The Cheese Grates It: Goals for 2020

Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

I refuse to do New Years' resolutions. Those always imply crap like "New You in 52," which, of course, means diet culture. I raised the middle finger to diet culture closing in on ten years ago, and I'm damn well not sorry. I suppose it will be a battle every day of my life till the day I die to be treated as a human being without buying into the same shit that never worked for me in 33 years of yo-yo dieting and trying to hate myself thin, but it's a battle that I will fight.

Here are my big fat goals for 2020.

To format and release my first non-erotic published work in 13 years. Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the Xura Dream House is finished. I am currently in the process of editing and formatting it. It will be published in January of 2020.

To start publishing my poetry. I am currently formatting a book called The Poetic Rejects of 2019, which will, as the name implies, contain all my rejected poems from the past year. It may also contain some rejected prose, depending on the length of the piece.

To continue to submit works here and there, now and then, all the while giving no fucks whether or not they are accepted or published.

To continue working on and publishing my own stories, regardless of whether or not anyone else likes or reads them.

Basically, to survive another year.

Oh, I do have one resolution.

I resolve that I will never again do anything like the Battle of the Poems.

That was really stupid of me, and I'm dreadfully sorry.

Best wishes to you, whatever your goals are in 2020. 

You are welcome to have resolutions, but if they are diet-y resolutions, I don't want to hear about them any more than I want to hear about your bowel movements.

I guess I have one more resolution.

I resolve to keep bringing the snark in 2020. It is my goal to make the ghost of Ambrose Bierce proud.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~



I still miss these fuckers. Just sayin'.


Weekend Writing Warriors 29 December 2019 (PA, SF)

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“My answer may seem overly simplistic and not terribly pragmatic,” the great creature replied. “It is only this. You have befriended me. I have never had a friend, and you are the finest of friends that I could have ever imagined. Most of my kind, as I have previously stated, do not utilize the sensibility known as compassion, and they see me as lesser for doing so. I struck out on my own to conduct scientific studies for the sake of science. But then I encountered you, and I felt that it would benefit us both were your mission to become my mission. I can certainly continue to collect samples during the course of our adventures, and you and I can serve as consultants for one another.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Artist Unknown

Notes:
In this week's snippet, Yitzy answers Ketil's question regarding why Yitzy is interested in assisting him on his "potentially fruitless quest." Last week's snippet can be found here.

The story ended up being either a short novella or a long novelette. It is currently in the process of being formatted, and I am agonizing over finding or creating a suitable cover. It's difficult to find free-use Lovecraftian art. I am aiming for publication in January.

The Great Race of Yith is the creation of H.P. Lovecraft. Ketil Nagel and Yitzy Yithian are original characters created by Team Netherworld.


Friday Flashback: Dungeons and Dragons: Satan's Game




I originally published this on 27 December 2010 in the first incarnation of Encyclopedia Netherworld, a blog that has since been retired. This date was just a day shy of the one-month anniversary of my father's passing. I imagine I was trying to take my mind off that fact. The beige-colored Creature from the Black Lagoon character made me think of an adolescent version of my original Netherworld character, Geoff Ghast, so that was kind of fun. 

This character might be Geoff's nephew or such since ghasts are a very long-lived species. It's rather certain that he isn't Geoff's offspring. Geoff isn't exactly the most mature fellow, regardless of his probable longevity. No self-respecting female ghast would want to start a family with this eternal Peter Pan of a mythos horror.

I know that canonically ghasts die quickly in the light. I don't adhere closely to canonical rules when writing things that are just for fun.



As Geoff once said: "I've got the moves like Jagger, totally."






Good Stuff For Monday: Win Free Vanilla and More


Disclosure: I am an independent affiliate for Watkins Products

This post originated on the Good Stuff from Grover blog. However, I am sharing it with some of my other sites in case the opportunity may appeal to readers there as well.

Howdy, Grover Gang! It's the Ornery Old Lady here with a great giveaway and opportunity for my U.S. and Canadian readers, with apologies to my readers in other countries.

Every month, Watkins Products gives away $100 worth of extracts and spices. Wouldn't it be wonderful to win a free bottle of vanilla?


Watkins Products have been around since 1868. Choose from high-quality spices and extracts for cooking, grooming and home remedies made with pure and natural ingredients, and household products without harsh chemicals. These products are never tested on animals.


