Upon a mild day in September of the year 1918, I had left for Barrington Holm. It was a distant town in New England that was quaint and placid in composition. My name is Cornelius Hainsworth, and I had come to Barrington Holm to visit a gentleman, by the name of Wentworth Appleton. I was an employee for Silversmith Enterprise, who was sent to purchase an interesting property off the ocean.
I was seldom permitted leisure time much in Boston, and I was longing for an enjoyable endeavor. My tendencies were acclimated to the boisterous sounds of the Bostonians, and although I am a man of my profession, I have always been curious in nature to the exotic places I have witnessed in my extensive travels. The inclement weather was noticeable, and an apparent mist covered the area, with an intractable surge within the moisture that had formed, from the circumference.
When my automobile had reached the town of Barrington Holm, I then descended and immediately entered the local inn I had made reservations for in anticipation. The dim fog had obscured my genuine view of the port of the Atlantic Ocean and thus, my first grand impression of Barrington Holm was rather partial and sober. The nebulous clouds had then begun to dissipate, and I saw that the town was serene and bustling, with the typical sounds of nature.
There was a visible sign that was hanging over the local inn that was written plainly with the words, "The Earnshaw Inn."
The hesychastic eeriness of the image of the town had presented a daunting aspect of the normal setting. There was this imperturbable quietude seen in the faces of the inhabitants of Barrington Holm. For some apparent reason they were joyous and amicable, in their mien and expressions. I was somewhat perplexed, by their sibrident gestures of cordiality, since I was wont to the usual apathy of the Bostonians. This form of simplicity was refreshing, but bizarre in contrast.
My luggage was unloaded afterward, and I was greeted by the innkeeper therewith. I had perceived a sudden anxiety, as a potent gust of the wind blew without advanced warning. It was such an unusual occurrence to not listen unwillingly to the cantakerous disputes of the Bostonians. It seemed that I had entered another world that one seldom envisions at all.
I had heard the mention of such traditive idyllic towns in my days of infancy as an inhibitive child before, but there was an inexplicable characteristic of the composition of this town I could attest. It felt like a surreal analogue of the real world I had known. This irony was something that was never comparative to any prior experience known to me, and the expression on my countenance was of a satisfactory acceptance.
The birr of the seagulls and the undulation of the waves of the ocean were becoming audible to my attentive ears, while I was inside the inn. The innkeeper was certainly xenodochial and noble toward me and gave me a gracious welcome that I was grateful and appreciative. When I revealed to the innkeeper that I had come to see Mr. Appleton, he told me that Mr. Appleton had left the town for good. When I had inquired, he told me that he sailed off to England, where he was originally from. He was kind enough to indicate me, where I could locate his former residence.
The mystery of Barrington Holm began, and I had entered afterward, the supernatural realm of the unbounded terror of improvidence that awaited me. Along the way to the address of Mr. Appleton, I pondered the admission of the innkeeper, and thought what was I to believe, if Mr. Appleton had really left the village as stated?
Once I had located the residence, I got off the automobile, and then knocked on the door—but a woman who was behind me answered. She had disclosed to me after I informed her of my appointment with Mr. Appleton that he had definitely departed the town. I had perceived that there was a slight imposture in her words, but this was merely, my intuitive supposition. There was no basis of facts I could disprove or prove, for that matter.
As with the innkeeper and the others I descried upon my arrival, she never once stopped smiling. This overt gesticulation was particularly demonstrative in her altruist comportment toward me, but I would discover that this behavior was common, between these rustic individuals. Once again, my commodious and newfangled world of Boston was being compared in earnest.
Naturally, I was uncertain of what recourse remained for me to effectuate, since I was not paid handsomely, for my time to be wasted in fruitless endeavors. However, it was incumbent upon me to at least investigate the actuality of that occurrence.
I kindly excused myself, but not before thanking her for the significant information divulged, about the whereabouts of Mr. Appleton. There was something about this development that intrigued my unabating fascination. I was absolutely resolute to stay, until I could disqualify any possible leads that could materialize. The impending question was where would I search for the sensible answers?
