The Timeless Tower


It has always been there, the nameless tower that looms over the mountains. Long before the first humans settled in the foothills, the tower stood in the distance, gazing ominously down at the lands below. Over the years, many grim legends have come to surround the tower, for nothing but ill fate has befallen those who have ventured into the mountains. After many tragedies, all of the trails into the mountains were shut off. This never stopped the most foolhardy of adventurers from venturing into the mountains, of course, and they were never heard from again. All of that changed with the incident of 1803.

Much of the incident has been obscured by time and by the strictest policy of secrecy adopted by those who witnessed it. Three seasoned hikers had died in the mountains and a fourth one, shortly after, in a village in the foothills, under mysterious circumstances. This much was known to the public. But many hikers were lost to the mountains and the fact that all expeditions into the mountains ceased after this particular incident led to grim speculations about the mystery surrounding their deaths.

For over a century, superstition warded adventurers off the accursed mountains. But human curiosity, as it often does, overcame these superstitious fears. With modern technology emboldening them, humans had, in recent years, conquered lands thought unreachable, learned things deemed unknowable and put to rest mysteries of great renown. It is no surprise, then, that their gaze turned upon the nameless tower.

It was in the year 1942 that the horror from the mountains surfaced afresh. I was, at the time, a professor of archaeology at the university of Boston and my recent discovery of the ancient temple complex in the Sonoran desert whose origin was still under speculation had gained me some fame. I was not surprised, therefore, when Dr. Trevelyan of the Miskatonic University invited me to join his team of researchers on an expedition to the nameless tower.

I accepted immediately, for if the legends were true, the tower was more than half a millennium old. Even if the chance was slim, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to study such ancient architecture. We were set to sail for Europe early in March, so I spent the intervening time studying European architecture to better equip myself for the studies to come.

Dr. Trevelyan and his team of researchers and students arrived in Boston on the 4th of March, and for a week, we held many discussions during which I learned the missing pieces of the legend of the tower. I was thoroughly impressed by the sheer depth of the man’s knowledge and felt extremely pleased at my acceptance of his offer. I looked forward to unravelling great mysteries with him.

On the 10th of March, we set sail for Norway aboard the Medusa. After a smooth voyage, we arrived at Bergen whence we travelled by railroad to Finland and then by road to the village in the foothills. News about our expedition and our quest for the nameless tower had already reached the press and articles about it appeared in several notable publications. They were met with varied emotions – excitement, apprehension and even fear. I, myself, felt great anticipation.

We arrived, a few days later, at the village, and I felt a strange sensation knowing that I was at the very site where, over a century ago, events of great evil had taken place and instilled such fear as to ward off mountaineers for all this time. We proceeded to establish a base there not only for the rich lore it preserved, but also for the vast open fields just outside the village. We had chartered an aeroplane to aid our research, and those fields would serve as excellent runways.

We had with us, the most sophisticated equipment to aid us in every school of research imaginable: telescopes and long-distance cameras, navigation instruments, centrifuges, microscopes, spectrometers and spectroscopes, rare reagents – everything that could help us in our quest. No group before us had been so well equipped to unravel the mystery of the nameless tower and we were confident in our ability to do so.

The locals seemed nervous of our presence, not because of who we were, for many researchers had visited the village, but rather, because of the likelihood of our success. I wondered if they knew more than they were willing to admit. Their demeanour was that of those who had something to hide and proved quite unwilling to give us any information. Our attempts at procuring a guide through the mountains were also met with complete failure, though this was clearly due to superstition.

There was a trail that led into the mountains that had been shut off but left unguarded. Along this trail, a few of us went to gather the lay of the land. Some ten minutes of climbing later, we found ourselves atop a small hillock which gave us a clear view of the village and, more importantly, the nameless tower. At my first clear view of it, I began to understand why such superstitions existed around it. It seemed to leer down at us, mockingly, from the great peaks upon which it stood. The cold of winter was just beginning to set in, frosting over the rocks and giving rise to a phantasmal mist through which I fancied the tower shifting and moving. An aura of mystery and unknown horror emanated from it and even the portentous distance separating us seemed evilly amplified by it.

My colleagues, too, seemed similarly affected by the sight of it, and we were relieved when we began our descent back to the village. For the next few days, we continued to gather what little information we could from the locals, though none of them seemed to know much about the events of 1803. In fact, the mere mention of the incident seemed to strike fear, as if it could invoke those nightmares afresh. Ultimately, the horrors that had gripped the village over a century ago remained a mystery to us and we resolved to solve without the aid of the villagers.

Our aeroplane and our laboratories were ready five days after our arrival and we prepared ourselves for the maiden flight over the mountains. Early in the morning, we took off, heading East first, to gain altitude and then North towards the mountains. I was filled with anticipation as we raced towards the ancient mystery. Perhaps it was this anticipation that obscured the hint of fear that lingered in a corner of my mind.

