10 Oct Lost in Lovecraft
“Lost in Lovecraft”Written by Dale Thompson Edited by Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available
⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME — 16 minutes
I am barricaded by self-design. I have enclosed myself, shut off from the world except for takeaways, home deliveries. The ugliness of sound, reverberations, noises, vibrations are a tormentor of my every nerve. Much to my annoyance, I have been unable thus far to escape the horribly disagreeable echoes of this hell. Subsequently, with everything that seems to have happened at once, this anomaly has been a great detriment to my very existence.
Imagine a man who can no longer tolerate sound. Even my own footsteps upon this cursed wooden floor grate on my senses. I swear, and it is no lie, I can hear my own hair growing. It vibrates like the tectonic plates of the earth, like it’s alive. Every hair is in itself a singular demon spawned from the abyss’s terrible follicle depths, which are now exploding like bombs through my oil glands. Each follicle is a tunnel, a volcano stirring and belching fire from the base, where the burping of my blood, boiling like lava, eats away at the fiber of my being, mutating in the lava vent.
I listened in a deprecating way only to measure the deterioration of my hearing, which I was unable to gauge. I say deterioration, but this erosion was not less volume; it was increased volume. The acquiescence of my reluctance vindictively succeeded in imprisoning my thinking (ineffectually) in tumult and discord.
My name is Adam Zazove, my ‘friends;’ when I had friends, they called me Zaz for short. I was, by all rights, a normal kid; I had loving parents who oddly had not divorced, and I never fell into drugs or alcohol. I was a clean-cut nerd growing up with an interest in baseball, gaming and the occasional chess match. As an adult, I have had my fair share of success after graduating from college with a Bachelor’s degree in business. As they say, “The world is my oyster.” Shakespeare was quite the comedian if he did, in fact, truly write that line or something like it.
I apologize for the regression, but my thoughts are scattered like chaff.
My condition, misophonia, or auditory stimuli, which begins with other maladies and then transfers to its victim, or in my case, to me, can start with the annoyance of someone chewing gum, for instance, or things as simple as a refrigerator humming. I had known for a while that I had tinnitus because there was a constant ringing in my ears. The only way at that time that I could get a good night’s rest from this injurious disability was to sleep with a rain machine, which created enough white noise to drown out the reflective repeat. I visited a doctor, and he gave me some medical lingo that I simply could not compute. He said something to the degree of “aberrant associations between auditory pathways in the brain and the amygdala.” What does that even mean? All that I was positive of was that every nuance of life was an enemy to my sensory function, and all sounds, whether natural or manmade, were unbearable. This had gone past a diagnosis of a common Hyperacusis. I could no longer drive my car because the engine inflicted literal pain upon me. To shower was becoming impossible because the spray sonorously rang out like machine guns. The world and daily life had become an exaggeration of itself. Nothing that I have tried, either from the chemist or home remedies, has desensitized this ailment.
I can tell you exactly when it started, and from the origin to the present the affliction has magnified. I was in a car crash – a rollover, to be more precise – and my head actually bounced off the pavement like a basketball. I suffered a coup-contrecoup brain injury, followed by blurred vision, dizziness, and a temporary loss of consciousness. The accident was not my fault, and the details are uninteresting unless you are the type that watches a car race not to see who wins but to gluttonize the crashes. But it was at this point that I noticed a considerable amplification of everything around me. I could hear whispers from a distance, eavesdrop on anyone in the office without leaving my desk. In its genesis, my condition was as if I had a superpower.
As disconcerting as my issue was, I had hoped that it would simply go away. But it has not, and I am in desperation, falling into exasperation mingled with consternation. Helplessly confused by the assault on my hearing, I decided there was only one thing to do. I fortified and soundproofed my home as quickly and as proficiently as possible. I was in dire straits, and this heightened newfound hearing was so profound to me that it was damning.
My excruciating affliction progressed quickly, and with its painful stabbing thrust, I found it impossible to attempt any sort of defense. I was in the grip of agony and frustration, and escape seemed untenable. I was obligated to seek relief outside of the medical establishments, which could only diagnose me and were incapable of carrying out proper, effective treatment. I was deteriorating, and I gravitated away from health professionals.
