John W. Patterson

Priestess of Nycrama

The Finale!! (If you haven't read Part One then don't start here!)

	      I aped the melody, emphasizing the prominent notes while Howard
unseen,continued howling agonies. His wailing was closer. The chant was
mesmerizing and the image of Endura framed against the swirling starry mists
was hypnotic. I was nearly entranced was it not for poor Howard's shouting
from the edge of the clearing.
	"Claude! Oh my God! My G-" He gasped for breath, "It's coming! It got 
Asmodeus. I was chasing him across the smaller clearing . . . it barreled past me, 
following the sound of Asmodeus' babbling. Something came up from the ground 
and swallowed him whole even as I stood watching! I couldn't move! I just . . . it 
follows the chant! That's why the boys are drugged. They come here and then 
call it to feast on themselves. Claude I could see . . . Ohhh, I could see them 
beneath its skin. They're all alive inside that thing, squirming, struggling to the 
light and falling back deeper as it undulates its body! Endura scared the poor 
devils off and it ate them whole in the jungle! It's had to work a little harder for its 
food these past years hunting them down out there! It must dwell somewhere 
near this clearing. It's a stinking fishing hole for that thing! For God's sake, 
Claude, stop her from singing! It'll find us!"
     Endura continued like an automaton, "Cerro la neblina, Neblina-tepui!"
     Staring across the stone of travel I saw Asmodeus' blood-drenched flight vest 
and then spied his "Meat Grinder"! It that had made it through with him! I jumped 
across the chasm of green and grabbed the gun. Its cold firmness felt particularly 
comforting at that moment. Howard was just below me limping toward the pillar, 
entangled in the vine he had just pulled. Behind him I noticed the ground up 
welling and small trees swaying in the moonglow. 
     "Aaaaaaiiiiieeee!"  Howard's shrieks ripped through me as the earth swelled at 
his heels casting him headlong. He vanished in the high grass.  
     "Howard don't quit now! Get up!" I called out, my finger sweating across the 
     He rose only to roll forward again. A mountain of mud and roots boiled, 
surging about him. Howard scrambled backwards, kicking, and spouting 
obscenities. Then I saw Nycrama lifting up, silhouetted against the full moon. I 
cannot fully describe what I witnessed writhing up some thirty feet tall but I never 
hesitated to unload Asmodeus' "Meat Grinder". I aimed at what seemed its head, 
concentrating my aim at a pulsating, membranous orb. The creature recoiled, 
retracting the swollen organ away from the barrage of hot lead. Slowly a 
chitinous exoskeleton slid forward, encasing the ichor oozing area I was swiss-
cheesing. As it swayed angrily in blind confusion, its rippling extremities running 
the length of what body I could see, extruded hundreds of smoothly segmented, 
taloned tentacles or tendrils. It was all at once slug, macrophage, and ravenous 
larvae. I could not tell which. By now Howard had dragged himself up to my feet. 
He slid closer, rising just above the sinuous coils of glistening black appendages, 
hooking, and whipping around the base of the travel stone. Soil, plants, and 
stones were being tossed everywhere by Nycrama' frenzied rage. Endura locked 
into her litany of doom, seemed indifferent to the threat looming over her.
     "Endura!" I begged, "Stop, it's following your voice!"
     "Nycramaaaaaahhhh! Yamil Zacraaaa! Yuzzzzh!" Howard began to emulate 
the song and Nycrama swung away from Endura to find its new meal.
     "Good, Howard! I mean-" I fell back exclaiming, "Howard! That's enough 
already! You've got it going now." I fired again at close enough range to see the 
woeful, imprisoned contents of the thing jerking away from the bullets. This Orm 
of Dante backed away to sniff the breezes and reorient itself for the final strike. 
Perhaps it toyed with us knowing its advantage in behemoth dimensions alone.
	There are images reserved only for nightmares of madmen and the rain-
soaked visions of carnage mirrored still in dead men's eyes splayed over 
battlefields lit by lightning flash. Yet what I witnessed next was far beyond all 
perversity imaginable. Nycrama began regurgitating the contents of his vast gut. 
Tangled strands of mushroom gray flesh piled up at the foot of the pedestal. I 
could only hope it was death throes and ceased my shooting. I recognized this 
noisome slurry as an amalgamation of human bodies. Slowly, they were each 
dying, released from a living death. Nycrama retracted a multifurcated umbilicus, 
audibly snapping it free from the base of the skull of each quivering victim, nearly 
drained of his very soul. Death claimed them swiftly.
	I  looked for Asmodeus among the lifeless horde. Not finding him, I 
