M-O-O-N that spells Morlick
Good evening, tonight's story is called: Morlick's Tale
Before you read this story, I’d like to address the Constant Reader.
I enjoy a good story, and I guess Alfred Hitchcock’ style is one way I’ve always really enjoyed stories... Obviously, there are other artists wherein my imaginative knobs are tweaked just right, but sometimes throwing out the classics can connect with a reader more than something abstract... I mean, if I just gave a shout-out to Susperia–I’m guessing most readers would be lost? (Let’s be honest, I probably would have lost you... Anyways, if you’ve seen it, kudos, but that’s not the point...) It was an internal debate whether or not to reference Norse mythology in this introduction... As it is, my inspirations tend to have a range that I’m still trying to figure out... Stories are fun, and sometimes, setting the stage is fun.
I’m a Canadian writer first, and as of late I’m partial to calling myself a Nova Scotian writer.
It means I like to imagine Canadian characters first, and I like to include the province I grew up in when it comes to landscape inspiration.
Canada is a strange place to write about (seriously, there are a lot of strange ideas about faith, politics, and dieting...) and I pick up on some of it from time to time. I also really like reading. I suppose I’ll feel like I’ll never be able to admit to that last bit of info enough.
Reading is a gift.
However, writing is a means to keep track of stories. The story–as a work of art–refers to concepts I often have (perhaps pretentious) too many ideas about. What is a story? (I won’t even try to tell you what I think on that topic. It would probably be boring...) I guess when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of it: writing is a method of pointing out the absurdity of, well, life through story... I enjoy thinking about. In particular I enjoy thinking of how some of the greatest stories I’ve read generally have one hand deep in the ‘absurd cookie jar’, and their other hand resting firmly on the ‘fun steering wheel’.
Yes, I like to think of spooks and gobble-dee gooks, but at my heart, I’m still scared when I see a bumblebee on the clothesline.
And at the end of the day: I just want to have fun with a story.
The stories I like to write are, generally, the ones I had fun getting lost in (or to get weird about it, I had fun writing) I can’t help but stress how much it should always be about the story. It’s not just for your point of reference, but mine, the writer, as well... I guess there shouldn’t be a need to explain. It should be all about the joy of telling a story... The story needs to be fun–this stands for when I write something and when I read something. A story should be fun.
I guess with that, Constant Reader (I hope you followed at least this far) it’s time to call our little introduction to an end. No. I do not have the presence of Al’ Hitchcock, but you know; I still like to pretend that the story you are about to read might actually unnerve you (oh my–it may actually unhinge you, and cause you to think terrifyingly suspenseful things)–but know that at the very end; it’s always a story.
A story to tell, a story to forget, oh my, a lot of things are stories. I also like stories that have a basic 'spook' factor to them, and this one fits for me.
-Kawlin Rolfe (May 18 2018)
Thanks go to Lorne; thanks to he and the countless others that helped me tell this story...
Thanks Grant, and Matt, I genuinely enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology book!
Any errors are of course in the hands of the author. Please be gentle.
“I picked up my bags, I went looking for a place to hide
When I saw old Carmen and the Devil, walking side by side
I said, "Hey, Carmen, c'mon, let's go downtown"
She said, "I gotta go, but my friend can stick around”
-The Band (Erika and Dad appreciated them...)
I started not really knowing how much of this to record. It’s still a rough jumble of memories and second hand stories that have been passed around more times than a–well they’ve been passed around a lot. I don’t want to start off rambling. The information I have is perhaps useless, but it still probably needs to be out there, in the world.
“I might be the hazardous waste site that polluted it, but Cape Breton Island is still my home.”
-Rebecca Mcnutt, Smog City (I think mom always talked about her... I wonder if she’s still around...)
Too old, was what they said, the legend is far too old. Morlick is but a tale for children.
Look upon the fields where he was rumoured to rest.
The trees (they coveted his great and lofty presence) dared not grow close to his material existence. The few that did were thickets of scrawny roots that clung to the walls of his window. It was an eye, and within the eye; found somewhere in a forest clearing, next to a lake fed by the eye’s fluid, excreted in spring rain; he sent forward his view onto the world.
The pupil of Morlick’s eye is said to be a black stone. However, this pupil was far more than stone, it could be hard like a rock, and in the full-moon it would open wide like a flowering silver-black puddle. It sent Morlick’s power onto our world.
He is old now, and we don’t see his creations in the clarity our ancestors once did–ah yes, before we get too far, it’s important that we do not call Morlick a God–God’s are make believe. We can’t say we know that for sure, but the tale of Morlick does not come from that of a book, or even word of mouth, necessarily. His power is quite possibly eternal. He is unsure, and the beings that came into existence around the same time he did were also unsure what eternity could mean. They impacted our world more than we will ever realize, and for the most part they can still be found around us, yet their creations, like Morlick’s, wane and are less visible.
His story cannot be told truthfully, that is a part of the trickery that he and his fellow beings hold; it is too old for us to remember.
In the forest where Morlick is found,
Do not trust the shifting ground.
The worm he holds within his walls,
rest in the stone of his eye,
around his pupil they do crawl.
Life that witnesses his glare will die.
The words he will allow them to speak;
his creatures of unnatural sight can growl and shriek,
their minds unlocked to behold his power.
Warped and twisted into crazed desire,
shaped with madness, anything will cower.
Oh how Morlick loves to inspire.
The passage prior is poorly recorded. It should be known that there is no way to convey the gaze of Morlick. He is no God, a God can be described. It is wrong to even call Morlick a He, but given the legends I can remember–it’s clear that Morlick is depicted as a male. He is known to infect our mind in a way that creates ravenous hunger (it is not like the mortal sensation we typically know) and he manipulates our bodies with this hunger. The physical form is offered to Morlick, and to the worm within his eye.
The creatures that approach his eye become injured and fixated on his gaze.
The animals that approach him, sometimes as small as squirrels or rabbits (bears and wolves respect his presence and were some of the first creatures to have acknowledged his strength over their lives.) It became a part of their evolution to understand his might.
