Alhazrad seated himself in the midst of a complex series of circles and mystic symbols drawn in white chalk on the floor. He chanted the Dho-Na formulae as he lit the brazier. The dried Black Lotus began to smolder and lazily the blue smoke rose, tendrils coiling and twisting like serpents. As the smoke drew near his face, Alhazrad inhaled deeply.
The lotus fumes struck his brain like thunder, he had brief but terrible sensation of falling down an endless tunnel, then he was standing, staring at his still chanting body, Alhazrad's astral form had been freed from the cage of flesh. He turned toward the window and could see countless paths leading from it. Alhazrad stepped through and began to travel.
He flew through nearer astral realms and beheld spirits of the dead, some lost in false bliss and others lost in equally false torment. Those realms could not hold him and he probed beyond the nearer realms and glimpsed the maelstrom of time itself. Lean and hungry Hounds of Tindalos stalked the edge of the maelstrom, he spoke to those things, telling them the time and place to slay his earthly enemies. That vague scent was enough for the tindalosi, they leaped into the vortex to find their prey.
Alhazrad guided his spirit sideways into the lands of dream. There he marveled at great shantaks on the wing and was briefly entertained by the antics of playful zoogs. Then he watched as the zoogs devoured a lone traveler and his amusement became revulsion.
He left the dreamlands and returned to the plane of earth. He sent his spirit to the very bottom of the sea where he stood with Mother Hydra and her daughters before the sunken tomb of Great Cthulhu. He felt a call from the sepulchre and he entered within, his spirit passing through the stone like mist. There he beheld the corpse of Great Cthulhu, a mountain of alien flesh that was dead but still dreaming. That dreaming essence of Cthulhu flowed out to touch him and something attached itself to Alhazrad, pain ripped through both his astral and corporeal forms.
The agony shattered the spell and sent the sorcerer's soul crashing back to his body. Alhazrad came to his senses with the morning light, the black lotus had long since burnt out, the sigils and diagrams on the floor were smudged from the convulsions that had wracked his body through the night. But something had changed in Alhazrad, as though a veil had been lifted from his eyes, he perceived certain angles were corridors leading to other worlds where other things gazed hatefully upon mankind. The were also changes in his physical form, but Alhazrad decided it would be best to hide those from curious eyes and bound himself with rags as though he were a leper. For those new parts of himself fought for control and they were so very hungry.
Visit my Etsy store to buy my hand weathered Necronomicon pages:
Or Ebay :
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The story is by Ramsey Campbell.
These have been reprinted in later collections of Campbell's mythos work. I have COLD PRINT, but the paperback may have corrupted a few lines.