FEAR LURKS ATOP
(After H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear”)
Charles Lovecraft, an Australian writer who legally changed his name to reflect his devotion to the dreamer from Providence, started writing in 1975, after encountering the works of H.P .Lovecraft. In 2007 he created P’rea Press, to publish weird and fantastic poetry, nonfiction, and bibliography. He has published one and edited fourteen books to date. Charles has seen his verse published in Eldritch Tales, Fantasy Tales, Pablo Lennis, eye to the Telescope, Cthulhu Haiku, Buzzkill: Apocalypse, The Poet’s Press, and Weird Fiction Review.
I. The Shadow on the Chimney
It thundered mad the night I went atop
Old Tempest Mount to seek the lurking fear.
The lurking fear—what foul name dares adhere
To elder devilry inbred, to hop
And taint to the blackest heights that mountain top.
So I took two stout men with me to steer
A path through all delusion wrought so queer,
And to weird rumours and mad fearings crop.
We slept, each side by side, with guns, and watched
A shadow on a chimney that was cast
By fulminating rod of lightning blast.
Those men were never seen again, hope scotched.
I wish to God I’d never set foot there,
Or climbed upon old Tempest’s stony stare.
II. A Connoisseur in Horrors (The Search for Reasons Why)
The hellish mountain wore a crown of snake.
Medusa of the skies, by its lightnings formed
And wriggled fiendishly in clouds and stormed
Dilated dread to wider counties’ sake.
The soul cried out to cleanse and great steps take
To fully extirpate that fame deformed,
And to recalibrate the earth that swarmed,
To that which had been lost, mud’s slimy wake.
Still other chat suggested shocking eyes’
Opposing colours—blue and brown—and sere
Beliefs, such as the thunder called the fear
And set it loose amongst the night’s red cries
Of satanism from dark centuries past.
Possessed poor devils shuddered all aghast.
III. A Passer in the Storm
My studies in the outré and the weird
Were always problematical for me.
One never quite knew when to stop, or free
The genii of the madness from its beard.
And yet there was a friend of mine who shared
These diabolical pursuits. Thus he
It was who came with me to that high scree—
Though neither was prepared for that which neared.
In cabin broken down the door had skewed.
We paused, to keep out of the rain. But I
Am all to blame for his demise, and sigh.
I went there with a man whose head was chewed
And gouged so silently on windowsill.
That face…licked clean…I see it clearly still.
IV. What the Red Glare Meant
The portals of red danger soon were thrown.
The night was filled calamitous with sound,
For nightmare now had trumped and I was bound;
And hard beneath my feet the mountain stone.
I had to spare all else and went alone,
And digged there frantically ’neath slab and mound.
At last in graveyard pit I fell through ground;
A tunnel led away through a hacked zone.
I loped on when, engulfed in black, two dots
That glared, shone out red points of Hell from my
Cold, dying torch. The thing moved fast. Just by,
Through ruddy skeins of rotted earth, wild shots
Of lightning lampion leapt and killed it there.
But God—did this mean more than one lurked here?
V. Earlier Grisly Discoveries
The woods around the Martense mansion bent
Bestowed no sense of safeness, but a well
Of seething fears whose viciousness could swell
Upon the stories of dead bodies rent.
I walked along, mid musty, bestial scent,
And tripped on loathsome bloated wood and fell.
Weird roots engorged with overflowing hell
Fed fat from an unwholesome nourishment.
With an acute and an uncanny fear
I searched environs made of pits and holes,
And trees loomed large with gnarled and twisted boles
As, blindly in the gathering dark, to steer
Now heedless of my own self’s health, I set
To find the pinnacle where all Hell met.
VI. A Mountain’s Ghastly Fame
I started, from a voice of thunder’s sound.
Its timbre growled and called on what at last?
I knew it blackly summoned, what—repast?
I heard it call. My heart could only pound,
And even the mere breath I barely found.
In all the world my soul was set to blast
All my emotions dead, and chill fear cast
An acid dashed in face, a fuming mound.
