“Ah, Lovecraft,” the suit sitting next to me on the bus remarked, pointing at my book. “I love his stuff.”
“Oh, me too. It’s a thrilling exploration of the terror of insignificance.”
“Really?” he perked up, “I enjoyed it more for its use as a survival guide.”
I paused. “How do you mean?”
“He perfectly captured the essence of a…” An ambulance passed by, its siren drowning his words. “I didn’t realize such a thing was possible in your language.”
I closed my book and looked at him. He had a comb-over, a grey suit, a simple tie, a common face… An utterly forgettable set of features. I might have seen him in a thousand places before without ever remembering him twice. He looked at me, perfectly serious. “What? Did you not realize it’s all true?”
“No. No, I mean, it’s not true. It…”
“Oh yes! Don’t you remember how he described…” I could see his lips moving, but in my mind I could not decipher his words. They were familiar, as if I should have known them, but I drew all blanks trying to consider them. “But it doesn’t compare to the real thing, of course. Seeing is believing, as they say.”
The man was clearly crazy. Shoggoths, the Old Ones, the Sunken City, all real? Please.
“You don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself.” He reached his hands up to his chin and pulled up, as if taking off a mask. For a second, I thought I saw…
But no. There was no one there. There never had been. I was just daydreaming.
I continued reading.