📅 Published on May 11, 2022


Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.67/10. From 3 votes.
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We met as we always did when Dr. Victor Monier returned from one of his grand adventures.  Our congregation was small yet fulfilling.  He called them sabbaticals or short excursions.  He never failed to bring back something tangible along with the most unbelievable stories.  But we believed them, every word that he said, because he was the great doctor, explorer, relic finder, a sought-after professor and expert on practically all things tangible and otherworldly.

He lived for the rustic, primeval, and anything primitive and decadent from the past.  He always said, “One only needs to visit the past to plan the future.”  His getaways would take him into the furthest regions of the Earth, where he would collect the most unusual relics and anything ancient that he could get his scholarly hands on.  His knowledge was maven, and his foresight was the keenest.  A man with a sharp mind, a prognosticator, an investigator of the macabre and often the darker things which most people tried at all costs to avoid.  His ability to assimilate to any environment and to assume the

characteristics, the ambiance, the conditions around him; to take hold and command the atmosphere with the charismatic superintendence flanked by judication simply meant he was a law unto himself.  Yet this man, whom others might feel would be arrogant, callous, prideful, or worse, a narcissist, was none of those things.  His attributes had none of the characteristics of snobbery or vanity, nor self-importance as some might possess after acquiring such knowledge and qualifications.  For this reason, we found him most alluring and were obligated to his trust.

On this particular winter evening, I myself (Theodore Fitton) and three others, Peter Blatty, Blake Plantain and Roger Medford had assembled in Dr. Monier’s drawing room where a fire had been lit in the fireplace, and our overcoats had come off.  We were waiting for the grand entrance and appearance of Dr. Monier, whom we hoped would have something to share from his three weeks away.  For the group, these gatherings were like Christmas morning to a small child.  We all had our own lives and professions that we enjoyed but nothing as grandiose as what the Dr. brought to the table.  We admitted we lived in our own luxuries, yet when in the presence of a man so bold, we would instantly realize our ambitions were nowhere near as audacious as his.  But none of us minded because we were not risk-takers.  To be such an extrovert, so absolutely gregarious, took unyielding nerve, which the rest of the group lacked.

When Dr. Monier entered the room, he did so casually and at his leisure.  He addressed each of us with a firm handshake and a head nod and welcomed us to a cigar and some fine scotch whiskey he seized from behind the bar.  Dr. Monier lit his cigar, took a seat in his favorite armchair and addressed the room.

“My dear fellows, it is so good to see you again.  It is good to be home and among friends.  My most recent time away was a lucrative trip.  I only went as far as Italy, but that was as far as I needed to go to acquire that which doesn’t exist.  What I am about to tell you would not be believed if I did not have proof.  And proof I have.”  He excused himself, and when he returned, he was pushing a cart.  On the cart was a book encased in glass.

“Gentlemen: the Necronomicon,” he announced with a grand voice. All four of us put down our cigars and glasses and stood instantly to see it better.

Dr. Monier continued.  “I have sought high and low for this mysterious book that was supposed to only exist in my mind of H.P. Lovecraft; however, here it is.  As you can see, this book is bound in human flesh, a practice called Anthropodermic bibliopegy, which is as rare as hen’s teeth.  I followed a lead and perused the details before I haphazardly believed the initial report that the book existed. I am hardly an impetuous sort, and things must line up before I accept them as truth – or near truth – until investigated.  My ineluctable conclusion was that I needed to put my nose to the trail and pursue the lead until its end, which I did.

“One of my many contacts had made mention to a certain bookstore owner in Cairoli, Genoa, that I am a buyer of rare antiquities.  Word came to me from this contact that the shop had acquired the book and was holding it securely, and I was asked if I had interest in it.  I immediately sent word that I was on my way.  I had no inkling as to the price that they might require, but knowing it is really a priceless item that ‘doesn’t exist,’ money would be no object.  Once in Cairoli, I met up with an old friend who spoke Italian, although he is German. Together we went to the book shop, and there I laid my eyes on the book you see before us.  The book store owner, as possessor of the book, alleged that since he had obtained it, his life had been wrought with tragedy and horror.  He explained that he felt it was indeed evil and embodied the devil himself, who could strike at will anyone who owned the book.  Although the man swore that his life had been haunted since coming into possession of the Necronomicon, he had made no small investment in its acquisition, and his price was by no means a steal.  I paid grandly to have this, and now if you are willing to see what the mystery is all about, shall we see together?”

