John admired the streets in front of his house. They were beautiful, more beautiful than the ones, he had lived on. Back in the days, when he had been »gone missing«, his main places to stay were the streets – or old buildings near older streets. He loved the cobblestones, their unsteadiness, their glimmer during the twilights. Old lamps threw their orange lights, more or less yellow than a nicotine stained wall, on those stones, echoes of light and sound became more real than reality itself.
But this part of life had ended half a year ago. He had been in the middle of an argument with a fellow »free artist« and suddenly the police had appeared. But not to throw him in jail. Those bulky men had been accompied by a man in a grey suit and an umbrella, which had been opened over his head, although it had not rained. His face had the same color as his suit and his smile had been thin, almost not existend.
So, John had found out, that he had been found. Found from the lawyer of the family. Not only that, the lawyer, a »Mr. Ringle« from »Ringle, Smythe and Lucius« had informed him, that he had become the sole inheritor of Uncle Stevens money and house.
Even now, after this time, John was still heartbroken about the death of his uncle. He was the only person, who he had ever liked. Uncle Steven had been a sailor back in his youth and he had always told great stories about fights and girls and magical creatures. And even, when John had left the family and had gone »missing«, his uncle had known, where he had been, because sometimes, John had found a few hundred pounds in his formerly empty shoes. And uncle Steven was still dead.
No one had found another reason of death than his heart had just given up. He must had been dead for several days, because he was, more or less, a reclusive. And yet, John had never seen his uncle as old, rather the opposite. Steven Lewed had been 78 years old, when he had married again, but his wife had disappeared, shortly before his death. Well, people often tell shit, when it comes to large age-differences, but his new aunt had never been anything less than polite and warm towards him. She had been a writer of several books, romance and stuff, and she had a large following by middle aged women. Money had never been an issue. Steven was a recluse, Mona was also an introvert and they loved each other. When she disappeared, Steven had felt heartbroken and even Johns call had not helped him. »She is a free spirit« had been his words, »she comes and goes. And now she is gone. Maybe forever.«
And yet, the police had not been informed. Only when his uncle had died, the lawyers had tried to find her. Gossip went loud and ebbed away, as if Steven had murdered her or something like that.
6 months now. And for 2 months he had lived in that house. And every morning, just after dawn, he had woken up with the feeling of being watched.
The only peace, he had found, was outside of that building, sitting on the front porch, feeling the sun on his face, while the darkness faded.
When the sun was up, maybe at 8 a.m., he always went back. The door was neither evil nor closed and the floor in front of him was also not evil. The walls did not whisper. The rooms were not filled with echoes of dead people. Everything was normal and nice.
He remembered the first time, he had seen that house. It was only an hour after the lawyers had gotten his signature on the sheet, which made him rich, very rich. He still could not believe it. The house was one of the main reasons, he had to stay here. Here. That town, which had filled the nights of a certain horror-writer with despair and unholy dreams. But John was a materialist. One would have laughed at that notion a year ago, but now, after having the house and the money, he had become connected to certain philosophies – and people.
Only two days after he had moved into the house – adding the butler and the cook, which was a woman in her late prime, which was also an accountant on the side – he had gotten an invitation from the club. The club. Uncle Steven had been a member of it for more than 50 years – and he had been a founding member. No one really knew, what this club was about. Some people from the family had said, that it was just a mens club with attractive women, cigars and single malt scotch. Others had not been so naive – or idealistic. It was called “The Plutos club” and was considered a club for science and physics, to support explorers, astronomers, scientists. This was not completely untrue, but on the other hand, the support for “explorers” was weirdly different than thought.
Well, he had been introduced to said club in July. Now it was late September, almost October. The meetings of the members of the club had been enlightening but had opened more questions than before. They seemed to look for clues for things, which did not exist. The explorers of certain parts of the solar system and universe had theories – or more hypotheses – about the powers which held the planets and stars connected, like strings hold puppets. And they tried to cut those strings or at least control them. They said, that quantum mechanics explain nothing more than a semi-controlled knowledge of some possible entity behind the folds of time and space. And they wanted to lift the curtains behind the endless void which humanity called “space”. John had tried to laugh at them at first. His worldview had been simple. He was an artist, not a scientist – and especially not a para-scientiest. But then, his art had changed.
