The Dunwich Horror according to Tom Hunter

by Thomas H. Hunter
Point Marion, Pennsylvania - May 2001

With apologies to Howard Philip Lovecraft


I

When a traveler in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the Aylesbury Inn just beyond Dean's Corners, he's likely to have his knuckles trodden on by a rustic (read ignorant) waiter.

If he takes the wrong fork outside on the Aylesbury Pike, he's likely to fall in the Miskatonic River where the bridge was destroyed in 1928 and never replaced.

The surrounding country is lonely and curious, especially when viewed from the middle of the river. The ground seems higher from such a vantage point and the undergrowth seems thicker along the riverbanks where Br'er Fox endlessly chases Br'er Rabbit through the brier patches.

Without knowing why, one hesitates to ask directions form the gnarled, solitary figures spied now and then on the sloping, rock-strewn riverbanks as one floats downstream. Those figures are so silent and furtive that one feels they consider one an idiot for being up to one's neck in the malodorous, brown water. When a bend in the river brings the mountains into view, the feeling of helpless idiocy is increased. Hunched figures stand on the rounded summits pointing with one arm and grinning through teeth the size and spacing of picket fences while the other arm hangs listlessly beside them, the knuckles dragging on the ground.

Then the hills draw nearer and one heeds their vertical sides with the trees sticking out horizontally. The swirling current carries one dizzily under a covered bridge through a village of dilapidated, unpainted houses so quickly that one is only aware of the smell of mould and of chamber pots emptied out of tiny second floor windows into the rushing river.

Afterward, as one is dragged up the bank like a drowned rat by a cross-eyed and drooling policeman, one sometimes learns one has been through Dunwich where sane people never go. So what does that say about you?

Two centuries ago, when chanting rose above blazing fires and the ground rumbled in response, and talk of witch-blood and Satan-worship was rampant, people had good reason to stay away. Since a certain season of horror all the signboards pointing to Dunwich have been torn down and now people just can't find it. The so-called Dunwich Horror of 1928 was hushed up by people who had the town's and the world's welfare at heart, but mostly because their grammar was so bad and their strangled accents so thick that no one could understand them.

"Garwd orlmightly," they would say, "forlks dedded i' thar ca'ns 'n' t'roods ni'mposs'bel, arrr 'n' begorrah!" And the outside world would shake their heads, make the sign of the cross and the menorah, and back away at 30 miles per hour, usually winding up in the floating crap and rushes of the Miskatonic.

Besides being illiterate, the natives are horribly decadent, brother marrying sister, cousin marrying cousin, dogs marrying sheep, in fact marrying anyone but their own husbands or wives. And who could blame them for they had become a race unto themselves with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding - they were moron dwarfs. Their average IQ could be counted on the fingers of one hand, a feat which was beyond their combined ability. Their annals reek of incest, overt viciousness, incest, half-hidden murders, incest, deeds of almost unnamable violence and perversity, and incest. They were a simple, happy people - not to mention numerous from all that incest.

The old gentry, representing the families that had been thrown off the Mayflower and had to swim ashore - from the middle of the Atlantic - have kept somewhat above the general level of decay. They keep their dogs away from the sheep. Some of the Whateleys and Bishops still send their eldest sons to Harvard and Miskatonic Universities, selling them as laboratory specimens.

No one, even those having the facts concerning the recent horror, can say just what is the matter with Dunwich. They just stand around with their tongues lolling out and puddles of drool forming where their knuckles drag on the ground. The only sounds they are capable of making are grunting noises and a few half-formed words like "Foood - goood", "Fiiire - hot" or "Woooman - booobs!"

In 1747 the Reverend Abijah Hoadley, newly sent to the Dunwich Church by a bishop who hated him, preached a memorable sermon on the close presence of Satan, several times in which he used the word, "Help! "He was never seen again after the hastily prepared barbecue following the service.

Noises in the hills continue to be reported from year to year and still form a puzzle to geologists and physiographers. The natives just stand around belching and breaking wind; and laughing behind their broad, hairy hands.

Other traditions tell of foul odors near the hill crowning circles of stone columns and of bleating airy presences to be heard amidst the sound of laughing into hands coming from behind the trees. Still others try to explain the Devil's Hop Yard - a bleak, blasted hillside where no tree, shrub or grass-blade will grow and which, in winter, is covered with hundreds of footprints and a curious yellow snow.

Then too the natives are afraid of the numerous whippoorwills, which grow active on warm nights. It is vowed that the birds lie in wait for a lone traveler to shred him alive and eat the bits while they time their laughing cries in unison with the sufferer's struggling breath. If their victim manages to escape, they subside gradually into a disappointed silence.

These tales, of course, are obsolete and ridiculous and I only bring them up because I get paid by the word.

The hovels around Dunwich are built of mud and sticks that the villagers gnaw with their spatula-like teeth. They usually fall down within hours. Still to be seen are the ruins of ancient dwellings from the days when the natives' teeth were stronger and they built with mud and stone. Industry did not flourish here because they gnawed apart the machines to build steel houses. Even these survive to this day as rusted mounds dotting the steep hillsides. Oldest of all is the great ring of rough-gnawed stone columns on top of Sentinel Hill. But these are more generally attributed to the Indians of the Diamond-Tooth tribe than the settlers, who were too stupid to know what a column was. Deposits of skulls and bones found within these circles sustain the popular belief that there are pirate flags buried nearby.