Humans, men and women, are still strongly affected by his gaze. In our early upcoming, before we even had the ability to pass down stories to enliven future generations, it was Morlick that taught us to run rampant in the forests. The early age of humanity is not simply relegated to cave people. We prospered in the forests, the mountains and valleys that surrounded Morlick and the other great beings. (Okay look, this bit isn’t just rambling; I just need to tell you this before I tell you what I know. Our primal nature must be understood...) the first races of humans were, almost unnatural beasts–our minds still thwarted by an unknowing understanding of our senses–we grew too fast; we were closer to the animals. Morlick thrived knowing his creations were beastly tendrils of control he held onto the physical world.
The descriptions I’m attempting to relay don’t really serve any justice.
It’s tough, because as I mentioned earlier, we don’t really know about Morlick. Not in my native language.
We only know of his powers’ grasp when it’s too late. (I can’t help but think “the words he will allow them to speak; his creatures of unnatural sight can growl and shriek.”)
I should apologize now, to the reader, I have nothing but time these days’. And my notes are jumbled so I tend to hop around in my thinking, but if you follow my words at a distance, they might make sense.
It’s a simple man’s request to tread lightly, and a way of hoping that you remember that this was just to pass the time.
Not sure why I felt it mattered to state that, I guess it’s just my method to apologize for a story before we meet in person. (Something tells me I probably wouldn’t have time to go into detail about what I write about... I would probably get tongue tied... and let’s be honest, some of what I’ve written here–I’m not really sure if I would want to say it aloud... It reads as insanity, and if it walks like a duck, well...)
I want to tell you about Wheaton Tucker. He’s someone I knew before learning about the things I’ve been writing in this (I guess I’m considering it a journal.) He was a decent guy, always treated me good. The kind of fella that would have a cup of coffee waiting for you when he picked you up, or loan you five bucks when you’re short cash on a lunch run. He talked like he was “getting on in his years”, but to be honest I never pegged him any older than fifty. (I probably could have asked him. He probably mentioned it a few times. Listening is a skill and remembering is a gift.) Wheaton had worked for Environment Canada most of his life... So if you ever saw him he was probably getting ready to, or had just finished: managing a field job. He always loved going out to survey crown land.
It’s good work, I’ve done it a good bit too, but not full-time like old Wheat’...
It’s hard to tell his story.
I’m reminded of some book I read about biographies... Its advice was pretty boring. It had a list of basic writing tips, but all I really got from it was that a biography needs to sell itself. Actually it didn’t say that at all. I just didn’t bother reading it thoroughly.
The story I need to fill you in on is hopefully straightforward enough. It starts in the spring, well actually maybe early summer; remember this whole thing is based on the collection of scattered rumours and tall-tales...
Wheaton was a tall-man–when he went on his trail hikes; he was usually geared in a fluorescent-orange vest, canvas bag, and binoculars–that morning, and when he walked up the crest of a hill, he was eager to admire the view of a small valley. It was a scenic treat. It had a lake that was edged with woodland, and a rolling field of sweet-grass and rocky outcroppings. Surrounded by forest, the valley took about forty-five minutes to reach from the main road.
Wheaton looked up the hill for a sign that he was still on the proper cutting trail.
Evergreens dripped early morning dew on the mossy earth. A sparrow whistled somewhere on the tree-tops, crying out for the trail-blazer to avoid its home. The Canadian government only needed to clear what was going to be an obstruction for the future trail. It was a massive tourism and transportation project that spanned the entire province. Bring Canadian’s to the forest, encouraging an active lifestyle–it also meant a boost in park maintenance jobs. And jobs were always good. The section Wheaton was tagging and clearing wasn’t going to be landscaped until the next summer. He was just doing the preliminary surveying; typically he would be accompanied by another Enviro-worker. That spring, he usually would have had me tagging the trail with him, but it was coming on finals and I had to take more time off to hit the books and make up sleep for some all-nighters. To be honest, I didn’t really think I was going to stick around with Enviro...
I guess, as the story goes, Wheaton was alone and enjoying the tranquility of the fresh morning. Every twenty minutes he keyed his position into the GPS data logger, and wrapped a ribbon of orange surveyor tape on the closest tree. (“Time in the field is something to be appreciated, Mark.” He used to say that a lot to me... and he worked with Environment Canada for almost twenty-five years, so maybe he knew what he was talking about.) Wheaton was no spring chicken anymore, and he woke up each morning wondering how his overweight, balding and divorced–(although he never went into much detail about that with me)–body actually kept punching in. In his younger day’s it had been easy to hike ten or twenty kilometers by lunchtime, but the bounce in his step wasn’t what it used to be.
I felt kind of bad, pretty sure the guy thought he had to keep up with me, I’m no high-schooler, but I know that I haven’t beaten myself up with years of outdoor work. Wheaton, as he put it, was not a “spring chicken”. Wheaton knew that soon it would be all office time, and zip field time, and when he sat behind a desk waiting out the last few years before retirement, well he would just have his memories to go on.
I might take a quick break. Not sure why I even added that in, I’ll probably just pick up where I left off...
I don’t need to gas on about feeling bad for Wheaton.
The process of keeping this journal is selfish.
That’s maybe unkind, but it is a true statement. I’m older now by two years and some change. The story of Wheaton was something I started off feeling bad about, and I really thought hard about the day he entered that valley. I thought selfishly, and sympathized more than anyone could imagine. It was a fantasy of sorts. I wasn’t able to connect enough pieces to make a full image. Morlick is probably responsible for this confusion. He is mischievous in his undertakings. The best way I can continue is by reading over what I have thus far...
And reading over my own thoughts has terrors of their own. Again, imagine trying to tell this aloud.
Okay, an example, it’s something I’ve thought of and have readily available, it fits in, but it is indeed fantastical to read over–
His walking stick dug into the soft ground. His head was probably bent down–and his lips sweaty, panting slightly in effort–Wheaton walked to the peak of elevated ground. The goal today was to survey area around the lake. Last week, a fly-by chopper had found a spring on top of this hill. The aerial photography yielded an interesting view of rock outcroppings that funneled water out of the spring. It was a fantastic feat of nature, and would make for a great stopping point on the trail. Environment Canada had to make sure there weren’t any major eco-systems that might get crushed by progress.
The forest was filling with warm light, and by the time Wheaton made it to the top of the hill (sitting on the edge of the spring to catch his breath) the temperature was somewhere in the high teens. He wiped his brow, took a water bottle out of his surveying bag and sipped greedily at the cool clear liquid. It was still early and he had made good time. He hadn’t expected to reach the valley until the afternoon.
