Short Fiction by H. P. Lovecraft

Short Fiction by H. P. Lovecraft

Author:H. P. Lovecraft
Language: eng
Format: azw3, epub
Tags: Fantasy fiction, American, Haunted houses -- Fiction, American fiction -- 20th century, Horror tales
Publisher: Standard Ebooks
Published: 2018-04-03T22:53:39+00:00


* * *

By that noon fully three-quar­ters of the men and boys of Dun­wich were troop­ing over the roads and mead­ows between the new-made Whate­ley ru­ins and Cold Spring Glen; ex­amin­ing in hor­ror the vast, mon­strous prints, the maimed Bishop cattle, the strange, noi­some wreck of the farm­house, and the bruised, mat­ted ve­get­a­tion of the fields and road­sides. Whatever had burst loose upon the world had as­suredly gone down into the great sin­is­ter rav­ine; for all the trees on the banks were bent and broken, and a great av­enue had been gouged in the pre­cip­ice-hanging un­der­brush. It was as though a house, launched by an ava­lanche, had slid down through the tangled growths of the al­most ver­tical slope. From be­low no sound came, but only a dis­tant, un­defin­able fetor; and it is not to be wondered at that the men pre­ferred to stay on the edge and ar­gue, rather than des­cend and beard the un­known Cyc­lopean hor­ror in its lair. Three dogs that were with the party had barked furi­ously at first, but seemed cowed and re­luct­ant when near the glen. Someone tele­phoned the news to the Ayles­bury Tran­script; but the ed­itor, ac­cus­tomed to wild tales from Dun­wich, did no more than con­coct a hu­mor­ous para­graph about it; an item soon af­ter­ward re­pro­duced by the As­so­ci­ated Press.

That night every­one went home, and every house and barn was bar­ri­caded as stoutly as pos­sible. Need­less to say, no cattle were al­lowed to re­main in open pas­tur­age. About two in the morn­ing a fright­ful stench and the sav­age bark­ing of the dogs awakened the house­hold at Elmer Frye’s, on the east­ern edge of Cold Spring Glen, and all agreed that they could hear a sort of muffled swish­ing or lap­ping sound from some­where out­side. Mrs. Frye pro­posed tele­phon­ing the neigh­bors, and Elmer was about to agree when the noise of splin­ter­ing wood burst in upon their de­lib­er­a­tions. It came, ap­par­ently, from the barn; and was quickly fol­lowed by a hideous scream­ing and stamp­ing amongst the cattle. The dogs slavered and crouched close to the feet of the fear-numbed fam­ily. Frye lit a lan­tern through force of habit, but knew it would be death to go out into that black farm­yard. The chil­dren and the wo­men-folk whimpered, kept from scream­ing by some ob­scure, ves­ti­gial in­stinct of de­fense which told them their lives de­pended on si­lence. At last the noise of the cattle sub­sided to a pi­ti­ful moan­ing, and a great snap­ping, crash­ing, and crack­ling en­sued. The Fryes, huddled to­gether in the sit­ting-room, did not dare to move un­til the last echoes died away far down in Cold Spring Glen. Then, amidst the dis­mal moans from the stable and the de­moniac pip­ing of late whip­poor­wills in the glen, Selina Frye tottered to the tele­phone and spread what news she could of the second phase of the hor­ror.

The next day all the coun­tryside was in a panic; and cowed, un­com­mu­nic­at­ive groups came and went where the fiendish thing had oc­curred. Two ti­tan swaths of de­struc­tion stretched



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