Sleep is wonderful. It allows one to escape the troubles of life. One may leave the bland pain of existence and enter a world of wonder and amazement. Most of the time these dreams are nonsensical and hold no connection to the waking world. Some say that dreams is the minds way of making sense of what has occurred throughout the day. Others say that dreams are a manifestation of the thoughts of the subconscious, Id, and super ego. Sleep and dreams have always been a focal point in Human history despite differences in cultures, language, and belief. My point is that people, regardless of location or time, have always enjoyed sleep.
There are some who cannot enjoy the experience like the rest of the world. Those who become trapped in their dreams and are subjected to horrors. They live their lives frightened by what they see with their eyes closed, so they strive to never close them again. They become that way usually through past experiences that affected them so deeply they have no escape. There is a minority who experience this terror not from their past but simply because of their own mind. They have always lived their life with the burden. As children they would wake their caretakers with their screams of helplessness and pain. As adults they are withdrawn from society as they go through life with the trauma of what their mind subjects them to.
Howard was a child when I met him. I knew his grandfather and they were from an old and wealthy family that could trace themselves all the way back to the founding of the town hundreds of years ago. The boy was a literary genius; he could memorize and recite poems at the age of 3. His grandfather held an immense collection of literature ranging from Greek epics to Arabian tales. The young Howard would send the majority of his childhood among his grandfather’s books as he was a prone to illness. The little one held a love for the gothic horror stories his grandfather would create for him.
The young child began to have night terrors. He described his dreams as terrifying and haunting. In his dreams beings he named ‘Nightgaunts’ would appear and attempt to carry him off to wherever they came from. He described ‘Nightgaunts’ to have a vaguely human shape, but were thin, black, and faceless. Their skin was slick and rubbery. They sported a pair of inward-facing horns on their heads, a long barbed tail, and prehensile paws. They could fly using a set of membranous wings and they made no sound. I was astounded at the intense descriptions he could give concerning his terrors. The amount of details given made it seem as if Howard had truly witness these beings.
Regardless of his twisted nightmares, Howard enjoyed his childhood. Then his grandfather passed away. His grandfather’s estate was improperly managed so the family lost much of the money. Howard and his mother were forced to move away from the home he was born in. Away from the library Howard spent his whole life up to that point reading. As the boy grew older he became more reclusive from the world. He spent his time reading and writing with no outside social contacts or employment. His mother somewhat hated him although that had been a longstanding feeling derived from his dead father rather than his own actions. Regardless of her own feelings Howard loved his mother for she was the only parent he had known. I became the only person he talked to. I became his only friend.
I convinced the young man to begin mailing his writings to publishers. Through his new connections his works were published and he became friends with other writers. He would converse with his contemporaries through mail in which he could write pages per letter. Through him I met a few of his fellow writers named R.B. and R.E.H. later on. Howard had begun to step out into the world and live a life as a writer with a functioning society when his mother died. I pushed Howard to quickly move on lest he would fall back into the lonely life he had grown up in. And so a few days after his mother’s death I took Howard to a convention of writers.
He met a widow named Sonia there and a few years later they would get married. I thought Sonia was a good fit for the introverted Howard as she would push him to become more social. Because of her he moved out of his house in a small town to the city changing almost everything in Howard’s daily life. I saw that despite the new environment, Howard enjoyed being with Sonia. Sadly these good moments quickly came to an end. Sonia needed to move westward because of her job and Howard did not want to get further away from the small town he grew up in. So Sonia left and Howard stayed behind, alone in the city.
Howard grew increasingly hostile to his environment. To the point of writing to me "My coming to New York had been a mistake; for whereas I had looked for poignant wonder and inspiration ... I had found instead only a sense of horror and oppression which threatened to master, paralyze, and annihilate me." I feared that depression and hated had started to take over him so I went to stay with him. While there I spent many days talking to him about my experiences throughout my long life. I hoped in recounting my history he would see the error of his thinking. This instead gave rise to his belief on the insignificance of all humanity. After our talks he set on writing the ideas inspired by my past so I considered my actions somewhat successful. I asked him to leave the city and so we went back to his small town.
There he wrote many works, most of which were not published while he lived. At the age of 46, Howard died only a few blocks away from the house he grew up in. He suffered from cancer of the small intestine from which he became malnourished. He lived in constant pain until his death. He shut his eyes for the last time leaving the pain and depression of his life behind. Howard, I wish I could see your dreams. Are they fantastical and wonderful? Or like your childhood dreams are they filled with horror? Are you doomed to that reality of all eternity?
I am well aware of your indifference but can you give him the dream he deserves?
Hi, so Howard is H.P. Lovecraft. I really want to address several of his themes. So I'll be using the themes to introduce the characters I mentioned before. Normally I wouldn't say who Howard is since I'll still be writing about him but I would like the reader to know some of his themes that I'll be talking about in the next chapter.
Also as a fun fact Lovecraft's Nightguants were inspired by an artist named Gustave Doré. He is the one who drew the illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy and John Milton's Paradise lost. The picture I set as the cover for this story was drawn by Doré.
As for R.B. and R.E.H. they were real writers.
Robert Bloch wrote Psycho. The book was the basis for the film of the same name by Alfed Hitchcock.
Robert E. Howard wrote Conan the Barbarian.
Thank you for reading.