The Dogonoids

3 Oct

The Philistine city of Ashdad was in panic after four unexplained killings in the night streets, all within the same month. Tajm, the chief criminal magistrate, had been assigned special responsibility to get to the bottom of the brutal beheadings that had occurred. What sort of tool or weapon had been in the hands of the culprit or culprits? he asked himself. What had been the purpose behind the outrages? The experienced official had no idea where to look for an explanation of the horrible crimes.

I must seek the help of someone with great knowledge of the world of the arcane, Tajm decided. That might be an old priest from the temple of Dogon, the principle deity of all Philistines. So it happened that the magistrate went to the large, magnificant temple at the center of Ashdad to confer with Mlok, the elder cleric considered the wisest, most knowledged and experienced of the sacred corps.

The priest, in white and purple robe, met the visitor at the public entrance and led him to a private chamber in the rear where they could be alone. When they were seated in backless chairs, it was Mlok who spoke first.

“I understand that you are the one looking into the quartet of street murders.”

Tajm nodded yes.”That is the reason I came here today. Any light that a person such as you can throw on the subject of wanton murder could be of aid to me.”

The almond-eyed old man gave a knowing grin.

“People come to me when all alternatives are exhausted. They are searching for my kind of answers when no other way remains. What I am supposed to know often appears the last resort. Very well, then. But let me ask you a question before we proceed.

“How was it that humans came to exist in this world of ours in the first place?”

Tajm was stunned and disconcerted by the unexpected inquiry. What was he to say? What was the clever old priest up to?

It was necessary to be careful and not say too much, the magistrate decided.

“I am familiar with the story of the egg of Amma Mut. Every educated Philistine is. We all know about the twin brothers conceived within the great ovum, the original egg called Toleeleth.

“One of the pair broke out of the shell prematurely, before it was ready for the outside. Because of its carelessness, the yolk of the egg was torn away.

“It was that yolk, exposed to the world outside, that grew into the first primeval human being. Amma Mut herself sacrificed the second twin, still inside the shell, to the yolk in order to make the life of the new creature possible.

“That is what I remember from what I learned in my early years. Why did you ask me to tell you what I remember about that matter?”

Tajm focused a penetrating look on the man quizzing him.

Mlok turned his face away for a moment, then gazed directly at the official.

“I know a different story hidden from the general population. It is only shared by some of the priesthood of Dogon. We keep it secret from those outside our ranks. If I now tell it to you, you have to promise to be silent in the future. Do you agree to maintain that condition so that only you yourself possess the knowledge?”

“Yes, of course,” gulped Tajm, his mind reeling.

“Tell me, then, what you know about the character of divine Dogon. Do not fear to describe his nature to me.”

The magistrate seemed confused for a moment, but then spoke with some degree of confidence.

“Every Philistine knows that Dogon is half man and half fish. The diety is like two persons combined into one, yet with a pair of distinct parts. His upper torso is human, the lower half is that of a large fish. He is pictured as holding a dolphin in each hand. Dogon has no legs or feet, only a large tail like that of a dolphin. He possesses tentacles and fins like those of a fish. For many ages, though, no one has had the opportunity to see him for themselves.”

Tajm stopped, peering at the priest to make out his reaction to what he had just said.

Mlok leaned his head forward and began to speak.

“There are subordinate beings attached to Dogon, his attendants and servitors, who only a few humans have met and seen over the many ages that have passed. Tell me, have you ever heard mention of the dogonoids?”

The face of Tajm took on a startled look. “No, that is a word I have not heard before. I have no idea what it might refer to or what it is.”

“I shall give you a description, then. Eons of time ago, the god Dogon saw a need for servants and secondaries to work for him. Like himself, these were fish-men, but unlike their creator they were not divine. They had more of the features of humans than of fish. These dogonoids stood between the god who made them and mankind.

“Their master created them to be immortal, forever undead. They are crablike in appearance and live mostly in the sea. Only rarely do these servitors come ashore.

“Dogonoids can walk on two back legs. Their skin is grayish-green and scaled. They have white bellies and flippers instead of arms. Lips and eyes are terribly bestial. Mariners refer to them as “the deep ones.” They prefer to live on the floor of the sea.

“The hair of these beings looks like the frog-grass found only in swamps. Although their nose resembles that of a human, it is blue in color. The fingers are like the shells of mussels.

“Although it can walk on land, there is a tail like that of a dolphin.

“These deep-water fish-men are horrid to see. But a few of them are able to appear as ordinary human beings and not be detected.”

Tajm was unable to avoid asking Mlok a direct question.

“That is interesting, but I do not understand why you are telling me this.”

The priest pursed his thick lips. “Because I think that the killer in Ashdad is a dogonoid from out of the depths.”

“How can that be?” excitedly asked Tajm. “What is the motive behind the evil deeds?”

Mlok looked down at the floor. “Dogonoids have the ability to cast spells on humans and place them in trance. As they serve Dogon, so the people they control are made to serve their dogonoid masters. I believe that the murder victims were disobebient secret agents punished by their enchanter from the dogonoids.”

The high priest lifted his eyes and stared at Tajm.

The magistrate excused himself and left the temple, his mind in a spinning whirlwind.

The night streets of the city had an almost opaque darkness. They were empty and eerily silent, as if in expectant suspense. As Tajm walked up and down the cobbled pathways, his thoughts focused on what he had heard Mlok tell him.

How much of the story was true? How much of it was credible?

A sudden, unidentified sound, resembling a quiet shuffle, made him stop.

He stood still, wondering if he had imagined the noise.

But then a voice spoke to him in a low, hoarse tone.

“Will you work for me, Magistrate Tajm? Will you agree to become my loyal servant? My agent within official Ashdod? I find you a valuable addition to my human team.”

The investigator knew at once what it was that addressed him thus.

“Are you a dogonoid? Is that whose voice I am now hearing?”

For several moments no answer came.

“I command you to fall within my power of command,” sternly said the other.

Tajm sensed a web of hypnotic force descend over him, yet he angrily resisted it with all his might. “I shall never surrender myself to a dogonoid,” he mentally vowed. “I will not become another’s slave,” he thought with determination.

As the seconds passed, his resistance rose higher and higher.

The magistrate wondered how this confrontation was going to end.

Mlok, lying on a floor mattress, was unable to fall asleep.

Suddenly a voice came from a corner of the lightless night chamber.

“I met with Tajm, the government official. I threw my greatest possible spell on the man. This enormous attempt was of no avail. He was stubborn in resistance. It was useless and I was forced to give up.

“But before the man left me I sent a death mask over his mouth. He shall never take breath again. Tajm has stopped inhaling life-giving air. He has suffocated to his death.

“Did I do the right thing, Master of the Dogonoids?”

The answer from Mlok was short and simple.

“That outcome must have been inevitable.”

Neither agent of Dogon said any more that night.

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