The Crossroads of the Aether
Colorado Territory, 1866
A large tent stands in a stretch of sprawling, prairie. Outside the tent entrance is a big sign that reads "REVIVAL TONIGHT."
SINGING VOICES (o.s.)
…Come or go ye before…come or go
ye…ring a ring a widdershins…Come
or go ye before…come or go ye…
if ye will nay come before…
A motley CROWD of various frontier types dances counter-clockwise around a fire. Before them is a little stage with a large wooden altar at the center.
…Come and let me…ring a ring a
widdershins…and devil take the
hindermost who ere they be!
The dance stops, and the crowd turns towards the stage as the REVEREND THADDEUS P. LOVEJOY enters, he is in his early 40’s and affects the ascetic dress and mannerisms of an itinerant preacher.
Lovejoy takes a position in front of the altar, and the crowd faces him with ecstatic expressions and a collective moan. He raises his hand for silence and sweeps the crowd with a positively angelic smile.
Who steps forward?
Three beautiful GIRLS step out of the crowd and come onto the stage eagerly circling around the reverend with sensual, inviting smiles.
Pick me, Reverend!
No, pick me!
Pick me, pick me!
Lovejoy looks the girls over carefully. His gaze lingers over at Girl 1, and he makes an elegant “come hither” gesture towards her.
Come, my child…
Girl 1 gives her jealous companions a smug smile, and walks over to the Reverend and enthusiastically, undoes the buttons on her dress. Lovejoy turns to the crowd with an ecstatic expression.
Look upon her example, brothers
and sisters, and see how one
faces the Old Ones…without fear.
He turns back to the now naked girl, his body blocking most of the view. He takes her to the altar and lays her down upon it. Lovejoy pulls a long, wicked looking knife from under his jacket, and holds it high.
Let us pray…
He waves the knife slowly and elegantly over the girl. In the b.g. a drum beats slowly, and the two remaining girls dance suggestively about the altar, and Lovejoy raises his arms in supplication.
All ye Great Old Ones…
So mote it be…
He circles the girl, chanting and twirling the knife at five points around her body. The crowd sways with the rhythm.
…The Lord Of the Sunken City…the
Goat with a Thousand Young…!
So mote it be!
Lovejoy stops and hovers over the girl holding his arms out in supplication.
…Accept this sacrifice and may
the sweet smell of blood be as
a fine wine in your nostrils…
Lovejoy closes his eyes, and softly mouths an incantation in ancient, eldricht tongue and makes a series of elegant gestures. He strides over to the girl and raises the knife high, as if to plunge it into her heart.
A circular, swirling, portal opens before the stage. Half a dozen long, sinuous, tentacles come groping out of it. The tentacles reach out, wrap themselves some of the worshipers, and drag them screaming into the portal.
The sacrifice has been accepted…
Lovejoy incants again, and the portal closes. He slowly looks up and sweeps the surviving worshippers a fanatically ecstatic look as they tremble with mingled terror and religious fervor.
…So mote it be!