The book I was reading was interesting, but very dry, and then the sun had moved around through the sky until it was spread over me like a blanket, and what with one thing and another I fell asleep, sprawled out in the green plastic resin of the pool chair, the heavy leather cover of the Codice Otarolense spread across my belly.

A strange book, that one, supposedly prepared during the time of the Spanish conquest, detailing the more obscure religious practices of the Aztecs, with especial note made of the minor sea cults that thrived on the Pacific coast, full of blood and nihilism. Perhaps it colored my dreams, or perhaps the sun in my face stimulated my brain in unusual ways, I can’t say; certainly they were singular, both in their power and their horror, full of the vast, amorphous blasphemies the Codice discusses and the hideous rites they demanded of their followers. In my sleep it seemed I cried out the ancient unpronounceable Name, and felt glacial consciousness respond.

When I woke it was raining, a thin, slashing rain that left everything feeling greasy and cold. My first thought was for the Codice; I stuffed in under my shirt and bolted for the cover of the hotel. Of course, it was dark and the light uncertain, and I was as yet but half-awake, but I would swear that there was something lurking in the depths of the pool, something that watched my zigzag progress across the deck; something alien, certainly, and malevolent, but not inimical. Or at least not to me, I fancy. No, not to me.