Unlike some home businesses which have monthly sales quotas and cost an exorbitant amount to join, Watkins consultants pay only $29.95 per year for access to the training website and their own page. You don't even have to recruit anyone or sell anything ever if you don't want to. You can simply use the membership to purchase products for your household at a reduced cost. This opportunity is only open to residents of the United States and Canada.

Happy Holidays from Cie the Ornery Old Lady and the entire crew at the Grover Hotel.

Weekend Writing Warriors 22 December 2019 (PA, SF)

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The ghost and his alien friend stood before a squat house which vaguely resembled a toadstool with its overlapping roof. Behind them, they could hear the lapping of waves on the shoreline of a beach littered with debris and decaying fish. All around them in the gloomy twilight, they could hear the tittering of ghouls. The air reeked of putrefying flesh.

“Shall we enter this structure, Ketil?” Yitzy inquired. “I cannot say whether it would allow us safe  harbor from the potentially nauseating odors in this unpleasant environment, but I believe it shall take us to the next point in our destination.”

“Yithian, make no mistake, I am most grateful for your assistance,” Ketil declared. “Only I have a curiosity to know why you have taken it upon yourself to join me in my potentially fruitless quest.”

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Notes:
This snippet comes from Team Netherworld's WIP "Ketil and Yitzy's Adventure in the House of Lost Dreams." This will be the first published installment in our flagship series, "The Yadira Chronicles." It is slated for publication in early 2020.


Ketil Nagel is the spirit of a Swedish extreme metal musician who sacrificed himself to the vampire goddess Mormo on June 6, 1991; his twenty-fifth birthday.

Yitzy is a renegade member of the Great Race of Yith, exiled by his fellows for embodying compassion and empathy. The majority of the Great Race of Yith are known for their coldly scientific natures and belief in the superiority of their species.

Earth's Dreamlands, Mormo, Nyarlathotep, and Xura are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft. The Xura Dream House appears in the Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario, The Land of Lost Dreams, in the Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands supplement. Ketil and Yitzy are original characters created by Team Netherworld.


Friday Flashback + Fat Friday: Dreaming of a Mythos Xmahanukwanzyule



This post was originally published on 20 December 2011 on the Miskatonic University Netherworld Annex blog, which is currently in use as one of my private cataloging blogs. I am updating the post to include reactions to this lovely Xmahanukwanzyule tree, which is currently set up in President Cthulhu's office at the Miskatonic University Netherworld Annex main branch in Nightmare Heights, Netherworld.


Beavis: Hey, Butthead, that tree touched my butt!

Butthead: Beavis, that tree would kick your butt, you bumhug.


Cactus Clem: Grover, I feel a kinship with this here tree. It speaks to me!




Ghost Town Grover: When Cactus Clem says this here tree speaks to him, I'm purty sure he means that literal-like. It ain't said nary a word to me, but I kinda feel like it's watching me.

Sketch of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

So, why are we making this a Fat Friday post?

Because EVERY BODY deserves to have a Happy Xmahanukwanzyule free of body-shaming bullshit. That includes everyone from the mighty Cthulhu to YOU!

Happy Xmahanukwanzyule to All
And to all a good XHAGRALLLGHHHNZZZZ!

IÄ, IÄ!





Tidbit Tuesday 17 December 2017: The Good Wife

Image by Marlene Bitzer from Pixabay

Here is a chapter from the forthcoming first book in Team Netherworld's flagship serial, Fetch.
Please share a Tidbit if you wish. No hard and fast rules. Any length, published or WIP, prose or poetry, flash fiction, even a picture.

A note regarding the image:
The model is probably 20 or more years younger than the character portrayed in this chapter, but it is nearly impossible to find pictures of middle-aged models. This model embodies something of the attitude I was trying to portray in the chapter and has a similar appearance to what I envision for the character as well.

The Good Wife
Anne Faith Harris Clifford had been a good wife as far as she was concerned. Being married to a musician wasn’t easy. Gerry Clifford wasn’t your standard fare, of course. He held himself to high standards, including not giving in to the plethora of available temptation on the road. He was a good provider, there could be no denying.

However, despite his admirable qualities, Gerry’s high standards tended to make him unavailable in other regards. Although he was no chauvinist, often lauded for treating female musicians with a more than commendable amount of respect, his long periods of absence tended to pigeonhole Anne into the role of caregiver for the couple’s two children, Amber and Daniel.

