This cyclopean collection features eight new stories from Peter Tupper, Angela Caperton, Alex Picchetti, Monique Poirier, Elizabeth Reeve, Bernie Mojzes, Annabeth Leong, and Kannan Feng, each filled to the brim with insanity-inducing, orgasm-producing goodness. Have you always wondered what one of those Cthulhu-cult orgies would look like from the inside? Do you crave intellectual tentacle porn? Have you always felt that the only thing Lovecraft was missing was a really, really good lay now and again? If so, this book was made for you. Don’t deny your curiosity! Just beware: what one has seen (and been aroused by) cannot be unseen…
Table of Contents:
Ink by Bernie Mojzes
Koenigsberg’s Model by Peter Tupper
A Reflection of Kindness by Kannan Feng
The Artist’s Retreat by Annabeth Leong
The Dreams in the Laundromat by Elizabeth Reeve
Sheik by Angela Caperton
The Flower of Innsmouth by Monique Poirier
When the Stars Come by Alex Picchetti
Enjoy this hot selection from the book!
Excerpted from “Ink” by Bernie Mojzes
The Eldritch Horror sat quietly at the end of the bar, smoking and staring at the olive in an otherwise empty martini glass. One supple pseudopod held a Virginia Slim menthol to one set of lips. Another mouth drew on a Camel unfiltered, held in a withered claw of a hand. A third, hand-rolled (for want of a better term), smelled of cloves. With each exhale, smoke seeped from various orifices scattered around its amorphous body, both out of and under the cheap suit it had stuffed itself into.
A pencil-thin tongue snaked out of one mouth and twisted sensuously around the olive at the bottom of the glass. The tip prodded the pimento out of the olive, then curled the olive up into its mouth.
I wondered if it really disliked pimentos, or if this was the Eldritch Horror version of peeling labels off beer bottles.
The barstool next to it remained empty, even though it was a Friday night and the college kids were out in force. I made my way through the sea of earnest, drunken faces. The fragments of conversation I caught were less about sports and relationships, and more about contextual framing of meaning, and Hegelian dialectic, and one particularly ill-advised comparison of Umberto Eco with Dan Brown. Not even English and Philosophy majors wanted anything to do with the Eldritch Horror.
Or so it seemed.
Still, it was a public place, and it seemed safe enough. I settled in next to the Horror and waved for the barkeeper.
“I’ll have one of what he’s having,” I said. I glanced at the Horror. “Or she. Or it. But with a twist. And his next round’s on me, too.”
Three of the Horror’s eyes wandered over to regard me. “Thanks,” it said, the word burbling through its body like a Paleolithic tar pit. Even so, it managed to evince a sense of suspicion.
“No problem.” I tipped my hat–a battered and rain-stained fedora, but all I could afford–and then stuck out my hand. “Name’s Harry. Harry Levinson.”
It extruded a soft, smooth, feminine hand with manicured fingernails. They were coated with black polish; the ring finger’s nail was slightly chipped, and it had been long enough since the polish had been applied that the nail was exposed near the cuticle. One of the eyes stared hard at me, bobbing to catch my attention. It blinked, and when I looked down, the feminine hand was gone, and a strongly muscled and tattooed man’s hand was squeezing mine. I was surprised how real it felt.
“We are pleased to make your acquaintance, Harry Levinson,” it said. A disharmony of voices, raked over hot coals in unison. “You can call us Sam.”
“Sam?” It seemed incongruously normal.
“It’s as good a name as any, and better than some. And sometimes we play piano.” It waved a protuberance toward the back wall where, through the sea of college kids, I could see a dilapidated upright piano. Plastic cups and empty beer bottles littered the top.
“Are you any good?”
“Ssssometimes.” The word hissed like steam from a ruptured pipe.
The bartender returned with martini glasses and a large shaker. He dropped an olive in one glass, rubbed a twist of lemon rind along the rim of the other, and divided the contents of the shaker between them. The viscous liquid resembled bloody ink. I caught the bartender’s eye.
“Vodka, cranberry juice, and black sambuca,” he said. “Weird, but safe enough. That’ll be sixteen fifty.”
