“It came crawling up the hillside to the alter and the sacrefice, and it was the black thing of my dreams-that black ropy, slimy, jelly tree-thing out of the woods. It crawled up and it flowed up on its hoofs and mouths and snaky arms. And the men bowed and stood back and then it got to the alter where they was something squirmin on top, squirming and screaming.” — Robert Bloch, “Notebook Found in a Deserted House”
My story, or vignette really, “Wedding Night” has been posted at The Were-Traveler. Read it here. It’s probably rubbish, but the kindly editor at Were-Traveler saw some value in it and accepted it to be part of their tribute to Poe and Lovecraft. Included in the tribute are Deborah Walker and Rick McQuiston, along with over a dozen other talent writers.
Okay, I have to admit something. I cheated. My story isn’t so much a tribute to Lovecraft as it is to his friend Robert Bloch. You may not recognize the name but you know his work — a lonely motel, and it’s young proprietor with an unhealthy fixation on his mother. And oh God, the blood. Bloch wrote the novel that inspired Hitchcock’s masterpiece.
Bloch also wrote “Notebook Found in a Deserted House”, one of the greatest non-Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos stories to come out of the Lovecraft Circle. It inspired a young Ramsey Campbell, master of the modern horror story, to pick up his pen and give us Gla’aki, the Insects from Shaggai, and Y’golonac, among other nightmares. Campbell did it better than anyone else and still does. A brilliant visualization of “Notebook” can be found here.
“Wedding Night” was born from a reading of “Notebook”, and like the source material, features a backwoods cult of Lovecraft’s Great Old One, Shub-Niggurath. Whereas the narrator of “Notebook” is a victim of “them ones”, the narrator of “Wedding Night” is a member of a particular branch of the cult, and soon to be very familiar with its ways. If you take the time to read it, thank you.
I love Shub-Niggurath. Unlike Old Ones such as Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth, Lovecraft provided little detail about the being. Aside from the evocative title “Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young” and a vague description in a letter as a “evil, cloud-like entity”, we know nothing about it. Lovecraft left it for later writers to fill that cloud with their own horrors. Stay tuned, there will be more coming from me on the Black Goat.