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H. P. Lovecraft:
(adapted by Amos Jones, read by Waylan Bram)
My head hurts when I think about this. I am writing this because tonight I plan to take my own life. I have no money left. I cannot afford the medication to keep me from going crazy. The memories of that time will not go away. When I am done writing this, I plan to jump from the roof of this building and die in the street. Do not feel sorry for me. I am not weak. This letter will explain to you why I need death to forget what I have seen.
At the time, I was captain of a trade ship sailing in the Pacific Ocean. I cannot give our exact location because I did not know it. One day without warning, another ship full of German raiders came up beside us and demanded we give them our ship. They were interested in our ship because there were not many supplies available in the ocean in those days. The war in Europe and the Middle East made supplies hard to find. The raiders were kind to us and gave us all we needed. They did not pay much attention to us at all. After a few days, I was able to load a small boat with food and water. I got away in the night.
I was free and alone on my boat. I had no idea where I was or how to get anywhere. I didn’t know enough about the stars or the sun to be able to steer in the direction of land. I was at the mercy of the wind and the ocean current. For many days, I waited for a sign of land or another boat to pick me up. There were no clouds in the sky and I worried that I would die.
Then one night while I was sleeping something happened. When I woke, my small boat and I were stuck in a black muddy swamp. I could not see the end of it no matter which way I looked. The air smelled terrible. It smelled of rotting fish and other bad things. The place smelled so I was afraid to try to cross the swamp. I lay in my boat and listened. There were no birds and I could not hear the sound of the ocean. I was still alone with just the mud, the sun, and my boat.
Unable to do anything I waited. After many hours, the ground began to dry. It looked hard enough to walk on. I put my remaining water and food into a bag and left the boat behind. The fish smell had only become worse. I almost gagged with every breath. There were no landmarks to guide me so I followed the sun to the west.
I walked all day and found nothing. The walking became easier at night. So I kept going. The moonlight was just bright enough for me to see a large hole in front of me. I looked in and could not see the bottom of the pit. It looked smooth and seemed to go on forever. For ages, I stood there staring down into the hole. If felt like it would suck me and I would fall but I did not.
As the moon rose higher in the sky, I began to see ledges and rocks I could use to climb down. I also saw the pit did not go on forever. There was a bottom down there and it looked easy to walk on. Slowly and carefully, I climbed to the bottom of the wall. I don’t know why I went down there, but I did. It was as if I could not stop myself. I just went on.
Then in what I would call the center of the pit, I saw a column of rock sticking straight up into the sky. It was totally white and reflected a lot of moonlight. The rock was clean and polished. I did not know who had made it or how. I could tell they loved the column very much.
Even though it scared me, I walked up closer to the column. It was wonderful and I could not pass up the opportunity to look at it closely. I could tell it was very old. Under the rock, I could hear a river flowing past. At the bottom, there were symbols I could not recognize. They looked like octopus, eels, and fish. I couldn’t look away. I tried to figure out what they meant. I wanted to know who made them. Then I noticed more symbols that looked like men. But they were not normal men. They had webbed hands and feet. They had the eyes of fish. They make me sick on my stomach to look at but I could not look away.
Then I saw something move in the moonlight beyond the column. It stood like a man, but it wasn’t a man. It had large fish eyes and webbed hands. The smell of fish became stronger as it moved toward me. I screamed and ran back to the cliff. I don’t remember how but I managed to climb straight up the wall away from the thing that followed me. I ran until I passed out. At least that is what I think happened. The next thing I remember I was lying in a hospital bed.
The nurse told me I had been found by another boat drifting in the sea. I asked about the island I’d found. The land of mud and the column of white. No one had seen anything like it. They all thought it was just a dream. I knew it wasn’t. I started looking for answers. I found an old man of great experience. He told me of the legend of Dagon the Fish-God. His stories matched what I had seen. So I believe to this day that I was in the presence of Dagon at least for a few minutes.
At night when I am alone, I remember the things I’ve seen. Sometimes I wonder if it was just a dream. Something that happened because I was in the sun too long. Then I fall to sleep and the thing answers. It comes to me in a vision and tells me what I remember is true. It tells me one day it will come back. It shows me the ocean, the column, and the lake of mud. I cannot go on knowing it will come back one day. I fear it will come back when we are too weak from our endless wars to fight. The fish-god will come back and make all of the land sink so he can rule. I know he is coming, he tells me every night.
I cannot live like this. I’ve taken every medication and none of it helps. He is coming and I cannot stop it, No one can. My only option is to die before it happens. I go now to jump from the roof. Goodbye.
Original written by H. P. Lovecraft (public domain)
Adapted by Amos Jones, © 2019
Recorded by Waylan Bram © 2019
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