Daniel, born on New Year’s Day 1981, was the reason that Anne and Gerry married. They had been friends for four years previously, and the friendship turned romantic. Dallying with groupies had become hollow for Gerry; that it had ever held that much appeal for the sensitive modern-day bard was questionable in the first place.

Still, Anne often found herself questioning whether Gerry truly loved her or if marrying her just seemed the sensible thing for the pragmatic guitarist. Gerry told Anne that he loved her. He brought her flowers and jewelry. He did everything a good husband should do. Yet it seemed there was always some part of himself that he held back, and over the years this reticence to fully give his heart caused resentment to build in Anne’s soul.

Daniel was a well-behaved child, but from the beginning, his epilepsy made him fragile. Because of their son’s special needs, Anne and Gerry agreed that it was best that they never have more children. Anne went on birth control and Gerry always used a condom when things became heated, so it seemed as though having more children would never factor into their lives.

Gerry had a kind heart, but he also had periods of depression which rendered him emotionally unavailable. Using alcohol to combat his social anxiety rendered the rock and roll prodigy an addict. However, Gerry was nothing if not responsible, and the day after Christmas 1981, he checked himself into rehab. He had just turned thirty years old two weeks prior.

Reflecting on things, that moment may have been the point when the quiet undercurrent of resentment in Anne’s relationship with Gerry began building. He was trying to be responsible to his wife and his baby son, so Anne could never bring herself to outwardly admit that she seriously resented being left alone with a medically fragile infant.

Upon Gerry’s successful rehabilitation, Anne felt that the most appropriate gift for her husband was a night of passion that she didn’t really feel. A month later she would decide that this gift to her husband was one of her stupider ideas.

Anne had neglected to take her birth control pills for almost a week while dealing with a crisis with Daniel’s health. Gerry had used a condom during the encounter, but it failed.

When Anne discovered that she was pregnant, she considered aborting without telling Gerry. However, she realized that she couldn’t live with the guilt of doing so. Thus, on March 29, 1983, Amber Freya Clifford was born.

That Amber was a perfectly healthy baby was a great relief to both of her parents. That Gerry went on the road a month after her birth was both a source of relief and a source of resentment for Anne. Although Gerry was a more than competent parent, in some ways his presence made Anne feel as if she were having to care for another child. Gerry’s hypersensitivity once seemed charming; at this point, his fragile personality and his very presence were a burden.

Gerry was often lauded for his monogamous nature in an industry that not only accepted but condoned caddish behavior on the part of its men. Anne sometimes wished that her husband had been less noble. Gerry’s fidelity was commendable, but his valiant behavior made it impossible for Anne to justify divorcing him although the marriage had become stale.

During the thirty-five years that Anne and Gerry were married, she had a dozen lovers. It was understood by these men that Anne had no intention of divorcing Gerry and that they would have no part in her children’s lives. Being in a seemingly perfect marriage with rock and roll royalty afforded Anne multiple amenities that she had no intention of giving up. She and Gerry worked well together, and as Anne’s late maternal grandfather, Harald Mathiasen always said, “If it is not broke, there is no need to fix it.”

When Gerry began showing signs of cognitive deterioration during his fifty-seventh year, Anne’s many years of caring for a special needs child served her well. She loved Gerry in her own way although the romance between them was long dead. People lauded her for being a good wife.

Anne never mentioned to anyone that when Gerry’s cleverness combined with his confusion made him a danger to himself and rendered her unable to care for him at home any longer, she was relieved to leave him at Candlelight Ridge Care Home for good.

Anne was free. The husband whom she cared for but hadn’t loved romantically in years was being tended to by professionals. Her children were grown; her son’s condition was stabilized. Daniel lived with Amber and her husband Vance. He had a special seizure dog named Scarlet.

For the first time in years, Anne wasn’t worried.

The date of sixty-four-year-old Anne Harris Clifford’s emancipation was April 17, 2014.



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Weekend Writing Warriors 15 November 2019

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The tall, slender ghost's long, blond hair extended to the mid-back area of his black trenchcoat. The Yithian possessed a conical body made of a rigid, rubbery material. It had two great pincers extending from the shoulder area, and two long neck stalks. One of the neck stalks terminated in a round yellow head with three eyes, small, flowerlike ears, and a multitude of hairlike tentacles. The other neck stalk terminated in a cluster of four red trumpet-like projections. The Yithian slid like a snail on the great foot at the bottom of its conical body.

