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THE CALLANISH STONES

1990 by L A Falorio

He screamed, and the girl convulsed when it finally appeared, tentacled and dark, its one huge tooth an ugly fang, its bloodshot eye burning through the wretched darkness. A sudden wind blew cold and whirled about the silent standing stones as the two men intently watched, bent upon the spectacle enacted in the darkness of the heath.

Dim starlight shone cold and pale upon her body, arched naked on the central stone used for an altar as the Entity congealed within the mirror slung above her. And with one sudden wrenching movement, the Entity had freed itself from the entrapping glass, the amorphous body writhing, boiling onto the darkness of the barren heath.

The Entity bore down upon the girl. Folds of dark flesh and tentacles caressed her fragile form, and smothered the pale lines of her naked body until all was but darkened starlight, a black and utter void convulsing in the center of the ancient ring of stones. And a strange unearthly light played upon the stones like pulsing Northern Lights, as if the stones had suddenly awakened after all their years as silent sentinels, after countless generations kept as Watchers of the nameless Outer Gates.

And in a time, the wind died upon the heath. Satiated, the Entity slowly drew itself away. The red eye seemed but dim as the amorphous form, tentacled and dark moved once more onto the surface of the mirror, and that darkness melted back into the starlight, left nothing of itself but the silence of the cold and distant stars.

"Are you O.K.?" the two men asked as they rushed forward from their hiding place behind the stones extending blankets to wrap around her quaking body. But the two were little more than boys, wiry and thin, with nothing but innocent concern in their young faces. And the girl's body shook as they helped her from the mirror placed beneath her on the central altar stone.

"Guess so," she replied uncertainly, holding her hand upon her forehead as if it ached. "What happened? Did you see anything? Do you think it worked?"

The boys looked at one another. "Didn't you see anything?"

A frightened look flickered across her features for a moment, and then they smoothed. "Nope. Guess I just went blank. Like I was asleep or something ". She looked again from one boy to the other. "Why won't you guys tell me? What happened, damn it!"

The boys exchanged a knowing, conspiratorial look, then Justin hooted: "We did it!"

Laughing, the three exchanged "high-fives" and danced around the Stones until all three lay on the ground, exhausted, gazing at the silence of the stars.

"What now?" The girl asked at last. "What happens now that we've made contact?"

"Pammy, now the fun begins!" Justin laughed, rubbing his hands together with deliberate sinister glee. "Right, Burke?" He laughed again and nudged his comrade.

"I'm not so sure," Burke replied carefully, as always. "I'm not sure whether we contacted the right Entity. I mean, we were supposed to be reactivating a site used in the Megalithic worship of Cernunnos, the Horned God of the Witches. But you saw what HE looked like "

"What DID he look like?" Pam demanded. "You mean you actually SAW him?"

Falling suddenly silent, Justin and Burke exchanged a sober look.

"Come on you guys! I think I have a right to know. What happened?!"

"Pammy, now, it's nothing. I mean, we couldn't actually SEE anything. It just seemed like SOMETHING was there . . . at least you acted like it "

"Acted like what?"

"Well, if you must know, you sure seemed to be enjoying the hell out of yourself!" Justin laughed and elbowed Burke.

"Oh." Pam sank back onto the hard dirt of the heath. "I guess it had to be the Horned God then. I always knew it would be wonderful, to be an ancient Witch high-priestess, and make it with the god! Won't it be great when we've brought back the old religion of the Witches? Think of all the power we'll have then. . . I wonder why they burned them?"

"What?"

"Burned the Witches, I mean."

"It was a strange religion . . ." Burke began.

"You're not getting cold feet, are you?" Justin accused him, laughing.

Burke thought a long time, gazing at the stones, and at the strange unearthly light that still flickered on them. "No, . . . I just like to be careful, that's all. And I'm just not sure about the Entity we contacted, . . ."

"But we did re-activate the site, didn't we?" Pam asked.

"Sure, we did! Look at the lights! I'm just not sure, . . . Maybe we were wrong. Maybe the Callanish Stones were ancient long before the time of the Megalithic Witch Cults. I'm not even sure that it was human beings who constructed them, or what sort of nameless gods they may have worshipped "

"What are you talking about?" Justin demanded. "What exactly are you trying to tell us?"

"I'm just not sure. We certainly awakened Something. But what it was, I really have not idea, . . . " Burke replied, thoughtful. And the nameless wind swept across the heath, whistling through the space between the stones.

"Let sleeping dogs lie," Pam whispered.