Using his walking stick as a crutch, Wheaton lifted himself back onto his feet.
A longer break could be taken once he had pictures of the area. He even had a James Patterson book that he brought out on solo-treks. It helped to pass the time.
The spring was a little smaller than a pond.
In the shallow areas, oily muck clotted the ground with a splattering of granite rock and shin-high eel grass. A frog hopped away as Wheaton approached the slowly flowing water-well. He snapped a picture before it could retreat into cover. It was a strange spot for this type of spring, on one side of the mucky perimeter rose up large granite boulders that looked over the lake. The water, unable to climb up the rocks, had to curl its way down and around through an eroded system of boulder crevices. The crevice–in the summer months–held an abundance of brambles and thicket, and twisting roots wormed their way in between the boulders. He took a picture of this from several angles. And then moved to try and follow the stream down to the lakeside.
It was tricky footing, and he even stumbled a few times on some of the more awkwardly positioned stones. He was trying to find a thin space in the thicket so he could actually stand above the stream and have a better view. Yet every time he found a spot the ground was slippery with mud and he would just slide back. It looked like something was definitely nesting in the area, so he was also trying to be on his guard for whatever that was (littering bones in the boulder’ tight-spot’s. They were small, and plenty, which meant something, liked this place. He took a picture of the bones and moved on.) Wheaton was getting close to the lake now and when he found a spot that looked stable enough, he set his bag down on a patch of grass to investigate unencumbered.
The crevice was approximately two meters deep at this section, perhaps three. It would ultimately need a guard rail. If sight-seers were going to walk the trail then the province intended on ensuring safety was still being seen to, he took a picture from this vantage point, trying best to account for scale.
Wheaton removed his hat and scratched his head. He marvelled at the inside of the rock crevice.
It had been worn by what was probably centuries of thaws and flash-floods–ripples and waves made worm-like shapes into the hard rock. Pebbles from old stones that had once been on the walls of the channel sparkled like crushed dust on the outer edges of the stream-bed. The last significant rainfall had been three days ago and this meant the streams flow was gentle, perhaps no more than a foot deep in the low spots. In the shade of thicket the water looked clear yellowy-brown. The wormy erosion snaked its way across the visible bottom–daring his eye to perceive a pattern.
Wheaton gave a reluctantly blissful sigh and decided he should stop lollygagging and take some pictures around the lake. And then have some lunch.
He turned his head and saw a shimmering flash reflect off of something in the stream bed. It caught his attention immediately. A stone in the crevice, now obvious to his eye, sat in the center. It was shiny on the surface, like a mirror made of silver. The breeze shifted the leaves again, reducing the stones brilliance.
Biting his lower lip–Wheaton furrowed his brow and puzzled over the shiny rock. After a few moments he decided to try walking in from the lakeside. It may be a waste of time, but it was still curious.
He didn’t really know how he hadn’t spotted it on first glance. And his mind had a couple of ideas of what it could be–trash came to mind. But it wasn’t unheard of to find minor mineral deposits. And this was new territory as far as the Province was considered.
With the thought of lunch now far from Wheaton’s mind, he walked to the lake.
A slight ache began in his lower back. It bounced in his mind like a bingo ball. Sometimes calling his number, and reminding him that he probably shouldn’t push his luck. He ignored all of this; he was intent on checking out the crevice. His body–be damned.
The opening where the stream met the lake wasn’t as shallow as the stream itself, but he found a path by staying close to the edges of the rock walls. It felt like he was walking into a trench for a castle, attempting to approach through a stealthy sluiceway, water trickled past his boots.
A few minutes in claustrophobic space and then he was able to walk a little closer to the center, again feeling the sun warm the top of his head. It was cooler down here than on top of the hill. The passage, Wheaton estimated, was four feet wide in the narrow parts, and over six feet in the larger areas; he assumed it must really filled up during a thunderstorm. He traced the top of the crevice with his eyes, trying to find the opening he had been standing at, looking up from his perspective it felt much deeper than he had originally thought. It also looked like there was very little in terms of handholds. The only way out would be to retrace his steps and go out the way he had come in.
Ahead of him a rock slid off the bank with a mighty crash. It cracked in two with an explosive thud as it hit the streambed. He looked at the debris in stunned surprise. Wheaton felt like he had almost pissed himself when the boulder made contact with the ground. His legs rattled a little from the vibration. It would be smart to keep an eye out for falling rocks, it looked like a solid structure, but that could obviously be deceiving.
The water sloshed around his boots as he proceeded more cautiously. Wheaton looked at the bank and found the opening that looked like the spot he had been standing at earlier. It was hard to tell, but he remembered there hadn’t been much in terms of vantage points–lush growth shaded the majority of the crevices bank.
The rock was immediately noticeable. It was level with the surface of the water, parting the flow slightly.
Wheaton approached it admiring the stone’s flawlessly smooth surface. Upon closer inspection he saw that it was actually an opaque black, like volcanic glass, and not silver at all. Light from above sparkled on the stone. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, but the object fascinated Wheaton. It was oval in shape (as he watched the water’s flow–Wheaton noticed that the stone never broke the surface of the water.) He looked around the crevice, observing the eroded walls more closely now, scratching his chin. It was strange that this was the only stone like this in here. It looked machine made, or by the hands of a skilled craftsperson. And yet, Wheaton was fairly sure this was un-claimable Crown land, nobody had right to be working it. The walls were etched in swirling waves of snaking black lines; it looked like erosion had turned the texture of the crevice’s surface into a natural wonder–a work of art.
He ran his hand along the damp surface of the crevice. It reminded him of ceramic tile. And it was warm. He didn’t understand this as the sun hardly managed to give light through the brush that lined the crevice. A quick glance at his watch confirmed that it was half-past noon. Even in the evening, before dusk, it didn’t seem likely to Wheaton that the rock walls would capture warmth down here. He looked back at the stone in the stream and decided that he should be taking pictures. It was a special find. The water bubbled around his boots as he found a view with enough lighting, bringing him up the stream bed and back towards the spring. He was playing with the zoom button when he heard rocks falling just behind, and overhead of him.
He turned–and almost dodged them.
