The Weird World Of Mark McLaughlin MEGAPACK®: 28 Stories By A Master Of The Macabre

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Kindle: 347 pages for only 99 cents. Start reading today: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BK3N4SH/
Paperback edition forthcoming.

National publisher Wildside Press releases landmark MEGAPACK® fiction collections by top horror, science-fiction and fantasy authors. Writers who they’ve featured in the MEGAPACK series include Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Silverberg, Fredric Brown, R.A. Lafferty, Philip K. Dick, Andre Norton, and Bram Stoker. Their latest MEGAPACK® release comes from Mark McLaughlin, author of HUMAN DOLL: A NOVEL and HIDEOUS FACES, BEAUTIFUL SKULLS.

The introduction from the publisher:

Who is this Mark McLaughlin person, and why should you read him? Mark–whom I’ve had the pleasure of publishing for nearly 20 years now–is one of those unique voices in the horror field. He doesn’t tread the safe (or even sane!) path, but goes off in quirky directions, and he’s happy to have company along the way. And while he’s poking around the oddest places, he finds humor in the outrageous and the unsettling. Vampires? Of course. Zombies? Definitely. But these are never quite the monsters you’re expecting. Don’t take my word for it. Here are some other opinions:

“In the most devious manner, McLaughlin’s stories achieve a high degree of demonism by perpetuating a sinister ‘humor’ at the gallows of the human comedy.” (Thomas Ligotti)

“Listen up. Noel Coward is back. Salvador Dali is back. Dylan Thomas is back. And they’re all rolled into one in the shape of Mark McLaughlin who writes stories that are wonderfully witty, surrealistic and ineffably strange. Absolutely fabulous…. If your palette is jaded, come to the feast that is Mark McLaughlin.” (Simon Clark)

“McLaughlin’s tales are laugh-out-loud assaults on consensus reality.” (Paul Di Filippo, ASIMOV’S)

“Reading Mark McLaughlin is a little like stepping out of the door of an airplane in mid flight. The view is pretty amazing, but the shock of impact may do you in…gruesome, funny and touching. Top that: anybody….” (TANGENT)

So, dig in and enjoy these 28 tales by one of the modern masters of the macabre!

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HUMAN DOLL: A Novel

Human-Doll-Cover_Border_03-15-20HUMAN DOLL: A Novel by Mark McLaughlin
FREE on Kindle Unlimited:
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085XN8D8P/
Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0863VPT35/ 

One by one, America’s most beautiful celebrities are dying. The murders are diabolically orchestrated so that the victims are subjected to extreme bodily destruction. These victims are all guests or cast members from two TV shows – a medical reality show and a talent competition for drag queens.

Male model December Storm appears as a guest on both shows. Dubbed a ‘human doll’ by the media, he regularly receives plastic surgery to enhance his looks. He is the founder of a modeling agency called HeadTurners, and is becoming one of America’s most popular, compelling celebrities. A private investigator is hired to look into the murders, and soon, it becomes clear that December needs to beware. He might be the next celebrity to die.

Mark McLaughlin’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, websites, and anthologies. He has written fiction and poetry collections for many publishers nationwide. HUMAN DOLL: A Novel is the first solo novel of this Bram Stoker Award-winning author.

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THE PRISONER OF CARCOSA & More Tales Of The Bizarre

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THE PRISONER OF CARCOSA & More Tales Of The Bizarre by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. (Paperback)  $9.98
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1659240719
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1659240719

THE PRISONER OF CARCOSA presents tales of the bizarre, featuring Lovecraftian horrors, alien nightmares, oceanic monstrosities, an account of The King In Yellow, and much more. Many of these adventures have only been available so far on Kindle. This paperback collection is a companion volume to HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS, THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT, and CITY OF LIVING SHADOWS. 

In “The Prisoner Of Carcosa,” a traveler falls in love with one of the owners of the Golden Moon Bed & Breakfast. He doesn’t know that the owner’s family guards a copy of the accursed book, The King In Yellow, which brings madness to those who read it. He soon learns that when that evil book is near, a hideous creature known as the Seeker of the Yellow Sign isn’t far behind. 

