Crushed pearls, shimmering birch, and pink abalone draped in a thick, velvet mantle of russet musk, peru balsam, tonka bean, labdanum, and oud.
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It wasn’t a dark and stormy night.
It should have been, but that’s the weather for you. For every mad scientist who’s had a convienient thunderstorm just on the night his Great Work is finished and lying on the slab, there have been dozens who’ve sat around aimlessly under the peaceful stars while Igor racks up the overtime.
But don’t let the fog (with rain later, temperatures dropping to around forty-five degrees) give anyone a false sense of security. Just because it’s a mild night doesn’t mean that dark forces aren’t abroad. They’re abroad all the time. They’re everywhere.
They always are. That’s the whole point.
Two of them lurked in a ruined graveyard. Two shadowy figures, one hunched and squat, the other lean and menacing, both of them Olympic-grade lurkers. If Bruce Springsteen had ever recorded “Born to Lurk,” these two would have been on the album cover. They had been lurking in the fog for over an hour now, but they had been pacing themselves and could lurk for the rest of the night if necessary, with still enough sullen menace left for a final burst of lurking around dawn.
Finally, after another twenty minutes, one of them said: “Bugger this for a lark. He should have been here hours ago.”
The speaker’s name was Hastur. He was a Duke of Hell.
Smoky-sour labdanum, black patchouli, wet tobacco, and brimstone.
White pear and absinthe, sea moss and patchouli, labdanum and crushed coral.
Snake Oil with sugar cane, frankincense, champaca, opoponax, labdanum, and hyssop.
Viens sur mon coeur, âme cruelle et sourde,
Tigre adoré, monstre aux airs indolents;
Je veux longtemps plonger mes doigts tremblants
Dans l’épaisseur de ta crinière lourde;
Dans tes jupons remplis de ton parfum
Ensevelir ma tête endolorie,
Et respirer, comme une fleur flétrie,
Le doux relent de mon amour défunt.
Je veux dormir! dormir plutôt que vivre!
Dans un sommeil aussi doux que la mort,
J’étalerai mes baisers sans remords
Sur ton beau corps poli comme le cuivre.
Pour engloutir mes sanglots apaisés
Rien ne me vaut l’abîme de ta couche;
L’oubli puissant habite sur ta bouche,
Et le Léthé coule dans tes baisers.
À mon destin, désormais mon délice,
J’obéirai comme un prédestiné;
Martyr docile, innocent condamné,
Dont la ferveur attise le supplice,
Je sucerai, pour noyer ma rancoeur,
Le népenthès et la bonne ciguë
Aux bouts charmants de cette gorge aiguë
Qui n’a jamais emprisonné de coeur.
– – –
Come, lie upon my breast, cruel, insensitive soul,
Adored tigress, monster with the indolent air;
I want to plunge trembling fingers for a long time
In the thickness of your heavy mane,
To bury my head, full of pain
In your skirts redolent of your perfume,
To inhale, as from a withered flower,
The moldy sweetness of my defunct love.
I wish to sleep! to sleep rather than live!
In a slumber doubtful as death,
I shall remorselessly cover with my kisses
Your lovely body polished like copper.
To bury my subdued sobbing
Nothing equals the abyss of your bed,
Potent oblivion dwells upon your lips
And Lethe flows in your kisses.
My fate, hereafter my delight,
I’ll obey like one predestined;
Docile martyr, innocent man condemned,
Whose fervor aggravates the punishment.
I shall suck, to drown my rancor,
Nepenthe and the good hemlock
From the charming tips of those pointed breasts
That have never guarded a heart.
Red musk and sweat-damp golden skin musk with labdanum, golden amber, nutmeg, tobacco absolute, black orchid, and hemlock accord.