The Lurking Fear is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft in the horror fiction genre. Written in November 1922, it was first published in the January through April 1923 issues of Home Brew. In 1921, an unnamed reporter and local monster-hunter travels to Tempest Mountain, in the Catskills range, after reports of various attacks by a group of unidentified creatures against the local inhabitants reaches the media. A month before, a massive thunderstorm, even larger than the ones which usually plague the region, had drifted across the mountains, and brought with it destruction. The next morning, many homes were destroyed, seemingly by the storm, but upon closer inspection, the destruction seemed to be left by an enraged beast. The affected area, originally home to only 75 citizens, was completely destroyed, leaving no survivors. Gathering what information he can from the locals, he finds out that most of the legends surround the foreboding Martense mansion, a century-old Dutch homestead, which has been disregarded by the police as it's apparently abandoned. The narrator, bringing with him two companions as his bodyguards, enters the mansion at night, just when another thunderstorm approaches, and takes up residence in the room of Jan Martense, a member of the family believed to have been murdered. The mansion is completely deserted, but the narrator and his friends take precautions and plan several methods of escape, in case they are attacked during the night by whatever force haunts the house. Despite their careful preparation, keeping watch in shifts and sleeping armed, the group eventually drift off to sleep. The narrator wakes up to discover both his companions missing and, in a flash of lightning, witnesses a demonic shadow briefly cast upon the mansion's chimney by a grotesque monster. Neither of his companions are ever seen again.
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H. P. LOVECRAFT
Copyright © 2016 by H.P. Lovecraft.
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations em- bodied in critical articles or reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organiza- tions, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Sheba Blake Publishing
Book and Cover design by Sheba Blake Publishing
First Edition: January 2017
THE LURKING FEAR 2
Table of Contents
I. The Shadow On The Chimney
II. A Passer In The Storm
III. What The Red Glare Meant
IV. The Horror In The Eyes
There was thunder in the air on the night I went to the deserted mansion atop Tempest Mountain to find the lurking fear. I was not alone, for foolhardiness was not then mixed with that love of the grotesque and the terrible which has made my career a series of quests for strange horrors in literature and in life. With me were two faithful and muscular men for whom I had sent when the time came; men long associated with me in my ghastly explorations because of their peculiar fitness.
We had started quietly from the village because of the reporters who still lingered about after the eldritch panic of a month before - the nightmare creeping death. Later, I thought, they might aid me; but I did not want them then. Would to God I had let them share the search, that I might not have had to bear the secret alone so long; to bear it alone for fear the world would call me mad or go mad itself at the demon implications of the thing. Now that I am telling it anyway, lest the brooding make me a maniac, I wish I had never concealed it. For I, and I only, know what manner of fear lurked on that spectral and desolate mountain.
In a small motor-car we covered the miles of primeval forest and hill until the wooded ascent checked it. The country bore an aspect more than usually sinister as we viewed it by night and without the accustomed crowds of investigators, so that we were often tempted to use the acetylene headlight despite the attention it might attract. It was not a wholesome landscape after dark, and I believe I would have noticed its morbidity even had I been ignorant of the terror that stalked there. Of wild creatures there were none-they are wise when death leers close. The ancient lightning-scarred trees seemed unnaturally large and twisted, and the other vegetation unnaturally thick and feverish, while curious mounds and hummocks in the weedy, fulgurite-pitted earth reminded me of snakes and dead men's skulls swelled to gigantic proportions.
Fear had lurked on Tempest Mountain for more than a century. This I learned at once from newspaper accounts of the catastrophe which first brought the region to the world's notice. The place is a remote, lonely elevation in that part of the Catskills where Dutch civilization once feebly and transiently penetrated, leaving behind as it receded only a few mined mansions and a degenerate squatter population inhabiting pitiful hamlets on isolated slopes. Normal beings seldom visited the locality till the state police were formed, and even now only infrequent troopers patrol it. The fear, however, is an old tradition throughout the neighboring villages; since it is a prime topic in the simple discourse of the poor mongrels who sometimes leave their valleys to trade handwoven baskets for such primitive necessities as they cannot shoot, raise, or make.
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