Anyway, I've been working on this poem for way more than a day, but who cares about rules? I've been working on it since Monday, I think, and, yeah, it feels worth the time. It's been a while since I've written a horror narrative.
The Horror at Nestucca
There winds a road through local hills,
a shortcut toward our Tillamook Bay
so thickly rimmed by gnarl and bough,
the shadows there don't need the sway
of sun or moon to stretch their pitch,
gesture to the eldritch prize
nestled underneath the mount
on which Nestucca lies.
There, amidst the toppled lichs
of slowly decomposing wood,
I glimpsed that great, primordial dread
Alhazred solely understood:
something by the dint of which
that blight of vine and fog is thralled;
something pulling obscene strings
from neath the forest's pall.
The hour spent dissecting miles
of strangely still, unpeopled white
had my heart hung under tongue
in an inchoate fright,
but only when a creeping reek
like smolder-gnawn ammonia and hair
plied its pungence through the vents
did my revulsion flare,
a quickly-climbing sense of wrong,
my leaden foot upon the gas
hazarding unseeable night
to just escape that pass,
but then, surely by some craft…
doused, the north star of my dash;
out its comfort, out all light
as I prepared to crash.
Yet, by some hand that fate was stayed
(a mercy I shall ever rue,
for death would be sublime
beside the things Nestucca shewed…).
Trundled to a slow and stop,
the car refused my manic twists,
leaving me to the breathless dark…
and whatever festered in its mists.
So thick and soundless, like that pitch
which moved its scythe through Egypt's young,
this asphyxial black that pressed
its ocean-bulk on mind and lung.
Phone, become a meager flashlight
in that signal-eating trap,
lent its glow to lessen the blow
of Nestucca's coffining sap.
And as I tried to pry a plan
from 'neath the weight of a paranoid daze,
for the first time since mistaking this road
a light flickered out in the haze.
Some ember of civilization, I thought,
someone to help me get back on the wing,
but would to God I'd spurned that hope
and forgotten I'd seen the damn thing.
Maybe then my tired lids
wouldn't retch Nestucca's sin
upon the canvas of my sleep
night and night again.
Maybe then that precious myth
through which we safen earth and star
would have stayed the farce and bliss
such comforts always are.
Yet, there, the crunch of needled earth
from underneath uncertain feet,
as well the foetor threading the wood
with scorched and putrefied meat.
How could I have missed these signs?
And the groping hands of fog and branch
moving with a will at which
any sane person would blanch.
Despite these things, my mothy pace
toward that smudge of glowing light,
which danced from in between the trees
ere ghosting into sight,
unveiled to be a livid blaze
just as a noise stopped me dead:
a sound for which I'd lop my ears
if it'd get the thing out of my head.
At first, I couldn't place the drawl
within the clearing's reed-ringed luster,
but god…the sound alone sufficed
to shatter what nerve I could muster,
binding me salt-still while from
the nearby pitch and sylvan flame
vowels wet and hoarse seethed out
too like the region's name.
That name, the awful oath and curse,
I now know soils that deviled mount…
For as voice on voice groaned from the dark,
I saw staring eyes beyond count,
constellations of emerald and red
in groupings I shudder to understand,
all affixed on the bonfire's writhe.
It was then that I noticed the hand.
Why the Hell didn't I see it before?
The miles and miles of those vile fumes…
that fire, a tomb of cinder and flesh
digesting whatever its stoker exhumes.
If only that blasphemy were the extent
of that which the grave called Nestucca released,
but god…the shapes I'd mistaken for reeds…
stooping slim limbs to the burning deceased…
pulling out bodies in offert'ry feast…
belying the hope humans drew from the east.