The evocative image of the house was disturbing and peculiar—for it was derelict and fuliginous from outside. It also was located on a spooky lone patch of road that was by the viridescent forest I had passed. These details were not forgotten by me, as was the carefree attitude of the local denizens reflected. What was starting to become more apparent was that I did not go unnoticed, by the townspeople.
Their imitable expressions were subjective to this modest moderation of some implicit nature, as were the echoic tones in their voices. I had returned to the inn to have lunch and contemplated my next step. It was there at the inn after lunch that I met the mysterious Mrs. Breckenridge in person. She was equal in stature, nor tall or short, and her features were fair and extremely pleasant, as was her voice so malacophonous. She was also perceptive and quite knowledgeable—for she easily had distinguished my Bostonian accent. She was fully aware of my presence and was the last person to have reportedly seen Mr. Appleton in Barrington Holm. She had invited me to walk toward the square, where we walked and spoke of Mr. Appleton at length. I was quickly interested in sharing a conversation with her, about what she knew of Mr. Appleton. I had explained to her that I was an employee of Silversmith Enterprise, and my need to speak to Mr. Appleton at once, concerning the property that I had recently visited.
Oddly enough, she was already cognizant of my visit and of my profession unbeknown to me. I marveled with her divulging confession, and if it had not been for the queer presentiment the town of Barrington Holm had aroused in me, I would have facilely overlooked those prying eyes of the inhabitants. I did not want to manifest my unsettling curiosity, but I could not efface in the back of my mind, the redundant smile and echoic voices of the residents of Barrington Holm. I had attempted to maintain my composure and above all, my natural inclination—so that no person of the town could suspect with discernment of any provocation of my doing. I had inquired about the relationship she had with Mr. Appleton, but she was undeviating with her words. She had revealed to me that they were of the brethren. When I asked for a definition of what she meant by those unique words, she repeated again the word brethren.
I would have clearly insisted what she meant by brethren, but I did not want to meddle in the affairs of the residents, since I did not come to make good acquaintances. I then queried about what exactly she remembered, anent the last days of Mr. Appleton in Barrington Holm. She was not evasive nor did she elude my question, instead, she told me that the last time she saw him it was outside of the town hall. When I had asked about the town hall, and where it was located, she pointed to a nearby church that was constructed by the primordial Puritans in 1681. I had seen the church along the way to Mr. Appleton’s house, but I did not see much, except a casual glance.
What I thought odd was the fact that she was taciturn, when describing herself. It was not the prototypical response one would find, especially within an anodyne setting of a public square, where conversation was abundant. But this was not the case, for the persons around us spoke little, and it seemed that they were listening to our intimate colloquy, with a keen interest. I had started to feel uncomfortable as we spoke, and I told her that I was returning to my room in the inn. Perhaps, she had sensed my unsubtle agitation.
There was this inanimate tower clock in the middle of the square that had caught my attention, and I stood gazing at it for a brief moment puzzled. Mrs. Breckenridge had seen me standing and said a very strange thing to me. Her words were concise but daunting in nature.
She said the word, “Quietus,” and this was an unfamiliar word for me.
When I asked her to repeat the word, she did, and then repeated it with conviction and tone.
The word “Quietus,” illumined her face, with some form of celestial glee.
I was going to return to my room in the inn, but I had noticed a unique realization. There were no children in Barrington Holm, and that was beyond the oddities I had begun to witness, during my time in the town. Why were there no children to be seen in the town? Were they sleeping? Where they at their homes? Were they away?
I came to Barrington Holm to purchase a property of an individual by the name of Mr. Wentworth Appleton, and he had disappeared mysteriously. I had cogitated, all viable possibilities that I could think of, and there was one that I had not assumed. The contemplation of his death was a priority I had not indulged. If I was to include the assumption of Mr. Appleton being murdered, then I would have to surmise who was the murderer? I was no sleuth, and this task was not one I was to undertake so wittingly.
The church bells rang, and all the denizens of Barrington Holm stopped their activities and went to the church to worship. Mrs. Breckenridge immediately headed to the church as well. But before she did, she warned me that if I did not go to the church to worship, I would suffer the direful consequences, if I did not adhere to the call to worship. Since I was an outsider, I would be forgiven the first time, but not the second time. When I had asked what denomination the church belonged to, she admitted a startling revelation.
