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*Sneak Peek* A Modern Lovecraftian Story


W_L

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Well since I got no reader interest in my historical fiction story, I'll put that back on the shelf.  However, in digging through my old story ideas, I have been thinking of going back to an old shared universe that some authors and readers may know peripherally, but have not experienced in full.

H.P Lovecraft was an author in the early 20th century, one of the pioneers for free-form shared universe fiction as pulp science/horror fiction writer, he advocated the concept that independent writers should and could enter his Cthulhu mythos with their own interpretations of beings, stories, and concepts. He even contradicted himself in his own stories, including spellings of Cthulhu to demonstrate that each iteration need not conform to a singular vision, even from its creator.

Anyway, here's chapter 1, feedback would be great (PS I am also using my own native New England as the setting for this story):

 

Chapter 1

 

“All superstitious beliefs are relics of a common 'prehistoric ignorance' in humans”- H.P Lovecraft, The Cancer of Superstition

 

              In the hopeful light of a bright day, human beings forget there is still tragedy and despair in the world. Samson “Sam” Summer, age 14, along with his older brother Colton “Colt” Summer, age 16, and widowed mother, Aurora Summer, age 47, had recently decided to move to the sleepy New England town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. Sam was a skinny bookish teenager with thick-rimmed glasses and shaggy brown hair, which contrasted sharply with his older brother Colt, who was an athlete of several sports with naturally curly brown hair. Their mother Aurora was a stunning beauty even in her late 40’s, she had long flowing brown hair and a youthful complexion with barely the trace of wrinkles.

Sam and Colt recently lost their father due to a house fire that took most their worldly possession and left their family destitute as their insurer barely covered the mortgage. As fate would have it, a relative of their father had passed away at around the same time. This deceased relative left a home and living trust for the Summer family, which guaranteed steady income and accommodations for the rest of their lives. While Aurora was thanking her lucky stars and Colt seemed extremely happy to leave their home of Chicago behind, Sam was struck with sadness at leaving all he knew for years. Even at 14, he felt free to express himself with friends at Boystown, where he had his first kiss not so long ago. Even knowing Massachusetts’ progressive reputation, he wasn’t looking forward to this change as he began to learn about the town, they’d be settling in.

While most would not consider this town to be of any importance, the local residents knew the history of this Innsmouth and its infamous past. In the 17th century, Innsmouth bordered the town of Salem, the place where a group of young girls accused several adults of committing witchcraft. 20 people were brutally murdered in the name of the Christian God and many others bore lifelong stains for being associated with “witchcraft”. Today, in spite of the infamy, people from across the United States flock to Salem and neighboring towns, like Innsmouth, during Autumn, roaming the woods and graveyards with makeup and pointy black hats. While most people excuse their actions as honoring the tragic history of the past, the reality is that these role players are continuing to pass judgment on those long murdered and dead. The accusations may have occurred more than 300 years ago, but the guilt of the accused and accusers lives on in modern rituals.

Sam was an avid student of history with no particular area of interest, but he innately understood that what is past can sometimes show us the way forward. He combed the internet for every record of the town from its founding in 1643 as a fishing town to small port to the government explosive testing in 1928 that caused the collapse of “Devil’s Reef”. This action forced most of the town to be evacuated by the government, until 1945, when it was deemed “safe” for all the former residents to return and re-open the reef. Ever since that brief bit of excitement, the town has remained mostly quiet.

While browsing the internet at the airport on his new smartphone for this information, Sam felt himself being watched by a stranger, an older man with a gray beard and average build. It was not lewd or sexual in nature as Sam could tell, but he was still unsure how to react. His mother was on the phone herself, busy discussing the details of the move and speaking with lawyers about accessing bank accounts and setting up her children to go to the local high school. To Sam’s relief, Colt had just finished his own call to the coaching staff at Innsmouth High, who had reviewed the material his older brother had given them. Colt had sent his statistics and video highlights from his games at Lakeview High, he was a two-sport athlete of Basketball and Hockey, which Innsmouth supported. Being an athlete entering his junior year, he understood the need to get his name out there in order to make the “cut” for Varsity or Junior Varsity teams. It’s a universally understood status symbol to be on a high school’s sports team; it automatically grants you respect of some degree, which Colt longs for. Colt was hoping he would at least make one of the teams he played, knowing basketball season had not started yet. Surprisingly though, the Innsmouth coaching staff were able to offer him testing for both his desired positions: Wingman for hockey team and a point forward for basketball team.

Seeing his brother jubilant, Sam approached him, “Colt, there’s an old guy over there looking at me weird, can you back me up as I ask him to stop?”

Colt looked over at the old man, who was still staring at Sam in curiosity, “Woah, is he perving on you, Bro? Cuz I can teach that old fart a lesson.”