“Horrors Of The Trash Island” presents a Lovecraftian tale of ecological horror. Millionaire Asher Bellworth and his staff take a cruise on his yacht to check out an area in the South Pacific said to be the location of R’lyeh. R’lyeh is a legendary city on a sunken island where the evil entity Cthulhu is said to be trapped in a temple. They see a massive trash island floating over Cthulhu’s realm, and discover that the trash island is inhabited by a bizarre array of deadly mutations, as well as a bizarre human inhabitant. 

“Yuletide Mementos: A Tale Of Lovecraftian Horror” is a sequel to Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness.” The tale is set in the family home of Professor William Dyer, leader of an ill-fated Antarctic expedition conducted by Miskatonic University in 1930. When he returned, he brought back two trunks, which he stored in the attic. A young relative is now curious about those trunks, not realizing that they hold an ancient horror, waiting to be unleashed. 

In “Diabolical Entities And How To Deal With Them,” Professor Artemis LaGungo provides an overview of the demonic denizens of Hell, and tells how to resist their unholy temptations. 

“You Shall Have This Delicacy” tells of the world’s most powerful witch, who gathers her friends for a dinner party with a shocking agenda. 

Set in the far future, “Tell Your Secrets To The Slime” follows a band of space explorers to a polluted planet populated by a grotesque life-form that feeds on guilt and sorrow. Will they be able to escape the alien horror that threatens to destroy them?

Mark McLaughlin is the author of EMPRESS OF THE LIVING DEAD, BEST LITTLE WITCH-HOUSE IN ARKHAM and HIDEOUS FACES, BEAUTIFUL SKULLS, among other horror collections. With McLaughlin, Michael Sheehan, Jr. has co-authored the Lovecraftian paperbacks, HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS, THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT, and CITY OF LIVING SHADOWS, as well as the Kindle collections, THE ABOMINATIONS OF NEPHREN-KA, THE HORROR IN THE WATER TOWER, THE BLASPHEMY IN THE CANOPIC JAR, SHOGGOTH APOCALYPSE, THE RELIC IN THE EGYPTIAN GALLERY, THE CREATURE IN THE WAXWORKS, THE TESTAMENT OF CTHULHU, STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGUS and more.

 

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YULETIDE MEMENTOS: A Tale Of Lovecraftian Horror

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YULETIDE MEMENTOS: A Tale Of Lovecraftian Horror by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. Just 99¢ on Kindle, FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082TSVVXD
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B082TSVVXD

YULETIDE MEMENTOS presents a tale of Lovecraftian horror, set at Christmastime in the huge Dyer family home in Arkham, Massachusetts. Professor William Dyer was the leader of an ill-fated expedition to Antarctica, conducted by Miskatonic University in 1930. When he returned, he brought back a wealth of notes, photos, and geological specimens. Those items were stored in two trunks in the attic of the Dyer house. A young relative of Professor Dyer is now curious about those trunks, not realizing that along with the seemingly harmless specimens, an ancient horror lurks, waiting to be unleashed….

“Yuletide Mementos” is a sequel to “At the Mountains of Madness,” a science fiction-horror novella by H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). The novella tells of a doomed expedition to Antarctica and the grotesque alien monstrosities encountered by the explorers.

Mark McLaughlin is the author of BEST LITTLE WITCH-HOUSE IN ARKHAM and EMPRESS OF THE LIVING DEAD. With collaborator Michael Sheehan Jr., they have co-authored the Lovecraftian paperback collections, HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS, THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT, and CITY OF LIVING SHADOWS.

