As written by the users of GweepNets III & IV.
Proofed and LaTeXified by John Trussell. All relevant typographical errors preserved.
It was not a good day. Michael couldn't remember the last time he'd had a good day ... It seemed like all of the things that could possibly have gone wrong in his life had gotten together and decided to make him miserable. In the space of a week, his mother and two of his closest friends had been mysteriously killed, he'd been attacked by a demon, and the female population of the campus had begun actively avoiding him. Especially Thelma ...
Maybe it was a good thing that the semester had ended so soon afterward. At least the summer had been uneventful. Michael was thankful for that, but he really was glad to be back at school. It was ten o'clock now ... his father would just be getting home after driving him here ... Life wasn't so bad ... Things would be different this year ... Maybe he even had a chance with Thelma if he could find out what had gotten into her ... Michael stopped. (Did I mention that he'd been unpacking for five hours now?) ``I've gotta get some sleep. I can set up that damned computer in the morning.''
... little did he realize that Thelma was having similar thoughts.
Only, she had spent the last five hours unpacking and setting up her computer, digging out some games and hacking about local BBSs.
Thelma stopped. ``I've gotta get some sleep. I can unpack those damn clothes in the morning.''
... little did either of them realize that Herr Doctor Rufus Goerring (of course Thelma didn't know him, but that's ok) was also having similar thoughts.
Only, he'd been unpacking lots of books of the arcane, the occult, and computer engineering. Dr. Goerring was determined to make sure that what happened last semester never happened again. He'd given up his successful psychiatric practice, moved closer to the school that both Michael and Thelma attended, and set up residence in an old house reputed to be an ancient meeting site of devil worshippers. Atmosphere was definitely what he needed for his studies. After five hours of sorting through the texts, however, he was ready to collapse.
``I'll unpack those damn bedclothes in the morning,'' he thought. He fell asleep in his suit.
Meanwhile, miles away, Sylvia, Thelma's friend, stirred between her silken sheets, slowly awakening. She slowly opened her eyes, pulling back a bit at the harsh light still filtering in between the venetian blinds. She shaded her eyes and squinted, reaching for the bar that would close the gap between the thin slats of metal.
The room now darkened, she slid from bed and stood before her mirror, pushing her dark hair back from her eyes. She noted, as did most people upon the first meeting, her uncanny resemblance to Winona Ryder. Finally, she turned away and stumbled into the bathroom for a shower.
Several minutes later, she towelled herself off vigorously and pulled the black robes over her naked form. She strode downstairs toward the altar room, taking the black candles from the cupboards on the way by. She reached the red-and-black-curtained room, grasped a squirming animal from the cage in the corner, and, with a few deft slices of a knife she had left on the altarside the day before, had handily disembowelled the furry lemming. She poked at the entrails, noting with interest that they were tied into square knots and bowlines.
``Well,'' she said out loud, ``this bodes not well.''
Morning ... bright, shiny, cheerful ...
Michael and Thelma wake up, get dressed, and go to their respective Dining Facilities. Michael sees something somewhat familiar swimming in his scrambled eggs, but can't quite identify it.
Herr Doctor walks down to the local Greasy Spoon, and eats lots of ham, eggs, and coffee. (Yes, he eats the coffee.)
Sylvia gets hit in the face by the morning sun (no, not the tabloid), grumbles a while. ``Mmmmrrbmrbmbrm fucking photons mmbrmbmrbmrbr,'' rolls over, and goes back to sleep.
Michael spent most of the morning unpacking his computer. In his mind, he still didn't connect this machine with the hideous events of last summer. He'd never completely grasped the events of
At this time, we interrupt this story for the time honored tradition of interrupting the story. The incredible gaffe of posting that last unfinished bit is, to my mind, the perfect impetus for this interruption. For those of you new to this form of storytelling, the interruption is provided to help the author get over writer's block of a specific type. The specific type of writer's block we have in mind is the sort where the author or authors have a next scene in mind, but have no idea ``how to get there from here.''
Here's how it works. Some omnipotent narrator type shows up, babbles on for a few screens about anything that comes to mind, although usually it has something to do with the writing style of the particular piece, or some other Python-esque comments about the saga itself. Then after a suitable amount of this, the author ends the interruption, and writes the scene he had in mind. It is assumed that the action getting from the scene before to the scene after took place during the interruption. It's sort of like watching your favorite show and having it interrupted by a news announcement about the invasion of Somalia. You know how it is.
Anyway, I'd just like to point out that that last bit of writing was an example of the most incompetent type of bbs user. Posting a message that you haven't finished writing yet, that's not right. Your father doesn't do that, your brothers don't do that. You're like a crazy person, and oh, I see that I have seemed to talked long enough to reach the next scene.
