KP: Now that we’re settled, I guess we can get on with the meat of the matter. You’ve said before, and correct me if I’m wrong about this, that you originally just stumbled onto the phenomenon?
CT: Yes, that’s correct. No need for a correction. Like my brain sores, it just found me.
KP: Brain sores? There we go again with the peculiarities of the disease, as some would call it. It’s really quite similar to other effects I’ve heard and read about. You are aware of the woman in Peru who says she has a little head in her head that tells her what to say and what to do? I find this fascinating.
CT: I’m aware of her, as I’m aware of others. But we’re different in that I’m the only one who isn’t severely incapacitated in some sense. I was extremely lucky.
KP: That’s the thing, isn’t it? How you stumbled onto this and miraculously survived. I think it’s time we really got to the heart of this. That’s what my readers will be most fascinated by. You’ve said it started with YouTube?
CT: Yes, though I still can’t believe most of it. It’s just so far out. Well, a few days before I went on YouTube actually. It’s weird, extremely weird, weird in the ‘there’s a face with an elephant’s trunk-type thing floating over South America’ weird.
KP: Interesting. Good that you mentioned that. I’m going to cut in and remind my readers that such a phenomenon was reported. Apocalyptic stuff, indeed. Good stuff!
CT: Like I was saying…where was I? Okay, I’d been reading the latest news on the internet, I think from the Associated Press website, when I noticed a link to a separate news article about protests in Chile. On the picture attached to the link you could see students holding up signs and sure enough when I went to the webpage it was about student protests occurring in that country. This was back in August of 2011. There was a lot of this stuff going on back then. Remember the Arab Spring protests and the Occupy Movement?
KP: Right. Can you just let the readers know where Chile is located exactly? Perhaps it might be unfamiliar to most of my readers.
CT: It’s a country in South America bordering Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Antarctica is at its southern end. Pinochet was from there, if anyone remembers who Pinochet was? Well, anyways, this isn’t the main point of my story so I’ll just skim over this fast.
CT: These student protests were about educational matters and were pretty intense. Cops were called out and everything. A few days later, due to boredom, I went on YouTube to see if there were any videos showing this. Sure enough there were. After a while of browsing I clicked on a link that said ‘Camilla.’ This video I quickly realized had nothing to do with the previous subject. This is where everything really started to happen.
KP: Right. This was the Hastur and Camilla video that was posted briefly.
CT: It was. By someone named HasturSinNombre, which translated means HasturWithoutName. Now when I clicked the video I was completely fascinated with what I saw. It was like the Anonymous hacker group’s videos of that time, which showed current events in a sensational matter and featured either a gowned guy or gal (you couldn’t tell which with that mask from the movie V for Vendetta being worn and the fake masculine voice used).
KP: You mean the Guy Fawkes mask?
CT: Exactly. Except this mask wasn’t real. Wasn’t human. Well, I shouldn’t say that it wasn’t real…the problem was that it looked too real. Think of something by H. R. Giger, John Kenn Mortensen or any of those other horror art masters that show you creatures from other worlds, faceless things or things with faces we wouldn’t recognize as faces, except brought to life. I don’t know what the mask was really supposed to represent. It seemed to have an elephant’s trunk and feelers, or tubes, and was possessed of either metal or flesh. The figure wore tatters and what I definitely discerned was something like a crown atop its head. It was perhaps a tattered king figure of some kind. Well, this was my first impression, remember? But it was arresting. And it spoke in beautiful Spanish poetry of stars and constellations, impossible loves and faraway places, and of course, also of current events and the mundane horror of things as they currently were. Its poetry seemed to promise other, faraway things, and I was captivated, as I’ve stated and will keep stating for emphasis. Then it spoke of Camilla and this being it spoke about was not of this sphere or galaxy. The video finished with the figure promising to make more videos based on El Rey de Amarillo and El Signo Amarillo.
KP: The King in Yellow and The Yellow Sign. Go more into that. Tell us more about what that is.
CT: Okay, I’ll tell it this way. I watched the video over and over again and the next day I was elated to realize that a new video was posted. The figure now spoke of Cassilda and Camilla and the Lake of Hali. Again I was transfixed. What were these beautiful things spoken about by a figure that inspired such horror? Days passed until a new video was posted. This time the figure promised that in one week a full performance of a Spanish translation of the play The King in Yellow was going to be posted on YouTube. It promised that we would never be the same again after watching it. The figure promised us Carcosa, where we would always dream. Intoxicated, I immediately set out to research the play. It turns out the play was originally written in France and though never performed was rumored to cause madness in whoever read it. No one remembers it now and it went out of fashion like the absinthe that was popular in the Bohemian quarters at the end of the 19th century. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised since thousands of crazes from days gone-by are no longer remembered and thousands of books have been written and printed which no one remembers nowadays. However, it received sufficient underground notoriety in its day to be translated and printed into other languages. You’re lucky if you can find a time-worn copy for sale on eBay and I hear they sell for quite the high price.