After about half an hour of flying, we crossed the first barrier of mountains and we were truly in their reaches. Before we could rejoice, however, the winds that had thus far remained docile, turned wild and chaotic without warning and began buffeting our aeroplane. In just a few minutes, they had swelled to such degrees as to threaten to throw our aeroplane out of control. We were forced to turn around. As we limped back towards the village, the aeroplane shook and shuddered, whipped around by the winds.

As we finally crossed the threshold of the mountains, I could have sworn I heard the wind jeering at us, as if mocking our attempt to reach the tower. Shaken by the experience, we headed straight to our rooms upon landing. A part of me wondered if there was some merit to the superstitions. I quickly dismissed the thought.

Though our first flight had been unsuccessful, it was not without its benefits. The gale had blown away the obscuring mist, so that just before we were forced to turn around, I was able to capture some pictures of the tower using my camera which was fitted with a telescopic lens. I eagerly awaited the film to be developed, since it would be the first clear view of the tower. So far, all that I had to rely on for such information had been vague and highly stylized artistic depictions of the tower. Perhaps now, I could determine the architectural style and thus, its age.

Later that afternoon, I sat at my table with a small stack of photographs and a large stack of books. Though still too distant to be studied in earnest, the photographs revealed some features of the tower heretofore unknown to anyone. After all, most of the folklore simply alluded to its presence without offering any description of its appearance. I spent a lot of time trying to match the photograph with several known architectural styles of Europe from various classical periods. My efforts, alas, were completely in vain. Even after abandoning the geographic constraints and searching as far back as the early parts of the 9th century, I could not find a pattern to which the tower conformed.

As I studied the photographs intently, I began noticing certain unnameable aspects of the tower that left me feeling unsettled. There was something unnatural about the tower’s form, geometry and proportions. I had expected to see certain distortions in the photograph due to the loss of the third dimension of depth. Those distortions seemed to be strangely absent. Even in the picture, the tower seemed to grow in certain dimensions and shrink in others. There seemed to exist no clear boundary between the mass of the tower and the atmosphere that surrounded it. In the end, I concluded that the instability caused by the wind had been enough to prevent a clear photograph from being taken. This instability had, most likely, been amplified to a great degree by the telescopic lens and the result was the uncanny photograph that I now stared at. On that note, I gave up further inquiry and retired for the night.


The wind had not relented the next morning, so that any notion of flying over the mountains was rendered impossible. Thus grounded, our research became limited to the village. I tried talking to the villagers once more, this time, using the photographs as props. I had carefully selected the few that had less distortions than others; I did not want, for any reason, to worsen the superstitions. If the photographs had unsettled me, they would certainly have an effect on the villagers.

I was met with a wide spectrum of responses, the most common of which were fear and curiosity. But alas, even though they did cooperate this time, they simply did not have any information that we could use. I had almost given up hope when I found out from some of them, about an old man who lived at the edge of the village furthest from the mountains. He was known as the village madman, and most people avoided him. They said he was harmless enough, but he wasn’t right in the head. He, they said, knew the most about the curse of the mountains, and that was the very cause of his madness. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I set out to seek this old madman, if only to indulge him.

The old man in question had fading eyes and thinning grey hair. There hung around him an air of deep mystery and perhaps tragedy. Despite the years, he carried a certain intelligence in him and it shone in his fading eyes. I found him sitting on the porch of a dilapidated hut, wearing a distant expression. He was surprised to see me.

When he spoke, my suspicions were clarified – this was no madman. He was one who knew many things. I briefly explained who I was and why I was there. When I showed him the photographs, he showed fear, but it was not the same kind as the rest of the village. His fear was rooted in knowledge. He was afraid because he knew too much. He knew of the terrible events of 1803 and the origins of the village and how it was founded. It took him a few moments to calm down. Then he beckoned me to have a seat on the porch and began his story.

In the early years of the 18th century, a large town was founded in the plains south of the mountains at the edge of the forest. As to why it was established, he could only speculate. It was his belief that political strife further inland had led to a large congregation to split away from their kingdom and ultimately settle among the bountiful plains. The plains were rife with game and the forests with goods. The town flourished, eventually gaining the attention of nearby cities and establishing trade. At some point, there came to be a church in the town. When the old man spoke about the church, I noticed his tone turn sour.

At first, the church had proved to be a valuable ally. They brought medical practices far superior to the ones known to the village. They had such wondrous teachings! In many ways, the church brought civilization. But the native culture began to dwindle as a result, and this did not sit well with some of the townsfolk. And so, they formed a society dedicated to preserving the culture and the traditions of the town. The church, however, viewed this as a threat. No one knows why, but following the formation of this group, the church began inquisitions in the village, looking for signs of witchcraft.