Peter, Blake, Roger and I looked at one another.  The feeling of unease had come over us, and the room suddenly felt heavy.  Peter was the first to speak, “This is certainly an amazing find.  The fact that this

book was supposed to be a myth, non-existent, made up in the mind of Lovecraft and now here we are looking at it, is a conundrum in itself.”

“Indeed, it is,” Blake chimed in.  He seemed to be at an impasse as to whether or not this was a good thing.

Roger moved closer to the glass case and peered into it.  “Human flesh, huh?  I also read that the contents are demonic and magical and written in human blood.”

Dr. Monier raised an eyebrow and said, “There is only one way to find out what we have here, men; we must exhume the contents for ourselves.”

“But we do not know what we are dealing with,” Blake said nervously and doubting.

“If it is only the devil, I have defeated him before,” Dr. Monier boasted.

“And what if we unleash something far worse than the demonic?” Peter was not yet convinced that this was a good idea, to tamper with the spirit world.

“Call me a megalomaniac if you like, but I live for the thrill of the chase, the suspense.  What do you live for?” The doctor challenged them.

“I live to live another day,” Peter answered timidly.

“Oh Peter, have I ever let you down?  I have never taken you as pusillanimous.  Where’s that courage I have seen in you?”  Dr. Monier seemed curiously charged for this.

The uncertainty and the unknown left a presage in the pit of Peter’s stomach.

“Obviate your fears, Peter.  You are among friends.  Plus, I would never allow misfortune to befall my friends,” Dr. Montier said with great confidence.

He then sat back in his chair, relit his cigar, took a sip of the scotch and watched as his four friends all did the same.  The room was deadly silent for a course of 5 minutes while we contemplated the proposal to be present with the Dr. when he examined the sinister object more closely.  The room itself seemed more foreboding and punishing than the book at the moment.  As the great prognostic, Dr. Monier made a suggestion.

“There is a room in my home which I call my safe room.  It was the first room I built when this home was being built, and the house is designed around it.  Never have I shared this secret with anyone. But you are my dearest companions, and I am sure that you would never take advantage of what I am about to reveal.  Gentlemen, if you will follow me – and Peter, do you mind pushing the cart and bringing the Necronomicon along?”

Dr. Monier led the way from the drawing room down a long hallway with doors on either side, all shut.  The house was a monstrosity of a thing, three stories tall.  We were on the ground floor when Dr. Monier had us stop.  Just under the oak staircase was a panel; if he had not revealed it, we would have never seen it.  Dr. Monier had a gleam in his eye as he manipulated the surface with a series of touches to the panel, and a locking mechanism was heard unlocking, and the panel creaked open.

“Clever,” commented Roger leaning over Blake’s shoulder to get a better view.

“Yes indeed.  It is a self-design.  Maybe not the most original scheme, yet it works for my purposes.  Follow me if you will?”

Continuing, they walked a narrow-lit path of paneled walls through a maze of hallways until they arrived at a particular panel which the Dr. manipulated as before, opening to a downward ramp.  I had expected either to find another staircase or possibly an immediate room. Downward we trailed him into the belly of habitation.  A combination of euphoria and dread encompassed us as the undefined and unfamiliar awaited us.

The ramp stopped dead on a level wooden platform, and a door presented itself to us.  Dr. Mortier produced a skeleton key and opened the door.  The room was lit with burning paraffin lamps which had two wicks inside a clear glass chimney with air drawn from below. They had an opaque glass shade around the chimneys to diffuse the light.

