As a witch, I absolutely love October. I always have, autumn is my favourite season, and to my delight I see this mirrored by other witches. October is a very witchy month, wouldn’t you agree? The days are slowly growing shorter and darker, (or not so slowly if you live this far north) and we are reminded that everything must come to an end, only to be reborn with the sun after a long winter’s rest. At the same time, we can rejoice as we reap the fruits of the summer, and enjoy the brilliant colours of the falling leafs. Not to mention the fact that Samhain is coming up, and I can soon go hunting for a pumpkin!
Besides, October is the perfect month to snuggle up in a comfy spot with a book and a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Speaking of books, I have just finished reading The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P.Lovecraft as part of “the book project” along with some of my best friends and fellow bloggers.
Luinriel, Hedwig and I have all been playing a board game called ‘Arkham Horror’ for a long time, and the game is based on the tales of H.P.Lovecraft. One of the expansion packs we have been playing with is called Innsmouth, but none of us had ever read the story behind the town, and thus it was a perfect choice to ease into October.
Or so I thought… Turned out that you don’t ease into anything when it comes to Lovecraft.
The tale tells the story of an unknown character; it is told in first person, and we are never told his name. Through the eyes of this young man we are introduced to the town of Innsmouth, first by vague descriptions and warnings from the natives in the neighbouring towns, then eventually through the eyes of the narrator as he is too curious to stay away, despite the peculiar appearances of the townspeople and the obvious dislike for them that is shown by the locals of other towns. And the fact that the trip to Arkham by bus through Innsmouth is cheaper that the train doesn’t exactly discourage our nameless friend.
As he arrives, he starts to notice little things that together paint a rather discouraging picture of the town and its people, but he decides to not heed the signs and warnings, and instead keeps on pushing and digging for the truth. While the narrator is exploring, we start to sense that there is something more to this, random hints here and there suggests that there is something more to our friend, something hidden deep into his subconsciousness. Perhaps I only detected this because I am familiar with Lovecraft’s style from the snipps of reading I have done through the board game… And soon the Shadow over Innsmouth is revealed to us as our nameless friend is scrambling to get away from the horrors.
This is where you expect the story to end; perhaps it was just your imagination that there was something more hidden beneath the surface? But alas, it was not, and Lovecraft gives you a twist in the ending that causes goosebumps to break out across your skin.
While the story was slow, and in my opinion a little dull to in the beginning, it soon gained speed and excitement as the horrors were revealed to us. Lovecraft has a very special way of writing, never revealing too much, and allowing our own minds to fill in the horrors, and in small doses it works, though I fear it would have gotten on my nerves if I were to read an entire book in this style. Come to think of it, this might be Lovecraft’s point… My mind can conjure up far worse things that anyone can describe.
Seeing as I have been to this town as an investigator in Arkham Horror; it was such a horror-filled joy to explore them more thoroughly. Joe Sargent’s Bus Service, March Refinery, Devil’s Reef… I don’t think I can visit Devil’s Reef again… Not to mention finally learning the meaning behind “The Innsmouth Look.”
In the end, though it will not be amongst my favourites, I did enjoy reading this tale, though mostly because I have innocently been playing around in Innsmouth for years, never knowing what horrors were hidden under the surface (literally). I will not take it so lightly the next time I have to see if I have “The Innsmouth Look”, I can tell you that much.
Now I will leave you with a few simple rules to get you through the world according to Lovecraft.