Meet Robert live

Check out
Robert Hood's
Shades series

Buy Immaterial:
Ghost Stories by Robert Hood at Australian Online Bookshop




Call of Cthulhu's Mum

by Robert Hood

Psychiatrists reckon our behaviour as adults originates in the deep past. I spent many a dismal evening with that old fart Abdul Alhazred while he babbled on about his miserable childhood, citing exposure to the alchemical substances his father smoked as the cause of his persistent hallucinations regarding the nature of reality. Alchemical substances! Low-grade horse shit more like! No wonder he has such a dodgy grasp on reality. Have you read that crap he wrote in the Necronomicon? Half of it is subtextual drivel regurgitated straight from my granny's recipe scrapbook! (The scrapbook disappeared after a visit he made once, but granny only noticed a few days later when she went to the kitchen to cook up her family-favourite Tuna and Cheese Manicotti. Sure enough, the recipe turned up on page 254 of the Necronomicon as a spell to incarnate Dagon! That's why the Deep One's always so pissed off when anyone drags him into the world; he can't abide tuna. "Too much like eatin' my second cousin," he told me once. "Have you seen my second cousin?")

Clearly there's some truth in the claim that childhood trauma forms the basis of latter-day attitudes, though. I was only a youngster of maybe 14 winters when I first heard the Call of Cthulhu's Mum. The gut-quivering roar of it echoed across the jagged landscape of our neighbourhood like Yog-Sothoth on a bender: "Cthulhu! Dinner's on!" Trees shook, mountains trembled, and profound pits of darkness began to reconsider their lifelong aversion to silence.

The first time I was out with my new Servitor, watching while it hunted those nascent humans that had reached pestilence levels in our backyard at the time. The toad had just caught one of the subhumans in its tentacles and was pulling off its legs in preparation for some playful torture when the Call shattered the gloom of falling twilight. It was so loud it made the Servitor drop its prey in a crevasse (a crevasse so deep it couldn't recover the bloody thing afterwards and whinged for days about it) and I'm sure it scarred me for life. Can't go to a Rammstein concert these days without earplugs.

But that first Call wasn't the end of it; the fact is, on any given occasion the Call would go on for yonks, getting ever more angry and increasingly arcane. Cthulhu was so stubborn and rebellious, even then, that he would never come when called, but his Mum simply refused to give up. She'd swear and blaspheme like a Sloggoth that had pigged out on a rancid Bombay curry.

"Cthulhu, you f**king brat, get inside now!"

"Don't make me %4@** invoke your #~+f&*@ father!"

"You're a useless subhuman zogdath, boy, and if you're not f**@#@%^ here in ten seconds I'll feed your $**%%#@* humans to the *&^&&&&%$##@ Hellhound!"

Sooner or later Cthulhu, who'd as often or not be holed up in my subterranean cubbyhouse, would get as tired of his Mum's abysmal shrieking as I did and would yell back: "Belt up, you ##$$%^@%*& old cow!" or something even worse that Alhazred would later transcribe into his damned book as an invocation to Byatis, the Serpent-bearded Crab. Then the situation would deteriorate. The old cow wouldn't come fetch her son, but she'd sure as hell curse a lot louder. Her cries were more soul-shattering than an echo from the Ancient Depths of a dyspeptic Spider-Maggot. It was positively embarrassing to a sensitive adolescent like Cthulhu. Over the course of a few short years I saw him become more and more bitter and sociopathic -- until he finally vowed that once he'd left home if anyone ever called him again, he'd turn them inside out and make them engrave abject apologies on the walls of their own intestines. That he's had to do that so often is something else we can blame Alhazred for!

So, yeah, that humiliating and endless Call of his Mum's is where Cthulhu's generally bad attitude comes from. And later, of course, he would turn the Thing on its head and adopt her methods for himself, Calling across centuries to any idiotic cultist suicidal enough to Answer. H.P. Lovecraft heard it, of course, but was sensible enough not to act on the summons. Instead he wrote a story about it, which surprisingly Cthulhu liked. "You know, Baoht," he said when he first read it, "I rather fancy being the centre of a cult. Makes up a bit for what I've had to put up with all my life from Mum. Ya think they'll ever make a movie about me. I lie around in R'lyeh dreaming about being a movie star! Gol-goroth reckons I've got the charisma for it."

Ha! Though I wouldn't say so to Cthulhu himself, Gol-goroth's famous malevolent glare is actually a sign that nothing's going on inside any of his craniums. He's not so much malevolent as moronic.

But enough of that. You're probably wondering about me and my mum's Call. Well, my parents were a bit different; they had a penchant for temporal displacement and were quite technologically savvy. So early on they brought me a mobile phone from the 20th century and when Mum wanted me home she'd just SMS me.

That's why Lovecraft used Cthulhu in his story and not me. He reckoned "The Text Message of Baoht Z'uqqa-Mogg" just didn't have the same ring to it and would never sell to the Weird Tales crowd.

As a result I now live in obscurity.

Bloody mum!

copyright©Robert Hood 2008

home - the latest - new projects - faq - bio - biblio - scribblings - obsessions - links

Contact Robert Hood: