RotW&AofS Issue #1 – Welcome to Halpin Hope: Four
The following a work of fiction. All names, characters and incident's contained herein are fictional, resemblances to actual persons alive or dead are purely coincidental. The character Kibu is the creation of the artist Sladerang and is used with his permission. All other characters were created by the author.
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Welcome to Halpin Hope (Doyer X Kibu)
"Orhmmma mglw'nafh ftakh ia ia Shub-Niggurath! ia ia Ph'nkalgn nafal ai hrii. ia ia ooboshu nmanh li'hee hupadgh. ia ia Y'ai'ng'ngah gotha ebumna ebumna. ia ia nnn-ron nilgh'ri ph-shugg. ia ia shogg sll'ha stell'bsna ooboshu fhtagn R'lyeh!"
Kibu lay bowed in the dust. The chanting was loud and deep - it echoed through his skull and vibrated in his chest - he clutched his stomach and covered his mouth. Eyes screwed tight - he heaved - vomited - thick liquid fire tearing his oesophagus and ripping through his throat. The drums: deep - slow - monotonous - surrounded him.
"... ia ia Ph'nkalgn nafal ai hrii. ia ia ooboshu nmanh li'hee hupadgh. ia ia Y'ai'ng'ngah gotha ebumna ebumna..."
He cracked his eyes open - it felt like the first time after years of sleep - they were crusted – the pain of tearing the thin membranes of skin – sharp like a razor. Trying to look around him with blurred vision, through squinted cracks, he could see at his back swirling black waters crested with bruised nickel foam. Above him: a shattered cast iron sky - shards of cloud of dimpled pewter - pointed purple stars like pin pricks in cloth. Ahead of him - a street: miles wide and shaped like a prism - the ash lined road folding over on itself - in a city? - a city built of black Granite and Tuff - buildings dripping a thin olive green film of phlegm - buildings spiralling into the sky at grotesque angles. The sheer size - hurting his eyes - a wave of migraines - he coughed - he spluttered - he heaved and threw up again - bile like acid tearing at the lining of his throat. That chanting. Always that chanting. Always those drums. Ringing through his head - a low vibration. Over and over and over. The voices in a language he didn't understand but somehow, in some deep recess of his mind had, heard before he was born.
"....ia ia Y'ai'ng'ngah gotha ebumna ebumna. ia ia nnn-rom nilgh'ri ph-shugg. ia ia shogg sll'ha stell'bsna ooboshu fhtagn R'lyeh!"
Kibu stood – stumbled - fell - the crack of brittle broken bones beneath his knees. He stood again - his hands covered in vomit and ash. The heat prickling his flesh made it hard to take in the thick tar like air - short stabbing breaths – he couldn't fills his lungs. His eyes rose - again he tried to make sense of what he could see; the obscene phallic towers twisting in impossible directions - piercing one another as they reached ever up - veins pulsing visible just beneath their surface - are the buildings made of skin? Inconceivably large obsidian monoliths floated above him reaching beyond the sky and his field of vision - humming and whirring - and when not obscured: a trimutive of cracked concrete moons throwing silver rays of ashen light over the slate black buildings - their wan shimmer had no point of diffusion - they caused no shadow. Again the boy fell - awkwardly on his hands - that shooting pain - had he broken his wrist? He hauled himself back up. The stink of faeces and rotting meat - the taste of of both if he opened his mouth. He cried out - but no sound.
"...bu..." So distant. So far away.
"...ia ia Ph'nkalgn nafal ai hii. ia ia ooboshu nmanh li'hee hupagh! ia ia Y'ai'ing'ngah gotha ebumna ebumna. ia ia nn-ronn..."
He thrust his hands against his ears and screamed in silence - no sound but the chanting - the voices that splintered his bones and crept into his marrow and like worms tunnelling through him - the voices that made his limbs feel like they were being pierced by rusted iron spikes. In mid air plumes of black smoke hung like pulsing tears. In the distance a shadow - a figure. Kibu fell to his knees, it was too much. Gravity didn't pull here - it pushed - it pushed on his shoulders and thighs - the crown of his head felt like it was caving in. The weight of his own body was too much to bear. Every part of him was in pain - every inch tingling with a raw indescribable sense of dread. Every sense was being assaulted...
"Ki...! ...t up!" a little louder - a little closer - the figure trying to run towards him but as Kibu crawled on hands and knees the sallow street became sludge - he was sinking... He had to get up. He had to move.
"...ia ia nn-rom nilgh'ri ph-shugg. ia ia shogg sll'ha stell'bsna ooboshu fhtagn R'lyeah!"
