The adventures of Discovery written in the style of HP Lovecraft…
It was a dreary spring day when we decided to embark upon our trip to Providence. We had spent the last two weeks lounging on the spectacular beaches of Charlestown under an abnormally warm and sunny sky. But the atmosphere seemed to seize upon our intentions as we drove into a gray and melting void, the true character of this ancient place restored.
We resolved to continue our journey for we could think of no better backdrop for our grim destination. Our first stop, a cemetery where we would view the final resting place of the master of cosmic horror and dread, Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
As we wound through the narrow streets of Providence, our modern technological conveniences failed entirely. Our GPS suggested a wrong turn here. A side trip down an alley there. Over broken granite cobblestone rendered into wavy valleys by centuries of traffic and the untold weight of countless accumulations of snow and ice, every jolt a test of our nerve and our four wheel drive coach.
The attendant at the cemetery gate warned us of a large service taking place at the north end of the cemetery. A thing to avoid, he explained. A leering smile cracked upon his lips, deepening as he spoke. We promised to follow his instruction and bade him farewell. His bemused stare never left us as we drove in among the monuments of the dead. He brought a communication device to his face and whispered unintelligibly into the ether.
The august wordsmith’s grave was a meager one, the headstone small and insignificant in contrast to the epitaph inscribed thereupon. “I AM PROVIDENCE” he declared from beyond the grave, more certain in death of his import than the struggling writer ever had been in life.
Time would in many ways prove that ghostly cry correct.
We left there uncertain of our next destination. The gate attendant, so vigilant upon our arrival, had disappeared. An odd man, his coat sleeves not quite fitting, tattoos filling the gap – it seemed stranger still that he’d ever been there at all.
Famished, we sought out breakfast at a local donut parlor under management of the illustrious, Lord Dunkin. Being from the South, we were not as acquainted with their fare as most and were forced to rely upon a menu screen which, like all other technology in this eldritch place, seemed somehow incomplete.
We inquired about breakfast burritos. Common enough where we’re from and were told they only served breakfast tacos. Having never heard of such a thing, we decided to give our best try. As they say, when in Rome.
Upon peeling back the wrapper, we were assailed with a sudden, memorable shock. The breakfast tacos were in truth fajita-sized tortillas folded into the shape of a taco. As such, much of the filling had predictably spilled into the bag despite an elaborately conceived paper wrapper. A wrapper that required far more expense than simply folding a proper breakfast burrito.
We had experienced such unsettling events before when in the summer of two thousand and nineteen we made our first excursion into the frontier of Maine. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant there to sate our appetites and were presented with a most peculiar culinary experience.
The shrimp tacos we ordered arrived smothered in a sauce both creamy and sweet more fitting of a pasta than a Mexican dish. When asked, the proprietor said it was a recipe of his wife’s creation. He beamed with pride at the curious spawn she’d wrought as was, we supposed, his duty.
We thanked him and made our leave finding some solace in the fact that years later we would stumble across that restaurant shuttered and abandoned, the deterioration far advanced beyond the intervening time.
We returned to our macabre tour of Providence this time delighting in the disturbing features of this bizarre culture. We visited Lovecraft’s home, a modest colonial moved from the original location. Next, the site of the shunned house, still lonely and shuttered. And finally, the root grown in the shape of a man having invaded the coffin of a Huguenot and fed eerily upon his mortal remains.
For this stop, parking eluded us and we can therefore not verify these suspicious claims.
Emboldened by these peculiar mysteries, we took to the grocers to try and sort out a conundrum of our own. At first, we approached our mission as a lark, reveling in the thrills of a good scare. But as our investigations deepened, the unsettling feelings returned.
When asked about tortillas, a stocker stared blankly, her face the picture of sheer bewilderment. We made gestures to indicate the flatness and shape and were directed to the sandwich wraps.
We left this first place and combed through a second grocer only to find the tortillas stored in the refrigerated section. A precaution against staleness and the indifference of the population. We could not bring ourselves to check the expiration date.
Confronted with such disconcerting events, our enthusiasm for the mood began to wane. What started as a frivolous adventure had turned ominous and foreboding. A sense of paranoia settled in as we hurried to leave the store, the gaze of the locals turning to pierce us with frightful intent.
Those bemused expressions, those sinister grins, these were the same expression as the man we first encountered at the cemetery. A dark, loathsome conspiracy of which we’d been thoroughly appraised. We wished nothing more than to leave the claustrophobic aisles of the grocer behind, but, alas, my eyes caught upon an omen of such dark intensity I was rendered paralyzed.
There. On the shelf. An abomination so horrific I could barely speak its name. I croaked out the words even as I feared they might summon the very instrument of my demise.
We fled the ancient reaches of the northerners in fear of our very souls.
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