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Origin: A Horror Story
The Dark Harrier
Early morning. Several years ago. The second week of September.
New York City.
Dennis Corvus pushed the wheeled cart down the long hallway. It’s
front left wheel squeaked annoyingly, wobbling around and misaiming the
cart. Dennis struggled to keep the thing pointed toward the magnetic
doors ahead. A guard in a blue uniform stood against the wall, an M16
hung neglected at his side. The man was bored; Pat, was his name?
Dennis could never remember. There were many guards here at
Vortex-Kaiman, who rotated their shifts often. Given the nature of the
work that went on here, the storage and destruction of artifacts and
technology deemed too dangerous to reverse engineer or disassemble for
study, management didn’t want the same guards knowing the daily
routines, lest they let something slip and invite theft. The government
paid big money to Vor-Kaim to get this kind of stuff out of
circulation, and to make absolutely, positively sure, that nobody else
got access to these things. Ever.
There was literally a multi-billion-a-year industry in smuggling of
such items, and Vor-Kaim was kept rich by being spotlessly honest about
Naturally, Vor-Kaim did not believe in the trickle-down effect much. It
had in its employ a legion of drones, such as Dennis, who shuffled
items of incredible power around the hallways here, high up in the
North Tower. A lot of these items went into a private express elevator
to a lower level of the parking garage in the sub basement, to be
whisked away in the dead of night or early morning [since Vor-Kaim did
it’s work while the world slept] in an armored convoy, to one of
Vor-Kaim’s deep-earth storage vaults. The rest, like the item on
Dennis’ cart, went into a variety of specialized destructive
devices, rendered down into powder where possible, and likewise buried
en masse at the end of each month.
The item Dennis was pushing towards its doom, was headed for Disintegrating Centrifuge #1.
Naturally, Dennis did not realize, that while he was accompanying it to its doom, it was accompanying him, to his.
Dennis made his dull way toward the maglock door ahead of him. He was
rather nondescript, five foot six, reddish auburn hair, combed back.
Nobody had ever been intimidated by his slim frame, nor had he ever
really tried to do any intimidating. He was the type who did his job,
not unmotivated but certainly no go-getter, looking forward to the day
when he could retire from a calm, undemanding corporate
technician’s position and buy some cabin in the woods and get
away from the bustle of New York, and all the people in it, forever.
And not do much of anything, else, really. Maybe do some fishing, maybe
raise bees, shoot at squirrels with a rifle he didn’t own yet nor
really knew how to shoot.
He would never see this day he dreamed of.
The key card hanging from his neck let him into the restricted disposal
suite. The door shut behind him. It was the last time he would ever see
Pat the guard alive. He wheeled the squeaky cart around the separate
rooms to the one with the centrifuges, card-accessed that one too,
There, he slid his keycard into a special slot which would clock his
time in the chamber. He took off his labcoat, opened a shirt button,
and got to work, unveiling the clear poly case in which hung suspended
the menu item of the day: the Eye of Mu.
Unearthed by Crey company divers, the Eye had passed several sets of
hands before being captured in a raid on a Circle of Thorns stronghold
in Longbranch, New Jersey. After a long period of study by several
agencies, it had been sent to Vortex-Kaimen and was slated for
destruction. Its crystalline composition had resisted various other
test methods, and so, into the centrifuge it would go, spinning until
its own mass chewed it to pieces. For safety, Centrifuge #1 had
technological gravity inducers which magnified the spinning effect of
its interior cradle many times. This kind of technology was the type
Vor-Kaim often had to destroy, coming as it did from alien dimensions,
but, a few such odds and ends wound up in Vor-Kaim’s arsenal, for
use on itself, in a sense.
With heavy leather-palmed gauntlets on, Dennis unlocked the bulletproof
case, lifted the Eye [it was unusually heavy for its size], and
prepared to fit it into the centrifugal cradle. Like most things that
passed through Dennis’ area, this one had with it a file of
preparations and precautions to be taken and any other information
higher-ups deemed need-to-know for people handling it. The most obvious
were always printed and stuck out in the open. In the Eyes’ case,
the label on the folder read DO NOT UNWRAP. DO NOT EXPOSE TO EYES. DO
NOT DROP. DO NOT DISPOSE OF IN FIRE.
The Eye had been almost entirely mummified in dispersion bands
appropriate for itself. They appeared to be linen-covered, and had
inside them strips of lead and other esoteric substances that allowed
it to be stored harmlessly. As he moved it, Dennis took absent note of
its odd weight [it would have fit inside a typical bowling ball, but
felt like it massed in like two of them], was a bit warm even through
its encasement, and vibrated slightly. A wan, weak red light leaked out
from its wrappings, but Dennis knew better than to go looking for a
source. Using a pair of snips he clipped off the attached ID band
without damaging the wrappers, tossed the tag in the normal trash, and
got to work.