The first major move I made was to quit my job. How could I work and focus if my concentration was constantly interrupted by a closing of the door, tapping on a keyboard, the water fountain gurgling or paper being printed and shredded? It was a war zone, and I was on the front lines. I left my work after turning in my resignation and headed for the hardware stores. On the way, with my head feeling as if someone was taking an axe to my skull, I stopped and bought some noise-canceling headphones – you know, the kind that people who work around aircraft wear. This instantly gave me some relief, but instead of a sharp knife-like penetration into my brain, everything became dull, muffled as if I was hearing everything underwater. The volume had decreased; however, the thuds were more prominent. If my head had been in John Bonham’s kickdrum, it would been no different. Sound was suspended long enough for me to gather supplies at the hardware store. I packed my car as full as I could with rolls of insulation. When I arrived home, I dragged the rolls into the house and immediately pinned them to the bathroom walls with thumbtacks.
I rejected the initial idea of possibly using a hammer or a tape gun for such thuds, banging, tearing, shredding and ripping made me violently sick. A tape gun would no doubt sound like a freight train barrelling down clanging tracks and crush me from the inside out. I imagined my ribs caving in like prison doors, puncturing my lungs and causing hemorrhaging, and then I would suffocate or drown in my own blood. My calamity was just getting started.
I abandoned the outside world in my despondency, and due to imponderable ghastly terror of sound, I attempted to escape the menacing taciturnity by barricading myself in the bathroom, now lined with extra layers of insulation. I did not know what was happening; I simply sought relief. The tangible details you already know, but what has yet to be said is the rest of the story, including my convulsive state of fright. I felt it hard to breathe. At one point, I was disoriented and did not know if I was in the early stages of hyperventilation, heaving, gasping, possibly a heart attack or what could be something far worse, like labored breathing right before absolute death. This all seemed unthinkable, knowing that before my accident, I was a healthy, normal man living life and enjoying it. I liked my life at the time of the accident. I really did. I had a somewhat normal social life, but now the idea of being around a conversation, especially with acquaintances, brought me infirmity stronger than I could bear. I was under no delusion; impressions of receding anxiety were nowhere to be found. I sat still, holding the newly purchased noise-canceling headphones tightly to my head and thought of the quiet, just a moment of silence, as if someone had died and I was paying respect. But the gnawing vibrations of electricity throughout the house were eating away at me like insects of the dead that feed on bloated corpses. I decided I must turn off the electricity from the house. I forced myself with some effort from the bathroom and went straight for the electrical panel, which was in my garage. When I flicked the main breaker to off, for an instant I felt as though I had vanished in a dream. My world went black, as dark as any Stygian tale ever told. In that brief moment, I remembered what calm was. I strained my eyes to the point of bursting the orbs from their sockets, but for my sake, they remained intact. I understood the importance of absolute quiet when neither breeze nor bird or distant car could be heard. I grasped with my limited intellect on the matter of death, what one laid to rest in the grave must not hear. Had I retreated in fear before I understood the finality of my situation? Was I more distressed by the noise that once was or my clandestine actions to cover it up? If I stashed myself away, hid out of sight, would the noises of the world remain?
I snapped from my reverie and quick deliberations to find myself crawling on the garage floor. The electricity through the house had been shut off, but this was only a temporary relief, as were the bulky headphones that had slipped behind my head. I secured them properly and pulled myself upright. Now standing again, my feet felt swollen and seemed heavy, as if I were wearing concrete shoes. The air was as thick as molasses, with a stuffy staleness oppressing me from every side. I needed seclusion, sleep, to plant myself somewhere and dream of a silent planet. It was useless. Back into the bathroom, where the sequel began, I was being molested by the loudness of my own thoughts. Words in my head were daggers; scenes and visions were garbled, confusing, senseless. What a farce, I thought. I was disjointed, disconnected like a stringless marionette, it seemed. This is an ill-played tragedy, and I am the star. Arthur Machen wrote, “I dream in fire but work in clay.” I, too, was on fire but concluded I would rather be stone deaf but not thoughtless, hearing impaired but not mindless, earless but not grotesque. In this case, I knew not what I was or what I was becoming. Lost without a compass, I was presently a quivering mass of nerves, and they, too, mocked me, teased me, taunted me with their pugnacious, gibbering sounds. But I had no fight in me. I was retreating, recoiling, retracting, practically at a surrender and raising the white flag of defeat. I involuntarily gesticulated wildly with my arms. I suppose I was trying to drive these invisible frequencies away in my conniption. I was sweating profusely and was ashamed of my own behavior. What kind of man had I been driven to be? This was not me!