II

It was in the township of Dunwich in a large barn, inhabited by squatters, that Wilbur Whateley was born at 5 A.M. on Sunday, 1913. This date was recalled because Wilbur's aged and half-insane grandfather tattooed it onto the infant's forehead so that for the rest of his life the natives called him "W'ubbbh" and strangers called him "5". Wilbur's mother was an albino, even more deformed and less attractive than the average Dunwich woooman. The fact that she had huge boobs notwithstanding, people still had no idea who the father was. She seemed strangely proud of the dark, goatish-looking infant that formed such a contrast to her own sickly and pink-eyed albinism. The baby grew at an alarming rate as his mother breast-fed him eighteen times a day from those giant boobs. In two weeks he was five feet tall, weighed eighty pounds and could talk as well as any villager, going around muttering, "Booobs, goood!"

The night Wilbur was born, the hill noises sounded louder than usual, there had been a chile cook-off in the village square that afternoon, and all the dogs in the countryside had barked persistently all night - as they did every night. The only difference was that many of them had been struck by lightning on that dark, cloudless night. The next day old Wizard Whateley, "W'uhh W'uhh" to the villagers, was seen repairing the blackened end of his magic wand.

Neighbors knew nothing of the coming of Wilbur until two weeks later when old Whateley hitched his sleigh up to the lad and drove into the village to discourse incoherently with the usual group of idlers standing up to their ankles in drool outside of Drucker's General Store.

"W'uhh W'uhh," said the villagers pointing in the general direction of Whateley.

"M' dotter ha' whelped h'sel' a strappin' son, gor blimey," muttered the ancient wizard. "Hi' nam' b' Wilbur, hoot mon."

The villagers turned more or less in the direction of Wilbur who, still hitched to the sleigh, was turning his large head through a 300 degree arc muttering, "Where booobs?" They stared at him slack jawed, some muttering, "W'ubbbh," and others joining in with, "W'uhh booobs? Booobs goood!"

There seemed to be a change in the old man who was unusually talkative, normally confining his conversations with the villagers to simple phrases like, "Two cards," "Full house," or, "Double or nothing." He delivered an oration that is remembered to this day as the longest coherent sentence ever spoken in the village of Dunwich. "If'n Lavinny's boy looked like his pa, he'd look weirder'n youse!" This was rewarded with clapping, whistling and stamping in the puddle of drool. Even though they did not understand a word of it, the villagers recognized a great orator when they heard him.

There were only two visitors to the Whateley barn that year. The first was Earl Sawyer's common law wife, Mamie Bishop. Mamie's visit was one of frank curiosity and ended abruptly when Wilbur, having emptied his mother, ripped open Mamie's dress and planted his mouth on a boob. The other was old Zecariah Whateley, still damp from his swim from the Mayflower, who led a pair of cows bought by the wizard. He stared enviously at Wilbur breast-feeding at Lavinia's bare chest and thought to himself, "Coals to Newcastle." This marked the beginning of a course of cattle buying that only ended when the Dunwich Horror came and went.

There was a period when people were curious enough to steal up and count the herd on the steep hillside. They could never find more than ten or twelve anemic and puzzled looking specimens hanging from the horizontal trees and trying to eat the meager grass from the vertical wall. Yet the old wizard continued to buy eight to ten cattle a week, paying for them with solid gold doubloons, which the villagers ate. There was obviously a heavy mortality among the Whateley animals and the villagers assumed that W'ubbbh had been weaned from breast-milk to hamburger. The few surviving animals were covered with old wounds or sores as if the diner couldn't wait until they were slaughtered before starting lunch. At times callers fancied they could discern similar sores about the throat of the gray, unshaven old wizard and the boobs of his slatternly, crinkly-haired, unshaven, albino daughter.

In the spring after Wilbur's birth Lavinia resumed her customary nude rambles through the hills while the villagers watched from behind trees, laughing into their hands, as her knuckles and boobs bounced on the ground with each step leaving an odd set of tracks in which each footprint was accompanied by the imprint of four knuckles and a shapeless depression. She sometimes carried her, then two hundred pound, infant in her misproportioned arms. If she became tired, the infant carried her. It was Hallowe'en of that year that a great blaze was seen on top of Sentinel Hill. Considerable talk was started when Silas Bishop - of the undecayed Bishops - mentioned having seen the boy and his mother running nude up the hill. Silas claimed he had been rounding up a stray heifer, but no one believed the dirty old man. He wasn't so sure about boy who seemed to have a fringed belt and some sort of dark, wooly trousers that came clear down to his hooves. The villagers gave this story little credence as they could understand why he might not be sure of the boy as they laughed behind their hands and imagined the old coot's eyes riveted on the naked mother. Still, it was the start of gossip about Wilbur that continues to this day.

At six months of age he was a head taller than any of the villagers and had the refined speech of an Arkham lawyer. At a year, the villagers had to stand on one another's shoulders to look him in the eye, and he had a fluent mastery of Russian, Chinese and Martian. Dog's abhorred the boy, but apparently loved his taste for they never ceased to rush at him for a quick bite then scamper quickly out of the reach of those preternaturally long and sinuous arms. He was forced to carry a crowbar, a machine gun and several bandoliers of grenades for protection. This made him less than popular with the dog lovers of the village. And all the villagers were dog lovers. They loved them for breakfast, lunch and supper - whenever they could catch them.


III

Meanwhile the senile old wizard continued to buy cattle without measurably increasing the size of his suspended herd. He cleaned out the local ranchers and was forced to go as far as Aylesbury and Dean's Corners for fresh animals. He also cut timber and began to repair the unused parts of the ramshackle old barn where the three of them squatted. In fact he tightly boarded up all the openings in the structure except for a large man-door that he nailed shut, bolted and padlocked. He moved his small family into the two-holer outhouse - which had a seat so they no longer needed to squat.

