Of Malevolence; Of Misanthropy

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(A scary story about humanity.)

“Mankind is the true God,” I’d proclaim. “The universe is our laboratory. Our playground. If something exists, we will learn of it. We will study it. And, through our strength and resolve, we will dominate it.”

My voice, at the time still young and powerful, echoed, day after day, throughout the lecture hall: “We are the third of the three paradigms. The early cosmos was the first; shapeless, protostellar dust, which, through the hardcoded mechanisms of this universe’s physics, yielded pattern coalescence. Stars. Galaxies. Planets.”

“Patterns increased in complexity over billions of years. Physics begat chemistry. Chemistry begat biology. And so began the second paradigm: biological evolution. The complexity seen in evolution dwarfed that of the previous paradigm. Eukaryotes. Fish. Mammals.”

“And finally, hundreds of millions of years later, as all the interwoven complexities reached a critical point, a singularity formed. It was the birth of the third paradigm: human intelligence. A force powerful enough to allow the willful direction of aspects of the other two paradigms, as well as its own destiny. It is a force seen nowhere else in the universe. It commands nature. It imposes its will on nature.”

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The Cave in the Lake

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A long time ago, I used to scuba dive with my college buddies. It was my passion. It made me feel like an intrepid explorer, charting the unknown and discovering the unseen.

That was way before my daughter. Way before my ex-wife, too. Like so many things, I gave it up when the drive to start a family kicked in. After Penny was born, scuba was just a frivolity I had no right to focus on. And that was that.

Twelve years later, after the divorce, I started looking at the world like I had before it all went south. I could resume the activities and hobbies I’d abandoned. Scuba diving was at the top of the list.

Once everything was finalized, I bought a house two states away from the one I’d shared with my wife and daughter. It was nothing special. It wasn’t the house I cared about when I closed the deal on the property. It was what sat behind it: a lake.

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The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Psychologist’s Suicide

“The Secret Doctors of NASA” is a series of memoirs, diaries, and reports from actual doctors employed by an undisclosed arm of NASA between 1970 and 2001. These writings contain true accounts of the unusual and often highly-classified medical conditions experienced by astronauts during and after their space missions. Following the defunding of the clandestine medical program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the majority of these accounts were left, forgotten, on tape drives in a NASA storage facility. In 2016, a former intern, whose job was to clean out one of these facilities, discovered them. Two years later, he is ready to release what he found.

Thus far, the following report has been released: A Dentist’s Discovery

Releaser’s Note: This report is an annotated interview with an American astronaut which took place in 1981. His name has been changed. The psychologist self-refers as “Interviewer.” The report was originally found at the location of the interviewer’s death.

A Psychologist’s Suicide

Interviewer’s Note: The patient is a 42 year-old astronaut. It has been two weeks since his last mission. Up until that point, he had been in perfect physical and mental health. During that recent mission, he spent 31 days in low-Earth orbit conducting various experiments pertaining to inorganic chemistry. His condition has not been determined to be the result of any of his work in orbit. Continue reading “The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Psychologist’s Suicide”

Fallenfield Mountain

Our company had been tasked with a geological survey of Fallenfield Mountain in southwestern Kentucky. Situated at the intersection of the Cumberland and Allegheny Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, it stands at the center of a depression in the terrain entirely uncharacteristic of the surrounding area.

Having recently acquired a permit from the state for a fracking exploration, the petroleum company that hired us was anxious to see what they could exploit in this new area. We were to set out as soon as possible.

We began our hike on a Monday morning. The weather was predicted to be favorable and the four of us were excited to cover some ground. We stopped at a small store near the edge of the forest to purchase last-minute supplies and anything else we thought we might need. It wasn’t a particularly difficult journey ahead of us, but we wanted to be prepared.

While we were browsing, an employee began a conversation with Jake Lemont, one of our geologists. Jake was forthcoming, as we were under no obligation to keep our work secret. I walked the aisles and drifted in and out of their conversation, which grew noticeably more animated as time went by. The employee was not keen on the mountain being used for petroleum exploration. It turned out he wasn’t speaking from an environmental standpoint.

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The Shores of Pluto

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Late last month, just before Christmas, a strange, prickly feeling crept up my spine and made a patch of my neck feel cold, as if someone had left a window open. I looked around at the familiar setting. Nothing seemed amiss. The windows were shut. The doors were closed. I realized my heart was pounding and I couldn’t figure out why I was so anxious. After a moment, the feeling passed.

I had lunch alone at my desk. My sandwich was good – ham and cheese and butter with a little dijon mustard. The rest of the office had gone out, taking advantage of a break in the snowy weather. I ate mindlessly, relishing the peace and quiet, until I felt the cold again. This time, it was physical and penetrating. A frigid wave of thick air wafted into my cubicle and chilled me to the bone. Goosebumps rose in a wave over my back, neck, and arms. The feeling of uneasiness returned. Something flickered in the periphery of my vision.

