A Voice From the Cloud

“These things are real
within the swirling cloud,”

warned the witch woman of En-Dor.
“Do not speak.”
This is how she began her rite;
drawing her words in a mirror of silence.

Her guest that night
(unannounced and disguised)
opened his mouth as if to speak
but kept as he was.

She raised a hand toward the horned moon
(a swift two fingered gesture)
and paused to breath into herself
the focused energy of the orb.

An earthen bowl held the powders of her craft
and scarlet coals burned incense upon the hearth;
all was ready for her necrotic work
but she was stifled in the smoke
and her incantations
           (Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!)
fell muted and impaired
to the dirty floor.

“Conjure me the prophet!”
Shrieked the ashen king,
his disguise now thrown aside.
“Bring me the dead mouthpiece!
Show me his muttering corpse!”

The witch woman shuddered and stared
      into the faltering coals.

“Give me silence and we will summon him
to speak as he spoke when he was yet alive.”

The king sputtered in his rage
and choked on incense smoke
(like rotted meat and orchids)
He swallowed bile and waited for
that voice to speak from the abyss.

But already her words sounded wrong
and the rumble felt powerless upon her lips,
      and yet something was growing,
something was forming in the swirling cloud.
She gasped at it, and spat at it
and made the ward against evil in the air.

“What thunder is it?” the king shouted
as he jumped to his unsteady feet.

“What do you see?”

“I see a breathing spirit rising;
rising from Sheol’s fog.
An old man, shriveled and humped.”

The king rocked backwards against the wall,
tearing at his beard and pissing down his leg,
Samuel!

But already the harbinger
was fading into swirling whispers.

“Tomorrow Saul,
      tomorrow you will be with me.”

Ω

Jeff Carter, A is a pastor of a medium sized congregation in southern Minnesota. He writes, and paints, and sleeps, and dreams. He believes the word can be a better place.

Other works by Jeff Carter, A