road, where cornstalks and grapevines, and weeds were beginning to congregate. Again, I stomped the gas pedal, and plowed through them. I drove a couple of miles down Cheshire Road, and turned right at the next intersection, heading toward town. The hostile plants ended shortly beyond the edge of Darren and Amber’s property. Steffan’s Lake was quiet at this time of night. Even the gas stations had closed. I parked and sat for a long time, trying to decide what to do. I considered making a pay-at-the-pump gas purchase and torching as much of the farm as I could, but I didn’t have a suitable container, and anyway, I realized that my wallet was at the farm in my rucksack. Ultimately, I decided to drive back. I wouldn’t stop, I’d just drive by and decide how to proceed. The road was clear as I approached the farm, save for a couple of uprooted cornstalks and some smashed tomatoes and summer squash. I slowed down to survey the damage. Things were quiet, and there hadn’t been any more damage in the yard. I drove on and spent the rest of the night cruising down country roads, thinking about what had happened. By five o’clock, the sun was rising, and I decided to make my way back. The farm was as I had left it, but I recognized Darren and Amber’s
Happy Birthday Lovecraft!
car crashed against the tree that had stumbled at me a few hours ago. I turned cautiously into the driveway and stopped. I climbed into back, released the latch that locked the seat in place, and pulled a box cutter and a tire iron out of the trunk. They weren’t much, but it seemed wise to arm myself. I walked up the front steps and onto the porch, which looked the same as always. The front door was still locked, and my fumbling with the knob set the dogs off. No roots emerged from around the frame. “Hey!” called Darren’s voice. “Good to see ya!” I turned around. Darren and Amber were walking toward me, from the direction of the trail. “What are you two doing home?” I asked. “You seemed pretty frantic last night,” said Darren. “And we missed the dogs,” said Amber. They both had fragments of root twined around their limbs and necks. “I have to go,” I said. “No,” said Darren, stepping onto the porch. “She needs you to stay here” Their eyes had changed. “Don’t come near me,” I said, brandishing the tire iron.
Dedicated to the late, great H.P. Lovecraft