Written from the point of view of the narrator, one Brian Simmons, Envy describes his college history with a young occultist who has the power to astrally project named Justin Noyes.
From Simmons' memories we learn that Noyes dreamt of creatures which would carry him off to a celestial location known as the Gardens of Ynath, thinks these entities to be benevolent, and wishes that they would carry him off in reality. Noyes is eventually taken by the creatures - likely Mi-go - and returned many years later to found a cult dedicated to the beings he believes will save the world from itself. Later, however, Noyes is disillusioned to discover that the aliens are only interested in recovering artefacts which look like large bowling balls covered in arcane scripture, and are willing to sacrifice anyone and anything to achieve this goal.
Throughout this narrative is interspersed the story of Simmons himself, who in the thirty years since the story's beginning has grown into a normal member of society with a family, forgetting the occult practices he indulged in with Noyes. When his wife dies, he himself begins to dream of travelling to the stars, and visits the broken Noyes to finish what he began back at college.
The climax of the story concerns Simmons' last visit to see Noyes in his home at the Old Akeley Place, where Noyes has discovered the artefact hidden beneath the floorboards, and is keeping it hidden from the aliens, fearful of what they intend to do once they have it. Simmons picks up the ball and smashes his old friend over the head with it, but apparently not killing him, leaving his account of the story beside his unconscious form, and calling the aliens to take him and the artefact away.
- Brian "Opie" Simmons, the narrator of the story, is eighteen at the beginning of the story and somewhere around fifty by its close. Was an apprentice occultist in his youth, and an accomplished one by story's end.
- Justin Noyes, a popular college student who takes the slightly younger Simmons under his wing as an apprentice. Later forms a cult to worship the alien visitors, but is crushed when he discovers their true motives.
- Melanie Simmons, Brian's wife.
- Matthew Simmons, Brian's son.
- Carol "Spike" Simmons, Brian's daughter.
Behind the Mythos Edit
Originally published in the April 2002 edition of Interzone magazine, and has since been reprinted in the Robert M. Price-edited Worlds of Cthulhu, and in Schweitzer's own collection Awaiting Strange Gods in 2015. It was also released as part of an eBook bundle in Wildside Press LLC's The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack in 2012.