The growing fear now gouged my mind with mark
Of Cain, the ken of knowing far too much
In that black pit, as, stirring from a hutch,
There waddled something forth, a something dark.
I’d found the nightmare creeping death and paled
As silent abnormalities assailed.
VII. Formless Phantasms—The Demon Lurking Fear
Oarless into a blighted sea I flowed.
I’d dumbly come to seek uncanny fame
Now my own mental dissolution came.
We are not helped. We each have sere coins sewed
On lips and eyes and that to time are owed.
For all I now beheld I was to blame.
The thing had chewed and gouged, and now it came
And in the frightful lurking cellar crowed.
It was a thing beyond all sanity—
A slithering, rat-like scurrying, a hazy
Genetic wrongfulness, a nameless, crazy
Tearing thing, scratching out the mind’s lost eye.
I merely shuddered then, as wave on wave
Of horror pounded on me to the grave.
VIII. An Acheron of Multiform Diabolism
The thing was spawn of Hell, a nauseous flood
Of stinking froth, a schume that overran
All sense of peace and jaded godly plan.
Anon, distended bits now wrenched fresh blood;
Still other claws detached from the black brood
And hideously stalked the weaker clan;
Whereon its horde of demon brother, cousin,
Fiend, set upon and ate, with jaw lines crude.
Delirious with all that is unclean
In this black universe—the charnel heart
Of this dark cosmic plane to tear apart
With rabid jaws and teeth those dear I’d seen—
I knew that I would never more retain
The sense of simple safety, or be sane.
IX. The Horror in the Eyes
There broke loose all the storm of horror come—
A demon scratching slithering, a night-
Spawn of diseased and nameless panic fright.
My God, there must have thousands been of them,
As there, behind a desiccated scum
Of shrub by which I hid and by the light
Of lightning bolts that struck a thicket blight,
The straggler that loped last now had come home.
The voice of alien thunders loudly burst
But I was merely gored there to the spot,
And even as the thing devoured I shot
It dead as a great squeal of lightning cursed;
And now I just recall the look of it
As it died there—blue-brown eyes from the pit.
X. A Nether World of Unknown Nightmare
A red glare flashed in fulminant far glow,
And my poor mind was left embanked behind.
That bank was empty of all cash—sane mind—
And I was merely ready for dice throw,
With no collateral that I might view.
As with the gods the fates are never kind
But only to their wheel of Ixion bind
The hapless fool no matter his IQ.
For now in that black cellar poured the ire
Of all mankind, the remnant of the darks
Of maddened mountain-tops. Dual-coloured sparks
Of eyes there swarmed to ghoulishly conspire.
Six shots rang out, revolver’s rapid burst,
At stewing leprous legions here accursed.
XI. The Ineffable Horror of It All—The Mound-Burrows
The house is gone, praise God, and those things dead,
The ghoulish vegetations, eerie weeds—
One can but postulate on what foul deeds
Those swollen nameless things had long been fed—
The gored, gnarled face of fear and shapeless dread.
The roots that once groped round in rabid greeds
The mansion of Martense now curl their breeds
Of over nourishment on other bread.
And scurrying seething abnormalities?
They—one can only hope—were killed when house
And mountain-top alike were blown to humus
By detonations’ wildest savageries,
Enhanced to workmanlike degree of fate,
To seal off those mound-burrows’ lurking hate.
XII. From Pits Remote and Unimaginable
The fattened, baleful trees that circled round
The mansion of Martense in knotted roots,
In ganglias of horror whose black shoots
Sought out unhealthy nourishments, were found
In an acute, uncanny meaning bound—
In total lack through moonless nights of hoots
Of owl, or bird to screech from blackened coots,
And only left a demon scratching sound.
For life itself now causes me regret.
The fear has gouged my face with untold mark
From rat-like, creeping vermin of the dark,
And from that other thing I shan’t forget—
When I saw face to face without defence
Those devil cannibals of Jan Martense.