The Lands I Know


Kris Kuksi

This Week’s Prompt:10. Dream of flying over city.

The Research: Flights of Fancy

I dreamed of rolling hills, the kind you see in pictures of summer and family cartoons. I soared over miles and miles of hills and pasture, dotted with wonderful little houses and villas. A number of small fences with yards of beautiful white fences and boys and girls singing and dancing. Oh, to tarry in those happy lands a bit longer. For those were the lands I knew, and I soaring over did dare to go farther, as the ground fled from me. And I entered the lands I only remembered.

There, there the fields were golden still, with wheat and cattle. And some places were shaded, so I could not see them. Youths worked the fields, maidens frolicked eternally happy. Farms were raised in the morning I came over those lands of memory, and torn down that night. Not a sign of age, nor birth or death. No, growth came so slow as to be nonexistent here, changing only in space not in time. It was a strange place, with dogs roaming free to hunt, and cats meowing at forlorn trees. But the winds blew, and I on Morpheus’s wings flew on.

Farm gave way to city, and gaity to gravitas. Down I fell as I flew yonder, the ground fleeing me like a great crevice. Towers rose, of brick and concrete. Oh, I did not know these buildings, nor had I set foot in such things. Dimly, I had seen them in films and pictures. I could only imagine such structures. Oh, they were real and certain, but hazy in the way Troy must have been to a Greek. Grand, but hollow. Teeming with an overflow of gray shapes, with millions of heads and arms flowing between them. Crowds of bodies, one mass surging into and out of the various buildings, a cacophony of noise and gestures. Chaos never had a truer bed.

Here I perched for a while, wings tired and wind dying. As I stood atop the roofs, I saw many strange sights in this half conceived city. Great skinless apes loomed large over the mass, seizing sections and pulling them into its maw. How dreadful! I shuddered to think if such creatures were let loose into the fields I knew. Great iron beasts rolled, and I knew not which was worse. For they did not eat them, but made such dreadful noise as to cause a panic. I wondered from whence this macabre city feel, for it could not have been made so. But the winds of dream blew on.

And onward I went, through the mess of stone. Towers grew together, like a web of stone, where enormous spiders, crawling and weaving a number of stony passages to the ceiling beyond the sun.In their hollow masses I saw reptilian shapes and heard the lamentation of women. Great shapes loomed on the ceiling, now low enough for me to see. I saw ships of steel carrying children, the first I had seen, to great factories, that they might be cast into mortar and paste. I heard their cries, as by lash and ruler they were broken, by those children who were treacherous and old in souls. Might obelisks were raised on their backs, with writing I could not read but who’s portents I understood. Here, they said, we praise Moloch and Philemon, kings of dreams and glory forever be. These names meant nothing to me.

But the web broke and bent, and at last I beheld the deepest and highest depth, soaring and sinking at once. And I saw a woman’s face, as vast as a mountain, with a mouth yawning in pain toward the sky. The teeth bore more mouths, calling out to be fed, and down infinitely so. Gremlins and witches labored on the faces surface, to settle its out cry and hunger. Its eyes, oh such terrible eyes, burned bright red and its hair was that of a gorgon. I have seen this face sense, on dark nights in distant thunder. But at that moment, it saw me and with one great breathe, one that drew first the goblins and witches, then the serpents and factory workers, then the cities, then the fields, then the plains I know, it drew me into to its gullet. And I awoke, in the darkness, not knowing whether I had evaded that terrible face, or now dwelt in the ruins of the world it swallowed, dark and miserable.
The bodies of dreamers are always foggy to me, good fellows. Tell me, what did you unearth?
I would also recommend, for those interested in some weird and industrial sculpture, Kris Kuksi’s work. It provided some inspiration for the descriptions I cobbled together above.

If you’d like to support the Society, receive more stories or research, or are feeling generous, please check out our Patreon here.

Flights of Fancy

Today’s prompt is: 10. Dream of flying over city.

