Your Foul Eminence,
We have located a suspected vessel of Our Lord [redacted], Masticator of Worlds. In this incarnation he appears to be hiding in the fleshly frame of one Martin Sussex, an infant homo sapiens of [address redacted]. The god-child appears to be about 8 months of age.
Here is a list of evidence gathered during our covert visit, submitted for your information.
i) Martin appears to have already gathered a spirit guide. It is a Greenland Mallard, which repeatedly appears in the god-child’s nursery despite all attempts to contain or exterminate the bird. It has negated most of our attempts to approach the nursery, and has destroyed many of our instruments with a mixture of guano and complicated curses.
ii) Martin appears to have a prodigious appetite, consuming enough food for three infants his size. This has caused his worldly guardians great concern, and our surveillance of his medical records reveals that several doctors are mystified. This confirms that he most likely has the rapid metabolism of a confirmed host.
iii) When our instruments have not been fouled by the spirit guide, we have recorded brain wave activity indicative of long-range psychic possession. This always occurs during REM sleep, and lasts for several hours. This could well explain the bizarre behaviour of the Australian President during the recent APEC summit.
iv) We believe we have observed low level telekinesis, the slight movement of building blocks and the like. This ability seems to be in a state of atrophy, which is a great relief considering the destructive rampage that led to the last vessel’s death on Ursu-Beta VII.
v) A powerful psychic duel was recently fought between Martin Sussex and a pug dog, which we later confirmed was the host of [redacted], Lord of the Blade-Storm Nebula. The dog was found unharmed by the side of a freeway, hundreds of miles from its house. The daemon was driven out, and is still unaccounted for.
We await further instructions, your Foul Eminence. If Martin Sussex is not the host to glorious [redacted], Our Lord and Foul Destroyer, he will prove to be a most dangerous enemy and should be eliminated. The duck is still an unknown which we are treating as a Grade XXVII Entity.
Author’s note: this story is dedicated to my friend Julie, her daughter Matilda, and her partner Kirk, because (as will surprise no-one who knows Julie) her daughter arrived in the world with a similar entourage.
Though we live in the Internet Age, Sofia’s birth was announced in the usual way: a voice was heard crying the news from the sacred cave in Damascus (interrupting the congress of lovers in the condominium above); a woman fell down beside the holy well at Chartres (now a cathedral), saying, “She is come!”; and a spirit stood amid the burning lamps of the Pituk gompa’s altar in Tibet, waiting quietly until the monks understood, but since they know to watch for these signs, that didn’t take long.
Perhaps every mother feels—on a good day, for a brief moment—that her child is the Messiah. Only a few know for sure, and the news does not generally please them. Sofia’s parents, both professors at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza,” just looked confused when the angel Gabriel showed up while they were cooking dinner, alighting on the mushroom basket by the door, which never recovered.
“I’m positive I helped with conception,” pointed out her father Rafaelo. “And since we are—were?—atheists, I’m afraid God wasn’t on our minds at the time.”
“Yes yes yes,” Gabriel replied. “If you’ve glanced at your human race lately, you know the Divine does not to do anything the same way twice.”
Sofia’s mother, Catriona, looked down at her belly, where a bump the size of a small pecorino cheese liked to move about, first high, then low and off to the side: Sofia.
“At least that explains the animals, caro,” she said to her husband.
“Animals?” asked Gabriel sharply.
“They follow me around. Cats, dogs, pigeons, hawks, rats, foxes—any creature in the city. I walk to work and by the time I get there I look like a zoo on the move.”
“The odd thing is,” pointed out Rafaelo, “They never eat each other, not even when they disperse.”
“A sign of Universal Peace,” nodded Gabriel.
“That’s very nice, but someone has to clean up all the poop afterwards,” said Catriona.
“Ah! Not unlike having a baby, then,” said Gabriel. He groomed each wing with the air of one who has done his job. “Well! That wraps it up for now. Expect further communications as events warrant.”