I handed him a twenty.
It was revolting. Sam chuckled through a dozen mouths, not all human.
“Just like mothers’ milk,” it said. “Tell us, Mr. Levinson, what is it you want?”
It had been too much to hope that I could just blend in with a crowd like this, that I could pass as just coming in for a drink after a long week. Men like me have our own bars, where we sit alone and try to find absolution for our sins in endless shots of bourbon. But there’s no absolution for some sins, either in a bottle or anywhere else, and the best we can do is try to remember to shave at least once a week.
This was a bar for kids with all their hopes and dreams ahead of them. I’d buried mine many years ago.
There was a photograph in my jacket pocket. A girl with fierce determination in her eyes, holding a lacrosse stick like she might take your head off with it. It had been almost six months since she’d gone missing, just before midterms. I laid it on the table.
“Have you seen this girl?”
Several of the Eldritch Horror’s eyes studied me, moving around to examine my face from all angles. “You are not with the police.”
“They’ve given up looking. I’m a PI. I’ve been hired to find her.”
“Who–” The voice cut off, and noises burbled under the thing’s skin. I got the feeling it was conferring with itself. A tendril extruded from its flesh and tapped the picture. “We have seen this woman. She came to this bar on occasion. She sat and spoke with us.” The tendril lifted the photograph gently, as eyes clustered to examine it. Abruptly, it crumpled the paper and dropped it in my lap.
“You will not find her, if she does not wish to be found.”
“Her name is Angela.” It sometimes helped humanize the victim if you used a name. Not that I was sure that any amount of humanizing would have an effect on a creature like this. “She–”
“We know her name.” There was something akin to anger in its voice, and I waited for more, but it just turned its eyestalks away from me.
I took another sip from my drink. It was still awful.
In the sea of students, a murmur grew slowly into an encouraging cheer. There was a swirl of movement in the press of bodies, and a young woman, blushing and nervous, spilled out of it. She took a hesitant step toward the Eldritch Horror.
“You’ll excuse us,” it said. Eyebrows distinct from eyes hinted its intention, and I slid off the stool and stepped back, against the wall next to the Horror.
It patted the barstool next to it with a human hand and took the cash that she held out to it. Using its bulky body to shield this from her view, it quickly rifled through the stack of bills with the full attention of one eye, while other parts of it exchanged meaningless pleasantries. Her name (Meghan), her major (education, with a concentration in literature), her favorite band (Radiohead), her favorite hentai artist (she didn’t really like that stuff).
And then it handed the money back to her. “We are very sorry. You are one hundred and fifteen dollars short.”
The news passed like a wave through the crowd, and soon, fives and tens and even twenties changed hands and were stacked on the bar in front of the Horror. It re-counted the money and handed Meghan three twenties change.
“Are you ready?” it said.
“I think so.”
“You should be sure,” it said in perfect dissonance. “You must desire this for yourself. Not for them.”
She managed a small smile. “Yes. Yes, I’m ready.”
The Eldritch Horror gestured toward a door, next to the piano. The crowd opened a path to it. I reclaimed my seat.
“Go on, then. Remove any clothing you wish to remain undamaged, and then turn off the light. We’ll be with you soon.”
The Horror watched her until she closed the door behind her, then waved some of the cash at the bartender. “Does this cover our tab?”
“Yes, and then some.”
“Good,” it said, rising from its seat. “Mr. Levinson’s next drink is on us.”
“Thanks, Sam.” The bartender turned to me. “Another inktini?”
I could feel my taste buds recoil. “Uh, maybe later. Whiskey’ll do me just fine. Jameson, if you got it.” I heard the door click shut behind me, and the bar erupted in a cheer. “Better make it a double.”
* * * *
“You’re gonna want to stick around for this,” the bartender had said, what felt like an eternity ago. He wouldn’t say why. The jukebox and the chatter of the patrons drowned out most of the noises from the other side of the door. Other than the occasional squeal that pierced the air, it was as if nothing unusual was happening at all.
And it remained that way for over an hour.