Slowly, but steadily, a certain discern had entered his work. When he had been a free artist of the streets, his pictures and poems (he still was not sure, which kind of art he wanted to create) were just an interpretation of reality, of the dirt and the light, the faces and the words, the smiles and the bottles of wine, he had seen and heard. Now there existed a certain dread in his work, as if an outside force was pulling him to places, where he was not sure, they existed. His paintings became darker, the faces in the crowd hideous, misplaced. The light became sour like old milk. The words, he wrote, were just the whispers from rotten brains – and the people seemed to be as dead as a doornail. Maybe not the world had changed – he thought often – but himself. But how? His money had not changed his need to communicate with people. His soft bed had not weakened his love for humanity. He had not developed rage or hate or despair. He was the same like before. Mostly.
And yet, sometimes, when he went back to the house after a morning of nightmares and standing out on the front lawn, he had found art, he had created, but could not remember having done so. He looked at the pictures, painted with the strong stroke of a mad man, the paint still glistening wetly on the canvas. The paintbrushes lay still wet, but in orderly fashion on the table next to the new piece of art.
He had presented this kind of art to his fellow members of the club and they had admired it with a certain fever, as if he had painted their minds. They bought the pictures and even the half-scribbled poems, he had found on his nightstand. They were raving about him. And it was wrong. It felt wrong. It could not be right. They did not tell him, why they needed his stuff, but he dared to ask. They were fans and every artist needs fans.
Where was he? Ah, yes, the train of thought had been strong again and now, he was standing again in the middle of a morning on his lawn and stared at the street and the weird lights, which emanated from the echoes of the streetlights and the late dawn. Dawn was coming later now, it was October, and the darkness seemed to grow, not only outside the house, but also in Johns art. His pictures became weird, almost scary, even for himself. Endless eyes stared at him, uncountable, as if he had been able to create micro-strokes with worlds tiniest brushes, as he was able to enter a dimension, where his pictures were larger than the world. And his poems, they were just the same. His words became symbols – or the other way around. It was still a work of writing and he was even able to understand it, but he felt unable to read it to others or to translate it to his fellow club-members. And yet, they adored his work. Why?
He had found out last night. Or was it still night? He could not remember, where he had been – for hours. He tried to remember.
He was at a meeting of the club. The members of the club were again quite helpful and loved his art. He read a poem, full of symbols, mere syllables of words, which had probably never existed in this world. The men around him seemed to be in a trance. Their eyes stared in the abyss behind the reality, while he was proclaiming symbol after symbol to his audience. When he finished, their faces returned to their normal state. A shared sighing was the summary of his reading. They shared smiles and later they talked to him about his art. One person, a “Mr. Zarkoff”, a russian doctor with an income, which would have let the Zar back on the throne, asked him, if he would allow him to visit his home. He said something like “astral energies emerging in a fixed point, a crossing of ley-lines”. Later John learned about these lines, they were probably energy-lines under the earth, emanating powerful unseen lights, when they met. His house may connect to one of the knots of those lines. Well, he accepted that wish of that Zaroff-guy and later, they had entered Johns home together.
And here, the things went weirder than before. The moment, Zaroff walked in the living room, the main door had been closed shut. The bang of this movement was echoing through all the rooms, chambers, corners. Every little object in the house seemed to jumped up.
It was that moment, when Zaroff pulled up a revolver, an odd and old thing, maybe from the early 20th century. The barrel was green, because the copper, which was connected to the steel of the gun, was quite old. The mans hand shivered. His bushy eye-brows shivered even more.
“You have opened a gateway to the darkness, my young friend”, he said. He had probably lost his russian accent the minute he had entered the house.
“So what?”, asked John.
“The club has decided to cut you out. Your membership has been revoked – in a mere minute.”
“The House. Your dreams. Your poems. This house creates an unholy atmosphere and you have become the portal to the unseen realms.”
“But … I thought, you people are proponents of that said …”
“Shut up. We exist to eradicate the foul odor of the void, the despair of the unseen worlds, we watch over …”
A hand grabbed his gun and threw it away. Zaroff screamed, as another one grabbed his throat, lifted him up.
“Aunt … Mona?” Johns heart stumbled.
The pale face of the disappeared smiled sourly. When she opened her mouth, she snarled her words. “Murderer.”
“Go away, you creature of the night!” Zaroff tried to find his breath again, as Monas hand allowed it.
“Murderer!”, she screamed and with a slight turn of her hand, she bent his neck to the side. It cracked.
His eyes went blank.
Then she turned around. She smiled.
“Its over, my boy. And now, I have to tell you a new poem, a poem, which will crack the world open like an egg and will give birth to a new kind of life.”
That was hours ago and John still stared at the cobblestones on the street. John admired the streets in front of his house. They were beautiful, more beautiful than the ones, he had lived on. But now, they gleamed from the darkness within their structure. Soon, the darkness would swallow this world and all the worlds afterwards. But that was okay. He lifted the gun to his head and pressed the trigger. It clicked.