A boulder the size of a basket ball fell and thudded beside Wheaton, as it hit the ground it rolled heavily over his foot, knocking him down to his knees, flinging the camera into the water. Another boulder, this one the size of an apple, tumbled off of the crevice and landed on the back of his neck. Blue-light flashed before his eyes and then everything turned to black. Wheaton’s body collapsed like a rag-doll. His head bounced silently off of the smooth wall and then lay motionless for several hours. The valley was silent.
Water trickled over Wheaton’s legs and passed by the black stone. The erosion on the walls swirled and writhed like a bundle of muscular tubes. Their activity gave warmth to the physical stone they were dancing on. The stream was still shaded by the brambly thicket. And yet the walls of the rocky-trough were radiating enough heat to cause Wheaton’s unconscious body to perspire. Blood was crusting onto his left ear. If the rock had fallen differently, by less than even an inch, he would probably have died on the spot. Instead his body was in a shocked-state of shut down. Resetting the circuits, and double checking that the heart was still getting signals from his brain; it wasn’t a restful slumber; more so like turning the power off and on. Wheaton remained unaware of the worms in the walls for most of the afternoon. His cell-phone jingled in the surveyor’s bag that he had left at the lakeside. It was high and dry on a boulder.
The valley began to lose its sunny glow by 4 p.m. The thunder clouds rolled in from the north-east. It remained calm, and little stirred in the trees that surrounded the lake. Leaves turned peddle into a position to best capture the oncoming down-pour. The wind was gaining an edge, creating whirling patterns and swoops onto the water’s surface. Inside the crevice Wheaton twitched. He was soaked from the belly-button down to his toes. And he was unable to come to just yet. Yellow-green eyes looked down at him from the thicket. It was soon accompanied by five other sets of eyes. They glowed through the branches. Observing Wheaton in his crumpled position, and they sensed a coming storm, the eyes waited to see what would transpire. The eyes hadn’t set on a human in well over a century, and to find one in such a state was curiously invigorating to them. The wounded creature wasn’t dead. It was sort of sleeping–having been captured by Morlick’s beacon. It didn’t know it yet, but the stone had a way of pulling its type in, and captivating it for the entities that guarded the spring. The storm meant that this was a gift from Morlick. It intended to cleanse the spring, and offer food to the glowing eyes.
These entities were not what Morlick needed to control our earth... It’s important to remember...
I think for Morlick to bring forth new creation: he needed Wheaton.
Wheaton coughed, and moved his arm, thankful to still have the ability. He tried standing but found that his foot didn’t want to support his own weight. He collapsed panting and sputtering air at the water that now washed over his face. He righted himself after a briefly uncomfortable moment and then sat on his butt, looking at the odd shape his boot was turned and at the boulder that had caused the injury. It looked as though someone had taken his foot and turned it sideways in the socket. The only way out would be to crawl back to his bag and call someone for help. Wheaton silently cursed his own stupidity for taking a silly risk. He should have marked the place as of interest, and investigate when he was actually accompanied by me.
He had just really wanted to see that stone and Wheaton put caution to the wind. It was a silly old-fool letting curiosity get the better of him.
There’s something I saw once at a lumberjack competition. It’s not really related to Wheaton, but I felt the need to include it before I continue with his story. I had to take a long break and this just happened to pop into my head.
I was there–at the lumberjack competition–with a few friends (Erika had been there, I remember that much at least, even as kids she was always a tom-boy, mom and dad didn’t encourage it and they assumed she would grow out of it...) The details are fuzzy, but I remember one of the contestants sticking out like a sore thumb. The guy was in his mid-forty’s had a grizzly-Adams beard and given his offering to the judges, he knew his way around a chainsaw. The “show-stopping” entrance was fourteen identical statues. It was a statue of an eagle with its wings gripped tightly to its sides. The craftsmanship was remarkable. I was fourteen at the time; yeah I guess there are multiple reasons why it sticks with me...
Anyways, I guess the idea of all of them being the same statue bored me... The contestant won first prize so there goes to show what I know about judging competitions. I’ve just never liked it when something is the same...
The rest of Wheaton’s story is bizarre even to me. I can’t think of any other way of writing it out than the way I have... I guess my ultimate fear is that I only tell it because Morlick has given me the means to tell it... Yeah, that’s kind of what it comes down to. It’s just incredibly hard to keep everything straight. Time passes sure, but this journal is slowly becoming my only relic. It’s my only physical memory to safeguard.
I’ll try to pick up where I left off, just know that I think Wheaton was already under Morlick’s command at this point. Maybe I already am under his command...
Wheaton rubbed the sore spot on his neck, glad that he didn’t actually feel a break in the skin from the rock that had fallen down. It was sort of lucky if you thought about it. Mark–and the other trail marking crews–would probably get a big laugh when word finally got around about him goofing off and getting himself busted-up.
Right now Wheaton needed to get back to his cell phone. He looked at his watch–thankfully waterproof like the camera–and saw that it was coming on five o’clock. It wouldn’t be suspicious if he didn’t check-in, at least not until tomorrow’s shift began, but he had no intention of spending a night in the stream bed.
It took a lot of effort to ignore the shocks of pain that rattled in the bones of his foot, but Wheaton gritted his teeth and sloshed his way to the mouth of the crevice. He passed the stone, and paused for a moment–at certain vantage points, the flat stone gained the mirrored quality he had noticed from above–and when Wheaton shifted his head again, the stone shimmed back to blackness. The illusion was fascinating and holding him in place. He shook his head and ignored the stone. It was interesting, but it was also merely a distraction.
The effort was slow, but he was glad to see that he could still move the rest of his limbs with relative ease. He gripped onto the soft sandy bed of the stream, wincing when a fresh spike of fiery heat shot through his foot. He made it approximately ten meters from the stone before he collapsed and paused to rest. He wasn’t sure what type of damage he had done to his foot, but the appendage definitely didn’t want him to continue.
Wheaton ignored the discomfort and moved ahead.
He noticed that the smooth rock that made up the crevice’s walls also held an illusionary shape-shifting appearance. The erosion danced and played tricks on his eyes. At one point Wheaton was sure that a worm had pulsed its way within the swirling etching. Actually, the erosion–at times–looked to be made up of the tangled mass of giant crawling worms, and they throbbed excitedly the more Wheaton focused on them. He clenched his eyes shut.
