It was in the summer of 1934 that my fever returned, the drama and stress of city life was not proving conducive to my health and I was plagued with bizarre dreams and night sweats, awaking paler and weaker every morning; my body unable to heal itself and my spirit growing tired from the nightly torments.
It was in the spirit of love and hopefulness that my beloved Cecily booked us a suite of adjoining rooms in the resort town of Innsmouth by the Sea and that we arrived there on that fateful July afternoon to take part in what the Innsmouth Herald called ‘a localised disturbance’, in reality – an event of such horror that I can scarce bring pen to paper now.
But my time runs short and if future generations are to be spared such abominations; the truth must be told.
Here then is the unadulterated account of what occurred in Innsmouth that summer – May merciful God please take my soul tonight; so that I do not have to relive another day.
The train journey down had been uneventful, our first class carriage was protected from the smoke and soot from the engine and although we travelled for a little over nine hours, the food and wine were outstanding and we arrived refreshed and hopeful of the sea air working its primordial magic upon my system.
A carriage was awaiting at the station and the porters loaded our cases onto the back with alacrity, hoping for and receiving a sizeable tip that occasioned both of the otherwise grim-countenanced men to smile broadly.
Innsmouth had been substantially rebuilt following the fire that devastated the town in 1922, although the shiny-cobbled streets looked unchanged in the older part of the town with some houses leaning into each other at perilous and strange angles.
The coast runs close to the town and a sparkling new boulevard had been laid that stretched for over two miles – a substantial piece of investment for a small town and dozens of new businesses, including our hotel were built alongside, with a view of both boulevard and beach.
The Innsmouth Grand Hotel lived up to its name – a four story columned building finished in pearlescent white and built in the grand Gothic style with towers, turrets and cleverly designed doors and windows that reminded one of multi-faceted jewels.
The concierge swooped out to our carriage and with a whirlwind of activity, Cecily and I were shown to our adjoining ocean-facing suites and it was from our adjacent balconies that we clasped hands and looked at the beauty of the sea and shoreline together.
It had always been a mystery to me as to why Innsmouth was not as popular as Long Island or some of the California resorts, the coastline is magnificent, white sands, azure sea and stunning rock formations a few hundred yards out to sea that seemed to change shape as the reflected light from the sea bounced from their faces.
The mystery that surrounded the events that led up to the fire of 1922 cannot have helped the town rebuild itself as a vacation and relaxation resort, for no satisfactory explanation of that day ever made it to press. A fire occurred and some of the population were found to be missing afterwards. The assumption put forward by the press was that they had relocated.
Still; rumours and whispers lingered, of strange practices, of lights in the sky and of half-glimpsed figures that appeared in the flames but of which there were no signs once the fire was contained.
I mentioned nothing of this to my sweet Cecily; the town seemed to be absolutely charming and completely dedicated to the new industry of leisure – service at all points so far had been immaculate and I looked forward to our dinner in the new hotel’s ocean-facing restaurant.
I dressed carefully for dinner, my best suit had been unpacked and pressed, my diamond cufflinks gleamed and my tie reflected the green of Cecily’s eyes.
Did I mention that my fiancée was a beautiful woman? Small and elfin-featured with heartbreaking green eyes and a way of seeing into your very soul. Her blonde hair gleamed in any light but seemed made for the moonlight where it seemed to reflect more light than received; she shone like a beacon.
It was with a sense of deep pride that I escorted her to our table, a bottle of champagne already open and glistening in a silver ice-bucket and our waiter attentiveness itself.
I shall not dwell upon our meal, save to note that no food has ever tasted as fine, no wine, spirit or champagne since has filled my soul with the glow that comes from eating well and basking in love.
Following our meal; much of which I confess was spent in contemplation of Cecily’s beauty, the glow from her eyes, her flawless pale skin, the music of her voice – we gathered our coats and joined the happy throng of people upon the boulevard.
Innsmouth had eschewed electric lighting at that point, electing instead to light the boardwalk with regularly spaced flaming torches, giving a party-like atmosphere to the boulevard, which was enhanced by the soft music that rang out from the bars and restaurants, the end of prohibition giving businesses a new life and spirit of hopefulness.
I clasped Cecily’s hand lightly as we walked, our steps light and in time with the music that flowed around us. Our matching smiles seemed to grow as the evening wore on and I knew that I would spend the rest of my life with this wonderful woman.
The boulevard was full of like-minded couples and our steps gave a strange rhythmic counterpoint to the music, heightened by the flames and the unusually bright moon that gave Cecily’s hair an eldritch glow and was reflected in her shining eyes.
