Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

The Dinner Party

Posted by harmony0stars on March 6, 2010

When all had become clear again, he was alone. The circle was empty and the candles at the seven points of the heptagram lit the room with a cheery, if disappointing, glow. There was not even a lingering sulfurous stink as he had been led to expect from reading the pulps. He chucked the book and chalk across the room with a sob of frustration.

“Law-RENCE! What’s that noise up there? I heard a thud,” his mother’s shrill voice floated from downstairs.

Stalking to the door, he whipped it open and then said more submissively with his customary horrendous stutter, “Nuh-n-nothing, muh-muh-mother. Ah t-tripped.”

“Well, keep it down, young man. Your father and I will be entertaining shortly. Our guests do not need to be reminded of your presence.”

“Yuh-yes, ma’am.” He shut the door much more gently than he wished he might, picked up the book and chalk, and tiptoed back to his bed. Not for the first time, Lawrence railed against the stutter he had been cursed with since his first words. Not only did all of his classmates at school tease him about it, not only did it cause his mother to bar him from her fancy tea parties for fear he would embarrass the family (not that he would ever want to attend such boring events), but apparently he could not even employ black magic to right the injustices inflicted upon him by his treacherous tongue.

Whatever he had just summoned had been nothing recognizable and certainly nothing that seemed interested in hearing about his problems. Lying in the circle like a puddle of pea soup with eyes, it had merely bubbled in response to his attempts to communicate. In frustration, he had finally dismissed the thing with a few waves of his hands. What a complete waste of time!

It sure hadn’t looked how he’d imagined a shoggoth, not that he‘d had much of a description to go on. Well, he supposed it had had lots of eyes, but it had also been kind of dinky. Now all he had to show for his efforts was a circle the size of his open hand burned into the wood as if by acid and his mother mad at him, not that the latter was an uncommon occurrence. It seemed like she’d been mad at him since he first started talking. No doubt, he’d hear about it tomorrow at breakfast, and again when she chanced to noticed the scorched floorboards. Maybe he could find a throw rug in the attic, though the book he’d found there among his great grandfather’s things had been a total disappointment.

…or not…

Lawrence smiled smugly as he heard screams of terror and the clatter of his mother’s favorite soup tureen striking the floor. He sighed and bounced onto the foot of his bed as the thunder of panicked feet passed through the front door. The pea soup monster had understood his directions after all! He began to giggle madly as the house grew silent. Maybe a stutter wasn’t such a bad thing to have when trying to pronounce the glottal tongue of the Old Ones. He leaned back on his bed and began to page through the book at his leisure, confidently flipping the piece of chalk through his fingers.

Danielle would be so sorry she’d mocked him in homeroom this morning.

… he wondered what a flying polyp looked like.

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