He also collected all his moth-eaten old books, repairing them with spit and tree sap and arranging them on shelves in the outhouse built after the numerous wasp nests had been pitched down the holes.

"I red 'em oncet," he said. "Di'nt unnerstan' 'em tho'. The boy kin mak' better use o' 'em." he continued, nailing a large, softbound volume to the wall next to the seat.

Wilbur spent long afternoons seated over one of the holes and poring over the old books - sometimes reading diligently and at others laughing uproariously at the cartoons. Then he would tear out a page at random, use it in a way that defies description, and drop it down the hole before getting up to lift an emaciated cow from a tree and carry it into the boarded-up barn never to be seen again. The cow that is - not Wilbur.

Once Earl Sawyer, who had been delivering a cow, was standing near the door when Wilbur picked up the cow and carried it into the barn. He was quite discomposed by the singular stench that emerged - such a stench he averred, as he had not smelt since his late wife had cut a blast under the bedclothes asphyxiating her. He had been saved only by staggering to the second floor window, opening it and falling out into the well - the clean water displacing the poison from his lungs.

The following year was void of visible events except for occasional fires atop Sentinel Hill whose flames surged in time with underground rumblings. These rumbling increased steadily in both strength and frequency as though some sleeping monster with indigestion were stirring beneath the earth. They began toppling the villagers' mud and stick huts before they were even finished.

"It's dem W'uhh's doin'," grumbled the villagers as they began piling up sticks again, cementing them in place with dirt mixed with drool.

Meanwhile Wilbur spent more time than ever reading in the outhouse. No one was sure whether it was caused by a search for knowledge or mere indigestion. He talked much less than formerly also. There was no point in it; the villagers could not understand his cultured English, much less his Russian or Chinese.

The few callers would often find Lavinia seated alone while odd cries, thuds and resounding postern blasts echoed from the locked barn. She would never tell what her father and the boy were doing in there, although she swooned and nearly fell through the hole once when a fish peddler tried the locked barn door.

In 1917 the war came and Squire Sawyer Whateley, as chairman of the local draft board, could find no Dunwich men fit to send to the development camp - except himself, whom he excused, and the two hundred pound, muscle-bound Wilbur who, at four years of age, was too young. This drew the attention of reporters from the Boston Globe and the Arkham Advertiser, both of whom converged on the town and wrote up tongue-in-cheek stories about old Wizard Whateley's black magic, the sturdy young man who claimed to be (ha ha) four years old and the chairman of the draft board who excused himself from service. This resulted in the arrest and court martial of Sawyer Whateley, the ridicule of the old wizard and a continuing interest in young Wilbur.

REPORTER - "How do you account for you precocious development?"

WILBUR - "I drink lots of milk."

Earl Sawyer had escorted the two reporters out to the Whateley place and tried to tell them about the smell from the barn. The reporters sniffed at the locked door, listened to the sounds from within and told him solemnly that they could not print fart jokes. Then they both laughed until their faces turned red.


IV

For a decade the annals of the Whateleys sank indistinguishably into the general life of the morbid community. Twice a year they would light fires on top of Sentinel Hill to burn their accumulated garbage, at which times the mountain rumblings would recur with greater and greater violence. The villagers began to think they must be eating the garbage and burning off the resulting methane. They mercifully never knew how close they were to the truth. At all seasons there were strange and portentous doings at the Whateley place. Callers professed to hear sounds in the barn even when all the family were in the outhouse, and they wondered how quickly and mercifully a cow was slaughtered. There was a complaint to the A.S.P.C.A. in Arkham, but the inspector apparently lost interest, as he didn't even bother to file a report, or for that matter come out, after entering the malodorous barn.

One spring old Whateley noticed the growing number of whippoorwills that came out of Cold Spring Glen to skulk outside the outhouse at night.

"Thar a-gonna git me!" he drawled drunkenly at the poker table in Saul Bishop's Bar.

Sure enough they got him...as he staggered home at three in the morning. All Wilbur found the next day was a number 14 boot lying beside the well and the pointed wizard's hat with the glow-in-the-dark stars floating in the greasy water.

"The whippoorwills most assuredly put him to death," he announced to the uncomprehending villagers. Nonetheless, the well water tasted bad for months and Wilbur and Lavinia could only use it for cooking and drinking.

Wilbur was by this time a scholar, a liar and a con man of wide reputation and he was quietly known to librarians in distant places where rare and forbidden books are kept; and to gullible recipients of unending streams of chain letters and get-rich-quick schemes.

He was hated as much as feared around Dunwich now because of certain youthful disappearances laid justly or unjustly at his door. It cannot be denied that each young man was last seen walking into the woods with Wilbur's more than companionable arm around his shoulders. He was able to silence suspicions with the seemingly limitless fund of golden doubloons or, if that failed, the grenades he still carried.

Since he was weaned, Wilbur had treated his, now permanently stooped, albino mother with ill-concealed contempt, finally forbidding her to run naked in the woods without a brassiere, which made the whole thing rather pointless. In 1926 the poor creature complained to Mamie Bishop that Wilbur was insisting she wear knickers as well.

"There's more abaout him as I knows than I kin tell ye, Mamie," cackled the half demented old crow, "but ye'll niver see 'im wi' his arm 'raound a girl."

No matter how hard Mamie pressed her for more information, Lavinia only hitched up her store-bought brassiere and remained taciturn.

The next week Saul Bishop told his spellbound patrons that, while trying futilely to collect on the late wizard's gambling debts, he had seen young Wilbur carry a heavy looking gunny sack, that squirmed in an obscene way, into the padlocked barn. Poor Lavinia was never seen again but the next day Wilbur delivered jars of a fine headcheese to his nearest neighbors. He kindly offered his mother's new-fangled brassiere to Mamie Bishop. It was of no use to her flat-chested figure but came in handy with a length of rope for hauling two buckets of water at a time from the Bishop's well.