For a long time, this unrest continued, climaxing in the winter of 1772, when a large group of people were accused of witchcraft and devil worship and sentenced to death. There followed a bloody uprising which ended in the decimation of the church’s power and an exodus of the people of the town. The old man wouldn’t speak more about the rebellion, but he did allude to the fact that some of the church’s accusations were not false.

The group that had departed the town eventually headed for the mountains and in 1775, they settled among the foothills, where the village stands to this day. Following this new settlement, things were quiet for a while. But a few years later, strange things began to happen in the village – people went missing, animals began dying, strange voices could be heard in the dead of night. When things got severe, an investigation followed. It was then that some of the church’s claims had been substantiated.

Some 20 people were found guilty of animal and, more shockingly, human sacrifice, devil worship and unwholesome rituals for which they were exiled to the mountains. A messenger was dispatched to the old town, informing the church of these events and reestablishing a connection, while retaining autonomy. Emissaries from church came to the village and performed a blessing and so, for a time, peace was restored. But it would not last long.

The mountains were always ill-reputed – many deaths and disappearances had occurred throughout the years. But when these ‘accidents’ increased greatly in frequency not one year after the exile of those worshippers of evil, there was little doubt as to their involvement. There were other signs, too – strange howlings in the night, putrid odour drifting down from the mountains, gatherings of strange men around concealed campsites. The villagers grew wary of the mountains, eventually avoiding them altogether.

The old man paused and shuddered, as if in recollection of the grim source of the superstitions that now gripped the village. I could sense that we were closing upon the events of 1803 and so, poised myself. His grandfather, it seemed, was a young lad at the time and had witnessed the horror firsthand. Both, his grandfather and his father, to whom the story had been told on numerous occasions, had then passed it down to him and he had grown up knowing the real fear which the mountains invoked.


It was in the early days of the winter of 1803 that a group of seasoned explorers had, in the course of their journey, arrived at the village with the intention of exploring the mountains. This was not, by any means, uncommon. But over the years following the exile of the heretics, conditions had worsened to such an extent that most of the marked trails had fallen into disrepair due to neglect. None of the villagers had ventured very far into the mountains in over a decade and even the guides had pursued other means of livelihood. So, they thought it prudent to deny these explorers entry into the mountains.

All of their attempts to stop the explorers were for naught, however, since they could not be deterred. They had heard of the ancient tower and were quite determined to see the expedition through. They did not believe the superstitions of the village. Thus undeterred by the entreaties of the villagers, the explorers ventured into the mountains. To those who remembered, this act was no different from awakening a slumbering beast. And so, for the next few days, they waited with breath held in morbid anticipation.

For a week, there was no evidence of evil in the mountains and they almost believed that the curse had been lifted. But just before they could let out a sigh of relief, the winds changed. It started on a perfectly normal evening. Subtle changes started manifesting in the mountains. First, the winds turned wild and raged across the mountains, howling in a bestial manner. Then, just as suddenly as they had started, the winds died down completely, leaving behind a deathly silence in their wake. And then, a dense fog descended from the mountains, slow and deliberate like a mercurial monster and enveloped the village. In the nights that followed, terrible visions haunted their dreams. During the day, everyone seemed afflicted with almost insurmountable weariness, made worse by the lack of sleep.

On the final night of this spectacular horror, the village was awakened by an earthquake. As they filtered out of their homes, shapes stirred in the mist… shapes of horrific implication. Everyone instinctively looked at the mountains, and witnessed the climax of the horror. All at once, a bright light of unnatural colour flashed aglow over the tower, casting terrible silhouettes onto the fog. A moment later, an intolerable fetor emanated from the mountains, accompanied by faint screams of terror, which might have been imagined by the wearied villagers. But they carried such a note of fear that everyone believed that there remained no hope for those adventurers that had so foolishly ventured into the mountains.

A few minutes later, the light faded and the fog began to dissipate. The noisome mountains went silent again, though the fetor remained. An utterly profound silence now filled the village. In many ways, this silence was worse than the strange occurances, for it allowed their imaginations to run wild. The silence was the perfect canvas on which the disturbed mind could paint fantastic imagery.

Only when the sun was high in the sky the next morning did the villagers find the courage to venture beyond the thresholds of their houses. Committees met, discussions were held and arguments were made, but ultimately, it stood to reason that someone had to delve into the mountains to search for the adventurers, and retrieve their remains if possible. A rescue party was formed, consisting of the most able among them and the least religious. By late morning, this reluctant group set off into the accursed mountains, with utmost precaution. They brought with them all the implements needed to recover the remains of the adventurers and split into two groups, one to scout ahead and another to secure the trail for a hasty return.

As the day progressed, their anxiety mounted. None of them wanted to remain in the mountains once night fell. Fearing they wouldn’t have enough time to return, they abandoned their search late in the afternoon and began retracing their steps back to the village. Only in this reversed perspective did they notice the clues. There were signs of people attempting to flee in the direction of the village, and this made sense. They, too, were hurrying back to the village and this was when the sun was still bright and no anomalies were at play. So they followed the tracks and soon came across evidence of a scuffle.