Mustering every last ounce of strength - his body aching - he pulled himself up to his knees and fell back onto his haunches - the veins, breaking from the buildings to the sound of ripping flesh as they pulled away, stretched toward him - languidly - edging slowly closer. Two ebbed forward curling their sinewy gelatinous ends around his wrists - pulling them away from his body - stretching his arms - he could hear his muscles tearing and his shoulders pop from their sockets – wet. A third found it's way between his legs...
"Kibu... ne... to... We... wro... way!"
The vein opened into moist callous covered lips at its tip and swallowed his flacid cock and balls with a wet sticky slurp. Inside its sharp teeth - whirling like a blades...
"KIBU! WAKE UP!"
Kibu opened his eyes and realised he was screaming - his throat was raw - drenched in sweat - he felt hands on his bare shoulders - shaking him awake.
He pushed Doyler away: "GET AWAY! GET AWAY FROM ME!" sending the boy falling to his back. He struggled to his feet but the ground felt like it was giving way beneath him - he scrambled - crawling on hands and knees Kibu picked himself up and stumbling, broke into a run - heading for the trees.
Doyler bolted after him - launched himself into the back of the boy, throwing his arms around Kibu's waist and tackled him to the ground. Kibu tried to turn over: "GET OFF OF ME!" The panicked boy made attempt to pull away but Doyler hauled himself up the boys body - placing all his weight on Kibu to hold him down.
"It's OK! Calm down. Kibu it's me. It's me Doyler... calm down. It was just a dream." Kibu thrashed his arms and kicked his legs. "Kibu! Just breath. Please. Just breath."
“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” Kibu was crying – his body heaving with each sob as Doyler held on to him.
“Kibu! It's OK! I promise.”
Doyler? The boy sucked in a great lungful of air and began to breath.
"It's OK. It was just a dream."
Kibu's body shook violently - sweating but cold - he focused his eyes on Doyler who looked down at him - seeing himself in the boys wide lonely eyes.
As Kibu caught his breath Doyler pulled himself off of the boy and stood beside him - letting him re-orientate himself.
"We went the wrong way. After I lost the compass. We must have crossed into the Mucklemood Wood. We need to go. We need to go now Kibu."
Kibu rose up on his elbows and looked around him. It was still night. Everything was out of focus; the trees, the rocks, the boy standing over him with affection and sadness writ on his face. A sliver of moon and an endless amount of stars lighting the area around them.
"Come on. We have to go! We have to get out and back into the Black Forest."
As Doyler held out his hand to help the nearly broken boy at his feet, Kibu shrunk from from his touch and eyed him suspiciously. His stomach churned... he wanted to vomit.
"I promise. You're safe. But we have to leave."
Breathing hard Kibu stared at Doyler - looking between his face and his open hand. It was so real - every part of it existed in his head - not the fuzzy dreams he was used to. Is this just a continuation of that? he wondered. He was aware that he was breathing through his mouth - short stabbing breaths. The beating of his heart in his chest was slowing. His vision returning. Eventually he nodded - took Doyler's hand and hauled himself to his feet. He still felt shaky. Still unsure. Covered in sweat and grime from the forest floor his overriding thought was to leave. To go now. To forget about the weed and Doyler and jump another boat and head back to the mainland. To head back home to Brooklyn. To head back to school in New England and make everything right with Reid and find comfort in the arms of the boy he knew would always be there for him.
Weakly - on unsure feet - he followed to their campsite and begun collecting the remnants of their stay as Doyler filled two of the empty Cherry Cola bottles with water from the pond and poured them over the last embers of the fire. He watched carefully as Doyler rolled away the sleeping matts that had been laid out side by side and eyed him suspiciously.
As he opened the zipper on the bag a ferocious gust of wind blew out from the toothed maw, knocking him to his seat and the faint echo of that chant: "...ia ia shogg sll'ha stell'bsna ooboshu fhtagn R'lyeah!" whispered in his ear. Kibu was breathing hard again - his chest thumping. He looked to Doyler who was quickly but calmly rolling away the last matt. Just a dream, he repeated in his head: Just a dream. Just a dream. Justadream.Justadream! He looked back the bag laying open limp on the grass.
Kibu threw the dirty grill, skewers and empty bottles into the bag and stood up. Doyler tossed Kibu his jean shorts and waited patiently as he slowly struggled to put them on.
"Come on." Doyler put his hand on KIbu's bare shoulder and led him back along the river.
