An excerpt from a Lovecraftian novel-in-progress.

Roanoke ran, gulping down the sour night air. Had the whole countryside been poisoned? His feet frequently lost their footing on the uneven dirt road and, again, he feared seeing the headlights of an oncoming car even though it meant light and people. He wished more than anything he didn’t know the trees were to either side of the path, he wished he couldn’t hear the nighttime rustling of leaves and occasionally catch the gleam of the eyes of nocturnal creatures.

For a horrible while he feared he wouldn’t be able to figure out where he’d left the vehicle, but then the road grew steeper and a copse of trees rose up to the left hand side of the road. Turning back, he could see Innsmouth, illuminated by the single burning church, and beyond it, to the right, the black expanse he knew must be the sea for its emptiness. Catching his breath, he tried to find the light and shadow noise of the mob and couldn’t. His heart ached as he thought of Tom facing them alone. Even as one of their own, he feared for him.

The totem hung from him heavily, reminding him of all the night had put him through. He legs and arms were tired, his head was heavy, his face felt hollowed-out and sickly. He quickly made his way up to the group of trees on the little hill, taking the key to the automobile from his pocket as he went. A cry of almost astonished relief broke from him as his gloved fingertips found the metal side of the Royce’s door. Fumbling in the dark, he found the door’s handle and pulled it, sliding inside and pulling the door shut immediately. A quick sweep of the vehicle told him he was alone- he shuddered at the thought of anything else there in the darkness with him. Finding the ignition, he inserted the key and turned it.

The engine roared to life and the headlamps showed him too much of the trees in front of him, probably also showing the men who had been pursuing him too much of his whereabouts. Placing the totem on the seat next to him, reassuring himself that he’d done exactly what he’d been sent to Innsmouth to do, he backed the car up and swung it down the incline and back around so that its nose pointed towards Arkham. The headlamps cut through the wide expanse of darkness and it still felt like the countryside was the sea, spreading out in every direction of him forever without anyone beside him. But Arkham awaited.

He’d be there before dawn.