Hey, you Lovecraft fans, I've got a treat for you! An exclusive treat!
One of the most fun and innovative voices in Lovecraftiana today is author, editor, and comic book/graphic novel creator Dwight L. MacPherson (of The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo, Kid Houdini and the Silver-Dollar Misfits, Jim Reaper, and Sidewise, among other works). Soon readers will be able to enjoy his adaptation of Lovecraft's "He" in the forthcoming The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume II.
Today, because Dwight and his wonderful wife Rebecca are
eldritch fantastic people, I have the delight of presenting an exclusive (and darkly clever) Lovecraftian short story by him for your reading dread enjoyment. Without further ado, here is...
The Deathly Tweet
By Dwight L. MacPherson
Copyright 2011 Dwight L. MacPherson
“I’ll kill every last one of them,” Tad said through muck-encrusted teeth. And by the gods… he meant it!
“Insular, self-absorbed hipsters… you think you’re better than me!” In his three years of using the social networking site Twitter, he had received a grand whopping total of five Retweets. Five! And those came before he really needed the support of all his friends. He shook his head slowly; a building heat throbbing in his temples. He scrolled down the list of his followers and those he followed as if attempting to memorize each name and location. He had been polite and faithful to Retweet the four thousand people he followed and the twenty-two who actually followed him back in that time, but, as a reward for his fidelity they had completely ignored him! He was certain they’d secretly clicked on his links and loathed his work, perhaps even laughed at it; they were unwilling to sully their paltry reputations by Retweeting substandard work. His work which he loved like a real father is meant to love his children.
They aren’t friends; they’re worthless meatbags who deserve to die! And die they surely will!
In the early going, this snub merely irritated him. But once his webcomic “Squid Honies” went live, he expected the support of his friends. And what did he get in return? Nothing. Nada, nichts, rien, nill, zip. And when he Direct Messaged people he had supported through three years of unsuccessfully building a network to promote his work, they either blew him off or unfollowed—or both. One “friend” had even gone so far as to report him to Twitter!
Sure, Tad would readily admit that the writing on his webcomic wasn’t the greatest. But the English language was so bloody difficult to learn with all its rules, exceptions— “i before e except after c… and sometimes y,” blah, blah, blah—and all those needless vowels! Still, the art was topnotch. No one could dispute that, which meant no one had an excuse for blatantly disrespecting his precious work.
“Friends,” he spat. He smoothed his wiry black hair and slammed the outdated laptop forcibly, nearly overturning the olden silver candelabrum on his outworn desk. The flames of the three black tallow candles flickered on the green-mold-covered walls like dancing daemons. Pushing off, he heaved himself out of the wheeled chair, sending it careening backward. It tipped sidewise and fell onto the garbage-piled floor with a muffled metallic crash. Tad didn’t seem to notice the clamor as he tramped through a foot of refuse until he stood next to the shabby 1970s nightstand next to the bed: it was actually a mattress with what appeared to be a large black blood stain in its center. His only blanket was wadded where he laid his head on the rare occasion when he actually slept; it was a threadbare rainbow-colored children’s comforter that was much too short to cover his wiry frame.
The small square room reeked of feces and urine, vomit, and moldering garbage, but he didn’t notice. No, he was an artiste, and so he had one driving passion: to make art. He couldn’t be troubled with cleaning—or working a “normal” job, for that matter. “Squid Honies” was the only thing that mattered in his universe. That and the ceaseless marketing that went with it; marketing that was—until this time—pointless, a colossal waste of time.
They wouldn’t live to regret it.
As Tad fingered the antediluvian tome on the nightstand, he reconsidered. He would not be able to watch them die. And he wanted more than anything to see them writhe, choking on their own blood and vomit as they passed fitfully into the afterlife. “You can’t have it all,” he murmured.
Without giving it another thought, he retrieved the ancient book from the teetering nightstand, tucked it under his left arm, and shuffled his way to the desk, the garbage making a shooshing sound as he went. He recovered the toppled chair with his left hand, righted it, and then sat down hard on the cracked plastic seat.
Flipping through the archaic volume, he found the page he was looking for and began to read aloud in a wheezing whisper. As if in response to his muttering, a slight breeze began to stir in the tiny room. Within moments, the breeze had become a gale of tornadic wind which snatched the garbage, the bed, and the bedside table from the floor and sucked them into a whirling vortex in the center of the room. Oddly, the wind did not affect Tad and his desk—or even the candles, which did not so much as flicker, so he continued his bizarre chanting, seemingly unaware of the devastating cyclone directly behind him which had finally ripped through the plaster and wood ceiling of the room.
Looking up from the crumbling parchment pages, he smiled. His sacrilege complete, he slammed the book shut. And as he did so, the winds immediately ceased and all his junk slammed onto the bedroom floor with an earth-shaking crash and sent out a plume of thick green noxious vapor which filled the room and exited the hole in the roof.
Overjoyed, Tad clapped and whinnied delightedly. His body was shaking with anticipation as he reached down, opened the laptop and poked at the keyboard. If he’d said the spell correctly—which he was certain he had—his tweet would appear on every single Twitter user’s Timeline! It was true that not every Twitter user had rejected him, but he was certain they would. They were all alike.
Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, he began to type…
Retweet this message in the next hour or you will die.
Glancing at the time on the monitor screen, he noted that it was exactly 11:00 PM. Tad giggled and leaned back in his protesting chair and hissed, “How appropriate.” Now he would wait for the witching hour.
For the next several minutes, Tad drew in his sketchbook. The pictures portrayed people in various stages of dying violent deaths. One man had blood spurting from his eyes, nose and mouth; another showed a woman who wracked by violent seizures as her lower body was run over by an industrial-sized lawnmower, showering the yard in bright red human fertilizer. A drawing he was particularly fond of portrayed a pack of black dogs eating the entrails of his gore-soaked master as a murder of hungry crows waited their turn.
“Tad,” a deafening voice boomed like thunder. It shook the walls, ceiling and floor as if in the throes of a violent earthquake. The door to Tad’s room rattled on the hinges. “You worthless little spawn!”
“Dad,” Tad mouthed, then hurriedly closed the laptop. His father thought his dreams of being a renowned artist were petty and stupid—just like his worthless Friends. They were wrong… dead wrong and Tad would show them all. He would plot revenge on dad later. But now it was essential that his father remained ignorant of what he had set in motion.
“Locking the door now, are we?” With an earsplitting crack, the door to Tad’s room exploded into a thousand pieces as it was jerked away from the outside by his father. “And just what are you trying to hide in this wretched pigsty of yours?”
Tad gulped air like a fish out of water; his body went rigid as perspiration oozed from his pores, soaking his mucky gray adventitia. He wondered if—and how—his father knew what he had done. In his terror, he considered deleting the tweet, but he realized it was much too late. And besides, there was less than forty minutes remaining to Retweet or die. If he could only delay his father long enough…
But it was not to be. For in the blink of an eye, a thick black tentacle burst through the doorway and enveloped Tad in his foul little room. His tiny tentacles flailed helplessly in the grasp of the horrific appendage, but instead of escaping, Tad’s gelatinous body burst like a water balloon, dousing the room in malodorous primordial ichor. Moments later, a second tentacle slithered into the room and opened the laptop. It pointed at the screen seemingly reading, and then it moved the cursor over the “Delete” button, preparing to remove Tad’s tweet.
It is not known if Cthulhu the Great Old One deleted the tweet posted by his cthulhoid spawn Tad, but I have heard the distant clock tower toll twelve bells and I am sti