Carnacki the saiitii man.., p.3
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       Carnacki: The Saiitii Manifestation, p.3

           Roger Wood
 
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Saaamaaa Ritual, long extracts from the Sigsand Manuscript, an unfinished paper by the great man himself on the difference between Aeiirii and Saiitii when considering the creatures of the Outer Circle, and even what I took to be an acrostic suggesting the so-called ‘unknown last line’ of the protective rite, which of course we all know, having heard Carnacki’s account of the Tassoc case. And of course there were also Walter’s written-up versions of Carnacki’s various narrations, which I assume he intended eventually to publish. I believe that was a contributory factor to your falling-out, Tom? Yes, well, you won’t say. I understand.

  Well I began in a very low key way, with a planchette. One step up from a glass and letter cards but less easy to fake, wouldn’t you say? If I was to be fooled, at least I’d be fooling myself. Every night for a week I sat here, at this very table, with planchette poised and paper everywhere for it to write on. Nothing came, of course. Just a random squiggle on the page when I dozed off from sheer boredom on the seventh night. So I moved on, step by step, gradually increasing my level of dabbling, all the time taking every precaution, guarding myself against every risk. Well, I always was a white feather fellow. Walter would have told you that.

  And there were results. Nothing dramatic but progress none the less. The colours in the shadows became more varied. They lasted longer, seemed bigger. Likewise the scents, though they were now turning less pleasant. I smelled cordite, wet earth and what I eventually realised was the stink of butchery. You appreciate the significance, I’m sure.

  But there was a limit – a hurdle I simply could not surmount. The colours were all very pleasing but they remained essentially shapeless. I could no more make out what they might be than I could see my fortune in a saucer of soggy tealeaves. The stench of battle was ever-present yet it never opened my senses to what it was truly like in Flanders or wherever it was that Walter fought and died. Yes, I was sure by this time that he was dead. I had become one of those ‘left behind’, a member of the legion of the bereft and broken whose ceaseless demands exhausted Carnacki’s gift. At least I spared you that, Tom.

  Coward that I am, there nevertheless came a day when I could hold out no longer. I realised I would sooner die than abandon my search for Walter, albeit the search had now switched to an unearthly, incorporeal plane. So I painted this pentacle on the floor – a proper five-pointed Solomonic Seal, you’ll notice – and I performed the Saaamaaa Ritual up to and including the eighth sign. I took off all my clothes – I don’t know why I did that, to be honest, other than it felt appropriate – and squatted in the middle of the internal pentagram. Midway between where Percy and Reggie are sitting now, though I of course was cross-legged on the cold floorboards. And I called on the Aeiirii and the Saiitii to bring me Walter. I focused every last ounce of my willpower, more than I ever dreamed I possessed, on that single, aching desire. It was not a prayer – I didn’t call on or beseech the Powers of the Outer Circles, I demanded their compliance.

  And it worked. I don’t know how long it took, it might have been hours or even days, but my eyelids genuinely ached when I opened them, they had been screwed tight shut for so long. And I saw him – Walter, in his greatcoat and puttees – standing in that doorway behind Tom. His face was unmarked, unblemished in any way, yet there was an immense sadness about him, as if ... I don’t know ... as if he was fated to wander the afterlife completely alone.

  I ran to him. Took him in my arms and half-pulled, half-carried him into the safety of the Seal. I could feel him, feel his weight, the bones in his forearms, the skin on his wrists. He was every bit as real to me as Reggie here. He tried to speak but words would not come. He had substance but no breath, and of course we need breath to speak. I didn’t want him to speak, didn’t need him to tell me his sorrows. All I wanted was to kiss him, and him to kiss me back. You don’t need breath for that. I ran the tips of my fingers over his lips, his chin, his cheeks. I let them venture into his hair – such soft hair – until I came, inexorably, to the back of his head. Or rather, where the back of his head should have been.

  Even that did not deter me. It barely dented my rapture. I helped him out of his coat. I pulled his shirt off, stripped him of his trousers. We made love here, on this very floor. I call it ‘love’ and ‘love’ was indeed the driving force. The practice, however, was rough and vital as if – you’ll forgive me, Percy – as if I was trying to pump life back into him.