surmised him as hidden beneath the remains. Howard began gasping and 
vomiting. Nycrama bowed his hooded head toward us. From behind the hard 
shell at his neck there was a horrid protrusion growing. It slowly gained my 
recognition. Now astride the worm that dies not, Asmodeus' upper torso fitfully 
writhed atop this putrescent pariah. He mouthed silently, gesticulating, choking, 
and coughing up Nycrama's zombifying essence.
	Asmodeus strained words, his will, his individuality, slipping away, 
"Claude, kill me, please, I, I, I can't  . . . "
	Nycrama eclipsed this plea, surging forth to address us via Asmodeus, "At 
last, the game is over and I soon feast on the countless souls of men. Free! I will 
rule and ravish your world pregnant with billions! Avalzant, Envoy of the Fiery 
Change! See my day! The contest falls to me, the door home opens! Sing my 
sweet darling Endura, sing as I take you. Ride within me to rule eternal. The prize 
of endless waiting now brings me forth out of this prison! You can hold me here 
no longer, Avalzant! I alone have made sure the tunnel to freedom. You have lost 
Elder one! So, so many worlds await my coming. I have wasted in this mirror-
world and vile body long enough. Avalzant, you housed my soul in worm but see! 
Great I have grown! Curse you Avalzant and that stupid soulbox, Wheatley, in 
failing me! Yet now by his little, song-bird wife I fly. Now to find the amulet he 
almost brought through to me. The fool! The last Zacran stone fallen to Uxmal, 
just beyond the door, will be mine again. It is nearly time to feed in new pasture. 
Sing, Endura, my priestess, sing! Enjoy your stay gentlemen."
     Endura paused briefly in her singing, calling to me, "Claude, I have seen 
Nycrama's fate and your deliverance. Return and destroy the priestesses of 
Nycrama and with their death the wormhole of Nycrama escape will close 
forever. His cursed song of living death must never be sung again! I must face 
Nycrama in my own way! You must not interfere!"
     "But, Endura, I ca-" I pleaded.
     "Do it-or we all die!" Endura answered adamantly.
     With this said she tossed a small leather bound notebook to me. She turned 
away, facing the blood red moon as she, the activated pedestal, and Nycrama 
began to slip into the ghostly past. Nycrama swarmed his bulk up to Endura as 
she screamed, "Cerro la neblina, Neblina-tepui! Atrave  del tiempo, la cancio , la 
cancio  del templo! Gran regreso de sue o largo!"
     "Endura! No! Wait!" I called, riveted in place.
     From the sheath at her hip Endura drew the long blade of jade-black stone, 
holding it high overhead, spinning it about, and placing its tip to her breast. With 
a scream I will never shake from my soul, she triumphantly sank the shaft well 
through her own heart! In heroic defiance she stood facing Nycrama, the 
bloodied length of her weapon still protruding from her back. Mingled with my 
own screams, I swear I heard an ungodly laughter bellowing from Nycrama. 
Endura swayed backwards, holding her hands up to some unseen deliverer, and 
then toppled down, falling against the altar stone. 
	As the stone of travel, now fully activated, carried us back to 1996 I saw 
Nycrama's fading form slouching disgustingly onto Endura's lifeless body. 
Immediately the heaving mass angrily roared in pangs of tortured pain. Its horrid 
frame reared back and exploded, sending splintered shards of protoplasm 
skyward. Jets of black effluent drowned the pedestal of power where Nycrama's 
remains smoldered in a greenish flame. I began firing mindlessly into his 
vanishing vileness.
     The scene of this slaughter was vividly replaced with the priestesses of 
Nycrama, back in my own time, still kneeling before the great stone slab 
expecting their god to come. Sulfur and saltpeter fumes were swiftly replaced by 
the stench of the deathly fetid vapors of Nycrama. His body fluids began spewing 
forth from the curious holes dotting the mound of stone I now recognized as the 
sculpted head of Nycrama. He had planned to come into this world long ago but 
the time was not yet full. Now only his corrosive remains came forward to cover 
his puppet priestesses in liquid fire dissolving their flinching bodies. Even as the 
remaining worshipers fled judgement on this night of an ancient prophecy, I 
sensed a great evil maelstrom abating. I began to retch, shivering in a cold 
     Howard lay still at my feet, his heart not able to stand under the incessant 
pummeling of terror within him. I dropped the "Meat Grinder" to my side, realizing 
the ammo had long since run out. I bent down closing Howard's eyes for him and 
picked up the leather notebook resting in Howard's outstretched palm. In the 
bright moonshine and emerald fireglow, I read betwixt dancing shadows, the last 

