Over the weekend I finished ‘Locke and Key’, the amazing comic book epic by Joe Hill (more on that on Thursday) – so I’m back in a bit of a Lovecraftian mood. This is just a quick sketch, again playing with a form that’s easy to write quickly in a short burst without too much planning.
I write this in the knowledge that I may not be able to tell you these things myself; and the hope that maybe you shall find these papers before the damp takes them, and sends the words into the inconsolable ether.
I fear I do not have long – the beast has taken a sizeable morsel from my leg, and the warm red muck covering the slick cobblestones has spread far enough to escape my sight. This does not bode well. I sent Humphries off for help, but he hasn’t reemerged in what must be an hour; I fear his fate is worse even than mine.
It was, I think, right of you to warn me against a headstrong and foolhardy endeavour such as this. But, when ambition sneaks its way into one’s ear, it has a way of winning the argument. I know you will read this letter with tears in your eyes, my love, but I ask that you spare a smile for me, as well – a man who couldn’t learn a lesson if it were tattooed under his eyelids, as you would say. I can see you smiling now. Laughing even! Good. That’s very good, my dear. Very good. Very--
There is not much light to write by in these desolate tunnels. The old gas lantern I brought along is waning, and sits outside my reach, cracked where I dropped it in the tussle. There were screams, distant and echoing, sometime before. Now there is only silence, which I suppose is a good thing. An indication that my men have moved past the suffering of this world and on to the next. What awaits them there is anybody’s guess. I have my doubts, after what I have seen, that salvation presents itself to anyone who finds themselves in the abyss.
Muskets did not work. Nor did blades. Nothing slowed it. It was relentless, all teeth and eyes and cold malice. So many eyes, wretched, all-seeing, possessed of a glow all their own, a burning that pierced this enveloping darkness with rage and lust. It is a folly – the greatest of all, perhaps – to think that humankind has any control over the chaos under the surfaces of the world. That we have any defence against things older than us, our big brothers, waiting for us to take a misstep so as to pounce upon the simplest reasons to punish us. I climbed down that cold ladder with thoughts of success and redemption, of ridding this city of a fear that had plagued it for too long. But my thoughts lied to me, quarrelled with my soul – for, in truth, my heart craved only the thrill of the chase; the knowledge that I could fight off fear, brave and full of strength. And I was ruined by this cursed hubris. Thrown to the dogs, as it were.
There is a burning in my throat. I can feel it rising behind my eyes. I know not what it means, but it is unlike anything I have ever-
I am saying to you that I am sorry, dearest Evelyn. Sorry that I did not listen to you; sorry that I did not stay with you; sorry that you must face the next mist-laden morning alone. I hope that you can accept this apology, that you can let it galvanise you. You must tell the others of what we have discovered. Of what truly stalks the streets at night. That it is a creature that bears not a name, but a sound. Just a hideous, unbearable sound. Father Proctor must know, must be given time to prepare. Because when it next comes, it will have the taste for blood and an eye for revenge. I think I struck it squarely on one of its legion limbs, but I cannot be sure. Either way, it was not pleased with me.
My arm is beginning to seize. I must get to the point.
To the poinnnttttttt…
Goodbye, Evelyn. May your life end more softly than mine, with a pinch of whimsy and wonder and warm dew. You have given me all a man could ask; more, even.
my leg I remember plainly the day we met. I know you do as well. In the back of our tallest wardrobe in the guest quarters, you’ll find the umbrella. You remember? Do you remember the umbrella? You must, you must remember, you must. I still have it. Now you shall have it my leg my dear leg leggggg
I am struggling to think straight. I feel ponderous. Time is slowing and speeding. I’m losing sight of it, I think.
If I could have one moment back, one to hold close to my soul as it crosses the threshold, it would be the evening of Thursday last. When I returned from the Captain’s quarters, riddled with fear and anticipation. You held my hand, dearest Evelyn, and said nothing but ‘it is cold outside.’ And indeed it was, and indeed I felt more alive then, in that scant, fleeting moment, than I have ever known before. More, certainly, than when I stepped into this godforsaken tomb.
leg is leg is there is my leg
If you find this letter, you will have seen me at my last. I think of you, Evelyn,
but all I can smell is blood
Goodnight, sweet Evelyn. May the night hold the glow of stars and be free of wandering eyes.
With eternal love,
My god – my leg – my leg is growing back! My leg is pulling out of the stones, pulling together to my – it feels – it feels – IT FEELS SO WARMmm…
I WILL SEE YOU SOON
Image Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cobblestones_-_Kopfsteinpflaster.jpg - Author: Oxfordian Kissuth