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(chuckle, usenet, original)

James Price writes:

>  I was wandering around the UC library system and found this entry...
>  8. HAZRED, Abdul.                  Al Azif, or the Necronomicon,. 1589

                        At the Library of Lost Souls

	It was a cold, bleak day in Albany as I set forth to discover
the secret entrance to the gates of madness guised as the book referred to
by the ancient scholars as "Necronomicon."  But I remember well the exact date
that I set in motion the events that would lead me to write this journal,
here, by candlelight, at a terminal deep in the pits of this infested
hole of debased scholarship.  The date was February 13, of the year
1991, when I first read the article revealing the final resting place of the
dread volume Necronomicon.

	It was a simple article relaying the findings of a scholar
researching the writings of an "Al Hazred" (as the common miscalque would
have it), who had stumbled across an entry in a highly esoteric indexing
system by the name of Melvyl.  What fortune that I had access to the Melvyl
indices myself, and could verify the entry!  It was with trepidation and a
definite sense of dread that I ventured to the actual library where Melvyl
promised the accursed volume could be found: a library at the University of
California at Berkeley, my own alma mater.

	The rain furiously swept down on the windshield of my convertible as I
drove down the twisted, crowded streets of central Berkeley.  The residents
of Telegraph Avenue seemed drug-crazed humanoids -- surely the victims of too
close a proximity to the very source of insanity itself?  I drove onto campus
using the secret pathways known only to those, like myself, who held membership
in the secret Skull and Key society.  How glad I was that the forbidden
society's membership dues were not paid in vain!  Soon, towering before me, 
were the wings of the very library itself, Doe.

	Surely this library had been designed by a madman -- or madwoman,
like the Winchester Widow who had believed herself condemned to forever
construct rooms to her mansion or be terrorized by the souls of those killed
by her husband's most notorious invention, the Winchester repeating rifle.
Could some founding Berkeley Regent have thought that the only way to keep 
the hounding spirits of former alumni (who rampage like the very Tindalos)
at bay was by constructing endless spiral staircases to oblivion, or elevators
leading to wings long since closed or abandoned to dust and spider webs?
Certainly the construction would indicate this.  My previous research of the
man Doe himself would leave the question begging, since records were
notoriously -- perhaps intentionally? -- obscure.

	The silence of the library overwhelmed one much like a crypt.
California Hall's doors, tall, solemn, gilt-encrusted monuments to a long-
forgotten sense of grandeur, seemed to dampen my little remaining enthusiasm.
But madness and, yes, greed drew me to climb the stone, circling steps. 
And even in my distracted state, I could not help but note the significance
of the twelve steps, one landing, three steps.  Twelve hundred and thirteen,
the very year the Necronomicon reappeared out of the sands of time, only to
be scattered to the twin winds of legend and rumor!  Emboldened, I hastened on.

	Before me was the main elevator, leading me to the depths of the
archives of the main library.  I could tell by the call number of the Melvyl
reference that I would have to venture to the sixth underground level, to an
obscure rare book archive where only a few scholars have ever been granted
access: the Bechtel Foundation Library for Studies of Forbidden Matters and
Things Best Left Unknown.  Fortunately, I had my papers of recommendation
ready to show the misshapen youth entrusted with the grim, thankless
task of guarding access to the elevator.

	Once inside the clanking contraption I felt the metal sides begin to
close in.  Madness!  Only by reciting the Farras Hypothesis to myself 
backwards was I able to keep the claustrophobia at bay.  Yet, suddenly, I felt
the elevator begin to sway in an unearthly, dithyrambic motion.  The twin
fulcrums of doubt and suspicion catapulted my unquestioning naivete into a
darkness as tangible as it was ironic, for the already-dim light to the
elevator had thoroughly extinguished itself, leaving me alone in the dark in
my self-imposed upright coffin!  And at the edge of hearing I could perceive a
laughter, a cackling so hideous that it scars me to even recall it at this
time.  And just as all hope fled my very being, I felt the bottom of the
elevator drop out from under me, leaving me falling, falling...

			      * * *

	When I awoke, my body bruised and sore, I was in utter darkness.
But through some last remaining scholar's sense of direction, I knew my
exact location: at the very heart of the Bechtel archive, close to the
very Necronomicon itself!  With trembling fingertips, I inspected the
nearby volumes, hoping to discern the distinctive bindings of the doom
work.  After what seemed hours of fruitless and desperate flailing,
success!  My fingertips had brushed against the rough, cracked binding
of the work itself.  Grabbing for it, I knew the thrill of victory then.
I would be the envy of the others!  Jayembee, forever casting his net
of knowledge, hoping to dredge up this very work -- he was hopelessly
adrift in the wrong newsgroups.  Moriarty, misplacing his efforts by
searching in the monthly sequential literature that he loved so much.
Maroney, marooned at the Hoptoad Institute, forgotten by so many yet still
working feverishly to achieve exactly what I had just achieved.  All of
them so close, yet so wrong -- I had done it, and I alone!  I laughed
aloud then -- and instantly regretted it, for I heard the echoes of madness
around me -- and heard also the scufflings and moanings of something
inhuman, something horrible, something very close behind me.

	I ran then, still clutching the book, ran as fast as I was able,
desperately seeking to get away from that terrible stench (did I forget to
mention the terrible stench?), the insane mumblings, the endless deluge of
crazed laughter.  But no matter how fast or far I ran, no matter which
corridors I took, the hideous sounds followed me close behind.  With crystal
clarity, I knew what had to be done.  Sobbing, I carefully placed the dread
book on the ground, leaving it behind so that I at least could claim my own
mind.  It worked, for the noises stopped following me, and seemed far behind.

	But I was lost.  I wandered, dazed and confused and ultimately
saddened by what I had owned but had had to let go.  My wanderings seemed
endless.  Weeks, months may have passed for all my knowledge of the passage
of time.  Eventually, by chance, I encountered this terminal, where, after
fighting uncooperative terminal emulations and ill-timed system shut-downs
for backup purposes, I managed to fight a crudely-implemented version of
vi to transcribe these warnings.

	I fear the Necronomicon is finally lost to humanity -- as is both
my sanity and my immortal soul.  The rats!  The rats are closing in!

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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