Lovecraft Pastiche

Ean Lambert

A quaint house on a hill, a few acres of that hill, and of course, a well. The well was quite a deep one as well, it had to be. It had to reach down to a deep underground river so that the family who lived above wouldn’t ever have to put more in this well. There simply is never time to fill it. At least, not for the family above, anyway. You see, they were a farming family, and as such, they were constantly working. They had a few stable buyers, so money wasn’t ever much of an issue. The family themselves consisted of a father, a mother, and two boys. One of the boys fifteen, and the other a few days old. As the elder boy, Justin, was the only one small enough to fit inside and clean out debris in the well, he regularly would do just that. When he went down, Justin would be slowly lowered down with nothing more than a lamp, a brush, and a bucket. As he went down, with nothing but lamplight to show his surroundings, he’d regularly hear the scuttling of rats up and down the well’s shaft, and the occasional slip of one as it tumbles into the darkness below. Scratch, scratch, scratch, silence, then a splash. He’d always be upset at this because it’ll be more work for him when he reaches the bottom. As the water approached, Justin could hear the roar of water beneath, and when he got close to it, he’d scream back up, “STOP.” The rope would almost jolt back up as if someone tugged on it when the pulling stopped. He’d reach down and clean out filters on either side of the well which kept dirt and such from being washed into the bucket as it was filled with water. Justin washed the one on the side the water flowed in through without incident, but as he was closing it, he saw a small light dart past in the water. It was bright enough to startle him off the rope he clung to, and into the water. He and the light were both washed through the still open second filter, and further along the underground river. Along the way, the light seemed to swim forward as it was washed down, as it rapidly gained distance between itself and its unwitting victim. That was until it disappeared around a corner to not appear again. 

Just as suddenly as his ride started, it stopped; as he was washed up upon the floor of a cave, he felt every twist and turn in the river at once. It felt as if he’d been struck on every inch of his body. After rolling about in agony on the floor for a minute, he stood up, and took a look around. His lantern had been lost, but he could barely make out a light around the corner in the distance. The question was, how to get to it? It seemed as if there was a cliff between the two. A ten foot climb is often quite difficult in the dark, let alone after you’ve been tossed about by a river. He thought that brute forcing the cliff may work, but his soaked grip had made it difficult to scale further than a few feet up. He gave it a few fine goes, but none  were ever fruitful. He managed to touch the top, but never managed to pull himself up. Tired from the countless attempts to scale the cliff, he finally had an epiphany: if he could get one of the rocks on the ground wedged into a crack on the wall, he’d have a solid foothold to reach the top with. After looking for what must have been an hour, he found a chunk of granite that would fit the hole nicely. After feeling his way back to the ledge, he slammed the blood red stone into the crack, and scrambled up the ledge with more success. However, when he reached the top, he was taken aback at the true scale of the light. He could now see that it lit up another portion of the winding river several yards away on the other side of the cliff. This portion seemed still, with small lost objects shining light back towards him. Upon closer inspection, there were a great many in this stagnant pool. Everything from house keys and cowbells to his lantern, now broken, and a wedding ring with a gorgeous diamond atop it.

Resisting temptation, he left it behind to finally see the light of day. Much to his dismay, rather it was more to his horror, a great many of the lights swarmed onto one point. The light of the great congregation blinded him, but it seemed as if they nearly passed through one another. Against his better judgement, Justin approached the swarm, and as he touched it, he felt as his left arm was dragged into the hoard. Strangely he only felt it on the part that was touching the surface. It felt as if there was a great nothing inside. Regaining his senses, he pulled the arm out, and scrambled away. He fled to the pool of treasures, and as he came near, the water turned a sickening red. As he glanced back Justin noticed the lights had not chased him, but rather remained in place. After this peer at the congregation he felt pulled in once more. His grip couldn’t keep him from being pulled in as his left arm still felt numb from being inside the cluster. His arm reached out once more on its own accord, but he managed to force his eyes closed in time to resist entering this beast. Eyes still firmly closed, he threw whatever rocks he could at the lights. Justin heard a few impacts of rock against rock, but some would just never impact anything. Stumbling around to find more ammunition, he slipped into the water.

He opened his eyes wide to find his way to the surface, but he only saw the water as a blood red cloud. His foot seemingly knocked one of the items deeper into the pool during the scramble, and as Justin surfaced, he saw the lights dissipate into several smaller clusters. They darted forth into the water, and he narrowly dodged them as they headed towards the disturbance in the pool’s treasure. They surrounded where his foot was previously, and the rocks disappeared from where they were. The swarm once again dispersed and reformed the mass where it was before. Justin tossed a stone in, and disturbed a cowbell laying in the deep. The being sprung to life once more, enveloping the rock. Returning to its resting place, Justin resisted the urge to peer upon its form to decipher the being. He figured that the being doesn’t really notice his presence other than his disturbances in the water. Thus he decided to stare at the wall, and slowly sneak past the abomination before him. As he passes the amalgamation of lights, he barely resists the temptation to glance over his shoulder, and see if it is going to strike him. He knows at this range, he couldn’t force his eyes to close before he is completely encapsulated. He squeezed past, and noticed that there was a rock with light that peaked under the corners of it about 50 feet away. It wasn’t the same ghastly glow as the being he narrowly avoided, it seemed almost red. It was as if a new dawn was just around the corner, and the sun was shining its usual red morning sky to awaken the denizens of the earth. He ran to it, and shoved the rock slowly to the side. He could hear shouting from the top of a nearby hill, his hill to be exact. In return he shouted back, and ran to safety. Of course, he made sure to seal away the beast in the cave once more before making his mad dash home. As he arrived screaming out to his beloved family, they shouted back. That was until he came up the hill enough for them to see him. His mother puked. His father, horrified, covered his younger brother’s eyes. “Justin? Where’s your arm?”