Welcome to the first Free Fiction Friday of 2016. Once or twice a month, I’ll be providing a link to a story of mine available to read for free online. I’ll also talk a bit about what inspired it, what sort of research I put into it, that sort of thing. So if you’re into that sort of thing, read on.
Anyway, “The Savage Dreamer”. Published in the sixth issue of Innsmouth Free Press (later Innsmouth Magazine) in February 2011, “The Savage Dreamer” is available to read here. You can also download a free PDF of the entire issue here.
I’ve always had an abiding fascination for Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter”. That’s due to the characters, mainly. To me, there’s a strong Holmes/Watson dynamic to Harley Warren and Randolph Carter. Too, the fact that Warren is from my home-state of South Carolina (as per “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”) piqued my interest in him from the outset. Nothing like seeing a local boy get et up by one a them whatchacall ‘formless horrors’ to really get the ol’ noggin working…makes you want to do right by the poor guy.
While Carter goes on to have plenty of adventures of his own after Warren’s unfortunate demise, I kept going back to those five years (or seven, depending on the story) they spent making their ‘terrible researches into the unknown’. That’s five years of untold stories. We get hints as to what they got up to in “The Statement…” as well as in “The Silver Key” and “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”, but nothing concrete. It couldn’t have all been spent looking for that burying ground in Big Cypress Swamp, could it?
So, five years of stories. Five years of terrible researches. Five years of Warren and Carter investigating the unknown together, like proper Call of Cthulhu player characters. But how did they come to know each other and why did Carter seek Warren out in the first place? Given that it’s Randolph Carter, I figured that it had to do with dreams. And if you’re talking about Carter and dreams, you have to include a certain stalker among the stars. After that, the story pretty much wrote itself.
On a closing note, let me just say that Harley Warren’s house on the Battery really exists.
I’ve been inside it, in fact. And it’s as creepy as you’d imagine…