AN: At long last an update to this rather unusual tale of macabre fantasy written by a sleep deprived workaholic. I apologize profusely to all who have read this tale thus far and who have been stymied in their desires to read more into the deranged writings of a lunatic mind but alas life it seems takes precedence especially when I can be put up on charges if I ignore my duties. Once again I submit to you that I do not own any of the intellectual property mentioned in this story and that I'm making no money off of this work of fiction. And now my friends let us go forward into this fascinating tale and hopefully you don't get to many disturbing thoughts from it.

Quivi sospiri, pianti e alti guai risonavan per l'aere sanza stelle, per ch'io al cominciar ne lagrimai. Diverse lingue, orribili favelle, parole di dolore, accenti d'ira, voci alte e fioche, e suon di man con elle facevano un tumolto, il qual s'aggira sempre in quell'aura sanza tempo tinta, come la rena quando turbo spira. (Their sighs, lamentations and loud wailings resounded through the starless air, so that at first it made me weep; Strange utterances, horrible pronouncements, words of pain, tones of anger, voices shrill and faint, and beating hands, all went to make a tumult that will whirl forever through that turbid, timeless air, like sand that eddies when a whirlwind swirls.)

-Dante's Inferno, Canto III

The dance of faded words and the swirl of eldritch symbols and runes filled the hungry void of Zack's mind. So much to learn in a seemingly mad tome and yet he felt… something unusual. At the corner of every page he noticed the same symbol over and over. A scratch made into the vellum seemingly as an afterthought of what appeared to be a flaming eye emblazoned on a slanted pentacle. As his eyes glanced over the mark he experienced a slight pain across his neck. As the decrepit Latin flowed off his tongue his eyes kept being drawn toward the symbol; the pain would cause him to constantly falter and stumble over the words. Finally after a considerable time he put his hand over the symbol as he read a passage so his eyes would not be distracted.

"The Wanderer between the worlds brings with him the sweet decay of untold millennia. His presence alone marks this world older than we know. Yet for all his power that dwarfs men he is but a messenger of older Gods. The Great Sleeper in R'lyeh is served by this, his most ancient and unfaithful disciple. For he brings the gospel: 'Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.'"

*Pop*

What a simple noise but one so out of place in the sterile lighted room of one Dr. Zack Addy with barely disguised annoyance he lifts his head up from the dry brittle pages under his rough raw hands. The knowledge soaks out of the tome through the dried and faded ink whose vermillion hue is a stark cousin to the sudden rush of blood thudding behind Zack's eyes.

Zack's eyes widen as he looks up from the pages and sees-

nothing.

The darkness is all consuming and absolute. Cognitively he realizes what a black hole must look like up close sans being ripped apart at the sub atomic level by gravitational forces. No hint of light pierces his sight.

"Am I blind or is this a dream?" He speaks aloud to the darkness.

"Why can't I hear what I said? I know I…"

"Why can't I… feel my… my senses… am I speaking? Why can't I feel anything?"

It isn't even a sense of numbness that consumes him simply… nothing.

It as if his brain is simply separated from his body; unable to send or receive messages but merely existing with his own thoughts. This terrifies Zack like nothing else ever did. It is a complete severing of any sort of empirical connection to the world outside his mind. Intellectually Zack knows that in the past even before his fall from grace his connections to other people were few and far between but when established those channels of connection ran deep and carried with them things of great value. Even with his incarceration and the gradual erosion and loss of even those few connections to other people that he had at least he could still feel the coarseness of his clothes and the gentle push of recycled air against his skin or hear the quiet murmurs of the psychiatric students as they tried to decipher the mysteries of damaged minds.

"About time delicious morsel. I while I may have spanned eons of existence I still loath waiting for each part of the awakening."

"Wait what is going on?" A piteous query into an uncaring darkness.

"Your fated part in something that even Gods fear, you will be the tool in the Great Awakening."

"Great Awakening? What? Tool? What is going on?"

Suddenly even in this disembodied state Zack feels his mind drifting away into unconsciousness. But before oblivion overtakes him he hears one last chilling response.

"Yes the Great Awakening, the Sleeper shall wake to the smell of what you shall spill for him."

*pop*

With a groan Zack opens his eyes…

And nearly passes out by what he sees.

Dirt, trees, green…

"Why am I in the woods? How did I get here?"

Then the smell hits him, a familiar odor but one much stronger as here there is no air system to dampen odors. It is at this point that Zack realizes that he's clothed from head to toe in dried blood over naked flesh. The red brown crust over his hands cracks as he sits up in alarm; flecks fly off his face and lips as he lets out an involuntary cry of horror.

His lips…

Suddenly the bile bellows forth from his stomach and the sound of his retching fills the dark muted wooded hollow that he finds himself in. The harsh odor of acid and vomit mingles with a sickening reek of blood and…

In the pool of vomit staring back at him is a partially digested phalange.

Zack's moan of disbelief and agony is lost in the silence of the wooded hollow ending only when his eyes fall across the book, its pages open and staring at him in gleeful anticipation. The last thing Zack notices before he passes out is that the red brown on his hands is the exact shade as the text on the pages.

AN: It's been awhile and I can't promise a speedy update schedule but please read and review.