The Resulting Story:The Lands I Know

I’ve talked of dreams already, and won’t repeat that entire realm of the subconscious here. But the idea of flight is tied in with many others, and the first thing my mind leaps to when restitching this corpse is Icarus. For those somehow unfamiliar with the notion of Icarus, it is the story of mad science by the arch-inventor Daedalus, and how he attempts to escape with his son by gluing feathers to their arms. He famously warns his son to not fly to high or the sun will burn the wings, nor to low or the waves will catch him. Icarus enjoys flying too much, flies to high, and proceeds to fall to his death. Tragic in the oldest style.


So there is precedent for taking flying as arrogance. A tad obvious, but worth remembering. More interesting is the city. Whether this dream is a nightmare or a fancy is dependent on the city. Do we swerve through a beautiful metropolis or flutter between Gothic towers or slip betwixt nightmarish engines and towers and so on. The potential in cities is manifold, and what sort of experience we give is deeply dependent on the city itself.

The model that occurs to me is the travelogue, where the audience and the narrator both wonder together in some forgotten vista or new found land, and give we will be entering a dream, exploiting this for the growth of our narrator’s character seems natural. Perhaps he or she (I haven’t had a she in some time, I must remedy that) will not change, but certainly something ought to be revealed. After all, the subconscious is rarely uninteresting. And often more opinionated then its host. I wonder what edifices lurk in the skies of a dreaming mind. I’ve never looked up, you see, while dreaming.

I’d be remiss, my dear fellows, not to recommend Dave’s Lovecraft list as well, for those who have not enjoyed Mr. Lovecraft’s actually completed works.

If you’d like to support the Society, receive more stories or research, or are feeling generous, please check out our Patreon here.

Dr. Spencer’s Tale


A relative of Dr. Spencer’s witch, from Oregeon

This Weeks Prompt:  9: Dr. Eben Spencer plot.

The Research: Who is Dr. Eben Spencer?

The year was 1864, and never had Ebenezer had such trouble writing. His hand shook violently, always had since he was young. A deplorable defect in a doctor, it rendered him a useless surgeon, despite his practical knowledge of the practice. Few patients want long jagged cuts running through them, and as such he maintained his work as a herbalist. On occasion, during this great war betwixt states, he was called upon to amputate a man’s limb or tear free a ball of lead from a slab of flesh.

And this year had made it all the worse. Loss after loss was being heaped upon the Northern armies, rout after rout, and now some fool of a drunk named Grant was in command. Ebenezer wasn’t far from the lines of fighting, and it was this more than distant patriotism that refused to grant his hands rest. No, he hadn’t done any fighting himself. A rifle in his hands might as well belong to the enemy camp. But there were always risks, this close to shot and cannon.

Despite the shaking of his hands, the letter managed to become legible on the third or fourth try. It was a missive, to an old acquaintance out in western Virginia, informing him of Ebenzer’s current plan and destination. Like many men who were near death, Ebenezer had a revival of faith, albeit not the chaplain’s kind. No, no, Ebenezer had faith in older things. Things that he, in distant providence, only dimly recalled from across the sea in Arkham. Of remedies lost to Indian, of rat-things, and of terrible old men with daunting powers.

And certainly, Arkhams woods was not the only one where the man in black, towering with his dread book walked. These things, he thought and said, would secure victory without a single shot fired. Or at the least, he thought, they would secure his life.

No, no and if the danger was to pass, if the war was to be won, such a place must be found. Ebenzer was no fool, however. Like any zealot of a new found faith, he was keenly aware of danger. He bore a crucifix in his pocket and a bible on his breast when he set out from camp all dressed in blue. He had set things in order, lest the wild powers and dark riders sweep him away.

So through the hills and woods he went, to a little town nestled far from gunfire at the moment. To little Greenwood, in the new state West Virginia. He had asked local regiments about strange stories. Not where they could find witches or healers, no man would confess to knowing that. But, strange places? Towns inhabited by weird folks, strangers that act funny? Those they knew, and those were the places around which fog circled and haunted by strange spirits.