When the door opened again, and Meghan stood wet and naked in the doorway, the patrons stood back and made way for her. She staggered on wobbly legs to Sam’s piece of the bar, which had remained empty the entire time.
She sighed onto the bar stool and leaned back, arching her back until her head and shoulders lay on the bar. She closed her eyes and breathed deep, even breaths.
The viscous fluids that covered her were pearly white, and clear, and deep sea fluorescent blue, and swirls of the blackest black. They pooled in the hollow of her throat, between her breasts, in her navel. They seeped down her legs, dripped from her toes and her limp fingers, and slicked her hair.
The patrons in the bar gathered around, pressed close. One sucked fluids from Meghan’s toes. Another knelt between Meghan’s legs and delved deep with her tongue to receive what remained within. They licked her belly, her breasts, they tasted her lips, squeezed pearly rivulets from her hair. One woman perched on my lap and raised the limp fingers to her lips.
“What’s so special about this?” I asked. “What does it do?”
“Hallucinogenic,” she said, catching a drop on her tongue. She wore a t-shirt cut to expose her midriff. It had the word Yale stretched tight enough across her breasts to show her piercings.
Another of the patrons had climbed onto the bar and crawled over to clean Meghan’s forehead. His thin face was accentuated by a wispy goatee, looking for all the world like an escapee from the Mystery Bus, but for the horn-rimmed glasses and the wide-lapelled polyester shirt.
“Not hallucinations, man,” he said. “Visions. It’s like being touched by a god.”
“Whatever,” Yale said. “It’s better than acid and less of a commitment.”
She scooped some of the stuff that had pooled over one of Meghan’s clavicles and brought it to my lips.
“Less of a commitment?” I asked.
“Half hour. Hour, tops.”
When she slipped her sticky fingers into my mouth, I did not resist.
* * * *
I floated in a warm sea. Around me, strange creatures. Jelly fish. Bony fish with blocky, armored heads. Shelled things with tentacles that swam with bursts of water forced through soft bodies. Some of them I caught in translucent tendrils and brought into my center to be crushed and stored until they had decomposed enough to be consumed. Attracted by the blood of my victims, something huge and razor-toothed approached quickly, and then veered away suddenly, disappearing into the darkness of the depths.
The road wavered like moonlight filtering through the waves. Yellow lines to the horizon, and it would be an hour to the next stop. I shook my head and blinked my eyes until the lines straightened. Three days until I was home. The hands on the steering wheel in front of me were big. Strong hands with broken nails and rough calluses. I reached for my thermos. The coffee was cold, but I drank it anyway.
My face burned. Terrifyingly large, the hand swung again. Tears stung my eyes. She loomed over me, her face twisted in rage, the omnipresent cigarette dangling from her lip.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” I said. “I didn’t mean to….” I was crying so hard the words wouldn’t come, and then spilled out in a tangled rush.
But there was no reasoning with her. And it didn’t matter that I hadn’t meant to be bad. It didn’t matter, because I was bad, and I deserved anything I got. Still, I struggled, kicked and slapped and tried to bite as she pulled up my dress and yanked down my panties, and the cigarette’s touch was worse than I’d remembered.
* * * *
Something soft pillowed my head. Soft and sticky and warm, and moving under me like a placid sea.
I peeled my face from the tacky skin of Meghan’s breast and sat up. People were strewn around the room, either face down on the bar itself, or on one of the few tables, or sitting on the floor, leaning back against a wall. Some lay on the floor with their heads in someone else’s lap.
“Twenty-five minutes,” the bartender said. “That might be a record. You must not have taken a lot.”
“I’m working. And besides, someone’s got to babysit. I lock the door and make sure nobody’s taken advantage of.”
“Makes sense,” I said. “I should go. Can you let me out?”
“Sure. You find what you were looking for?”
“Could be,” I said. “Could very well be.”
* * * *
I knew what had happened to Angela. At least in a vague sense. The question was, how to prove it? And could she be saved?
Only the Eldritch Horror could answer those questions for me, but it wasn’t at the bar the next evening, or the evening after.
“Takes him a while to recover,” the bartender said. “He’s not as young as he once was.”