  It was only afterwards, when he lay in my arms like a marble faun, that I realised what had happened. I mentioned to you earlier the Steeple case. The same had happened here---

  The doorbell rang, vigorously, twice.

  “My cab---“ Jessop murmured.

  “Not now!” Taylor snapped, spitting the words from the side of his mouth, his gaze riveted on Carnacki at the far end of the table. Jessop saw again how dry the skin of Taylor’s face was. The stuff he had smeared himself with earlier had been completely absorbed. The skin now had a scaly, powdery look to it. All the life seemed to have been sucked into the eyes.

  The voice, too, had a cracked tone to it, a rasp he had not noticed before. He moved to offer Taylor a glass of water but those broiling eyes, switching to him for only a fraction of a second, pinned him to his seat.

  “You will recall, gentlemen, another of Tom’s trivial cases. The Anderson case in which the family’s so-called Lucky Ring was the portal through which the malign forces entered the Grey Room. Where do you suppose the portal is in the case of the late Walter Dodgson? Where’s the ring here, eh Tom?”

  Someone – the cabman – knocked on the door. He knocked with force, intending to be heard, but Jessop barely noticed. He and Arkright, like Taylor, had their eyes fixed on Carnacki. The ghost-finder saw only Taylor. He blinked his protuberant eyes. A tremor – perhaps a shiver, perhaps a shudder – ran through him. But he did not move. Did not speak. Did not respond in any way.

  The lack of response infuriated Taylor. The little man seemed to swell with rage. His chest rose, his shoulders widened. He rose up on his toes, sucking in air, all the air in the room, until he---

  “Mr Jessop, sir?” the cabman shouted through the letter-slot in the front door. “You in there, sir?”

  ---Taylor exploded. The dry dust of his face burst like a puff ball as he instantly ceased to be.

  Mr Jessop? I can hear noises---

  In his stead a shape coalesced from the gloom. Uncoiling. Expanding. A segmented body of eight or nine parts, a tapering tail equal in length to the body. Some sort of appendage on either side of thorax. A suggestion of wings unfurling. And the head – oh Jesus Christ, Jessop thought – the head! A massive hammerhead, blued like steel and glowing with an inner light like a firefly on a gigantic, monstrous scale, a ruby red where one might expect the eyes to be. There were mandibles, flanges swept back from the hideous, obscene mouth-parts.

  It chittered. It shrilled.

  Now, at last, Carnacki moved. He jerked himself upright, sending his chair crashing. He faced the creature, this thing from an immeasurably ancient time. His bloodless lips twitched.

  The cabman hammered on the door. I can hear noises! I’ll call a policeman!

  With a paroxysm of myriad legs and that mighty tail the manifestation writhed up onto the table. Its oily black carapace banged against the ceiling. It spread the translucent membranes of its wings, sweeping the clutter of supper from the table, sending Jessop and Arkright reeling.

  The cabman was banging, yelling, screaming. No one and no thing in the back parlour of the little house in Putney spared him a moment’s thought. There was no room left for thought. The Saiitii, for such it surely was, occupied every last inch of the available space. And yet it was able to rear back, the ridge running down the centre of its backplate gouging a furrow in the plaster of the ceiling.

  Carnacki spread his arms impossibly wide. A great grin of delight broke across his haggard face.

  The
creature made a wheedling, triumphant squeal.

  Jessop felt his heart freeze in his chest.

  The racket out front fell silent.

  The creature tipped its bludgeon of a head. Its movement began at the end of its tail and flexed like a whip the length of its body. It fluttered its mouth parts. It hissed. It whooped.

  It pounced.

  About Roger Wood

  Roger has graduated four times from three different English universities and has a PhD in Radio Drama. He began work in the professional theatre and had three radio plays produced by the BBC – hence the choice of his doctoral research. He later became a local politician and advice centre manager. He now serves as a city magistrate.

  Connect with Roger online---

  Website: https://rogerwood2925.wordpress.com/

  Twitter: rogerwood2925

  PATASOLA

  "I awoke this morning with the realisation that I am losing my mind."

  Paris, 1893: Dr Gaston Daladier's friend and patient, the famous author G, has died. He has left Daladier a legacy - journals which start the good doctor on a quest. He begins to wonder, has he caught G's madness? Or is something
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