Print

Print


                Here’s a relevant passage from “The Dream-Quest of Unknown
Kadath.”  One will notice that the night gaunts do a lot of tickling.  Really,
they should just be called Tickle-Monsters.

#

Another minute and the stars were gone, and Carter knew that the
night-gaunts had got him.

 They bore him breathless into that cliffside cavern and through monstrous
labyrinths beyond. When he struggled, as at first he did by instinct, they
tickled him with deliberation. They made no sound at all themselves, and
even their membranous wings were silent. They were frightfully cold and
damp and slippery, and their paws kneaded one detestably. Soon they were
plunging hideously downward through inconceivable abysses in a whirling,
giddying, sickening rush of dank, tomb-like air; and Carter felt they were
shooting into the ultimate vortex of shrieking and daemonic madness. He
screamed again and again, but whenever he did so the black paws tickled him
with greater subtlety. Then he saw a sort of grey phosphorescence about,
and guessed they were coming even to that inner world of subterrene horror
of which dim legends tell, and which is litten only by the pale death-fire
wherewith reeks the ghoulish air and the primal mists of the pits at
earth's core.

 At last far below him he saw faint lines of grey and ominous pinnacles
which he knew must be the fabled Peaks of Throk.   Awful and sinister they
stand in the haunted disc of sunless and eternal depths; higher than man
may reckon, and guarding terrible valleys where the Dholes crawl and burrow
nastily. But Carter preferred to look at them than at his captors, which
were indeed shocking and uncouth black things with smooth, oily, whale-like
surfaces, unpleasant horns that curved inward toward each other, bat wings
whose beating made no sound, ugly prehensile paws, and barbed tails that
lashed needlessly and disquietingly. And worst of all, they never spoke or
laughed, and never smiled because they had no faces at all to smile with,
but only a suggestive blankness where a face ought to be. All they ever did
was clutch and fly and tickle; that was the way of night-gaunts.

 As the band flew lower the Peaks of Throk rose grey and towering on all
sides, and one saw clearly that nothing lived on that austere and
impressive granite of the endless twilight.