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HORRORS OF THE TRASH ISLAND: A Lovecraftian Eco-Nightmare

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NEW: Just 99¢ on Kindle, FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

HORRORS OF THE TRASH ISLAND: A Lovecraftian Eco-Nightmare by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. 99¢.
HORRORS OF THE TRASH ISLAND presents a Lovecraftian tale of ecological horror. Asher Bellworth, host of the travel program, Weird Ports of Call, decides to take a Labor Day weekend cruise on his yacht with members of his staff. He wants to check out an area in the South Pacific known among horror readers to be the location of R’lyeh, a fictitious city on a sunken island. According to the tales of H.P. Lovecraft, the cosmic entity Cthulhu is trapped in a temple on that island.
Once Asher and his crew get to R’lyeh, they are shocked to see that a massive trash island is floating over the sunken city. The travelers soon discover that the trash island is inhabited by a bizarre array of deadly, mutated creatures, as well as an equally bizarre human inhabitant. Clearly evil influences are at work. Is Cthulhu real, or are other horrific forces growing in power? Will the travelers be able to return to civilization, or will they be trapped in a nightmare world from which there is no escape?
Mark McLaughlin is the author of BEST LITTLE WITCH-HOUSE IN ARKHAM and EMPRESS OF THE LIVING DEAD. With collaborator Michael Sheehan Jr., they have co-authored the Lovecraftian paperback collections, HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS, THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT, and CITY OF LIVING SHADOWS.
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Three Lovecraftian Paperbacks

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Three Companion Paperbacks of Lovecraftian Horror
by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.
Unearthly fantasy and horror tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, crawling with eldritch creatures.

CITY OF LIVING SHADOWS & More Lovecraftian Tales
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1687570779
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1687570779

THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT & More Lovecraftian Nightmares
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1795518367/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1795518367/

HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791560520/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1791560520/

Keep visiting http://www.BMovieMonster.com for more information on books by Mark McLaughlin and his collaborators!

 

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CITY OF LIVING SHADOWS & More Lovecraftian Tales

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City Of Living Shadows & More Lovecraftian Tales by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. (Paperback)
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1687570779
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1687570779

CITY OF LIVING SHADOWS presents unearthly fantasy and horror tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, crawling with Lovecraftian creatures. Most of these stories have only been available so far on Kindle. This paperback collection is a companion volume to HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos and THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT & More Lovecraftian Nightmares

In the title story, “City Of Living Shadows,” a glowing flower in a tropical solarium holds the key to a horrific onslaught of night-gaunts from the Dreamlands. Can the reason behind their attack be determined before they destroy even more of the waking world?

In the novelette “Pyramid Of The Shoggoths,” a Miskatonic University instructor learns the true location of the burial chamber of Queen Nerfertiti. With his assistant, he begins an adventure that takes them to a strange subterranean realm in Africa. There they meet Balyphus, the last Elder Thing remaining on Earth, and his inhuman companion, the British ghoul Williams. They soon learn that Williams isn’t the Elder Thing’s only friend. Balyphus has created a troop of rampaging shoggoths that can destroy anything in their path … including human weaponry.

In “The Black-And-White House,” a writer rents a small secluded house and for the first time in years, he is able to enjoy peace and quiet. But soon, he discovers he is not alone there. An author who had once lived in the house never really left, and he wants the new occupant to help him with an impossible task: creating a sequel to the accursed book, The King In Yellow, which drives anyone who reads it insane.

“The Ambassador From Ulthar” tells of a young man who cannot escape his fate after injuring a four-footed denizen of the Dreamlands. 

The collection’s second novelette, “The Idol In The Hedge Maze,” tells of mega-wealthy Neil Prentiss, founder and CEO of a multinational technology company. He lives in a magnificent mansion surrounded by a sprawling hedge maze. He has everything a person could want … but he is dying of cancer. While examining the journals of the mansion’s previous owner, Neil learns how to contact a member of the Great Race of Yith, an ancient race of brilliant, monstrous beings. The Yithian offers what seems to be a high-tech solution to Neil’s problems — if the millionaire is willing to accept a bizarre substitution for his human body….