Sam frowned, “No, I don’t think he’s into me, but he’s probably thinking I look like his kid or grandkid. I just don’t want him to do that and maybe with you around as my backup, he’ll stop looking at me. Dad would have backed me up and let me talk the guy down.”

At the mention of their father, Colt clinched his fist, “Alright, I’ll walk over there with you, but if he says anything out of line, I’ll beat the shit out of the old geezer. I don’t care why he’s doing it, if it makes you uncomfortable, I’ll protect you.”

Sam smiled at his older brother as they walked over, knowing this was how their relationship worked. Colt might appear to be a stereotypical jock, but he loved his kid brother more than anything else. When other kids made fun or teased Sam for being his awkward teenage self, his older brother would pounce. Very few kids dared messed with Sam Summers knowing they’ll be dealing with Colt in short order.

Sam approached the old man, who smiled at him with recognition, “Hello young lord, how may I assist you?”

Sam gently asked, “Hi, uh…look I do not know why you were staring at me earlier, but can you stop staring at me? Sorry, I know maybe I look like someone you knew or something, but I just don’t like the idea of strangers staring at me.”

The old man nodded, “Of course, young lord, I merely am gazing upon your wondering countenance.”

Colt stared at Sam for a translation, Sam smirked, “Thank you, but I am no one’s lord and I was just searching my phone for information about Innsmouth, Massachusetts.”

The old man went picked up his suitcase and open the latches, then retrieved an old leather-bound book, “I think this will illuminate many questions that you may have later, my young lord. I wish, I can elucidate you further, but my duties for the Order prevent us from further discussion.”

After handing Sam, the old book, the old man glanced at Colt with displeasure, “Take heed my young lord, your blood was formed by trials for grand purposes, but its properties are dangerous without your eternal essence.”

The old man having delivered his message and book left the boys dumbfounded, Colt shook his head, “Dude, what the fuck was that? What kind of book did he give you?”

Sam looked at the title, “It’s called the “Necronomicon”. I guess I got some reading for the plane ride.”

              Throughout the plane ride, Sam read the book in deep fascination. It read like a fantasy encyclopedia, telling the story of universal creation from a deity called Azaroth, who is currently asleep due to music being played by other beings. It spoke of other major deities, beings, and powers far greater in scope than human imagination. It spoke of sacrificial rituals that would invoke these powerful entities to appear in our reality. They could offer things from countless wealth and immortality to eternal damnation and suffering beyond compare. Most of these entities cared little for the affairs of human beings, but a select few were interested in humans as either servants for higher purposes or a quick snack. Even fewer still were being with somewhat less malign motives for humanity, one of which stoked unknown memories from Sam, Hastur. The name conjured the image of a blond-haired teenager with a strong muscular build surpassing that of Colt, he wore a yellow cloak and yellow breastplate, while his genitals and massive erection were uncovered, enticing Sam.

              As Sam pushed away his homoerotic daydream, chocking it to his teenage hormones, he read about this powerful entity. A deity in his own right, a son of Azaroth, knowledgeable enough to challenge Yog-Sothoth, and half-brother of Great Cthulhu.

              At the mention of the last name, Sam winced remembering the name as a Magic the Gathering trading card, which he owned. He remembered that the creature was immensely powerful and according to in-game lore could traverse into people’s dreams. As he thought about the name further, less than erotic memories of a giant tentacle creature, resembling a cross between a giant squid and dragon, was wreaking havoc around him. The same teenage boy from earlier was there holding him down as he watched the world torn apart, unable to stop it. Sam was reliving those memories now.

 

---

Sam heard himself crying out, “Let me go, I must save my family, my people.”

The teen in yellow comforted and forcibly held him still, “No, you can do nothing more for them and I will not allow my possession to be damaged by my beastly brother.”

“Let me go if you love me, let me go…”

 

-----

Colt shook Sam to awareness, “We’re in Boston, Bro. It’s time to get off the plane.”

 

 

 

 

Edited by W_L
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I believe it has merit as an outline for a story, the ingredients are all there, however, I'm not certain how you present it tells the story in the best way. Let me explain a little. I don't like introductions that describe the characters.

Samson “Sam” Summer, age 14, along with his older brother Colton “Colt” Summer, age 16, and widowed mother, Aurora Summer, age 47,

Sam was a skinny bookish teenager with thick-rimmed glasses and shaggy brown hair, which contrasted sharply with his older brother Colt, who was an athlete of several sports with naturally curly brown hair. Their mother Aurora was a stunning beauty even in her late 40’s, she had long flowing brown hair and a youthful complexion with barely the trace of wrinkles.

Personally, I would have had a different opening which threw the reader into the action with the old man looking at Sam.

