“Well, then, let us make haste away from this place!” Captain Hagar declared. “We must throw Nyarlathotep off our trail. Of course, because you are still corporeal, we must stick to places that are in the Goldilocks Zone. A place too hot or a place too cold or a place without proper atmosphere will not do at all.”
“We could lock mind and head for Venus in the Sixth Dimension,” Zkauba suggested. “It is a fine place where we can stand tall and breathe free while we contemplate our next move. My energy levels are not quite optimal yet and I will require a bit of assistance from you to create the gate.”
“Splendid! Because I need you to invite me to leave this place with you. I enraged some half-assed sorcerer and he put a spell on me trapping me in this tenement.”
“Far be it from me to question your methods, my good fellow, but if you had managed to manifest an actual pack animal instead of a wizard temporarily transformed into a pack animal, how did you intend to receive an invitation to part from this place?”
‘Well, I supposed that if I could manifest a pack animal, I would be able to manifest a clairvoyant.”
“Your magical abilities are strong, but your mystic directional abilities require honing. You manifested not only what you wanted but what you needed. In fact, it is my belief that your spell interfered with my spell and that is why I was transformed into a sheep.”
“An interesting theory, Matey, but I was trying to manifest a mule.”
“My good fellow, this is where my spell interfered with your spell. I did not have a clear picture in my mind what form I was planning to take and as I cast my spell, a shepherd walked by the alley with his flock in tow. Our two spells melded, transforming me into a sheep. This seems to have been an odd bit of good fortune.”
“I agree, my friend. Perhaps once we’ve located the treasure, you can teach me to hone my mystic directional abilities. I was fortunate to have an adept navigator during my time on the Seven Seas, for my physical directional skills had a mind of their own as well.”
The silver key commenced to glow and vibrate.
“Captain Sammy, we must make haste!” Zkauba ordered. “Quickly, concentrate on helping me form a gate!”
“Cool, cool, absolutely. Now, don’t forget to invite me through the gate.”
“Yes, of course. Captain Sammy Hagar, will you do me the honor of accompanying me through this gate on to our next adventure?”
“With you all the way, Matey,” the pirate agreed as a shimmering opalescent ovoid appeared in the tenement wall.
With a determined bleat and a shout of “yo-ho-ho!” the pair leaped through the gate.
Nyarlathotep is the creation of H.P. Lovecraft, initially appearing in his 1920 story of the same name.
The character Captain Sammy Hagar was created as a tribute to the musician Sammy Hagar, who wrote the 1982 song “Three Lock Box,” which inspired the plot of the first Tales from the Dreamlands book. Although Captain Sammy Hagar’s physical appearance and general personality resemble the person on whom he was modeled, no implication of the real Sammy Hagar’s character is intended.
Portions of the dialogue in the chapter were inspired by the 2001 song “Venus” by Butthole Surfers and the 1986 song “The Final Countdown” by Europe.
The story was also inspired by these prompts from the Reedsy weekly short story contest.
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This chapter is from my WIP, The Key of Eidolon, which is the second book in the Tales from the Dreamlands series. If you enjoyed this chapter, please consider purchasing the first book, Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House.
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