A short distance from this site, they found a small ditch into which one of the hikers had fallen. Presently, they approached the limp form with great hesitation. There was something sinister about the way he lay there. Some unspeakable aspect of evil haunted the motionless man. Perhaps, this was because of the strange, foetal position in which he lay, or because of the crazed, frenzied expression that lingered on his face, but the rescue party felt a chill of horror as they attempted to recover the body. When, at last, they reached him, it quickly became apparent that he was still alive, though barely so. Time was of the essence.

It was almost twilight when the party emerged from the mountains, much to the relief of the waiting villagers. They immediately brought the injured man to the doctor. It was still the early days of medicine, and the doctor wasn’t the best equipped to help the man, but it was clear that he wouldn’t survive the journey to the city. The care he could provide would have to do.

Some of the men stayed back to help the doctor, and among them was the grandfather of the old man. As the doctor examined the man, he spoke to his rescuers about his condition. There were numerous scratches and bruises on his body, indicating that he had been in a scuffle before he fell in the ditch. Around his neck and shoulders, there were also bite marks, suggesting an animal attack. The man’s own hands had bruises and material under the nails, so it was likely that he fought back. So far, there was nothing particularly unusual. Only when the doctor began treating the wounds did he begin noticing disturbing signs.

All of the wounds, upon closer inspection, seemed to be inflicted by human hands. The scratches, the bite marks and the bruises, too corresponded perfectly with human nails and teeth. In fact, the material stuck under his nails, too, was human flesh and skin. At this revelation, an air of discomfort and anxiety filled the room. Their thoughts immediately turned to the devil-worshippers banished to the mountains. Had they been responsible for this man’s condition?

It was late in the night now, and most of the party had returned to their homes, though some still remained, should the doctor need help. In the meditative silence of the night, more things revealed themselves to the doctor. Ever since the man was brought to him, a nagging thought tugged at his attention. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something seemed unnatural about the man. Now, as he stared at him, unbothered by the thought of treatment, he finally noticed it. The proportions were all wrong. His arms were too long, his legs were too curved, his fingers too spindly. His face was elongated, and his teeth were starting to jut out. His nose, too, had elongated and taken a misshapen form. There was an animalistic aspect to the man. It was as if he was transforming into something… less human.

The doctor hesitated to make the suggestion, for he feared that the superstitions of the village would exaggerate the fear that the revelation would inevitably invoke. Instead, he sought to verify his observations by asking the lingering villagers questions about these aspects. Alarmingly, they all confirmed his suspicions and everyone was quickly bid to silence, lest panic grip the village. Despite their discretion, however, news about this madness quickly spread throughout the village and quickly became the only topic of discussion. As with rumours of this sort, the story quickly became distorted and flavoured, so that an outsider would be convinced that a horde of undead creatures, lycanthropes and other creatures from the myths were lurking just beyond the reaches of the village, waiting to invade at nightfall.

Over the next few days, the man’s condition worsened and his deformations seemed more pronounced. The doctor concluded that the man would soon die. Some members of the rescue party had continued to visit the doctor regularly and they carried this news to the rest of the village. Some believed that his death would mark the end of the madness that had descended upon the village. Others feared that his death would awaken it anew. Needless to say, the man’s fate remained a thing of great focus those next few days.

The excitement had died down, some ten days after the man was found, and the villagers began to hope that the horror was at an end. The mountains, too, seemed to have gone silent. Only a gentle breeze trickled down from them in the evenings, carrying the scent of the usual mountain flowers. But this quiet was soon to be broken violently by the mountains. It was a calm, serene evening, and the old man’s grandfather was visiting the doctor with another member of the rescue party. The doctor expected that the man would not survive the night. His breathing was laboured, his skin unnaturally pale, and his aspects more bestial than ever.

All at once, he awakened with a violent shudder, struggling to move as though unfamiliar with the functions of his own limbs. He attempted to speak, but his voice was hoarse and failed him. The noises that came from his mouth – they could not be considered words – were guttural and wholly inhuman. After several moments of insurmountable struggle, he managed to utter one single comprehensible word before passing. At the utterance of this word – a word that was well-known to the villagers, one that had been forbidden when the blasphemers were banished to the mountains – a great tremor shook the village. It was the name of a dead God.

Long after R’lyeh had sunk to the bottom of the ocean and the war between the great Old Ones and the dreadful Shoggoth had ended, another being from the distant reaches of the infinite black gulfs of space had turned its gaze upon the Earth. The circumstances of his arrival were different from the others.

This God, Whose name had been erased from every record, once rivalled the mighty Yog Sothoth Himself and had spent an eternity warring against the endless spawns of Azathoth for countless aeons. Having thus spent His powers – for, the throne of Chaos is infinite – the Outer God had died and His followers had carried His corpse to the Earth and in those mountains, they had buried Him. The tower was a monument, a tombstone to mark His grave and had loomed over the mountains for more than 200,000 years!

