The Key to the Gate of the Worlds
Vision burned the light from her eyes. She had seen It. Now blind in her natural eyes, she could only see with her inborn sight. The great darkness that consumed all worlds, all galaxies, all dimensions. Jaqueline knew, she knew it was coming for her world too, but it would not end there. The Endless End. She would prepare, but she had already seen the darkness and despaired. Now, save for her vision, all she saw was darkness. Gloria, Gloria would know what to do, perhaps. She would have seen it too. Not so vivid. Not so horrid. Perhaps she still kept her eyes. Certainly the magician would.
Sister Mary could not believe what she had read. A strange and blood-soaked journal sent to her by someone claiming to be a student at Miskatonic University. Its tales were unbelievable. Blasphemous. And yet… She had seen unexplainable things since coming to Arkham. Just last night, as she looked up from the book, she saw out the window and saw strangely pale men in curious garb outside the Church, sniffing, sniffing at the Church like animals, but never entering. She moved the book, and they all moved as one. She moved it again, and they moved again. As if they could see or smell it. But that would be impossible. It terrified her.
Attached to the journal was a note, cosigned by Dr. Fern (an authority she knew), and Professor Withers (an authority she did not) begging her to come to the University, to bring what help she could.
Mary thought of the verse, “And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’” And thus she would go, God’s will would fortify her, and so would his grace. She would speak with several of her parishioners who she had heard weird tales from. And who was that? William Yorick kneeling in the Pews? Why was he in Church? And what of that fanatic chef, or that strangely ethereal waif with haunted eyes who seemed more interested in free soup than salvation? And of course, Diana Stanley, that woman who Father Michaels said had given the most ridiculous confession he had heard in all his life (though he would not, of course, say what).
Frowning, and trembling slightly, she began rereading the most disturbing passage of the journal yet again, the so-called “Last Will & Testament of Dr. Herbert West.”
“This is it! Professor Winthrop and I have found it! The Key to the Gate of the Worlds! I have seen… I have seen! I have seen myself in a thousand nightmare dreams, and I have warned myself how many thousand times more. When I survived. We came together. We died together. Beware of Dr. Herbert West. He hunts me. One of many. One of few. They kill each other too. Surely I am not the last, yet I know of no more, like me. He is in league with Death, even as it hunts him. Even as he hunts me. You must take the Key, defend it, travel to the end of worlds if you must. Perhaps only there is there hope to defeat it.
“That which comes comes, oozing death through the dimensions. I thought I could control it, he thought he could control it. Usurp its power? Was I a near-sighted fool in every world? And now, The Nightmare Crafter sends forth servants from the Abyss. Or is he their servant? Another abominable being born of an endless nightmare, or does he bear them? I do not know, but you must defend the Key! In all worlds, it is the only Key across all space and time. It is the true Resurrection and the Life! You must defend it! It is our only chance against the coming chaos and consumption! Use my device if you must. It is the Key to infinite life! Oh, God, oh Hell, I feel its sharpened quill, cold and ever tearing through my guts! Now I understand. It was not I who wrote this note, though I swear it to be Truth.”
Surely these words were the mere ravings of a madman. Mary prayed.