's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" The Torchwood Text "

Submitted by Prophet Storm

There was no business. At all. Most of Arkham was in bed, anxiously anticipating the approaching storm—one of considerable fury, said most meteorologists. But near the day’s end, Ignatius caught something out of the corner of his eye—A ghastly wraith, hanging over the bookshelves in the southwestern corner of the library. A burning flame of righteous indignation burned in the librarian’s eyes as he stood from his chair and declared, “A-hem!”

There was no response. The blasphemous vapor hung above the bookshelves impudently.

“A-h-hem! Sir, I must ask you not to smoke in this library!”

There was still no response. The smoke curled up toward the ceiling. The damage had not yet begun, but it would. He strode purposefully to the tiny nook in the corner of the room from whence the offending haze had emerged. “You force me to repeat myself, sir,” Torchwood warned, “Do not smoke in this…library…!”

He had found the man who was smoking. A man wearing a long, black robe, his face hidden by a deep cowl, stood in a circle of simmering, smoldering red unholy light. The man was not smoking in the typical fashion, but smoke was rather emerging from every orifice the cloak afforded. He stepped forward, and the ring of light faded.

“Sir,” Ignatius said, his voice cracking, “I-I must suggest you not do whatever it is you just did that caused you to smoke, because smoke is not conducive to the longevity of these volumes.”

The smoke that existed in the room was drawn abruptly into the cowl of the man’s robe.

“Thank you kindly, sir. Now if you’ll be so kind as to leave, I have to rendezvous with, uh…with an important contributor to the library. I’ll need to close up shop soon.”

The mysterious robed figure swept its hood off. Ignatius was terrified. Even more than he already was. The creature—for this was no human that stood before him—had skin that was a pale blue in color. Its wide yellow eyes had a glassy finish to them, and seemed to glow from within. Its long, beakish nose ended in a point, and its mouth had the most astounding assortment of inhuman fangs. “If you value your life, or the lives of any in Arkham, you will not meet her tonight. You will make all efforts to avoid her. And this is important—if you make any contact with her, do not do anything she asks you to, and especially don’t do anything she tells you to do. The world hangs in the balance, mortal. Do not interfere by siding with her. The balance will fail.”

The creature’s voice was a strange, divided one—speaking in high and low tones at once, in a bizarre mockery of minor thirds. It chilled Ignatius to the bone. “Um, er, well…I, uh…she, er…how, I…”

Another divorced voice chimed in from behind the nervous librarian. “He’s right, Ignatius.” This one, a distinctly female voice, struck terror that bordered on the absolute into Ignatius’ soul. Whatever the thing was that stood before him, a female of the species could only be worse. He turned and his fears were confirmed. A twisted, shadowy beauty was evident in this creature of the night, her skin a paler blue, her eyes a more inviting green, her teeth better polished, and her face configured into a comely shape. She was dressed in the same kind of black robe her companion wore, draped over her slender figure like a shroud. As he found his eyes traveling up and down her, he realized he was surrounded—they had brought her out as a distraction. Male and female alike, the terrible creatures formed a circle about him and began to advise him in a frightening and peculiar fashion.

“Don’t do it…”

“It’s not safe…”

“Your life…”

“Everyone’s life…”

“It all hangs on this…”

“This decision…”

“The decision is yours…”

“Don’t meet her…”

“She holds death.”

“ENOUGH!” Ignatius knelt on the floor, both hands on his head. “HAVE MERCY!” He shrieked, his eyes tearing.


The leader of the group, the one who had first appeared, turned his head. “What is it, H’reta?”

One of the creatures poked her head around a bookshelf. Ignatius saw, to his horror, that these things were now swarming the library—at least a hundred of them—and looking through each book they came to that looked at all old, throwing them on the floor if they weren’t what they were looking for. They ended up throwing down every book they picked up. The one called H’reta produced an ancient tome, bound in oak with mingled pages of parchment and woven papyrus. Ignatius felt his heart sink. “The Van Jorgen Tome? Oh, no…”

M’lanar smiled. “Excellent…Give it to me, H’reta.” He took the tome and began leafing through it. “A fascinating hobby, mortal. Ah, here’s the page I was looking for. ‘T’yenak Frrr Ltramis Eiba Tenthrassis!!’” The creature placed the book, open, in front of the kneeling human. “Go.”

The invaders were gone. But something else was happening—an ominous flash of light issued forth from the thick tome, and Ignatius leapt to his feet, backing up against a bookshelf. A thick, black, almost inky fog started to pour out of the pages of the book. A small cloud of it hung over the book for a split second, then started to churn violently as a terrible hurricane broke loose in the room. The book its epicenter, the windstorm whipped shelves, chairs, and books about, bashing them into walls and smashing them into pieces. Ignatius was hurled out of a window, and he clutched the sill desperately. Looking beneath him, he saw, rather than the freshly manicured lawn of the Institute, a deep, dark, hungry abyss, in which spun a terrible, dark form. Primordial and absolute in its evil, a shapeless mass of darkness hung there. Waiting. Hungry. A name crept into Ignatius’ head: Nyarlathotep.