     Claude, my dear friend, as you read this, I have gone to Avalzant, my father, 
and Nycrama's soul is sent to the dark center of Yuzh. Wheatley and I found and 
translated petroglyphs in the ruins of a temple dedicated to Yamil Zacra in the 
Yucatan. There Wheatley also found the Zacran Stone of Uxmal that Nycrama 
needed. The inscriptions told of the priestesses of Neblina-tepui and the god 
Nycrama. There were no dinosaurs here in Venezuela. Wheatley knew that well 
but used it as a cover to come and find this Nycrama. Nycrama controlled 
Wheatley through the necklace amulet of Zacran Stone he wore at all times. In 
the stony text it foretold of the day when the priestess with the hair of the sun 
would come to bring Nycrama to this world and this time. The prophecy 
contradicted itself and portrayed this priestess doing battle with Nycrama. If 
Nycrama were to be victorious and consume her, his loathsome body would lose 
its grip on his prison's temporal space matrix and then pass through his self-
made portal to our world. Wheatley was influenced by Nycrama to bring me and 
in return gain some unimaginable power.
      Seeing me that night, back in 1918, the priestesses were in exultation, for 
here I was, the chosen one, come into their midst. Fate would have it that I came 
first to Nycrama's abode to destroy him. Without the Zacran Stone of Uxmal, 
Nycrama was limited in his original power. He fed on living souls to gain strength 
enough to return to battle Avalzant again. Nycrama did not understand though, 
that to devour any freshly dead body, was to invite Death within the temple of his 
corrupt soul. In doing so, Death, could then dissolve Nycrama's foul body into 
eternal nothingness, thus releasing, and then binding his soul within the ever 
burning core of Yuzh. This battle, I was born, in your world, to fight. I will miss 
you and your New England of 1996.

   -Avrenim, my Pnidleethonian name
     (and for you, Claude), Endura


Providence, Rhode Island 
March 11, 1997

     After an astonishingly successful escape and journey back to the States, I 
come home to face murder charges, no one believing my account of events. I sit 
here now in my study and look into the past out across the treetops. The moon 
sets and I weep once more for my good friend Howard and my dearest Endura. I 
cannot decide whether or not to burn this curious notebook of Wheatley's. In it I 
have discovered the transcribed song of Nycrama. If I could only see Endura 
again. I hold in my hand the Zacran Stone of Uxmal, found while burying Howard 
on the Neblina-tepui. What good is this curiosity to me?
	"Avrenim, Endura," I cried to my empty room, "Avalzant, whoever you are, 
hear my cry! Answer me!"