I was mindful of the insensibilities circling me, as carrion do when the prey is wounded and has abandoned all hope. Come down and feast, you gluttonous bird of prey. First, pluck out my burning eyes. Dig in through the orbs and banquet to my ear canals. Deaden my eardrums and rip them from my head. Take my brain, too, every miniscule piece. Feast and end my suffering. Cease my memories by ending what I am. Leave nothing of me to look upon. It is paramount; my demise is inevitable. I am no longer attributable. I am no longer definable. I am less than human. My mind is irresponsible. I am a revulsion, repugnant and an abhorrence to humanity in this preposterous desecration of my psyche. Stop the noise!
I must have passed out. I went into a comatose state as dark as an ink reflection. I was floating in a hollow silence. A victim of my surroundings. I ache in my deliberate obfuscation and exaggeration. In encrypted nothingness, there is only despair. Is this dreaming? Is this dying? Is this death? Is this what is next? I was relaxed in the stillness, but that lasted what seemed like a very short moment.
This was the morbid, beleaguering moment of spuriousness, a trick, a lie, a deception that stole the last moments of peace and dropped me spiraling headlong in a piercing scream. The drop was attenuated and undefinable. In severe disorientation, I began tumbling through the darkness, without sight and only that horrifying liquid scream blaring in my ears. This was the symphony of ecstatic threnody of nocturnal secrets. A plunge into hell, I knew it. The devil had come calling, and he was here to collect me. With demoniac mirth, the appalling cries of fire-forged evil spirits below cheered my plummet, praising my descent. They would immolate me, feed on me, regurgitate me, mold me back into a man, then repeat for all eternity. How now I wished I had been a Godly man.
At last, I was back in my house. Whatever transient episode of falling had come to an end. That was a most disagreeable moment. I was more than sure that was going to be the end of me. The final days of Adam Zazoe. Regrettably, my head continued to pound. The house should be silent, and it was, with the exception of a creak here or there. These impermanent creaks exploded acutely like crescendos no different than trundles of a baseball bat to brass.
By now, I imagined that every evil spirit of the visible and audible was active and loose in my house. Panicked and practically frantic, I cautiously tiptoed through the house to the kitchen. I was most curious to investigate in order to ease my concerns. Every step, regardless of how lightly I placed my sock feet, delivered a dolorous sound of propitiously exploitive, unsolicited, pulsating abuse to my already sickened mind. I knew I had to eat. I was weak. Every motion was laborious, as if I were walking on the moon. I progressed until I reached the refrigerator. Opening the door created a torrent of whooshing sounds as if I had welcomed a maelstrom of cold into the house. Then, the torrent faded. I was shielding my ears with the noise-reduction headphones and had both hands clamped tightly around the cups. For a brief moment, I lent my attention to the contents of the refrigerator. I retrieved a tub of cottage cheese and some sliced ham, which I had carved a couple of days before. Sitting at the kitchen table, anxious to return to my insulated bathroom, I methodically ate a few scoops of cottage cheese and three pieces of ham. As long as I did not chew like a cow chews a cud in rumination, it did not cause me much discomfort. I was dreading the walk back to the bathroom. I knew that the headphones were protecting me from most likely going mad. Without the buffer shields, my ears would have no cushion and the sound would be unmitigated to the extreme. Things had been rife, and I was not certain how much more I could take until I caused myself possible self-harm. Falling through the vortex in delirium minutes ago made me realize that I controlled nothing. I was a manipulated thing that the cosmos or spirit world was toying with. I was the mouse, a plaything for the invisible demonic powers. Maybe I should pray? Yes, that is it a prayer, a call for help to God. After all, he did create all of this. Isn’t he responsible for everything that is occurring on the planet? Of course, he is. He must see my predicament. Isn’t he alone liable? He is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, isn’t he? Why am I held culpable for what I cannot control? I cannot see what is around the corner. After all, did he not delegate Satan to inflict the life of Job?
