“Do you think you’re immune because you’re psychic? Or a remote viewer? Your talents can be used against you. If you don’t realize that, you’re not an asset to us anymore. You’re a liability. It used to be, remote viewers could watch and observe from a distance. They could see what was going on, on the other side of the world, without being seen themselves. But this is a different story, my friend. When you started viewing on your own time you opened yourself up to them.”

He had never seen Monroe so agitated before. Hell, he had rarely ever seen Monroe at all. It was usually Aubrey, his errand-boy, who visited, chatted, debriefed him. But here was Monroe because somehow he got wind of what was happening to him.

“They use your sensitivity to control you. Not only you. Other viewers as well. Plus artists, writers, musicians, preachers. Exorcists! Christ, even tea-leaf readers! Gypsy fortune tellers! Whoever has a real gift, a genuine sensitivity to what we used to call ‘vibes’ back in the Sixties. You thought you guys were like sneak thieves, reading people’s minds without their being aware of it. And you were right. But these are not people. I don’t know what to call them, but they are not people. They are here, and they are among us, but they are not even remotely human. They control through the same medium you use to view remotely. They are in telepathic touch with thousands of you, perhaps more, all over the globe. The deterioration

of the planet is causing their resting places to be disturbed. The melting of glacial ice is loosening their bonds below the Antarctic ice shelf. They are in a state of excitement, but they are still asleep. Do you understand? They are in that twilight state between sleeping and wakefulness, and they are using you—and others like you—to help them through that last bit of sleep to full, conscious awareness.

“Your gift, your ability to view remotely … it can be reversed. Like a transmitter and receiver. Someone is on your channel and using it to issue commands. Their transmitter is a lot stronger and more ancient than yours. The technology they use—the biochemical apparatus that is their nervous system, something we never understood because we never really believed they existed—is overpowering your ability to resist. Instead of you spying on them, they are using you to spy on us. You have become a double agent, and you don’t even know it.”

Miller recalled those words in detail, for each one was like a nail driven into his flesh. And Monroe, God bless him, was almost right. Almost. Because it wasn’t a them. It wasn’t a group or a collection of beings.

There was only One.

As they proceeded deeper beneath the mountain the air got thinner and the atmosphere danker. He thought back to everything he had been through the past few months as he raced to find the Book before Monroe and his merry men. And as he began his search, the whole world started going to Hell.

It really began ten years earlier, only no one noticed. Not even him. In 2004 a starquake—a starquake!—took place whose radiation reached the Earth on December 26, 2004. It was the single largest stellar explosion witnessed by human beings for four hundred years, making the magnetar (a kind of neutron star) that caused it—SGR 1806-20—the single most highly magnetized object in history. The gamma rays and X-rays produced by the blast were enough to fry the circuits of satellites in Earth orbit and partially ionize the Earth’s atmosphere.

At the same time, same month and day and year, on planet Earth a tsunami—the largest to hit the region since 1300 AD—struck the east coast of India and the west coast of Indonesia and Thailand and took almost two million lives. However, it also revealed the existence of temples buried beneath the sea. The Seven Temples of Mahabalipuram in

India were revealed to the world as the waters rushed back from the shore during the tsunami and then rushed back in, removing centuries of sediment. Huge buildings made of stone, constructed in the eighth century AD, rose above the waters including foundations that dated more than two thousands years in the past.

A starquake, a tsunami, satellites blinded, and ancient temples rising from the sea. The astronomers had told him that one, not realizing what they were saying. Not realizing they were validating the prophecy encoded in the Lovecraft story about a sunken city called R’lyeh and the sleeping Priest in his Tomb.

Then, as he made his way to the Middle East, in mid-January of 2014 came the revelation of a supernova in the Big Dipper, the Great Bear asterism, the one so important to the Cult. This was SN 2014J, an exceedingly close supernova that was so bright it could be seen by amateur astronomers all over the northern hemisphere. Another signal that Cthulhu, great Cthulhu, was awakening.