I leaned in close, so as to drink in her beauty and so did not see the attacker until it was much too late. Not that I really saw anything at all. There was just an impression of darkness and fangs and then Cecily’s throat was laid open and I was frantically trying to staunch the flow of blood. But the dark thing did not stop there and another five young women were similarly attacked, all within seconds and before any defence could be mounted by the men of the boulevard.
Cecily had fainted outright and it was with uncertain steps that I carried her back to the safety of the Innsmouth Grand Hotel and to the tender ministrations of the doctor.
Grim countenanced and with an air of utmost concentration, the doctor began the task of irrigating the wound which I was pleased to note was less severe than I originally thought – a slashing wound rather than a deep puncture. He then cleansed the area with surgical alcohol before closing with small sutures. Cecily was mercifully asleep during this operation and he then woke her with smelling salts to ensure that her mental faculties were not impaired following the attack.
The five other young ladies were similarly treated by the doctor and his assistant and I was left trying to explain to the town constable what had occurred.
My tale was viewed with deep suspicion and I was left feeling strangely, guiltily glad that there had been multiple attacks as I was sure that my next view would be of Innsmouth Gaol if this had been a singular occurrence.
A militia was raised and the boulevard rang with voices and shouts throughout the night. I confess that I did not join the hunt as I stood watch over my darling Cecily as she fitfully slept through the hue and cry of the men and dogs on the boardwalk and the clattering of hooves upon the cobbles.
Dawn arose with a pink blush over the sea and my heart was gladdened to see that the colour had begun to return to Cecily’s cheeks as she slept.
Her beautiful green eyes opened and she spoke.
Dear reader, I am not a vulgar man by nature nor is it my wish to overdramatise my account. However, if I do not report things accurately, how will you future generations know how to diagnose the evil in the early stages of its appearance?
And Cecily Spoke.
Her voice was utterly changed, deeper and more booming and the look of horror on her face as the words emerged broke my heart asunder. She ran from the room, weeping and mortified and it was over an hour later that she appeared, normal in countenance and voice and we wondered if the strange words were just a reaction to the shock.
I cancelled our plans for a boat trip out to the rocks and convinced Cecily that a picnic upon the boulevard would help to mend our shattered nerves.
The hotel prepared a grand repast and two porters carried table, chairs, awning, a picnic hamper, beautifully prepared food and an ice bucket with a fine meursault to the beach where we whiled away the afternoon with soft talk and murmurings, wine and food, linked hands and shared gaze.
And then another young couple walked past on the boulevard and I could see that the woman had been similarly attacked the previous night, a small wound on her neck marked her as another victim and the couple paused as if to share sympathies, a look of deep solicitation on their faces.
Until the two women locked gazes.
Something occurred in that second, depths swam behind their eyes and a bone chilling cackle emerged from their mouths simultaneously as they communicated.
The other woman’s beau looked at me aghast and I knew that this was not the first outburst of the day for this couple, both women had been infected by something.
I resolved in that moment to return Cecily to the doctor, something was badly wrong with her and it was now clear that this was not isolated to her alone.
Cecily once again looked to be in shock at her outburst, but I was concerned as I could now see something other swimming behind her eyes, which now seemed to cut and mock me with every glance.
And then a further surprise, Cecily; as was the fashion of young women who had suffered a shock to their nervous disposition, took to her room and announced that she would sleep until the next day at least.
And the door was resolutely closed in my face and stayed that way until noon the next day.
Despite my knocking and imprecations, Cecily would not budge from her quarters until, in despair and I managed to convince a maid with pleading and no small sum of cash to open the door so that I could check on her health .
What we found caused the maid to swoon, I was just able to prevent her from falling to the floor, but how I achieved this I do not know. For Cecily was changed.
Her hair was both darker and thinner, closer to black than blonde, her eyes were open but unseeing and were now a muddy shade of brown and her limbs had swollen to twice their original size, the pale skin stretched over porcine flesh that seemed to writhe and ooze under the thin covering.
I confess that I screamed aloud at that point and did not cease until the hotel manager arrived with a complement of porters, all of whom blanched at the repulsive sight before them.
Coverings were found and the beleaguered physician called, although it was at least an hour before the poor man arrived, haggard and drained-looking.
He engaged the hotel manager in private conversation before consulting with me and it was at that point I learned that all of the young women that had been attacked by the dark shape on the boulevard were exhibiting identical symptoms.
The county sheriff had been called and was due to arrive the next day, but it was clear that there were no theories that would lead to a perpetrator, nor a medical reason that the physician’s research for the condition of the young women had yet discovered.
All we could do was wait.
I sat vigil over Cecily that day and night and watched her young slim body metamorphosise into a bloated thing that reminded me of the walruses that I had once watched in San Francisco Bay. Her arms and legs were huge blubbery things that had now changed colour to that of a dark aubergine, her features were coarser a and spread across a face that now had a ring of a fat -like substance around the outside, over which multiple chins flowed. Her once pert and pretty breasts were now massive and flowing across her upper body.