(This ends Dr. Farnsworth's notes. Neither the aforementioned Zacran Stone nor 
Wheatley Smythe's notebook were located among Dr. Farnsworth's belongings. 
His butler, a Mr. Yu-Chin Zhang reported, " . . .  hear shouting, strange voices, 
laughter, and then thunder on the last night he see good doctor . . . doorknob 
very warm and room smell of sulfur . . . candles lean over to side . . . all circuit 
breakers tripped . . . every light bulb bad in doctor's study." Dr. Claude 
Farnsworth's disappearance remains unexplained.)
	 And for the space of forty days, the dark orb Yuzh, sister star to Yamil 
Zacra burns noticeably brighter in the skies of Pnidleethon. Lord Avalzant, lady 
Avrenim, and their party later on that last evening of celebration look quietly upon 
the Milky Way and toward one small star near the galaxy's edge. Claude 
Farnsworth takes Avrenim's hand and they walk, gliding across the royal balcony 
of Avalzant.
	"Avrenim?" I asked, ducking the undulating branches of a playful Khisanti 
	"Yes Claude?" she answered, her eyes reflecting the luminous opalescent 
orbs following us to light our way.
	"Explain to me again about Nycrama," I spoke.
	Avrenim leaning back against an invisible wall of temp-rest that supported 
her recounted, "You understand the recruiting system we employ on Pnidleethon, 
right?" I nodded yes. "Well Nycrama came from the distant past of your world, a 
brujo. He was being watched by Avalzant as a possible recruit to the ranks of 
wizardry here. In his travels to gain power, Nycrama came into possession of the 
Zacran skystone fallen at Uxmal in the Yucatan. With it, he asserted authority 
over the priests there and at many temples elsewhere. He traveled and taught 
others his dark skills. We here are not above using similar powers Nycrama 
dabbled with but he fell into soul eating. He learned how to consume the life 
essence of others to extend his own life. This is not our way. Nycrama set up his 
final temple at Neblina-tepui. What he planned and carried out at that place was 
too diabolical for Avalzant to ignore. My father confronted Nycrama and 
challenged him to a contest to teach Nycrama humility and turn him from ultimate 
evil. Nycrama refused to heed any stranger's advice and lost the first phase of 
the battle. Avalzant destroyed Nycrama's human form and sent the Zacran Stone 
back to Uxmal. He then sent Nycrama's naked soul into a microscopic world-
bubble pinched off into a space time prison, where perchance he might repent. 
	"Instead of reconsidering anything, Nycrama began work in a newly 
acquired lower life form, to punch a hole back to his crumbling temple at Neblina-
tepui. A dream here and a shaman's prophetic utterance there, were small steps 
for Nycrama to systematically inspire a religious sect to reestablish worship at 
Neblina-tepui. He was able, through his priestesses, to reactivate the original 
transport power of the temple. Procuring enough souls by ritual sacrifice, he was 
then able to reach out for someone to bring the Zacran Stone to Neblina-tepui. 
He found Wheatley's mind the second he stood close enough to the right spot in 
the ruins at Uxmal. Nycrama dreaming dreams into minds at his temple could 
never guide anyone to find the lost Zacran Stone dropped by Wheatley. By 
merest chance alone Claude, you found it. Unbeknownst to you, the Stone led 
you into the wisdom to pilot the helicopter down to safety. It propelled you as 
well, unharmed, back to your home. We believe here on Pnidleethon that the 
Zacran Skystones find people and not vice versa. Claude, you held the amulet of 
Yamil Zacra to your heart and called for Avalzant. You then chose to undergo the 
Fiery Change and come to me. For that, I choose to remain in the body you know 
as Endura. Avalzant granted you the luxury of a slightly younger body of Dr. 
Claude Farnsworth. Do you approve of this?" She finished her talk tipping her 
head to one side, smiling.
	"Yes, this meets all the approval I can muster," I answered.
	"Avrenim, what of the carvings at the Yamil Zacran temple at Uxmal? Why 
didn't Nycrama believe the danger of your coming?" I asked in retrospect.
	"You see, Evil blinds itself to its own defeat, existing only to jump through 
Fate's loopholes, buy itself time, and cause a lot more pain," she mused for me.
	"But couldn't Nycrama have read your mind and found you to devour you 
earlier and avoid his doom?" I went on.
	"Claude, I was born a woman to avoid that possibility. Since Nycrama had 
a taste for the souls of young men, I was nothing but a curiosity above his lair. He 
never recognized my presence as his ticket to freedom until he saw my 
prophesied `hair of the sun' by viewing me through your eyes. And as for my 
