The Lighthouse

The students filed into their Behavioral Analysis 8:30 lecture, some half asleep and clutching cups of coffee, while others were a bit too chipper for their peers. A man in his mid-thirties stood at the podium in the lecture hall fumbling with a projector and his laptop as students sat down in the sea of chairs. The lecture hall was a shaped like an amphitheater that sloped down to a long stage. Today, the long stage was the only thing fully illuminated, while the house was only dimly lit. Craig Dunwich shuffled in the darkness, into a row that occupied the middle of the lecture hall. He held his sausage egg croissant above his head as he squeezed past students and fell into a seat. Dr. Stacey Marsh, a 60-ish year old woman with dusty gray hair, walked to the center and started whispering to the speaker.

After giving her a curt nod Dr. Marsh stepped to the podium and cleared her throat, “Good morning, students. Today is a very special day, as we have a guest speaker from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His name is Agent Ted Baker and he will be presenting a very peculiar case to you, in which you will all be analyzing the victim from her personal writings. Without further ado, welcome to the University of Washington, Agent Baker.”

The man walked forward and spoke a very dry voice into the microphone, “Thank you, Dr. Marsh. I have been with the FBI for 8 years; doing various investigations on neurodivergent individuals and have a Ph. D in Criminal Psychology and I received my Master’s in Forensic Psychology. I was called to Sitka, Alaska to investigate an apparent suicide in which a diary was left. This diary details the days leading to the suicide. The victim was identified as Kristy Mikhailov, 22, Russian-American female.” As he said this a picture appears on the slideshow covering the back wall. Craig looked up and stroked his long black beard while studying what he saw, the young woman was now on the screen, she had long, platinum dyed hair, soft blue eyes that smiled even though her face didn’t and a nose that came down to a rounded tip. She was remarkably stunning. “At the scene we found a bottle of oxycodone with a spilled bottle of bleach, which was also found in her system in the autopsy. Here are pictures of the scene.” The scene was not as bad as Craig had expected but it was relatively graphic. There were a few pills on the shag carpet floor and a bottle of bleach on the bed that had stained the surrounding black blanket. Kristy laid against the wood panel wall with frizzled hair, covered in her own vomit.

“Dr. Marsh will now email out the pictures of the diary pages, as we go along please feel free to point out parts of the diary you feel are important. Day one is mild, but it becomes more disturbing.” Craig opened up the email and downloaded the .pdf file. The diary opened up in front of them and he began to read the first entry.

“03/14/2017

Wow, I haven’t really used this. I’m not sure how to journal but I guess I will write as if I was talking to the diary. I’m doing this to solidify my thoughts and figure out what the hell is going on. I had this weird dream last night, I was drifting in space and it was storming but in space. Everything was kind of purple but it was so real. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and my body felt tight and something barely whispered in my ear like those weird ASMR videos. I woke up feeling... ethereal? The rest of my day was pretty regular but I felt uneasy. After class I came home and took a nap but didn’t have any dreams. When I was making dinner, which was shrimp tacos that I am very proud of, I looked out towards the lighthouse. Something looked strange with the night sky above it, like it was fake and wavy. I am going to try to go to bed now, hopefully I can sleep undisturbed.”

One woman raised her hand, she sat near the front of the class so it wasn’t long until Agent Baker saw her, “Yes, you, young lady, in the front.”

“When the victim mentions the distortion of the night sky above the lighthouse, could that be evidence of psychosis? Was she diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia?” The woman seemed very pleased with herself as she smugly put her hand down.

Agent Baker took a moment, then looked up at her, “Interesting that you point out the sky, it’s a very obvious indicator. Let’s hold any diagnoses until the end. There are five more pages.” The class collectively clicked to the next excerpt of the diary.

“03/15/17

I had another dream last night, this is becoming a dream journal. Last night it was a little different, I was in the maelstrom-type thing but then there were hundreds of people and we were all facing a circle. The circle was a more of a white ring. There was screaming though, but everyones mouth was shut. The screams were saying something but it wasn’t understandable and it was in your head? I’m going to go see my pyschiatrist today, even though she’s 45 minutes away...I’ll write later.

…..

She gave me some anti-psychotic but recommended a therapist, I don’t know though my mom was always in a psych office and I don’t want to deal with that. Besides that, I saw Uncle Mik today in town and he said Babushka was feeling better. I have to stop now, I have so much fucking homework do and I work tomorrow so I’m done.

…..

I know I said I’m done for tonight but right now at 2:14 a.m. I’m doing my last bit of homework and out over the lighthouse what else do I see but the fucking white ring. I’m going to bed, this sucks.”

Craig sat back in his seat, twirling the tip of his beard. He had imagined what the void she described looked like for a moment. It was difficult, but he imagined an endless space with purple hues and cracking lightning storms rippling through the deepest reaches of space. The image of the white circlet was what was most haunting. It burned like a freshly heated brand, the image soon his mind and the circle crept forward towards him. His shoulders went slack, and his eyes glazed over mesmerized by the ring that seemed to glow a horrible bright light.

