Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Memo from Midnight—September 9th, 1996

ARKHAM DELAPORE IS A WEALTHY MAN, but all his wealth won't protect him from accidents. Like the time he broke both of his feet while, ironically, walking down a lonely road into town to buy new shoes. In great pain, he hobbles to a nearby estate to secure aid for his plight. He barely reaches the front door to the great house before his feet completely give out on him and he crumbles to the door as he knocks on it. An eccentric old man answers the door and takes him under his wing, but something about the old man disturbs Delapore. This feeling proves to be a keen insight when the old man informs Delapore of a strange fact: Delapore's family line is cursed, and only the old man knows how to lift that curse!

Over the next several hours, Delapore remains trapped in the house. Unable to escape due to his terribly broken feet, Delapore is further put through hell under the old man's care. The old man's attempts to re-set Delapore's bones by pushing the shattered bones back into line (without any anesthetic, of course) only results in increasingly violent breakages and damage to his savaged feet, which only further traps Delapore in the house.

Then things start to get weird.

Now completely immobile, confined to an old hospital bed in the basement, the old man begins pulling live rats and bats out of Delapore's mouth, scratching the hell out of his throat in the process. The pain in Delapore's feet and throat grow so much that, after he begs the old man for anesthetic for hours, the old man finally grants—by breaking Delapore's back so he feels nothing at all below the neck.

No longer blinded by the pain, Delapore can see that the old man has broken and reset every bone in his body, transforming Delapore into a hideous, grisly work of biological "art," and that the old man is now finally ready to photograph Delapore's twisted and ruined body for a photo spread in the man's privately published magazine on "tombstone fashion." The name of the photo spread is, of course, "The Last of the Delapores." Poor Arkham Delapore is the cover story!

Finally, just after the old man finishes taking his photos of Delapore, the sun rises. As the cleansing light of the sun blasts through the window, it strikes Arkham Delapore and blasts him to cinders, conveniently masking all evidence of what the old man had done to him. 

Only the single issue of the old man's magazine remains to prove that Arkham Delapore ever lived at all.

  • Some blatant Lovecraft stuff going on here... "Arkham" is the name of Lovecraft's famous city, while "Delapore" is the name of the protagonist of his story "The Rats in the Walls." To say nothing of all the Lovecraft stories where a traveler ends up being menaced by a spooky old man in a remote house...
  • Back in 1996, I was working temp jobs, didn't have a car, and was doing a lot of walking to and from work. Didn't have a lot of money, and shoes are expensive, so I suspect my feet were hurting that September night.
  • Not sure what the deal with the sunlight destroying Delapore is all about... although it's amusing to note that the old man is still out there, waiting for more victims to blunder into his clutches!

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