The Peacham Incident

by Ruth Urlacher


Lovecraft Idea#100
Subterranean region beneath placid New England village, inhabited by (living or extinct) creatures of prehistoric antiquity and strangeness.


Description: Black Moleskine brand notebook, found at site B, contents follow:

September 23rd
Something keeps waking me. I decided to keep this notebook by my bed in the hope that I'll remember a dream or a vision. Something that might explain why I can't sleep through the night. It's 3.44am. I don't think I was dreaming, so why am I awake?

September 24th
Awake again. 3.48am. No reason that I can see.

September 25th
3.35am. Nothing.

September 26th
3.42am. I got up to get a glass of water. As I put my feet on the floor I felt it vibrating. It continued as I moved downstairs to the kitchen; it was slight, barely noticeable even, yet it seemed stronger on the lower floor. I went down to the basement. It was even stronger down there. I couldn't think of a reason for it to be happening. Perhaps the earth itself was moving. Could this be what's been waking me? I thought a saw a shadow outside the kitchen window as I headed back upstairs, but it was probably nothing.

September 27th
3.47am. It's always the same time. I think I'm starting to expect it – I don't know now if something is waking me or if I'm waking myself. I felt the vibrations again. The shadow I saw last night has been playing on my mind. I wanted to go to the window, but convinced myself I was being childish. The vibrations have stopped now, I'm going back to sleep.

September 28th
3.45am. I think the waking is becoming a conditioned response. I came awake like I had set an alarm. I can still feel the vibrations, but they seem weaker. I'm convinced there is something outside, but I don't want to look. The street should be empty, it's the dead of night – and yet I'm afraid it won't be.

4.09am. Something came out of the trees behind the church. I looked out and there was nothing there. I wasn't ready to go back to sleep, so I watched for a while. I was stepping back from the window, about to get back into bed when I saw it. It looks like a person, walking on all fours, feet and hands. It seems stiff. Jerky, like a stop-motion cartoon. It's not human, it can't be, it looks all wrong. My scalp is tingling like it could crawl off my skull; watching it is like watching a 3D movie without the glasses.

8.04am. Called in sick at work. Didn't get any more sleep. I watched that thing, whatever it was, until it disappeared. It walked around the church and tried to get inside but the door was locked, then it headed away from me, towards the centre of town. It didn't come back.

October 1st
3.10am. I took a sleeping pill last night. I woke at the usual time, but didn't have the energy to get up. I fell asleep and dreamed about it instead. At work, Bill asked me why I looked like shit. I told him insomnia and he quoted Daphne du Maurier at me; last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Something like that, I said. I don't feel any vibrations tonight.

3.58am. There were two this time. They came out of the trees again and tried to get into the church. I don't know if one of them was the one I saw before or not. They split up and went off in different directions. After a while, I heard a noise like I don't know what. Like radio static and microphone feedback. It came again, and again, back and forth. I saw the one that went toward town come back and follow the other and I realized they were calling to each other. They both came back to the church and I saw them clearly as they passed under the streetlight. Their faces were covered in blood. One of them ran its finger through the blood on the other's face and licked it off, and they both started making those horrible radio-feedback noises again. I think they were laughing. I'm going to take another sleeping pill.

1.00pm. I didn't go to work again today. The pill made me oversleep, but I didn't want to go in anyway. I don't have any sick days left, so I just didn't call. They can fire me if they want. Dr. Ladd says she doesn't think I should be working there anyway. Says the stress might cause another break, and that she'll help me get disability if I want. But I don't. I take my medicine, go to therapy, get up and go to work. I'm a functional human being. I'm even writing, like she suggested, though this probably isn't what she had in mind.

4.34pm. Went for a walk. The Randall kids were putting up posters because their dog is missing. I bet I know what happened to it. I didn't say anything, they're too little, it would have been cruel. It isn't coming back though.

October 2nd
6.55am. They saw me watching. I caught their attention somehow and now they know I know about them. Their faces are impossibly pale, a level of whiteness I didn't know could exist. And their eyes. Big, big eyes. Like owls maybe, or an octopus. It would be funny if they weren't so horrifying. Their eyes are black and empty, like tarnished mirrors. I couldn't look away even though looking at them made it hard to breathe. I don't know what they did or where they went. They broke their gaze and I spent the rest of the night huddled in bed like a frightened child.