V

The following winter brought an event no less strange than Wilbur's first trip outside the Dunwich region. Correspondence with libraries around the world had failed to get him the loan of a book he desperately wanted. He could not understand his failure. He had written obsequiously in Russian to the libraries of Paris, asked politely in English of the great library of Istanbul and threatened the library of New York in cultured Chinese. Finally, chucking a dozen cattle into the barn and locking the door, he packed his meager belongings into a bindle and headed for the freight yard.

The next day, blackened with smoke and reeking of pig crap, he straightened his spats and entered the Miskatonic University Library in Arkham in search of the dreaded volume kept under lock and key - the hideous Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred in Olaus' wormy edition printed in Spain in the seventeenth century. It was illustrated by an unamed Arab who wasn't mad, just slightly P.O.'ed at not being named. As all the patrons and staff had dived out the windows at his approach, he quickly procured the key and removed the book. Pausing only to learn Spanish, he began comparing it with scribbled notes from the priceless but imperfect copy of Dr. Dee's English version bequeathed to him by his late, but unlamented, grandfather in lieu of life insurance.

Kindly old Professor Henry Armitage had recognized Wilbur from his letters in Hindustani as he strolled across the campus. Holding his tweed jacket over his nose and crawling through a fresh air duct he managed a position where he could still breath and read over Wilbur's shoulder at the same time.

See Yog-Sothoth open the gate. he translated mentally.
See the Old Ones come through the gate.
See Spot run.
See the Old Ones flatten Spot like a gnat.
See Dick and Jane smell the Old Ones.
See them hold their noses and barf.
See Dick and Jane run.
See the Old Ones gobble them up.

Pretty scary stuff!

See Dick and Jane smell the Old Ones, he mused, pressing his jacket tighter over his nose and backing out of the air duct. What could it all mean?

As he stood outside the library throwing up in the immaculately manicured flowerbed, Armitage associated what he had read with what he knew of Wilbur Whateley - the dubious birth and unknown father, the youthful disappearances, the probable matricide and delicious headcheese, old Wizard Whateley and his mildewed books. When the picture finally clicked into focus he passed out cold in the reeking flowers.

He awoke to the savage barking of the watchdog, which ended abruptly with what sounded like the explosion of a grenade. As he saw Wilbur Whateley striding across the campus with the Necronmicon under his arm, Armitage ran to catch him from the upwind side.

"You can't take that out of the library... er, without a library card," he finished lamely as the eight foot figure whirled on him.

"Who the hell are hyew?" hissed the gargoyle-like apparition.

Armitage reeled backwards from the foetid breath but bravely held his ground. "I'm the head librarian and you can't have it I say," he replied grabbing the heavy, leather-bound volume and yanking with all his might.

"I must have it," grunted Wilbur, yanking back and lifting Armitage a foot off the ground.

"Shan't!" cried Armitage.

"Shall!" yelled Wilbur, lifting the book and Armitage higher.

"Never!" shouted Armitage, kicking wildly. Quite unexpectedly one of his flailing feet connected with Wilbur's balls.


VI

"Sheee-it!" screamed Wilbur, flinging the book and the Professor halfway across the common before doubling up in pain.

This screech revived the stunned watchdog that found himself free as the grenade had severed the stout chain. With a bound he fell upon the writhing figure and buried his large fangs, which were kept sharpened to needle points by the gardener, in its throat. Undecided whether to hug his balls or protect his throat, the pathetic figure collapsed there on the lawn. Students and faculty alike poured out of the cafeteria, still munching sandwiches, to gawk at the spectacle.

The dog, basking in the attention, ripped off shreds of the ragged clothing and tossed them to the cheering crowd. First came the derby and the spats, then the frockcoat followed by the baggy trousers and their knotted string and the bloody shirt; lastly the women's frilly underwear and bra. Their bloodlust satiated, the crowd wandered away.

Armitage found himself looking down at a remarkable sight as he idly patted the slavering dog's head. The figure thus revealed was four feet tall, the additional height it was seen had been provided by stilts that now lay on the grass like broken children's toys. A large tail had been stuffed down one long trouser leg and a willy nearly as long down the other. The eye jumped from feature to fantastic feature faster than thought could follow. The legs were short, furry, jointed as a goat's and ended in dainty hooves that had fit into special sockets in the stilts. The chest was sunken, emaciated and feathered. It had only looked human through the use of extensive padding in the frockcoat. But it was at the waist where the legs and chest met that the outre ended and sheer fantasy began. The creature had balls and willies all the way around. No wonder it had let out a screech that woke half of Arkham from their afternoon naps when he had kicked it.

Armitage began to notice that the trees around the library were alive with whippoorwills.

"They're laughing in cadence with this dying things breathing," he said aloud.

"I'm not dying," said Wilbur brightly, sitting up on his stubby legs.

On that cue hundreds of whippoorwills converged on the creature completely hiding it from view for several minutes. As they flew away in groups of two and three there was nothing left but a few bones, picked clean and gleaming in the sun and a lone chrome plated key. Armitage turned and was sick once more in the flowerbed.


VII

Yet all this was only the prologue of the actual Dunwich Horror. Formalities were attempted by the officials but finally, in desperation, they handed the few bones and the key to Armitage and told him to deliver them to the next of kin.