He took several minutes to make precise balancing adjustments so that
the liquid levels showed equal all around and the cradle would spin
true. When the control console showed all was set, Dennis locked the
case, activating the software and beginning the gravity induction
sequence. Without a cup of coffee to mull over while it happened, he
hummed to himself dully, only vaguely annoyed at the restrictions that
kept the room safe and clean, and deprived him of something to do
during the intolerable moments when having little personal action bored
him. He wasn’t overly interested in reading the rest of the file
[not much of a reader, was Dennis], and might have been only slightly
worried if he had. He watched the countdown indicator lights, feeling
the slight humming the centrifuge emitted while it warmed up.
It was 8:45 AM.
Finally the software had increased the G-forces inside the canister,
and the motors began their slow wind up to, as Dennis and his fellows
referred to it as, ‘killing speed’. Dennis continued
leaning on the desk, ten or so feet away. He was not cognizant of the
extra, faintly, subsonic rumble also being felt throughout the building
at this height, noticed only by a few persons on this and other floors
so far. This extra rumble was caused by the four turbo jet engines of a
full-sized jetliner, its throttles wide open, as it approached from
over the Hudson River.
When 8:46 AM arrived, a great many things began happening.
Dennis noticed that the Eye, spinning along so that soon, its surface
would be a blur to him, had begun to glow. This despite the presence of
the restraining bands the thing had been cocooned in, preventing any of
its emanations from affecting Vor-Kaim personnel. He leaned forward a
little, not sure what was up, but pretty sure this wasn’t
supposed to be happening. He made mental note of the alarm button on
the desk, and how quickly he could get to it, if it came to that.
People outside the disposal suites, those with windows looking toward
New Jersey, had also noticed something that wasn’t supposed to be
happening. Many of them had begun to scream.
When the jetliner struck, its normally rather bendable fuselage pierced
the outer skin of the building, like normally weak plywood planks or
drinking straws sometimes do to park benches, trees or bricks when
driven by tornado winds. Its wings weren’t as fortunate, and they
crumpled outright as they were dragged inside. Jet fuel by the ton
spewed into the building along with the jet itself.
At that instant, the Eye of Mu had been nearing its terminal velocity.
Between ticks of Time, the bands restraining it had succumbed to
gravitational forces shortly before the crystal itself had been in
jeopardy, flying to tatters inside the Eye’s death chamber,
allowing the artifact a brief moment to assess the entirety of its
situation, abruptly aware of many things that surprised the odd
intelligence it possessed. Bursting from its restraint-induced
somnambulence, it had less than seconds to react before destruction
came for it.
A brief moment in Time, between ticks of the clock; one moment, and an infinity of events.
The jet has smashed its way through the building almost to the center,
doused in its own fuel which is in the process of full ignition. People
are dieing by the hundreds, others soon to follow as this clock tick
passes by. The death all around it has awakened the orb completely,
succoring it, and yet, informing it as well. The remnants of the front
of the plane are passing directly under Dennis’ room. The Eye of
Mu is at the moment of its own death, for gravity has won and the
matrix of its crystal can hold together no longer, even with the
immense boost of its power and will, desperately clenching itself to
the physical world. In this brief instant of Time a coruscating bolt
has bridged the gap between the Eye and the closest living sentient
organism, that being Dennis Corvus. The bolt is red, much like the pure
color of the Eye of Mu when lives, blood and souls had been given to it
in ecstatic worship, long ago. The bolt has reached across the room,
and fixed itself on Dennis’ face. It is invading him, as horribly
and finally as the jet has the North Tower. The force of the impact of
the bolt alone has cast Dennis’ head slightly backward. Had he
merely been standing there in a calm environment, the bolt would likely
have put Dennis through the wall and burned a shadow of his skeleton
permanently in the paint that had been left behind him. However, when
this tick of Time passes on, the wall will no longer be there, for a
shockwave is leaving the jetliner below the room, pulsing outward, and
it will travel faster than Dennis will. Dennis’ mouth is agape in
a scream he will never give voice to. This particular scream, in any
case. The wall to the West, as well as the floor under his shoes, are
bulging inward, and have just begun lifting Dennis toward the ceiling.
The shockwave from the jet is so severe that its soundwaves alone would
have burst Dennis’ eardrums and eyes, invaded his sinuses and
pulped his brain, not even mentioning the damage it would have done to
his bones, skin and other organs.