Sam had the feeling that someone was staring at him. It made him turn and look. The focal point of his attention was an elderly man, sat someway across the airport hall, but most definitely looking right back at him. It wasn't the old man who averted his eyes, but Sam, who grabbed hold of his brother's arm.

"Colt!" Sam pulled urgently on his older brother's arm to get his attention.

"What? Colton glared, annoyed at being interrupted.

"There's an old guy over there, doesn't stop staring at me," he nodded in the direction where the elderly gentleman was sitting.

So, you get the idea. The best place to start for me is where the action is. This grabs the reader. Why is the old man staring at Sam?

Once you've set the action, you can step back and introduce their mother, slow the action. Then jump right back in when the two of them confront this guy and learn what's going on. Later you slowly introduce more about the family, they live with their mother who is widowed.

Now, Sam's physical description you can introduce more subtly as the story progresses. For example, when he reads that book. Sam pushed the thick-rimmed glasses back up his nose as he opened the book. Colt sat there, not at all interested, he was used to seeing his little brother with his head stuck in a book. The two brothers were complete opposites, the bookish younger and the athletic older, but this never seemed to cause any problems between them.

Well, I've tried to comment on what you wrote and to illustrate  a slightly changed approach. Basically, I'm saying you've got a good story, but perhaps re-writing the scene and not beginning with telling us what Sam and his brother look like would be better. What do you think? How important is it to describe in detail the two brothers physique at the outset?

 

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9 hours ago, Talo Segura said:

I believe it has merit as an outline for a story, the ingredients are all there, however, I'm not certain how you present it tells the story in the best way. Let me explain a little. I don't like introductions that describe the characters.

Samson “Sam” Summer, age 14, along with his older brother Colton “Colt” Summer, age 16, and widowed mother, Aurora Summer, age 47,

Sam was a skinny bookish teenager with thick-rimmed glasses and shaggy brown hair, which contrasted sharply with his older brother Colt, who was an athlete of several sports with naturally curly brown hair. Their mother Aurora was a stunning beauty even in her late 40’s, she had long flowing brown hair and a youthful complexion with barely the trace of wrinkles.

Personally, I would have had a different opening which threw the reader into the action with the old man looking at Sam.

Sam had the feeling that someone was staring at him. It made him turn and look. The focal point of his attention was an elderly man, sat someway across the airport hall, but most definitely looking right back at him. It wasn't the old man who averted his eyes, but Sam, who grabbed hold of his brother's arm.

"Colt!" Sam pulled urgently on his older brother's arm to get his attention.

"What? Colton glared, annoyed at being interrupted.

"There's an old guy over there, doesn't stop staring at me," he nodded in the direction where the elderly gentleman was sitting.

So, you get the idea. The best place to start for me is where the action is. This grabs the reader. Why is the old man staring at Sam?

Once you've set the action, you can step back and introduce their mother, slow the action. Then jump right back in when the two of them confront this guy and learn what's going on. Later you slowly introduce more about the family, they live with their mother who is widowed.

Now, Sam's physical description you can introduce more subtly as the story progresses. For example, when he reads that book. Sam pushed the thick-rimmed glasses back up his nose as he opened the book. Colt sat there, not at all interested, he was used to seeing his little brother with his head stuck in a book. The two brothers were complete opposites, the bookish younger and the athletic older, but this never seemed to cause any problems between them.

Well, I've tried to comment on what you wrote and to illustrate  a slightly changed approach. Basically, I'm saying you've got a good story, but perhaps re-writing the scene and not beginning with telling us what Sam and his brother look like would be better. What do you think? How important is it to describe in detail the two brothers physique at the outset?

 

That's good constructive criticism and I think I can re-write it accordingly to reduce the description early on.

For physical aspects, it's more to draw a contrast between the characters, draw an image of traditional physical strength and unconventional intellectual strength. Family is very important to this story. One of the things Lovecraft was known for, beyond tentacle creatures and Necronomicon, was the concept of hereditary horror and guilt. Bloodlines are very important to determine why people do what they do.

Would you be interested in being my Beta-Reader for this story, I promise I won't bite, strangle, or drive you insane unless you ask?

 

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I have to say that I agree just about entirely with what Talo said in his reply.

Nothing tends to put a reader off more than having the first few paragraphs full of facts about physical appearances, age, family relationships, etc. These can all be woven into the story as and when they are needed. The reader does not need to know all this information right at the start of the story; it's unnecessary, it's boring, and it's likely to make the reader just stop reading.

There's a piece of advice in writing called 'Show, don't tell'. If you've not come across this piece of advice before, I would advise you to look it up. It really can help to turn a dull piece of writing into something much more readable. Sometimes it may be necessary to tell the reader a piece of information. I'd just advise not doing that all the time, and certainly not in huge chunks right at the beginning of the story. Lead the reader along. Let the readers find out (or imagine) for themselves, as you show them what is happening.