She repeated over and over the word, “Quietus.”
Who was Quietus I asked myself, and when I asked her, she still failed to expound the clarity of this connotation. The only thing she replied was that he was the deity that imbues the constitution of the soul. She told me that carnival was approaching. What did she mean by that I then wondered? I had no inducement to enter the church, since I was a man of my own volition.
Whilst in my room, I stared outside of the window to see what was stirring in the streets of Barrington Holm, but there was hardly any animation exuded or seen in the faces of the inhabitants. They were like mechanical automatons of a prosaic reality, whose duty to providence and their church was the cynosure of their quotidian lives.
The night had arrived, and I was sleeping in my bed quietly, when I heard a sonorous clang ring that awoke me suddenly. I could hear the heavy metallic sound of the clock, with a haunting reverberation that deafened my ears and drowned my voice. I rose to my feet to investigate the distressing occurrence, and what I saw was a disturbing and shocking image. There in the streets outside were the townspeople frolicking, in a bacchanal mirth and lasciviousness. It was a stark and complete contrast to the quietude exposed of the town and its townspeople. They were wearing black visard masks, and dressed in 18th century clothing. This conspicuous contradiction of the behavior of the inhabitants had appeared to be ineffable.
What was unfolding before my eyes was incredulous and transcendent, but I would be even more captivated. I went outside and when I did, the people ceased their scandalous activities and sinful revelry of carnival for an instant. They all began to look at me afterward, with a direct devilish stare. They had sensed that I was not one like them, imbued with the constitution of the soul, and thus, I was a clear outsider, who had come to Barrington Holm to cause mischief and insurrection blatantly.
I felt their hostile enmity toward me, but how could this be I asked again, if before they were peaceful and passive in conduct? I thought of fleeing, but where would I run, since I was an absolute stranger in this town? I stood my ground, as the impassioned townspeople approached me. One of them intrepidly asked me, why I had not heeded the call to worship "Quietus," at the hour designated by the church, as the devoted citizens of Barrington Holm performed?
I still did not comprehend the adoration of this sublime being of "Quietus." Then, I had asked them, if they were not Christians, as most of the people of the New England region. Apparently, they were not and had called me blasphemer. From among the crowd, I recognized the voice and physicality of Mrs. Breckenridge, and I told her to acknowledge me, but she was one of them. What was I to retort then, since I was at the mercy of their perversity?
Gradually, I began to walk backward and toward my automobile parked nearby the inn, but as I was walking I saw they had started to alter their appearances drastically. They took their visards off, and their eyes were tinctured in a queer citrine that was inhuman and heteroclite. They removed their clothing and were half mammalian and amphibian, with long, narrow claws and tails that swinged. Their once anthropomorphic bodies changed from a pale color to emerald green that covered their agglutinated masses of hair.
I had recoiled in absolute fear and astonishment of what I had seen, as the episode reminded me of a childhood psychasthenia. Hesitation and apprehension had swiftly constricted my movement for a moment, until my intuition had compelled me to realize the imminent threat I was confronting. I had scurried to my automobile, but was thwarted by the old innkeeper, who was also a monstrous being. It seemed that I had no escape feasible and would perish at the hands of abominable beings that I was fathomless to understand.
As I found myself surrounded by horrendous mesonoxian creatures of terror, an unidentified man had appeared from behind me. He was my unforeseen savior and thrust me into the automobile, and we were able to escape the seeming clutch of Quietus. I was uncertain of what had transpired, and what logical explanation could there be to describe accurately, the horrid sequence that had developed.
The man identified himself, as Mr. Appleton. Yes—the same Mr. Appleton, who had mysteriously disappeared, or supposedly returned to England. He was driving my vehicle, along the narrow road that led to his home, by the forest. I asked forthwith, about what was happening in Barrington Holm with the residents, and who was Quietus that these deranged townspeople revered, with such blind devotion. Mr. Appleton began to explain to me the whole untold truth, and his version was unbelievable in nature to concede. Nevertheless, after learning the truth, I was still horrified by his tale.
