The fifth phase of the week is upon us. Shops close, bars open and we are free from the Bosses once more. For how long we cannot say, though we pray it will be two or maybe even three more phases. But now is not the time to guess at the Ancient Ones' designs. The sun is setting, and their gift must be repaid.
We journey to sylvan henges, cyclopean ziggurats or a Phi Delta rager they just announced on Facebook, making sure to secure a designated driver for the journey home. Our feet are swollen, our bodies bruised from toil in the Bosses' smelters. Some of us may not survive the pilgrimage, but the ceremony must commence. They Who Were Before Time await our tribute, lest they hasten the return of the First Phase, or cancel the sacred throwing games of the Seventh.
We gather in dusky rooms lit by tiny, coruscating lights. We carve arcane symbols on the floor and sluices to drain away vomit, urine and water from wet t-shirt contests. The Ancient Ones' vicars play the latest paeans on their turntables. We gyrate to the rhythms and repeat the words until they cease to be words, just random grunts and squeals, reminding us of the chaos from which our Masters forged this realm and to which they will return it someday at their whim.
Soon the sacraments arrive. We do keg stands with virgin blood and purge the last shreds of sanity from our minds. We make disparaging remarks about our friends and coworkers in forgotten tongues. Our heads whirl with visions of unknown places where we thought we'd be at this point in our lives. At last, the Elders' ichor is too pure for us and we spew it into the communal trough.
But the festivities must go on. The tournaments have begun. Our strongest and most inebriated warriors pummeling each other for the Gods' amusement. We make hecatombs of goats, oxen and the occasional dropped iPhone. The stench of feces and Calvin Klein products chokes the air.
The vicars amplify the sounds and we find ourselves tangled in a heap of naked, writhing bodies. We perform unspeakable acts, hoping pictures of them don't end up on social media. Some pass out and are rolled to the edges of the room, where we draw coptic symbols and giant phalluses on their brows. Life and death become one as the pain subsumes us. From a place beyond time, space and reason comes the Ancient Ones' chant, its four phonemes beating an endless tattoo in our aching, voided skulls.
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