In medias res. I am running
through the forest, fear coursing through my body, limbs tearing at my face,
and an uncertain darkness behind me. The cave was there, despite the hopes that
it was all a farce of reason. Not a big cave; just a void in the rocks. A
blotch of the world that portends doom. A hole in the universe that cannot
truly be empty. The Murklor lives there. As I stood pondering the veracity of
my senses before the blank space of the rocks, I heard a chittering followed by
a deep moan. I staggered backwards and then heard a sickly, wet slithering.
Now, I’m running from madness.
Backstory of my life. From an aspiring artist to broken man in 8 easy steps. 1. Choose to have a passion as a sculptor – that is, a guarantee of poverty and obscurity. 2. Meet a girl and fall in love in art school. 3. Get married and realize that your welding skills are only useful for earning money by getting a construction job. 4. Have children and place all of your time and passion for art in the remotest corner of your life. 5. Fall off of a scaffolding and shatter your pelvis and five vertebrae. 6. Get addicted to pain pills while you suffer through three surgeries and eke out a living from worker’s comp payments. 7. Augment the pill addiction with alcohol and chain smoking to help drown the sorrows of your pathetic life. 8. Push your wife to the edge with your self-loathing, addiction, and poverty until she divorces you and takes your kids.
That was three years ago. What we like to call “rock bottom”. The last three years weren’t exactly sunshine and candy canes either. But that is really where the path to the Murklor begins.
What does rock bottom look like? Let me show you while Jim Morrison serenades us.
Well, I've been
down so Goddamn long that it looks like up to me
Well, I've been down so very damn long that it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don't one you people c'mon and set me free
Sloppy drunk in some hole-in-the-wall bar off the side of the highway. Some redneck trucker sits beside me as we both try to outdrink each other way too early in the day. Most of the conversation is inane blather about sports or women or crude jokes that are full of machismo and a show of masculinity that would give two bulls in a standoff a run for their money. I make some errant comment that questions his boasting manhood and things spiral quickly out of control. The next thing I know, I’m out in the parking lot and we’re cursing each other while he rolls up his sleeves above his trucker’s tan. My drunken mouth continues full barrel even while a part of me knows I ain’t got a chance in hell against this behemoth of a guzzler. He swings a haymaker and I feel like I dodge it but the whiskey ensures my reflexes are as thick as mud. Bam! To the ground I crumple and he throws in a few kicks from his pointy-toed cowboy boots just make sure I get the message. A few onlookers snicker and escort the burly trucker back inside while I curl up and bleed.
I said, warden, warden, warden won't you break your lock and key
I said, warden, warden, warden won't ya break your lock and key
Yeah, come along here, mister c'mon and let the poor boy be
Drunk, high, and feeling like being alone is the last thing I need, I decide that it’s a right genius idea to go see Jess and the kids. It’s been weeks and for some reason, I’m 100% sure that she is missing me and ready to welcome me in and have a good time. As I come careening into the driveway, a wave of confusion washes over me as I try to figure out whose blue Dodge is parked at my house – well, I believe it’s still my house regardless of what some ten-dollar-word-spouting judge might say. As my liquor-addled brain grapples with this new information, I come to the obvious conclusion that Jess has herself a new beau. My mood goes from a horny green to a red stick of dynamite in zero to sixty flat. What follows is a blur of screaming, door pounding, window punching, Jess screaming, kids crying, sirens wailing, hurled slurs, scuffling, a police baton, and off I go cuffed and stuffed to spend the night in the slammer.
Baby, baby, baby won't you get down on your knees
Baby, baby, baby won't you get down on your knees
C'mon little darlin' c'mon and give your love to me, oh yeah
I’m crawling across the bed of some shit-hole, seedy motel towards the hooker whose about to give me the best night I’ve had in weeks. She takes a long drag of her cigarette and goes over the terms of our business deal one more time. I assure her that I’m good for the money. She reiterates the terms so I pull out my wallet, pull out the bills and fling them across the bed. Satisfied, she gets up to get a drink from the bottle that I’ve already knocked a considerable dent in – the second bottle, I should say. She knocks back a swallow and comes to the bed. Heavy handed and a little too aggressive, I try to help her undress. Later, after growing furious with embarrassment and frustration, I scream at her to just take the fuckin’ money and get out even though I was too drunk to get it up.
Well, I've been down so Goddamn long that it looks like up to me
Well, I've been down so very damn long that it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don't one you people c'mon, c'mon, c'mon and set me free
The long slow road out of Hell is not a straight climb. It entails a lot of backtracking and false roads that lead to dead ends. For every five steps gained, there is another three steps back. It entails such pride-eroding things such as hearings before a judge, jail time, court ordered addiction treatment, supervised visits from the Department of Human Services, divorce court hearings, and, my personal favorite, mental health sessions. Dr. Lisa Carlson had been my counselor for the past several years while I slowly and painfully put the broken pieces of my life back into some kind of semblance of normalcy. And so now we come to the real part where our story begins. The part I’ll call the “first session”. Of course, it wasn’t our first session together; but it was the first session where she used hypnotherapy to try and see if it would yield favorable results for my struggle with addiction.
The goal was to have me enter a relaxed state where she would ask a series of questions about the root causes of my addictions and then give me a series of subconscious commands that would, over time, help me to overcome those urges. I listened to her soothing voice as she talked me through several exercises designed to slip me out of a conscious state and into a deep trance-like state. It was truly relaxing and I felt as though I were being drawn into a warm cocoon of bliss with layer upon layer of silky wrappings enfolding me one atop the other. Deeper and deeper I fell into warm, cozy nothingness. And then the next thing I remember is waking violently as the tentacles of the Merklor began to dig through the shells of the cocoon trying to reach me.
I found myself writhing and screaming upon the couch in Dr. Carlson’s office as if I were trying to throw off the grasp of some unseen foe. As I gained my senses and realized where I was, I looked at Dr. Carlson and froze in terror. She sat looking at me with the exact same expression upon her own face.
“Mr. Fox, sometimes experiences are so traumatic that we lack the ability to cope with them. The mind can’t adequately process the trauma and pushes the experience into the far corners of memory and down deep in the subconscious. It’s a survival technique that humans have evolved. But even though these memories are repressed, the trauma still exerts a negative influence upon our psyche. They create an imbalance, or pressure, that must be relieved through other avenues of the mind. They manifest in thought patterns, bad habits, self-destructive beliefs, dysfunctional behavior, nightmares, or feelings of guilt.
“Many times, the root cause of alcohol and drug dependency can be found in trauma that has been repressed within the subconscious. In many studies of veterans of war and survivors of car wrecks, the subjects had completely blocked the memories of the traumatic events. Like I said, it’s a survival mechanism that we inherited through our evolution. An artifact of the mind.
“When I placed you in a hypnotic state, I had a straight line to your subconscious mind. I could converse with the part of you that is no longer hiding behind the wall of self-preservation. Usually, the subconscious merely reports the details of traumatic events with no emotional attachment and this allows the therapist to gather information that can be directed in a controlled manner during regular therapy sessions.
“But, your case is different. The other day when I hypnotized you, you encountered a trauma so raw, so visceral, that it shocked you out of your hypnotic state. Whatever your trauma was, it was bad. Honestly, I’ve never seen someone react to their repressed trauma the way you did. It was if you were reliving the experience.
“I don’t even know exactly what is was, either. It was like you were being attacked by someone or something. Mr. Fox, you were screaming at it. You called it The Murklor. Does that mean anything to you?
Mr. Fox, are you alright?”
Murklor. The word crept around the corners of my brain for days since the first session. A gnawing, ever-present word that transformed and changed. Knowing the name had unlocked something deep within me. It had set things in motion. It inspired, bewildered, and left me feeling nauseous and mentally drained. It alluded to too many unpleasant ideas. It twisted the chains of thought back upon themselves and turned them into dirty, filthy non-sense. It “told” me strange things in many strange ways – like why is the root of terrible and terrific the same but one means fearful and the other means exhilarated? Terror lives even in the good times. It was deep and full like sub-bass groans that resonated in your chest cavity. It was flitting and sneaky like insects within shadows. It was mocking and irreverent like buffoons or jesters. It was downright evil like a serial killer with a high IQ. It was tall and grim like the undertaker of a dark, Western town. It was all that is wrong with the edges of a sinister world. Grimy, shadowy words latched onto the word Murklor leaving slime trails throughout my brain. I knew that there was a struggle brewing. A dark storm building in my life. But somewhere deep down in the bowels of the tempest resided a grotesque and misshapen mollusk with a pearl within it. And as I pried my way into that glimmer of light in the oceanic depths, the name hummed and thrummed like a chant of the Black Mass. Designed to instill fear, it was atomically just a word. Just a name. And I clutched onto that pearl of knowledge because my only true hope to escape the leviathan was to believe that by knowing the true name of something, is to possess the key to its power. Little did I know at that time that the Murklor knew my true name much more intimately and thoroughly than I could ever know its true name. In short, I was a damned, doomed fool.