Over the millennia, the dead God’s blood had seeped into the mountains, slowly spreading a foul corruption in them. The lingering consciousness of the God and the festering blood had driven the creatures mad, mutating the creatures that lived there, so that even the most harmless of critters had turned into vicious predators. Even the plants were transformed in grotesque ways.

The banished ancestors of the village had stumbled upon this legend many years before the village was formed. They had become obsessed with the legend and had found an old journal belonging to a priest of the dead God’s cult. In secret, they had practised the dark rituals described in the book, and made sacrifices unto His terrible image. It was this very obsession that had eventually led to their exile into the mountains. Now, the villagers wondered if this exile was truly punishment, for it was entirely likely that they had turned the mountains into some kind of occult lodge where they performed their mad rituals unbothered by the law.

A morbid silence overcame the village and remained there for the next few days. The dead man was buried in a distant cemetery on the far side of the village and away from the mountains. None of his personal effects contained any form of identification, so that the grave had to be left unmarked. The more superstitious among the villagers had held a cleansing ritual, hoping to rid the village of the taint of madness that had come with the man. A month went by without incident, and the village was ready to move on. That’s when the horror returned.

It was a calm evening after an uneventful day. The winds were gentle and playful and carried the scent of mountain flowers with them. In fact, so quiet was everything that day that no one noticed when the wind died out and a deathly silence descended upon the village. As darkness fell, the thick fog returned once more. Shapes of daemoniac suggestions stirred in the fog. The phantasmal light lit aglow once more over the tower and, in it, the mountains themselves stirred… as if something was shaking them!

A low hum emanated from the mountain passes, slowly rising in intensity. Soon, the words became clear and the hum seemed to be a chant, though the exact nature could not be discerned. It seemed, however, that the chant was an invitation, a call to awaken. As the night progressed, the movements in the fog became exaggerated, so that madness seemed inevitable in the more religious folk. In the darkest hour of the night, this chant climaxed and the Earth began to rumble in a sickeningly identifiable rhythm… almost like a heartbeat. But as dawn approached, the chant took a more sombre, disappointed note as the rumbling died down. By daybreak, no evidence remained of the nightly horror, and the wearied villagers could rest easy for a while. There was no question about what had transpired that night and who had been responsible for it.

It was on that day that the mountain was completely shut off. More aggressive measures were taken to prevent wanderers from entering the accursed mountains and for over a century, these measures had proved effective, for no further incidents were recorded. No incidents until the one which I had the misfortune to witness myself.


Needless to say, we did not believe this fantastic tale, though some doubt did form in everyone’s minds, having experienced the sudden change in the winds. Both the fog and the winds had behaved exactly as the old man’s story had taught us.  That was easily explained by science, however, and most of us kept our doubts to ourselves. But the man had carried such sincerity that some vague hint of fear had taken up residence in a corner of my mind. I decided to investigate it on my own, should the winds keep us grounded.

The winds had worsened to the extent that we were forced to tie down our aeroplanes for fear they’d topple or get blown away. Thus confined, I proceeded to investigate the folk-lore of the village. Others in our party committed themselves to similar investigations of their own, though none were particularly targeted at the folklore. I found that the library was my best avenue of research. It lacked all of the popular titles that one would expect in a library, but it housed a very comprehensive Historia of the village. There were volumes upon volumes on the matter and I took the first few to a cosy corner of the library and settled down to read.

The history of the village, as recorded by those books, was very well documented, and quite interestingly, almost exactly as the old man had told us in his tale. In reading those records, I felt like some credence had been lent to the old man’s story, though I knew it was very likely that he had read those history books, too. By the end of the day, I had barely covered two of the volumes, so voluminous were they. I was so engrossed that I didn’t realise how late it was until one of the students came looking for me. Reluctantly, I returned the books to their places and headed back . At the dinner table, I learned that the botanical specimen we had collected from the trails outside the village had yielded nothing of note. I wondered why they were tested to begin with, but quickly remembered the tale of the old God’s blood. It seemed that the tale had affected everyone more than we were willing to admit.

To our relief, the winds had relented greatly that night and by morning, they had died down completely. Early in the morning, we set out once more and crossed the barrier mountains before sunrise. This time, the winds remained docile, though I could imagine them watching us, waiting for the right moment to resume their assault. As the sun rose and dispelled the mist, our courage was greatly bolstered and we could finally appreciate the savage beauty of the mountains. Watching them from the air, bathed in sunlight, it was hard to believe that so much grief was associated with them. The rocks had frosted over with the first chill of winter, making them glisten in the weak winter sun. Little spots of green were sprinkled across the mountains, breaking the monochrome of the crag. So captivating were the mountains that, for a while, I forgot about the tower.