According to Mr. Appleton, the townspeople were under the gorgonizing control of Quietus, who was an alien deity. He had expounded by saying that Quietus had arrived to Barrington Holm one day, as a pagan entity. His influence rapidly had wielded dominion, over the inhabitants.
Soon they became his followers and faithful disciples. The Puritan church of the town had been sequestered, by Quietus. When I had queried of whom was Quietus, and where, did this fiend originate, Mr. Appleton related to me the entire story of Quietus. He said that Quietus came from beyond the ocean, and the most alarming thing was that he was not human, but preternatural. Anyone alive, who was not of the soul imbued by Quietus had vanished or were speculated to be dead. Thus, the only mortal survivor of Barrington Holm was Mr. Appleton, who was a resilient man.
From what I understood, Mr. Appleton had survived Quietus, because he was an ancestor of a Hamish Appleton, the original pastor of the Puritan Church of the 17th century that was built and thereafter seized, by Quietus. I had knowledge of the Puritan history and presence in the New England area. Quietus had once been confronted by his ancestor in that century, and controlled the minds and will of the people.
When I had asked about the absence of the children in Barrington Holm, Mr. Appleton would confess a despicable revelation. The children were sacrificed to Quietus, when they were only neonates. It was essential that we stopped this madness and terror at once. We would have to ultimately destroy Quietus. But the question that lingered, how were we to achieve the objective? That appeared to be an insoluble mystery to unravel. Mr. Appleton had believed that the key was the church. Whatever power had manifested in Quietus existed, within the foundation of the church. This was an exposition of his conjecture, and it was our best viable option afforded.
We had stopped, at his home and prepared ourselves for the eventual encounter, with Quietus—the avatar of inherent evil. The Puritan belief was that the fragile somatasthenia was a path to the soul which Quietus yearned. Those who made a pact with Quietus formed what was known, as a sanguinary covenant. That meant that every neonate who had been born in Barrington Holm would be given as a ceremonial offer to the fiendish Quietus, upon the fortnight. The Puritan fears had instigated the frenzy of witchcraft, throughout the New England area. Quietus was the infernal embodiment of the grim reaper, and loomed over the town, with a minatory presence.
We had stayed the night by the port, in the boat of Mr. Appleton. He had elucidated to me that the unnatural beings we had seen in town were the actual residents, who were placid in their demeanor during the day. He called them "Grindylows', which were a variation of some form of water and land creatures. The threat of the Grindylows was credible, as was the looming presence of Quietus. The innkeeper was the first epigone of the nefarious villain of souls.
I do not know exactly, how the power of Quietus was able to control effectively or illude the vulnerable minds of the townspeople. It was most likely, through a strict form of commination that broke the dubitable fortitude of the townspeople, without much notice. The enormous task of saving Barrington Holm implied, we would have to not just confront Quietus, but as well, the three hundred and sixty animas he controlled through subversion and terror. We did not have further encounters with the deleterious version of the townspeople that night, but we knew they would be waiting for the night to exact their absolute ferity upon us, if given an opportunity.
Mr. Appleton had devised a plan, and we were forced then to execute that plan to perfection with chronomancy. There was no talk about escaping Barrington Holm, because it was incumbent upon us to destroy Quietus. Therefore when dawn had appeared, we abraided, and then headed in my automobile, toward the center of the town—knowing that the denizens would be there. We took the isolated road that I took to visit the house of Mr. Appleton. There was no need to bypass that road, since Mr. Appleton had told me that the townspeople were most likely aware of our plan and intentions already.
A bracing wind blew anonymously on that morning, and the familiar call of the seagulls was heard, from beyond the extensive shoreline. Was this a portentous presage of what was to befall? I could not avoid the slight apprehension that was manifesting by the hour in me, as the drifting fog of the ocean had reappeared gradually. I feared it was another dire token, and one that I had suspected to be unfavorable.
Once we drove into town as Mr. Appleton mentioned, the townspeople of Barrington Holm were their normal selves doing their mundane activities. This was something that no longer bewildered me—for I knew who they were, and who they served—these deviated thralls.