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GHOSTS OF THE QUAD CITIES

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This year, collaborators Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin researched and wrote GHOSTS OF THE QUAD CITIES, a nonfiction paperback, for national publisher Arcadia Publishing/The History Press. They’re very excited about this project, since they both love the Iowa/Illinois Quad Cities.

The book was released Sept. 16, 2019, and you’ll be fascinated by the facts they’ve discovered. The introduction was written by The Amazing Kreskin, who also wrote the introduction for their book, DRACULA TRANSFORMED.

GHOSTS OF THE QUAD CITIES tells of the many area hauntings that have been chronicled over the years, and provides a historical overview of this vibrant bi-state community. They’ve also interviewed many great Quad-Citians who provided their fascinating insights. To find out more or order the book, visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/1467141062/
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PYRAMID OF THE SHOGGOTHS: Novelette with Bonus Story

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A Lovecraftian Adventure Novelette with Bonus Story:

PYRAMID OF THE SHOGGOTHS by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. FREE on Kindle Unlimited:
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VRXF8XX/ 
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VRXF8XX/

PYRAMID OF THE SHOGGOTHS, a Lovecraftian novelette, is a modern-day sequel to H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, “At The Mountains Of Madness.” This Kindle release also includes “The Black-And-White House,” a tale of The King in Yellow.

In “Pyramid Of The Shoggoths,” Miskatonic University instructor Omar Vardek is given a rare book by his assistant Chrystal. Through the book, he discovers the true location of the burial chamber of Queen Nerfertiti. Omar and Chrystal begin an adventure that takes them to a strange subterranean realm in Africa. There they meet Balyphus, the last Elder Thing remaining on Earth, and his inhuman companion, the British ghoul Williams. They soon learn that Williams isn’t the Elder Thing’s only friend. Balyphus has created a troop of rampaging shoggoths that can destroy anything in their path – including human weaponry.

In “The Black-And-White House,” a young writer named Lewis decides to escape from noisy neighbors, once and for all. He rents a secluded little house and for the first time in years, he is able to enjoy peace and quiet. But soon, he discovers that he is not alone in the house. An author who had once lived in the house never really left, and he wants Lewis to help him with an impossible task: writing a sequel to the accursed book, The King In Yellow, which drives anyone who reads it insane.

Mark McLaughlin is the author of BEST LITTLE WITCH-HOUSE IN ARKHAM and EMPRESS OF THE LIVING DEAD. With collaborator Michael Sheehan Jr., he was written the Lovecraftian paperback story collections, HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS and THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT. McLaughlin and Sheehan have also co-authored the Kindle collections, THE ABOMINATIONS OF NEPHREN-KA, THE HORROR IN THE WATER TOWER, THE BLASPHEMY IN THE CANOPIC JAR, SHOGGOTH APOCALYPSE, THE RELIC IN THE EGYPTIAN GALLERY, THE CREATURE IN THE WAXWORKS, THE TESTAMENT OF CTHULHU, STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGUS, and THE IDOL IN THE HEDGE MAZE.

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“The Power Of Azalareon” — A Story From HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS

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The Power Of Azalareon

by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.

Mamie Saunders walked along the beach, scanning the sand with her metal detector. So far, the morning had been good to her. She’d found about six dollars in loose change, as well as a nice gold bracelet. She wasn’t sure if the chain was made of actual gold, but it looked nice on her wrist, and that’s what really counted. She wasn’t hurting for money. She just liked scanning the beach because it gave her something interesting to do.

She lived in a stone tower that had once been a lighthouse, generations ago, back when the nearby village of Gilman’s Cove had been a larger community with a robust business district. But, the accursed town of Innsmouth was just a few miles away, and the profound troubles of this larger neighbor had cast their shadow on nearby villages. Over the years, Gilman’s Cove had dwindled to just a few random homes and shops, and the services of the lighthouse were no longer required.