When he opened them, the strange illusion was still there, but it looked more like the natural course of time–except with a layer of surreal imagination trying to peek through. It was possible he was hallucinating. His body was in shock. He knew of many stories where hikers in the woods got themselves up to all sorts of trouble imagining things like stairs, or unexplainable disappearances where the body popped up far into the bush (sometimes rotten and decomposed, and sometimes freshly placed for a back-woods hiker to find). Yet, the erosion on the wall still danced, reflecting light that was impossibly present, and worms slipped in and out of Wheaton’s grasp on reality.
Shaking his head again, Wheaton ignored the eye trickery and continued to crawl through the warm water, he guessed that at this pace he it would probably take him another forty minutes to actually reach his cell phone.
His body huffed out increasingly raspy puffs of air. It was slow moving, for too many reasons.
He felt old–and stupid–and knew that his foot was two steps past fucked.
It was hard to look at the situation without a sense of nausea. It made him helpless–sure–which was far from the case when he had left for work that morning. Or say, ten years ago. The idea that he could have once-upon-a-time ignored this type of pain teased his stomach into a twisted clump of anger. It helped his progress; and he almost wept when he saw the entrance to the crevice, it was a few meters away now, and from there his bag was only another few minutes crawling distance. Once he made the call, he would just be waiting for the cavalry, and finally get around to eating his lunch.
Anger wasn’t the only thing tying his stomach in knots.
He rested his head against the smooth wall. Wheaton was mildly aware that he should be shivering from exposure. The heat sapped from his body by the cool water of the spring. But he felt fine. The rock was dissipating warmth into his body; if Wheaton wasn’t concerned with the state of his foot he possibly would have paid more notice to this conundrum. His head was starting to pound, partially from his fall earlier and partially from the futility of his predicament. Looking past the entrance of the crevice, the sun was barely visible below the tree-line.
In less than twenty minutes he knew he would be shivering and possibly bordering on hypothermic. The summer night knew how to suck the energy right out of a body. Wheaton remembered when he was a kid and how falling into a river while four-wheeling had meant for a seriously cold return trip back to the cabin (almost fifteen kilometers in the dark). His friends had laughed–they had all been into the sauce at that point–and told him he’d better get back and change. It was a funny story, and a funny learning experience. Now it also served as a reminder of the long, miserable, wait he had ahead of him.
And you’re only making it longer by sitting in this trench. He thought bitterly.
It was taking more effort to crawl, and Wheaton was beginning to wonder if he had sustained more injury than he saw. The colour in his vision faded and swelled every now and then, dampening at the edges.
He looked up when he heard a clap of thunder break in the sky.
The sound was followed by the spine-numbing howl of a wolf, or coyote. A set of three other canine vocals added into the evening’s choir. The moon–bloated and full–dared to peek through the black clouds.
Wheaton scrambled on his good side, dragging his foot behind him. A storm was one thing, but being caught by a pack of dogs was a sure way into the local news paper. He ignored the protests made from his body and water splashed around him as he heaved his weight forward.
He hadn’t noticed many animals in the valley during his approach, and now supposed that was because this was hunter territory. At the mouth of the crevice the water felt noticeably cooler. Wheaton ignored this observation. It could be thought about later, when he was out of the woods.
His hand slipped on the floor of the lake. Wheaton fell flat on his belly, but was quick to bring himself back up to a manageable crawling posture. He was becoming aware of the fact that he could hear something crawling in the crevice behind him. It sounded oily, and slick, movement of an unnatural quality. Like a thousand wriggling bodies. Grappling and mashing together. He couldn’t bring himself to look back, for he knew that the stone was illuminating whatever this unearthly creature was, brought into the world through shadows of the stones light. The stones power, or so it seemed to be, was thriving on Wheaton’s presence, and it wanted him to stay.
The sky broke open in torrential downpour. Flashes of lighting were greeted with rolling thunder. Howls of wind volleyed a chilling reply through the excitement of rainfall pattering down on the lake. Wheaton’s surveyor bag was already soaked by the time he yanked it off of the rock and jammed his hand inside. His cell was in a Ziploc bag, tied up in the grocery bag with his lunch.
He found his phone and saw that now his hand was shaking, except instead of temperature induced, Wheaton was scared.
Thankfully he had reception, and quickly dialed Frank Moses. His boss answered on the third ring–he was shocked to hear that Wheaton was injured and told him to sit tight, stay dry and that he would call him back–Frank promised to get a rescue crew out there on the double. The phone call lasted approximately five minutes, but for Wheaton it felt like an eternity.
He hung up and slid his phone back into the Ziploc bag.
The valley was now pitch-dark and getting soaked by the bucket full. Wheaton knew he should probably find a better spot, somewhere with more cover, or at the very least he had to get away from the crevice before the drainage flow really started to take off. Wheaton looked up at the slope leading to the spring and cringed at the idea of crawling up the muddy bank. He scanned the valley surrounding the lake, hoping to avoid a long crawl to the tree-line, his luck didn’t seem great. The closest spot of cover was at least a hundred yards away.
A crash of thunder rattled his teeth. It was followed by the howling moan of a wolf. Wheaton’s body finally broke out into goose bumps. The sounds were both too close for comfort.
Wheaton started to crawl to the tree-line, intent that action was at least better than waiting around to drown. Or, alternatively, be eaten by a hungry pack of wolves. He groped at the now muddy grass and lurched his way to the nearest tree. It was painful, and water bounced up from the ground and down from the sky, adding to Wheaton’s struggle. He ignored all of this to the best of his abilities. Behind him was the crevice, and he was certain that something was crawling out, giving chase. It didn’t sound like it moved on four-limbs. It sounded like it was sliding out and writhing through the muck. Wheaton didn’t have the nerve to look behind him. Instead he gritted his teeth and let his breath go in and out in harshly short gasps.
His eyes were closed. Wheaton could do nothing but listen to the raging storm and hope that the tree-line could mean safety.
The crawling thing gripped his twisted foot first. Wheaton’s arms collapsed from under him. His face–caked in wet earth–screamed out in agony as black-oily tendrils wormed around his body, holding him in a stony-slick grip. It pulled Wheaton away from the tree line. His arms were soon pulled to his sides, unable to fight off the powerful blackness.
Wheaton felt like he was floating on thousands of snakes or worms, all held within the chords of this creature. He sputtered out air as the writhing mass turned him face up. It made Wheaton’s breathing an arduous task. The rain poured down on him.
