Dreams in the Lake House
Written by Kristopher Middlebrooks
Adapted & Edited by Salim Almumin


“North of Arkham is a seaport town much smaller than Innsmouth or Kingsport. It was in Pineburyport where the woods go on for miles, as if wanting to keep its famous lake from being discovered, that my great grandfather made our family's future. Pineburyport was unlike the other seaport towns in Arkham. The port was able to profit off its vast natural storehouse pine trees. This helped the wayfaring town not to collapse during the fish shortage of 1927. It was in the spring of 1927 that my great grandfather built the lake house. This lake house has served my family well since its construction; through the horror that befell my mother and father this year and with all the unpleasantries that came with it. I guess inheriting the old lake house wasn’t a bad thing. Hopefully, this house will help me through my grief and my endeavors to continue to pursue a career as a writer.”

The pine woods of Pineburyport reach high into the sky to claw at the sun as the wind blows their twisty branches to and fro. The woods stretch on for miles surrounding the small seaport town. The port city looks damp and dreary in the befogged daylight. Admist the misty air an oppressive shadow seems to fall over the port. It is as if some encroaching darkness is waiting to disrupt the surreal fairy tale the scene conveys. The somber city is dotted by a plethora of signs promoting the reelection campaigns of local politicians, and every street corner and storefront window is littered by a haunting array of posters inquiring the whereabouts of the town's many missing residents. The people who walk the city streets hang their heads low as their spirits hang even lower dragging across the ground behind them. The port city seems neglected in many ways, as if there was a sickness about its infrastructure. Only the lighthouse appears untouched; standing boldly upon the shore as the calming waves strike the land at its feet.

Not far removed from the port city, there stretches a misty road leading to the crown jewel of Pineburyport, it's most ancient and mystifying attraction known as Hadad Lake. This area is surrounded by an immaculate mountain range shrouded in a thick blanket of fog. The beauty of the landscape is so mesmerizing until accidents tend to occur due to drivers losing themselves to the scenery. The open maw of the famous lake sits as a sore thumb in contrast to the vast expanse of the woodlands. The lake waters appear so calm and eerily still, like a giant mirror buried within the land.

Nestled upon a small hill overlooking the lake there sit the Wyatt Family lake house. The lake house was made of the finest materials that money could buy, and its design draws one's mind to the works of Edward Mitchell Bannister. The deathly silence of the somber day is suddenly broken as a lone car makes its way up the road coming to a stop in front of the old house. The new owner of the lake house, Liam Wyatt, exits the vehicle to look over his new property. Pausing to take in the sight of the exterior, Liam walks to the front door and goes inside. Looking around Liam begins to remember intimate moments from his childhood. The memories wash over him like warm rays of sunlight.
Liam sees himself as a young boy running through the front door. He then feels his mother grab him and lift him off the floor as she begins to playfully tickle him.

“Mom, Stop!” Liam begs amidst squeals of childish laughter.

Heather stops and puts her son down.

“Then maybe stop running around so fast. You could hurt yourself.” she says warmly.

Then Liam's father walks in through front door dressed in dapper fashion with a briefcase in hand.

“Hello Liam.” he says joyfully greeting his son.

"Dad!" Liam cries excitedly.

Liam's father lifts him up in a warm and gentle embrace. He then looks to his loving wife who smiles back at her husband. The cuckoo clock hanging from the nearby wall begins to sound. It is three o’clock and the house is alive with the smiles and the laughter of its loving occupants. Suddenly the familiar sound of the cuckoo clock's chime brings Liam back to the present day. The clock is loudly sounding off the third hour. All of Liam's happy memories seep into a painful smile as he makes his way further into the house. The time has come to set things up and move in.

Night falls and Liam resigns himself to his room. As he sits, typing away at his laptop, it appears that he is all moved in. His eyes barely lift from the screen as his attention is transfixed writing his personal journal entry for the day. There is sticker on the back of the laptop which reads, Miskatonic University; a token from his cherished Alma Mater. He soon finishes his typing and opens the internet to check the news. There are reports ranging from that of a missing woman, local crimes against the city's inbred community, and the weather. Liam clicks the video featured at the top of the page. He opens a bottle of wine and pours himself a drink. While watching Liam spies a peculiar silver ring adorning the hand of the anchorman. The news anchor himself is a very obese man, but Liam gives his appearance little extra thought before taking a sip of his wine.

“Natasha Sallow was reported missing today. Is evil-mindedness at work or is this another of Pineburyport's black bear victims? We just want to all take a moment here at Arkham Port News to say that one should really limit their time spent in the woods. Bears are known for being very territorial and you know they eat fish. So, do stay clear from Lake Hadad at night.”

“That’s right Thomas. A fun fact that we here at APN would like to share is that the black bear population has spiked since the 1970s. There are over 5,000 bears in Massachusetts and in light of these recent bear killings the local authorities are meeting to discuss the measures that need to be taken to ensure all of Arkham county's safety.”

