So goes the final line of the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Statement of Randolph Carter.” It was Halloween, and I hadn’t really read anything appropriate for the holiday, so I tried downloading an “ultimate horror collection” anthology to my Nook, but it turned out to be not quite as advertised, so I resorted to my bookshelf and pulled out an old favorite “Dreams of Terror and Death” from Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle.
***Spoiler Alert!*** in this story, Randolph Carter is the friend of a researcher into the occult (Harley Warren). It is the researcher’s theory that – in several locations around the world – there are passageways to the depths of worlds below, and to all the mysteries and terrors that lie therein. How did he come to know this? Well, due to his poring over countless ancient texts, written in a multitude of languages, many of which Carter can neither understand nor even remember having heard of.
Warren and Carter travel to one of these portals to the underworld (not surprisingly found in a cemetery which Lovecraft wonderfully describes as having the odor of “rotting stone”). Warren comes prepared with a telephone wire of some kind so that he (who plans to explore below) and Carter (who is designated to stay on the surface) might communicate. Warren’s initial communications are normal, but soon begin to take on a frenzied, psychotic tone, warning Carter not to follow, but instead to flee, etc. Carter continues at the mouth of the portal shouting down in hopes of hearing Warren reply. Eventually, a doubtless exasperated alien voice speaks back to him saying, “You fool, Warren is DEAD!”
A great, compact story with a lot of creepiness and horror crammed into just a few pages. Have you read any Lovecraft? What do you think of him? (below: H.P. Lovecraft)