7.05am. They left me a present. I went out for a smoke and found a pile of teeth on the doorstep. Teeth that look like they probably came from a little dog. Shit.

12.46pm. Checked out the church. I don't want to watch from my room tonight now that they know I'm there. The doors were unlocked but Father Daly wasn't around. I propped the door to the bell tower open with a stone. I made sure it was small enough that the door looks closed. Hopefully he won't check. I'll come back later and settle in before he locks up for the night.

October 3rd
2.35am. I have a good view from up here, I can see into the trees where they usually come from, as well as across the street to my place. Father Daly never came back to lock up. I don't like to imagine why, so I locked the doors myself from the inside. I don't want them coming in when I'm cornered up here.

3.18am. They're outside my house. I can hear them talking to each other with those weird noises they make. I could swear one of them said 'dog'. I think they're learning to talk on their night time expeditions.

10.56am. Father Daly must have come back at some point. I got woken up by all the old ladies singing hymns at morning mass. I snuck out before it ended.

5.30pm. Dr. Lass asked me why I got fired. It's the first I've heard of it, I said. She's been talking to my mother, she told me, who says I stopped going to work. Apparently she called the office and asked for me and they said I no longer worked there. She's worried I'm not taking my medicine. I told Dr. Lass that was bullshit, I'm just not sleeping well right now and I ran out of sick days. I hate getting screamed at by dumbfuck trailer trash who can't see the football game because they were too busy buying meth to pay their cable bill anyway. She told me she wants to see me more often to make sure I'm 'coping'. Great. She's the last person I need thinking I'm crazy.

October 4th
10.11am. I took a sleeping pill like a good little patient. Dr. Lass wrote me a scrip for something stronger than the ones I got from the drug store, and I slept right through. It's nice to feel clear-headed.

11.40am. One of the altar boys is missing. Never made it home from morning mass yesterday. I have to talk to Father Daly. I should warn him. At least he's not allowed to tell anyone if I talk to him and come off like a crazy person. It's like doctor-patient privilege only with God watching to make sure.

7.03pm. So much for that. It's not Father Daly. It's one of them, wearing his face. He wouldn't step out into the light when I was talking to him, said he had a headache, but I saw his face and his eyes were black, like theirs. I made some dumb excuse to leave and he smiled at me. His teeth were tiny and pointed, and more numerous than they should have been. I don't know what to do now.

October 5th
8.00am. I locked myself in the house as soon as it went dark last night. Made sure the windows were latched and closed all the curtains. I didn't want to see them, or for them to see me. I heard them tapping on the door, calling my name. The Father Daly one must have told them. I'm going to find where they go during the day. I have to get proof that they're real. Dr. Lass will lock me up and throw away the key if I show her this with nothing to back it up.

8.43am. I found where they come out. It's like there was an earthquake here, the ground is all twisted and broken. There's an opening that continues into a tunnel. It smells like bad meat. I think I know why but I wish I didn't.

10.05am. The tunnels go deep. Their digging to the surface must have been what caused the vibrations. They extend all the way under the town. I feel like Theseus, only I forgot to bring thread. I found a jawbone further back. I picked it up for evidence. They must have been building down here for years. Centuries maybe. Jesus.

?? I'm lost. I fell and broke my watch. I can feel the weight of the earth above me – it's like vertigo in reverse. I can hear them. I hope they can't hear me. My flashlight is dying. I should have packed batteries. Shit.

?? Hiding. They know I'm here, they keep saying my name. Fuck [Unintelligible] idea. I should have told someone [Unintelligible]. It's so dark [Unintelligible] can't [Unintelligible]. [Unintelligible] down here, my God.

?? [Unintelligible] hours. I don't think

Content ends. Turn page for APPENDIX F.

Ruth is a 23 year old British-Canadian, who recently went back to school after tiring of the horrors of being a responsible adult. Instead, she now studies anthropology and writes fiction and poetry in the hope that one of these things will enable her to avoid having a real job for the rest of her life. You can find her on twitter at @Mumbleduck, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

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