To She That Shall Come After,
If she reads these words, then she is born of the seed of old, and having looked back has found me, though she knows not what she sought. Greetings, daughter, for so I fancy I shall call you, though many generations have no doubt passed since my own firstborn girl-child has died, perhaps even in her own travail as so many of us have done - yet if she had not borne, then you yourself would not be here, and the thing will not have bred in the Outside Spheres, and all my efforts have been for naught.
Yet I err, for I wished to make these things plain where they had been cryptic for me, and yet lapse straight away into mysteries.
In my century and in my country, I was as women often are - a bargaining-chip in the lives of men, the womb-that-walks. Yet I was also the daughter of a ship captain, and raised with such erudition as those of my sex may be afforded, if they dared to press their fathers - and I did so dare. Yet there were things I did not learn until I had been married, and I do not mean the gross mysteries of procreation. My husband was not so unpleasant in these manners as he might have been, though I was not to him an equal, we shared a desire for books - and I became engrossed of his library, even to the works of Albertus Magnus, Geber, Paracelsus, Roger Bacon - the Qanoon-e-Islam, which is in truth the forbidden Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdullah al-Azrd, and and what may prove to be my salvation or my doom, the Kitāb al-‘Uzzá.
Much did my husband conceal from me, and much did he ignore me; for he was obsessed with generation by his own hand, and to him my womb was little more than a vessel, and alembic for some homoculus crafted by ancient formula. Yet we were wealthy after our fashion, and his curiosity brought him many things which he did not all take into great account, blinded as he was by his own focus. So it came that though the book of Aisha bint Suleiman ibn Qaroon al-Azrd came into his possession, he considered it but lightly, as a derivative of Abdullah al-Azrd, and at that focused on those things of the Mad Arab he had scant interest in. So I spent many hours with the book, and pondered deeply the forbidden sura:
“From the darkling daughter he is reborn / Iä! In her house dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”
The word 'panic' comes to us from Pan, the goat-footed god of ancient Greece, and described those sounds in the wood that frighten and inspire; so too did al-Azrd say that the al-Azif which filled parts of the Empty Quarter at night was the chitter of nocturnal insects, the chatter of demons that frightened the poor Bedouins in their cold deserts, who hunched over fires of cattle-dung. The sounds are of a piece, of a whole; the noise of humanity drowns out the voices from the Outside Spheres, but in the wilderness when the winds die and the animals halt their song, there may come at times a silence so profound that one almost hears the blood rush through their veins, the crackle of invisible fires along their nerves... and something may speak to you, at those times.
There was a wood on our property, where I was wont to go to be away. My husband was concerned with his own affairs, and cared not how I fared by day, so long as I stayed from his work. It was of wild growth, and had never been touched by axe, not even since the Indians came. I waited there, long hours over many days, and by candlelight at night I would read of the Kitab, and think much on what was said there, and took it together with that which was written in other books. I do not think I learned the truth from any of them - for there was much in error, and much that disagreed with the proof of my own senses - and there were matters of which even the intellect of my husband but dimly grasped as he begat his unholy experiments, and waited for my womb to quicken.
One day I heard it...in a moment of perfect peace and calm, the sun bright overhead, the mould of the earth in my nostrils...those sounds. It was not speech, as we know speech; yet there was a rising and a falling of tones, a pausing between segments, and certain reptitions of sounds. Some of this I recognized from the Kitab, and following the instructions I answered - for there was only one answer to give, a kind of surrender. Already my husband wished to use my body for his purposes, but I had conceived in myself a plan that borrowed on his own. To fulfill and subvert his sorcery at once: for even as he worked on sweaty summer nights to plant his seed within me, voice choked through incantations, face drawn in concentration as he held himself back from the pleasure of his furrowing to focus his thoughts, his spirit, to that one goal... so too did I do more than mere wifely duty, to direct my own spirit inward toward my waiting womb. When he released himself within me, and collapsed from his exertions, he had no thought that we were partners in a great necromantic enterprise. And when my belly swole with the fruit of our sorcerous union, he congratulated himself on his efforts, unaware of what I myself had opened myself up to in those dark woods.
To pledge myself by that which is called Pan, Ishnigarrab, Shub-Nikkurat... and in so doing, follow the parable of Cthylla, as laid down in the Kitab. To be reborn from my darkling daughter's womb, when the thing that I become had in time bred in the the Outer Spheres. Time is but one dimension, and we ourselves are but vibrations on the skin of the world...voices in the darkness. And when the stars are right, those voices can make themselves heard again...not loudly, no, not for us small things. Yet it can be felt in the blood, in the cells within the blood, in the tiny pieces of ourselves within each cell, that multiply forever unto each other. The echo of my climax that night in bed has moved across the surface of time, to affect that which is to come. Not much, for we are small things and our calls are soft, but if there is something there that is much alike, it can be made more alike... so daughter, when your mother drummed her heels on your father's backside, my cry found that union where her blood and your father's mixed...and made it me. Once more myself, in flesh at least. So you were born, my own image of myself.
Now stand you to make a choice, daughter. For as you have my form, you may yet have my wisdom, which dwells yet in the Outer Spheres, and waits to be called back. It will cling to you, like to like, if you but call it. Or ignore this, if you wish, but preserve it. For the echo of my call shall return in future ages, and another shall be borne of our line in our image...and another, and another, 'til the line has been severed.
- Eliza Tillinghast