The Nightmares are to be mentioned now. It is their turn to take the stage in this tragedy. The play would not be complete without their little number. And what a motley cast of performers they are, too. You’d think their costumes would be dark grays and blacks, but, no, they are actually an eclectic play of houndstooth, paisley, Jacobean, argyle, plaid, and herringbone, just to name a few. The Nightmares, with their skeletal faces, do bring things that are dark and gray and black and rotten and then the performance turns from burlesque to horror in no time flat.
The cave is a recurring motif, for sure. I mean, it wouldn’t be the Murklor’s handiwork if the cave weren’t a prominent feature of the plotless plot that is a bad dream. Most times I’m outside of it gazing at its limitless darkness. Other times, I’m just inside the mouth struggling to make my eyes adjust to something that is felt but not seen. And on a couple of occasions, I’ve been a feature of the wall – like a fly wrapped in a spider’s sticky web.
The groping appendage is a favorite of the Murklor, too. Most times, it’s a sickly, wet tentacle. Sometimes it’s an insect-like feeler with stiff hairs and pointy, bifurcated claws. It could be dead tree limbs, knotty roots, or thorny brambles. One time it was curling, elegant wisps or fog. The effect is usually the same, though.
Finally, there’s the voice. Not really a recognizable voice, but a sound of something inhuman, alien, and foreign. More of a sound that shouldn’t be. A language of madness. The communications of something so strange to the human idea of language that one is left feeling insignificant and frail before it. The best way I can describe it is what a human voice sounds like to an ant as the human crouches over the ant and narrates the act of squashing it.
I never see the end of their performance. I never get the plot, just the story arc. I never get a coherent whole. Just flashes, snippets, images, and vague feelings. I wake violently and then proceed to sit struggling with the demons of addiction. For it is at those times that I could use a good drink or a calming drug the most.
Dr. Carlson: “Ken, I want you to
close your eyes and relax. Turn loose now, relax. Let a good, pleasant feeling
flow all across your body. Let every muscle and every nerve grow loose and
limp. You feel warm and soft like melting chocolate. Beginning from your head,
your face, your neck; every muscle is relaxing. Continue down your body, your
arms, chest, and back are sinking into the couch. Your legs and feet are going
limp. All your weight is being supported by the couch because all of your
muscles are completely relaxed.
“Now just concentrate on the flow of your breathing. The rhythm of each inhalation and exhalation is deep and relaxing. Let your mind slip into the stream of the rhythm of your breathing. Droopy, drowsy, and sleepy. Calm, relaxed, and peaceful. Whatever happens you will not be harmed. You’re in a calm, safe place and your emotions are at peace. You’re detached from anything that happens like a disembodied spirit watching with no fear of being touched or harmed.”
Dr. Carlson: “Ken, when you were younger, was there somewhere close to where you lived that had woods and a cave?”
Ken: “Yes, we lived close to a state park. There were lots of woods that all the neighborhood kids played in. And there were lots of hills and rock formations. The deeper into the park you went, the more mountainous the woods became. I wasn’t allowed to go too far into the forest, but I did it anyway. That’s how I discovered the cave. It was a scary place and I don’t want to talk about it.”
Dr. Carlson: “You don’t have to talk about it, but I think it will help. You’re in a safe place and there is nothing in the woods or the cave that can hurt you now. Was there someone in the cave that hurt you?”
Ken: “Yes. The Murklor. But I don’t like talking about him.”
Dr. Carlson: “And who or what was the Murklor?”
Ken: “He’s the darkness. The mouth of madness. He’s the personification of the abyss. The voice in your head that poisons your soul. He’s the one who wraps his long, thin tentacles around your body and makes you create. He’s the demon muse that drives you to the heights of artistic beauty and then demands that you repay him with blood and misery. He’s the conductor. He’s some strange entity that came down from the oceans of oblivion to lurk and wait for the moment to infect like a malignant tumor that will spread over the minds of its hosts. He’s the morphing, changing face of evil that is always nearby. He’s the creature in the labyrinth who is just around the corner while you run frantically like a mad rat. He’s insanity incarnate! He’s the face of hell – “
Dr. Carlson: “Mr. Fox! Calm down, Mr. Fox! It’s alright.”