I just realized I had become Job. God is encumbering me until he strikes the final blow on me. Is my Maker holding back the storm in a sadistic mindset, waiting until he sees my quivering lips repent? Then what? Will I be smashed like Pharoah by the walls of the crashing Red Sea? I am being punished; I know it! That must be why I am enduring this suffering. Please do not let this distraint be all that is left of me. I am a spectacle in unaccountable perversity, yet penance does not afford me escape from chastisement. Why was I placed in my mother’s womb? Why was I cursed to see the suffused light of birth? And now I am equidistant from light and darkness, battling aimlessly at a virtual hell of not belonging and being punished unjustly. I am a defenseless lump of decaying flesh with no resistance. I have no truculence in me. Annihilation awaits my eternity. Or would it be pandemonium, with the reoccurring memory of being forgotten and my last days merely a disturbing preview of a worse condition, conscious and endless suffering? What was it Job’s wife told him? “Curse God and die!”
Retentively, I struggled to gain control of what remained of my broken mind. The pieces were fractured in a way that nothing would ever rejoin in a complete picture again. I tried to hold on to what remained, to reintegrate my history, to collect my nostalgic moments. Maybe if the ongoing trauma ceased, I could be a man again. I would never fill every empty void that this affliction has caused. I want to be optimistic. There is nothing to affirm my actuality. Is it possible that I am a figment of my own doing? Am I imagining me?
I am wary of overthinking. It is excruciating to remember to think of myself before the now that is. Is it possible to reboot my life as if I were restarting a computer? A reboot fixes most problems in the technical world. I am fragmented, scattered, inherently dispersed.
Remarkably, I fell into something like somnambulism or catalepsy in the bathtub, cocooned, surrounded by thick walls of insulation, which gave me comfort from the sounds of haunting resilience. How does one wage war against supernatural phenomena? The unknown is the object of fear. What is hiding behind the stars? This weird tale has introduced me to the dead, for I have looked down into the grave. What is the point of living?
Sadly, my own breathing, bubbling in tone, stammered my audible speech, which disgusted me in a vile way, for to me, it was contorted and distorted and foul with grinding inaccuracies. It reveals my every weakness. I desire a renewal to live but not under these exposed vulnerabilities. As Lovecraft has chiseled on his gravestone, “I am providence.” I must convince myself that this applies to me as well. I must mean something.
I do not believe in Cosmicism and its existentialism, nor Cosmism as such. I am a unique individual with value. If I cannot stay convinced of this truth, then I am most assuredly damned, and my fate is sealed. I am more than an ant in the vast realms of space and time. I am a universe of divine origin, made in the likeness of the Creator of all things. I refuse to give in to my own limitations of that placid island of ignorance to which we all refer in times of stupor. I know I am unable to correlate all of the contents and scraps from my mind. Who can? If I sail the black seas of infinity, I am determined to sail it with the full realization that there is a purpose in my doing so. Am I making an attempt to pierce the terrifying vistas of reality, or am I fooling myself, knowing full well I have gone mad and this revelation alone of stepping into the light will drive me into a new dark age?
To exercise my demons, the thoughts which bear down on me as ungodly sounds of Hades being torn wide open, I must either accept or deny the existence of Khlul-hloo.
These creatures, unseen or seen, are accidental happenings that we allow inside. When I was involved in that terrific car crash, and my hearing became illuminated, this is when the invitation was sent. I cannot forgive myself for such idiocy. Yet I must, or I shall remain unforgiven. I must seek the cosmic gods in order to find the One True God, Supreme. The validity of any of this is conjecture on my part as one who is incurable yet hopeful that there is a reason for all of this: a reason for creation, my existence, my suffering, this dark reality which has proven to me that nothing here is impossible.
The bathtub is cold. One would think with how well I have insulated the room that the cold could not enter. Yet with the electricity turned off, no heat or air is moving throughout the house. I am thankful that I managed some food. It may be my last meal. I cannot bear the thought of leaving the bathroom again. How can I achieve the essence of real externality? Is it by not believing that everything I have ever known does not actually exist, nor has ever existed? How can I dismiss love and hate? Those attributes make up the world I am from. I am not sure if I am on Earth any longer. In my frame of mind, I can almost be led to believe anything. If mankind, is negligible and temporary, am I to believe in Elder Things, Great Old Ones, Deep Ones and Outer Gods? My imagination is at play. It has to be. If I live, and I know I have, then I must die. But now I question death. Is it real? I cannot be sure, for maybe I am departed. Beyond the confines of the Earth, who is out there looking in?
