The TransAtlantic Hearing Aid

Appendix 3: The Call of Kho-Ad

The Call of Kho-Ad [1]
by H.P. Lovecraft and Derleth Langford [2]

What nameless, gibbous force drew me on that nightmare journey across the soul-destroying wastes of the abominable ocean? What eldritch call from the uttermost shores of space and time (not to mention the Atlantic) lured me ever closer to the leprous city of Bos-Ton in the Warm Waste ... there to steep my horrified ears in the croaking and jabbering of that hateful patois shamblingly uttered by its degenerate and fishy folk?

Perhaps the horror's first inklings emerged as my reluctant eye crawled over certain forbidden passages in the unspeakable Necronoreascon [3] progress reports, where dwelt monstrous runes having the semblance of malformed lobsters and other shapes, shapes less wholesome to the view. My brain reeled before the Necronoreascon's blasphemous promise of unendurable pleasure indefinitely prolonged; formless phantasms of unimaginable gratification fleered and gibbered before my ensanguined eyes; I began at once to pack. So crazed was I with insane desire that I even trafficked with the abhorrent Trans-Arkham Fungoid Federation; and it was under the shunned aegis of TAFF that I crept at last amid the polypous perversions of Bos-Ton in the Steaming Hot Waste. And at length I gazed, not without feeling partly rugose and partly squamous, upon that scabrous conurbation's malign inner fane – the unnameable, the unspeakable, the almost unaffordable temple of Sher-Atonh-Otel.

Ah, that I could forget the demented geometries of that cyclopean edifice [4]; the crazed distortions of its impious architecture wherein gravity itself seemed horridly suspended and water found its level in a phantasmagoric swimming-pool five stupefying floors from the unhallowed ground; insane laughter bubbling from verminous vaults and illimitable mazelike arcades choked with overweight abominations; slime-bedecked altars where worshipped the hideous, exiguous cults of Lichtenberghotep and Emzeebee and fearful Drag-Anne whose works fill all of space and time; worst of all, the shuddering degradation as in the heart of that tainted necropolis I was compelled for want of proper nutriment to gorge myself on an abhorrent plasticity of fungous loathsomeness, to choke down draught after repugnant draught of viscid ichor [5]....

As the accursed rites of immemorial foulness raged on through the charnel corridors of that unholy place, one ultimate question burned like eldritch fire in my dimming mind. Which, which of the Great Old Soggy Ones was the heart of this seething evil which whiffled and burbled like some hydrophobic shoggoth through this appalling vortex of cosmic contamination? Could it be the shambling Kho-Ad, palpitating and salivating Lord of the Interliterary Spaces and all the cinereous junk therein? [6] Perhaps Abdul al-Pelz, the Fangoh or High Priest of this gibbering congregation, whose damnable computer scrolls list all the secret names of a lore too grotesque and repellent to relate? Perhaps even Bhob-Tuckerrath, the Wrinkled Goat with a Thousand Young, who incontinently wields the power of Beamsspecialbourbon stolen from the Eldest Gods?[7]

And then, and then, on the threshold of one final, hellish room-party – in a stark blaze of insane lightning which erased my sanity forever – I saw IT and I knew! Oh God, that I might forget! A great mass of bristling, funereal hair that bulged through the doorway, and not only this, but the parting of that hair, flowing blackly to either side to reveal the pitted, protoplasmic flesh forming that eldritch, hideous horror from outer Toronto, that spawn of the blankness of primal fanac, that behatted, bebottled, amorphous monster which was the lurker at the threshold, whose mask was an accretion of cimmerian beard, the noxious GLICK-SOTHOTH who froths in primal slime and Chivas Regal forever beyond the nethermost outposts of space and time![8]

'Hello, Mike,' I said....

To be continued [9]


[1] Originally 'recreated' in 1981 for the archives of an occult researcher to be revealed in a later footnote. In his notes Lovecraft himself failed to supply a title for this work, but my intense spiritual rapport with him leads me to the certainty that he would have chosen this, or one with a similar number of words.

[2] My own small part in this latest of Lovecraft's 1,346 posthumous masterpieces was confined to a little rounding and polishing of the detailed plot outline which (in folded form) was found wedging a window in a house Lovecraft may well have driven past once. The original text is reproduced here:

Idea: man visits weird city and meets something pretty horrible. Or have I done this one before? Check.

[3] 1980.

[4] The semicolon marked here merits special attention, being a microscopically accurate copy of one handwritten by Lovecraft himself in a private letter to his bank manager. A collector's item.

[5] Conceivably vulcanized pizza and Generic Beer from the fast food counter, but these mysteries may never be wholly fathomed.

[6] As good a time as any to mention that this first appeared in Rich Coad's Space Junk.

[7] This potent name appears in one of Lovecraft's lesser-known shopping lists, and it is inconceivable that he would not have invoked it to thicken the atmosphere of the present story.

[8] One of Lovecraft's few faults was his failure to indicate each story's climax by a good long exciting passage in italics. When he is kind enough to collaborate posthumously with me, I am always careful to correct this lapse.

[9] Or not. Somehow this bit was omitted when The Transatlantic Hearing Aid was finally collected, perhaps because typist after typist was found speechless, twitching and afflicted with a terrible leering rictus after striving in vain to transcribe these dread words. (Bloody literary critics.)