“Yes, I know the lighting could be better, but I always found that paraffin creates the right number of shadows.  I do some of my best thinking down here.  Do not worry about the pollutants from the lamps; the carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and phthalates, are being filtered out of the room by a fan installation that I have installed, removing any irritants.  The gases are moved straight out and up through a duct to the roof.”

I took note of a corner area where an athanor, a large bucket of coals, sat next to this Tower Furnace and also an alembic with a helmet-shaped lid used for a distillery.  A clear glass pitcher filled with liquid rested on a table in the same corner, marked in red with the words ‘Rose Water.’  A number of crucibles were in plain sight, along with dropped snow globes in the shape of teardrops which hung from the ceiling in the very same corner.  A large glass jar sat alone on a shelf above the work table, and I could make out that a mass of incontestable deformation floated in a thick liquid.

The room itself was large, the size of a large dining area with various paintings on the walls shadowed by flickering light.  In the middle of the floor were two tables with drawers.  On each table, there were various instruments of science, chemistry and tools from a woodshed, it appeared, as there was even a chopping ax.  Dr. Mortier assumed the Necronomicon and drew the trolly closer to himself.  Picking it up with care, he placed the encased book on what appeared to be a Tallit, otherwise known as a Jewish prayer cloth.

“Are you Jewish?” asked Roger.

Dr. Mortier smiled, “In my adventures, I have become all things to overcome the evils of the world.  You will find my affiliation with religion a contradiction and maybe even hypocritical, and most likely certain discrepancies may show themselves.  I am a spiritual man, but not a religious man.  Maybe that is why I have never felt the need to convert anyone.”

“Well put,” Blake said as he understood the contrast as well as the others.

“If I may trouble you, I will need your assistance.”  Dr. Mortier opened a drawer, and from it, he presented a bag of salt. With the glass-encased Necronomicon directly in the center of the table, he commenced by sprinkling a thick layer of blessed Dead Sea salt in a circle around the book.

“I am to set in motion a concatenation of events whose end or significance I can in no way envisage.  Regardless of what you see, disregard your physical senses and detach your emotions the best you can.  Nothing from this book is able to be loosed as long as we do

what we must do in continuation uninterrupted.  Because we will be dealing with possible forces outside of this world, I suggest that if you have a belief or a faith which you practice that you indeed exercise those spiritual attributes during this unveiling.” Dr, Mortier carefully unlatched the clasp which fastened the glass cover over the Necronomicon.  Gently he eased the glass straight up and placed it to the side beyond the circle of salt.  Everyone expected something supernatural to have occurred when the lid was lifted, but the room remained still.  “Here is when I expect some turbulence, maybe a speck of discommode,” the doctor stated.  He reached with a gloved hand toward the book and opened the cover wide.

Then he spoke, “Book of Hell and demons, speak to us.  Vocalize your pain that we may understand the secrets of the darkness wherein you dwell.  Dweller in Darkness, that brother that the old ones called Nyogtha, the thing that should not be, hear me now.”

Peter tugged on Roger’s sleeve, having noticed his anxious demeanor and gave him an incredulous look of concern.

“Doctor are you sure you know what you are doing?” asked Blake, having also picked up on Roger’s distress.  A zephyr crossed their necks, and a chill ran down their arms.  We did not want to question Dr. Mortier’s approach because he was a man of prudence and probity. But was he a man that was truly qualified to delve into the nocturnal world of the dead?  Peter spoke up, “This is heresy, Doctor.  Don’t tempt faith.”  He became louder with his accusatory remarks, “Don’t tempt God!”

“Fear not, gentlemen, one must call forth the beast to kill it,” he said as he turned the next page which revealed an image of a demon face drawn in blood.  It was grotesque and foul to view, and an odoriferous pungency burned their noses.

“A carrion smell, men; we are opening the otherworldly.”  The doctor’s voice raised in pitch.  Shadows on the walls began to dance up the walls and skip on the ceiling as if communication was being made.

Then in a tone of supreme erudition, the doctor spoke.