Mr. Appleton had suggested that we headed to the church, while the townspeople were occupied with menial tasks. There was no resistance at first, as we passed the square and arrived at the once Puritan church. I could see plainly, the apse of the church. Then we got off the automobile and entered through the back door. But as we did, we were met by one of the townspeople, who asked if we were not of the soul imbued.
We had to act normal, and demonstrate no emotion of hostility or rage. It was obvious that they knew of our menacing intentions I perceived. Mr. Appleton quickly interjected by telling them that we were of the soul imbued. He also said that we had come to worship Quietus. He was so convincing that we were allowed to pass, although it was not yet the hour to worship. It was the first time that I had entered the church, and my impression was awe-striking. However, I did not come for a social visit. The church was completely entwined, with thorny vines that had grown, since the arrival of Quietus. And there was the awful smell of the wroxed seaweed that had covered the pews.
The holy venerable images of Christianity were desecrated and replaced, by the incomparable images of triangular and rhombicuboctahedronic eyes. We did not have much time—for the hour of worship was nigh. Where was the source of the power of Quietus?
Mr. Appleton then made the reference to the pulpit. As we approached the pulpit, we could hear the wailing sounds of individuals. They were coming from the ocean, and the clamor resounded. It was the clamor of the children, who were trapped in the ocean. As we had attempted to destroy the pulpit, a loud clang of the tower clock rang. The vibration was felt, and I sensed we were too late—for it was the hour of worship, and the townspeople were coming. We had locked the front and back doors, but a plegnic pounding on the doors was soon heard. Thus, we found ourselves in the most inopportune time of a quandary. The thralls, who were the disciples of Quietus, pounded and pounded. We had to react, but where was Quietus? Mr. Appleton had remembered that Quietus had to be summoned, but how?
"The tower clock," Mr. Appleton said.
If we destroyed the clock, Quietus would have to appear, since it would destabilize the routine imposed on the inhabitants. One of us would have to stay behind, while the other attempted to deactivate the mechanism of the tower clock. It was determined that I would go to the clock. I had escaped through the rear window, and I ran as fast as I could to the clock. I had climbed the staircase that led to the tower, but several of the residents had spotted me and tried to prevent me. I sensed that they were on to me, and once up the staircase, I saw a mechanical bolt that operated the clock. I wanted to reach it, but was unable in my attempt.
When I attempted a second time, it was too late the townspeople had captured me, but not before a thunderous clang of the clock had rung, knocking the others on the ground and me. The noise did not yield, and the blaring noise began to deafen our hearing, as blood had poured from within our ears. I tried to fight the incessant noise, but from the stirring depth of the surging borasque rose the splenetic Quietus. His teterrimous guise had caused me an apraic petrifaction that agrized, as I stared at the unsightly sublative deity of the Grindylows. He was a colossal leviathan and demiurge of sprawling tentacles with three heads and three eyes, who reflected the gleimous appearance of an extraterrestrial being that was imposing in constitution.
The unwieldy tempest then swept over the town of Barrington Holm, as the throng of the thralls shot through the roof of the church erumpent. They had converted into the ungodly Grindylows of Quietus. Their guises were shaped into sthenic beings of stealth imparidigitate, with a wicked pallor. Their verdant eyes of dread reflected the sinister nature of their evil.
But what I did not know was that they were fleeing, from the vengeance of the souls of the numinous children from the ocean, who were to exact revenge upon them all. The loud ullagones of strepor of the children had caused the Grindylows to tressilate in absolute conclamation, as the singultient wailing had deafened their hearing. Soon, even the tricephalous Quietus would succumb to the deafening wailing. The once omnipotent and psychagogic Quietus had been defeated and left powerless, by the mighty strepor that resounded.
The storm had destroyed the town, and in the end, Quietus was reduced to a hoary spavined slangrel, who the clamant children had then taken away to the obtenebrated bottom of the ocean of infinity. Barrington Holm had crumbled and was engulfed by the halatinous ocean. The remaining children of the town, who were not yet sacrificed, were still alive. Mr. Appleton had perished fighting the trifarious Quietus, and as for me, I escaped onto the boat, amid the witeless revenants of the children, who stood on the lone patch of Barrington Holm that had remained intact.