The Statement of Daria Morgendorffer


Brian Taylor

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Gentlemen, I assure you that your continued inquisition shall prove fruitless. I have told you everything I know, with as much candor as I could muster, and even should you detain me I can say no more than I have said already. There is nothing distorted or concealed within my narrative, and if any part seems vague it is merely because of the cloud of cosmic horror that has descended upon my mind.

Again I say, I do not know what has become of Jane Lane, though I think - and dare I say hope - that she is in peaceful oblivion now, if anywhere such a realm exists. It is true that for two years I have been her closest friend, and a partial sharer of her experiments with the sarcastic. I do not deny that it is possible this witness of yours saw us together that night, walking towards the Giant Strawberry off of route nineteen. That we were carrying lanterns, cheese fries, a camera, and tubes of cookie dough, I will even affirm; for certain of these things all played a part in the singularly hideous scene which has affixed itself to my synapses.

But of what followed, and of why I was found on the edge of town the next morning, dazed and alone, I must insist that I know nothing save what I have told you time and time again. You say to me there is nothing near the Giant Strawberry to form the setting of that frightful episode. I say to you that I knew nothing save for that which I saw. Phantasm or nightmare it may have been - phantasm or nightmare I hope it was - yet my mind retains the events of those shocking hours after we left the sight of men. And why Jane Lane did not return - that is something only she or her shade can tell.

As I have said before, the weird tastes of Jane Lane were known to me, and to some extent shared by me. Of her vast collection of sick, sad videos I have seen many, and in several cases even aided her in finding them. I have looked upon her hideously lifelike paintings, and often contributed many tales of eldritch lore to accompany them. But I must say that she may have dominated me at times, and I was often afraid of what she may have incited me to do around her brother. But that is no matter.

Of our object that night, I have no clear recollection. Almost certainly it had something to do with the full moon, and her desire to take a suitable photograph of the forest on the city limits bathed in said light. She had long spoken of this wish, and managed to persuade me to accompany her with an unspoken threat regarding that same brother. Your witness says she saw us on route nineteen at half past eleven. This is probably true, but the sheer horror of the sight I witnessed has clouded my recollection. The picture that has scarred my soul is of one scene only, and that must have been long after midnight, for the moon was sailing malevolently upon the sea of the sky.

We stood at the edge of the spectral, witch-haunted woods, my friend nonchalantly filling roll after roll of Kodak film, while making commentary about the overuse of a certain wood in a pathetic film made in woods similar to these, when we heard It. A noxious, soul-shaking grunt that shuddered in the night air, the cry of some primaeval daemon. My friend turned to me. "I wonder what that was," said Jane in a voice fraught with wonder. She set off into the woods, despite my many entreaties for her to stay out.

She entered the sylvan, clothes rustling against the gnarled branched reaching to the sky like fingers of a long-dead giant. "This place is really cool," she said, her voice bubbling over with malicious glee. "You'd like it, Daria." I assured her that I most certainly would not, and that not even her brother could force me to enter. To which my partner in crime replied, "You're no fun."

I heard the grunt again, coming from a region to the left of where I perceived my friend to be. The rustling sounds emanating from the trees indicated that she also heard them. Her voice dropped to a whisper, and I heard her voice take on a curious aboriginal accent as she made mention of hunting crocodiles. And then Jane's whisper swelled into a cry; a cry that rose to a shriek fraught with the horror of ages.

"I'M BLIIINNND!" There was a faint ripping sound, as of my accomplice's shirt, and the sound of rapid motion through the trees, and then I saw Jane no more. After that silence, I knew not how many eons passed before I could work up the nerve to force sounds out of my mouth. And then I whispered and muttered, called, shouted, and screamed my compadre's name. "Jane! Jane! Jane!"

And then there came to me the crowning horror of all - the unbelievable, unthinkable, almost unmentionable thing. I have said that eons had passed since I had heard my friend's final, frantic scream. But I perceived further grunts coming from the direction of the woods, tempered with shrieks that I believed might have been my associate. Wrapping what courage I could muster about me, I set forth into the woods, and found the thing which has brought this cloud over my mind, illuminated in the beam of my lantern. I do not try, gentlemen, to account for that thing - that voice - nor can I venture to describe it in any real detail, for it robbed me of my consciousness and created a mental blank which lasts until my awakening in the squad car.

Shall I say that the voice was hollow; shrill; squeaky; vapid? What shall I say? It was the end of my experience, and is the end of my story. I heard it, saw it - and knew no more, heard it as I stood in the damnable forest on the outskirts of town. Hear it now, reverberating within the far corridors of my mind.

And this is what it said:

"Oh, Kevie!"


This is another of my patentedly weird QuickFics, usually churned out in under an hour and designed to be nothing more than a little bit of quick fun. In this case, I poked my satirical stick squarely at one of the great American horror writers, H.P. Lovecraft and his story "The Statement of Randolph Carter." So the first person who points out that this feels more like Lovecraft than Taylor gets a gold star on his term report - satirizing Lovecraft doesn't really work, so far as I'm concerned, if you don't ape the style. Besides, would you want to read one written like (for example) stereo instructions? Didn't think so.

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