Monday, October 17, 2011
The Rats in the Walls, by H.P. Lovecraft
I hadn't heard/read this one before, so I happily obtained it when it was recommended to me by a friend that knew I was Lovecrafting it up. It is so utterly fantastic it almost defies description. I can so clearly hear Wayne June saying "The Rats in the Walls" every time I think about it and that alone sends a shiver down my spine.
In this story, a man inherits an estate and moves there, with several cats. He begins to notice that at a certain time of night, there's a scuttling sound as of rats in the walls and the cats start going mad clawing at them. The noise can get very loud at times, even seeming to make the rooms tremble. The cats seem to always follow the sounds down to the subcellar door. The man eventually invites some friends over to help him scout out the sound and discovers that an altar in his sitting room can be pried open to reveal a path descending downward. They follow it and discover a terrible subterranean city in which there's evidence of human beings having been raised as cattle and cannibalized by his ancestors.
I mean, really now. Do I even need to say anything else? That's just perfect. There's nothing I would change about this story at all. Nothing.