You spent almost 800 words in the first five paragraphs basically telling the reader facts, most of them not relevant at this point of the story. As Talo suggests, the real important start point for this piece is when Sam realises that an old man is staring at him. All the rest of those nearly 800 words were superfluous to that fact. So that's where to start the story, because that's what is going to grab the reader's attention.

Hope this helps, and doesn't come across as me being totally negative. You've the premise for a good story here. It would be a pity if the way it's presented were to put people off reading it.

 

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@Talo Segura and @Marty, do you guys think I should sprinkle in some more details from the Necronomicon, I don't want to get too bogged down into the lore too early, but I could add in a bit of foreshadowing by having Sam flip through the grimoire/encyclopedia. One thing people don't realize about the Necronomicon as it's now a public domain fictional book name is that beyond just being a book of spells, it was originally a history book as well.

My idea for the book though are kind of unique, I haven't found anyone who interpret it my way yet, which if I do continue, you'll find out.

One thing, in particular, I am adding in my rewrite of chapter 1 is a few references to the "Deep Ones", since the majority of my story will be set in Innsmouth, I should probably introduce the eponymous species of this town as they're tied together intrinsically.

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27 minutes ago, W_L said:

@Talo Segura and @Marty, do you guys think I should sprinkle in some more details from the Necronomicon, I don't want to get too bogged down into the lore too early, but I could add in a bit of foreshadowing by having Sam flip through the grimoire/encyclopedia. One thing people don't realize about the Necronomicon as it's now a public domain fictional book name is that beyond just being a book of spells, it was originally a history book as well.

My idea for the book though are kind of unique, I haven't found anyone who interpret it my way yet, which if I do continue, you'll find out.

One thing, in particular, I am adding in my rewrite of chapter 1 is a few references to the "Deep Ones", since the majority of my story will be set in Innsmouth, I should probably introduce the eponymous species of this town as they're tied together intrinsically.

I have to admit that I am completely in the dark when you are talking about Necrinomicon, Deep Ones, or the Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos, so I cannot give you any advice about how to introduce this particular universe. The only thing I would advise is not to try to introduce the whole universe at once. I suspect doing that might (a) put off new readers (for the reasons I gave above about showing not telling) and (b) bore the pants off readers who have already read stories set in this universe.

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7 hours ago, Marty said:

I have to admit that I am completely in the dark when you are talking about Necrinomicon, Deep Ones, or the Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos, so I cannot give you any advice about how to introduce this particular universe. The only thing I would advise is not to try to introduce the whole universe at once. I suspect doing that might (a) put off new readers (for the reasons I gave above about showing not telling) and (b) bore the pants off readers who have already read stories set in this universe.

True, this is a universe people have heard of, but never interacted with. It's references in mainstream consciousness is plentiful, but not popular to the point of recognition.

Evil Dead and Re-Animator are sort of the most popular modern extensions of this universe in film, but they really don't go too deep into the mythos, so few people really associate them with the Cthulhu mythos, though it is a shared universe.

One of the interesting things about this universe, which I really enjoy, is that it's authors beyond H.P Lovecraft each bring in their own nuances on existing materials. From fantasy elements to pure Science fiction, it's all open to interpretation as the original author himself wanted it to be. There's only limited Canon, so it's a fun place to play with ideas even if they contradict other authors in the same universe.

Basically @Marty for an analogy, if Marvel universe was Apple versus DC universe being Microsoft, then Lovecraft's mythos would be Linux. It's the open-source universe for writers to develop ideas and stories with infinite fertile ground. No copyrights or patents to worry about :P

PS: @Talo Segura and @Marty, the original story mine is inspired by can be found here on wikisource as a Public Domain story, it's a 5 chapter Novella:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Shadow_Over_Innsmouth

 

Edited by W_L
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@Talo Segura and @Marty

Try this, I've rewritten parts of it, dropped extraneous parts about Salem, and made an indirect reference about the Deep Ones (maybe they might actually be living among us :o )

Chapter 1

“All superstitious beliefs are relics of a common 'prehistoric ignorance' in humans”- H.P Lovecraft, The Cancer of Superstition

 

 

“Someone is staring at me,” Sam thought to himself as he felt the open airport terminal closing in on him. He moved closer to his older brother, Colt, who was busy on his cell phone to notice his actions or their surroundings. Still, the feeling of being monitored by some unknown person or persons did not disappear from Sam.

Sam attempted to ignore his fear and focus on his own cell phone, “I wish we weren’t moving.”