Liam clicks onto another video talking about the weather. He takes another sip from his glass as the weather-woman in the video gives her report,

“This week will start with a bright sunny day; but prepare for heavy rainstorms with high percentage of thunderstorms by Wednesday. Then on Thursda----”

Without warning, a violent earthquake shakes the lake house from the floorboards to the rafters. The tumultuous vibrations coursing through the earth shuts off all power to the house. Liam begins to shout in panicked shrieks. He stumbles about trying to figure out what to do as the ground continues to quake beneath him. Despite the ferocity of the vibrations the lake house holds firm maintaining its sturdy form as the earthquake begins to die down.

Still within his room, Liam clasps both his laptop and his bottle of wine bracing them against his chest for protection. He falls to his knees as the earthquake finally stops. Breathing heavily, Liam exhales all his fear and confusion into a single frantic cry,

“Oh, What The Hell, Man!”

As Liam rises back up to his feet the power to the lake house turns back on. The return of light to the old house fills Liam with ease and he gives a sigh of relief saying loudly,

“Oh, Thank God!”

With the stillness of the evening restored Liam has adjourned to the living room where he continues to drink his worries away. The many empty wine and beer bottles scattered about are the only things keeping him company. He sits listening to the television as the anchorman reports on the night's recent disturbance,

“Authorities are positive that tonight's experience was nothing major and just a minor plate shift due to the Marsh Energy Co. oil fracking team. Tonight has been day one in Marsh Energy Co.'s goal to enhance the economy of the state of Massachusetts. Shareholders have just signed an agreement with Olmstead Oil and the Wyatt Foundation to merge into the Marsh conglomerate. Their new facility within the city is bringing a much needed fresh start to all of Arkham. Alan Marsh, the director of this new project and facility, assures sustainability will be at the forefront of this new project, and here is Alan Marsh to tell us more about that project.”

Liam gets upset at the mere mention of the Marsh Energy Co. The green-eyed beast within him takes hold of his thoughts and he switches off the TV in frustration; followed fast by profane vulgarities to further express his displeasure. Liam smirks and then takes a big drink from his bottle. With that last gulp Liam realizes that he has just finished his fourth bottle of wine. He laughs and takes another bottle from the counter in front of him, but in doing so he moves one of the adjacent bottles to the side. Liam frowns upon seeing that the logos on the bottles are no longer aligned. The drunken writer glares in anger at the bottle he moved, and realigns it to be more in line with the other bottles. Satisfied by his handiwork Liam smiles before breaking into a fit of childish giggling. He opens the bottle he picked up and continues to numb his senses with the intoxicating beverage.

Outside the gibbous moon caresses the ancient lake with its pale rays of light. The lake is immense and deep and many locals find the stub of the dormant volcano a comfort rather than an omen of times passed. The silence of this eldritch scene is suddenly disturbed by the sounds of music. A truck pulls up near the gaping mouth of Lake Hadad. The truck stops and two young men quickly emerge from the vehicle to behold the view of the great lake.

“Bro are you sure we are good to light up here?”

“Dude, no one comes out here this late, man. They're all afraid of the damn bears in these woods. Wooooooooo scary bears!”

“Alright! Alright! I get you! It’s just you know that earthquake?”

“Man, fuck that earthquake, bro! It’s been a week Bromethues! You're off-probation, man. You will be okay. Besides no cops come out here this late. Especially after that slight tremor, bro. You realize aliens have a better chance of showing up than any pig right now.”

“I’d rather see Bigfoot.”

“Nah man, Bigfoot isn’t real but the bud in this blunt is as real as reality, man.”

One of the men, named Jeremy, lights up a blunt and takes a big hit from it. He then passes it to his friend, Richard, who takes a couple of big hits in quick succession, but the strength of the weed gets the better of him making him cough. Jeremy laughs at his friend; which causes Richard to laugh too in-between coughs,


“Don’t worry man, it’s been awhile. Like I was telling you. All that nonsense that’s been going on for the past few months is over. Things are only going to get better for you and for me.” Jeremy says comforting his friend.

Richard coughs as he nods and responds,

“I can feel that man, so, what we going to do now?” 

The two stoners sit on the bed of the truck facing the lake. There are empty beer cans and snacks scattered around them. The young men are on their phones watching anime as they sit there at the mouth of the lake stoned out of their minds. The music from the show is all that can be heard. Unbeknownst to them however, the water out in front of them begins to ripple where after a blasphemous amphibian form begins to rise from the deep. Under the cloak of darkness it slowly approaches them. As the horrific creature draws closer, the young men continue to watch and laugh at the videos on their phones. Before long though, Jeremy stops. He smells something. A foul odor has caught his attention as he sniffs the air trying to determine its origin---that is when he looks up and what he sees causes him to scream out in horror. 

The gibbous moon shines down upon the placid waters of Lake Hadad; barely illuminating the horror below. The night air is filled with the screams of the mutilated youth. The sound of their desolation is matched only by the croaks and cries of some unknown creature of aeons long passed.