You have just survived a long and highly unusual day. Like a stalking hunter, exhaustion has crept in and found its prey in you. Eyelids grow heavy as your fractured mind struggles to deal with the horrors that until today were the stuff of fiction developed from a fevered imagination. Comfort is found in the idea that today’s troubles are now firmly in the past and now is a time slated for recuperation.
Your eyes open. Unfamiliarity fills your mind while vibrant colors and rich smells fill your senses. Impossibly green blades of grass and blindingly yellow dandelions cover the field in which you find yourself in. An afternoon breeze brings with it a warm comfort and smells of life abundant. Your focus shifts to the fantastically blue sky and above that, the heavens. A solitary moon appears menacingly close and behind that a purplish ringed planet monopolizes the horizon.
Arriving as if on cue, you are picked up by some… thing. A shocking and uncouth black thing with smooth, oily… surfaces, unpleasant horns that curve inward toward each other, bat wings whose beating make no sound, ugly prehensile paws, and barbed tails that lash needlessly and disquietingly. And worst of all, never speaks… because it had no face at all… but only a suggestive blankness where a face ought to be. All is ever does is clutch and fly.
And fly it does. Together you travel across beautifully alien landscape. The seemingly rural area you arrived in gives way to a bustling mountainous city inhabited by what appears to be many different varieties of a feline species. As odd as they seem to you, they seem as though your presence was expected.
Flying past the city you are greeted with the beginning of a vast ocean. The water in the shallows appears a vast bed of fog dotted with the jagged heads of rocks from the shore. The deeper sections of the ocean appear littered with holes in which reality itself rips open so swallow the ocean. Fantastically mammoth amorphous creatures break the surface of the water spewing tons of liquid into the sky.
Passing the ocean you come across a vast plateau the color of blood. The ground seems to come alive as you approach. Upon closer inspection, you realize the “living” ground is actually thousands of bloated purple spiders, each one standing no shorter than 5 feet in height. As you pass overhead their chittering and wild thrashing in anticipation of what thy hope will be their next meal becomes deafening.
The blood red hills give way to a near colorless dessert. Your eyes strain to see anything other than sand and rock but it is of no use. The land is completely devoid of life despite a solitary crystal clear river passing through it.
Following the river, you come to a great lake with a glowing city that appears to float on its surface. It seems as though this is your destination as the winged thing started to descend upon it. It flies through the city streets that are occupied with figures seldom completely human, but approach humanity in varying degrees. Most of the bodies while roughly bipedal have a forward slumping, and a vaguely canine cast. The texture of the majority is a kind of unpleasant rubberiness. Again, they seem not to be interested in your presence as they go about what must be their version of routine life.
Your destination appears to be a room of eerie familiarity and quite dull in contrast to the marvelous sights you have become accustom to. Bare walls and bare floors with an overwhelmingly mundane yet somehow threatening feel make up this chamber. A single light hangs from the center of the room and stands alone as the rooms’ only notable feature. You turn quizzically to your host to find only a blank wall starting back and you quickly realize you are trapped in this featureless room.
Slowly, screams and moans of agony creep their way into your consciousness. The smells of decay fill your nostrils and a spray of blood splashes across one of the four walls. The realization comes like a slap to the face; there are bodies to accompany the blood! Seven human men and women of varying ages and nationalities lay on the floor in as many varying states of death. Some viciously cut open with others appear sickly and gaunt. One in particular catches and holds your gaze. A woman with neatly slit wrists in a yellow summer dress looks up at you. Her lips part as if to say some parting words. You sit up with a start, suddenly grateful to again be a part of the waking world.
Ancient Horrors of the Middle East and other Strange Tales