We are creatures comfortable with the knowledge that we control the world we inhabit, we decide our own fate and the fate of all, who dwell within its blueish sphere with patches of brown and green. In our hubris, if there’s a hint of difficulty or a trial beyond our ability to cope, then we retreat and move on to another place on this earth, knowing humanity is its unquestioned masters. As such, when we face tragedy such as death or poverty; we choose to flee to “safer” ground without fear of safety in the unknown. Why fear what you control?

Samson “Sam” Summer, age 14, along with his older brother Colton “Colt” Summer, age 16, and widowed mother, Aurora Summer, age 47, had recently decided to move to the sleepy New England town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts.

Sam and Colt recently lost their father due to a house fire that took most of their worldly possession and left their family destitute as their insurer barely covered the mortgage. As fate would have it, a relative of their father had passed away at around the same time. This deceased relative left a large home and living trust for the Summer family, which guaranteed steady income and accommodations for the rest of their lives. While Aurora was thanking her lucky stars and Colt seemed extremely happy to leave their home of Chicago behind, Sam was struck with sadness at leaving all he knew for years. Even at 14, he felt free to express himself with friends at Boystown, where he had his first kiss not so long ago. Even knowing Massachusetts’ progressive reputation, he wasn’t looking forward to this change as he searched online to learn about the town, they’d be settling in.

While most would not consider this town to be of any importance, the local residents knew the history of Innsmouth and its infamous past. The town was considered an outcast among New England towns, having possess great wealth from gold refining and abundant fishing. The natives of Innsmouth had a strange “look” of oddly shaped heads and irregular limbs, which Sam saw several pictures from the 1920’s through 1950’s. There was widespread hatred for Innsmouth natives with many other people claiming they had “miscegenation” or in other words inter-bred with other races during the 1920’s, when racism was rampant even in New England area. However, in 1960’s, there were fewer pictures of this look, instead they appear far more “normal”, with a slight resemblance to Olympian Michael Phelps.

Still, Innsmouth was where the last of the oldest families in New England could trace their bloodlines backwards to their original ancestors. Among them, Sam and Colt’s deceased father, Kyle Summers, and great-aunt, Danielle Eliot, were among the last names in a family tree stretching three centuries back, at least.

Sam was an avid student of history with no particular area of interest, but he innately understood that what is past can sometimes show us the way forward. He combed the internet for every record of the town from its founding in 1643 as a fishing town to its development as a small port to the government explosive testing in 1928 that caused the collapse of “Devil’s Reef”. This action forced most of the town to be evacuated by the government, until 1945, when it was deemed “safe” for all the former residents to return and re-open the reef. Ever since that brief bit of excitement, the town has remained mostly quiet.

In his research, Sam learned that Danielle Eliot was born into a wealthy fishing and lobstering business, Sam’s father was her youngest sister’s child. His grandmother had fallen in love with one of the men, who served their family, Richard Summers. Based on what his father had told him, his paternal grandparents eloped in secret away from Innsmouth after discovering her pregnancy. They went west to Chicago, where they worked in the local canneries. Their great aunt was not a cruel or despised woman in the Summer household, she sent them gifts and money every month, including a platinum necklace for Sam after turner 13. However, their father despite appreciation had been warned by his parents before him, not to accept any invitation to return to Innsmouth. Worry caught Sam as he researched his family history, he was anticipating ugly family drama and telenovela styled issues.

While browsing the internet at the airport on his smartphone for this information, Sam felt himself being watched even more closesly now. He finally caught a glimpse at the silent watcher, an older man with a gray beard and average build.

It was not lewd or sexual in nature as Sam could tell, but he was still unsure how to react. His mother was on the phone herself, busy discussing the details of the move and speaking with lawyers about accessing bank accounts and setting up her children to go to the local high school. To Sam’s relief, Colt had just finished his own call to the coaching staff at Innsmouth High, who had reviewed the material his older brother had given them. Colt had sent his statistics and video highlights from his games at Lakeview High, he was a two-sport athlete of Basketball and Hockey, which Innsmouth supported. Being an athlete entering his junior year, he understood the need to get his name out there in order to make the “cut” for Varsity or Junior Varsity teams. It’s a universally understood status symbol to be on a high school’s sports team; it automatically grants you respect of some degree, which Colt longs for. Colt was hoping he would at least make one of the teams he played, knowing basketball season had not started yet. Surprisingly though, the Innsmouth coaching staff were able to offer him testing for both his desired positions: Wingman for hockey team and a point forward for basketball team.

Seeing his brother jubilant with excitement, Sam approached him, “Colt, there’s an old guy over there staring at me weird, can you back me up, when I ask him to stop?”

Colt looked over at the old man, who was still staring at Sam in curiosity, “Woah, is he perving on you, Bro? Cuz I can teach that old fart a lesson.”

Sam frowned, “No, I don’t think he’s into me, but he’s probably thinking I look like his kid or grandkid. I just don’t want him to do that and maybe with you around as my backup, he’ll stop looking at me. Dad would have backed me up and let me talk the guy down.”