I am aware that this oracle sounds cryptic. Even the word oracle sounds cryptic, but I possibly could be the forerunner of something greater. Maybe my heightened sense of hearing is the first stage of an evolutionary process, whereas I am metamorphizing into part of that greater reality. The question I pose is, “Am I becoming?”
The landscapes in my thoughts and the geometry of their design cannot be described in the English language. Maybe if all of the languages were available as one, I could begin to detail what my mind is seeing. If it was conceivable, I could dip into the pool of words, phrases, clauses and combine the grammar pertaining to each culture, then the possibility of explanation would be key. Every acute angle is obtuse, and I cannot reason it. I have no intuition whatsoever when it comes to Euclidian, shapes, sizes, dimensions, but none of this appeared calculated. If anything, what was forming in my thoughts, brick by brick, was abominable, nearly blasphemous, towering, and unforgivable. I have lost human sight, it appears, and my hearing has begun to zone in on the peculiarities of my dilemma. Outstretched tentacles were reaching up from the worm-raven darkness below me. I did not know where I was, if I was standing, floating, or falling. I had no stationary reference point, so I assumed that I was just existing. Maybe I am the ant and unable to process the beings that tower over me, that linger beneath me and who close me in from all sides. The tentacles, in their cold, slimy shape, were coming for me. Coming for me where? I just needed a reference point. They were appearing, then disappearing out of sight, but their frantic desperation to reach me with enormous suction cups and slithering sounds went through me like an arrow. I could see their bejeweled eyes with maggot-kissed lips from the uncounted ages. There was no deflecting the discord, the tinkling that thrummed in my ears, ever so clear, ever so mingled with the miasma of desperation. My mind was sluggish, unable to recognize the dead. A sudden rectus stiffened my body to stone. I was truly at the mercy of this phantasmagoria. Prisms of matter and anti-matter illuminated what was below me now. The pit was not as dark as I would have imagined. Vacillating light was the only truth I could afford, and taciturn speech resolved itself as the self-assurance mumbling that I clung to fell into the caverns below. Hope was a frayed rope over a bottomless gorge where I was sure others had plummeted, never to be found. The light fractals and the recursion of radiance unveiled what I can only describe as a cubistic metroplex. Clusters of these octopi beings were heaving and churning, twisting, and spiraling below me as piranha in a feeding frenzy. This was the first time I stopped focusing on the pain of sound. My heart swelled into my throat with ripe terror. I felt as though I might be crushed to death. Thoughts of Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea rose to mind. The ophidian animation was exactly what Lovecraft had written about in his stories of Cthulhu Mythos. I must awaken from this 4th-dimensional world of pantomimic cinema and restore my place back among my own. The monsters below cannot follow me unless I leave a trail, so I must wake from this nightmare to cut off any connection and free myself once and for all from this place where I do not belong. It is not the monsters that must remain unseen; it is I who must vanish into obscurity from their demented world.
Initially, it had troubled me that I might perhaps be the hunted and for what purpose. It has now become perfectly clear that I was on the hunt. To my embarrassment, it appears I blindly followed the unknown into the deep, and the deep answered, sending chills throughout me. I am now retreating because regardless of what excruciating affliction I must endure, it cannot be as maddening and mystifying as what I have seen on the outer realms of what I will never be able to explain. I had always believed in the silence of the void; what I did not know frightened me the most.
I have come to see only a partial preview of these things; I dare say I need not to know, and I will cherish any void that can be found. As I now wake from the curse and the deconstruction of myself. I no longer hear anything. I have opened a forbidden door, and my eyes beheld the ghastly and the obscene. I hope I have now closed and locked that door tight because revelation cannot be unseen, and I do not want to ever see more. If that which I saw is that which awaits me and mankind, then I will most assuredly take my time getting there.
In the spirit of conviviality, I believe that my sudden positivity weighed heavily in my favor, releasing me from the tiresome superstition whose monologue, though powerful, remained in the capacious old world and had no place in this present time.
I sat in my bathroom after this incomprehensible event. I was stone deaf. I was not sad, for I would no longer be serenaded by endless tones of tainted guttural throbbing. The noise of the world appeared to be forever muted, but the silence spoke volumes to me. I only needed now to dream pleasant dreams to hear the beauty of the world. I will rest now. I will sleep. It is impertinent that I not be stripped of the sense of self. Only I have that power. I am myself. I know my identity.
🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None AvailableCraig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A