~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

WeWriWa and Snippet Sunday friends and fiends, I still need voters in my Battle of the Poems! Please stop by the Horror Harridans blog to participate. The Battle will run till the end of the month. The purpose is to help me choose which poems will be going into my November PAD Chapbook Challenge final manuscript. Hope to see you there!

~

Earth's Dreamlands and Xura are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft.

The Zetar star system originates in the Star Trek universe and was mentioned in the original series episode The Lights of Zetar, written by the late Shari Lewis and Jeremy Tarcher. Zetar 6 (Zecor) is an expansion of the original concept and is the creation of Team Netherworld. 

What Pegman Saw: Expectations

Fort Walsh National Historic Site, Saskatchewan

It was early June 1988. Twenty-year-old Pepper Baiij and her twenty-two-year-old husband, Larry Velasco, were visiting the Fort Walsh National Historic site in Saskatchewan. Pepper hoped to find an answer to the constant unfulfilled feeling in her soul while on this trip. She and Larry both enjoyed taking road trips, but where Larry seemed content to take things as they came, Pepper longed for something more.

Pepper felt terribly irritable but was determined not to lash out at Larry. Her poor husband tried so hard to make her happy. It wasn’t his fault that her soul was a bottomless well that no ordinary man could ever fill.

Pepper had been feeling nauseous nonstop from the time that the couple crossed the border into Canada. She hoped that she wouldn’t spend the whole trip sick. The relentless noonday sun only increased the queasiness. Pepper stepped into the tall grass and vomited.

Created with Pixlr 

Friday Flashback: Sly Speaks: Me Too: The Workplace Edition

Copyright Tara O'Brien


This post was originally published on 13 December 2018. It was penned by my political alter-ego, Sly Fawkes.

I was thinking back to a "wonderful" incident which happened while I was working as an assistant district manager at the Denver Post in 1986. One of the carriers became friendly with me, initially in a perfectly acceptable and professional way, and I enjoyed our little chats. But then one day he said to me: "I'd like it if I could give you a hug sometime and maybe a kiss."

A lot of you ladies, particularly of my generation or older, will be able to relate when I say that I was trained from a young age to "be a lady" when a situation like this arises and to "not hurt his feelings," so rather than asking him in what the hell universe hitting on his supervisor was appropriate, my first response was to say "I'm married," so I wouldn't hurt his feelings. As if doing this sort of creepy thing would have been appropriate if his target wasn't married.

My initial reaction is to think what a doormat I was for reacting this way. Plus I never even told my supervisor, because I didn't want to get the guy in trouble. But my next reaction is to be angry that I believed his feelings were more important than mine, which was disgust and betrayal.

So, yeah, not going to be angry at my younger self for being taken aback and not behaving in a more assertive fashion in this lurid situation. The guy displayed not only gross sexism in having zero respect for my position of albeit mild authority just because I was a young woman, but he displayed zero respect for me as a human being in seeing me as an object that he could potentially grope and slobber on.

For some reason, when I was younger I seemed to draw a lot of creepers like this to me, probably because I tried to be nice. I'm honestly not at all sorry that my current age tends to render me invisible to this breed of asshole most of the time.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Graphic copyright Juliahenze @123rf.com

WEP December 2019 Challenge: Footprints


Image by Alex Kovalerov from Pixabay

Genre: Paranormal

Word Count: 1000

Full critique okay, so long as you use the Hamburger Method. Medium well with mustard is nice, and I'll have fries and an unsweetened iced tea with that.

I know that Jimmy Buffett likes his burgers medium rare with mustard, but this is a point on which Jimmy and I differ. I like my meat thoroughly cooked.


*************

When Dr. Alberta Wilmarth, the Dean of the Miskatonic Department of Archaeology approached Andre Linden to renovate the old Curran Mansion on behalf of the University, he gladly accepted. The one-time thief hoped that having his name attached to the project would attract clients to his struggling construction company. Andre had served one year of a five-year sentence twelve years previously after being caught robbing an import warehouse off Boston Harbor.

Andre had never committed any violent crimes, but being an ex-convict was still a strike against him. In a town like Arkham, everyone knew everyone else’s business. Nonetheless, Andre felt that his business stood a better chance of thriving in the upstate area of Massachusetts than the bustling anonymity of Boston.

