The Thing that Came From the Moon.
“I hate the moon — I am afraid of it — for when it shines on certain scenes familiar and loved it sometimes makes them unfamiliar and hideous.”
— H.P. Lovecraft, What The Moon Brings.
Studying plant-life had long since taken hold of my attention, so I resolved to earn a degree in botany. Although I was still considered an amateur, I had my fair share of academic accomplishments; my manuscript on the characteristics of non-native plants had been the object of scholarly inquiry for months after a scientific journal had agreed to print my work. I sought more knowledge, — and more specimens as my expertise and credentials grew. Eventually, my endeavors lead me to a secluded part of land located in the French countryside. My colleagues had boasted that many rare specimens flourished in this part of the world, many undiscovered or scarcely examined. The cottage I stayed in was encompassed by many vibrant blooms on what seemed to be endless acres. Although my cottage was small, its anesthetically pleasing exterior (as well as interior) made it seem like a magical marvel amidst all of the blooms around it. I remember being in a state of sublime blithe, for I was to call this place home for six months. After settling in, I quickly began to conduct my studies. Being most zealous, began to document and sketch every type of flower I encountered. As I explored the area, I discovered a type of flower that had not yet bloomed, though the rest of flower was of considerable size. I fingered the vine-like stem as I inferred the state of the specimen. I concluded that the flower was mature in every other detail, — despite the absence of bloom. My fingers wandered to its milky-white petals which were compressed in a spiral cocoon-like shape. I knelt down, wondering if this flower held any type of scent. To my surprise, I found a slight redolence that seemed to rival the scents of all the perfumes in Europe! As I darted the landscape for more plants reminiscent of these unusual features, I found smaller specimens belonging to the same species growing under the blooms of the more visible flowers.
It was hours before I decided to retire to my cottage. It had begun to grow dark. Some of the locals in the town not too far away had advised me to be wary at night while in this area, as strange occurrences were common-place. I smirked at the alleged superstitions of the townsfolk, who were most likely inclined to attribute the distant howls and shrieks of a coyote to a dreadful apparition that plagued the sprawling acres at night for a dreadfully generic justification. Despite my thoughts, I was still inclined to heed such warnings, as this vast area was still very foreign to me.
It must have been hours later when I first noticed the spectacular, — now foreboding scene that began to unfold out of the expansive bay windows that lined one side of the cottage. While I lounged in a leather armchair drinking bourbon and reading over another colleague’s manuscript, I noticed an ethereal glow below the window outside. At first I thought it to be snowing, but it was late spring in this region. Curious, I rose from my seat. As I approached the window, I saw that the ground was completely covered in a glowing white. Running to the door, I began to detect the exact smell of the mysterious plant I found earlier. Opening the door to the cottage brought with it the saturated redolence and the scenery of a dream-land. The flowers that I found earlier were in full bloom everywhere. The other species seemed to have vanished. Wandering off the porch and into the wave of white, I felt almost like my body was light, — fluid even! But I dismissed this strange feeling and attributed it to my favorite drink. As I looked around at the scene before me, my analytical prowess took hold. I resolved to go back into the cottage to retrieve a flowing pot and spade. With ease, I wandered about the strange flowers, looking for the perfect specimen. Finding the seemingly perfect plant, I carefully extracted it, as well as some soil, all while taking care to keep the roots intact. This plant was to sit on my table in the living courters. Over the next month, I noted curious changes in the specimen. I found that it closed its petals during the day, and bloomed only at night. At times of the full moon, it exhibited some form of luminescence. The most astonishing, yet eerie observation of this flower was that it seemed to snuff the very life out of any other type of plant I sat next to it. I’d find previously healthy flowers withered the very next day when I done this. I was quite eager to report my findings to a close friend, and colleague of mine. I even began writing to him. But something in my mind had other plans. I resolved not to tell a soul about my findings until they were presented to the world. Some sort of wild competitiveness had taken hold of me. Dare I say it became an obsession? I began to ignore all other projects; all of my knowledge and interest soon became drained by this little delicate flower! Notes and letters of good-will found my desk, but none found a single reply of me. I was simply too transfixed by my seemingly unworldly prize to care about letting dear friends and family know of my safety (or lack thereof in haunting retrospect).
By the third month, I seldom left the confines of the cottage. During this time, the night-terrors began. Some nights, I’d feel an incessant crawling sensation within, other nights I’d find my body in a state of paralysis, rendered blind and unable to speak. Even as such horrid visions and sensations left me exhausted and ill, I only cared about that dammed flower! Nothing else mattered at that point. It was as if I was slowly being consumed. If I even made into the middle of the fifth month being out there in that abhorred field, I could not recall. Majority of that time became a blur for me, my dear reader. However, the worst experiences stayed with me, and to this day I wonder what kind of terror had befallen me, or what I even did to incur such a wrath.
One night as I slept, I heard a horrible crash in the front room. With only one thought present in my mind, I quickly leapt out of bed to make sure the flower was safe. I cared not about what danger may have invaded my secluded space, or even my own life! As I looked about the room I discovered that the pot that held my prized specimen had fallen to the floor. In terror, I jumped to the floor as quickly as I could to save it from any damage. When I saw it, it was the largest it had ever been. In full bloom, it glowed with an ethereal brilliance unlike the other times I’ve seen it in aglow. The room was saturated in nothing but moonlight. As I scooped the large flower up in my frail hands, I heard the floorboards creaking just a foot away. My movements became still, and it seemed like forever before I had the courage to avert my gaze from the floor. It was in that moment that my eyes gazed upon the most abhorred, wraith-like creature that not a living soul could imagine. I beheld dark hollows around eyes that looked of quicksilver! It’s mouth! Numerous sharp teeth protruding out from under its thin, almost transparent lips! Its bare body; pale with thousands of gray veins pulsing beneath its skin. It looked like some sort of creature that emerged from some sort of distant lunar vista! Before I could react, a root quickly dug its way into my exposed wrist. I gasped in pain as the flower’s grip grew tighter around my hands, binding them together. Panic surged through my shaken body as I struggled to stand to my feet. As I staggered, I felt myself losing more and more energy. Every frenzied breath became harder and harder to draw in. Every movement felt like my limbs were becoming heavier. The creature began inching its way towards me. In my dimming vision, all I could do was look at the flower wrapped around my wrist. To my horror, large scarlet blotches appeared on each petal. I fainted.
I awoke in a padded cell somewhere in Venice. My friend and colleague had apparently found me a couple of days ago, delirious, bleeding, and mumbling incoherently while clutching a wilted flower to my chest. There was no recollection of what happened between my terrifying encounter and when I was brought to the asylum. It was as if I had been attacked only the night before. Another month passed before I was able to reunite with my family. I told not a single soul about what had occurred, as I would have been locked away for the rest of my life. Even worse, all of my work would have been disregarded as the ramblings of a lunatic. The research that I did while out in that field vanished completely without a trace, as if it disappeared off of the face of this Earth, or never existed at all. Perhaps rightfully so! I’d never want to lead so much as my rival to such a horrific experience. But even as I write this memoir, I do wonder still with such a damming curiosity of what had terrorized me. I shall never know. But whatever that monster was, it must have been born of the moon itself.