In his filthy hovel on the edges of the slums, Polish Bob took the carved whale’s tooth from his lips. No matter how hard he blew or which holes he covered with his fingers, he couldn’t get the damn thing to sound a single note, not even a simple croak. It just sat in his hands mutely refusing to be played. He hated it, loathed it if he was honest, but he couldn’t bring himself to throw it away. Part of him wanted to toss it back into the sea, to be rid of the ugly thing, but far more of him could not let go of it. He pawed at it all day, stroking it, gazing at it, into it. At night he slept fitfully, waking often to check it was safe and then falling back to a nightmare-filled sleep gazing at it under the light of the moon.
One thing puzzled him though. He knew he hadn’t eaten for days and that could make a man’s mind see and hear strange things, and his sleep was disturbed by terrible dreams he only half-remembered upon waking, but looking at the head carved into the whale-thing’s mouth (which he knew for sure had always been there) he found himself wondering quite how he had never noticed, despite his constant attention to every detail of the tooth and its strange carvings, that the face on that head was, in actual fact, his?
The tides had turned It this way and that. It had risen and fallen with the swells of the universe’s oceans. It had winked in and out of existence according the the whims of Its prey, drifting on the fickle currents of unreality, cosseted only by the memories of collections long lost. For hundreds of years It had barely existed at all, forgotten after the fall of Its faithful, naught more than a smear of blood in an endless charnel house of timesless horror.
Now the Hearld had been sounded. Ancient and evil, unaddressed and terrible to bear witness to. A siren call echoing down into the Stygian depths of the world’s nightmares, reaching out with formless fingers and voiceless mouth to pull at It, to tease It from Its dreaming slumber, to wake It and send It spinning and falling and swimming once more into the world.
And wake It did.
And fall and spin and swim It did.
Upwards, through the walls of time and reality towards the call. Towards the Hearld. Upwards towards the light and the city and Its prey.
To be continued…
Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Steal Head’s first appearance was recorded by Nurse Lucy Tornado here.