Black Pharaoh in the Morning
The air is strange against my skin. The current carries damp salt, cold sea and warmth like the breath of a stranger sliding up the back of my skirt, uncomfortable but not entirely unwelcome. The night passed too cool and quiet, my sleep was too thin and loose. I don’t feel rested but my body feels anticipatory anxiousness.
The way the dim sun struggles to make a show of dawn feels ominous. I’m nervous.
In the street, things don’t feel much better. Construction workers and street dudes all mill around looking pensive and trying to hide it behind wilted banter.
Everything is so strange and slightly off. I can feel my baby hairs fuzzing up and the urge to free my hair and run gibbering secret words is so strong I have to stop and breathe. Remind myself why I am here. Reassign the feel of the air from tenebrous to only another lukewarm summer morning.
This is not when the stories say it will happen. In the tales, it comes in the deep of night. There is madness and incantations. The Stygian alienist should awaken the chosen with his strange words and the air should reek of the void.
The stories lie.
I was born or made with the R’lyehian mark already in my flesh. with the sweet malodorous putrefying blue candy smell in my mouth. I move through the world with my human face and I wait and work and hold some tiny sliver of hope that my knowledge will come to use.
I am not afraid, but I am tired. This damp that ruins my hair and makes my body ache only serves to remind me how far from Hadoth I am. I am forlorn. I am singular. I am Nephren-Ka, I am the Crawling Chaos and mine is the duty to do the will of the Outer Gods. I know this. I am also Black and woman. I am dangerous on the Earth and beyond it, mornings like this I have to remind myself that I am no victim of weather and messy edges.
I don’t like strange men speaking to me. I smile and I know he calls me Cactus because he thinks it is a cute way to comment on my hair.
As I step away, his screaming overtakes the traffic noise and he runs into the street clawing at his clothes until he is bare chested. His skin turns red and starts to bubble, he looks like a hot dog and I smile more.
I, am he of a Thousand Forms. I am in flesh what drives White men to gibbering madness and terror that tightens their trigger fingers. I am The Nightmare.
Around me, the morning erupts in chaos. The man burning from within writhes and sings the song of the damned, people are running around the intersection like confused insects and the crash and thump of cars running into each other and the tired damp morning is rendered glorious.
I let down my hair and fluff it until it is a dark halo around my head. All is right and beautiful.
A warm current kisses the backs of my thighs under my skirt as I turn to spread my effulgent accursed joy. As he is loaded into the ambulance, the boiling man holds the EMT close and speaks between clenched teeth, his breath hot and fetid with the terror of one who has been touched by my hand.
“I failed to see Nyarlathotep has come.”
For those not familiar with Lovecraft see here for vocab help.