I whirled around, my swivel chair nearly toppling over.

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Expression Captioner

You know that interactive meme site that takes pics with your webcam and makes captions at the top and bottom of the image? My girlfriend showed it to me the other day. We were pretty impressed by how well the software picks up on facial expressions and makes captions based on what the algorithm detects. Anyway, we played around with it for a while, got bored, and then watched some Frasier reruns.

Last night, when I was home alone with nothing to do, I clicked over to that site again to see what kinds of captions I could get it to come up with. For a while, it was no different from the other day. Right when I thought I’d had enough and was ready to head out and get something to eat, the page refreshed and a new button appeared. “Live caption.” I clicked it. My webcam light turned on and my familiar, stupid face appeared. Every five seconds, a still-frame was captured. Like before, it was captioned.

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The Trawl

We dredged something up from deep underwater. It turned out to still be alive. Partly alive. Something like alive.

I wanted to explain how it looked, but every time I thought about how to describe it I got the worst mental block. Everything went foggy and my head started to hurt. Even when I remembered how it spilled out onto our deck with thousands of dead fish, I was overcome with a sensation of nausea that left me gasping for air.

That’s why, once it stopped thrashing – yes, that’s how it moved – by thrashing; I remember how it knocked over a bunch of equipment – I asked one of the guys to start taking pictures. Not a single one came out right. They were all blurred beyond repair and dotted with multi-colored splotches. So all I have is my memory. While I couldn’t picture how it looked, I knew it was nothing like I’d ever seen before. Nothing like any of us had seen. Continue reading “The Trawl”

To Travel

Bodies in bodies.

Bodies of bodies.

True knowledge requires self destruction. I’d always preached it, but I’d never practiced it. Never, until this morning, when the red wire slipped into the black module and I moved while going nowhere. My consciousness – my essence – erupted from my body and left me standing in that busy room of machines and batteries and magic.

(Magic is nothing without machines and batteries.)

I left my body without looking back. The air was smoky and shimmering. The walls were porous. No sound met my earless nothingness. There was only sight. My third eye; my soul; my angel: my guide. My everything.

I traversed the room and slipped through the wall. Continue reading “To Travel”

Devil’s Hole

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I’m a geologist working at Death Valley National Park in Nevada. Over the last few months, we’ve been studying the geological formation dubbed “Devil’s Hole.” Here’s what it looks like, for those interested.

Anyway, I’ve always found this place somewhat disconcerting. We have a vague idea of how it came to be and what makes it do what it does, but there’s something else. Something…off.

The other day, we sent a little submarine drone into the water to see if it could map out the labyrinthine cave system we know is there, but has been completely inaccessible for decades. Also, we wanted to find out how deep it goes. The fact an earthquake in China could cause the water to rise so substantially at this spot in Nevada makes us think it goes way deeper than preliminary estimates.

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The Last Words of an Explorer

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September 9th, 2016

This city is on no one’s map. If it had ever been, those people have long since died. As have their children. And grandchildren. And great grandchildren. And great-great grandchildren. And so on.

Nonetheless, here the city stands. My source was right. My money was well spent. These ancient structures are black tombs. We’ve set up our camp on the outskirts. The city is far too cold.

September 10th, 2016

Charles kept watch while I slept. He claimed to see no signs of life, but sounds kept him constantly alert. Soft sounds. Soft, wet, and unimposing. Sounds which drifted in and out at the limits of audibility, as if they were whispers, but windblown and damp – redolent of dying breaths and last words.

I heard nothing. My sleep was as black as the structures ahead of us. No sounds penetrated the dreamless morass. For a brief moment upon waking, I believed to have been dead.

Today, we tour the city.

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A Short Walk on the Beach

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Recalling the sensation of my eyes bursting before they turned to ash is the only feeling of comfort I can extract from that moment last year.

I was walking my dog on the beach near my home. The beach had been closed for the season because of a toxic algae bloom. The woods in my backyard let out to the beach, though, and I knew enough to stay away from the water.

Parker and I were finishing up when I heard splashing near the shore. I glanced over and saw what appeared to be a school of fish trapped under the thick, algal sludge. I was surprised; the water was supposedly hypoxic from the algae. I assumed the fish would stay away.

The splashing persisted as we walked by. Parker growled. I was concerned, since he never showed any aggression of any sort since we’d gotten him neutered. But as the splashing grew louder and the water grew increasingly turbid, Parker’s growls became ferocious and he started to bark and pull at his leash.

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Rediscovering the Newness of Sex

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The problem with sex is it eventually becomes mundane. Do anything enough and it’ll become boring and repetitive. It’s silly to think f*****g might be different. Obviously, there’s quite a bit one can do to spice things up, and it works – for a little while. Then it stops. Years go by and exciting, new fetishes become dull, standard procedure. By the time I hit 44, I was in a rut. Nothing did it for me. But the desire was still there.