KP: And who exactly is The King in Yellow?
CT: That’ the million dollar question, isn’t it? Some have tied him with Hastur and other demons from books of esoteric lore, such as are found in The Necronomicon or the Unaussprechlichen Kulten. Is the King in Yellow related to Cthulhu? I don’t know. I have a lot of amnesia about the subject.
KP: Interesting. Would you advise anyone to track down the play?
CT: To sound clichéd, not if they value their sanity. The play is very dangerous to read or see performed. It can summon things from the Outside that I am now convinced are evil. These things, you have to understand, are incredibly more powerful than humans and are old, very, very old. And Carcosa is near…but isn’t really near. Close by Aldebaran and the Hyades. And by our sun. There’s strange physics involved that only now science is beginning to understand. Perhaps someday we will be able to travel to Carcosa by a tunnel of some kind. Hali and Alar and Carcosa might be hell though.
KP: Great stuff! Can you go on now with your story? Tell us, tell us about your encounter.
CT: Okay, well, a week passed and during that time I couldn’t think about anything else but the play. I lived with my girlfriend and she was getting worried. She said I should see a shrink. I work as a fork-lift driver and my workmates were worried about me too. Well, somehow I managed to survive the week and then the day of the performance came. I went on YouTube and sure enough it was posted. Had just been posted, really. I locked myself in the room with only a lamplight on. My girlfriend was in the living room asleep. And I saw the play. Saw Camilla and Cassilda and the Lake of Hali. It was beautiful. I almost fainted with fright when The Stranger appeared. There were things going on, things that are hard to explain now. The black stars were too real and The Pallid Mask, I swear, I thought I could touch it. Then the Second Act began. The one that supposedly drives men into such fear that they go insane. Something in my head said: These are all symbols, symbols of deep truths about everything and knowledge so advanced and nerve-wracking that once you understand but a small fraction, your mind will be fractured, and you will not be human anymore, but something else, something from dim Carcosa. And I saw the figure from the previous YouTube posts, and I can tell you –it indeed wore a mask. Because now the mask opened…and what I saw…I won’t…I can’t describe…and at the same time the world outside got darker…and from behind me, from the darkness, and from my side-view, I noticed a…a shadow something…a dark thing…lurking towards me…and it reached out to me…then I screamed and fell off my chair! And that saved me I think. I didn’t watch anymore and passed out.
KP: You’ve talked about brain sores. What happened next?
CT: My girlfriend awoke me in the morning by banging on the door. When I checked the video I saw that it was no longer available. I wasn’t the same person. Not for a while. You can’t be, not after you’ve experienced these things. But life goes on. Nothing else about The King in Yellow has been posted, well, except imitations. Then, a few weeks later, I started getting headaches. Headaches…like cold sores under my skull. One time…I swear I saw a piece of my brain slide out of my nose and get lost in the apartment.
KP: You’ve heard about the man in Uruguay who claims that once in a while he opens up and a full grown man steps out of him and walks away, and then he closes up again? Investigators say this was caused because of the same phenomenon. Can you shed any light on what these strange occurrences are that are happening to so many people?
CT: Only that they’re strange. I can’t explain any of it. It’s all insane. I have only one theory. I think these people are like me. I think they’re the ones who didn’t watch the full Second Act of the play. I can’t even begin to speculate about what happened to the ones who watched the whole thing. Maybe they’re in Carcosa?
KP: It’s a better theory than what the Skeptics say. That this is all nonsense. Would you mind describing more about the contents of the play for us?
CT: No. Not now. I’m a bit rattled. Maybe later.
KP: Okay, I don’t want to keep you anymore. You’ve said enough. I understand how hard this must have been for you. I only want to ask you one more question: How many people do you think watched the final video?
CT: I can’t guess. A lot maybe.
KP: Thanks. Keep in touch.
CT: I think the Imperial Dynasty is on earth. I think they’re coming through. I think Carcosa is here, just hidden. I think the Yellow King rules as he rules on Aldebaran, Demhe and Yhtill. Beware of The Yellow Sign.
KP: We’ve run out of time. Thanks again.
Julio Toro San Martin hails from Toronto, Canada. His work can be found in Innsmouth Free Press, Acidic Fiction, Tigershark Publishing, The Lovecraft Ezine and Static Movement.