Driving from Arkham to Dunwich, Armitage arrived at the Whateley place as night was falling. A strange slurping sound came from the huge dark bulk of the locked barn. Earl Sawyer, who had been watching the few Whateley cattle and horses fell to his knees and hugged Armitage's legs with tears of gratitude forming puddles on the ground. He handed over the key to the outhouse and, dancing a quick jig of joy, ran down the road and was soon swallowed up by the night...or something.

Armitage fingered the key in his pocket and looked at the stout padlock on the barn door. He decided that could wait for full daylight. He would confine his present search to the outhouse. With trembling hands he unlocked the door and eased it open. A wasp flew past his ear. A quick search revealed the Dee copy of the Neconomicon nailed to the wall next to the seat and a few odd papers lying scattered about. He gathered up the papers and took them out into the fading light. Shuffling through them he found a torn fragment that read, (t)o my beloved sibling I leave all the books left to me by our grandfather, the gate on Sentinel Hill and anything else I may have contrived to beg, borrow or steal. It was signed in crayon in a sprawling but legible hand, Wilbur Whateley.

So Wilbur had a brother! How strange he had never been mentioned before now. Perhaps it was only a figment of Wilbur's diseased imagination. Armitage gradually became aware again of the slurping from the barn and whippoorwills gathering in the twilight.

"Time to trot," he said aloud and jumping into his car, slammed the door as a dozen whippoorwills made a dive only to bend their beaks on the driver's side window. He left a year's worth of tread from his tires in the barnyard as he floored the accelerator and headed for the open road.

It was in the dark of that night that the horror broke loose. The hill noises had been very pronounced that evening even though there had been no more than the usual quantities of chile and barbeque consumed, and the dogs barked frantically all night - but there was nothing unusual in that. Early risers noticed a peculiar stench and fluttered their pant legs to let in the fresh air. It didn't help.

George Corey's hired boy, Luther Brown who was unusually dense even for a Dunwich Villager, ran into the Corey's hovel crying pitifully with snot running all the way down his pant legs.

"Bawww, wawww, gurble schnook!" he moaned and fell to the floor in a fit. Mrs. Corey finally got the story out of him with the help of a bucket of ice-cold water and a few well-placed kicks. It seemed the boy had been leading the Corey's cows up to Ten Acre Meadow when it filtered through to his dim consciousness that the road was twice as wide as usual and reeked with a foetor that made even the crap-laden Miskatonic seem sweet by comparison. The trees on either side were broken off and shoved outward and the road showed huge round footprints ten feet across with smaller, well-defined depressions in the center of each. The forty foot wide track had turned off the road and disappeared into Cold Spring Glen. The boy had taken a few tentative steps into the glen but heard great crashing noises floating upwards from its depths and had turned and run the two miles back to the Corey's place.

Mrs. Corey, unable to contain even the smallest gossip, ran to the telephone and spun the crank like there was a fire. Soon all the women in Dunwich were on the party line listening to the news. After half an hour they tired of the soap opera and dropped away one at a time until only Mamie Bishop was left.

"I heerd a crashin' an' a splinterin' in the night," she said timidly, "from over towards poor Lavinny Whateley's place.

Again the frantic cranking and the news spread quickly around the grapevine. Soon the men of Dunwich, armed with sticks, shovels and a surplus howitzer, approached the Whateley place cautiously on foot - except for the town showoff, Seth Bishop, who walked on his hands. As they tiptoed into the farmyard the gagging smell led them to first examine the outhouse but everything seemed fine. Just to make sure they all lined up to use it. This took a half hour after which Seth, who was now on a unicycle, rode around to the back of the old barn.

"My Gawrd!" they heard him cry and, pious to a man, they knelt to pray. Suddenly Seth Bishop came around the far side of the barn, his single tire smoking. "The whole barn's blowed up!" he yelled over his shoulder as he banked the turn at the end of the yard and sped down the road out of sight.

Dusting off their knees, the men crept cautiously around the barn and, sure enough, the back wall of the structure had been knocked flat and huge round prints with the peculiar central depression led in a straight line through the lower forty to the Aylesbury Pike. Tiptoeing back to the outhouse the men formed a huddle.

"Should we go in?" whispered George Corey. Unfortunately Earl Sawyer heard him and expressed the opinion that they should explore the barn without further delay. This was not what the men wanted to hear.

Without consulting the others, Fred Farr set up the howitzer ten feet from the side of the barn and fired. He missed completely and demolished the outhouse instead, leaving Joe Osborn sitting in the morning sunlight with his pants around his ankles.

James Brown, Luther's father, had the answer. He walked up to the barn door and yanked at the padlock. "Still locked," he announced clearly, "we can't get in." With that the men wandered home, each in their separate directions, while Joe Osborn struggled with his pants and yelled, "Wait for me!"

Later that afternoon it became evident that Seth Bishop had never made it home. Did he turn right or left was the question passed around the drunken crowd at Seth's half-brother Saul's bar. They pretty much agreed he had turned right toward the point where the strange tracks met the road.

"Oh my Gawrd," screamed Seth's wife Delores Bishop and ran home to make sure Seth's life insurance was paid up.

The drunken lot goaded each other into following the road in the direction Seth had disappeared. They found his single tire track, bouncing in and out of the straight line of crater-like depressions, easily enough and followed it to where it left the road to follow the new path into Cold Spring Glen. The men were drunk enough to follow the tire track as it swerved down the side of the glen. Suddenly there came a yell from the edge of the path where Earl Sawyer had gone to take a whizz. The men crowded around Earl who stood with his fly still open staring into one of the giant prints. At the bottom, smashed flat, was Seth Bishop's unicycle and most of Seth Bishop. Only his head and one arm remained outside of the pit and flies flew in and out of his smiling mouth and landed on his open, staring eyes.

