Friday, May 10, 2013

"The Island of Dagon" - Chapter 1: "An Offer and a Warning"


By: J. Nash


           'Dedicated to the enduring memory of H.P. Lovecraft'


                     CHAPTER I. "AN OFFER AND A WARNING"


    On occasion, it is those explorers into the strange and unknown to actually find what it is they seek and what they learn can be their undoing. Such is the story that will unfold before you, if I can finish this manuscript before I, myself, succumb to the very forces of which I write. I have already destroyed the remaining notes, papers, photographs and maps made by myself and the others in our party in the hopes that this will be the sole evidence of our discovery. There should be no others to follow our damnable path into that abyss. It is for no man to learn this cosmic horror firsthand, only to be warned of it in tales and hinted at in abhorrent and encrusted manuscripts of antiquity only found in dank and forgotten esoteric libraries. (1)


    As a student in University, I was fascinated in the strange and ancient religions of aeons past. Those strange and mystic, idolic
cultures such as the Sumerians, Babylonians and African sub-cultured polyistic mythologies. I, myself, believed in a singular God, but
had a fascination with those religions with whom I held in an archaic and typically barbaric view. I had obtained a small
internship within the rare books department of the extensive university library (1A), where I could examine and research at will
the ancient texts of even the remotest and rarest cults and religions. There are ancient books that men are not meant to see- as
I have learned after my brush with the crawling chaos. With God's help, I will burn the library to the ground once I have sealed this
account for future generations as a warning to a possible fate of the human race.

    Even now, after all I have seen and witnessed- I still know that there is but one Creator. Unfortunately, I also know that those
ancient religions of devil-gods had their basis in reality. How I wish I had never set out on this journey.

   The summer of 1943 was to be the last time I would attend classes, although I did not realize it at that time. I had begun work on a paper into my research into the ancient and lost
continent of Lemuria (2), when Professor Raymond Knowles (3) approached me with a once in a lifetime proposition.
He had obtained money for a rudimentary expedition to the South Pacific islands and requested that I go.

 It was explained that other classmates would also be going on this perilous trek, but he knew of my acute knowledge of ancient and mythic civilizations would be of great benefit to the group.
I, of course, accepted. The professor stated that the  University
had agreed to fund one half of the costs and the other half was being provided by 'an unknown sponsor' of which he had no knowledge.

        The professor explained in great detail that recently a freighter out of Hawaii had reported some mysterious and quite
large rocky formations emerging from the sea whereas on previous passages, there had been none. After numerous inquiries,
the professor obtained a single photograph taken by one of the crewmen which, although from quite a long distance away, seemed
to depict some type of heiroglyphical writing on the surface of one obelisk protruding from the sea. The professor further explained
that the dangers of travelling by ship during this time of war
would be particularly dangerous, as the Japanese were an aggressive
and unsavory lot. (4)

   As both result of budgetary limitations and the extreme danger involved, our trip would be on the government acquisition ship
USAT Etolin- a converted steam liner. It was explained that it made regular trips from San Francisco to the Australian continent and
surrounding areas, supplying United States troops with ammunition and supplies (5). It had been arranged that the Etolin would drop
our team on the small atoll island of Ujelang (6), where we would be met by a chartered ship by pre-arrangement to deliver us to
the discovery site.


    The professor stated that we would be leaving port on July 10th and we had roughly four days to prepare any necessary gear and
reference material for the expedition. (7) My first excitement was to notify my friend and fellow student, Edward Carter.

To my further excitement, he informed me that he was selected as a member of the expedition also. He stated that Professor  Knowles
had chosen him because of his intense studies of ancient Japanese history and culture. Edward also informed me that he knew of at
least three others included in this journey- Alexander Crawford, Thomas Ward and George Phillips. (8) It struck me
that I knew both Crawford and Ward as we had several classes together, but Phillips was not known to myself or to Edward.


    The Professor had advised Edward that the entire team were to meet in the university library the evening of the 7th for a more
detailed briefing of the expedition. After the Professor had left, Edward and I discussed at great length about this adventure and
what discoveries that might be made. Our fanciful thoughts regarding some ancient pacific island civilization were indeed
quite colorful...if only we had known what lie in wait for us.

Next Chapter: “Meeting of the Dark Man”


Note: The numbers are annotations that will be attached following the last chapter.

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