This recalled the oceanic turbulence of 2001 and the discovery of an ancient city below the waves of the Gulf of Khambat, south of Mumbai on the western coast of India: a city older than Sumer, older than Mohenjo- Daro.

The Earth and the seas began giving up their secrets and the Cult of Cthulhu was becoming more excited by the hour. He could feel them, feel their agitation and their communications like tiny needles pricking the flesh all around his skull. The Ukraine was in flames, instigated by a neo- Nazi militia, and its president escaped to Moscow … a cult in Nigeria slaughtered all the students in a school by locking its doors and burning the building down … a few days ago they seized nearly three hundred schoolgirls and are holding them in captivity, swearing allegiance to Al Qaeda … This much blood, this much violence will provide the energy necessary to raise dead but dreaming Cthulhu from his sarcophagus beneath the Earth, from his coffin in Aghartta.

From his Tomb beneath his very feet in the beyul of Khembalung.

Like a terrorist or spy, dragged unconscious and drugged, tossed onto a helicopter or a plane going to an undisclosed location, Cthulhu—the High Priest of the Ancient Ones: dreaded alien entities who were even now crowding around the soon-to-be-opened Gate—disappeared into a black site. Extraordinary rendition. A place far from the haunts of men, far from

the civilized world that lived and dreamed a fantasy of right and wrong, of good and evil. And there he should stay.

Even as the cries of the Cult and the booming voice of Cthulhu, Kutulu, the Man of the Underworld, were making themselves known in his head, echoing from one side to the other of his cranium, cerebellum, cerebrum, commanding him to open the Book and say the words, Miller resisted. Resisted mightily. For the terma must be destroyed, and the terton along with it.

It was almost time.

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

DEATH AND RESURRECTION

For, as we must not forget, initiatory death is always followed by a resurrection…

—Mircea Eliade, Rites and Symbols of Initiation

Adnan’s back was against the wall, both literally and figuratively. He heard voices outside in the Nepalese night, muttering voices, the occasional cough, and curses spit in five languages. It was completely dark, but Adnan did not dare turn on his flashlight because it would give away his position.

What are they waiting for? he wondered.

He had managed to sneak over to the two dead bodies in his doorway and remove their weapons and what he could find of their extra ammunition. That was a plus. What was bothering him a little was the fact that he could not identify who the bodies were: not their unit, their ethnicity, nothing. They didn’t carry any ID that he could find. They looked vaguely Asian but that was all. They could have been from anywhere.

He had two AK-47s with extra magazines. As long as they didn’t lob any grenades or blow the rock standing in front of the entrance he could hold out for quite some time. But he hadn’t heard back from Angell or the JSOC team. There was a very good chance that they were all dead and he was the only one left. That thought gave him no comfort at all for it meant that he would die, and die alone, in that antechamber to Hell.

He was not aware that the timing of this night was of the essence. He didn’t know that the forces outside the cave were planning a major offensive that would get them inside the cave and down the tunnels to the Tomb of the High Priest in time for the Opening of the Stellar Gate.

He was not aware that he had, at most, fifteen more minutes before the antechamber to Hell became Hell’s studio apartment.

Angell had lost consciousness.

He had turned to leave the “Cave of Treasures” and the crazy old shaman when something hit him in the head. He blacked out for what must have been only a few minutes for the light from the lantern and everything else in the cavern looked unchanged.

“What the fuck?”

“Sorry, professor. But I couldn’t have you going off like a mad man.” He was holding what looked like an antique knife with a very heavy handle. That was evidently the weapon he used to knock Angell down.

“Me? Me, the mad man? Are you … you’re insane!” Angell struggled to get up from the floor but he suddenly felt nauseous from the blow and stayed on his hands and knees while trying to collect himself.

“You are not in any position to save anyone right now. You will do more harm than good. Give me five minutes to explain, and then I will help you out of here so you can save your friends.”

“I don’t think they have five minutes,” Angell said in an anguished voice.

“Oh, they do. You see, the forces arranging themselves outside the cave can’t do anything until they hear from me.”

“Who the hell are you?”