To a man the crowd threw up and, sobered, ran back to Saul Bishop's bar to get tanked up again. Re-fortified, Saul took the unpleasant task of informing his half brother's widow.

"That's alright," answered Delores over the phone, "I checked and his insurance is paid up. Would you like to come over and comfort me tonight honey? Oh, and bring a couple bottles with you. We can afford them now."

"How'd she take it?" slurred Earl Sawyer.

"She's broken up about it," said Saul carefully selecting a few choice bottles and stuffing them in a gunny sack, "but I think she'll come through, I mean pull through."

That night Saul closed early without explanation. Elmer Frye assumed it was because there was more hushed talking going on than drinking and most of the usual nightly crowd were leaving before dusk turned into full darkness anyway. Elmer walked home alone and, for once, didn't step on the cat or trip over his lazy hound as he came in the door. Selina, his wife, stared as he locked and barred both doors but, as she had been listening in on the party line much of the day, didn't need to ask any questions. About two in the morning a frightful stench caused Elmer to flap the bed sheets as usual but when that didn't help he slid out of bed and started down the narrow stairway toward the couch. The nauseating smell was more concentrated here and he began to retch. He had started to run with his hand over his mouth when a splintering crash rent the air. He stopped, terrified, in the pitch blackness of the cramped stairway and, with barf running between his fingers and down his nightshirt, listened to the frenzied stamping of his cattle turn into a hideous screaming. He was just turning to run back upstairs to the bedroom when his wife clutched his shoulder. Elmer Frye passed out cold and tumbled head over heels down the stairs and into the kitchen, landing square on top of the cat.

The cat slid out from under his dead weight, turned long enough to leave a bloody gash down the side of Elmer's face then jumped to the sill in a single bound, slipped through the partly open window and kicked off from the from other side. The next day Selina would swear she had seen the cat turn into catsup in midair then vanish. At the moment she took one look at her stinking, bleeding husband and, leaving him to fend for himself, crawled into the oven slamming the door behind her.

The next day all the countryside was in a panic. At first light Elmer had regained consciousness and, at Selina's insistence, had ripped the hand-crank telephone from the wall and handed it into the oven where she had spread the news. From then until noon, taciturn groups of frightened men had stood around the remains of Frye's barn talking in stage whispers about whether Saul's Bar would open on time. Sure enough, right at noon, they heard Saul's key rattle in the lock even though it was over a mile away. So for the rest of the day the groups of men walked, and eventually staggered, between Saul's and the Frye place as well as following the new path of destruction back to the end of Cold Spring Glen and frequently falling into huge, steaming piles of monster droppings. By evening they were potted to the gills enough to talk old Ebenezer Creosote into following the house-wide path down into the shadowy depths of the glen.

After about five minutes he yelled, "I can shee the end of the trail and there'sh nothshing here." Then, "Whoopsh!" as though he had stumbled into a barn, which he frequently did coming home from Saul's. Suddenly he let out a shriek that chilled them to their bones and sent them stumbling back to the bar to discuss the best way to inform Ebenezer's young widow. Saul himself kindly offered to take on the difficult task.

Darkness fell upon a stricken countryside too passive to organize for real defence. In a few cases closely related families would herd together with their cattle and watch in the gloom under one roof, but in general they barred their doors and hid in their ovens. Nothing happened that night except that Zebulon Whateley, of the slowly decaying branch of the Whateleys, was accidentally locked in the bar when Saul left hurriedly with a clanking gunny sack over his shoulder to comfort Ebenezer Creosote's new widow. Returning in the small hours of the morning, Saul discovered Zebulon passed out on the bar and dragged him by his heels out into the yard before locking up again and crawling into his oven.

The next day passed slowly and without incident as the villagers refused to leave the comfort and safety of Saul's Bar. Even the still unconscious Zebulon had been dragged back inside. By afternoon the men's spirits rose in direct proportion to the lowering of the level in their glasses. Yet to Saul's disappointment, no one seemed inclined to visit Cold Spring Glen, the general consensus being that the horror was over and it was best to let sleeping monsters lie. That night the general barricading and hiding in ovens was repeated though there was less huddling with cattle. Here and there was reported an unnatural smell, but, as that was mainly from people who were still hiding in ovens along with their cattle, those reports were taken with a grain of salt.

The next morning the men lounging in front of Saul's Bar waiting for opening time stood slack-jawed staring at Sentinel Hill. A huge swath of destruction led from Cold Spring Glen up the sheer vertical face of the hill, the horizontal trees broken like matchsticks. In a circle a hundred yards wide around the ring of stones at the summit, hundred year old oaks were beaten as much as eight feet into the ground beneath the large round prints with the curious central depression. Another path led down the precipitous drop and back to the glen. When Saul heard the news he was delighted and attempted to send of a party of exploration.

"Them circle o' stones is whar ol' Wizard Whateley 'n' his fambly us'ter build they's fires," he told them. "Shudn't youse orta go on up thar 'n' look araound?"

But the men would hear nothing of it and huddled around the dirty tables, downing Saul's cheap booze like the water that diluted it.

Thursday night began much like the others but it ended less happily. The whippoorwills in the glen had screamed with such unusual persistence that many could not sleep and about 3 A. M. all the party telephones rang tremulously. Those who had taken the precaution of bringing the phone into the oven with them heard a fright mad voice shriek out, "Help! Help! Oh my Gawrd!..." then came the sound of tortured cast iron just before the phones went dead. There was a quick roll call. The only party missing was Selina Frye. Fearful wives exhorted their husbands to rush to the Frye place, accompanying their pleas with what smacks and kicks the confines of the ovens would allow. Yet not a single man would budge until one o'clock the next afternoon after they had built up their courage at Saul's Bar.