They walked in silence - only the sound of the flowing waters kept the boys grounded in this world. Doyler remained patient - waiting for his friend as Kibu kept falling behind - weak as though this was the last hundred metres of a thousand mile marathon - helping him up rocky surfaces when his legs wouldn't carry him - catching him when a stray twisted root caught his foot. Kibu stubbornly pushed onward. He was now acutely aware of the woods - of the sombre trees watching him - willing him to stay. He could feel the silence of this place calling for him to rest his head on a pillow of moss and return to his dream. Some part of him - some part of him that he hated with every fibre of his being wanted that too – wanted that more than anything. That small part of him that knew it would be easier to just lay down. No.
After an hour and half of slowly trudging along the rive bank - the night sky still above them - they reached a cluster of trees that Doyler recognised.
"The rope swing is just up here. We're back in the Black Forest."
Kibu suddenly became aware of sound returning to the forest - of life in the trees - toads croaking - cicada's chirruping. Ten more minutes and as Doyler had said they were stood facing the other side of the river. A heavy branch reaching across the narrowest stretch of flowing water - a long strong length of rope tied from the top and wrapped loosely around the thick trunk of a tree.
"We should rest here.” Doyler let his bag fall to the ground and looked at the agitated boy by his side: “Get some sleep - at least until the sun comes up. We'd only been asleep about an hour before the dream set in."
Kibu dropped his bag and dropped his head into his hands. Speaking for the first time since they had set off, Kibu asked: "What was that? It wasn't just me was it? You were there too?"
"Yeah. It's the Wood. Not just the wood, it's this whole damned Island but Mucklemood Wood is one of the worst points. If I hadn't lost the compass..."
"What was it Doyler? Where were we?" asked Kibu pleadingly. "I've been afraid before but nothing... NOTHING like that."
"It was just a dream Kibu."
Kibu looked up at the clear night sky - low light pollution from the Island allowed for the full blanket of stars above them - clear and comforting in their clarity yet at the same time terrifying in their admission of infinity. He could see the Milky Way - a plume of violet and indigo smoke, unmoving.
"You've been there haven't you?" Kibu looked at Doyler as the boy sat down on the forest floor with his back against a tree. "Like not just dreamed it like we did there. But you've been there. You've actually been there."
Doyler didn't say anything - he averted his eyes from Kibu and looked at the water flowing over the rocks as it rushed passed them.
"The marks on your chest? Jamie? Why that guy thanked you? It's all about that isn't it? All about that place?"
Doyler looked back at Kibu - patted the ground beside him - beckoning him to join him under the tree. The boy walked over to his friend and sat down beside him.
"Don't let it get to you Kibu. It was just a dream. Don't think about it any more. The more you think about it, the more you try to understand it, and the more you try to understand the more you'll lose yourself." He put his arm around Kibu's shoulder - offering comfort to his friend. "Just get some sleep."
The boys cuddled into one another under that tree - firmly planted on safer grounds. With Kibu's head in the crook of Doyler's neck - Doyler's arm around the boy's shoulders they slowly fell into a restful sleep.
When Doyler awoke the sun was already above the trees. He blinked, wiped the sleep from his eyes and smiled. Standing in his red and yellow check boxer shorts and thigh deep in the river, with a sharpened stick in hand raised high above his head, was Kibu. The tip of his tongue pursed against his top lip in deep concentration - his eyes focused hard on the flowing crystal water.
Doyler sat up and leaned his chin on his hands as he watched the half naked boy - Kibu's young muscles wound tense like a coiled spring.
Kibu's tongue darted back into his mouth as he bit down on his bottom lip in time with his arm swinging the hand crafted spear into the water. As he swung his body, he slipped and fell into the river. Doyler stifled a laugh as the boy sat bolt upright - and raised his spear in triumph - a skewered Small Mouth Bass wriggling on the end.
"I am the greatest fisherman ALIVE!" called Kibu as he jumped up and began dancing around - splashing in the water.
In large strides Kibu, wet from head to toe, bounded onto the river bank and placing his balled up fists to his hips, struck a hero's pose.
Doyler, smiling broadly, stared at the boy in front of him: "Quite the hunter huh?"
"Hey you're awake!" Kibu walked over to Doyler - his wet boxer shorts clinging tightly to his tan thighs - his hair dripping.
"If you're trying to make me swoon over you you're going the right way about it."
Kibu laughed. "I'm trying to catch lunch." He pointed to a small fire already built and burning - the grill placed on top and two other fish gutted and scaled cooking on top.
"Where'd you learn to prepare fish?"
"I know stuff." Kibu stuck his tongue out at Doyler and waved the speared Bass in front of him. He went over the grill and turned the fish over placing his fresh catch on a rock by the fire. "I'm saving this one for later."
Doyler sat next to Kibu and leant into him - their shoulders touching. "You seem better this morning."