At the mention of their father, Colt clinched his fist, “Alright, I’ll walk over there with you, but if he says anything out of line, I’ll beat the shit out of the old geezer.”

Sam smiled at his older brother as they walked over, knowing this was how their relationship worked. Colt might appear to be a stereotypical jock, but he loved his kid brother more than anything else. When other kids made fun or teased Sam for being his awkward teenage self, his older brother would pounce. Very few kids dared messed with Sam Summers knowing they’ll be dealing with Colt in short order.

Sam approached the old man, who smiled at him with recognition, “Hello young lord, how may I assist you?”

Sam gently asked, “Hi, uh…look I do not know why you were staring at me earlier, but can you stop staring at me? Sorry, I know maybe I look like someone you knew or something, but I just don’t like the idea of strangers staring at me.”

The old man nodded, “Of course, young lord, I merely am gazing upon your wondering countenance. Perhaps, it’s your future destination that you seek more knowledge of.”

Colt stared at Sam for a translation, Sam smirked, “Thank you, but I am no one’s lord and I was just searching my phone for information about Innsmouth, Massachusetts and some other stuff.”

The old man picked up his suitcase and open the latches, then retrieved an old leather-bound book, “I think this will illuminate many questions that you may have later, my young lord. I wish, I can elucidate you further, but my duties for the Order prevent us from further discussion.”

After handing Sam the old book, the old man glanced at Colt with displeasure, “Take heed my young lord, your blood was formed by trials for grander purposes, but its properties are dangerous without your eternal essence or “his” guidance.”

The old man having delivered his message and book left the boys dumbfounded, Colt shook his head, “Dude, what the fuck was that? What kind of book did he give you?”

Sam looked at the title, “It’s called the “Necronomicon”. I guess I got some reading for the plane ride.”

              Throughout the plane ride, Sam read the book in deep fascination. It read like a fantasy encyclopedia, telling the story of universal creation from a deity called Azathoth, who is currently asleep due to music being played by other beings. It spoke of other major deities, beings, and powers far greater in scope than human imagination. It spoke of sacrificial rituals that would invoke these powerful entities to appear in our reality. They could offer things from countless wealth and immortality to eternal damnation and suffering beyond compare. Most of these entities cared little for the affairs of human beings, but a select few were interested in humans as either servants for higher purposes or a quick snack. Even fewer still were beings with somewhat less malign motives for humanity, one of which stoked unknown memories from Sam, Hastur. The name conjured the image of a blond-haired teenager with a strong muscular build surpassing that of Colt, he wore a yellow cloak and yellow breastplate, while his genitals and massive erection were uncovered, enticing Sam.

              As Sam pushed away his homoerotic daydream, chocking it to his teenage hormones, he read about this powerful entity. A deity in his own right worshipped by early man and many other races, a son of Azaroth, knowledgeable enough to challenge Yog-Sothoth, and half-brother of Great Cthulhu.

              At the mention of the last name, Sam winced remembering the name as a Magic the Gathering trading card, which he owned. He remembered that the creature was immensely powerful and according to in-game lore could traverse into people’s dreams. As he thought about the name further, less than erotic memories of a giant tentacle creature, resembling a cross between a giant squid and dragon, was wreaking havoc around him. The same teenage boy from earlier was there holding him down as he watched the world torn apart, unable to stop it. Sam was reliving those memories now.

----

Sam heard himself crying out, “Let me go, I must save my family, my people.”

The teen in yellow comforted and forcibly held him still, “No, you can do nothing more for them and I will not allow my possession to be damaged by my beastly brother.”

“Let me go if you love me, let me go…”

---

Colt shook Sam to awareness, “We’re in Boston, Bro. It’s time to get off the plane.”

 

 

 

Edited by W_L
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It's better. Now you're working on it, the improvements are good. I think there is a lot of material in this, what will be an opening chapter. I also get the feeling you are excited and eager to get on with telling the story of the two brothers and what happens next. I have some suggestions for you to think about. First, let me tell you I am no expert, I only just started out writing myself, so don't take everything I suggest as something you have to do. If you like, it's just my take on how I would tackle your story. Take the bits you like and leave the stuff you don't agree with.

Okay, the story, and writing it. You don't have to start at the beginning and write in a line, one chapter after the other. You can write the ending, or the middle and then the start. If you want you can jump into writing some later parts of this story and come back to the beginning you've got here.

You might want to consider a short prologue. This could introduce the world you are going to take the reader into or the background that will explain things that happen later. You probably have enough material and knowledge of this universe to write a descriptive few paragraphs that explain some of the history of the town they're moving to. I would focus on one event. I don't know HP Lovecraft, or the universe, I know his name only.