The small party that staggered into the Frye's yard sobered instantly. The barn was flattened with a few red smears that were all that remained of Elmer's cattle. The house was flattened as well with a red smear under the smashed stove being all that remained of the occupants. Even the outhouse was reduced to a few splintered boards and a malodorous hole in ground. A giant pencil had come from the void and erased the Elmer Fryes from Dunwich.


VIII

Meanwhile in Arkham, kindly old Professor Armitage stood in the flowerbed outside the library wondering, See Yog Sothoth open the gate. See the Old Ones come through the gate. What could it all mean? He had put the pieces together several times but every time he had swooned at the terrible revelation and forgotten it. Was he getting senile at 97? He had asked his dear friends, Professors Rice and Morgan, to hold him up. They stood on either side of him, each leaning on a cane with one hand and propping up Armitage with the other.

"Eureka!" shouted Armitage," I have it. Wizard Whateley, or Wilbur, or Wilbur's unknown brother, who for convenience we will call Orville, or Wilbur's albino mother or somebody is going to open a gate... and somebody or something is going to come through that gate."

This extreme effort had so tired the Professor that he immediately fell asleep; his aged friends dumped him limply among the gardenias and discussed his revelation quietly between themselves for several hours, pausing only for occasional naps along side the snoring Armitage.


IX

When the three finally awoke it was morning. They had a hurried breakfast of gruel and climbed stiffly into Armitage's car. They arrived at Dunwich Village about one in the afternoon. The day was pleasant except for the frequent thunderstorms, a tornado and an 18 inch snowfall. In spite of that a kind of quiet dread and portent seemed to hang over the sullen crowd in Saul's Bar. When the trio sat at a rickety corner table and ordered beers, Saul served them with a torpid disinterest and turned his back to polish the bar with a rag that actually made it grimier. After ordering (and paying for) two more rounds, Armitage found the courage to get up and introduce himself to the villagers.

"I am kindly old Professor Henry Armitage," he mumbled into his beer. "My friends and I have come to find out what old Wizard Whateley and his grandson were up to and to put an end to it." He raised his head and spoke his final sentence in a clear commanding voice. "Are you with us?"

The dust cloud did not settle for a week.

Saul, who suddenly found himself without customers except for the three old geezers in the corner, became more communicative as he collected half empty glasses from the tables and poured their contents into various expensively labeled bottles.

When he told them about the flattened wall of the Whateley barn, the wide swath and the straight line of huge footprints with the curious central depression leading into Cold Spring Glen, Armitage choked on his beer. Then Saul described the passing of his half-brother Seth and of Ebenezer Creosote and the piteousness of their distraught young widows. - Armitage turned white and put down his glass. Finally Saul described the destruction of Elmer Frye's place and his family, wiping a tear from his eye at the loss of his best customer. Armitage fainted and slid under the table. Saul picked up his half emptied glass and poured the contents into a bottle conspicuously labeled in crayon "100% Jenyouwine IriSh Wisky" as he drew the other men's attention to the tracks up and down the steep sides of Sentinel Hill visible through the window. They also fainted and Saul smiled to himself as he added the contents of their glasses to the bottle in his hand. Then he picked up his bucket of floor-cleaning water and, after topping of the bottle, splashed the rest over the old codgers under the table. They awoke spluttering.

"Which way to Cold Spring Glen?" spluttered Armitage.

Saul did his Denny Dimwit impression - he pulled in his already weak chin, let his tongue loll out, pointed right with his left hand and left with his right and slurred, "Duhhh, that way." After the men went out the door and headed in three different directions, he fell on the wet floor and laughed until he choked.

Rice ended up at the Whateley place, looked at the collapsed back of the barn, smelled the unearthly stench and ran to be sick in the remains of the outhouse. Morgan actually wandered to the edge of the glen, looked down the wide track of flattened trees leading into the gloom, smelled the foetor from below and barfed into one of the huge depressions in the road. Meanwhile Armitage began climbing the sheer cliff of Sentinel Hill clambering from tree to horizontal tree like a giant ladder. About half way up the smell got to him as well and, after throwing up onto the roof of Saul's Bar far below, he hung limply over a tree not unlike Frieda's cat.

Rice and Morgan eventually met on the main road and spied Armitage halfway up the hill. Stopping only for a shot and a beer at Saul's, they grabbed a large coil of small rope from the car and climbed the back of Sentinel Hill by the convenient footpath. By this time Armitage had struggled nearly to the top of the vertical wall. Rice and Morgan quickly made a slip-loop in the end of the rope and, dropping it neatly around Armitage's neck, pulled him to safety.


X

They heard an excited babbling far below and, while Armitage fought to get the rope off over his head; the other two doddering old professors peered nearsightedly over the edge of the cliff. Below the villagers had deemed it safe to return to Saul's Bar once the crazy Arkham men were gone. Yet instead of going inside, they all stood gaping upward. Rice and Morgan looked at the sky themselves but saw nothing outside of the ordinary. By this time Armitage had staggered up behind them. He knocked their heads together with a resounding thump to get their attention and pointed straight down the cliff. At the halfway point the horizontal trees were bending downward in an alarming manner. Armitage reminded them of the scene in "Forbidden Planet" where steel steps bend under the weight of the invisible creature.

"That's it," said Rice and Morgan in unicycle, "monsters from the id!"

Armitage banged their heads together a second time in the vain hope of knocking some sense into them. The three of them watched as the bending of the trees slowly advanced towards them up the face of the cliff. Occasionally a vast off-white, globular mass appeared out of nowhere to splat onto the roof of the bar.