Every now and then, couples from Innsmouth would visit the beach and hold picnics near her tower. It was a lovely stretch of beach, so it was no surprise that people wanted to spend time there. And even though the Innsmouth visitors never caused any problems, she still hated them. She hated their thin hair, sloping foreheads and receding chins – and she was thoroughly repulsed by their thick, wet lips and their equally wet, protruding eyes.

Of course, she had to admit that she herself wasn’t exactly a beauty queen. She wrote romance novels as her profession, and sitting for hours, typing and nibbling on constant snacks, wasn’t the sort of routine that led to the trim figure that so many of her heroines enjoyed. Often, she would look in the mirror and wonder what she would look like, if only she weighed a good forty pounds less. She had long, beautiful blonde tresses, but no one was asking her to let down her hair, Rapunzel-style.

Her tower, like most lighthouses, was located on a high point of the terrain – a cliff overlooking the ocean. From where she stood on the beach, she could see the mouth of the cave far below her tower’s cliff. She’d never entered the cave, even though it was on her land. It was partially submerged in water and surrounded by sharp rocks, so trying to reach the cave would have been quite an ordeal. But still, she liked to imagine what might be found in the cave. Pirate treasure, perhaps … wooden chests filled with magnificent gems and ancient gold coins.

She noticed a thin young man heading her way, walking from the direction of the village. He wore a long black coat and a heavy dark-red scarf. He had brown, curly hair and a wide, slightly lopsided smile.

“Hello there!” she shouted. “Can I help you with something?”

“I’m looking for a lighthouse!” he said, trotting up to her. He pointed toward her home. “And hey, there it is. Is it yours?”

“Sure is!” she said. “My name’s Mamie. What can I do for you?” She noticed that he was carrying a pen and notebook. Was he a writer, too?

“My name’s Simon Booth. I’m doing research on some local history. I’m majoring in Comparative Religion at Miskatonic University.”

Mamie smiled. “What kind of job will that major get you?”

He returned the smile. “Teaching Comparative Religion, naturally! I’m writing a paper on the worship of Dagon in Innsmouth, and–”

“Is that wise? The cult of Dagon is still active. That might not be the best topic to investigate.”

“I know what you’re getting at,” Simon said, “but actually, that portion of my research is finished. I had to interview a lot of sketchy folks. A few of them … I’m not even sure if they could be called human. I had some close calls. Now I need to do some exploring in this area to finish my project.”

“Do all students these days have to work so hard just to write a paper?”

Simon shook his head. “No, I just love the topic. I tend to throw myself into my projects.”

Mamie nodded. She liked this guy: he had guts. Pity he was way too young for her. “Let’s go inside. I’ll brew up some coffee and you can tell me about this exploring you need to do.”

Inside, Mamie led Simon to the kitchen and asked him to take a seat at the kitchen table while she made the coffee. She enjoying doing it the old-fashioned way, grinding the beans herself and using a stovetop percolator. “So what do you need to explore? If it’s this lighthouse, don’t bother. It’s not that interesting…. But, I love it. It’s home.”

“Actually, I’m interested in the cave beneath your tower,” Simon said. “At one time, it served as a place of worship for the god, Azalareon. I recently interviewed a man from Innsmouth, a worshiper of Dagon, who’s a little over eighty years old. He said he had attended a ritual in the cave, about fifty-five years ago.”

“He was over eighty – and still lived on land?” Mamie asked.

“I see you know more than most folks about Innsmouth ways,” Simon replied, surprised. “Yes, most of Dagon’s worshipers go to live in the sea in what would be considered their senior years. This particular man put off his transition because he had to care for his grandchildren. He never left the house – the kids took care of all the errands. He looked more like an enormous frog than a human being.”

“Good of him to help his grandchildren that way. I would’ve thought he’d abandon them and head out to sea.” Mamie handed him a mug of coffee and joined him at the table. She took two cubes from the sugar bowl and popped them in her own mug. “Help yourself to sugar. So this man had once attended a ritual in the cave?”

“Yes. He was taken to the ritual by his parents, who were members of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Apparently, they were curious about the cult of Azalareon.” Simon sampled his drink and grinned. “Delicious – thank you! Doesn’t even need sugar. It already has a unique sweetness to it. You should open a coffee shop.”