Kitab al-Azif, Kitab al-Azif, Kitab al-Azif!” the doctor repeated.  There were the howling sounds of insects billowing, the agonizing sounds of stridulation which created puissant buzzing  It was increasing in volume as if something was rising from the Earth’s core, pulsating like a heartbeat.

“Be known to us, you foul beast.  Reveal your subterranean secrets,” shouted the doctor as he became louder to be heard over the buzzing. He opened another drawer and withdrew a looped cross. He gripped it firmly as he raised it over his head.  “See what binds you, devil!  Feel the light of His presence.  Kneel before the King of Kings!”

“Fortitude!” shouted Blake as Roger’s knees were buckling.  We huddled behind the doctor, cowering and looking about as if we were being swarmed from overhead.  Our mouths were agape, locked into position, and instinctually our hands were slightly raised as if in defensive positions.  The rancid smell intensified, and the oil lanterns flamed up higher as if welcoming someone or something from the fiery furnace.

A distorted voice lunged back at us, spewing venom of a thousand lifetimes of torment.  “I am he who scatters the gloom of the night with haunting expectancy.  My voice is the cry of the mournfully dead, the voice of the ages with abhorrent dread and molested winds.”

“What have you gotten us into, doctor?” cried Roger, mortified.

“Men, I am raising the dead,” the doctor exclaimed.

“Don’t be mad, Dr. Mortier!” Peter cried censoriously, now siding with Roger.  This all felt too real, out of their control.

“It is not madness, my friends, but the power of good over evil.  If I cannot defeat this beast, this legion of the damned, then I have no use for the book,” the doctor contended.  His explanation seemed abstruse, but what were we going to do?  I was wondering if I hadn’t made an awful mistake taking part in such a fiasco.

The sounds became bloodcurdling and mind-numbingly ominous as the vehemence grew.  We could feel the illness of the dark infilling our bones with its blinding fear.  The doctor was shouting something in Latin and shaking the looped cross, the crux ansata now at the book as he turned the next page to the script.  The arcane knowledge of the book pushed back against the doctor’s attempts to break the spell and destroy the spirit that governed it.

The foul voice from depraved Shoel was heard again.  “I have crawled on the ground to eat the dust of fallen man; moved over oceans and raised the waves.  Soared through the skies spitting fire down upon man; waged war in the heavens.  I was sent to assassinate the firstborn of all creation.  I am the smith that blows on the fires!”

A ball of fire, prodigious, imponderable, exploded from out of nowhere right before our eyes.  It was fully illuminated and the heat rolling from it was scorching.

“Focus, men, on driving the forces not back to hell, for there they thrive.  Rather concentrate on peace, love and restfulness.  These tormented beings must find their place of rest so that Satan can no longer malign their souls.  Agree with me now that love rules the universe, not the sadistic Prince of the Underworld.” The doctor now brought out a black Bible and handed it to Blake, who seemed to be the most fearless of the four of us.  “Read aloud from the Psalms, Blake. Read, man, read!” Ordered the doctor as this Grand Guignol continued.

Blake fumbled through the pages until he found the Book of Psalms, and randomly, he read where his thumb had found: Psalm 91.  He read aloud against the practices of the heritage of evil while strangling on the words…

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”

Locked in a stalemate, the room began to vibrate, and the soles of our feet tingled as if blood flow had ceased.  The pain of pins and needles ricocheted up and down our legs.  Howling voices began to echo now from every side and a creeping severity boiled in our eyes.  I was now looking into the mouth of a burning abyss.  All around us, everything was fermenting to delirium.  For me, it was like looking into the old devil’s plagued and bitter gut.  Lava and fire leaped, gurgled and bubbled violently like a living thing in agony and insufferable cursed affliction.

“Keep your wits about, you men!” the doctor was still flipping through the pages of the Necronomicon as Blake continued reading aloud.

