Jan 242018
 

My plan for the first WWTDO book is to have a collection of short stories, each an incident set within the first few days of the Deep One invasion, each story being on the order of ten or more pages long. But *between* the stories I plan on including little short yarns, a page or three long, that give a chronologically sequential history of the doin’s with the Deep Ones and other relevant Lovecraftian issues. Most of these deal with the Office of Insight, giving a history of the secret government branch dedicated to studying and preparing for cosmic horrors.

I think what I’ll do is reserve the bulk of these little tales for the final book, even though I’ll probably release each of the major tales individually. So if you want the full back story, you’ll just have to get the book.

Also: the original trio of reviewers seemed to really like the historical backstory, enough so that sometime after finishing up Book 1, I’ll turn the backstory into a complete book itself. I’ve already written forty or so pages of that, set in the early 1990’s…

And after all that yammer, here are the first two of the tales. They start just after the raid on Innsmouth, and introduces some guys just doing their job who have received an unwanted introduction into a larger, weirder world. Rather than PDF or EPUB, it’s just blog-text, just click below. As always, comments, critiques and large sums of cash welcomed.

 

Insight

By Scott Lowther

Copyright 2017

1928, March: D.C.

Agent James Healy closed the office door and stepped out into the hallway. “Well, shit,” he mumbled to himself.

“Went that good, did it?” Agent Leon Parker, Healys partner, said with a lopsided and half-hearted grin. He had been sitting on an uncomfortable wooden bench in the hallway, waiting for his partner to finish the meeting. Now that Healy was done, Parker stood and handed him his hat.

Healy scowled. He took Parker by the elbow and started walking towards the exit. “Chief Moran thinks I’m insane,” Healy said. “He wants the Secret Service to have nothing to do with this.”

Parker snorted. “Who the hell else is going to want this? The BoI? The Army or Navy? Don’t make me laugh.”

Healy shook his head. “I honestly don’t know that anybody would want responsibility for this. It’s too big and bizarre.”

As the two Secret Service Agents stepped out of the Treasury Building into the Washington, D.C., afternoon sun, Healy made up his mind. “That’s it, let’s go see Hoover at the BoI.” It was a beautiful spring day in D.C., with a sunny sky and a cool breeze. To those walking past Healy and Parker, it seemed like there could be nothing wrong with the world.

Parker pulled a sour face. “That kid? He’s ambitious, but that’ll probably work against us. No way in hell the Bureau of Investigations will want to be involved with this. Hoover’s still trying to prove himself, and taking charge of a camp full of freaks is the fast road to getting laughed out of town.”

“You never know,” Agent Healy replied, thinking back to those days in that horrible rotten town, Innsmouth. He and Agent Parker had been sent in by the Boston office based on a private citizens frantic claims. The claims had been bizarre and unbelievable, but enough of his story held together for the Boston office to conclude that they might have a den of white slavers on their hands; it had turned out to be something much bigger and infinitely more bizarre. Healy and Parker had arrived in Innsmouth in December of 1927 and spent nearly two months quietly investigating the place. Healy had gone in under cover as a bootlegger; Parker followed a week later as a traveling salesman hawking womens fashions. Hackneyed as those cover stories were, they worked, and the two Secret Service agents soon had covered nearly the whole town. Difficult as it was for them to believe, it seemed that the most outrageous of the claims about Innsmouth might just be right. The people of Innsmouth were, in the best of instances, quite bizarre; but both soon had furtive glimpses of examples of human degeneration that shocked them to their cores. But unlike the original witness they were professional investigators and maintained the placid and believable appearance of ignorance. By January, however, they’d both had, and found, enough.

The Boston office found them both to be laughably insane when they presented their initial reports, but then the film from their hidden cameras was developed. The decision was made to raid the town, officially as part of the war on liquor. In the end the Army had packed up more than two thousand “people” to a temporary detention facility in the back woods of Massachusetts. The Army currently had charge of them, but certainly didn’t want them. They could not stay there forever in cheap tents surrounded by barbed wire, and they sure as hell couldn’t be released.

Healy started walking away from the Treasury Building. With luck he’d be able to talk Hoover into taking over this little problem, and then he’d never have to worry about it again.

– – – – –

1928, June: Arizona

“This is awful,” Agent Parker grumbled.

He was standing in one of the four guard towers overlooking the hastily assembled camp in the middle of the Arizona desert. It looked much like an Army camp, something from his days in basic training before he was sent to Cuba to fight the Spaniards. The Army had indeed built the camp a month earlier, but with some unusual features. The section surrounded by multiple levels of barbed wire, with active guard patrols and watch towers. The multitude of water towers fifty yards beyond the perimeter, small diameter pipes leading into several of the buildings within. Dogs. Lots of dogs. An airfield beyond, currently with a Fokker F.10 and a Ford Trimotor just taxiing in. And a smell.

Parker had to admit, the smell was unique. It smelled like the sea, but not in a good way. Scum and rotten fish, mixed with perspiration and despair. Of course, those latter two could be simply himself.

The fenced-in portion of the camp seemed deserted. This wasn’t true, of course; it was simply that none of the residents there wanted to be outside in the hot, dry sun. It would play hell with their gills.

“Hmm,” Agent Healy mumbled in response, standing next to Parker in the tower. The two made a contrast… Parker insisted on wearing his suit, convinced that this nightmare would soon be over and he’d be on the train back to Boston any minute now. Healy had long since given in to the inevitable and was wearing attire that he thought fit in better. He looked like an easterner playing cowboy.

“You got me into this, you know,” Parker said. He took off has felt hat and ran his hand through his gray hair, then fanned himself with the hat. “Let’s go see Hoover, you said. Let’s dump this on the Bureau of Investigations, you said. We’ll be done with this and never have to worry about it again, you said.”

