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   Eighty-seven year old Emily Madison found herself aimlessly wondering in the woods nearby her nursing home. Though she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer a few months back, to the devastation of her family, she had not yet descended into the bowls of its horrific hands, or so she thought. But still, she could not account for having wondered off into the woods alone by herself. The farther she followed the path the closer her bare feet brought her to the sound of voices. One was almost recognizable, the others too indistinct to make out.
   Suddenly, like a brilliant burst of soft light she felt herself being pulled backward. Landing in the past of her youth was excitingly mind whirling as she came to recognize her six year old self. Wearing a new Easter dress hunting for eggs along with a half dozen other children from Church. Emily smiled, remembering it was the day she first met Tommy Madison, later to become her husband of fifty-two years. Her home lay on the other side of the woods and through which she now suddenly found herself being flashed forward through to a secluded area.
   Seeing herself, now as a teenager, receiving her first kiss from Samuel Davenport took her breath away. Samuel’s tender advancements got out of hand and it was Tommy who had come along just in time to rescue her from being raped. Three days later they began seriously dating and became fast friends. Emily’s eyes teared up at seeing how heroic the smaller framed Tommy was, defending her honor against the brawn of Samuel‘s six foot stature. Tommy covered Emily with his coat and embraced her with every bit the savior he showed himself to be throughout their enduring marriage.
   
  Wanting so much to stay and relieve those moments, Emily felt the tug of fate whisk her away to yet another memory of their first born daughter’s wedding day. It had been performed by their pastor, Thomas Smith, standing atop a stump that marked the beginning of the Lakeview woods she so dearly loved. Michelle and her new husband would later give Tommy and Emily five grandchildren and nine great grandkids; all the joy of her life. Emily was so proud of how her life was turning out, seeing Michelle begin her live was like restarting her own all over again.
   Without warning she had again been thrown forward in time to her near present. She saw herself lying in her bed at the Lakeview Care Nursing Home. Standing over her was Angela Stillman, an RN every family member loved but the residents detested because of her two face-ness.
   Her nurse was now acting like an Angle of Mercy: smothering Emily with her own pillow. A panic attack of terror thrashed through Emily’s mind as all she could do was simply lay there without the use of her arms to fight back. The darkness engulfed her vision as her labored gasped were swallowed to a stop of nothingness.
Yet, out of the black void, Emily felt herself through the opened doors of her childhood church. Ever so slowly she glidingly floated down the center isle through the congregation filled pews toward the flower laden alter. Seeing an oversized portrait herself and several various pictures that had been taken throughout her life were surreal to observe. A strange yet unsettling happiness came over her at not seeing a casket but a beautifully decorated wooden urn. Her daughter had fulfilled Emily’s wishes of being cremated. It was rather bothersome to take in, hearing the somber pre-recorded music softly playing in the background overlaid with her family’s crying. Her favorite grandson; Albert’s weeping was most disturbing to Emily who wanted so much to console him that everything was alright, and that her newly diagnosed cancer was no longer an unbearable pain to endure.
   The eerie humming of low murmured voices began to grow louder, and came from all directions. She felt sick, uneasy in her stomach. Emily looked down to see her feet had burst into flames, with her legs and lower torso engulfed like smoldering ash amid the gathered logs of an outdoor camp fire. There was no burning sensation only the growing tingle of nausea growing in her thoughts. A nausea; like coming home from a great outing with your loved ones only to find your home had been burglarized, a gut wrenching wave of having victimized.
   The smoke had consumed Emily. In utter bewilderment she looked at both her raised hands, which now appeared almost transparent, for they existed only as smoky apparitions of their former state. Just when she wanted to scream out for someone to explain what was happening the answer came quickly on its own.
Her grandson, Albert, was standing several feet away from the bon fire Emily now found herself the center piece of; as a group of his friends were gathered in a circle about the burning logs.
     Emily’s mind was all a whirl as to why they were standing in the woods in the middle of the dark of winter. Was it a college fraternal gathering, she wondered? They were dressed in dark colored robes humming or chanting as Albert continued to walk backwards behind the gathering. He appeared to be empting a box of dust out upon the ground. Emily’s nausea tingled throughout her body as her hands became less smoke like and more solid.
     Stan Branford, Albert’s childhood friend was standing directly in front of Emily with his arms raised, dagger in hand, chanting, “Mah-thran You-Soor Veth-lu-mare Cor-van--” Then suddenly stopped. His half bored expression abruptly changed to one of total panic and fear. Just completing the Magick Circle, Albert caught a glimpse of his fully formed grandmother standing in the middle of the camp site’s fire, glaring angrily back at him. Albert stopped, frozen in his tracks staring at his grandmother’s burning yet unconsumed form in the fire before him. “Nan Na?!”
    Realizing that she had unwittingly been summonsed for protection, and her ashes used to outline the perimeter of where some conjured entity was allowed to appear set Emily off into a rage. She yelled at Albert, as the entire gathering stood frozen listening to her admonishments, “You left the Church for this? What’s wrong with you, boy? Your parents -- I taught you better than to fool around with all that Satanic nonsense.”
   Before she could berate him any farther, several thick armed tentacles came out of nowhere from up behind Emily. She began screaming at how she had been betrayed and who did they think they were to use her ashes in such a disrespectful manner, when all of a sudden the squid like arms began piercing through the air, lancing the gathered shadows before Emily. Bodies were entangled, waved in the air high above the darkened tree tops and smashed into the earth. Heads crushed, and bodies mangled. Two, three at a time the scattering statues were caught running for their lives only to be snuffed out by the multi-appendage creature. Finally, a great tentacle limb coiled itself around Albert’s trembling body. From foot to neck it grabbed him in mid scream he was silenced as the great arm slowly brought him gliding through the air to hover before Emily’s boring gaze.
   Softly her tenuous voice whispered, “I’m disappointed in you, grandson…”
   But before she could say any more, the wooden urn slipped from Albert’s one free hand, releasing the box into the roaring flames. Albert fell to the ground just as the great squid-like arms and his grandmother both evaporated into embers of the dissipating smoke.

   Laying on the ground a few feet from the dying camp fire, Albert looked about to see that none of his companions remained alive, and whispered the demonic entity‘s name, “Cthulhu! I’m sorry Gran ma I’ll dispose of them at the Lake like you wanted.”






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VENTURE INTO MY WORLD

VENTURE INTO MY WORLD
The Watcher's Book of Books