“You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’

and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

At that precise moment, Roger became cathartic and collapsed to the floor with a thud.  His face was instantly as white as tallow.  His debility brought Peter punctiliously to his aid; he bent down to attend to him.  Without warning, Peter was flung like a rag doll across the room, landing on his bottom against the wall.  Roger suddenly became erratic and bellicose.  The doctor immediately slammed the cross onto his chest and in Latin spoke, “Adjure te, spiritus nequissime, per Deum omnipotentem.”

Roger screamed out, his body shaking frenetically as he fell backward, becoming less truculent as he sprawled on the floor.

Peter, unharmed, now gathered himself and ran across the room through the midst of the commotion to tend to Roger.  “Have you killed him?” he asked the doctor tearfully.

“Hardly, my friend; he just felt the hand of God.” The pandemic of evil congealed with haunting unpleasantness, appalling and dreadful.  Peter was shaking Roger for signs of life as I looked on in horror.

Blake read on as the room swirled with diabolical hate and anguish. The air was stifled with an unknown effluvium of rancor and disagreeable pungency.  It was not so much what could be seen, because very little was obvious except the darkness resonating from the grimoire; it was what was felt.

“You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

The doctor yelled out, undiminished, “The nethermost caverns are rising.  Marvel of marvels and stranger things approach.  Things that fly, things that crawl, all from the place where the worm dieth not. Those that walk alone are pleading to us.  Forget not that they were men once as we are.”  He took the Necronomicon with both hands, pressing the looped cross onto the human vellum.  Smoke rose from the binding and sizzled as he lifted it above his head.

“This book belongs to me, and the souls that are trapped within shall rest in peace!  The doctor now looked like a wild man.  His hair was disheveled, his face enigmatic with excitement and his voice hoarse from shouting.  “You were the proprietor of this book, but you had no ownership. Your authority is fictitious!” he screamed.

Moaning of a thousand morbid souls could be heard and the panting of an eidolic beast approaching with great speed.

The doctor continued, “You shall not enter our world!”  His equanimity was to be admired.

By this time, Roger had come to his senses unmolested and though still unsteady, wanted to re-join the crusade.  His terror had been dispelled, and he had renewed vibrance.

Though we were all unnerved by this catastrophic supernatural episode, we were now united to drive the horrid malicious force back into its grave and to free any soul desiring to be let loose from the imprisonment.

A beam of light broke forth from the book like a lightning bolt.  It ascended straight up from the pages.  A glottis sound of hissing could be heard; the heavy panting had ceased.  The traducer was recoiling as if ice water had been poured upon it.  Bemused, we were now all in prayer as the beam of light suddenly went out.  The room hushed into stillness.  It appeared that it was over.  As quickly as whatever it was arose from the book, it was sent back down, imprisoned by its own hand and having to loose those which it had enslaved.

Dr. Mortier was the first to speak after the repose.  “My dear friends, I know I have asked a lot of you tonight, but what we have done was a miracle from God.  Tormented souls that could not sleep are now asleep.  And the beast that brought reproach upon them has been driven back from our world.  The book has been freed of its demons and hate and foul madness.”

Peter noticed something no one else had. “Doctor, the book, the pages are empty!  There is nothing written there.” “Indeed, this makes the book worthless.  For it contains nothing anymore.  It has lost its value; its intrigue, its dark magic has been dispelled.  I did not purchase this book to add to my library collection. I purchased this book to erase its contents and to set free those bound by its superstitions.  This was never going to grace my shelves in its evil form.  I seek goodness in this world, and anything other than increasing sound righteousness is only adding to discombobulation that already oppresses all that is good and placid.”

“So, we opened a gate, freed those plagued in the anarchy of their own grave, and when they entered their rest, we closed the gate?” Blake surmised.

“Well done, you have indeed understood this exercise.  We have brought this curious matter to trial.  And put it to death.  The Necronomicon has truly now become a book of no importance except in the halls of fictitious macabre.  Now gentlemen, we have cigars to smoke and Scotch Whiskey to drink.” With common consent, we retired to the sitting room.

Rating: 9.67/10. From 3 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

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Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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