If you’re interested in finding more about the oddities of the Fathomless Abyss world, check out the From the Fathomless Abyss anthology, which contains a story of mine that I like very much called “A Querulous Flute of Bone,” a somewhat odd retelling of O. Henry’s short story, “The Pimaloosa Pancakes.”
This project, which will appear as a stand-alone, is a mash-up of William S. Burrough’s Junky and H.P. Lovecraft’s “Dreams in The Witch House,” a story which terrified me as a child. Here’s how it begins:
His earliest memory was fearing the nightmares. He never slept well, all his life, even in that first moment, so long ago he remembered remembering it more than actually remembering it.
Knowing that if he slept, theyâ€™d come crawling out from underneath his cot, or spawn in the cavern shadows outside their hut only to come creeping in.
He didnâ€™t remember what the nightmares were. Were they what they would be later, that room, over and over again? Or were they more childish ones, a ghost chasing him around a table, its breath rot-damp, or a fiery lizard curled in the stoveâ€™s belly?
The second earliest memory was the couple. Or rather, first the light on his face. They were going Outside, out to the walls of the world and he could see the light ahead of them.
Then, in the shadows, movement, squirming like a worm in a mushroom box, but much larger. Flesh twined with flesh, limbs sliding together slick and naked against the weed-choked rock.
What was that in the womanâ€™s stringy blonde hair? A tiny rat of shadow. Its face was human, pugnacious jaw slung forward, brow pronounced. It looked at him and he nearly pissed himself.
His mother yanking his hand along so he stumbled, nearly fell. He tried to stop her, tried to ask, but she wouldnâ€™t meet his eyes or acknowledge his tugging hand. Her face red in the light as they went onward towards the market Outside.
Later, she said to his father, when she thought him out of earshot, â€œShameful junkers! Rutting there beside the path with their dreams frolicking on them where any passerby could see!â€
â€œThere ought to be a law,â€ his father said in a mechanical tone.
Or was that his mind interpreting the memory, ascribing the tone his father always used, the tenor his mother, a thwarted councilwoman, habitually took?
It was the first time heâ€™d seen a junker.
Not even close to the last.