Short Stories
The Horror on Mt. Davidson

       The geological situation of a mountain set square in the middle of a great metropolis has always struck me as somehow inherently foreboding.  My sense, as irrational as it may seem, is that mountains were things far away from civilization where dark and mysterious events might occur whilst we sleep safely under our warm covers.  San Francisco though; City of a thousand mysteries, was blessed by Nature with several mountains in her very bosom. Twin Peaks was always the tourist spot, where the view of the Bay Area brought people from all around the globe to stand in the observation areas and gawk. Mount Davidson, not too far away from the latter site, is technically the higher of the two about ten feet at a respectable height of 925 feet..  It is swathed in deep foliage and bears a much darker aspect than Twin Peaks, due to the vast cross erected out of steel and concrete at its' summit. Franklin D. Roosevelt lit the electric lights illuminating the 103 foot high cross via telegraph, from Washington, on March 25th, 1934. The cross has had a checkered history since then, filled with rumors of satanic deeds, anomolous events and strange phantoms moving 500 pound brass plaques in the night for no apparent reason, but nothing prepared me for the evening of October 13st, 1962.
        I am a Catholic Priest as well as a Psychologist and expert in the areas of Parapsychology and the “Unexplained.”  My rectory at the time,was not all that far from Mount Davidson and on my days off, I often favored a slow walk up the double-helical pathways that surround the Mountain, savoring the light, the greenery, and the quiet; taking photos and studying Nature.  Some evenings, I would stay until after dark, enjoying the vast cosmic vista and clear astronomical views from the summit glade.  The summit is arranged in a long and elliptical shape, with the East end overlooking the downtown and Haight-Ashbury districts. The West peers out toward the Sunset district, the beach and the Pacific Ocean. The entire ellipse is surrounded by incredibly thick brambles, tall eucalyptus and deciduous trees.  My favorite haunt was at the East end, where I could gaze over the City with a philosophical and aesthetic attitude and enjoy the last moments of the day in a peaceful and contemplative way.
      This evening, though, it was not to be peaceful nor contemptlative at all. It was beginning to rain and while I was garbed appropriately in a dark-coloured slicker, I began to wend my way back down the main trail on the Northern slope.  Just then, I heard the strangest thing.  It was a low murmuring, distinguishably human, but filled with the oddest concatenation of barbarous sounds that I had ever heard. I have been present at many magical ceremonies around the world and most of them use a barbarous language of invocation which is supposed to mimic the language of the demons and minions of the lower astral planes.  This had none of that quality, since it seemed to make a strange sort of intuitive sense so that I could begin to comprehend its murmurings.  It used words that seem to lay at the bottom of language, like some strange alien phonemes taught to humanity when it was young and barely human. I discretely walked back towards the summit and found a well-protected vantage place in the brambles, where I could observe the goings on in case I needed to act upon them.  Horrible events have been rumored to have occurred on this mountain and it was my theory that the Cross acted as a magnet for the more unbalanced individuals in the City, much like the Golden Gate Bridge acted as a magnet for dozens of suicides each year.  In my rucksack, I always carry a pair of good high-powered Zeiss binoculars, both for astronomical and naturalist work.  I took it out and examined the area at the other end of the summit, by the Cross,  whence the sounds emanated.  The Cross was not illuminated tonight and it was a most dark and moonless night.  The rain was making things even harder to peruse, but three individuals were clearly standing in a triangular shape directly beneath the Cross, where the huge brass plaque commemorating its' first illumination by FDR would be.  All I could see were three figures dressed in what appeared to be the robes of Blackfriars, with heavy hoods protecting their heads from the elements.  They held their arms aloft to the  heavens and intoned their strange chants in perfect harmony, which seemed odd, since the weather was hardly favoring such vocal perfection.  They started to become louder and louder, which was also odd, since there was no physical means by which their voices would be naturally amplified on the open space of the summit.  I kept having the strange feeling that whatever it was that they were chanting, was of such a primordial nature, that I was understanding some level of it in my deep unconscious mind. It was not at all soothing nor reassuring.  I racked my head for some insight into what language it was they might be speaking in.  For a second, I thought ancient Sumerian, but this had none of the measured vowels and poetic qualities of that language. This was rough and ancient and primordial.  Since nothing else unusual was really happening, I thought I might go back down the mountain before I would be soaked to the skin. My slicker only covered down to my knees and my waterproof boots still left a bit of a vulnerable zone on my shins.  All of a sudden, I froze and hunkered down further under the protection of the brambles.  I could see something white in their midst rise up off the summit and stand. It was a young woman, perhaps in her early twenties, dark haired, voluptuous, even plump.  She stood facing the cross for a couple of minutes and then turned due North. I could just barely make out her eyes in the binoculars. She was literally “wild-eyed” and patently in a deep state of ecstatic trance, which was probably the result of drugs.  The three black-robed figures moved towards her and then I am afraid that things became very confused.  The next time I saw the young woman, she was without benefit of her her skin yet still wide awake and apparently quite alive.  All of a sudden, the chanting stopped.  The silence was more frightening than the weird chanting had been.  Out of the skinless woman emerged looked like light, but a negative light if that makes any sense.  It was darker than black could possibly be, with a midnight blue tinge that gave it shape and a sense of vortex and wild spinning.  Out of her open mouth shot four enormous shafts of this black light, and I could see them head directly across the dark and choppy waters of the Bay to Mount Tamalpias in Marin, Mount Diablo in the East Bay and Mount San Bruno to the South of us.  A fourth inexplicably shot off far into the Pacific Ocean.  The Ocean made me think for a second...Aklo...yes, the primordial language of the Great Ancient Ones who lived on Earth billions of years before humanity arose as a species.  They had been chanting in Aklo, which uses vast conceptual units of time, space and matter for each sound. It was literally the language of the Creation of the Elder Gods who now live on Stars in the Constellation of Orion. 