A flash of lightning struck ground somewhere close to the spring and slit the sky open with a rolling shatter of thunder. Wolves howled in delight as the black tendrils pulled Wheaton back into the crevice.
They brought Wheaton to the stone and held him in place. The rain felt somehow lessened in the crevice. He was able to breathe easier for one, but the water flowed at the edges, and eddied in the center. It was like the low point of the crevice was actually the driest point. Beneath him the stone grew in size, large enough to accommodate his full frame. The mass of tendrils held Wheaton in place as water rushed around the edges of the stone, still never covering its surface. It was as though he was in a whirlpool, but instead of the rain swirling down on him, the water flowed out from the stone.
Wheaton heard a loud splash to his left from something landing in the water. A large beast with yellow-green eyes, a long snout and jagged fangs sneered down at him. It stood–from Wheaton’s perspective–eight feet tall. However it also appeared to be hunched over, and could potentially be over ten feet at full height.
The beast arched its back to prove this point and let out a ferocious howl that contested with the storm surrounding the valley. When it finished, it looked back down at Wheaton.
The rain was matting its fur and revealing the terrifying hulk of animal that shared the crevice with Wheaton. He heard more wolf-like cries from the bank above and then they were followed by a series of splashes from other beasts landing in the crevice. Six of the haunting creatures loomed over Wheaton. The writhing black worms were holding him and stopping any potential attempts to move. In his head, Wheaton, hoped that this was all some crazy nightmare. It couldn’t be happening: these types of creatures don’t exist; they’re as made up as Sasquatch, or ancient aliens. It’s all just in your head he thought. Outside of the stone the beasts’ bellies were level with the flowing stream. Wheaton was still miraculously untouched by the water. He was noted that the creatures were chanting. It was like they were waiting for something. Another crash of lightning–this one must have certainly struck a boulder in the spring–thundered an echoing crack of noise and the smell of burning ozone filled Wheaton’s nostrils.
He also saw the creatures looking past him; they were looking to the spring.
The partial essence’ of Morlick howled in delight. Two gave out excited barks of chatter and yipped again into the night’s sky. Wheaton tried to turn his neck. Upside down, he could see blackness seeping out from the water that came from the spring. It mixed with the water like smoke. He knew somehow the darkness of the storm was being amplified as it consumed its environment. The essence of colour was, also, being erased from Wheaton’s eyes. The entities were fusing with his mind. He looked at it with stunned fascination as Morlick closed in on his body.
I can’t, with the appropriate amount of certainty, guarantee that this is how it played out for Wheaton...
The passages written are just that, passages in time... I still think he was the first... Yet what I wrote include him being surrounded by Morlick’s creations.
Wheaton... He was the first... I wrote that statement, I guess to make myself realize and believe...
The emergency response team found Wheaton Tucker lying on a boulder near the edge of the lake. He was severely scratched up, and had a few bite marks on him, luckily they were able to identify that his vitals were shaky–but they were there. The storm was subsiding. However, the response unit was still unable to bring a helicopter in and resorted to strapping Wheaton to a stretcher on one of the quads.
Stan Hollister was riding his quad at a safe thirty paces behind Earl Grady’s. The 4x4’s could handle the load of two people just fine, but the lead bike had to go slow so as not to bang up the old guy in the stretcher anymore than he already was–on his radio Stan called in the recovery situation. The middle-aged man had a broken foot, and possibly more, the storm had tumbled him good. He made note that animals had likely found him and thought him dead, but ran off when he was able to put up a fight. (“He was mumbling a bit when we showed up.” Stan yelled over the roar of his bike “It was hard to make out, but he might have a concussion.”) It went without saying that the guy had been lucky to have a phone, and even luckier that he had cell reception. Stan and Earl had responded to more than enough search and rescue calls to know that in the backwoods, it’s lucky to find much of anything left of an injured person.
The trip through the woods took them an hour. The trail–Environment Canada was surveying was a little too scenic for the 4x4’s–had washed out, which meant they had to find better terrain for transporting their patient. It was quarter to ten by the time their bikes touched back onto asphalt.
Earl was able to add a little more speed to their pace and zoomed down the deserted stretch of road. Stan followed alongside him as a lookout.
In the hospital, Wheaton was told all about the harrowing trip out of the woods. He listened to it being told to him, and when asked about what he remembered Wheaton couldn’t really recall anything. It was the truth and what he did remember. And to be honest, if he remembered what had actually happened, he probably didn’t want to share it with a doctor just yet.
The explanation of having an accident while hiking alone felt much easier to stomach.
(I guess I can call that another one of my assumptions...)
Wheaton’s recovery time was remarkably quick. The bite wounds that the emergency team had originally diagnosed were nothing more than scratches and when the hospital’s doctors bandaged them, they were among the first parts of Wheaton’s body to mend good and healthy. He had apparently lucked out in that he hadn’t been mauled too badly. The tumble by the spring was where the serious damage had been observed. His foot being the most confounding story; after three weeks in the hospital, he had another lucky turn in his recovery and his foot finally started to set back into place. The crushed bones mended themselves together.
He expected to need a cane for the rest of his life, but again luck shined on him and he was able to walk out of the hospital before even spending a full month in a bed. The doctors were in awe of Wheaton’s condition.
“Your scans are clean and you really do seem to have full mobility in that ankle,” Doctor Ingrid said, a contemplative silence hung in the air as she applied a new wrapping onto Wheaton’s leg “I’ve never seen bone heal itself so effectively. You’re in good shape now, but be sure not to push it.”
“I think my, uh, accident was sort of an eye opener.” Wheaton, slipping his jeans back up and buckling his belt with very little discomfort, said “I really can’t believe it myself.”
Wheaton proved the point to himself by applying his full weight onto his right foot. The skin around his leg was tight from the fresh wrapping that the doctor had applied, but it was also supporting him without protest.
