Call of B'harni, Part 2


by Brian Bull

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh B'harni R'lyons wagn'nagl fhtagn".

("In his house in R'lyons dead B'harni waits dreaming".)

Dedicated to the works of H.P. Lovecraft

II. The Shadow Over Outsmouth

Reports of my harried and restless nature eventually crept to the upper tiers of the college administration, and I was placed on immediate sabbatical following the prognosis of the campus clinician. Demanding that I leave the purple felt totem of B’harni locked away in the office vault, this doctor instructed me to spend an excursion in the wilderness, liberated from the pressures of the city and its hordes. Tactfully assuring the good doctor that I would do so, I secreted away the forbidden Necrobarneycon in my suitcase and decided to vacation in the remote ocean village known to the locals as Outsmouth. It was there that I imagined I would find some peace of mind and an opportunity to review my findings on the great B’harni. I was sorely disappointed on the first count.

Upon my arrival in the demure villa, I found my presence to be of some speculation among the natives. Secretive and mistrusting, I had some difficulty in arranging a room at the Obed ‘n Breakast. After several forceful pleas to the manager to grant me board, the goggle-eyed, grinning caricature of a man reluctantly did so.

I had long heard of the fabled "Outsmouth Look" as it was called in hushed circles, whereas the human inhabitants apparently bore an odd profile. Speculation suggested it was the result of massive inbreeding, and this could explain the dead, round eyes, the moronic, insipid grins, and the faintly purple complexion of the residents of the town. Yet something about this combination faintly reminded me of the dreadful features I had seen etched into the craggy lines of the B’harni totem, but the realization never crossed my tortured mind until well later.

The day at Outsmouth proved largely uneventful. However, I was too often the subject of speculative glances and murmurings by the villagers, and never a moment passed when I did not feel the target of some sinister gaze. The "Outsmouth Look" was increasingly apparent in the faces and gait of the townspeople, and on one particularly heavy-set youth, I fancied I saw a purple, prehensile tail draped loosely in burlap as he passed me by. I then recalled hearing of ungodly rituals that were hinted at in the brittle, purple pages of the Necrobarneycon, as they were practiced by humans of old. Such obscene and unnatural rituals often resulted in grotesque hybrids of half-human, half-draconian creatures that carried out the aims of great B’harni. These disgusting hybrids were called the Loved Ones, and also served the ones known as B’habi B’hop and B’hai J’hai in subterranean grottos and caverns. I nervously returned to my room and anxiously watched night fall upon the wretched rooftops of Outsmouth.

Though the viscous blanket of darkness had consumed the derelict structures of the villa, I apprehensively observed that few houses had turned on any interior illumination. It was with some hesitation that I decided to dim my lantern, lest I call attention to my abode and arouse the undesired curiousity of the inhabitants of Outsmouth. Checking my timepiece under the silver glow of the full moon above, I noticed the time to be of eleven o’clock, and it was at this time I noticed the encroaching din of a gibbering and staggering horde.

Alert and astonished, I quickly realized this shapeless, wandering pack of ungodly denizens were headed directly for the Obed n’ Breakfast! Seizing my prized copy of the Necrobarneycon, and cradling a pistol of sound construction, I scurried frantically down the lightless stairwell and flung myself into the ivy-strewn patio behind the building. No sooner than I had hidden myself behind a series of misshapen hedges, did I see my room illuminated in the sickly glow of torches, which threw ghastly and subhuman shadows upon the walls. Thick limbed torsos sprawled and whirled with mindless abandon, while bobbing, semi-saurian heads rocked and swayed to the chaotic rhythm of an inaudible chant. Supressing the immediate urge to scream, I backed away from the sight and realized my best chance of escape was to flee into the darkness and hopefully find the main highway leading far and away from Outsmouth.

My automobile was found overturned, its interior smeared with a slimy purple ichor. The revelry from the room upstairs suddenly shifted back to the main floor, and I found myself ducking hordes of torch-bearing mutations as they littered through the streets and alleys. What manner of madness, what dark world of idiocy had I fallen upon? Feeling my heart thunder precariously inside my heaving and sweating chest, I saw that shapeless horde again, as they swaggered and skipped in sheer abandon of all that is decent and proper. Oh God in Heaven! Those wide smiles and dead eyes! How could jawlines be so flawless and seamless, flesh so plush and purple? Fearing my sanity was at a complete loss, I could only clasp myself into a fetal pose under a twisted elm and prayed for the blissful serenity of dawn. And as the evening raged and pillaged, amidst half-human, half-saurian beings singing and dancing, I heard the cursed carolling of the same blasphemous incantation outlined in the accounts of Abdul Al-Azred:

I’luv’yu, yu’luv’mi, we’era h’api f’am’ili!
W’etha gr’t b’gkis ‘nd h’ug f’romi tuyu
W’ontyu s’ayu luv’mi tu?

The night gave way to visions of twisted spires and sickly schoolyards, all adorned with totems and images of He Who Chortles Insipidly, the great B’harni. Greenish blanket-waving saurian demons and cap-tipping lizards of yellow cast also threatened my refuge, yet I held stillfast and kept my position. Soon nightmares of Cyclopean dinosaurs and schoolyards of non-Euclidean geometry sweetly wafted into somber rays of daylight, and when I arose from under that sickly elm, I saw that the mongrel hords of Loved Ones had melted into the shadowy crevices of Outsmouth. Under the cover of thickets and dense meadows, I found my way to the main highway and found transport back to the familiar and friendly environment of Arkham, and Miskatonic University. But my respite from the night’s horror was to be remorsely short-lived.

Click here to continue on to Chapter Three of the Call of B'harni.