Those of you who’ve managed to read all seven parts of Son of my Father might well be asking yourself what the hell that was all in aid of. It started out one thing, turned briefly into something else entirely, segued into Cthulhu country, flirted with the notion of ending in a way no Lovecraft inspired story should, then went back to where Lovecraft fans (myself included) feel comfortable. Those of you who’ve never read Lovecraft, Derleth, Lumley, Campbell or any of the thousands of other works of fiction set in or around the Cthulhu Mythos will be justifiably confused. Those of you who have, might be a little put out by some of the things I’ve done in the story.
Minor Spoilers under the cut
Awake. Light filtered through Scott’s eyelids, pain stabbing into his skull with it. Agony was the first thing he was aware of, but before he’d even had time to think coherently, a lurching in his stomach became his immediate concern. A cold band of roiling pain, followed by sweating told him what was coming next. A deep breath to steel himself tipped him over the edge and as the vomit surged up through his body, Scott opened his mouth and rolled over to allow it to exit. At least, he tried to.
Oregon State university has put a webcam into an octopus tank!
Let me say that again, so that you grasp the full enormity of the awesomeness of which I speak.
Oregon State Universty has put a REAL LIVE FREAKING OCTOPUS ON A WEBCAM! Why are you even still here? Go and see the real live cephalopod doing cephalopodic stuff for your very own edification, entertainment and ellucidation. Oh the glorious tentacley, goodness!
Scott felt perception almost come to him, cotton covered and remote, beyond where he could move to. Voices were nearby, but he couldn’t properly hold onto them. He wanted to be sick, the taste of cough medicine and the bitter heat of bile washed around his throat and nasal passages, but he was too focused on remembering to breath to allow his stomach to leave him. He wanted to open his eyes, but they wouldn’t listen to what he told them. Slowly he became aware of a sensation of being touched, the voices almost coming to where he could see them and hear the shape of what was being said, but all he could make out were fragments of something happening somewhere else.
Back inside The Slumberer, everyone had moved away from the bar and were occupying tables tucked away in corners of the cavernous bar room. As Scott approached the bar itself, he once again noticed the door marked “Staf olny” and a bell rang in his head.
“You’re Gemma, aren’t you?” He asked the young woman who had first startled, then puzzled him so much a moment before. She turned to him, her eyes wide in amazement.
“I am. How did you know that?” He almost told her he was psychic, but was worried she might actually believe him.
“Billy mentioned you. He described you perfectly.” Gemma smiled brightly, apparently pleased at being recognised. Scott thought it best not to repeat Billy’s description of her.
Downstairs things had livened up a little, there now being half a dozen people in the bar area. Scott took a look at the locals and struggled to keep the shocked expression from his face. Ingleton had obviously been isolated for some time, judging by the very familial look about the people clustered around the bar. There was a tendency towards that same toad-like roundness as Alice from the shop, and more facial warts gathered in one place than the witches table at a Macbeth convention. He sincerely hoped they were all from one family rather than a random selection of locals. This seemed increasingly like Deliverance country and he had no desire whatsoever to end up as a reconstruction on Crimewatch. He wandered over to the bar and dredged his mind for something to say to the Toad-People. “Aren’t sheep a pain in the fucking arse?” wasn’t going to cut it, while “Has anyone seen the Wicker Man?” was probably going to give them ideas. Luckily the tallest of the locals saved him the trouble.
Inside the pub light flooded from the fluorescent bulb overhead, making for a surprisingly bright and airy atmosphere for a place so far out in the country. The bar was at the very back of the room, facing the entrance, while the room itself was one large, open space with no kind of partition or dividing wall to separate a bar from a saloon or lounge area. There was no carpet, just slightly sticky beige linoleum that sucked a little at his trainers with each step, before releasing them with a small, but audible, squelch. Above the bar, the wall was covered with a huge collection of beer mats, some of them quite racy, advertising beers of all descriptions. The cheery look that the beer mats lent the place was offset nicely by the barman. A short, wiry looking bloke with a crew cut and tattoos, who glared at Scott’s every step of progress as if Scott owed him money. He was also devoting a lot of attention to Scott’s crotch, to the point where Scott was wondering what kind of pub he had wandered into. Then he remembered why his crotch might be the centre of attention. He pointed at the offending damp patch.
Scott slowed down considerably as he entered the village, scanning the buildings as he went for some sign of a shop or other business were he could get directions to Carlisle, Penrith or somewhere else that he could find a motorway from. In the back of his mind was the thought that perhaps there was a bed and breakfast or a hostel in the village, somewhere that he could get a meal, a hot bath and sleep off the remains of an almighty hangover. Not far into Ingleton he spotted a small shop, obviously open for business judging by the lights and the grandmotherly shape behind the counter.
Son of my Father by Daniel Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://waffleandwrite.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/administrative-notes-about-the-license-my-work-is-attributed-under/.
It was a grey and miserable afternoon. It suited his mood perfectly. Scott had been driving his dad’s old estate car all day, trying to find a lake or reservoir to fish in without success. Two weeks after the funeral he had gone on a massive bender, waking up 48 hours later, inside his sleeping bag in the back of the Volvo, somewhere in the Scottish borders as it later turned out. After spending several minutes thanking God, Buddha, Allah, Gitche Manitou and any other deity he could think of, that he hadn’t killed anyone or been arrested, he looked around the car and besides empty beer cans he could find only his old fishing rod and a bottle of Glenlivet. The same rod his dad had bought him for his twenty-first birthday, and a bottle of the old man’s favourite tipple. Realization dawned, harsh and cold.
Dad was dead.
Remember that new story I mentioned a few days ago? Well it’s turned out to be a bit longer than I anticipated (It’s closing in rapidly on 10,000 words), so in an unusual move for me, it’s going to be serialised. I’ll be putting the first section up later, just as soon as I’ve double and triple checked for typos an so on, so check back for that. The other parts will be going up each day until the story is complete.