A short while later, we found a ravine which we followed into the mountains until it eventually opened up into a wide open clearing. It was the perfect place to land, and we had been flying for quite some time, so we decided to explore the clearing on foot. It was a serene break in the mountains, and I found it exhilarating to walk on grass untrodden for centuries by humans. There was a thrill in the air as we set out to examine this miniature grassland tucked away in the mountains.

Unsurprisingly, precious few trees grew at that altitude. We found an astonishing variety of plants, however, some of which were unknown even to the botanists in our party. Since there were no ancient buildings to speak of, I resigned myself to helping the botanists collect samples. It was not unlike watching children at a toy store. I soon fell into a rhythm, so that much of my attention could be elsewhere. As my mind wandered, I couldn’t help but feel a strange sensation in the back of my head. Something was wrong, but I simply couldn’t put my finger on it. It was as if there was something watching me from the corner of my vision, but whenever I turned, I would find nothing there. I quickly became frantic in my search for this phantom that seemed to plague me, though it was apparent that no such stalker existed. In realising this, I came to realise the source of my fear.

Not a single creature stirred in the vast clearing. No birds flitted among the bushes or flew across the sky, no animals scurried in the undergrowth. Not even the chatter of insects, otherwise so ubiquitous, could be heard in that clearing in the mountains. My thoughts kept turning back to the old man’s story, and I wondered if the botanists couldn’t identify some plants because they had mutated beyond recognition. The silence weighed on my mind for the rest of our time in the clearing and I was glad to board the aeroplane and leave the unnaturally silent and unstirring grassland.

The silence plagued the aeroplane on its flight back, almost as if it was a disease. Everyone aboard seemed afflicted by this curse of silence for the entire length of our flight back to the village. I was apprehensive about the winds, too, since there was a slowly rising gale. But they never reached the same intensity and by the time we crossed the mountains, they had died down again, so that our flight was without incident. Only when we were back in our rooms did I breathe a sigh of relief.


I fully expected nightmares that night and staved off sleep for a long time with coffee and studies. I tried to piece together the little scraps of intrigue we had uncovered, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mystery they hid. Fatigue, however, overtook me swiftly, for the trip had been quite taxing, and I fell asleep. I woke up greatly refreshed the next morning, and concluded that no nightmares plagued me. A brief survey from the window revealed that no crisis had befallen the village while I slept.

My knowledge of botany was severely limited, so that after a brief consultation with my colleagues at breakfast, it became evident that I would have the day to myself. I went, therefore, to the library once more, and picked up where I had left off. Much of the recent history of the village was mundane and filled with small incidents that held no bearing to the mystery of the tower. It was still interesting to see how well-documented all of it was. In fact, I barely covered three years that entire day before I had to return to my room. I learned very little of note, except that absolutely no one had been permitted to enter the mountains after that incident.

At the dinner table, that evening, the botanists were extremely excited and urged me to finish my dinner quickly. They had made some important discoveries and were eager to show them to me. After an extremely hasty dinner, we went to the botany lab where several rows of glass jars had been set on the central table. In each of the jars was one of the samples we’d collected suspended in a thick, almost colourless liquid and on their lids were labels identifying them. Every sample, even the ones that seemed the most exotic, had been identified.

They were all ordinary plants that one would expect to find in the mountains, but they were mutated to such extreme extents that they were beyond recognition. It was because of this that the botanists had found them to be novel and exciting. But now, the mutation itself was a source of excitement. They had, it seemed, dissected some of the specimen and found that they emitted an extremely putrid odour, much like a wilted flower, though they were clearly alive. They sought, therefore, the source of this awful foetor. After much puzzling over the matter, they extracted the essence of one of the common mountain flowers and examined the concentrated liquid. And in that liquid, they found the answer… the answer that raised infinitely many more questions.

In the liquid, they found a compound heretofore unknown and with properties unheard of. They had isolated this compound in a few small test tubes, and the compound seemed to oscillate between very dark and perfectly opaque and almost transparent and pale. Despite being separated into several containers, the compound seemed connected, still. The strange oscillations were synchronised across the different containers. Another strange phenomenon was the “convulsion” that the compound underwent  periodically. This, too, suggested that the compound was connected despite separation, for, it always originated at the furthest test tube from the door and terminated at the closest one. When I witnessed it myself, my thoughts turned to the tale that the old man had told. Had not the blood of the dead God corrupted the lifeforms on the mountains? Could that be the reason for strange mutations and could the compound be the blood of the dead God?

I shook my head to clear it. I was not going to allow superstition to cloud my mind. I was a scientist before anything else and I would not abandon the spheres of science that had guided me thus far.