“You’re very kind. I soaked the beans in cherry brandy with a touch of honey. I’m afraid I have an awful sweet tooth. So what happened at this ritual?”

“The cult members presented a robed victim to the creature they worshiped. He said their god looked like a huge, worm-like thing with a hide covered with, as he put it, ‘little boneless fingers.’ It crawled up on the green stone altar and swallowed the sacrifice whole.” He took another swig from his mug. “He told me the thing was about the size of a limousine. Nice comparison, but not exactly a luxury ride for the victim.”

“I don’t know about the god, but it would be fantastic to see that altar,” Mamie said. “The problem is, it’s impossible to get into the cave. The entrance is mostly underwater and it’s surrounded by sharp rocks. Do you really want to risk getting past all that, just for a paper?”

“I don’t have to!” Simon said. “The old man said there’s a door to the cave hidden in your basement. That’s why I came to see you. I’d like to know if I can enter the basement and look for that door.”

“Oh yes, certainly! But I’ve been in that basement hundreds of times. I can’t believe there could be a door down there that I haven’t seen.” She finished her coffee and stood up. “Let’s look right now! I hope we find that door because I’m dying to see that green altar!” She crossed to the kitchen sink and started looking in the oak cabinet above it. “Here we go! My best flashlight.  Is there anything else you think we’d need?”

“Boots?” Simon said. “If we manage to find the door and enter the cave, it would be wet down there.”

“I have galoshes in the basement.” She looked at his feet. “Mine would fit you. I’ve got big feet! Come on, let’s go.” She walked to the door at the head of the basement stairs and turned on the lights.

“This is exciting!” Simon said as they descended the stairs. “We’ve just met and already we’ve got an adventure cooking!”

“An adventure? Oooh, I can’t remember the last time I had an adventure. It’s seems like I’ve been puttering around this old lighthouse since the day I was born.” At the base of the stairs, she looked through a large box of odds and ends. “Ah, here are the galoshes. Might as well put them on now. If we find the door, we’ll want to pass through it right away. Besides, it’s mucky down here and I don’t want you to ruin your shoes.”

Mamie and Simon slipped on the galoshes and searched the basement, looking behind the dozens of boxes stacked against the walls. The warped floorboards creaked under their weight. At one point, while shuffling across the floor, Simon stumbled, kicking up a corner of a matted brown rug.

“Are you okay?” Mamie asked.

“Yeah. I almost fell down, but I’m fine,” Simon said. “These boots are too big for me.”

“Oh, dear. I knew I had big feet, but I didn’t think they’d be that much bigger than yours.”

“Don’t feel bad. I just have small feet – my dad did, too.” He straightened out the rug. “Hey, have you ever looked under this thing before?”

“No. It was there when I moved in. It’s so filthy I don’t want to touch it.”

Simon pulled up the rug. It was stuck to the boards at different points, but he finally managed to remove it, piling the dirt-encrusted mess against the wall. He pointed at the exposed area. “Look, there’s our door!”

A wooden hatch had been built into the floor. Instead of a knob, a hinged brass ring was set into the hatch. Simon pulled up on the ring, revealing a stone stairway.

Mamie turned on the flashlight. “Do you want to lead, or shall I?”

Simon waved toward the opening. “It’s your property. Go ahead.”

The steps were coated with a thin, dark layer of slime or mold, so Mamie kept a hand on the wall to support herself as she walked down into the earth.

“So what is this Azalareon?” she said. “A monster? A demon?” The walls of the stairway were solid stone. Who had gone to all the trouble of chiseling a passageway out of solid stone? Whatever Azalareon was, its cult seemed to have some extremely dedicated members.

“Azalareon might just be an oceanic mutant that ignorant people have fed and pampered and adored as a god,” Simon said. ‘Perhaps it had been found by some members of the Esoteric Order of Dagon and they’d decided it needed worshipers.”