To say I’ve done it all is a bit of a stretch, but I’d gotten pretty close. I’ve shied away from the illegal and illicit, despite frequent temptation. I don’t want to hurt anyone, and I certainly don’t want to end up in jail. There’s no fun in that.

For a little while, I’ll admit to being depressed. I went through the motions – one joyless, soulless f**k at a time. Men and women of every sort passed between my sheets. It always ended up in disappointment.

Then I met Carson.

I’d been with other men countless times, so Carson initially wasn’t anything more than a blip on a radar full of traffic. After we’d finished, however, he sensed my despair. He sensed my unfulfillment. Before he left, he scribbled an address, a date, and a time on a sheet of paper. 27 Hallsworth Hill. October 9th. 11:00pm. He wouldn’t tell me what I’d find there.

My interest was piqued for the first time in as long as I could remember. Two days later, on the 9th, I drove across town to 27 Hallsworth Hill.

The address was the location of large, old, stone house that was in need of some upkeep. Ivy ran unchecked across the gray slabs of its granite face, and bushes, perhaps once sculpted, grew wild and threatened to obstruct the view from the large, first-floor windows. A heavy wooden door with an equally-massive iron knocker stood at the top of the steps. I knocked twice and waited.

The door opened and Carson stood, shirtless and smiling, and asked me to come in. I obliged and followed. The house was beautiful, but very, very old. Nothing appeared to have been touched or moved in decades; when we passed under a dusty, hanging chandelier, part of me was surprised it had electricity running to it.

“I want you to meet my friends, Daniel, Lucy, and Eileen,” Carson told me, and before he opened the door in front of us, asked “I want you to have an open mind, ok?” I nodded as anticipation and mild concern set butterflies in motion within my stomach.

Carson opened the door and we walked into a spacious, sparsely-furnished room. A man, who I assumed was Daniel, was tied to a marble pillar stretching from the stone floor to the ceiling. Lucy and Eileen stood in front of him, kissing one another. All were unclothed. I jumped slightly and almost started to laugh when I heard a goat bleat from the corner behind us.

“How open does my mind have to be?,” I whispered to Carson, as I studied the goat staring mindlessly at the five of us. Carson laughed. “Not that open, don’t worry.” I sighed with relief.

The others in the room didn’t acknowledge Carson’s and my entrance. The women writhed against one another while Daniel, bound tightly to the pillar, watched with lust in his eyes.

“Right now,” Carson told me, “you’re not allowed to do anything but watch.” He pointed to the sofa. “Have a seat. You can get comfortable if you’d like.” With that, he stripped off his clothes and incorporated himself into his friends’ action.

I joined them in their nudity and sat on the remarkably-comfortable couch while the four engaged in basic, moderately-kinky sex. It was pretty vanilla for me, but not unpleasant to watch. Time went by and the four brought one another to the peaks and plateaus they’d desired. For my part, I was getting a little bored. The first half hour was fun because of the newness of the people involved, but with nothing to do other than jerk off, I was ready to hit the road.

The goat bleated again. I’d forgotten about the f*****g thing. I turned around and saw it s******g on the floor, effectively killing my arousal in its entirety.

“Thanks guys, it was nice meeting you – I’m going to be hitting the road now,” I called out. Carson extricated himself from Eileen and rushed over.

“Wait, please. We’ve almost started.”

“Started?”

Carson put his hands on my shoulders and gently pushed me back down on the couch. “Started.”

“Can you at least get rid of the goat?,” I asked.

He laughed and rejoined the group and they finished one another off with a decent enough show that I actually found myself getting into it. The four of them knew what they were doing – there was no doubting that.

Lucy untied Daniel while Eileen walked to the small table next to the couch to pour herself a drink. She winked at me and said, “didn’t Carson offer you a drink?” I shook my head. “Jesus, Carson,” she muttered under her breath, as she poured a whiskey-looking liquid out of the bottle into a wide glass and handed it to me.

I looked around for Carson. He was cleaning up after the goat. “You guys aren’t gonna f**k that thing, right?,” I asked Eileen. She looked horrified for a second before erupting with peals of laughter.

“No,” Eileen said, still practically hysterical, “we’re not going to f**k the goat.”

I laughed at the absurdity of it all, but I still needed to know. “Then what’s it doing here?”

Eileen didn’t answer. She just grinned and grabbed me. I jumped a little in surprise, then allowed her to lead me to the pillar like a dog on a leash.

“Do you consent?,” she mewled into my ear.

“Consent to what?,” I grinned, allowing her to tie me to the pillar. It was still warm from Daniel.