Early next morning, another expedition took off well before dawn, knowing the long distance they had to travel. They were better prepared than the first one, equipped with more fuel and with all of the unnecessary instruments removed to reduce weight. They intended to reserve as much daylight for exploration and studies as possible and to that end, they had performed some scouting flights in the days between the two expeditions. The goal was to find a shorter path out of the reaches of the mountains and they had found a large clearing where the mountains thinned out. This would be their entrypoint now, since they could escape quickly, should any dangers appear.

I still had several volumes of the village’s records to comb through. So, seated once more in my cosy corner, I tackled another large pile of books. The librarian was thoroughly delighted to see me show such interest in the history of the village and kindly provided me with a large pot of coffee. I had not expected to find anything of interest in the latter years of the village’s existence, but it wouldn’t hurt to look, so I kept reading through volume after volume and, quite surprisingly, I found something.

Many years after the incident, a team of researchers from Germany had visited the village. They had exhumed the body of the hiker and conducted some peculiar tests on it. The doctor, then an old man, had managed to secure copies of their papers. A few days later, they had found him dead in his house and the chronicler had been so greatly impressed by the expression that lingered on his face that he had made special note of it. “So horrible”, he wrote, “was the man’s visage, that a part of me was glad to see him rid of the thing that had so affrighted him.” And here, I found something peculiar. Several pages had been torn out from the volume.

The poor librarian was mortified when I inquired about them, for, he had held a perfect record and to find entire pages missing was a little like a dagger through his heart. He scrambled behind his desk and ruffled through several piles of loose sheets of paper, some of which bore red seals (now broken) which made me think they were confidential, so I returned to my seat and tried to interpolate from the available information. Alas, the chronicle continued at a completely different point after the torn pages. A few minutes later, the red-faced librarian came to me and informed me that they were intentionally removed. Several years earlier, many pages from different volumes had been discreetly removed and placed in the administration building for “safe-keeping”. As to what that meant, he couldn’t say. He was too flustered to offer any more information, so I left the library and a short stroll later, I found myself before an ancient longhouse that had been built around to house the administrative body of the village.

The kindly archivist told me that those pages were kept locked away simply because of superstition. He couldn’t let me look at them now, but if I could come back in the evening, he would be happy to let me read through them. With that decided, I retired to the tavern, where I sat in a corner surrounded by sweet smelling smoke and pleasantly migling sounds of the patrons. A chaotic storm of disconnected thoughts and images swirled through my mind, made more surreal by the ambience of the tavern. Before I could make sense of any of it, it was evening, and I returned to the administration building.

The archives were housed in the large cellar that had been converted into a storage room. Into this, the archivist led me and opened a small locker in the far end of the room. From it, he retrieved a large binder and placed it on a table lit by a shielded lamp. He beckoned me to sit and explained that he had some work of his own, so he would be upstairs and that I could call for him once I was done. Placed suddenly in the dull light and the profound silence, a wave of fear suddenly washed over me, and an ominous aura seemed to emanate from the binder. I shook away the feeling and opened the binder and immediately felt them return with greater force. On the first page was a note that read:

“No good can come of reading these blasphemous pages. Only misery awaits those who fail to heed this warning.”

It took me a few minutes to find the part of the village’s history that I was missing and when I did, the implications almost robbed me of my nerves. In those pages were excerpts and summaries of the research conducted by the Germans. They had found some disturbing items buried with the man, supposedly his personal effects. Of them, the most despicable one was a small coin-like trinket with strange, yet recognisable symbols. It was a mark of R’lyeh – the mark carried by members of the cult of Cthulhu! But more disturbing was a long passage about a substance they found deposited in the grave. The records showed that this substance was identical to the compound we had discovered!

At this point, I felt compelled to leave. A strange fear so inexplicable and omnipresent had enveloped me that my scientific mind cowered in a corner, allowing my superstitious mind to steer me to the stairs. I had read about the mark of R’lyeh in the dreadful Necronomicon and shuddered as I recollected the horrific things written about it. Why had the followers of Cthulhu taken an interest in the mountains? Was it for this substance? Did they know about this dead God? What had happened to them in the end?

By the time I reached our rooms, the members of the expedition had already gathered in the dining room. They had learned that the tower was much further and much larger than we had estimated. After 6 hours of flight, they still had seemed not much closer to the tower than before. They had, however, obtained clearer photographs of the tower. I should have been excited by this news, yet, all that I could feel was a sense of dread at what I might learn.

As I sat at my table that night, slowly gathering the courage to study the pictures, I tried to piece together the pieces of information I had gathered. I could sense that a terrible picture lay behind it all, but I was missing a key piece that would bring everything together. I sighed and finally opened up the pictures. Even in these clear pictures, I could sense something subtly wrong about the geometry of the tower. Even though I could only see 2 dimensions in the pictures, I couldn’t translate them to 3 dimensions. It was as if the tower couldn’t fit in the space that it seemed to take up. These strange abstractions worried my mind all night until I couldn’t take it anymore and retired for the night.

