Story Spotlight: “The Bedlamite” by Ferrel Moore

High Seas Cthulhu offers dark fiction on the open seas—or as the editor describes it, “Swashbuckling Adventure meeting Mythos.” Some of the tales are historical, and some more modern. Ferrel Moore’s contribution to the anthology, “The Bedlamite,” was set in the 1800’s. Heavy in atmosphere, the tale works hard  to build suspense until the the terrific climax. It’s characters are a creepy, and dysfunctional lot.

Consider what I have already told you.  Each time in the past that this has occurred,” continued Dr. Trempski, “the ships were left behind untouched, just as now.  Only the men were taken or driven mad.  Remember the Sirens of the ancient Greek Mariners?  There are many such legends from many traditions.  But in the strange tales concerning the Deep Ones, we hear such narratives at their most terrifying.

Remember, when the Eye of Dagon rose, but did not see the sign that it sought, madness and death descended on anyone that it looked upon.  The Secretary’s son perhaps saved his life by putting out his own eyes.”

SS) What is the allure of writing dark fiction?

FM) Dark fiction’s primary interest to me is an exercise in creating mood.  I find word usage incredibly interesting, which is why I love genre work.  It requires that I learn a whole new way of meeting readers expectations.

SS)Your story was set in the 1800’s. Did you choose to write a piece about that era for any particular reason? Does it strike a romantic note for you?

FM)I chose the 1800’s because I consider it a terrifying period in American history showcasing the barbaric horrors and insanity redolent with self-indulgence, cruelty, bad hygiene.


FM) Okay, I chose the 1800’s because it resonated well with Lovecraft’s well-known love of the period, and his themes of insanity and chaos. That’s

why I centered the story around a madman (known to some as a “bedlamite” after the most infamous asylum for the insane).  In this story, my goal was to be true to Lovecraft’s beliefs about the origin of madness, wherein they come from “beyond.”

Poe, of course, saw the origins of madness within the individual.  “The Imp of the Perverse” is hardly an exception in this regard as the imp is simply a metaphor for one aspect of human psychology.

SS)What is the hardest thing for you about writing a mythos story?

FM)Mythos stories are great to write.  My favorite genre is mystery and suspense, but I have to admit that the Mythos makes me  work harder as a writer.  Whereas mystery and suspense are boundaried at the very least by semi-reasonable expectations , the Mythos allows us to take questions of “what if” to a fantastic level.

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