None of that matters now, though.
The tick in Time passes on, as it must.
Many people die.
Dennis does not.
Encapsulated in the power matrix of the Atlantean artifact, Dennis is
shoved upward two stories as the building shatters in his general area.
Flame roars through the gaps, fanned and driven by the hurricane blast
of the shockwave. Fire and detritus burst from the building along the
jet’s path almost all the way out the other side. The magnitude
of the event is being made known to many witnesses and victims, but
Dennis is firmly grasped by the Eye of Mu’s awareness. It remains
coldly aware of every nuance of the experience for it must cling to
Dennis for all its worth. To lack physical form is to cease to be. He
is the only anchor left to it, for the destruction around it confounds
it and it cannot fasten itself to any other living thing amid the
turmoil. Dennis is all it has, so even as the human undergoes trauma
that would kill him many times over, it keeps him alive. His soul
melded to its alien soul matrix, Dennis, also, is fully aware of
His body is smashed through layers of ceiling, insulation, cabling,
steel and concrete, bent into a slim shattered rag of jellied bones,
and yet, he lives and knows. He is scalded in an inferno, and cannot
cease experiencing it. Parts of him come away and are shoved rudely
back into place, though not fully repaired; the Eye of Mu is merely
keeping its vessel as intact as it can, given the circumstances. Bones
and organs precede skin in importance at this moment. When he comes to
rest two floors above the labs he occupied, it is in the chimney of
Hell, and yet, the Eye of Mu forces his body back together with enough
cohesion that he crawls, a salamander thrown on a griddle, seeking in
any direction for surcease that he will not find. He cannot scream, he
cannot think, for the agony he experiences is beyond human
comprehension, He Should be dead, but he is not. No-one has gone
through this before.
Unrecognizable, this new vessel of the Eye of Mu crawls, dragging
itself up through the angular wreckage to the third floor above where
Vortex-Kaiman is no longer. Waterfalls of jet fuel, alight, pour back
down into the void that spewed it up, sluicing around the monstrous
thing that cannot live, and does. There are no witnesses. The
thing’s mouth vomits burning fuel, blackened and crisp skin
stretches over clasping muscles and shriveled tendons. It makes its way
toward the corner of the building where the heat is least, wreckage as
its staircase, now five stories above the labs. Visibility is zero,
death all around, agony driving the human soul inside beyond madness.
And riding there amidst it all, is the Eye of Mu.
Many ticks of Time pass by now while the vessel pauses, too stunned to
move; the Eye of Mu gives it a brief respite as the alien construct
gains its bearings. Events play out here and nearby while both rest.
Many more are already dead, and a countdown to additional slaughter has
Dennis comes to.
He is naked, his clothes blasted away. His skin feels as if its still
burning. There are open wounds down to the bones in several places, but
the bones beneath are somehow intact. He cries out and rolls over.
Debris bites into his skin, which he sees now, is burned black. He
doesn’t have much room to roll within, for objects hem him in on
all sides. He is conscious at a time when no human could be. And his
mind is reeling from the onslaught of sensation and agony he has just
undergone. It is like the exact opposite of an orgasm, the antithesis
of rational experience, and he pauses to gulp acrid smoky air. He can
smell things that will linger over the city for weeks, for the smell is
coming from where he is. He can see light through the smashed material
around him, a brief draw of clear air quickly covered again by the pall
that crowns the North Tower. There are human noises near him, horrible
It is 9:59 AM.
The horrible human noises near where he is, rise suddenly as the South
Tower, visible to many survivors who are trapped at this altitude,
collapses in thunder and other noise. To have the twin building perish
before them throws survivors here who have seen it, into understandable
panic. The sun is blotted out. Hope evaporates for most and the air in
the building becomes a miasma of pitiable emotion on top of everything
else, felt especially strongly by the Eye of Mu.
For the first time, the entity that holds Dennis Corvus’ life within itself, speaks to him.
Vessel. Arise, it commands.
Like a puppet, beyond shock, Dennis must do so. He stands on wobbly
legs, arms reaching out to brace against closing walls of rubble. With
the Eye of Mu gazing out through his own eyes, Dennis clambers through
the detritus of lost lives and makes his way to the gaping hole in the
side of the building. It takes him a long time, for things must be
moved out of the way with little room into which to cast them aside.
Many times he sustains injury, is briefly buried, burned. Fire is
climbing from below them and the temperature is rising. Finally though,
as impossible sounds drift upward from the cratered street below and
all that is occurring, the dual being comes up into a passable space.