Michael and Thelma locked in a passionate embrace. Michael, entirely wrapped up in the moment, had nothing else on his mind; but Thelma, who was expecting to be somewhere else entirely, cast a wary eye at the narrator and wished he'd at least given her some time to prepare for this moment. She hoped and prayed that the narrator would send a rampaging horde through the quad, or get a comet to collide with the Earth, something to interrupt them.
Her prayers were answered, when suddenly ...
Thelma and Michael looked out the window, Michael frowning slightly.
``Well, I had actually expected a larger horde,'' began Thelma, watching the four burly men with axes bounding around on the grass of the quad, ``but they do seem to be rampaging.''
Michael just watched and blinked his eyes rapidly and irregularly, still frowning slightly. Thelma watched in trepidation for a minute, and then he shook his head, exhaled, and pulled her to him again.
``Now,'' he said, ``where were we?''
``I believe you had your tongue down my throat, and was about to say something about how beautiful I am ...''
``No, that wasn't it.''
``Then maybe you were going to videotape me running across the Quad wearing nothing but a fur bikini.''
``No, that wasn't it either.''
``Then maybe you were going to move away from this wiGOLP! burbleburlendow,'' as a large axe flies through the window, striking Thelma right between the shoulder blades, and killing the ONLY LIKABLE CHARACTER!!
``You bastard,'' screams one marauding hordesman to another, ``You're s'posed to rape the women, not cut them down!''
``Sorry, Bob, it's my first day ...''
Michael stared at the printout in disbelief. He was pretty sure that what he'd typed had been the story of his love for Thelma. He was also pretty sure that the story had not involved her being cut down with a battle-axe ...
After a short mental exercise which consisted mainly of an attempt to produce the vilest possible curse he could (``damn piece of electronic shit,'' for the curious, Michael being rather pure of mind), he calmed down. Maybe this was for the better ... Someone up there was trying to tell him he was going about it wrong. The letter had been too much ... He decided to talk to her in person, and to take things more slowly ...
Meanwhile, Sylvia was standing in line to make course changes when it hit her. No, not a battle-axe, a realization. The small intestine had been wrapped around the left kidney and secured with an overhand knot ... Someone was trying to open a dimentional portal nearby! Probably the same one who'd caused all that beautiful chaos last semester! She would have to find it, and ... She realized that she'd lost her place in line by standing still for so long. Ah well, registration would not take much longer. And then she'd have plenty of time to find the portal. Sylvia got back in line ...
Back in his dorm room, Michael finished signing a handwritten letter addressed to Sylvia. He thought a handwritten letter would go over better with Sylvia -- after all, she was the earthy type, and probably not too fond of blocky computer type. (The man who had sold him the computer had assured him that before long everything would be printed in Optical Character Recognition characters ... Sadly, this was not yet the case, and all of his printouts looked like they belonged in 60's SF films.) He licked and sealed the envelope, and was halfway downstairs when he realized he had forgotten to address it or put a stamp on it; and, in fact, to even put the letter inside the envelope. He muttered something incoherent and began stomping back upstairs, before remembering that this was his last envelope. Time to go get some more ... A trip to Envelope-O-Rama was in order!
Meanwhile, Sylvia was consulting several other oracular methods. Her Tarot cards had revealed a full house and several of the more embarrassing Major Arcana, the Ouija board had gone on and on about her bathing habits (``Have to have a word with those restless spirits,'' she mused. ``They're getting a bit too restless for my taste.''), and the runes had all fallen off the table and gotten lost in the carpet. And since she only drank herbal teas, well, that was right out. Finally, she took out a compass, rubbed it 23 times backwards with a piece of wood, and took it out to survey the city. After following the pointer for several miles, she realized she had finally tracked the source of the disturbance down to its source: Envelope-O-Rama.
Something terrifying was happening within the glossy paper-lined doors of the envelope shop, and Sylvia knew that she was the one to stop it. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite fast enough to stop Michael from entering ...
``Hi ... I'd like one doubly recycled envelope. As used as possible.'' Michael was wondering what he was doing here ... Why he had suddenly decided to blow off Thelma for Sylvia, would she have him, and What about Scarecrow's brain.
``Well, this one's new, but I could tread on it a few times.''
`` sigh. Yeah, I guess that'll do.''
``Ooooooook ... the customer's always right (no matter how wrong he is) ... I'll just drop this envelope on the ground and ... OH MY GOD.''
``What?!? WHAT IS IT?!'' says Michael with all the cool of a poorly adjusted Vietnam Vet.