Andre was forty-one years old, tall and lean with a chiseled, angular face and graying brown hair with a receding hairline. He sometimes noticed women glancing at him but was unsure if they were appreciating what they saw or just sizing him up.

Dr. Wilmarth hired Andre on Thanksgiving Eve. She hoped that the Curran Mansion could be pulled together enough for Miskatonic’s anthropology and archaeology departments to have their New Year’s Eve party there. Andre told the professor that he’d see what he could do. She was a nice woman and he was sure that she knew her stuff when it came to archaeology, but like most people outside of the industry, she was unaware of the holdups that red tape could cause when it came to even seemingly simple renovation projects.

Alone on Thanksgiving night and wanting to distract himself, Andre headed to the Curran Mansion to draw up a rough plan for the project. The power had been turned off long ago, but his powerful hand torch illuminated everything. At least on the main floor, although all was covered in a thick layer of dust, the structure seemed intact.

Andre was surprised by the sounds of laughter and celebration. He supposed that local kids might be using the old place to party and hoped that the appearance of a gruff-looking middle-aged man might be enough to scare them off. As he headed for the stairs, he noticed that the backyard was lit up bright as day. Curious, he hurried outside.

Andre found himself in the middle of a wedding reception. A striking blonde woman in a silky white gown approached him, smiling. He was struck by the sadness in her deep blue eyes and reduced to the social aptitude of a stammering adolescent when he attempted to apologize for intruding.

“H…hello, Ma’am. Andre…um…me. Uh…Andre Linden, I am, that is. Construction. Um…sorry. I didn’t know anyone was here. I came to fix a thing—um—things. How could I not have noticed that…”

“It’s all right, Andre,” the woman interrupted, touching his hand. “I’m Hazel Curran. We’re celebrating my twin sister Hattie’s wedding today. Last year my brother Henry got married.”

“And you?” Andre inquired. “Surely such a lovely lady…”

Hazel’s shimmering laughter contrasted with the pain and fear in her eyes, and when she threw back her head in mirth, Andre noticed an angry red scar dotted with bumpy pockmarks marring her porcelain skin. Hazel collected herself and linked her arm in Andre’s.

“My fellow, Torrey, keeps pushing me to marry but I don’t know if I want to so soon,” Hazel confessed. “I’d like to live a bit before becoming a wife. Oh, Andre, I’m so glad you’re here. I hope that you can help me find something.”

“Of course,” Andre agreed, allowing Hazel to lead him into the house. “What are we looking for?”
“My pearl necklace,” Hazel explained. “Well, the remnants of it anyway. It was a gift from my old school chum Kenneth for my birthday. It was perfectly innocent—Ken is a man’s man if you take my meaning—but Torrey lost his senses and snatched it off my neck. He made such an ugly scene. Ken is truly a dear, and I felt just awful. I’d love to get the necklace repaired.”

 “Do you remember where you lost the necklace, Hazel?” Andre asked as Hazel led him to the basement.

“It was over there,” Hazel said, pointing to the right corner of the back wall.

Andre felt as if someone had dragged a knife made of ice up his spine. Moisture had eroded the wooden floor and the wet earth bulged through the holes. A fetid odor permeated his nostrils. The light from his torch illuminated pearls dotting the soil.

A rusting shovel lay in the dirt. Andre picked it up and began digging like a man possessed. The shovel struck something hard. Andre continued digging until he had unearthed a skeleton. The remnants of a scarf were wrapped around the neck and pearls dotted the soil surrounding it. Strands of golden hair still attached to mummified skin were revealed as Andre pushed the soil away from the gruesome discovery.

Andre awoke in the hospital to see a worried Dr. Alberta Wilmarth at his bedside writing a note.

“Oh, Mr. Linden, whatever possessed you to go to that place alone at night?” she asked. “When they found you, you were nearly dead from hypothermia. It’s a good thing that woman flagged down the patrol car or you might well have frozen to death.”

“What woman?” Andre inquired, feeling the icy knife run up his spine again.

“Well, it’s a bit of a mystery,” Dr. Wilmarth replied. “Officer Chevalier told me that a glamorous blonde woman in a white party dress flagged him down at the end of the mansion’s driveway. She led him to the basement, and when he turned to speak with her, she’d disappeared.”