Someone runs by in the darkness and smoke, screaming and crying, but
Dennis cannot see who it is or what shape they are in, nor answer their
cries. They do not come to the space where he is but have run away from
it, or him. Standing at the precipice with one hand grasping the window
frame so strongly that the shattered glass digs into his palm, bare
toes clasping at the flooring to steady him, he and it together survey
what lies below.
Inside his own mind Dennis is gibbering.
Silence! I must gather strength. There is something to come and we must weather it, Vessel of Mu. We must go down.
Dennis gazes out and understands the shared thought that they are about to jump.
NO! Dennis is shrieking into
the echoing depths of his now-shared mental landscape, to the horrid
thing that lurks there. He battles with it, in a sense, struggling to
pull himself back from the drop. He will do anything, say anything,
rather than face what lies outside that window. Beg and offer anything.
His permanently altered mind finds a rational possibility, for he is
becoming a new animal inside his own impossible skin. He is somehow
possessed, but the enormity of what he has already undergone had burned
away much of him; some of what was lost would have caused him
reasonable fear at this point. What is left of him attempts to be smart
There is a way down! The private elevator, the private elevator!
There is a pause in the nothingness. Where is this thing? It will take us down?
Its near the middle of the building!
Back down there. The motor room is on this floor! We can climb down to
the car and use it if its working! At this point the rule of
using the stairs in such a fire emergency have naturally been
discarded. Dennis is trying to reason with what must be a demonic
entity that has taken hold of him! Anything to placate it and keep it
from making him jump from the tower. He simply cannot do that. Even
after what he has seen happen to himself, even despite this, he cannot
jump from here and watch the street come rushing up. As he moves
backward, some poor soul from above does so, but with a goal in mind
the Eye of Mu cares not a whit.
Grunting and bloodied again, his scalded burns gone and not even
considered anymore, Dennis clambers toward the area where he knows the
elevator motor room would be.
Time is passing. Things are rushing to a conclusion that has been already been demonstrated.
Somehow, the Vessel of the Eye of Mu finds the shattered frame of the
elevator anchor and motor room. This shaft it sat upon reaches all the
way to the third sub basement in a single throw, and Dennis can see as
he approaches that the car is gone. Through the smoke billowing upward,
the shaft a chimney funneling it up from the conflagration below,
Dennis and the Eye of Mu can see the tattered ends of several
sheered-through steel cables rocking back and forth, supporting
nothing. Nonetheless, even as Dennis tries in images rather than words
to convey that the car is useless, that they can try the stairs, please
please anything but jumping, the Eye of Mu takes him to the brink. It
looks in a casual way, hijacking his movements, all around at the
interior of the shaft and the hellish drop at its feet. It also notes
that the dangling cables are shifting as it watches.
With senses Dennis cannot grasp, it knows what this means.
Dennis only notices after it does, in the wan apocalyptic darkeness,
that the cables are moving, all of the bunch stretching toward the
right side of the shaft wall as if a snake charmer were calling them
with an ill-tuned flute in some cartoon. He only notices the sensation
in his inner ear secondarily, the canting of the floor, for the Eye of
Mu has asserted itself treacherously, suddenly.
At 10:28 AM, the Eye of Mu steps its suddenly screaming Vessel over the
brink and into the elevator shaft. Dennis is wide-eyed as he drops into
the dark hole, his eyes burning from the smoke and very soon after,
from fire. He passes floors below that are an inferno, and is
flash-baked as he does so, fully aware. He is tumbling in darkness and
agony, striking an incursion into the shaft and bouncing back into it,
and as if his ragged body is a tossed kerchief or a starter’s
pistol, the building above sags behind him. The roof and its broadcast
mast sink into the wreath of smoke, and everything ahead of it joins
in, in a domino effect. The collapse follows Dennis all the way down,
until this new shockwave catches him in its tumult, a detonation
chasing an overeager bullet down the barrel of a rifle. He is propelled
down toward the depths of the earth by blast, fire, and the dust of
He is aware, all the way down.
He is held together by a power determined to not cease, as it surely
would if this vessel were destroyed at this moment. When he would be
pulped, he is kept together, surviving the horrid blender that the
collapsing building becomes. He is bent but again not broken. The
impact is not a single event, for by the time he reaches the ground
there is so much debris in which he is mixed it is a kind of settling.
He is the pea sandwiched in the mattresses. And he is alive, somehow.
The agony and its duration are beyond reason.
Hours later. Efforts unlike any ever seen have begun pulling apart the still-hot pile above.
