The Wriggler in Darkness

Mohinder’s parents told him he should’ve gone to dental school, but here he was, working on his graduate degree in Anthropology, following hundreds of robed cultists deep into the earth for a glimpse at their dark eldritch lord.

Once he got to the bottom of the stairs, Mo paused, squinting. “Is…is it made of Jell-o?”

His cultist informant shrugged. “Well, we can’t say Jell-o, that’s trademarked, so we have to say our Dark Lord Pfarrginath is comprised of jelly. Or gelatin, whichever.”

Mo looked up at the stone platform in the center of the altar room, where a circle of ancient, rune-covered monoliths that had risen up from untold depths upon the stars’ alignment. There, the eldritch lord Pfarrginath wriggled between the monoliths, its body jiggling and shiny in the torch light, its multitudinous limbs flailing in some strange, wordless gesture-language the cultists may or may not have understood. The droning hum of the cultists’ chants was not quite enough to drown out the wet slurping noises of the thing’s vibrating belly.

“Horrifying, right?” the cultist grinned. “You’re about to be driven to the brink of madness, yeah?”

“Oh…yeah. Absolutely,” Mo nodded, trying not to cringe. He reminded himself that the grant he’d gotten for this ethnography would pay his rent for the next six months. Living in Boston wasn’t cheap.

Mo looked back up at the gelatinous being, feeling a strange energy build up in the air, crackling and sparking like an access of static around a balloon. The hairs lifted up on the back of his neck. He developed a bit of headache. He thought for a minute that the headache might be a sign that something terrifying would actually happen, but then, after a while, the sparks vanished and his headache went away. The great jelly god kept quivering.

The cultists started packing up.

Mo’s informant jabbed him with an elbow. “ That was pretty maddening, right? What with the sparks and the chanting?” The cultist pulled up his sleeve. “Check this out.”

The cultist’s arm had bleached white hair against greenish skin, a color Mo had been told came from hours soaking in a cavernous grotto filled with the leavings from Pfarrginath’s supernatural slime trail. The hair was standing straight up on end, bristled like an alien porcupine.

“Wooow.” Mo said. He glanced at his own arm. Quickly, he brushed this thick, black hair up a bit with this hand before showing it to the cultist, “Yeah, look at mine.”

The cultist nodded, “Oh yeah, yeah, cool. You’re terrified.” Then the guy sighed a satisfied noise, looking back up at the platform where the dark lord had begun to melt away in snotty green streams. “Pretty amazing, right?”

“Totally. 100 percent,” Mo muttered, and then he thought maybe I can still get into dental school.

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