“Hmm,” Healy replied. A faint smiled appeared. He’d heard this complaint before. He’d hear it again.

“I have a brand-new granddaughter back in Boston I haven’t even seen yet. I was within spitting distance of retirement from the Service. And now you got me transferred out here to the back end of beyond and into some new division what ain’t even got a name yet.”

“You could’ve quit, you know,” Healy said, watching the Trimotor through binoculars. It ground to a stop outside the large tin structure that served as the airfields hangar. “Or even just said ‘no’ to the transfer.”

Parker snorted. “And leave you all alone to deal with all this,” and here he swept his hand over the panorama of the scorching hot desert camp, “with the freaks and the eggheads?”

Healy was silent. The Trimotors engines had stopped, the passenger door opened. Soon, a small number of men in suits, every bit as eastern and inappropriate as Parkers, exited the aircraft and started making their way to the nearest guard gate. The men moved unsteadily… maybe it was the long airplane ride all the way from Miskatonic University, maybe it was the heavy baggage they’d saddled themselves with. And maybe it was just themselves. Bookworms weren’t known as prime physical specimens.

“Remember,” Agent Healy said, “all we have to do is ride herd on the scientists. Let them figure these freaks out. Apparently they already knew something about them, showed up in ancient myths and legends and such. Hopefully our pet geniuses will have some insight into how to deal with them.” He lowered the binoculars, ready to head back down the ladder to meet the newest additions to the team.

“Great,” Parker grumbled, mopping the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief. “Maybe they’ll help us come up with a name for our creepy little secret club, too.” He had doubts about that, though. Chances were good that the whole exercise would end in a few weeks, given up as a bad idea. No chance that this could be extended much beyond that.

No chance at all.

– – – – –

And because why not:

 


Fiction TipJar


———–

 Posted by at 5:47 pm
  • Macguffin

    So should we have any sympathy for the deep ones in the concentration camps?

    • Scottlowther

      That’s a tricky one. Many recent authors have often made the Deep Ones sympathetic… poor “others” who have been locked up by evil humans just because they’re different. The Deep Ones as metaphor for racial oppression, Lovecraft’s fear of miscegenation, blah, blah, blah.

      But the Deep Ones want to exterminate mankind. They worship Cthulhu. They employ shoggoths. They kill humans without compunction, and breed with them without regret (and presumably without taking the views of the human into consideration). The resulting hybrids start off human enough but eventually change not only physically but psychologically; it’s reasonable to say that the human in them dies as the Deep One in them matures.

      They may not be “evil” in the truest sense of the word, but if some creature has been genetically programmed to want to kill and eat me and dance on the remains of my corpse while worshipping Cthulhu… yeah, I’d say it’s ok to shoot ’em.

      So…I’d say have sympathy for the Deep One hybrids cruelly locked away. And then wipe your tears and make sure the gates are good and locked.

      • John B

        Have you ever read Karel Capek’s “War With The Newts”?
        https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/capek/karel/newts/

        • Scottlowther

          I have not. I started many, many years ago, but just couldn’t get into it; I thought about it when i started “War” last summer, and decided that I’d prefer to not read it so’s it wouldn’t affect the story I was telling. What I know of it, there are obvious similarities, but I understand “Newts” is supposed to be some sort of satire or something.

  • Good stuff. Looking forward to the book.

  • Law Wong

    Are they the ones who get to die first?

    • Scottlowther

      Who is “they” here?

      • Law Wong

        My knowledge of the mythos is limited, but I recall that the followers of Cthullu are rewarded by getting to die first, while everyone else has to actually experience the end of the world.

        • Scottlowther

          I believe that’s more of a modern gag than Lovecraftian canon. When “the stars are right” and Cthulhu wakes up, a whole lot of folks will die and everyone else will go bonkers, The followers will probably be just like everyone else… most die, a few flip out. Won’t matter to Cthulhu & Co.; they don’t give a damn about trivialities like humans. Cthulhu doesn’t reward anybody.

  • Dave Salt

    This is a nice idea and I’ve enjoyed reading what you’ve posted to date… the fact that you’ve not adopted Lovecraft’s archaic language is also a plus point.

    Let’s hope it’s as good as Baxter’s ‘The Time Ships’ and ‘The Massacre of Mankind’.

    • Scottlowther

      Long, long, LONG ago I tried to write some Lovecraftian stuff, using Lovecraftian verbiage. It was *DREADFUL.* I can only see it working in one of two ways:
      1) You absolutely nail it, making your story seem like something that Lovecraft himself wrote
      2) You’re making a parody… and a *good* one.

  • Peter Hanely

    Thinking about fighting back, assuming the Deep Ones are physiologically related to fish, what poisons fish but is relatively harmless to us? A quick search turns up
    https://naturespoisons.com/2014/10/08/theres-more-than-one-way-to-kill-a-fish-rotenone/ a chemical formerly used as a pesticide.
    and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_toxins

    • Scottlowther

      The Deep Ones don’t make a lick of sense. They are far older than Man, but are built along the same lines as Man… and can breed with Man. The likelihood that something like this could evolve on it’s own is so ludicrously low that the far more likely explanation – and one supported by 0ther incidents of it in Lovecraft – is that the Deep Ones are themselves a genetic creation. So, they are related to fish, and amphibians, and reptiles, and mammals, because they’ve been designed that way. And having been designed, they were designed with reduced weaknesses.

      Damn things are a pain to kill. But unlike Cthulhu-like entities, the Deep Ones *can* be killed. A .44 upside the noggin will turn ’em right off. Blow it up, burn it down, chop it to bits and it’s dead. But poisons are largely ineffective. Except one…

  • markus baur

    great stuff – more, please, pretty please *puppy eyes*