I could see no sign of the woman that I loved within this monstrous being and yet I hoped that when she regained consciousness, that her sweet and loving nature would reassert itself and that we could begin looking for a cure to this madness.
At dusk on the third day, she awoke, looked groggily around the suite and heaved her huge bulk from the bed.
I stood to take her hand and was struck to the ground by a giant paw.
And with that strange imprecation ringing in my ears, a thin trickle of blood clouding my vision, she was gone.
All of the affected women disappeared that evening and despite the best efforts of the townspeople and the County Sheriff’s men who conducted a wide ranging search, they were not seen again for another week.
I had set myself up in the hotel , searching the area daily, including hiring a boat to take me out to the rocks, where I searched the strange caves and shouted myself hoarse in the search for my beloved. I spent the nights under the influence of a mix of champagne and absinthe and my dreams were haunted by dark shapes and the smell of blood.
At dusk on the last Saturday in July, the boulevard began to vibrate and THUD as if an army had been set to marching, sand danced in the last rays of the sun as the vibrations sent it high into the air.
Restaurants and hotels emptied as people rushed outside to see what strange events were about to unfold.
And we saw.
Six hugely bloated things now clad in material that fluoresced and glowed, whether from some chemical reaction to the crteatures’ skin or by some other means – I do not know. Their huge limbs oozed as they walked and their bodies were so massive that if I had not known that they were once human, I confess that I would have thought them another, alien, species.
Their voices boomed and the boulevard rattled to their steps and war cries.
They were terrifying.
A young waitress wandered too close to their orbit, terrified but curious, her eyes wide open with fear and awe. A huge meaty paw closed around her wrist and before anybody could react, the creature took a huge gory bite from her forearm, leaving the poor girl screaming and spurting blood in its wake.
The six behemoths continued on their way as if the incident had never occurred, thundering their awful way towards the town. I confess that I now had no inkling as to which of these creatures had previously been my sweet Cecily, so changed were they all and so alike to each other as to be almost indistinguishable.
I did not believe at that point that things could possibly get worse.
And then…. Oh dear God, I wish it were not so, but with a bellow of ‘FUQYOOYOUFILTHYFUQINHOE!’ The waitress began to mutate into one of these foul creatures, changing before our horrified eyes into another huge monster, her uniform now in tatters around her pulchritudinous flesh, drool escaping from her huge open maw.
The crowd ran and I confess that I ran with them, lungs heaving and in terror for my immortal soul.
We ran as a single entity and made for the the safety of the Innsmouth Grand Hotel and my heart was gladdened to see that the County Sheriff and the Town Constable were stood there, tall and strong, with cocked rifles and a complement of armed men equipped with flaming torches.
As I reached safety, a rifle was thrust into my hand and I knew that no matter what the outcome of this night was to be, my soul would be damned for all eternity.
The foul beasts that our women had become did not seem dissuaded by this show of force and stood in the middle of the boulevard, moving lewdly and bellowing strange taunts.
And other imprecations the seemed to be in no known language.
Then a shot rang out and a lump of blubber peeled from the upper arm of one of the monsters and a gout of blood sprayed the boardwalk as if ejected from a firehose.
Emboldened by this, the throng of men opened fire, although I confess that I aimed skywards as I no longer knew which of these things had been my own dear Cecily.
And the behemoths, sorely wounded in the first few seconds of the exchange turned and ran. If ran was the correct term.
Boards splintered under the assault of this migration of massive creatures ; blood stained the boulevard and sand to both sides, making crazy patterns that haunt my dreams to this day.
Then the monsters stopped and began to walk into the sea opposite the rock formations, red waves billowing behind them.
And they seemed to be praying to gods or goddesses from another time and place, causing me to wonder anew at the identity of the strange dark catalyst for these events.
It may be that if they had begun swimming, they could have escaped, but they stood in the waves, making mournful sounds as the assembled men on the beach gunned them down and turned the beach into a charnel house remisniscent of Inuit hunts.
When it was clear that none of the stranded hulks would move again, ropes were attached to the six corpses and they were heaved ashore and their corpses burnt on the beach.
This is where my story ends, I have been back to Innsmouth every summer since, partly in search of answers, partly in search of the seventh leviathan.
For in all of the exultation and terror of that night, nobody but me ever thought to count the bodies – there were five of the original behemoths and the poor afflicted waitress.
One of the monsters was missing and remains so to this day….
I am old now and near death, but I implore you all – ALL who read this to watch the beaches and resorts for the survivor, if survivor there was. Just one of these things will infect your shorelines and towns with massive crude beasts in female form, I just pray that this never comes to pass.
God bless you all.