``IT'S THE HUGEST FUCKING COCKROACH I'VE EVER SEEN!!!''
``Hi, I'm Joey, Joey the Cockroach, mind if I just come through here?''
``Michael, calm down!'' Both customer and sales clerk turned to look at the woman who'd just come in the door. It was Sylvia, her robe cast off to reveal tight jeans and a t-shirt, barely visible underneath the belts of ammunition and the WICKED NASTY GUN FROM ALIENS HELL (tm). [You know the type, Huge caliber gun duct taped to a flamethrower, and if that's not enough, a grenade launcher bolted on.] ``Back away, let me take care of this.''
Michael and the envelope salesman backed against the wall, whilst (whilst?) Joey the Cockroach leaped over the counter. ``You think you can take me on? You've got another think coming!'' That said, he launched himself through the air at Sylvia; simultaneously, Sylvia ducked to the left, and fired both barrels of her weapon at the beast ...
The hammering shards of explosive-tipped metal speared through the chitonous carapace of the immense insect as it launched itself toward Sylvia. A gout of flame from the 'thrower burst around the creature as it twisted under the onslaught of firepower. With a muffled thump, Sylvia curved an ivory finger around the trigger of the grenade launcher and fired a round into the flaming arthropod. With a burst of light, the shell detonated, sending chunks of cockroach everywhere in the room and coating everyone present with a thin film of brownish liquid. When the dust settled, Michael could see the shattered exoskeleton steaming in the center of the room, and a very satisfied-looking Sylvia bringing her weaponry into a ready position.
The huge beast was dead.
``You know,'' said Sylvia as she pushed a new shell into the chamber of the grenade launcher, ``I'm all for loving your fellow creatures, but oog!'' She shuddered. ``That's just plain icky!''
It was just then that, unfortunately for our heroes, the wall exploded. Well, it didn't actually explode, it was just that a portal to an alternate dimension opened up; and, since it was a portal to a particularly violent dimension, it appeared to be exploding. Sylvia turned to aim her weapon as a HUGE HIDEOUS MUTANT HELL BEAST FROM THE COSMIC VOID stepped out. She opened fire, but the bullets merely bounced off. The creature reached out with a huge claw, and slapped the gun across the room.
Suddenly defenseless, Sylvia fell back on a time honored tradition of feminine heroes. She screamed. A lot. Very loudly. The store clerk covered his ears. Michael stared in abject terror.
The beast spoke. ``I AM GRAVIMETRICDAR! THE DEMON GOD OF FALSE SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES. IT WAS I THAT CAUSED THE APPLE TO FALL ON GALILEO'S HEAD, THUS DISTRACTING HIM AND MAKING HIM FORGET THE CONCEPT OF THE TELESCOPE. I ALONE AM PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR HOLDING BACK SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT FOR GENERATIONS!''
Michael gaped. Sylvia continued to scream. The store clerk gibbered. His ears began to bleed. The beast scooped up Sylvia and turned towards the portal. ``I CLAIM THIS MORTAL AS MY OWN. FOLLOW ME IF YOU DARE!'' he said, as he stepped through the dimensional inter-space that covered the store wall. As he walked into the distance, the portal irised shut behind him, leaving only a poster board display. Michael stared.
On another part of the city, somewhere around Route 12, a car was in motion. This was not unusual, and in no way was it connected to any kind of inter-dimensional interfacing, for there were many other cars moving on the road alongside it. This car moved under the power of an internal combustion engine which injected fuel into a specific place, then compressed and exploded it, thus causing another piece to move, and eventually caused wheels to turn.
TURNING WHEELS ...
This car was making its way to Arkhamville, a well-known if not well-liked New England city. Industry had come and gone to this now decaying mini-metropolis, leaving behind it a trail of old belts, gears, crumbling brick, railroad lines and abandoned buildings that could be said to resemble the remains of a creature long dead, or the shell of an insect that had molted long ago.
MOLTED SHELL ...
The car was a Yugo.
YOU GO IN A YUGO ...
A man was driving this car. This was not much of a surprise in one sense, since usually when cars move there is a person inside causing it to move in the way the person wants. What was perhaps surprising to some was the fact that it was indeed a man driving, and not a woman, though why this would be no one can know for sure. Eventually, the man in the car reached the place he was going to. He got out of the car, since that is what people usually do when the car stops. He looked around, and seeing nothing interesting in particular, decided to step forward. He then spoke aloud and said something vitally important that would not be resolved until the end of this saga, but unfortunately he was sucked into a gravitational fluctuation of the nearby dimensional gateway and mooshed into something vaguely recognizable as a jell-o mold.
