Cthulhu’s Corner: The Shadow Over Innsmouth Beach

Cthulhu's CornerI realize that you all are terribly disappointed that I missed last week, but let me assure you that I am perfectly alright.  Certainly a glitch in the servers prevented my inbox from being inundated with thousands of your concerned emails, but I’ll count it as a blessing because as much as I’d like to, there isn’t any way I’d be able to delete them all in any reasonable amount of time considering how busy I’m about to be.

Which segues nicely into my next point:  The reason I will be busy and the reason I am a week behind is because I took a week off to visit Innsmouth Beach.  For those of you just picking up, I am from that area.  I mean, I entered this universe through a rift at the bottom of your Atlantic ocean and have some followers from the underwater city of Dagon who still live in Innsmouth, so it was a kind of homecoming for me.  Not that I wanted to be flocked by crowds of admirers— I came to unwind— but the beach was mired in a terror far worse than the darkest imaginings of human minds or even the writhing horror that slumbers in the depths just off the shoreline:  Tourists.

A typical beach-going tourist.

A typical beach-going tourist.

Flabby, pasty, noisy, reeking of humanity’s decay, the gelatinous beachgoers splashed, threw plastic spheres, molded sand into miniature fortresses, and, worst of all, laughed joyously. I had come to relax and take my mind off all the demands to which I had committed myself, but these foolish mortals had stomped on it just as I had stomped on their feeble attempts to construct tiny castles of granulated silica by child and grown men alike. Trust me, I did them all favors.  They were embarrassing themselves.
I finally found a quiet, secluded spot away from all the braying masses and stretched out my magnificent form upon a rented folding chair.  I started re-reading The Catcher in the Rye (I go through it at least once a year) and before I knew it, I was asleep.  Upon my waking, the sudden, burning realization that many strange aeons spent in darkness had betrayed my complexion came upon me as I had become quite sunburnt.  The agony of my movements was matched only by my ire, stirred by those who had failed to offer up  sunblock as tribute to me as I lumbered from the parking lot to the far end of the beach.  Do you know how long it takes to lumber anywhere? There were countless opportunities to hand me some Hawaiian Tropic!

In addition to being sunburnt, I was also parched beyond understanding.  I know, “you were probably just thirsty, don’t oversell it”.  Understand, I have come through the celestial plane by way of your deepest oceans; I need more water than a simple mortal.  Since no one on the beach had the decency to toss me one of their extra Evians (not that I would touch anything less than artisanal spring water of my own volition, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers), I soon realized the only reasonable course of action was to patronize one of the many vendors strategically placed along the boardwalk.

I understand how the system works, and I applaud them for it.  They can charge whatever they like and we pay for the convenience of not leaving the beach.  It really drives home the illusion of Free Will.  Anywho, I make my way over to the boardwalk to survey the available options.  The journey was short but excruciating, given the state of my mighty nerve endings, and ultimately disappointing.  They had a coffee stand, a dirty hot dog stand that had fountain sodas, and a slushee stand, and every last one had a line that stretched to the shore line.  Realizing that it would take me nearly as long to walk anywhere else as it would to wait in line I queued up for the coffee stand.  Luckily, the fools upon whom my countenance fell were driven mad, so the line moved pretty quickly.  When I reached the counter, the barista (baristo?), Jeremy, overcharged me a venti when I ordered a grande, then gave this big exasperated sigh when I pointed it out.  They don’t grind their own beans, they only had white sugar when I asked for raw molasses sugar, and they weren’t classy enough to have French vanilla, just plain vanilla.  When I finally got my coffee (his rudimentary vocal chords struggled to properly pronounce my mighty name), I would have been just as well off drinking swill from a tide pool.  Not one of those fancy Hawaiian ones; a New England tide pool full of dead clams and rusty lobster traps.

That’s when I lumbered back to my secluded spot on the beach to discover this family had taken over my rental chair.  That was the last straw.  I had endured so much with every bit of grace and dignity befitting an Elder God, but I could abide no more.  Summoning every last ounce of my great power, I cast my dark shadow into their minds, bending their feeble wills to my horrific purpose.  All at once, as if of one mind, they marched, stone eyes fixed upon some imagined horizon, their steps slow but measured, deliberate and guided.  Onlookers gazed in soundless horror as the droves walked to the shoreline without hesitation and vanished beneath the lapping waves; every one of their vacant and listless faces disappearing into the drink until every man, woman, and child had left the beach, and left me, in peace.

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