You don't have to use a prologue, you could use timeshift sections in the first chapter. Let me explain my thinking. You have three prominent time events: the first is over a long period, it's historic, events in the 1600s up to the 1920s. I would describe one incident from that historic past that goes some way to introducing the universe and will have an impact in the present day story. The kind of thing being an ancient curse, an inherited bloodline power, an unresolved mission. 

The next time event is the recent past. The house fire and it's consequences. I would step back in time and describe this dramatic event which also sets up the story.

Then we are into the present day. So depending how much ancient historic events are necessary to set up the universe background, I'd use a prologue if it's long or put it in chapter one if it's short. I like the opening now and I would not change that. I'd write chapter one with the airport scene. I'd jump back to the house fire, which would explain why they're at the airport and moving. I'd describe the fire like it was happening. I'd finish with them on the plane, where I'd jump back to the ancient history. But like I said if that is long, I'd put it in a prologue.

You asked about beta reading. I'm not on here everyday, I travel a lot and I try to write, lol. And read and do a few other bits of work for authors. But I can't say no, because your enthusiasm is contagious and I guess I learn something about HP Lovecraft. So yeah, I'll beta read, but expect LOTS of comments and suggestions and be prepared to wait a bit for a reply, not weeks, but I'm unlikely to get back to you the next day.

I'm glad @Marty commented here. I was hoping a few more people in the club might get involved. I see the club as everyone helping everyone else. I think now, for future feedback, comments, from me, let's take it off here and you email me talo.segura.x@gmail.com I always pick up my email wherever I am. 

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Thanks @Talo Segura, I could add a small Prologue to set the stage. Also, yes, I am interested in Lovecraft's world, while fan fiction has been around for a while, Lovecraft endeared his readers to be writers themselves and add to his mythos. He also took material from other writers in his day and began writing his own stories with pre-existing characters. If there was ever a "share" based literary style, like we have with so many other aspects in our world, he probably pioneered it.

I do admit as a writer, I am possessive and protective of my own stories/characters, but I want to branch out and try something new:

Any way, if you and @Marty are still interested, here's the new prologue that would come before the chapter:

Prologue:

“That is not dead which can eternal lie,

And with strange aeons even death may die.”

- H.P Lovecraft, The Nameless City

 

              Before the cities like New York, London, and Rome, before there were nations, before there were those that call themselves Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Princes, the earth was ruled by beings far beyond human imagination. These beings were called “Great Old Ones”. They came from the distant stars with an evolved intellect, unfathomable abilities that appear to be magic, and desires for all things from intrinsic to the essence life itself. In the shadow of these entities, a new hairless species of apes, Queros, were created out of existing bloodlines in the vicinity of eastern Africa by the lowest of these beings, who served the more powerful entities as administrators. The Queros was a child race, suitable for only servitude, entertainment, or an occasional meal. Their masters limited their population growth by removing their inherent biological need to procreate and desire for the opposite gender, being created as needed for their services instead.

              Still in time, the Queros began to learn from their creators; emulating them in creating cities of growing complexity. Though these creations were like ant hills to the “Great Old Ones”, the cities’ existence and the growing demand for Queros servants allowed for a civilization to form on a continent now lost in the Pacific Ocean, Lemuria. The Queros began to call themselves Lemurians and had grown clever enough to create their own kind, who they would sell to their creators and Great Old Ones alike for additional knowledge or technologies beyond their capabilities to create.

              However, the Lemurians grew too confident in their own ability, too comfortable in their deals, and too arrogant as they made an enemy of Great Cthulhu, an ancient massive tentacled creature with sovereignty over the Oceans of many worlds. They had thought the recent events with Great Hastur, they may bring the Lord of the skies with an empire and fleet more vast than all the Great Old Ones combined to their side. Alas, Great Hastur did not come to their aid as millions of Lemurians were slaughtered. Those who remained were stripped of their hard won freedom and intellect, then devolved to be forcibly raped by their own ancestral animal species. They would be shunned, used, abused, and killed for their remaining inherent differences as a punishment by Great Cthulhu and all the other Great Old Ones who wished to demonstrate their cruelty.

              Yet, despite all that transpired, Great Hastur made his own plans and a pact with Great Cthulhu to allow one seed of this civilization to remain and evolve through the eons. For Great Hastur knew as did his fathers Yog-Sothoth and Azathoth, the seed would become an equal and peer, ending the reign of the next masters of this world, completing a cosmic cycle.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

My apologies, I've just realised that I long-fingered replying to this, and that it then completely slipped my mind (until now, of course).