Ken: “He’s manipulation and malicious misery! He’s the creature under the bed, the troll under the bridge, the spider in the web – “
Dr. Calrson: “Mr. Fox! Wake up, Mr. Fox! You are awake!”
Ken: “He’s the voice in the killer’s head! He’s . . . He’s . . . Of, God! Where am I? What is this place?”
Dr. Carlson: “It’s alright, Ken. You’re in my office and everything is alright.”
Ken: “I’m alright?”
Dr. Carlson: “Yes, Ken. Everything is alright. You were re-experiencing a bad memory. But it’s just a memory.”
Ken: (laughing crazily) “Oh, Lisa, don’t you see? He is real.”
It was obvious that Dr. Lisa Carlson was in over her head. I was next referred to Dr. Seamus McGrath. He wanted me to go into an inpatient program that he would oversee. Great, another 21-day program that yields nothing but frustration. Let me tell you how these things go. The staff is so busy that they have no time to talk to you one-on-one. They medicate you to calm you down and you’re basically just a walking zombie whose moods have been so chemically neutralized that you don’t really care that you’re being shunned by the staff. They put you in the company of other people you find just as equally medicated but find just as irritating as the overburdened staff. You’re expected to participate in group sessions where you have no good reason to talk about yourself with complete strangers and when you are forced to answer a question you feel isolated and unfairly exposed. You don’t really care what others are going through because you don’t know them and you’re dealing with your own crap. In the end, you just tell the staff what they want to hear so you can get the hell out of the program. But Dr. McGrath was different.
He actually spent time with me one-on-one. He asked the right sorts of questions. He actually listened to my responses. He was keen. He was good at what he did. He approached my case as if he were trying to solve a great mystery. He knew the methods and tools to access the deepest reaches of the mind without having to use hypnosis or other crude trickery. Where Dr. Carlson was doing psychotherapy with a mallet, Dr. McGrath was doing it with a laser scalpel.
Which is to say that he managed to gain access into the lair of the Murklor. It was a place he had not bargained for. It most certainly was a place I never wanted to return to. I had repressed it from all of my conscious memory. What he uncovered there was twisted, dark, and disturbing. Things that he never expected to encounter. Things that would haunt his dreams as well. The Murklor would do its damage on his psyche as well before things were done. In essence, Dr. McGrath was in over his head too. But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?
“Did you ever take anyone else to see the cave where the Murklor lived?”
That one simple sentence was like opening a floodgate. Dr. McGrath posed it and then just sat back and waited while I reeled from the bombardment of childhood memories that swarmed through my brain.
We waited till after lunch to meet up at the edge of the woods on the trail. Our parents wouldn’t expect us home until dinner time so that gave us a good five hours to make it to the cave and back. I was the one who discovered the cave; Eric and Nate hadn’t been there yet. I had actually been to the cave several times. I didn’t tell them about the Murklor. The Murklor had told me that he wanted to introduce himself in his own way. Left to his own devices, Eric would have never gone for this excursion. The only reason he was going was because Nate and I had insisted. He had voiced all manner of reservations and reasons why it was a bad idea, but, in the end, we drug him along. Nate, on the other hand, was all in. He was the most rebellious one of us and when I had brought it up, he was ready to leave immediately. I was the one who had to convince him that we should wait till after lunch so that our parents wouldn’t get suspicious.
Eric, always the thinker, had brought a backpack with a bottle of water and some snacks. He acted as if we were going on a two-day journey. The only thing Nate brought was a small radio. He was the music lover of the group and liked to have his rock ‘n roll wherever he went. I brought a hatchet and a flashlight. The two looked at the hatchet questioningly as I met them at the trail head. “The cave isn’t on any trail,” I explained. “The woods get pretty thick leading to it and we’ll need to clear a path.”
“Then how did you find it?” Eric asked.
“I was lost. I was trying to get up the rocks to get a better view of the park so I could find the trail again when I stumbled across it,” I lied, but it sounded good enough to keep them from prying further.
“Well, then, let’s get going,” Nate said turning on his radio.