Earth movers cause the rubble to shift, and the Vessel of the Eye of Mu
moves deeper as the wreckage of two buildings settles. Many times small
movements happen. Soon, he is cast out onto the cold tile of what used
to be the extensive subway station beneath the tower in a shifting
avalance. His body moves, wrong angles and damage molding back into
correct shape. Dennis is gibbering again because he feels it all,
unable to pass into unconsciousness, again spitting out the plug of
dust and blood that has filled his mouth countless times. He gives
random cries, until he finally climbs to his bare feet, covered by more
grey dust and dried blood [not the majority of it his own], in the
blackness of the railway mall. Without Dennis’ own real awareness
the Eye of Mu has wormed him through the rubble bit my bit, down and to
the edge of the tower’s footprint. Though clogged completely at a
certain point [essentially, directly behind him/them], the New Jersey
transit tunnels are intact.
Tearing his bare feet on the track bed, Dennis slogs away from the
disaster behind him. He passes under the Hudson, along the tracks which
have been shut down. In the incredible silence deep in the earth, he
speaks to his puppetmaster once again.
Who are you? What do you want? Please, get out of my head!
I cannot, Vessel. I must return to my
people. I cannot end. You do not command me; I am the Eye of Mu. We
will move forward and return to my people.
Your people! Who are –
The Eye of Mu shows him and he freezes midstride. He saw, heard, smelt,
tasted, lived it. The Lacerta, through their glory and their fall, and
the Eye as ritual witness. They were here now, they were searching, he
could feel the longing reaching out, even here sheltered in the
bedrock. It was somewhere to the north. Very close, in terms of the
size of the world.
There are my people. We will go to them. No-one will stop us, Vessel of Mu.
What will you do with me?
You are the Vessel. To continue, you must live. We will return in glory to my people and bring about the glory of Mu.
This time, Dennis got no inner image to define what this meant. That
should have disconcerted him, what was left of him, but at that moment,
there was movement and noise ahead in the darkness.
The mouth of the tunnel would emerge near the Hoboken station, and the
entrance, set below street level, was frequent home to the area’s
homeless population. Most of these pitiable people had taken to the
shore to witness the horror unfolding across the river. Some though,
had remained behind.
One of them, a huge-bodied indigent man, watched the naked skinny
Dennis emerging from the tunnel and saw, not a dust-covered victim in
need of aid, but a helpless target on whom to vent the unease and
agitation the disaster in New York was raising in his schizoid mind.
With an inarticulate roar he bore down on Dennis, huge meaty hands
grasping and ready to pummel.
Dennis felt only a shadow of fear, for after what he’d just been
through, a simple beating was almost a nonevent; and yet, instinctual
reaction to threat crept forward. He tensed, ready to defend himself in
his vulnerable naked state.
The Eye of Mu struck first.
It knew Dennis would be no physical match for this other human.
Instead, it reached with a clawed simulated hand deep into
Dennis’ consciousness and took what it could. With a mental mitt
aglow with collected imagery, it flung the sum of Dennis’
experiences that day at the homeless man’s formidable damaged
Compressed into a matter of seconds, the agony, fear, the ride through
the collapse, the entirety of Dennis’ repeated conscious death
that day bored like a diamond undergoing fusion into the mind of the
homeless man. With a guttural animal shriek, the attacker gripped at
his temples as the information, relentless, merciless, impossible,
flooded into him. He scraped his nails down the sides of his face
trying to stop the influx, skin peeling away in curlicues, but it would
The structure of his mind melted under the onslaught. The railway
tunnel walls lit with a sodium white light, and then, the homeless man
keeled over, stone cold dead, body spasming.
Dennis staggered. The Eye of Mu had overextended itself in its
viciousness. For a moment the great entity itself was stunned, and
Dennis reasserted control over his body. He could feel the entity
inside him now, clearly and with no imposed filters. He also felt his
body, made whole by its presence. He was shaken, trembling,
exhausted… but he was alive. Able to think completely on his own
for the first time in what was happening, the tattered remnants of his
Self suddenly back in control and knowing it could not last, he made a
decision all by himself.
He knelt over the corpse before him, and began taking its clothes. The
Eye of Mu, quiescent, nonetheless approved. The rags stank, and
wouldn’t fit, but he needed to get away from here. His small
apartment was a few miles away up the coast in a small suburb. He lived
alone, had no family who’d be calling for him to see if he was
safe. His life had been work, and everyone he’d known, were they
all dead? He needed to know. He scrubbed his face in a dirty puddle and
lurched off to gain the street above, and find his way home, because at
this instant, that was all he could think to do.
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