      I suddenly realized that these “People” at the summit might not be people at all, but rather creatures of the oldest living cults among humans; the cults of the Great Ancient Ones and the black light heading out over the Pacific, could only mean one thing....Lord Cthulhu, dreamer of the dead city of Ry'leh, in the deep undersea trenches near Ponape, was being contacted, for whatever reason, I could not grasp.  The four black-light beams seemed to have done their work, since they returned back into the mouth of the skinless young woman.  All at once, she fell to the ground and the three robed figures held her skin up to the sky.  Something was moving through the night-sky towards the summit and it was not a good thing.  I wracked my mind for a plan of action, but the simple truth was that the forces I was observing were so far beyond human intervention that going for the Authorities would be worse than useless.
      Whatever it was that was slowly descending toward us had a bizarre brownish oily quality, like an oil slick in the air, with constantly shifting vortices of diamond-like ice and flaming blue and sickly green glowing radiations.  Just as the cultists were about to triumph and conduct that oily mass into the discarded skin of the skinless female cultist, a woman suddenly burst through the Bramble and walked up the stairs at the base of the cross.  She kneeled down and began to pray.  The cultists were so nonplussed that they dropped the skin and made as if to defenestrate the intruder as quickly as possible. 
   They made toward the woman, who was dressed in a long black coat with a black veil and hat and  a stark white face with huge, staring eyes.  Now, when you look at any one of my areas of interest, you are bound to see some pretty unusual occurences, but this one startled even me.         The first thing that happened was lightning. Lots of it.  What made it unusual is that it was all hitting exactly the same point...the woman in black.  The air was so thick with ozone that I was about ready to vomit, but then the lightning suddenly stopped and the crashing thunder gradually subsided.  The woman in black, far from dead, actually opened her coat, threw it off herself with a theatrical gesture and allowed her peculiar anatomy to become visible.  Her body was as jet black as deepest space.  As she turned towards her now prostrate attackers and the grotesque oil slick-being that was still hovering above them, absurdly suspended in time and space, she opened her arms. All eight of them.  Baring her fangs, she lolled a huge red bloody tongue out of her mouth and literally slurped the whole scenario from another world straight into her gaping maw.  A slight bit of bloat was visible in her ample tummy and after licking her chops, there was a brief, ladylike burp and then she disappeared after winking directly at me, cheshire cat-wise into absolute nothingness. 
       Now, as you can imagine, when a psychologist sees something like this transpire, the first thought has to be for physical evidence. I took out my flashlight and rushed out from my hiding place to look for any kind of sign that this planetary battle had occurred. Nothing. Absolutely nothing; not even the slightest scrap.  I walked back to the East end, half ecstatic at having witnessed all this and half depressed for not having any proof. It was then that I noticed.  The peaks of Mt. Tamalpais, Mt. Diablo and Mt. San Bruno all had raging fires right at their summmits. 
     I checked with my friends at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencey over at Livermore the following morning.  The Earth's characteristic low-frequency Schumann resonance of 7.8 Hz had been so severely affected during the night that their instruments were unable to track even the scale of the event.  They theorized that the “unusual' meterological conditions may have been to blame. Nowhere else in the entire Bay Area was affected by lightning, except Mount Davidson. Once again, Planet Earth had been saved in the rain, cold and night by the archaic forces of the collective unconscious.  Or maybe that really was Goddess Kali, come to dance.xt.