Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
It is getting close to the 2017 HPLHS Lovecraft Micro Fiction writing contest. Been working on it all year and only now do the stories feel like they are coming together.
This one may to Lovecraftian. I am afraid that it bores on pastiche. Those who are familiar with the Old Man from Providence may think it is too close to his The Music of Eric Zhan. I am usually my own worst cretic but I kind of like the modern update of that tale.
By David Heath
Word count: 487
Archie didn’t care that the young punks called him an old washed out hippie, basically that’s what he was. He had spent most of the last five decades chasing after musical fame. He’d done some session work, and had put out a few demo records, but true success had always eluded him. Like so many other dreams that hope had gone and went. His arthritic fingers could no longer strum his guitars strings and age and cigarette smoke had damaged his vocal cords beyond repair. His only relationship with music now was as a listener.
An acquaintance had tipped him off about a new band, The Night-Gaunts. The local group that only released albums on Vinyl. Archie was fine with that, to him LPs where the only way to capture the soul of music. He rubbed the Record against his stubbled cheek, then put it on the turn table. His source had been right, from the beginning Archie was entranced by the band’s sound. They had the soul of Floyd, The Lyrics of Zeppelin and a lead singer with the voice of Joplin.
Halfway into the third song Archie’s body began to quiver, he fell to the floor feeling a flood of ecstasy. He’d been clean since the second Clinton administration, but now he seemed to be on the most powerful trip of his life. He began to float above his body, then smashed through the apartment’s roof, flying into the stratosphere, onward to the dark cold vastness of space. He knew you weren’t supposed to be able to hear anything in the void of space, but he could hear the vibrations of the cosmos. The high pitched scream of comets, the crescendos of collapsing stars, and the cacophony of solar winds, the lyrics of the universe where drowning out the pitiful noises of man.
From the center of creation Archie heard the pipe like voices of ancient beings chanting a dredge for an undying god, as they circled the forge of chaos, from which all spirit, energy and matter emerged. In the center of the maelstrom reigned the blind and idiot god of ultimate power substance, yet it held no consciousness or intelligence. The ancient troubadours forever orbited the galactic monstrosity, quelling it mindless anger with their song. If the where to stop for even a moment, it would strike out in pain and confusion releasing death and destruction across the cosmos.
Archie began to sing to his mad master. His voice joining the celestial choirs. He started to change, his new form climbing out of the chrysalis that was his human body. He had been called for the rest of eternity to praise and sooth the seething primal chaos that laid in the center of the universe.
On Earth Archie’s soulless body laid unbreathing on the apartment floor, eyes open staring at the ceiling, as the diamond needle began to skip on the vinyl disk.
Now this one is just the opposite, it’s not Lovecraftain at all more tradition al horror. Though I can’t submit this one to the Lovecraft micro fiction contest, I like it and looking to see where I might be able to submit it.
By David Heath
Word Count: 500.
Tara was tired and more than a little drunk, she just wanted to get home before the sun rose. She couldn’t say that she was disappointed, when Colbie had said this would be her last night at work, the redhead was quitting and taking a bus the next night to Texas. It wasn’t like night shift waitress at twenty-four hour dinners didn’t come and go all the time. Anyway she couldn’t really call Colbie a friend. In fact since they first met Tara had been jealous of the other girl.
When she had arrived in town three months ago Colbie had fiery red hair that had faded to what Tara assumed was her natural strawberry blonde color. From the first day the cooks and busboys swooned over her, and customers always left her much larger tips than they did for the other waitress. Secretly Tara was glad to see her go. She was shocked when the redhead asked her to come over to her apartment for drinks before she left. Tara wanted to say ‘no.” but when she looked into Colbie’s crystal blue eyes Tara said “Sure.”
Colbie packed as Tara sat on the couch and finished her fourth sangria. She knew that she had been in a conversation with the other girl, but for the life of her, she couldn’t remember what they were talking about. The redhead’s melodic voice and the wine had relaxed her.
“Is that your natural hair color?” Colbie asked as she zipped her last suitcase.
The brunette instinctively pulled at a lock of her bangs. “Yes.”
“I always thought your hair was so dark and sexy.” Colbie said with a smile.
Was the other girl coming on to her? Tara thought, was that why she had invited here and given her so much wine? “Uh…I liked your hair the color that you had when you first moved here.”
“Me to.” Colbie aggraded “I think I am going to go back to the darker color before I go to Dallas.”
Not knowing what else to say, Tara asked. “Do you go to a salon?”
With a mischievous smile Colbie said. “No I do it myself with the help of a friend.”
The smile began to freak Tara out. “Look its late, I need to go.” She stood up almost tipping over.
”No.” Colbie said her fangs protruding over her lip. In a flash she grabbed Tara in her inhumanely strong arms. Plunging her sharp teeth into the raven haired girl’s neck. Tara’s body convulsed with pain and ecstasy, helplessly trapped in the redhead’s arms. As the Burnette’s life blood left her body and entered Colbie’s, her hair changed from strawberry blonde to blood red.
Colbie dropped Tara’s body on the floor and walked to the full length mirror and admired her hair’s new dark crimson color, then turning to the lifeless girl she said. ”It’s important to make a good first impression. I always get my hair done before I go to a new city.”
Readers who are familiar with Lovecraft with recognize the circle, star, eye and flame as the Elder Sign as described by August Derleth. It has a more sinster purpose than in the tales he wrote. You may notice that the titular strawberry blonde Colbie makes an appearance. In all my micro fiction only HPL himself has eve r made a return appearance.
Circle, Star, Eye & Fire.
By David Heath
Word Count: 480
Eric had just blown his date with his dream girl. It had taken several months of asking to get Tiffany to agree to go out with him, but he had blown it by staring at another woman. Tiffany had stormed out during the entrée because he couldn’t focus on anything but the girl in the next both. He was not starring at the girl, as much as her tattoo. He didn’t think that the other woman was better looking than his date, but he wasn’t sure because his memory of her was fuzzy, he wasn’t sure what she looked like. All he could remember was her tattoo, a circle, surrounding a star, with an eye in the center that had a flame for a pupil. He couldn’t even remember what the other woman was wearing, it had to have been sleeveless or he couldn’t see her upper arm.
He just couldn’t stop staring at it. Tiffany finally left him alone with the check. Alone he felt tired as if in a trance. He began to doze off driving home despite the fact that it was still relatively early. He pulled in to a twenty-four hour diner to get a dose of caffeine. When the redheaded waitress with a nametag reading Colbie, poured him his seconded cup of coffee, he could have sworn that he saw a reflection of fire in her eye. He paid with a ten and the waitress bought him back eight ones. He flipped the dollar over and looked at the Seal of the United States. There above the topless pyramid was the same design he had seen on the girls tattoo. In a daze he wondered, has it always been there? Why hadn’t he noticed it before?
Driving home he stopped at a red light waiting for it to change, he watched the signal mutate. The red spot became the sign, a circle around a pentagram, with the flaming eye. He sat there in his car frozen, his trance was only broken by the honking of a horn from a car behind him.
Once home he flopped into his recliner, unable to move. He watched as the spider lowered itself down from the roof. On its thorax wasn’t a red hourglass, but a bright yellow circle, a pentagram and that eye with a flame as a pupil. It landed on Eric’s arm and bit him. He began to scream in pain as the venom flowed through his system.
The police entered Eric’s abandoned apartment three days later, after his coworkers called to report him missing. There was no sign of struggle or violence. The only thing unusual was on his leather recliner was a red design of a circled pentagram with and eye in the center that had a flame for its pupil in a circle. DNA test confirm it was drawn in Eric’s blood.