He remembered when he had broken his fingers in his twenty’s (at the time Wheaton had been helping Henry Reid drop a new engine block into his ’70 Oldsmobile four-four-two. Henry wasn’t paying attention when he started to lower the winch and two hundred pounds of steel came down on Wheaton’s hand. It was fast and done in seconds. Henry heard Wheat’s cry-out in the nick of time and raised the winch before he severed the appendage. The car turned out to be a cherry ride when Henry finally got around to finishing it. The chrome sparkled off of the grill, its nose looking like the tip of an arrow, designed for speed and built with high performance in mind.) In that experience, Wheaton’s hand was set with pins that held the bones in place for well over four months. The damage, in total: Three broken fingers and several others potentially shattered. It had taken a long time before he was able to see any progress in that recovery.
He hadn’t even been able to pick up a cup full of water for well-over a year, after the pins had been removed.
His leg was another story. Doctor Ingrid observed her patient and gave him a rueful smile.
“No need to show off. I’ve seen the scans, and you sir are cleared to go home.” She said “Now, be sure to schedule a follow up appointment for next week. I’m going to say towards the end of the week, but based on your condition, you’ll hopefully be doing cartwheels by then!”
Wheaton liked his orthopedic doctor. She had a fun attitude and was pleased by the recovery of her patient. The rate of his foot’s healing puzzled the two of them and Wheaton had a feeling it likely puzzled a person of medicine more than it puzzled him. He actually felt giddier than a school boy and was happy to be out of a hospital bed. It was something to be thankful for and Wheaton wasn’t necessarily sure who he should be thanking. His body had done most of the work, including walking him into the stupid crevice, but as for his health he felt fit as a fiddle.
His body was great at bouncing back.
The cab ride home was slow. His cabbie wove in between rush-hour traffic with careful lazy attention. There was little conversation, which Wheaton supposed was a small blessing, some taxi drivers could really yammer on and on. It took probably twenty minutes longer than it should have, and when Wheaton saw his truck parked in his houses driveway it reminded him of how glad he was to drive himself, usually.
He tipped the driver five dollars extra and walked up the driveway to his house. He traced a hand along the side of his Chevy pick-up. The sun was setting and a cool summer breeze kissed the air around him. Wheaton tossed his bag into the cab of the truck, went into his house and grabbed the keys from a dish by the front door.
Good ol’ Mark – he thought –surprised he didn’t leave a note.
Wheaton found a note in his kitchen. It was written with large-print hand writing. (I consider myself an okay student in the classroom, but a calligrapher, I am not.) He read from the note that the truck’s gas tank had been filled up for him, and mentioned for Wheaton to “just hit me up when you’re back” to cover reimbursement.
He crumpled the note up and tossed it into his open trash bin. A haze of fruit flies were feeding on the almost month old trash. The smell was starting to sting Wheaton’s nostrils.
The next movements were natural and purely automatic. He made a call from his cell phone, glad to have reached a voicemail service and left a brief message, and then walked back out to his driveway. The door to his house left open behind him.
Wheaton started his truck, admiring the hum of the engine for a few moments, and then popped the transmission into drive. He looked up at the moon, it was glorious and almost full, and maybe tonight he could finally lose himself in worship.
The sensation had been like an itch that clung to the very cells of his body. It was an urge now, he could feel it, and he could sense it. Morlick spoke to him, not in his dreams, or even in his mind. Morlick wanted him to join the pack (this was how Wheaton understood his master) and bring in others. It hadn’t joined with man in centuries, and Wheaton could sense Master’s excitement in fresh life that had been offered forward.
Wheaton sensed his body float as the tires of his vehicle left the ground, sending the truck rocketing into the wooded tree line. He was buckled in and witnessed the entire accident from an out-of-body place. The truck’s momentum was stopped dead when it collided sideways with a maple tree.
Wheaton was laughing as he unbuckled his seat-belt.
His body flopped down onto the roof of the overturned truck.
He laughed as he pulled himself out of the wreckage. He couldn’t believe his luck.
A bone stuck out just below his forearm, and he was pretty sure part of his spine was turned in a direction that didn’t quite make sense to the eye. Yet, Wheaton was okay! In fact, he knew Morlick would be here tonight for him. He ignored any mental impulses of pain as he began to crawl into the forest. The bone in his arm was making snapping and popping sounds. Wheaton heard his flesh rip and tear as he furthered the damage, but his body was already mending itself back together.
He presumed that in fifteen minutes he would probably be back on his feet.
A silver-orb of light lit the forest for Wheaton’s body. It hobbled and worked its way exhaustingly through the brush and earthy terrain. The creature, once a man, was making snarling noises and tore at the ground in fits of rage. The skin on its face was stretching and growing outward from the mouth. Dark hairy stubble poked out from the pores of his once fair skin. It was turning into a grotesque depiction of a human, and as each moment passed under the night’s sky, it became more beast than man.
And that’s kind of it... I mean, that’s sort of the last I can say there was of Wheaton.
I’ve been chewing over how to tack all of this together so that it can make sense. I don’t really know if it matters, but the very fact that I’m still going means that Morlick hasn’t grown tired of his new creations’. I can’t help but go back to the thought that he may be toying with me as well.
It’s not hard to imagine how the night turned out–given what I’ve written this far... Wheaton’s truck was found the next day, and another search and rescue team was sent into the forest, they didn’t find a trace of him (well, except for a few scraps of his clothes, naturally.)
So, we felt obligated to put together our own team to assist in an ongoing search. I guess we all assumed he was taken by an animal. It’s hard to say what we told ourselves actually.
We figured we owed it to Wheat’ to at least search for his body.
I’ve never seen the crevice. I’ve heard its goliath and beyond comprehension, but the tellers of those stories disappear quickly. It yielded a few unfortunate souls’–fates similar to Wheaton’s. The lake is cursed, the land is sour, and I am determined that Morlick was woken when Wheaton Tucker was captured during the storm. I don’t even know if Morlick was ever asleep.
It’s a power that he has over us, something that I tried to explain with Wheat’ and his misfortune. I guess the only thing I can do now is describe what my life has become, it’s a strange story in its own right.
The city began to crumble a short few months after Morlick’s resurgence. I guess more detail might be helpful, but there’s little to tell... The people left... I guess crumble was the wrong word. It doesn’t really matter!
I’m back to rambling again.
I can’t admit to knowing what Wheaton thought... I guess no one really can...
It’s just that, and this is another bit of terror I glean from Morlick–yes–it must be terror–I think of Morlick in almost the same terms as I do Wheaton. It’s not fair to him. I can’t imagine their thoughts.
It’s unsettling to think I can...