mind, Avalzant did not fill me with full revelation of my identity and mission until 
the very last," she finished.
	"Incredible! Did Avalzant send you or-" I began.
	"No, I drew the short straw you might say," she chuckled.
	Shaking my head and laughing briefly, my gaze drifted back across alien 
skies to Earth for one little private goodbye.
	"Do you miss your world my love?" Avrenim spoke in a whisper her hand 
weaving itself into mine.
	"No, I don't at all," I added, the cool night breeze lifted the light orbs into a 
slight bobbing motion, "not one bit Avrenim."
	She tugged at my arm and we moved closer to one another for warmth, 
the spiraling winds of Ahkomnem clawed our backs. Avrenim's anklet bells 
chimed in unison with the great windgongs mounted in the upper walls of 
Avalzant's palace.
	"We should go in now for the hour given to the Pnumbrals comes," she 
informed me pointing to a dark, wispy shadow darkening, blanking out the stars 
to the south. "They come devouring the refuse of daily life and eliminate the 
foolish, the unwary, and the slothful of Pnidleethon."
	What I thought were the stars now turned a brilliant, laser red, was in fact 
the eyes of the black winged mass.
	"I can lift the walls to build an observation dome if you like," she offered.
	"I suppose so, yes, I am intrigued by this," I responded a bit nervously.
	She sang a note or two of signals and the winds stilled. I felt a pressure 
grow in my inner ears, my footfalls echoing beneath the unseen shield.
	"Avrenim, so much here continues to amaze me. I feel the child and all 
about me teachers!" I retorted, watching the cloud of mystery now swarming 
about us.
	"Yes, and there will be time enough for you to grieve," Avrenim cryptically 
commented, anticipating my next thoughts.
	"So much worked out for my good and  . . .  yet Howard came out the 
loser. I mourn his passing and inside lies a guilt for being the survivor," I sighed.
	Avrenim chuckled into a full laugh, holding me tighter as I recoiled in 
disgust and shock. She continued her snickering saying, "I said there would be 
time to grieve meaning the loss of your former way of life, not for Howard."
	"What are you  . . .  Howard was a dear friend and-" I argued ignorantly.
	"Claude, Howard is not dead, as you might believe," she announced.
	"I buried him myself!" I shouted, pulling away, the Pnumbrals flying 
overhead forgotten. I barely noticed their beating about the fortress Avrenim had 
just erected.
	"Claude, calm yourself, hear me out. Above us assailing the barrier, the 
shadows seek to enter and devour our bodies but are held at bay. Your dear 
Howard's shadowy soul left his body moments before its transfer back to 
Neblina-tepui of 1996. The soul hungers for a living body. Howard's body was 
broken, useless, and finished. Howard's soul, his ego-consciousness, slipped out 
of Nycrama's crumbling world fleeing into meta-temporal space and wound up 
back on Earth somewhere near the nexus of 1890 and your Providence of Rhode 
Island, old New England. We watched him wandering aimlessly, confused, 
looking for his own body, and his best friend, you, Claude. Somewhere, he heard 
the words, `Howard Phillips', and instantly he willed his ego there. A young male 
was gaining his name, even in the womb. Your Dr. Howard Beam Phillips' nearly 
dissipated self, fell, moth to the flame, into that unborn child. Howard's total life is 
being lived out in your New England's past. I believe his full name was to be  . . .  
yes, Howard Phillips Lovecraft," she ended speaking, smirking with a head nod.
	"YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!" I mouthed incredulously, knowing all the time 
she was dead serious.
	"He creates quite a long lasting stir in literary circles, I believe," she 
added, giggling in abandon.
	"Lovecraft died in 1937 and Howard was born in 1937!" I reasoned, 
hesitating, "  . . .  Avrenim, I need to get some sleep." The last Pnumbral 
regained the flock, vanishing over the frozen mountain ranges cradling the 
northern skies' bejeweled sunsets.
	"You may call me Endura, if you like, Claude," Lady Avrenim smiles 
serenely, pulling the good doctor closer. They retire to her chambers for a night 
of their favorite, preselected, dream sequences.



 *I dedicate this tale to the memory of Clark Ashton Smith, 
H. P. Lovecraft, and H. Beam Piper. Avalzant, Pnidleethon, 
Yamil Zacra, Yuzh, and N(y)ecrama are fantastic names and 
places, inspiring me to write, first used by Clark Ashton 
Smith in his unfinished tale, "The Infernal Star", begun in 
1933. My apologies to the old masters of fantasy. 

E-mail me if you enjoyed this tale or would like to use it in any e-zine or hard copy publication.
Back to Prose Index
"I wanna go home now!!"