"Maybe, . . . I just hope that It went back to where ever it came from, . . . 'cause if it didn't "

"Then what?" Justin scoffed.

"No telling what the Entity might do," Burke whispered, hoarse with fear. "Those times were dark, morality was non-existent. Animal instincts were all that mattered. 'Eat or be eaten,' as the saying goes. Dark gods ruled the earth whose only thought was the satisfaction of their own unnatural desires, . . ."

"Burke, you're scaring me!" Pam cried, and jumped up, heading for the car.

Justin stood up stiffly, reluctantly, brushing thorns and stickers from his clothes. "Come on, Burke, let's go with her. We can come back later for the mirrors."

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"Isn't it awfully crowded," Justin complained, as Pam squeezed herself between them in the front seat of the car.

"What're you complaining about? I'm the one who has to straddle this damn console! Besides, I feel safer this way," she pleaded, glancing nervously into the back seat of the car.

"I don't know what you're worried about", Justin insisted. "We had it all planned out. Everything worked perfectly. Nothing can go wrong "

"But it DID go wrong," Burke reminded him.

"You mean that shit about getting the wrong Entity? You can forget it! We're all just simple warlocks and witches here, jack! You and your 'Dark Gods'! You worry too much! Just relax and enjoy the ride! Forget it!"

"Oh "

"What is it, Pammy?"

"Nothing. I just had a chill. I can't get over feeling really creepy.   I wish I could remember what happened out there "

"No you don't," Burke mumbled.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Pammy, move your knee so I can start the car. I can't get to the shift, . . ."

"No, wait. I don't feel well. I think I'm going to be sick. Let me out, . . ."

"O.K. Over there. Down in the cut there are some bushes,"

Burke directed as he hauled her from the car.

"Jesus! What a night!" Justin cursed and lit a cigarette as they leaned against the car to wait for Pam. "Do you think she's alright?"

"Beats me!" Burke replied. "But for her sake, I certainly hope so. For all our sakes, . . ."

"What do you mean?"

"Nothing," Burke mumbled as the wind picked up and screeched across the flat and barren heath. He thought he again saw the strange lights play upon the stones, as if something evil and forbidden had awakened.

"Do you know they did human sacrifice?" Burke asked at last.

"What?"

"Never mind. I was just thinking of the ones before the Witches, the ones who worshiped the Old Gods, the nameless gods of some pre-human time . . ."

"Give me a break! Why don't you quite harping on that shit! . . . Pammy, what's keeping you? It's bloody freezing, with that wind!"

"I don't feel well . . ."

"Her voice sounds strange . . . go get her," Justin said, and reluctantly, Burke scrambled down into the clinging mists and darkness of the cut.


 

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The night had rapidly grown thick and dark with scudding wind-blown clouds that obscured the dim light of the stars. Burke tried not to think of the ungodly light upon the stones, of the Entity they'd unwittingly awakened, as he groped his way among the clinging brambles that were tearing at his arms and face and clothes.

"Oh there you are!" He said, crashing blindly into Pam. "Are you alright?"

"What happened to you?" She asked quietly, touching her finger to a gash upon his cheek. Then she put her bloodied finger in her mouth, intent and thoughtful. She made a gurgling sound within her throat and turned suddenly upon him. "I want you."

"What? Oh, what the hell, . . ." Burke sighed, and as he pressed his lips to hers he felt they were unearthly cold.

"Everything alright down there?" Justin called to them when he heard the scuffling in the bushes, the muffled moans, the gurgling sounds, as of a dying animal.

"Come down, Pammy's sick. I need your help," Burke called to him, his voice turned somehow strange.

"Sure, . . ." Justin sighed, and scrambled down the cut.

The silence was unearthly, the night lay still and thick upon the scrub grass and the tangled vegetation brooding at the bottom of the cut.

"Where are you, . . . ?" Justin called out, groping. He heard a noise and turned abruptly, stumbling.

"My god, . . ." He saw that it was Burke and Pam, that they were bloody, torn, as if mauled by some wild animal.

When he heard the noise again, he whirled, but too late he saw the glittering Thing that loomed above him, its one red eye burning through the dark. All amorphous slime and bloodied fang and tentacles it boiled onto his helpless body, smothering it with void and utter dark.

And the wind whirled crazily across the barren heath, screaming through the space between the silent Stones. The strange lights played upon them once again, as if something evil and forbidden had awakened from its centuries of sleep. While the forgotten mirrors glittered, remote and cold. Filled with the dark light of the Stars.

 

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the end

 

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All articles and art Linda Falorio unless otherwise noted

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Linda Falorio / Fred Fowler
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