In the case of Morlick, I do not dare pretend to comprehend his thoughts, if I keep saying that, and reading it, then maybe that’s all I need...
Morlick infects us. He inhabits our mind, and if you believe in a soul... I guess he infects that too. It’s hard to explain, so perhaps I should tell a little bit more about what I remember personally, and how I came by the information I am able to communicate in this journal. I didn’t lie when I said that Morlick’s tale is too old. He is something that our minds literally cannot relay.
In the glare of his gaze, Morlick shapes us. In the glare of his gaze, Morlick molds us.
I can say that with a degree of certainty.
The beasts, his creations’, stalk the woods that surround my cabin.
I haven’t truly figured out why they don’t turn me, but their hunger, or my time may come where it won’t matter, and Morlick’s will allow’ me to see his eye. The people that lived in the city; most have given in to his will (I guess I don’t have to stress this point much anymore) and they lay acceptingly in massive orgies of limbs and writhing bodies.
I’ve seen this, I don’t know how or why I am allowed to have seen it, but I found one of the meeting dens while checking my fish traps. I should have left the moment I saw that the traps had been moved, and obviously looted, and in my experience that’s a sign that something is probably still close by–one of Morlick’s creations.
Yet, curiosity is a nasty thing, and I think that’s how Morlick enthralled Wheaton, so perhaps I just couldn’t help but peek behind the curtain.
The stream I was fishing from was an hour hike from my cabin. I don’t hunt close to home, and I don’t clean the carcasses close either.
It started off as superstition, but now I guess it’s just smart. (Some people say fishing isn’t hunting, and if those people were still alive today I would gladly hold a conversation with them.) Anyhow, I followed the stream away from my traps, and away from my cabin, down the line until I finally found some fish bones and a little bit of chum baking onto the rocks. The stream is actually a river in spring-time, but summer heat can reduce it to half its size (it did yield some tasty pickerel while I was tending it that summer) the river bed is made up of smooth round stones. I have a couple in my cabin actually, they’re nice to hold and look at, hell there’s no TV anymore so I guess a rock will do...
The sound came to me first. (I’ve always been a little more attuned to audio cues, and if you stick to the forest long enough you get used to the rhythms.) I guess the best description is to say that it sounded like moaning; the euphoric type of sound when you and another person are–um, deep in the thralls of passion–look I’m not a poet, and I don’t really fantasize about what I saw that day. It was Morlick controlling his creatures in their beastly half-forms. They were mashing together at the hips. The faces of hundreds of half-beasts’ glowing in ecstasy and pleasure, and they buried themselves together. Not in the dirt, I mean they wanted to taste, and smell each other...
It is perhaps scintillating to some, but I had to leave, I had to run back to my cabin, and never return to that...
Well, to not become a part of that ritual... Whatever it was, in the name of Morlick... It terrifies me to know that they were once people. It scares me to know that I could become one of them.
I guess that my own story doesn’t really tie into Wheaton’s, but my experiences are how I understand the things that I do know.
The camera was what gave the most information. Wheaton managed to get quite a few pictures that day, and miraculously, it must have washed out during the flood. The terrifying part about the camera was the pictures that started to appear on it after it was in my possession. It’s a digital job, with a 4 GB card that had about forty-two pictures on it the day I collected Wheaton’s things from the emergency response team.
It was Environment Canada’s property; Wheaton just had it on loan.
I dodged one hell of a bullet not going with him that day. Yet, I can’t help but wonder if Wheaton was destined to go alone, had he been called to the eye? The camera now holds well over two-hundred images (and I assure you none of them were taken by me) at first they were sky shots, usually the night sky (captured in staggeringly-impressive resolution), and then after Wheaton disappeared, well the images started piling up...
The first non-nightscape image was looking down at a bear that was arching its back attempting an angry charge on the camera.
It was a neat picture.
The next few that followed (these image updates lasted for approximately four days) included the bear, dead and being consumed, a view from a dark passage-way (which I can only presume is the crevice, or rather the walls of the eye), and eventually I saw the camera send pictures of something feeding on people. A search-and-rescue worker was being held in the air, and then torn limb from limb–others were simply bitten, and the camera again looked down from its high perch considering the scene... I actually deleted some of the more disturbing ones... It violated some of its victims, usually human’s–but–not always. The stone, Morlick’s pupil, was the setting for those rituals... The images are more frequent during the full-moon, naturally, but in the month that follows: the camera continues to send images of the animalistic orgies I already mentioned.
It took time to understand how (or where) these pictures came into being. (And to be honest, I probably just didn’t want to think to hard about it, there were enough things to worry about back then.)
The images are the impressions of Morlick. I’ve found, at least in the twelve years since Wheaton’s unfortunate accident.
Morlick’s will’ is to be imposed upon me. He does not always have control over us, we are still creatures of our earth, and he only inhabits a portion of this realm...
I know it get’s confusing but that’s what he’s doing, or it’s something he can do... I don’t presume to know what he is...
Okay, it’s late in the day now; I forgot to mention that I tend to write this during the day. It’s not safe to have a light on at night, I’ll do it sometimes, like tonight, but the packs of Morlick’s beasts’ have been getting excited as of late.
I hear them, at night, feasting on the wildlife unfortunate enough to be caught in their path. They are ghastly-creatures, dog-like–the ferocity of a thousand hyenas. I get chills anytime they skirt my cabin.
I definitely make sure to have the lights off in those moments! The words I’m trying to say don’t have much meaning behind them. I guess the trick is to keep that in mind. It’s certainly helps me go to sleep at night.
I have to say that because... well, Morlick cannot be understood by us. I know this might be a tired point by now, but it’s the most important one.
It brings me back to the verse I shared at the start of this journal; this is where I always get chills. The worm he holds within his wall, rest in the stone of his eye, around his pupil they do crawl. Life that witnesses his glare will die. It’s elusive, just like Morlick, and everything I understand about the world I currently inhabit.
I can’t explain it because it feels like my days are numbered. I’ve seen too much! Ha! Perhaps mockery of the subject isn’t wise for my sanity... It is simply that Morlick frightens me. I write about him to try and understand this world, and I think he loves the attention. So, I say: what if I stop writing? What then?
I’ll tell you... He wouldn’t be happy...
He would probably win.
And I suppose that’s the clincher isn’t it?