“Dr. Wilmarth, I found…”

Dr. Wilmarth gently squeezed Andre’s hand.

“Mr. Linden, you found the remains of Hazel Curran, who went missing on November 28, 1928,” she revealed. “What made you decide to dig there?”

“She did,” Andre revealed. “I followed the pearls from her necklace. They led me right to her grave.”

~Cie~

Miskatonic University is the creation of H.P. Lovecraft. 
Dr. Alberta Wilmarth is a nod to Albert Wilmarth, the narrator in Lovecraft's 1931 tale, The Whisperer in Darkness. She is Albert's niece.


A Special Request:
I would not normally do this, but I need a little help. I am currently running a Battle of the Poems to choose which of my poems will go into the final document for the November PAD Chapbook Challenge. At this point, I only have one voter, the wonderful Elephant's Child
All I need is for people to choose which poem they prefer of the two poems offered in each day's post. No critique is necessary although you can provide one if you want. 
The battle is running all month on the Horror Harridans Writing Sisterhood blog. Please come vote!

Announcements For the Week of 9 December 2019

Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

Due to the forthcoming WEP Challenge story on December 10, there will be no Tidbit Tuesday this week. Tidbit Tuesday will resume December 17.

The Battle of the Poems continues. I have only one participant for most of the poems. Come on, People, vote! It will help me to decide which poems to enter in the November PAD Chapbook Challenge final.

Naughty Netherworld Press' first non-erotic novelette or novella (to be determined at final word count) is due to be published at the beginning of 2020! Check the Weekend Writing Warriors tag to enjoy the current snippets from Ketil and Yitzy's Adventures in the Xura Dream House. This twenty-first-century New Cthulhu Mythos buddy tale features a group of outcasts trying to save the Cosmos. Will the unlikely heroes triumph, or will Earth fall to Nyarlathotep as so many worlds have before?

I am preparing to finalize my manuscript for the Waters Edge poetry competition. I honestly never expect to win these things because my mind does not work the way the minds of the judges of such competitions work, and I'm not going to pretend to be something I'm not. If my entry wins, they will publish a chapbook of my manuscript. If it doesn't, I'll publish the chapbook. Either way, look for my Another Autumn poetry collection in 2020.

I hope to get back into participating in the Pegman and Mindlovemisery's Menagerie prompts in 2020. I always enjoy those.

That's all the announcements for now. If I suddenly become insanely wealthy, I will have a butt-ton of lucrative giveaways in 2020! If I do not become insanely wealthy (which, let's face it, is the more realistic possibility) I will still have several literary and craft giveaways in 2020. 


Beta reading, proofreading, editing, book reviews
Will work for tips and links

Weekend Writing Warriors 8 December 2019 (FA, PA, SF)


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“For a brilliant scientist from an advanced race, you are certainly the most naïve of creatures,” the man retorted. “However, I am quite eager to remove us from this cloying atmosphere of poisons both physical and psychic. The Dream House could not be much worse, so long as we stick together. Very well, then, let’s have at it. Through the corridor we shall go, the pair of us together as one. And Yitzy, we trust no-one but ourselves.”


~Cie for Naughty Netherworld Press~

Notes:
This was originally published on December 1, but I didn't have a chance to share it because the power was out over the weekend. So I'm republishing it and will hopefully be able to share it for December 8!

This snippet is only six sentences long. It is the last paragraph in the first chapter of Ketil and Yitzy's Adventures in the House of Lost Dreams. The speaker is Ketil Nagel, the spirit of a Swedish extreme metal musician who sacrificed himself to the Elder Gods in the 1990s. Ketil is speaking to Yitzy Yithian, a renegade member of the Great Race of Yith, exiled by his fellows for exhibiting too much compassion, a trait most Yithians consider a weakness.

Earth's Dreamlands, the Elder Gods, and the Great Race of Yith are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft.

The Xura Dream House is the creation of Chaosium for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.

Ketil Nagel and Yitzy Yithian are original characters created by Team Netherworld.



Tidbit Tuesday: At the End of Everything

Image by Jennifer Nichole Wells

Alpha and Omega:

At the End of Everything

Original Publication Date:
Friday, January 8, 2016

Prompt Used:

Background notes and credits follow the story

All things are interconnected, and yet sometimes it is impossible to find the connection between one thing and the other, particularly where humanity is concerned. Those who are no longer living are able to see the connections better than those still bound to corporeal form. 

