@greatcthulhu Feeling sleepy LOL! #rlyeh
Darren was amused to see the Dreaming God turn up in his Twitter feed that January morning, amused enough to follow whoever had set it up. Over the next few weeks he noticed the handle turning up with increasing regularity. Somebody was having fun.
@greatcthulhu Hey @yogsothoth Whassup dude? Tekeli-Li! LOL!
All over the world people joined in with the @greatcthulhu in conversation. Darren recognised a lot of the users from Mythos-based games and knew many of the writers from Lovecraftian anthologies and magazines. They all kept the joke going, re-tweeting @greatcthulhu to an ever wider audience.
The bulk of the traffic came through one particular hash-tag, #starrywisdom, and seemed to be concentrating on collecting information from world-wide sources on dreams, and in particular, dreams about the end of the world. Darren decided to play along.
@dazza Last night it was ice-giants and Ragnarok LOL Anyone else gone #viking? #starrywisdom
His expectations of any comeback were low; he only had a couple of dozen followers and his tweets were infrequent and rarely commented on. So he was pleasantly surprised the next morning to see that his follower count had risen to number fifty-two, and that @greatcthulhu was responsible.
@greatcthulhu Hey dude THX for the new dreamers at #viking. Y’all should be following @dazza
By mid-afternoon Darren’s follower count had risen to the low hundreds and he was hooked on the rush. He started posting using hash-tags that he knew had large numbers of followers.
@dazza Hey #kindle #ebooks Check out #starrywisdom for some cool reading material
He checked his follower count before going to bed. It was over a thousand and rising fast.
He thought he was too excited to sleep. He was wrong. He dreamed.
He is alone, in a vast cathedral of emptiness where nothing exists save the dark and the boom of a pounding beat from below. Shapes move in the dark, wispy shadows with no substance, shadows that caper and whirl as their dance grows ever more frenetic.
He tastes salt water in his mouth and is buffeted, as if by a strong, surging tide, but as the beat grows ever stronger he cares little. He gives himself to it, lost in the dance, lost in the dark.
He wanders, there in the space between. He forgets himself, forgets everything in a blackness where only the dance matters.
He woke to a crumpled, sweat-stained bed, upset that he had been taken out of the dream. But a ping from his laptop got his attention and seconds later the dream was forgotten as he read his Twitter follower number.
Five thousand? How high can it go?
The #starrywisdom tag was now showing as a trending topic, in the top ten of all subjects being discussed on Twitter. The @greatcthulhu handle seemed to be enjoying all the attention.
@greatcthulhu Any more of this and I might have to wake up early LOL! #starrywisdom
Darren spent the day tweeting to a large number of hash-tag topics, funneling more and more people towards the #starrywisdom topic. By the time he went to bed he had ten thousand followers on his own account, and #starrywisdom was the hottest topic in the Twitterverse.
He floats, mere shadow now, alongside tens of scores of others, in that cold silent sea. He has no thought for anything but the rhythm, the dance. Far below him, cyclopean ruins shine dimly in a luminescent haze. Columns and rock faces tumble in a non-Euclidean geometry that confuses the eye and brooks no close inspection. And something deep in those ruins knows he is there.
He dreams, of vast empty spaces, of giant clouds of gas that engulf the stars, of blackness where there is nothing but endless dark, endless quiet. And while the slumbering god dreams, they dance for him, there in the twilight, dance to the rhythm.
He is at peace.
Coming up out of the dream felt like surfacing through hundreds of feet of water. He woke, panting and exhausted, physically drained. But mentally his mind buzzed with new ideas for promoting #starrywisdom and he wasted no time in putting them into action. He didn’t even bother checking his own follower count. If he had, he’d have seen it was now over thirty thousand.
By late afternoon #starrywisdom was the hottest trending topic in Twitter history, with millions of people posting to the hash-tag, all of them including other tags in their posts, all of which further emboldened the @greatcthulhu poster.
@greatcthulhu 200K followers. Whoo-Hoo! #countdown brought forward. #starsareright
That next night Darren was at the keyboard for hours, posting a tweet every minute to as many new hash-tags as he could find. He also started to see new tags trending across the planet, all seemingly related to what he was doing. The #dance tag in particular got a lot of attention, with tens of thousands of people looking for information on a strange dream involving a great city deep underwater and a dance in shadows.
At some level Darren knew he should be worried, and that something was spiraling out of control, something that had wormed its way into the Twitterverse and seemed intent on taking over. But as sleep took him he was thinking of yet more ways he could help #starrywisdom in the morning.
The dream is the same as before, but now there are many more shadows dancing with him, a host of shadows, numbering in the millions.
In the morning all the talk online was centered around #dance, and @greatcthulhu was being followed by over fifty percent of all Twitter users. And that next night, in their dreams, they danced.
They float, mere shadows now, tens of millions of them in that cold silent sea. And while the slumbering god dreams, they dance for him, there in the twilight, dance to the rhythm.
Everyone is at peace.
Darren lay on his bed, fully clothed, eyes open but sound asleep. Fifty thousand people followed him on Twitter, but he would never know. He was lost, lost to the dance.
@greatcthulhu Wakey-wakey ROFLMAO #countdown=0. #dance #starsareright
William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with ten novels published in the genre press and over 200 short story credits in thirteen countries, the author of the ongoing Midnight Eye series among others. His work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies. His current best seller is The Invasion, a sci-fi alien invasion tale with mass carnage, plucky survivors, and last minute rescues. It has been as high as #2 in the Kindle science fiction charts (and #4 in Kindle horror ). Click here to view and buy William Meikle’s books at Amazon.com.
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Illustration by Mike Dominic.