"Yeah." Kibu rested his shoulder into Doyler's for a second before going back to prodding at the fish. "Last night... man that dream... it was... it was terrifying. And right up until we fell asleep again... that whole walk here... I just kept thinking that it was gonna come crashing back. That some rip in the fabric of reality would just pull me right back... to that... place." Kibu pulled the fish from the grill and inspected them. "Here this is ready..." He handed Doyler one of the cooked fish. "But this morning when I woke up it was like it never happened." He took a bite from his own fish - spitting small bones out on the ground by the fire. "It was like a horror movie that I'd watched years ago but can't really remember. Can only remember how it made me feel you know? All I know is I don't wanna watch that movie ever again."
Doyler nodded: "That's good."
Kibu finished his fish and tossed the skin down by the fire. He hesitated and looked at the attractive dark haired youth by his side. "It's not like that for you is it?"
Kibu lay his head on the boys shoulder as Doyler picked at his fish.
The boys sat for a little while watching the embers of the fire die out - not needing to say anything more.
Within half an hour the two fifteen year-old boys had packed up their equipment and were readying themselves to use the rope swing to cross the river. Doyler went first - their unused tent on his back - the rope wrapped around his fist. Taking a few steps back he launched himself into the air and in one smooth swing landed on the other side of the river. He allowed himself a little victory dance and then tossed the rope to Kibu.
"Dude! That looks so much fun!" called Kibu as he caught the rope.
Pulling the rope back he ran towards the river and threw himself forward whooping a hollering as he flew over the water - his bare toes skimming the surface and the rush of the air on his face. As he leapt to the ground and rolled into a tree Doyler caught the rope before it could swing back toward the river and knotted the end around a low branch.
Kibu scrambled up and gripped Doyler's shoulders: "Man we gotta do that again that was freakin' awesome!"
"We can do it on the way back if we don't half inch a canoe to get back down the river."
"Half inch. Pinch. Steal. It's Rhyming Slang. My Dad taught me cockney Rhyming Slang on a trip to London. That one kinda stuck."
"AW'IGHT GUVNOR!" Kibu affected an exaggerated East End accent and threw his elbows into the air while he talked. He was sure he'd seen that in some old movie. "Would you Adam an' Eve it, ahv ahnly gawn an 'ooked ahp wivvah Cockerny."
"Kibu..." Doyler cupped the sides of Kibu's face with his hands. "You have many many talents and I'm sure many more that I've still to see. But you'll never make it in the world of professional impersonators." His hands dropped from the boy's face and he walked off into the trees.
Kibu stood staring after him: "Did you 'ere that?" he asked the nearest tree. "DID YOU 'ERE THAT? 'Ee's only blahdy takin' the Michael aht ov me foine accent."
"That sounds more Irish!" came Doyler's disembodied voice from somewhere ahead in the forest.
When Kibu realised he was alone he dropped the joke and chased after him.
As morning wore into afternoon the boys trod their way through the forest - the canopy of leaves shading them from the heat of the sun. They stopped for a while to admire a dead tree - it's roots, broken, had burst through the ground to resemble two swollen orbs - the leafless top had splintered and splayed outward like a mushroom cap - it curved to the left while it's smooth grey skin had fractured in places – running thick rivulets of broken bark from root to tip. Kibu couldn't take his eyes off it he stood giggling to himself while absent-mindedly pulling on his dick through his shorts. Doyler stood beside him looking intently at the tree unable to see what Kibu could.
"Dude! Huh-huh-huh." Kibu couldn't stop giggling. "It's a cock! Huh-huh-huh."
Doyler guffawed when he saw it and closing one eye reached his circled hand out and pretend to jerk it off.
They paused after a few hours to eat from the trail mix Doyler had purchased at Pappa Johns in Halpin Hope and washed it down with a bottle of water - all the while telling jokes and trading insults. Occasionally they would walk with one of the boys arms thrown over the others shoulder - mostly their fingers would touch and linger as they walked side by side - no mention of the kiss that they had shared or the hour spent holding one another before the previous nights dreams broke up their slumber.
It was early evening by the time the boys reached the outskirts of the Baxter Brothers farm. The Black Forest broke and a dirt road ran North to South. A hundred ft. beyond that and just after a small bank of trimmed green grass - they could see the twenty ft tall wire fences and the hot houses of Site B. Two unoccupied trucks, emblazoned with the Baxter Brothers logo of two fat men smiling in front of a cannabis leaf, sat just beyond the fence.
Doyler and Kibu crouched down and peered out of the forest at the farm.
"So how do we get in?" asked Kibu looking at the high fences.
