Engaged Death Death Kill Maim Destroy

Next is the prostitute found near a seedy motel, who came of her own accord on the offer of five hundred in cash. She will not be receiving that cash. The microscope used to bludgeon Alexander Fleming to death sits in pieces next to her, ready and waiting. Anderson brings the bluish-hued scalpel to her head, gingerly cutting through the ruddy skin to reveal a grinning skull, eyes swiping back and forth in REM sleep. Allowing himself a treat, Anderson begins chewing on the forehead skin, working his jaw as he expertly extracts the ocular nerve while keeping the eye intact, two bloody holes now lying empty. His sharp claws begin extracting teeth, opening a hole in the front of her mouth. Next, a vertical cut along her throat, opening the meaty tube. Within this tube is inserted the lens, in a pattern that will amplify the most energy, the crystalline structures shimmering as blood begins to drip. Her lungs are filled with diamond dust, a focusing agent. A lung is pierced, two seaweed tubes leading to the neighboring components, one already joining with the generator man. Once complete, it will be a full circle of power creation and focusing. A beseeching to the sky, and Anderson moves on.

Death Ready Claws Swipe Gut Forage Death Rip Tear Destroy Prepared Resistance Overtake Destroy Reorder Restructure Remove

Next is the store owner, thinking they were coming to get an order of sodas and met a blackjack over their skull. There was no soda. Soon there will be nothing for them. An antique telescope with too many lenses used by a serial killer to stab seventeen people lies in pieces, each lens reflecting the soon-to-be-gone sunlight. A greenish-hued scalpel is retrieved, a quick slice across the stomach and his intestines flood out, already pressurized by large amounts of laxatives and compressed air. The intestines will serve as a winding focus tube, with the lens slowly inserted and the cuts healed over, a fleshy tube of power that winds and winds. Andersen takes out his innards, reshaping them to surround each lens in kind, veins being stripped away and reshaped to feed blood to the various organs along the intestinal focusing tube. The heart is removed, placed in the center of this coil of focusing flesh, and replaced within the man's guts, his skin stretched over the curling package, pregnant with power. Seaweed explodes out of the ground, wrapping him with a protective layer, the cliffs now covered in the growing vines of green, the sea yearning for a return of its original masters. A beseeching to the moon, and the third component is complete.

Death Ready Teeth Gnash Claws Rip Stomach Burns Body Tight Prepared Violence Desire Restructure Return Return Return

Next is the young daughter of a landscaper, who was lied to. She was convinced Anderson was a teenager on a forum, coming to meet her for the first time. Her innocence was preserved, of course. The automatic tennis ball thrower that killed a man by destroying his testicles lays in discarded pieces, yearning for purpose. Her yearning is still present. She entered unconsciousness still convinced. The longest, sharpest scalpel, burning a deep blue, is used to cut five long lines across her limbs and stomach. Her recombination will be the most difficult and must be done by magical means entirely. Andersen's hands sweep and swerve, the pieces of the ball machine floating into their proper places, seaweed combining with them to anchor them in place. Her jaw is widened with the intake hole, ready for the magical fuel Andersen prepared long in advance. The cage is attached, stabbed through her eyes and gingerly approaching her brainpan, electrical impulses sparking along the metal. She is the only one in a squatting position, her rear the exit point and her mouth the entry point. Enchanted fuel cells, human stem cells wrapped in seaweed marinated in the blood of the last living unicorn, are gathered in the cage, ready for focusing and firing. Another pipe snakes out, inserting itself through her chest and supplying more magical juice, focused and refracted by the other components. She is the firing point, the engaging point for the ritual. She will serve her purpose well. A beseeching to the moon, and the fourth component is complete.

Ready Prepared Existence Ceasing Approaching the Orb Preparing Ourselves We Are Ready It Is Almost Time We Will Destroy We Will Return We Will Rend We Will Rip We Will Tear We Will Murder

And finally, a homeless man, a volunteer. He could tell, in his own insanity, that the end times were coming; he relished the opportunity to punish a world that did nothing but treat him as garbage. He is surrounded by multiple firearms, ready to be turned into an engine of death. He points away from the cliffs, towards the road, facing towards where the enemy will approach. The final scalpel is in Anderson's hand, glowing a rainbow hue that shimmers and changes constantly. The blade cuts delicately, the man still awake as was his choice. Their hand is split down the middle, the shoulders cut open, the thighs exsanguinated. And within those openings Anderson tucks weapons, a blessed magazine was used to assassinate a high priest of every major Christian religion serving as a bottomless buffet of bullets, which is absorbed by the man's heart, turning his life-muscle into a lead-pumping menace. Within the lungs, an infusion of steel dust, made from the wreck of the Titanic, serves to bolster his defenses. Rifles are slowly assembled in his deformed and waiting hands, no need for a finger to curl around the trigger when it's hard-wired into the nervous system. Veins expand and bulge under the skin, ready to carry bullets from the heart of this golem. Over his skin, bloody bulletproof vests were fresh from a nearby prison riot. When it is complete, it is given full control of itself, and Anderson views his work appreciatively. The guard dog smiles, eyes no longer eyes but bloody view-finders, anxious for targets to fall under its lead spew. The final beseeching to the moon, Anderson carves a pentagram into his chest, each line cut by a different scalpel, and stands in the middle of the ritual, ready, and prepared.

We are ready, we have prepared, we have waited. We will destroy, we will sunder, we will overturn. We are End, We are All, We Are Nothing. We will bring the world to its Knees, and bite off its Head.

Anderson stands in the middle of the pentagram of flesh, the components assembled and complete around him. The ground beneath him shimmers with seaweed, wrapping and coiling and shaping the ground. There is a final piece to prepare- himself. He draws a final blade, a shimmering sword he forged himself, and with two swift strikes chops off his own feet, the meat sailing over the cliff to land in the churning waters below. The sea has awoken again- the calm cove stirs with awakened anger and hatred, the rage of a world brought to the brink of destruction by an unkind parasite. The seaweed shimmers and dances, inserting itself into Anderson's open arteries and bones, filling him with the power of the sea. His eyes change color, becoming brilliant aquamarine diamonds, able to see across the horizon. To the east, a woman sits on the top of a skyscraper, a crab sitting to the side, and begins the final phases of the ritual. To the west, an old man awaits his final moments, and the creature in the book is about to begin the final phases of the ritual as well. Anderson releases the final gate, and across the continent, the three pieces move in kind, beginning.

We Are The Reckoning.

Anderson is no longer Anderson. His mouth is a portcullis, an offering to the sea that it gladly takes from him. As it begins to chant, the components all awaken, their bodies starting to begin their tasks. The focusing agent's funnel power is produced by the sea along their bodies, their tubes and pipes, and lenses creating refractory chambers that multiply and amplify. One awakens, and they scream. All it does is amplify the powers they are being used for. The power is then piped along the pentagram of flesh, and deposited into the man with the engine in his chest. The engine begins to churn and fire, sparkplugs firing and causing pistons to slam into place, pumping the axle connected to the electromagnet which propels the energy along the pipe, leading into the women. Her intestines are imbuing, and the ammunition that Anderson created absorbs the energies. Her body begins to glow, concentrated power ready to be released in a fireworks display of angry passion. Anderson, was-Anderson, roars as the chant reaches completion, as the enemies of the sea arrive on vehicles on the nearby road, as a bright tornado of magical light begins to swirl up, towards the moon, the other rituals nearing their climax. It begins. It will come. A simple piece of poetry, one the beasts gave to Anderson as a child, flies through the air, the scrap of paper just barely visible...

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