"Monster poop!" muttered Armitage, holding his nose.

"This is great," said Rice who finally had gotten a modicum of sense out of the head-banging, "A giant, invisible monster is climbing the vertical face of the hill toward us and here we stand, like Laurel and Hardy, holding our noses."

"Laurel and Hardy were only two," corrected Morgan smacking him up the side of the head.

"I know that," retorted Rice grabbing Morgan's nose and twisting. "I was being figurative, not literal."

"Go fart up a chimney," said Morgan waving his hand in front of Rice's face before poking him in the eye.

"Who's going to make me?" taunted Rice sticking out his tongue, which Morgan grabbed and yanked.

Armitage stepped between them and jerked out his elbows catching both men in their stomachs. "Spread out you knuckleheads!" he growled, "And let's do something about this monster."

With the aid of pushing, shoving and eye-gouging, Armitage got them to help him roll one of the stone columns to the edge of the cliff and topple it over. The heavy monolith plummeted down the hillside, knocking loose stones, dirt and tree branches as it went. The entire mass seemed stop in midair briefly outlining a vast bulk clinging to the side of the hill before dividing itself in two and continuing its descent. Below the villagers were still clustered around Saul's door. Only Wesley Corey had his head tilted upward as he drained a mug of beer when the debris hit the obstruction. Everyone else was running for cover.

"Holy hoppin' sheep dip!" he yelled dropping the mug into his wide-open mouth and bugging out his eyes in disbelief. Then he swooned just before the falling rubble buried him up to his neck.

The slower moving monolith hit the unseen object dead center followed by a bellow that shook the ground where the three men stood.

"Got it in the balls, did we?" asked Armitage smugly.

"I don't think so," said Rice who had been the only one looking over the edge. "I think we hit it in the bo...."

"No time now." interrupted Armitage as he pulled a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and flattened it out, "I copied some witch spells from the Necronomicon that might serve to banish it to the abysmal depths where it belongs."

"You mean Hell?" said Morgan.

"Cleveland!" corrected Armitage scanning the paper frantically.

"It's climbing higher," shouted Rice. "If it weren't invisible it would probably look mean. Read, man, read!"

Armitage pitched his wheezy voice as low as he could - A above middle C. "Take one pound of raw shrimp, one pound of sausage and two cups of yellow rice. Combine in a dutch oven..."

"Wrong side!" said Morgan grabbing the paper and turning it over.

Far below, the group in front of Saul's Bar had dragged some tables outside and sat guzzling pitchers of beer while watching the spectacle on Sentinel Hill. They saw the area of bending, splitting trees moving higher. At the summit they could just make out the figures of the three men waving their arms frantically and occasionally heard distant disjointed cries that sounded vaguely like, "Help! Save us!" They applauded weakly and went back to their beer. Then the city men must have begun chanting in unison for they distinctly heard faint rhythmic syllables. Saul, whose hearing was keener than the others from listening for mumbled orders from the tables every night, and who was the only one who could write, made notes on the back of a napkin. One was an A above middle C and below it he scrawled:

Hickory dickory dock,
Yog-Sothoth is seeing his doom.
We strapped a bomb to the clock,
The bomb went off.
Hickory dickory Boom!

At this the currently bent trees waved as though they were being shaken in anger. Then the path being broken on the face of the cliff continued upward at an increased pace. More chanting floated down.

Yog-Sothoth sat on a wall.
Yog-Sothoth had a great fall.
All the wizard's demons and all the wizard's men,
Couldn't put the Yog back together again.

The path shot to the top of Sentinel hill like an arrow. The professors were running along the top of the cliff now, still waving their arms and shouting.

Yog be nimble, Yog be quick.
Yog jump over this itsy bitsy stick.

With that they ducked under a huge fallen oak. Trees and stone columns were being scattered from a swath the width of a barn across the top of the hill. This was accompanied by a tremendous whump, whump, whump as if a wheel with huge spokes but no rim were rolling along the ground leaving the straight line of giant crater-like prints with the curious central depression. This swath turned and rushed at the spot on the cliff where the men had vanished. Then there was a terrific whooshing of air, a descending screech and finally a crash as something huge but invisible crushed the ancient stone bridge over the Miskatonic into fine sand. At the summit the three men had appeared once more and, amid cackling old man's laughter, the villagers clearly heard a musical, "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!" The Dunwich Horror had ended.

Wesley Corey came to just long enough to mutter, "What boobs!" before he smiled and passed out again. A few of the villagers looked at him with disgust but most with undisguised interest.

A half hour later, just as the crew at the bar was pulling the last rubble away from Wesley Corey's limp, smiling body the three professors stumbled into the clearing in front of the bar. Dropping Corey back into the dirt, they all asked the men from Arkham what the Whateleys had called up with their wizardry.

"Well boys," began Armitage taking a proffered beer from Saul and gulping it, "It was something not of this Earth, something that had no right to exist in any sane world. Maybe that's why it couldn't leave Dunwich." The villagers looked puzzled but pleased. " The Whateleys didn't call it out of the air. It was Wilbur's twin brother, but it looked more like the father..."

Rice tugged at Armitage's sleeve to get his attention. Armitage kicked him in the shin. Just then Wesley Corey opened his eyes and his mouth. "Whoooeeee!" he yelled. "Like a blimp with giant boobies all the way araound jest rollin' up that thar hill. That's what left them raound prints, an' the holes in the center was from them nipples." He took a swig of beer and passed out once more.

While Armitage's attention was diverted, Rice announced quickly, "Not Wilbur's brother...it was his sister, and it took after their mother as well!"