I thought about the drug-induced vision I’d had, floating in ancient seas. Some of the creatures I’d seen had pre-dated the dinosaurs. I’d looked them up. Ammonites. Trilobites. I hadn’t found anything in my admittedly superficial review of the fossil record that resembled Sam. But that didn’t necessarily mean anything.
Sam didn’t show the following night either, and nobody knew where it went when it wasn’t at the bar. Maybe it had a house, a normal suburban house with vinyl siding and a manicured lawn, or maybe it lived in the river. It didn’t matter. There were no other leads, so I just kept coming back.
The week went by, and, when I fought a driving rain and flooded creeks to reach the bar on Saturday night, I found it almost as packed as it had been the night I had first met the Eldritch Horror. Sam was there, perched on its high stool at the bar, sipping a bloody-black martini.
I settled in next to it, and the bartender met me there with my whiskey.
“Good day, Mr. Levinson,” Sam said. “We trust you are well?”
I shook the rain out of my hat. “Just a bit damp.”
“Yes, it has been a long time since we’ve had weather this good. The humidity does wonders for our complexion, don’t you think?”
We chatted about the weather, about global warming, and the recent elections. It was surreal, discussing politics with an amorphous creature that was unimaginably old. We pretended that I wasn’t there to find Angela and that it didn’t have the answers I wanted.
In the end, I almost lost my nerve, but I fished in my jacket pocket and pulled out an envelope. There was a thousand dollars in there, the amount that Meghan had given it the week before. It was an advance on expenses, courtesy of Angela’s mother.
“Why?” it asked.
“Because there’s things you aren’t telling me, and I need to know. It’s the only way I know to get closer.”
“For whom?” A pseudopod took the envelope from my hand and slipped it back into my pocket. “We must decline.”
“Is it that I’m a man?”
It studied me. “That is of no concern. It is more often women, but that is their choice, not ours. Men are more restricted in their actions than women, in some ways, especially in front of their peers.”
“Maybe it’s just that the tentacle thing has a more direct appeal to women.”
“Perhaps,” it said.
Something slid across my foot and up my pants leg. It was cool and dry, like a silken snake, and its touch was so sinuous that I found myself getting aroused, even before it got past my knee. I almost pressed my hand against the lengthening molehill of my pants to stop it, but I’d offered to buy this, and I couldn’t see trust growing if I didn’t follow through.
It slid across my balls and down the length of my cock. And then, it opened. It took the head of my cock into it, first just the tip, and then a little more, until it closed on the shaft. I felt it stretch, like a snake swallowing an egg. Tough ridges of tissue gripped my skin, and the muscles rippled around my flesh, working me deeper and deeper inside, until it pressed against my pubic bone. Part of it began to stretch, then, across my scrotum. It began on the left, gradually encompassing my left testicle, and then…
And then it was gone, the thin tendril snaking down my leg, and I groaned out loud.
“If you’ll excuse us,” the Eldritch Horror said, and it took everything I had to bring myself back to enough awareness to realize a young woman stood with us, holding a wad of cash.
It was Yale, though today she was wearing a slinky black dress and stiletto heels.
“Of course,” I said, standing to make room. My arm brushed hers as we passed, and I could feel her shiver of anticipation, and not a little fear. I understood perfectly. “Have fun.”
I watched them disappear into the back room, feeling… What? Jealousy? Rebuke? Anger? The weight of forty-six years of bad choices?
The Eldritch Horror had chosen, and deemed me unworthy.
I pushed my way through the crowd, trying not to let my erection brush up against anyone.
Outside, it was still raining, and I stood in the middle of the parking lot, letting the wind gust waves of water across my body and watching the lightning.
And then I turned around and walked back to the bar, and waited for Yale’s return…
To read the rest, download the ebook today!
Strange! Electrifying! Sexy! Eldritch? Explore the new and exciting world of Lovecraft-based erotica in Whispers in Darkness, a new collection from Circlet Press. This cyclopean collection features eight new stories each filled to the brim with insanity-inducing, orgasm-producing goodness. Just beware: what one has seen (and been aroused by) cannot be unseen...!