“Do…you…consent?,” she whispered, tracing her knuckles over my anatomy.

“I do,” I told her.

“Good,” Eileen smiled. My hands and feet were bound to the marble. I couldn’t move. Eileen dropped to her knees, and my world began to blur.

I closed my eyes and relished the sensation of her mouth and hands, entirely oblivious to the rest of the universe as I departed in a solipsistic whirlwind of hedonic bliss. I felt new pairs of hands and more mouths on me. Sopping, salty fingers pushed insistently at my lips and I allowed them inside to stroke with my tongue. Everyone was moaning. Everyone was sighing. No sounds existed except breaths of ecstatic need.

No sounds other than gasps of pleasure.

Not even bleating.

The unwanted thought of the goat took me briefly out of my haze and I opened my eyes. Then I screamed.

The four friends stood or knelt around me, covered from head to toe with blood and gore. The carcass of the goat was sprawled out on the stone floor, eviscerated and twitching. The scent of its guts hit me a second later, and I retched and struggled to break out of my bindings. The four wouldn’t let me, though. They continued trying to pleasure me, glistening and growing sticky as the hot blood on them cooled and grew tacky.

Daniel took his mouth off me and stood up.

“Trust us,” he said, looking directly into my eyes.

“What the f**k are you doing!,” I shouted at him. At them. The two women worked to keep me in the moment as Carson licked smeared blood out of my navel.

“Trust us,” Daniel instructed again, holding my head in his hands. I stared at his gore-streaked face. There was concern in his eyes.

“Please untie me,” I told him.

Eileen slid a finger inside me and I shouted with surprise and indignity. “I promise you’ll thank us soon,” she whispered.

Helpless and hating myself, I felt my arousal grow as lips and tongues and fingers forced my biology to betray me. The haze descended again and I closed my eyes as the stink of entrails permeated the room and combined with the heavy scent of sex.

A minute or two later, my climax ended the assault.

My eyes snapped open and I glared at the four. They all stood up and smiled. Wide, unsettling smiles.

“Let me the f**k out of here,” I pleaded, my voice quivering.

The smiles took on a patronizing, sympathetic quality. Drooling the contents of her mouth into her palm, Lucy said, “Honey, we’re finally ready to start.”

For a second, I was certain I was about to be killed. This was it. My quest for new and interesting sex had led me to the end of the road. Death. Snuff. My own end for their twisted pleasure. Then the goat screamed.

I yelped as the disemboweled animal’s mouth wrenched itself open. I heard its jawbones crunching and splintering as its mouth widened, its angle continuing to grow until it was a straight line up and down. It screamed again – now a deeper, groaning sound that I felt in my stomach and intestines. I watched in terror as the animal shuddered and convulsed. A series of red, knotted ropes exploded out of its throat and slapped wetly on the bloody stone.

“F*****g let me out!,” I howled. I glared at the four with panic. They were still smiling and staring at me. The goat’s body shuffled across the floor like a hairy, osseous caterpillar; its pulverized bones sounding like gravel with every peristaltic push. It reached my captors and stopped at their feet, almost as if it were a dog awaiting a command.

Finally, one of them moved. Lucy. She held the palm filled with her saliva and the product of my stolen o****m out in front of the goat’s destroyed mouth. Its nose twitched, and one of the smaller tubes crawled across the woman’s hand. With a disgusting, wet sound, it lapped up the contents. Before before I could blink – before I could shout – the goat erected itself on its hind legs. Its ribcage exploded outward like a metal gate hit by a truck. More tubes, thicker, heavier tubes, writhed inside. And in a blinding instant, it lept against my face.

Everything went white. I floated, disembodied, free from fear. Free from disgust. Free from violation. I was in a pool of warm, white mercury flowing in lazy currents around formless porcelain and glass. It was heaven.

The world returned with a gentle shudder. The carcass of the goat was on the floor, its ropes and tubes deftly manipulating the erogenous zones of my four captors. All animosity I felt for them was gone. All indignity had evaporated. I tried to move my arms and realized I’d been untied. Legs, too. I stretched and watched the spectacle in front of me without any sense of revulsion.

A tube branched off and approached my ear. “Do you consent?,” it whispered. The voice was soft and sexless. Seductive. I hesitated as a remaining pang of concern shot through me. What did all this mean? What was happening? The questions were endless, but the sensation was undeniable. It was the feeling of newness – of blushing, virgin uncertainty. I looked at my four friends and saw the expressions of boundless ecstasy on their faces.

The knotted, red rope was waiting patiently for my answer. Was this what I’d been searching for? To my right, Eileen shuddered as an o****m passed through her. She looked more beautiful than anyone I’d ever seen. They all did. Each one-upping the beauty of the other with every passing glance. The tube twitched and I smiled.

“Yes,” I whispered. “I consent.” And I opened my mouth.

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