We walked and talked and joked and sang and the afternoon was warm and pleasant. When we got to the place where we left the trail I deliberately took a path I hadn’t taken before so I could keep up the ruse of using the hatchet to clear limbs from our path. As we got close to the cave there was a change in the atmosphere. Suddenly the aura became somber. A shadow passed over the forest and things felt chillier and the trees pressed upon us more. The strains of Pink Floyd’s Careful with that Axe Eugene filled the air giving the scene a surreal vibe.
We stood before the cave opening and the Murklor hissed. I sensed Eric’s unease but Nate kept up a show of bravado. The Murklor stirred its appendages and a sticky, slithering sound escaped the darkness. I think Eric would have run at that point but I stood behind him urging him forward. Banded together, our fears were harder to act upon. It’s odd how the company of others will do that. Our trio edged into the cave mouth with the flashlight thrust before us like a mighty sword. The Murklor was not the least bit intimidated by us. If anything, he found us amusing.
A low, rumbling chuckle flowed down the passageway as the Murklor came to greet its new guests.
The music starts with the bass guitar playing a D note in octaves. Then the organ enters softly. The drums and guitar are so soft as to barely be heard. Richard noodles around with the Phrygian mode on the organ while Roger occasionally inserts strange sound effects from his mouth that are reminiscent of some primal, haunting animal.
June 15th, 1975. Two boys have been reported missing in the Pine Bluff Forest National Park. The two boys, Eric Thompson, age 12, and Nathan Williams, age 12, were last seen Thursday, June 12th, after leaving their nearby houses around noon.
As the guitars become more prominent, David begins to accompany several notes with his voice adding to the growing mood of anxiety and surrealism. Roger continues to make breathing and crying noises interspersed with whispers of the title’s warning phrase.
A third boy who was with the two missing youths in the forest has said that they became separated while playing in the state park after lunch. Local police and park rangers have made several searches with no results thus far.
Suddenly, Nick’s drums erupt into rolls that usher in the wild screams of Roger and then the piece charges into a franticly haunting, psychedelic groove.
Authorities and volunteers of local residents are putting together a larger search that will canvas the entire park. This search will take place tomorrow, Monday, June 16th, at 10:00 a.m. Anyone interested should contact the Cumberland County Volunteer Hotline at 1-800-855-3220.
After Dr. Carlson’s failed hypnotherapy attempts and before I went into Dr. McGrath’s inpatient program was when I made the trip back home to visit Pine Bluff Forest. I drove by my parents’ old house where I had grown up. That was a rather melancholic experience. I didn’t stop there; I just slowed down and looked at it as I drove by. Too many emotions were tied up in that place to acknowledge. I had enough negative emotions to deal with by going to the forest.
Why did I do it, then? I really can’t say. It was like an instinctual drive. An urge that needed to be satiated. Like the Murklor, having been named and remembered, was exerting its call again. All of that was an unconscious beckoning.
I think on the conscious level I rationalized it all away. I would go there, attempt to find a cave that probably didn’t even exist, and realize that it was all a fabrication of my deep, dark psyche. A phantom story that played some dark part in my addictions. Just a made-up story that contained symbolism and no substance.
Oh, how wrong I was! I parked and entered the park upon the trail. My feet walked it as if they had just done so yesterday, taking me far into the woods to the point where I needed to leave the path and begin my climb up to the cave. There was no deviation, no hesitation, or no confusion of the route. I didn’t even question this until I began to pick my way through trees, scrub, brambles, and stones. As my progress slowed I asked myself what the hell was happening to me. Why did I know this route so well after so many years?
I must have blacked out. My consciousness hit a zone of bizarre time warping and blurriness. The next thing I can distinctly recall is when I found myself standing outside the cave mouth and hearing the Murklor chitter, moan, and then move. That’s when I ran like a tortured animal escaping its prey.
Kennedy. It is time to come see me again.
Oh, God, no! Please, Murklor, just let me be.
You know that’s not possible now, young Kennedy.
Because I have a gift for you. But you’ll have to bring me a gift first.
I don’t want a gift.
Oh, but you do, Kennedy! This gift will be of such value that you’ll thank me for the rest of your life.
What is it?
I can’t tell you until you bring me a gift first.
Really, I don’t want to. Can’t we just be done with this and you leave me alone?
KENNEDY! I don’t think you understand. If you don’t bring me this gift, then I will do horrible things to you and your family. Hells beyond your dreams await my command!
[sobbing] Oh, Murklor, please, NO!
