The Séance

Edward Task was a liar, a charlatan, and a thief. The séance would be his final act of fraud.

A story in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft.


2. Chapter 2

    Task meticulously checked each of his apparatuses before every séance he conducted. One of the reasons that he was so successful was that he was so particular in this. He had already prepared a recording which was ready to play at a touch of a button. A wire would move a needle on and off a hidden gramophone allowing him to control a set of pre planned responses. If the woman decided to get really specific Task would have to improvise, but that was just another of the things that made Task the best.

    The almost imperceptible wires running throughout the room allowed Task to manipulate a variety of objects. Task used these in order to create an element of illusion that the spirit was with them in the room. Task kept the wires and mechanisms well oiled and preferred to have a specific number of candles lit in order to impede one’s vision of them.

    The woman arrived promptly, even a little bit before Task would have liked. Still he was ready and she had brought everything which Task had requested. She lay an expensive pocket watch, a collodion photograph and what looked like a small urn on the table.

    The urn was puzzling to him and somewhat troubling. Why had she decided to bring this? Still he decided that he did not care as the object looked expensive.

    “Madam, please have a seat in the chair next to you.” Task always had a chair situated and prepared specifically for the client. He considered it a lucky break that it was only him and the woman as preparing for more than one always meant a more arduous process.

    Task took his spot on the other side of the table. The candlelight cast dull shadows across the scene, pocket watch glistening in the gloom like a beacon. Task slid the photograph over in front of him. The man pictured did not have any special traits though there was something about him which bothered Task. Task brushed the feeling off of nerves and continued.

    “Now that everything is ready I would ask you to close your eyes as I begin to communicate with the spirits. It is vitally important that you do not open them until instructed to do so.” This was the most trying portion of the event as it contained the highest risk of being caught.

    Task slipped the photograph beneath the table and into the special slot. As he did this he called out in a low monotonous voice in order to mask any noises he happened to create.

    “The woman before me is searching for her father. We wish to speak to him.”

    Task pumped a pedal with his foot causing the objects in the room to jostle about slightly.

    “Is he with us now?” More jostling.

    “Do you remember this watch? It was an important item to you when you were alive.” A man’s pocket watch was an item to be cherished, an easy thing to fool a client with.

    Task held the watch aloft and at the same time he pressed the button on the underside of the table which dropped the needle on the gramophone. A dull moan filled the room. “Yesss..”

    “Then reveal yourself, I beseech you.”

    An image appeared on the sheet which was suspended above the table. This was Task’s signature ploy, one he had designed himself. He used a projector which shone a light through the photograph now hidden beneath the table. The light was magnified by a lens hidden in the center which had a slot which slid back to reveal it. This image appeared on the sheet above giving it an unearthly effect. Task was always proud of this part.

    “You man open your eyes,” Task told the woman. She complied and looked directly at the image above. Task felt discomfort that she did not gasp and gesture like his clients normally did. Instead she looked directly at the image and then at Task himself. Task shook off the feeling and continued.

    “Is this man your father? He asked. In response she smiled slightly and said nothing. Suddenly the projected image did something which Task had never intended; it moved. The woman’s father opened it’s mouth and started to speak: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

    He had no idea what they meant but to Task the words sounded as if they were being spoken from the very depths of hell. This was speech which was never meant for the ears of mortal man. The woman across from him was mouthing the same words as the projection spoke them. As she did this she lifted the urn, undid the lid and poured out the contents upon the table in what looked like a pattern.

        Task felt a fear, a need to flee. He no longer cared if she would give him away. He slid his chair backwards, unhitching the wires and mechanisms, causing them to shake and jitter. A pungent odor hit his nostrils. It smelled like rotting fish mixed with the stench of death. He had a feeling that what he was smelling was the deepest, darkest corner of the ocean. This frightened him even more and he started turning away from the demonic scene when a force compelled him to look back against all normal reason. 

        What Edward Task saw when he turned around froze him into paralysis. The table had elevated, but from nothing which Task controlled. It was floating in the air, moving slightly from left to right.The table was not what held Task’s attention though, instead it was what was moving the table. A large fleshy appendage, green and dripping slime which was mixed with what looked like blood held it aloft. The appendage was lined with suckers and tiny spikes. It had wrapped itself between the table legs and seemed to be coming out of the very floor itself. Task screamed in horror as the appendage suddenly flung away the table and reached for him. The last thing he saw was that in the spot where the woman had been sitting a massive eye had taken her place. An alien eye which was glistening and projecting an aura of triumphant glee.


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