“The victim had only enough olanzapine in her system to suggest she took one day worth. She mentions this in her diary. There was also one day worth of fluphenazine, a drug used to treat paranoid schizophrenia. What stands out is this visionary hallucination that she has. This presumably illuminated ring above the lighthouse. It’s obvious that the victim has lucid dreams but for it to appear in her waking hours is worrisome. The next entry is two days after the previous.”

Danielle, who sat next to Craig, saw him slumped in his chair drooling, wide-eyed and despondent. In an urgent yet hushed voice she whispered to Craig, shaking his arm, “Yo! Yo! Craig, wake up!” Craig blinked hard, obviously startled. Danielle went back to her laptop. The next entry appeared on the slideshow.

“03/17/17

I didn’t take my medicine, it made me feel sluggish and tired and I trembled all god damn day. I couldn’t even focus on homework. I wish I did though, my dream last night really got to me. It was the maelstrom again, but the people were all facing me this time and we were in a circle. Nobody was floating but it was like we were standing on some invisible floor, everybody’s eyes were wide open and so were their mouths. There was one man who had a beard who had his eyes closed and mouth shut but everyone else just looked blankly on. They all had different clothes on from different time periods and there were so many different ethnicities but everyone but the bearded man had black veins that you could see bulging from their necks. Then all at once in so many different voices I heard one word which didnt sound right, I guess the only way to write it is how it sounded. So it was Ooth-gah-set-see, It seemed like it was coming from the people but nobodies mouth moved and then everybodies heads started to shoot white light out of them. Anyways I googled it and there wasn’t shit. This is long and my hand hurts so no more today, anyway I have to eat dinner and get ready for bed.

…..

It’s fucking 2:14 again and the lighthouse has the white ring again and it’s like pulsing. This is starting to mess with me. I cant do this shit. Fuck man there is a pink mist like the color in space coming out of the circle and its glowing more. I’m afraid to sleep, I dont want another dream. I’m going to watch some tv I guess.

…..

I turned on the tv and it was all static then when I got to the nature channel it was a black screen, but not like it was off, then that word I heard in my dream popped up on the screen, but it was spelled Uthg’hstsze, The only way I knew is because I tried to say it out loud. This is too much for me but at least it’s almost morning and it’s starting to snow.”

Curiosity hung over the room like a color out of space, it was silent for a few moments. Craig thought about the dream the victim wrote about for a moment. Something wasn’t quite sitting well with him, like there was something that was simultaneously shouting run away but an eagerness to know more. He scanned the room to gauge his peers, who seemed unfazed. The speaker asked questions to the class while Craig searched for “Uthghstsze” online. “Search not found” so he added the apostrophe. The screen didn’t load for a moment, then suddenly the screen went black. The browser closed out and the diary entry lay open.The page that was scanned was fine until at the end it was almost illegible, the handwriting was frantic and rushed but coherent, the FBI agent said something about it, “being transcribed for clarity…” so he scrolled down. The slide below had what was said;

“03/18/17

I stayed up til morning then took a little nap mid-day. No dreams? That’s a plus. I’m super behind on my homework and Clarissa is supposed to come over for dinner, I’m feeling productive so maybe I will work through the night and take a nap in the morning. Maybe it is like a night time thing? Who knows. Will write later.

…..

I tried to talk to Clarissa about it, but she seemed weirdly uncomfortable. I’m going to do some homework.

…..

(The original copy was found with the victim’s tears and some saliva on the page. The saliva patterns suggest it dripped onto the page and wasn’t from putting the page in the victim’s mouth.)

I must have dozed off, I had a dream again and everyone was standing in space and I understand everything they were saying, “The abyss whispers what is unknown unto he who may never hear and what is unknown goes by Uthg’hstze.” I woke up and above me was my own body but I was screaming and nothing came out and those black veins were all over my fucking face. I don’t know what to do this doesnt line up. Oh shit, the sky above the lighthouse is doing something, it opened up and it’s just a white circle. It’s lighting up the building and there are people up there. I should go see what they are there for maybe they can help.”

The class wrote notes and Agent Baker looked around expectantly, he seemed to be waiting for a revelation or something that would shake the room. He cleared his throat, “The samples of the bodily fluid are only found at the last part of the entry, meaning she was very distressed at this point. The next entry is what is most baffling, it takes place only 3 days later but the victim seems completely oblivious of those three days and sequences the 18th as the day prior to the entry. The confusing part is, the diary, as you may have noticed, catalogues the date at the top left hand corner in print and the victim writes on the correct page in correlation to the date but treats the day as if it were the 19th and she was reflecting on the 18th. There seems to be an unresolved issue that her entry has poor grammar, unusual spelling and incorrect syntax, to a point in which it is no longer intelligible. Take a look.” The class, almost synchronized, clicked on the arrow at the bottom of the slideshow to go to the next entry.