“—But,” Catriona began, suddenly realizing how very many questions she had, yet too late, for Gabriel had ascended in golden state, leaving behind only fragments of wicker and footprints in the fungus.
Fred had almost forgotten the boy who fell off the world. “So you lived. You lived! How?”
“I fell. I expected to fall forever. Instead, I plunged into a net of roots. Many broke as they slowed my fall, but soon I was caught. It was a simple matter then of climbing up the stouter roots, ever mindful of the void beneath me, until I reached the good brown earth. I found openings in the world’s venter, the termini of smooth-walled tunnels at whose origin I greatly wondered. Some were large enough for me, and one of these I entered. Though from the beginning I misdoubted their character.”
“What dug those tunnels Chuck? What worms are those whose girth exceeds that of a man? What lives down there on the bottom of things?”
At this the visitor grew pale and trembled. “Don’t ask me that,” he whispered. “Some things are not to be spoken. Would that they could be not thought!”
“Those damnable tunnels. The walls are encrusted with phosphorescent fungi, revealing in a jaundiced, fitful light that which were better hid. There are dead ends in those subterranean passages, each a fatted place like a spider’s brood sack. Many are empty, thank all the gods that be, but some are not. What I found in those would send you shrieking, desperately seeking light and clean air and any thing outside those fetid burrows. Those nearer the surface and the Sun’s good light contain the desiccated, partially devoured, but still living remains of creatures well familiar, including man. I spoke with one, a hollow thing that begged me to end his life. I did so, swiftly, and all those I later met. Brood sacks many miles below Earth’s face contained other remains, also still living, discernible in the flickering radiance of the mutant fungi. These I hope never to meet hale and hearty either above or below ground.”
“Ask me not what I dined on during my sojourn beneath the surface. I sucked water from roots that dangled from tunnel ceilings. This water, never present in any great quantity, faintly bitter and with a nauseating aftertaste, suffused with the essences of all through which it had passed, was the most wholesome thing I ingested while I was within the earth.”
“When I finally crawled out of that bewildering subterranean maze, the setting sun’s ruddy light streamed across a hilly landscape of red-tile roofs, the scattered farm houses and fields of complacent cattle concealing a horror of which their inhabitants are blissfully ignorant.”
Subject: Impending Doom
Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2008 – 08:00:00
The email response you will send today at 09:13:02 will never make it to me. You won’t know that because you’ll be in jail soon after you send it, so I’m telling you now.
The bomb threats you’ll phone in in five minutes to the Wells Fargo Tower and City Hall will be taken seriously. I know you don’t actually want to do it — at least not yet — but the police don’t know that. In about fifteen minutes everyone will find out the threats are more than threats. Don’t worry, not everyone in the buildings will be killed this time.
In prison you’ll experience unspeakable atrocities. You’ll seethe with rage at the unfairness of the situation, and you’ll hate the world even more. You’ll hate yourself. You’ll want to lash out, punish someone, anyone, any way. But after three years behind bars, you’ll come to terms with it. Discover that you were right all along. Realize that the only problem was that you didn’t destroy enough.
I know you don’t want to do this, but in a way, deep down inside, you do. Many people do. I’m still here typing this and the article I’ve attached hasn’t changed, so you must have gone through with it.
You’re wondering what I want from you. It’s easy: I need you to place the calls, take the blame, do the first three years. Tell them whatever you want to tell them. They won’t believe you anyway.
Just three. Easy. Years. Then I’ll take over. You’ll be ready then, and we can be a team.
Then we’ll burn it all to the ground.
> News Release: Reuters
> Date: Wednesday, October 9, 2009
> Title: Man says future self told him to destroy skyscrapers
> Abstract: Accused terrorist Jonathan Quill, 28, says that a future version of him sent a message back in time, telling him to
> blow up the Wells Fargo Tower and City Hall. He claims that he is not responsible for the actions of his future self, and that
> he did not, in fact, place explosives in the buildings in question. Mr. Quill is currently under arrest pending psychiatric evaluation.
> Click here to read more…