“I am the one they are all looking for, out there,” he said, pointing in the general direction of the cave entrance. “I am one of the Keepers of the Book.”

“Jesus. I’m surrounded by megalomaniacs with god complexes …”

“Yes, probably. But in my case, I am just a kind of Listener. It’s a hereditary title, passed down in initiation from generation to generation. My title is ambiguous, actually. The word means both ‘Listener’ and ‘He who is heard.’ Even in Hebrew. Depends on the circumstances.”

“Like asura and deva,” Angell replied, his pain subsiding and his strength gradually returning. He looked around for a weapon to dispatch this crazy old man once and for all.

“Exactly. You’re getting the hang of this, I see.”

“So? Now what?”

“So now, let us raise famous men.”

“You mean, ‘praise.’ Let us praise famous men.”

“No. I mean ‘raise.’ As from the dead. That is what this is all about, isn’t it? Raising the dead but dreaming Cthulhu from his ancient slumber beneath the Earth (a phrase with more than one meaning, by the way). Raising the dead, reanimating the dead. The ancient Egyptians were famous for it, weren’t they? They believed their Pharaoh would ascend to the Pole Star by means of the Big Dipper. What they called the Thigh of Set. Your Carl Tanzler tried to do the same.”

“Who the hell was that?”

“They must have told you. German agent? Sent by Himmler to contact your great-grand-uncle George Angell? He was also the man in Florida who tried to bring his lady love back from the dead, and consulted with Lovecraft on the case. Well, that’s what they said, anyway. In reality he built a modern sarcophagus and mummified her so she could fly to the heavens, just like a Pharaoh. Did you know he made love to her corpse? For years? Imagine the Tantric implications. I mean, talk about a great rite.”

“What the living fuck are you talking about?”

“Forgive me. I so rarely have an audience. This is all about raising the dead. Your Book, Necronomicon: Dead Names. The Bardo Thodol, called the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Book of Coming Forth by Day, which most know as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Death, Professor Gregory Angell … yes, I know who you are … Death is all the rage around here.”

And soon to be the rage outside if I don’t get to Adnan in time, thought Angell.

“The sooner you understand this, the sooner you can help your friends out there. If you don’t understand it, you’re all doomed and your whole planet with you. Pay attention, and stop looking for a weapon. I’m not an idiot.

“Raising the dead is not a technology restricted to humans and animals. It can also be used to raise … things … that are not human and not of this Earth. Easier, actually. What Tanzler was doing in Key West … what Lovecraft wrote about in his stories … what the Nazis tried to do during the war (remember Operation Barbarossa? Why do you think they called it

that?) … and what the Cult intends to do here, are all part of the same process. Once the method is perfected it can be applied to anything. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, then he rose himself after he had practiced on Lazarus. This is why he was buried twice: first in Jerusalem and then in Srinagar. This is all about raising the dead, Doctor Angell. But not only dead people. Not those poor souls you watched being butchered in Mosul. Or at Kutha. What they intend is to raise the First Priest, the High Priest of the Old Ones, and with him to instigate the rebirth of the planet …”

“And the destruction of humanity.”

“Certainly. Isn’t it about time? The planet is exhausted. People are tired. All we know how to do is slaughter each other and we have gotten progressively better and better at it. First it was hundreds, then thousands, then millions at a time. Now it’s tens and hundreds of millions. We can’t begin to speak of saving a million people from anything. But we can kill them in huge, unthinkable numbers! We’ve run our race, and now it’s over. All those people you weep over will be reborn, Doctor Angell, but in new bodies, bodies better suited to interstellar travel. They will be reborn as what you call aliens, yes. So what? They were aliens to begin with. Our origins are in the stars. It’s time for all of us to go home. And the Book you seek will help open the Gate to allow those forces—our ancestors—to come back and reclaim what was rightfully theirs. And you, Doctor Gregory Angell, by your very flesh and blood, by your genetic code, you are the missing piece of the puzzle! That is why you are here. That is why that wizened old sorcerer back in Washington recruited you and sent you here. The Place, the Time, the Book, and the Priest.”