"We don't. We need to go around. See the trees on the other side of the farm there?" Doyler pointed to woods a couple of miles beyond the farm and Kibu nodded. "That's Wrackham Wood. That's where this mythical weed of yours is."
"OK." Kibu stood and started towards the road. Doyler quickly grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back into cover behind the trees.
"We have to wait until nightfall. If the security guards catch us out this far they'll just pull us in and drive us back in to town. That road is private property. When it gets dark we'll sneak past."
Kibu arched his neck and looked up toward the sky.
"It'll only be a couple of hours." Doyler reassured him.
Kibu sat himself next to Doyler - their backs against the same tree - legs splayed on the floor - bare knees touching.
"You know," started Kibu as he turned his head to Doyler and smiled, "I'm having the best time."
"Yeah. Me too..." He turned and smiled at his friend placing his hand on top of Kibu's in the dirt - he was pleased when Kibu accepted it in his and squeezed softly.
"I mean, aside from nightmare visits to dread cities and nearly getting my cock and balls chewed off."
"I could see how that would put a dampener on things."
"But you know, all in all, it's been a blast, man."
Doyler shucked down the tree a little and rested his head on Kibu's shoulder: "I'm glad I met you Kibu."
Kibu shifted – threw a leg over Doyler and sat down on the boys lap. He leant his head forward and closing the distance - placed his moist plump lips gently to Doyler's. His hand cupped the boys cheek and held him there as Doyler leaned in to him. With Kibu's fingers kneading the boys ear lobe - his tongue parted Doyler's lips and both let out a soft breath of utter contentment. They stayed that way a moment - their tongues massaging one another's in a soft deep kiss. Doyler's hands strayed up his friend's bare back - the pads of his fingers running circles over the boys soft tanned skin. Kibu pulled in a breath through Doyler's mouth - his chest expanding. As he slowly pulled away he softly bit into Doyler's bottom lip before sitting back against the tree - adjusting the growing bulge in his shorts.
"So does that mean you're glad you met me too?"
"Nah man. Just getting even for last night." Kibu snorted.
Doyler raised his hand punched Kibu on the thigh – hard.
"Ow Fuck!" Kibu laughed "What was that for?"
"For being a jerk."
Doyler and Kibu sat with their backs against that tree and waited - playing noughts and crosses in the dirt - while they watched the sky darken as the sun set behind them.
Once satisfied that the cloak of the night sky gave them enough cover, the boys broke from the forest. In tandem they darted across the dirt road and threw their backs against the corrugated iron that snaked around the lower part of the fence - another two ft. dug into the dirt to prevent would-be shallow tunnellers.
"If we stay low and close to the fence," Doyler began, "we can crawl right past security."
"This is AWESOME! I'm a spy!" said Kibu a little too loudly. Finger guns pointed to the sky.
"Keep quiet!" Doyler covered Kibu's mouth with his hand.
"I'm a spy." Whispered Kibu with a wink as Doyler removed his hand.
On hands and knees the boys shuffled themselves along the ground. The only sound from the farm was the gentle shuk-shuk-shuk of the hydroponic watering systems kicking in at timed intervals.
They had only been on the move for twenty minutes when they heard the low hum of an engine coming from down the road. Doyler looked over his shoulder and could see the headlights casting a soft magnolia glow over the dirt - steadily growing closer. They were too far from the Black Forest to make it back and Wrackham Wood was another mile ahead of them. He heard a clang on the fence and looked up to see Kibu had already began clambering upward.
"Kibu what the...?"
"Come on. They'll see us otherwise."
As Doyler began to climb the fence he knew it was too late. He knew that he hadn't thought this part through well enough and he knew that they were going to be caught. Only half way up the fence with Kibu very nearly at the top - fingers and bare toes clutching between the holes as the fence swayed under their weight - the car pulled up beside them.
"Get down from there!" a voice from inside the vehicle - his face shrouded in the darkness of the cab.
Doyler dropped to the ground as Kibu clung precariously to the top of the fence. He turned around as the door opened and the driver stepped out.
Kibu lost his grip on the swaying fence and slipped down. Clutching at the holes he caught himself - then slipped some more before landing on his back with a thump. The hard light from a bright torch shone in his face.
"Oh! Hi Officer?" Kibu smiled flashing his white teeth while blinking into the light.
Emerging from a Baxter Brothers security truck in his brown and tan uniform stood Gary Paskowitz, flash-light in hand and disappointment etched on his face with one hand scratching his scalp through his dark red hair. He cast the light up to Doyler's face: "Doyler Hayes? What the fuck man?"
"Hi Gary." Doyler said sheepishly.
To Be Concluded...