“But would it still be alive after all these years?” They had reached the base of the stairs, and now Mamie was shining her flashlight in a wide arc to check out their surroundings.

Before them stretched a huge cave. The ceiling and walls were covered with a thick layer of black slime, while the floor was submerged under swirling dark water. They stood on a rusted metal platform by the side of the water. An equally rusted, narrow bridge led to an island in the center of the cave. The enormous green stone altar that stood upon the island glittered in the light. It appeared to be covered with hundreds of small crystals.

As Mamie stared at the altar, an overpowering sense of déjà vu swept over her. Obviously she had never been in the cave before, and yet why did the altar seem so horribly familiar?

“So that altar … that’s where the sacrifice happened?” she whispered. “According to that old man?”

Simon nodded. “Yep. That’s where the Saunders woman died.”

“What? That’s my last name! What was her first name?”

“I don’t know. The old man didn’t say.”

Mamie began to breathe faster. “Oh, dear. Suddenly I feel sort of … dizzy. Maybe you’d better take the flashlight. I need to sit down.”

Simon took the flashlight from her. “There’s no place to sit here. It’s all rust and slime. Take my hand. I’ll clean a spot for us on that altar.”

Holding her hand, Simon guided Mamie across the bridge to the island. “Careful,” he said, “everything’s slippery.”

“So this … god,” she said. “This Azalareon. What can it do?”

“‘Do’? What do you mean?”

“Does it have any special powers? Does it fly? Open gateways to other planets? Things like that?”

“Good question. The old man said it was able to change reality to meet its needs, but that could mean anything. I mean, technically, a person changes reality when he does the dishes or switches the channel.” He passed the beam of the flashlight over her face for a moment. “You’re looking pretty pale. Hang on, we’re almost there.”

Once they reached the altar, Simon pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped off a section of green stone. “There we are….”

He turned around and shined the flashlight at Mamie again.

But she wasn’t there.

Instead, he found himself staring into the hungry open maw of what appeared to be a gigantic albino sea cucumber. Its fleshy white body was covered with thousands of writhing cilia. Azalareon lunged forward, forcing Simon down onto the altar. He tried to push the horror away and his hand slipped into its mouth. Its swollen lips immediately closed around his wrist. Soon his hand felt like it was being bathed in acid. When he was finally able to pull it out, the flesh had been dissolved away and steaming bones were all that remained.

Azalareon slipped its gaping maw over Simon’s head. It continued to work more and more of the young man’s body into its ravenous mouth, until at last it had encased its victim, just as a hungry python eases a young goat through its expandable jaws to consume it.

Azalareon heaved its bloated body onto the altar to sleep. The god did not feed often, but when it did, it fed well and needed to rest afterward.

Hours later, the sleeper awoke.

The thing now resembled Simon in every way. The flashlight had died, but he did not need the light to find its way back out of the cave and into the building’s living quarters.

Naked and dripping with slime, Simon walked to the bathroom and took a long, refreshing shower. When he was finished, he slipped on his bathrobe. He wondered, for just a brief moment, why his plaid bathrobe was hanging from a hook on the back of the door in this strange bathroom…. But the thought passed almost immediately.

Everything in the lighthouse now belonged to Simon, including the lighthouse itself. Reality had changed to meet his needs.

Later, as he ground the sweetened beans to make his coffee, he thought for a moment about changing the theme of his paper to a comparison of Catholics to Protestants. But then he thought … what paper? It’s not like he was taking any classes. He never went to the city.

He lived alone in the tower outside of Gilman’s Cove. It wasn’t all that interesting, but he loved it.

It was home.

 

——————-
HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. is available as a 248-page paperback on Amazon.com:
US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1791560520/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1791560520/

 

Be sure to visit and Like https://www.facebook.com/HorrorsAndAbominations/ — the Facebook page for Lovecraftian books and ebooks by McLaughlin and Sheehan.

“The Power Of Azalareon” by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr. ©2018 Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.

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