Greenwode was little more than a chapel and perhaps two farms. Maybe three, Dr. Spencer thought, as the fields seemed to bleed through any attempt at partition. Perhaps two had become one or one was in the process of slowly dividing into two. The farmers here were tall men, large and with necks that flowed seamlessly into their bodies. They were slow to speak, eyes squinting at Dr. Spencer as if he were some dreamed up phantasm walking among them.

In time, he managed to persuade them to direct him to a healing woman. He had received a dreadful cough, he explained. And despite the best of his profession, he attested with shaking hands that he could not heal himself.

“Not a doctor in all of Providence, no, in all of Rhode Island could give me cure. I fear that this particular terror is harbinger of something greater,” he said frowning, “Yet, I heard out here there may be some cure to every malady. Some terrible plague I fear is coming down soon upon me, and I wish it gone.”

The farmer he spoke to was silent, staring at him blankly for a moment, and then pointing with pitchfork towards the western woods. He said there was a woman up in the wooded hills, in a cave between two bent sycamore trees that could do something about most anything. How she got so famous, he didn’t know. He’d always thought her daft and mad, but if Dr. Spencer wanted someone it was probably her.

The woods did take a peculiar shape up toward the cave the farmer had noted. The tops seemed to sag, holding some great invisible weight from touching the ground. Dr. Spencer mused as the branches seemed to curl into spirals towards the healers home, bent away as if in fear or wonder. The roots seemed to weave themselves into a net to catch incautious feet in front of the great maw that was the cave.

The woman sat there in the cave, lit only by a small fire and smoking a long pipe. She was wrapped in cloth, waiting by a fire, hunched over and with shoulders knotted back. Branch arms with twig fingers wrapped around the pipe, smoke serpents winding upward. A number of pouches hung by a line across the top of the cave, some smoldering and smoking above the fire.

“New face in the door, new smell as well. Tell Alice why you have come. Speak quickly, time is still moving,” the woman said, raising her blindfolded head.

“I have …a cough, deep in my lungs,” Dr. Spencer said, aping illness as best he could.

“And? What of it?”

“I heard you could cure any-”

“A cough is a simple aliment for even a failed wise woman to fix. They don’t come to Alice for simple cures, fear and common sloth keeps them back. Why do you come so far on your own?”

“It’s a peculiar cough, it’s out smarted every doctor I’ve seen or met. I’ve fear it is a harbinger of something worse, something fatal,” Dr. Spencer replied, crossing into the many smoked cave.

“All men have a fatal disease lurking in their spirit. Sometimes lungs, sometimes heart, sometimes head, sometimes throat. Sometimes it is shakes, others its aches, and for the special ones, it a sudden stabbing of steel or bone. Is that what you wish Alice to cure?”

“Ma’am, if what you have in mind will cure my cough, I’ll take it,” Dr. Spencer said. Alice chuckled, and reach up to the bags hanging. One she grabbed and lowered, a small brown leather bag that Dr. Spencer swore squirmed between her fingers.

“This, this will do. Its an old work, from the old country. Put it on your chest, and your…ah…cough will go,” Alice said, handing the bag to Dr. Spencer.

“Oh, thank you, thank you. Now…what is your fee?”

“Fee? Is charity already dead in this country? Get you gone, that is my fee.”

As he left, Dr. Spencer opened the small bag, and clenched it when he saw what was in. There was a a polyp of flesh that was at one moment squamous, at another moment feathery, at the next full of eyes and claws with fur sticking between as his hands shook the bag violently. Dr. Spencer stared transfixed, the shifting thing in the bag captivating him. At one moment, it was animal, vegetable, and mineral. It seemed to pull itself out of the bag, up toward Dr. Spencer. It seemed, to the good doctor, rude to not assist the strange thing and lift it to his chest.

A few days later Dr. Spencer returned to camp, his shakes completely calmed. He smiled and jovially spoke with his fellow man. He smiled teeth now crisp and white, explaining how a family emergency called him to the hinterlands. And after the battle, he and several of patients vanished in the night. The men, they say he can still be found in little valleys and creeks, silent and slow like a statue given life.
I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that this was one of the most difficult corpses I’ve stitched together. I admit, fellow members, that I am not particularly fond of it. Perhaps it strikes an inspirational chord with one of you?

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