Those of us who looked deeper into certain connections became deeply unsettled by what we found. Certain forces of evil thought to be long extinct are quite active behind the walls of sleep. I and five other appointed agents were dispatched by King Kuranes of Celephais to explore the Cosmos and discover how we may yet save ourselves from annihilation or, worse, enslavement to these malevolent tyrants.

I followed my research to the dead world of Zecor 6 in the year 3121. Scientists of various races were exploring the planet. The more physically vulnerable among them were wearing protective gear. Being in spirit, there was no need for me to take such precautions.

One fellow clad in such a safety suit was happily humming a zany little tune from my time. This nasty earworm proceeded to give me fits for the remainder of my journey to this foul orb.

Wynona's got herself a big brown beaver and she shows it off to all her friends.
One day, you know, that beaver tried to leave her, so she caged him up with cyclone fence.

"Curse you and your damn zany tune!" I snapped at the scientist. I took my leave of him, for he would not stop muttering those blasted words. I think it was the only part of the song which he knew.
I sensed a strong neural wave, which I followed to what I believed to be a royal palace. There were multiple energies emanating from this structure, some of which were exceedingly malevolent. I tuned out the extraneous spectral static and concentrated on the quixotic emanations which had led me to this place.


It was here that I saw the creature whose psychic transmission I had been following. I recognized its kind from books studied in both the waking world during my lifetime and in the various libraries of the Dreamlands. It was a Yithian. I was somewhat surprised, for individuals from this race are notorious for their lack of empathy. This particular Yithian, however, was quite empathetic.

"Greetings, fellow explorer," the Yithian scientist addressed me. "I believe that we are here united in a common cause."

"What cause would that be, in your opinion?" I asked.

"You are here to save your kind from destruction, much though a part of you maintains that some of them actually deserve it. I too am here in an attempt to ameliorate the damage that the worshipers of certain baleful forces have wrought. Perhaps your mission has a more personal focus than mine, however, the goal remains the same. As we attend to our mission, perhaps we can share more of our own particulars. I would enjoy that."

"As would I," I said. "You may be able to help me a great deal. My people are far more primitive than yours. However, I sense that you are working alone."

"I am a renegade, different from others of my kind," the Yithian confirmed. "I perceive something from you. There is an emotion in your being which I would like to understand. To compassion I can relate, but this is different from simple charitable compassion. My friend, you are here because of love, and in spite of the terrible trauma you have endured, you still believe that love can save us. Can you tell me of love? For if it can indeed save us, I should like to understand."

"I don't know if I can make you understand exactly what love is," I said. "But I can try. I will tell you of my mission. I will try to impart to you how the love between two souls who needed each other very much may indeed save the entire Cosmos, and this is why certain powerful denizens among the Outer Gods and other malevolent factions wish for them to be kept apart."

"I am intrigued, Human, very much so. If you do not mind, I would like to record your tale."

"Yes, that would be fine. During all of my lives, I have always been a storyteller."

"Then I would be very pleased to help you tell your story. Allow me to make a note. Reference imparted by...what are you called?"

"My name is Ketil Arvid Nagel. I was also known in this most recent lifetime by my stage name, Lord Morbid."

"Then I shall make note of both. Place of origin, the Dreamlands of Sol 3 or Terra. Classification, spectre of homo sapien male in early adulthood. This informational exchange is taking place on planet Zetar 6, also known as Zecor."

"The eye of the hurricane, it would seem. Or one of them, for it occurs to me that this hurricane has many eyes."

"This place was one of the power centers for the worship of the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods," the Yithian said. 

"Not a great surprise there. Would you mind if I were to give you a name that I could call you? It seems a bit rude to keep calling you Yithian."

"I am unsure why, for that is what I am. However, I am amenable to whatever makes you comfortable."

"May I call you Yitzy? Perhaps it is silly, but it seems a bit more personal."

"Certainly. Yitzy it is. Yitzy is here to hear Ketil impart a tale of love, and, it would seem, of Wynona and her big brown beaver, whom she loved and wished she had a pair of."

"Forget Wynona and her big brown beaver. This is simply an earworm imparted to me by a scientist who could not cease from repeating that irritating rhyme. My story has nothing to do with beavers. Make yourself comfortable. This may take a while."