Don’t spurn me, Kennedy! You will bring me what I ask for!
Please, Murklor, what is it? What is this gift?
I want you to bring your two friends to behold me in my full glory.
[through tears and sobs] No. Why, what are you going to do to them?
I will do nothing but show them my immensity. But you will bring an ax for a little game.
Murklor, what kind of game?
YOU WILL DO THIS! Or this is what hell awaits you!
[nightmares rack the child’s mind]
[crying] Oh, God! Noooooooooooooooo!
I didn’t tell Dr. McGrath about my visit to the cave just prior to entering his program. Thankfully, the Murklor wanted it that way; we had entered a very complex cat-and-mouse game, you see. According to the Murklor, Dr. McGrath was of the mind that I was on the verge of confessing to the killings of Eric and Nate. The Murklor made me another offer in exchange for bringing him another gift – Dr. McGrath.
With little real freewill in the matter, I was left to the bidding of the Murklor. He was orchestrating the show now. So, while I danced with the crazily-robed, skull-faced nightmare clowns, the Murklor set to plotting an end to poor old Dr. McGrath.
The next few sessions were all a setup that played into Dr. McGrath’s plans to draw me out as the confessee. Of course, I didn’t actually confess. I just insinuated a great deal.
Then the Murklor told me to drop the question that would lead to the climax of the show:
“Dr. McGrath, do you think Exposure Therapy would help me? Do you think we could go to the cave?”
[Day Room of the East Ward, 3rd floor of Rathbone Asylum. Patient Fox and Patient Dithers sit by one of the barred windows. Patient Fox is regaling Patient Dithers with a story. Patient Dithers is near comatose and does not comprehend Patient Fox. Undaunted or unaware, Patient Fox talks to Patient Dithers as if he were an equal party of the conversation.]
“The Murklor told me that Dr. McGrath had contacted a Forest Ranger by the name of Peterson to accompany us. McGrath told me it was because Ranger Peterson knew the area and would be assisting us. In reality, Ranger Peterson was there to take me into custody should we happen to find the suspected remains of Eric and Nate.
“Oh, the remains were there, alright. I knew that too. But the Murklor had everything under control. He wanted two more gifts.
“The tricky part, you see, was taking another ax without the Doctor or Ranger knowing it. Fortunately, it was chilly that day and I strapped it to my torso underneath my coat. I just had to pretend to be a nervous wreck about the whole thing to keep them from getting suspicious.
“I ain’t gonna lie to ya, though, I was still very much afraid of the cave and, of course, the Murklor. He just exudes terror.
“Anyway, we made it to the point where we left the trail. I had to really ham it up that I couldn’t exactly remember. There were some false starts and backtracking and whatnot. All in all, I made a good show of forgetting exactly how to get to the cave. But we finally made it to the cave.
“I really laid it on thick then. At one point I was even cowering behind a rock. They bought it hook, line, and sinker. You could tell that Ranger Peterson was itching to get in that cave and have a look around, too. But he didn’t want to leave me for fear that I’d take off should he find something in there.
“Finally, I reluctantly allowed myself to be escorted into the cave on the arm of Dr. McGrath. And that’s when the fun started.
“The Murklor is a master of drama, let me tell you. He didn’t make his presence known until they got far enough into the cave to see the two “X’s” still standing there. I guess you could say that they were my first two sculptures. Two big “X’s” of crossed timbers – both of them still had the skeletal remains of Eric and Nate on them.
“I have to tell you that the sight made me sick. Even though I was expecting them – the Murklor had told me, ya know – I still wasn’t prepared for the sight. All these years and it was like I was back in my childhood again. Terrified, shaking, and wretchedly sick.
“Dr. McGrath and Ranger Peterson were the ones that the show was for, though. Dr. McGrath let out a sound that might come from a little girl. It was actually a little funny. Ranger Peterson handled it a little better. He was just angry and disgusted. He turned to me and said, ‘What did you do, you nasty little shit?’
“I said, ‘It wasn’t me! It was Him!’ That didn’t really register until He came. The Murklor groaned a deep growl that echoed from somewhere deep within the cave. There was just a bunch of confusion then.
“All around us things in the shadows started moving. They moved with a sticky, wet sound. It was the arms of the Murklor cutting off their escape.
“Then the Murklor spoke. It welcomed them into its lair and then it told me to take the ax and go. Go and find the timbers to begin the erection of two new sculptures for his new gifts!”