This does not usually happen in Arkhamville.
``In other news today, a man was mysteriously destroyed in Arkhamville, Massachusetts. He was walking across the street when he was suddenly, according to eye witnesses, `mashed into something resembling a bowl of jell-o.' Police have now identified this man as Doctor Rufus Goerring, a psychologist of some reknown in the area. Last year ...''
The television clicked off.
``Good heavens, what did you do that for, Turkles? It was just getting interesting.''
Turkles turned to his erstwhile companion, Dr. Whiplash. ``Doctor Goerring was the man we were here to see.''
``What horrible luck! Any idea what it was about?''
``No, but I have my suspicions. I think the only thing we can do now is follow up on the only lead we have. Earlier this year, Dr. Goerring got involved in a little bit of trouble involving a young student at one of the local colleges. His name was Michael, and I think it's time we payed him a visit.''
``What the hell,'' said Michael, eyeing the two oddly-dressed figures standing outside the door to his apartment, ``are they supposed to be?''
``I sure don't know,'' replied Thelma, squinting and turning her head on the side to look at them, ``but their auras are blazing something fierce!''
``Should I let them in?''
``Sure.'' She shrugged, in an astounding application of alliteration. ``Why not?''
With some trepidation, Michael pushed the button to unlock the downstairs door. As the buzzer downstairs sounded, Thelma was amused to see the two men jump back. The shorter of the two, who was wearing some unusually-striped jodhpurs and an orange smoking jacket, actually fell over backwards. The taller one, who was clad in a long white coat, reached into his pocket with one hand, making some sort of warding symbol with the other. When it became obvious that the door wasn't going to attack them, the taller helped the shorter to his feet and pulled at the door, which, unsurprisingly, opened.
``Weird,'' muttered Michael, as Thelma listened at the door to try to catch any of the pair's conversation as they came up the stairs.
Almost simultaneously with the knocking at the door, an explosion from the kitchen sent the refrigerator flying through the dividing wall.
Later that day ...
``Sorry I don't have any milk for the tea ... the fridge, you know.''
``Quite all right, young man. I don't like milk in my tea anyhow.''
Strange, thought Turkles, Doc always gets mad when I forget the milk in his tea. Why the change of heart?
``So your name is Whiplash. That's a rather unusual surname.''
``It's Scottish Turkish. My mother was from Denmark.''
``Ah, I see,'' said Michael, who felt utterly confused and foolish, probably because of the strange events that occurred earlier, though there's no way to know for certain. ``Now what of Dr. Goeller? You said something about an accident?''
``Weeeeell, not quite. Did you know the Doctor well? I mean, very well?''
``Um, not in that way, if that's what you mean. He was just my advisor -- that's all, I swear!''
Turkles spoke up. ``Easy, Michael, we're not the Spanish Inquistition.''
``NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!'' yelled a booming voice from behind Turkles.
It was of course Thelma, carrying a small silver tray of hors d'ouerves that could be said to resemble small avian tree-dwellers of the species desiderata, if you're that sort of person.
``Now, hon, I know you like British humor, but there's no need to impose it on our guests.''
Turkles looked out of the corner of his eye, and saw Dr. Whiplash cringe with trepidation. A small trickle of sweat ran down the side of his temple ...
``INFIDEL!! I WILL KILL YOU!'' screamed Turkles as he leapt upon the hapless doctor, pulling a long silvery scimitar from his orange smoking jacket and plunging it into the heart of what appeared to be Dr. Whiplash. Long green tentacles erupted from the thing's mouth as it screamed and reached for Turkles's appendages. He pushed harder on the knife's hilt, making a strange cracking noise, and as purple blood gushed from the heinous wound, the creature ended its struggles.
``Damn. They got Doc,'' Turkles turned his head towards Michael. ``Kid, it's worse than we thought. Listen to me -- did Goeller tell you something last year, something he told you never to tell anyone?''
``Well yes, he said ...''
``SHUT UP!!! You can't tell anyone! Don't go around blabbing stuff like that! You don't know what could happen. I've seen it -- it's not pretty.''
Thelma twitched once, then pelted out a horrible scream of pure terror.
``Now, dear. Take it easy ...''
``MICHAEL! HE JUST STABBED ... SOMETHING ... ON OUR LIVING ROOM COUCH! HOW CAN YOU BE SO CALM!!??!!''
``Well, when you stare into the face of GRAVIMETRICDAR ...''
Turkles's mouth formed a small ``o'', and his eyes widened. ``No ...'' he whispered.
Then Thelma's hair caught fire.