The Real Cie
Gem Moondreamer
Kai Rikard
Rose LeMort
Tempest LeTrope

Credits:
Earth's Dreamlands, King Kuranes, and the Great Race of Yith are the creations of H.P. Lovecraft.

The Zetar star system is referenced in the Star Trek episode "The Lights of Zetar." Star Trek is the creation of Gene Roddenberry

Notes: 
Illsa's wonderful piece inspired us to create a helpful new segment for our adventure. We thought that given the number of subplots, it would be helpful to have a narrator to tie things together. Thus, we are pleased to introduce Ketil Nagel, aka Lord Morbid, as our narrator.

Ketil has previously appeared in other chapters on this blog, including Illsa's piece. His back story includes the fact that he committed suicide at a young age after a difficult life. He was the vocalist and chief lyricist for the Scandinavian death metal band Deadly Night.

Song for the chapter:
Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver


Wynona's Big Brown Beaver

By Primus
Wynona's got herself a big brown beaver and she shows it off to all her friends.
One day, you know, that beaver tried to leave her, so she caged him up with cyclone fence.
Along came Lou with the old baboon and said "I recognize that smell, Smells like seven layers, That beaver eatin' Taco Bell!".
Now Rex he was a Texan out of New Orleans and he travelled with the carnival shows.
He ran bumper cars, sucked cheap cigars and he candied up his nose.
He got wind of the big brown beaver So he thought he'd take himself a peek, but the beaver was quick and he grabbed him by the kiwis,
and he ain't pissed for a week. (And a half!)
Wynona took her big brown beaver and she stuck him up in the air,
said "I sure do love this big brown beaver and I wish I did have a pair."
Now the beaver once slept for seven days And it gave us all an awful fright,
So I tickled his chin and I gave him a pinch and the bastard tried to bite me.
Wynona loved her big brown beaver
And she stroked him all the time.
She pricked her finger one day and it occurred to her she might have a porcupine.

Songwriters: CLAYPOOL, LES / LALONDE, REID L. III / ALEXANDER, TIMOTHY W.
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
For non-commercial use only.


Battle of the Poems 2019: Day 1

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

The rules are simple! Leave a comment telling me which poem you like best.

Poem 1:
Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time
I dreamed
once upon a time
he was
but now there's nothing left
except the misery
as summer disappears
and the barkers burst the colorful balloons
and take down the faire
players only love you
when you bring them money
gas, grass, or ass
no-one rides for free
little boys grow up
become corrupt
use and throw away
stupid girls
once upon a time
I believed in something
once upon a time
I thought someone waited for me
now I know the truth
the only one waiting 'round the corner
to put his arms around me
is death
that no matter where I am
I'm just two steps ahead of that man
some days I'm philosophical
some days I'm scared out of my fucking mind
and some days I'd welcome the bastard
with open arms
once upon a time
you were mine
you loved this wretched, broken thing
but like a leaf on the breeze you blew away
some things are too corrupted to love 
I thought I saw you coming back to me
but then I woke from my dream
the fairytale disappeared
in a puff of smoke
like Little Jackie Paper
you snuffed out your dreams of Puff
dragons aren't real
magic only exists in fairy tales
and love is nothing but a lie
once upon a time
I believed in happy ever after
now I only believe
that dreams vanish
and hearts break
and
everything
dies

~

Poem 2
Alpha to Omega

all alone adrift
boiling bad blood brew
chewing cyanide capsules
drinking death's draught
exhaling exotic excitotoxins
feeling fancy-free
gladly grabbing green
hoarding hazy hemlock
incinerating incriminating images
jaded joy juxtaposed
kicking kaleidoscopic kings
love long lost
makes me mad
nothing nice nevermore
only old offerings
placate pagan poltergeists
quietly quaffing quince
rebellious rogues repel
sweetly singing satyrs
thrilling tap-dancing troubadours
unique undines undulate
vanquishing vicious villains
while winsome warblers
xor xanthic xenophobes
yesterday's yearning youth
zap zingy Zambonis

Which one do you choose? One or two? You can leave an explanation, or just say which one you like.

Remember, whoever participates the most often will receive a $5 Amazon gift card. In the event of a tie, I will invoke the mighty coin, dice, or what have you.

~Cie~

Weekend Writing Warriors + Shameless Self-Promotion Saturday 4 July 2020

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