That night, I had the worst nightmares of my life. Chaos filled the world and ill-defined and indescribable shapes swam in the void around me. I was thankful for these abstractions, for, I could sense the presence of malevolent creatures whose terrible forms were hidden from me thanks to them.


I awoke the next morning feeling exhausted. Though my memories of the nightmares were hazy, the horror remained. Alas, these nightmares persisted over the next few days while we prepared for the next expedition. I learned to make some sense of them, and it quickly became apparent that the large mass of writhing tentacles and shapes of even less savoury definition was the nameless tower. It followed, then, the strange shapes that circled it were the creatures that had fallen under its evil influence. All of the zeal with which I had joined the expedition to study the tower had left me. I wanted nothing more than to leave that place alone and never return.

I thought of many different ways to dissuade my colleagues from attempting this next flight but I knew that none of them would work. In the end, I resigned to my fate and prepared my mind to face whatever it was that was waiting for us at the tower. For one final time, I watched those accursed mountains grow as we flew towards them and crossed their threshold. This time, we had found a nice niche in the mountains further East and used that as our entrypoint into the mountains. 

Within an hour, a queer sense of confusion had built up in the aeroplane. It was as if our surroundings had suddenly ceased to make sense. As this inexplicable unease mounted, I realised we were finally close to the tower – close enough to feel its influence. Even then, we couldn’t discern its true size. We were close enough to observe the strange contours that made it up, yet it kept shrinking away as if it was at a great distance, still. It appeared to struggle to fit into the three dimensions of our world, and as a result, it seemed to fold over itself endlessly.

In a flash of realisation, I understood the unease that had plagued us since we crossed the mountains’ threshold. As the tower struggled to exist in our three dimensions, it warped the space and time around it. Suddenly, the strange geometry, the confusion and the seemingly infinite distance all made sense. I remembered the ominous warning left in the sealed records: “No good can come of reading these blasphemous pages. Only misery awaits those who fail to heed this warning.”

And then, I heard it… faintly at first, but with a steadily growing intensity. It was a song unlike any I’d ever heard. It was a melancholy tune in a tongue I didn’t recognise. The voice that sang it was so utterly alien that I would have cowered in fear at the sound of it, had not the song enthralled me. In that trance, I watched the tower shimmer and shift, its walls pulsating in the same manner as the unknown compound. It was calling us – and we couldn’t disobey.

In the end, it was the wind that came to our rescue. Perhaps I had misinterpreted the intentions of the wind. Perhaps it had simply wished to save us from the horrors of the tower. But presently, it shook and shuddered the aeroplane so violently that the pliot was jarred out of the trance. Briefly freed from the song’s influence, he altered our course away from the tower. Most of what followed only remains as hazy images in my memory. For a long time – I have no way to determine exactly how long – we flew aimlessly over the wicked mountains. Behind us, the tower leered mockingly at our frantic retreat.

The song began to fade, and I realised that I had never heard it at all. It was being played directly in my mind! Presently, we crossed the threshold of the mountains and I was finally fully rid of the song’s influence, thought the haunting tune still lingered in my mind. I looked out at the mountains in relief… and immediately screamed in horror. It must have jarred the others out of the trance, for they later informed me that I had cowered and muttered incomprehensibly for several minutes before passing out. And though no one else witnessed it, I know what I saw. A great crack had opened up in the very valley we had first explored and in the dark recess, I saw something move. As my focus returned, I saw a collosal eye open and shut!


How we landed in New York just a few minutes after the time of our takeoff with more fuel than could ever be accounted for, I will never know. The rest of the flight had seemed like fever dream. So drained were we from the experiencce, that we simply fell asleep. All questions could be asked an answered later. Even nightmares could not plague us that night, for we had lived through one. The following morning, we sent word to our colleagues and implored them to return at once.

A week later, all of us gathered in the private study of Dr. Trevelyan. We explained our findings to the rest of our colleagues and after a lengthy discussion, we concluded that the world would be better off not knowing. We could never reveal our finidings to the world lest it cause a panic and we lose our credibility. Shortly afterwards, we publicly announced that the expedition was a failure, having vowed to silence all the people involved. For a long time, things were quiet. The failure of an expedition as well-equipped as ours had somewhat dampened the spirits of others who might have tried.

I left my job at the university of Boston and took up horticulture. Years have passed and with them, much of the horror. But earlier this week, another team from the university of Boston announced an expedition into the cursed moutains and the nameless tower. Since that day, the evil song haunts my dreams. I have started to understand it – the terrible meaning it carries. He is awakening, for, that is not dead which an eternal lie, and with strage aeons, even death may die!

In passing so close to His tomb, we disturbed His slumber, but the wind warded us off and prevented His awakening. And when this new expedition triumphantly succeeds, the deed will be done. The flimsy fabric of reality that we cling to will be rent and the world will be plunged into madness. I can feel my sanity slipping away.

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