On reflection, I think you may have come up with one possible solution as to how to introduce this universe; by putting it all into a prologue. Doing that would inform new readers what the Lovecraft universe is before they start the story proper. And if you were to give the prologue a sub-title, maybe something like An Introduction to the Lovecraft Universe (or perhaps Introducing the Cthulhu Mythos) that would enable readers who already know the mythos to skip to the first chapter.

The one thing that would concern me about introducing everything in a prologue like this would be that it might take some of the suspense out of the story. Some readers may prefer to not have everything handed to them at once, but for pieces of the mythos to unfold slowly. Perhaps, in this case, as Sam tries to make sense of the strange things that are happening to him and/or around him.

Which brings us back to the comment I made in my first reply. Do you tell the reader (with the prologue) or do you show the reader (slowly, as the story progresses)?

+++

I have looked at the link you gave to Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and I found the way the story was written made it very difficult to me to read. It was just too dry (for want of a better word) for my taste.  Perhaps your more modern interpretation might not come across as dry as I found Lovecraft's writing style to be.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/14/2019 at 9:19 AM, Marty said:

My apologies, I've just realised that I long-fingered replying to this, and that it then completely slipped my mind (until now, of course).

On reflection, I think you may have come up with one possible solution as to how to introduce this universe; by putting it all into a prologue. Doing that would inform new readers what the Lovecraft universe is before they start the story proper. And if you were to give the prologue a sub-title, maybe something like An Introduction to the Lovecraft Universe (or perhaps Introducing the Cthulhu Mythos) that would enable readers who already know the mythos to skip to the first chapter.

The one thing that would concern me about introducing everything in a prologue like this would be that it might take some of the suspense out of the story. Some readers may prefer to not have everything handed to them at once, but for pieces of the mythos to unfold slowly. Perhaps, in this case, as Sam tries to make sense of the strange things that are happening to him and/or around him.

Which brings us back to the comment I made in my first reply. Do you tell the reader (with the prologue) or do you show the reader (slowly, as the story progresses)?

+++

I have looked at the link you gave to Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and I found the way the story was written made it very difficult to me to read. It was just too dry (for want of a better word) for my taste.  Perhaps your more modern interpretation might not come across as dry as I found Lovecraft's writing style to be.

Modern interpretations of Lovecraft are far less dry, remember these stories were written in the early 20th century with little sex or risque concepts, Catcher in the Rye made people angry at the time for even thinking about sex versus modern audience who grew up with American Pie and Teen Sexploitation. Modern interpretation come across differently, sometimes they act as satire like Evil Dead or go deep into horror genre with forbidden rituals and bargains with forces beyond your comprehension.

I do agree as I am rewriting major parts of the story that there needs to be a soft line between Prologue and exposition. Knowledge is power and too much of it gives the reader far too much power over the narrative and in the end less enjoyment.

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13 minutes ago, W_L said:

Modern interpretations of Lovecraft are far less dry, remember these stories were written in the early 20th century with little sex or risque concepts, Catcher in the Rye made people angry at the time for even thinking about sex versus modern audience who grew up with American Pie and Teen Sexploitation. Modern interpretation come across differently, sometimes they act as satire like Evil Dead or go deep into horror genre with forbidden rituals and bargains with forces beyond your comprehension.

I do agree as I am rewriting major parts of the story that there needs to be a soft line between Prologue and exposition. Knowledge is power and too much of it gives the reader far too much power over the narrative and in the end less enjoyment.

Weirdly, only today as I was looking through some old boxes in my storage room, I came across a box full of books, among which was a copy of H. P. Lovecraft - Omnibus 1 - At The Mountains of Madness (1993 edition, first published in 1966)

I've never opened it before, but it shown signs of use, so I reckon I must have got it second-hand. I'm thinking it was probably a box of books that I maybe bought cheaply at an auction, car boot sale, or jumble sale sometime. There's all sorts of books in the box, including Arthur C. Clarke's 2061: Odyssey Three, Douglas Adam's The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and strangely enough, a paperback version of The New Testament (New International Version) with the subtitle "Jesus Cares for you".

I might even try reading some of the stories in the Lovecraft Omnibus...

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5 minutes ago, Marty said:

Weirdly, only today as I was looking through some old boxes in my storage room, I came across a box full of books, among which was a copy of H. P. Lovecraft - Omnibus 1 - At The Mountains of Madness (1993 edition, first published in 1966)

I've never opened it before, but it shown signs of use, so I reckon I must have got it second-hand. I'm thinking it was probably a box of books that I maybe bought cheaply at an auction, car boot sale, or jumble sale sometime. There's all sorts of books in the box, including Arthur C. Clarke's 2061: Odyssey Three, Douglas Adam's The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and strangely enough, a paperback version of The New Testament (New International Version) with the subtitle "Jesus Cares for you".

I might even try reading some of the stories in the Lovecraft Omnibus...

His stories are dry by our standards, but they're worth reading for the imagination.

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