Letters to Lovecraft is our newest genre-blending anthology of original fiction, and to give readers a taste of what they can expect we’ve been posting excerpts from each of the stories. We now come to the haunting final piece of the collection, “The Semi-Finished Basement” by Nick Mamatas.
There were other groups all over the world, or so the members of the group would have liked to think. It wouldn’t be fair if they were all alone, all alone with the unbelievable truth.
And statistically, it was impossible that the four people in this room — two women, two men — were the only ones who had noticed the great change. And if there were others, it stood to reason that they would have found one another, formed groups. Met once a month, to talk about it, three months running, like this group had.
Maybe one of the groups was comprised of important people. Philosophers and scientists, poets and soldiers. People dedicated to getting to the bottom of what had happened, to setting the world aright.
This group, with its four women and two men, was not that group. It was, when all was said and done, more of a support group.
“So, anything?” Lurlene asked. The group met at her house, because she kept it neat and always offered snacks and soft drinks — diet soda pops and lemonade from a powder mix. Her husband kept guns, and that made the two men feel safer. They met in the basement for the same reason. It was hard to feel safe in a room with windows these days.
“I like these blondies,” Nashawna said. She licked her fingers. She only felt safe, irrationally so, when Lurlene’s black cat jumped into her lap and made himself comfortable, and purred. Which he did at the start of every meeting. He was there now, so Nashawna held her blondie in a napkin with her left hand.
Aaron looked at Nashawna, and the black cat, and the blondie, and said, “Ha, that should be a brownie.”
“Don’t,” Nashawna said.
Lurlene glanced back and forth between the two of them, and then stared meaningfully at Stewart. “Forget that, Aaron. Just tell them what you recall.”
“The crawling chaos,” Aaron said. “I’ve been thinking a lot about Egypt lately…”
For the rest, get Letters to Lovecraft from Stone Skin Press.
Nick Mamatas is the author of several novels, including Love is the Law and The Last Weekend, and the Lovecraftian mash-ups Move Under Ground and The Damned Highway (cowritten with Brian Keene). His Lovecraftian fiction has appeared in ChiZine, Lovecraft Unbound, Shotguns v. Cthulhu and many other venues. Much of it will be collected in The Nickronomicon, to be published by Innsmouth Free Press in the autumn of 2014. His non-Lovecraftian work has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and a wide assortment of magazines, websites, and anthologies. Also an editor and anthologist, Nick’s latest editorial works include Phantasm Japan and the essay collection The Battle Royale Slam Book, both from Haikasoru.