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The Thing in the Well (standard:horror, 1042 words)
Author: kendall thomas Added: Jan 04 2001Views/Reads: 2592/1254Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Story based on H. P. Lovecraft's "The Colour out of Space".

The Thing in the Well 

* * * 

~...the face that watches and in turn is watched by it.~ 


* * * 

It was shortly after my uncle returned from the valley west of Arkham,
where he had done some surveying for a new hydroelectric dam, that he 
began to maintain a crazy notion about the old Gardner farm located 
near there.  There was, he said, a strange, unearthly color that 
appeared at times around the place, and he also made vague references 
about there being something unwholesome in a stone well next to the 
abandoned farmhouse.  But when listeners questioned him further on the 
matter an odd reticence would take hold of him and he would, 
thereafter, dismiss any further attempts at conversation. 

I liked my uncle, but I would have to admit, like everyone else, I found
him a bit weird after that.  Until sometime later, that is, when we 
went hunting on a ridge overlooking the Gardner place, and I began to 
have my first inkling that there was more to what my uncle was saying 
than I had previously believed.  He had pointed out, with a morbid 
intensity that was troublesome to behold, how the land surrounding the 
vicinity of the house was barren of life.  And, indeed, it was true.  
The trees were strangely blighted, and the grass grew, if at all, 
sparsely in the gray soil.   It was, I thought with a shudder, as if 
something had sucked the marrow out of the ground. 

The locals--stern, practical New Englanders--had, my uncle said, always
claimed the desolation was the result of a meteorite that had impacted 
in the area years before.  But he scoffed at this notion saying it was 
not the meteorite that had caused the devastation but what was in the 
meteorite.  Something that had, he now believed, been the cause of the 
Gardner family’s sudden, inexplicable development of an arcane behavior 
and their eventual deaths, one by one, in only a few short years.  But, 
during those infrequent times when my uncle was able overcome his 
growing reluctance to engage in public conversations, his dramatically 
cloaked assertions always brought gales of laughter from those who were 
not close to the events. 

For years now the old Gardner place had stood empty.  Only occasionally,
in the past, had newcomers to the region been found who would live 
there for any length of time; but, invariably--as I later learned, 
after some inquiries--they would soon move out making veiled references 
to a strange, unearthly light in the night and the brackish taste of 
the well water and other disturbing insinuations. 

It wasn’t long after our hunting trip that my uncle died suddenly--a
drug overdose, the coroner said.  A few weeks later, while I was 
sorting through his belongings, I came upon his journal.  For the most 
part it was nondescript, except toward the end where it began to 
reflect his maniacal obsession with the Gardner farm: 

“Something is there not of this world ... [he had scrawled on one page]
... something that infects anyone who spends any length of time near 
the place.  I only hope that whatever hellish thing ... [unreadable] 
... will be destroyed when the new dam is finished and the whole valley 
flooded by the rising water.  God help me, but I am certain that 
whatever... [unreadable] ... there has invaded my ...[unreadable]....  
Sometimes when I gaze into my mirror it’s as if someone else is inside 
looking out of my eyes at me.  I must be mad .... I pray that I am mad 
and that what I fear is .... Oh, God!  Something evil ... [The 
legibility of my uncle’s writing becomes steadily more indecipherable 
from this point on, until ultimately breaking off altogether] .... 
People must be warned not to --.” 

In the ensuing months, as the completion of the dam drew nearer, I
increasingly felt a sense of urgency --or was it a summoning?-- to 
visit the Gardner place.  Perhaps I thought to discover what had so 
disturbed the equilibrium of my uncle’s heretofore rational mind; or 
more so, perhaps, to alleviate, somehow, my own growing perturbations. 

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