Every time brings me back to that first time. Alone in a darkened basement with all the props and trappings of the old ritual. The stale smell of sage covering hemp and other inhalants. The music was a droning beat of heavy metal noise through cracking speakers. The tump-tump-tumping seemed synched to me heart. All alone in my private space. The posters on the wall a circle of protection. Cannibals. Corpses. Slayers. The kiddie pool of Satanism standing vanguard as I made that initial descent. To write the sigils into my own flesh with a kitchen knife and a ballpoint pen. Tighten the belt just a little. One notch beyond the choking game. Cock hard and quivering with something besides sexual excitement. I found myself falling backwards.
Down through the sea. As the light faded from my vision from blue-green to grey to black. Pressure pain in my ears as I worked my jaw. Things swam past me. Real but unseen. Their bodies created motions in the water. Patterns against the currents. I was falling with a rain of shit. The detritus of all the things that had died above me suspended in the water. Fish that had just stopped swimming one day. Bits of seaweed. Flakes of shark skin. All the crap of the upper waters in an endless grey settling. Its where these things lived. What they fed on. What they swam in. The first realization: just like us.
I was past the point of buoyancy. Lungs screamed as the weight fell on me. Dragging me deeper. Into the abyss.
Low oxygen near the ocean floor. The light of the sun blocked by all the crap from above. Cold but not lifeless. Far from lifeless. Strange things flourish unseen in the sediments. No plants. Eat or be eaten. You will be eaten anyway. Someday. The second realization: this is why it lives here. This is the most alien place on the planet. The closest thing it has to home on that distant star.
Then I see it. Vast and impossible. My vision is dim. It doesn't move like I thought it would. No endoskeleton or exoskeleton. The mountain doesn't walk towards me. Churning up the ocean bottom. Filtering the strange life down there to fuel its own needs. The mountain squirms and heaves. Tentacles. It's made of tentacles. One of them reaches out towards me. Looking for an entrance into my skin. I open my mouth - to scream or pray - and it takes the welcoming orifice. Swallows me from the inside out.
These days I know better. No more mucking about with oxygen deprivation and drugs. The tattoos on my wrists have faded to grey-blue blobs. My co-workers barely register them against my smile. Maintain eye contact. Nod. Ask about the kids. Turn their interest back towards their selves. It's easy for them to forget.
But now I can reach R'lyeh in seconds. Center myself. Close my eyes. Find my way back. Empty myself to be filled again. When these eyes open again it is not my staring back through them. Just the tentacle. The smallest pseudopod of his majesty dressed in a skin suit. An alien predator among all the pink screaming blobs. The perfect camouflage. Smile and nod. They don't recognize the threat display. Senses on the lookout for prey. The tentacle gets a reputation for having an eye for detail. Thinking outside the box but practical. A certain underhint of ruthlessness that solicits noises of approval from management. Scavengers who think themselves predators who recognize the carrion-scent of its thoughts.
When the day is done. The tentacle withdraws. Leaving me empty once again. Just a shell. Hollowed out a little more. Waiting to be ridden again.