“03/21/17

After Clarisssssssa left dinr, I got homework was done done done done. It was hrd at frst, to focus I walkddddd outside when hard to focsss. I walked downtowndown and fresh air. The homeowrk is dne now, sleepy now nap.

…..

The abyss whispers what is unknown unto he who may never hear and what is unknown goes by Uthg’hstze.The abyss whispers what is unknown unto he who may never hear and what is unknown goes by Uthg’hstze.The abyss whispers what is unknown unto he who may never hear and what is unknown goes by Uthg’hstze.The abyss whispers what is unknown unto he who may never hear and what is unknown goes by Uthg’hstze. Uthg’hstze Uthg’hstze Uthg’hstze Uthg’hstze Uthg’hstze.

…..

The illuminated cyclical infinity that gates the void is the path to salvation unto which he, the Deepest Unknown, delivers to those who deliver him from that sanctified womb and out of the purest white to extract thine mortals. Sing unto Yepsgah, the Knower and Creator of All Things. So that the All-Thought would bestow mercy and deliver Uthg’hstze through that holy holy holy portal in the sky.”

Agent Baker read the room. He interjected when he thought the class got to the last portion and almost on queue with the classes reading, he said, “We did a few hours worth of online search to no avail on any prevalent topics or articles relating to these strange names and titles the victim alludes to in the final portion. Also notice the mantra she writes in the middle portion. Those who are paying attention know this comes from the dream in which she encounters the others and this is what they say to her. The final page is somewhat of a recollection to what happened at the lighthouse, which has been investigated. It also is her suicide note. So be warned, she explicitly says she is on the precipice of committing suicide in this portion.”

“03/22/17

I went to the market today and got some groceries with my friend Miranda, she found a guy she is talking to, I don’t remember his name but she described him and he seems pretty nice. Miranda really deserves it she’s such a sweetheart. Wow I love her. I finished all my homework for this week so I’m going to drink some wine and watch a light hearted rom-com tonight. That’s what I hate about most online classes, they assign so much fucking homework as busy work and I have other shit to do and it’s just so frustrating. I’m going to call my Babushka and then watch this movie.

…..

It’s here. I’m awake and it’s here. I saw it that night when I went to the lighthouse. When I went up to the lighthouse. When I got there it felt wrong, like a dread that shook me to my core. I got to the top of the stairs it was a group of people leaning against the railing naked and they had a carving of a circle cut into their chest and they kept on saying some weird ass thing about the “Deep Unknown” and a gate. They held their hands towards the sky and I looked up, I couldn’t remember what I saw until just now as I see it. What I saw last night was a large awful creature and it had four long arms and thousands of eyes that weren’t looking at me but into me at the same time, it was far off into the ring and there was the bright ring above the lighthouse but inside the ring was the pink storm in space. Now it’s here. Uthg’stze. It is coming through the portal above and those people are chanting, I can hear the fucking chants. I can’t do this, I think I still have those oxys from my ACL surgery, I can’t live when this thing is on Earth, if anyone is alive and finds this, I’m sorry, I should’ve warned more people and now it’s here and it is going to kill us. I won’t let it take me, fuck that.”

Agent Baker cleared his throat and walked forward, “Her body was found the next day luckily. By pure chance there was a leak in the apartment above her and the landlord was coming to tell her, when there was no response he opened the door. Upon finding the victim the gentleman called the police. We found no evidence of anyone going to the lighthouse that week except the old lighthouse keeper, who verified this. Now the fact is that she committed suicide, obviously there was no cosmic being, so what was happening in the victim’s head before she passed on?”

Around the room people made guesses from D.I.D. and bipolar disorder to paranoid schizophrenia. The FBI agent shared that she was in fact being treated for paranoid schizophrenia, “This case is a very strange circumstance that you will not see often, if at all. I wanted to show you this, so you can realize there are extremes and I hope this gives some insight to that. I wish you the best of luck as you continue on in your studies and deal with cases on your own.” He closed his laptop and gave a short wave. The class had ended and students went out to face the rest of their day.

Craig ran his fingers through his short, brown hair and went to stand up before Danielle stopped him, “Hey, you good? You seem a little weird after that.”

Craig waited a moment, “Well, it’s really strange and it’s hard because she truly believes that she experienced that, ya know? It led her to kill herself, I mean it was pretty goddamn real to her but obviously it didn’t happen. The other thing was the portal-gate ass thing that she mentions. The thought of that spooks the living hell out of me.”

“Well, don’t put too much into it, she was fucked up and had some intense hallucinations and she couldn’t deal with it. If you try to empathize it might get a little tough to deal with,” Danielle flashed a quick smile and stood up to leave. Craig put on his red flannel and walked out. The gray sky was pierced by sunlight as the Seattle skies often experienced. This was Craig’s only class on Fridays so he went home. The rest of the day was spent on video games and cheap beer, a usual occurrence for a Friday. Around 2 a.m. all of Craig’s friends went to bed and so did he. That night he dreamt of floating in space.


Kaleb is the co-host of Macabre Media Podcast and is an evolutionary biology student.

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