Saturday, July 29, 2017

One Other

Her lips tightened, red and hard and sharp as her nails. “Nothing at all, John. You did nothing, you ignored me. Doesn’t it make you furious to be ignored?” 

“Ignored? I never notice such a thing.” 

“I do. I don’t often look at a man twice, and usually they look at me at least once. I don’t forgive being ignored.”


John climbs to the top of Hark Mountain, and finds a woman casting a love charm for him. Annalinda, a big town beauty, wants John to fall in love with her, not for her longing but for her pride. Weeks earlier, John ignored her charms, and now she's turned to folk magic taught by a Mr. Howsen.
“I’d been told a charm can be said three times, beside Bottomless Pool on Hark Mountain, to burn a man’s soul with love. And you came when I called. Don’t shake your head, John, you’re in love with me.”
“Sorry. I beg your pardon. I’m not in love with you.”
As John and Annalinda argue over what brought him to the top of the mountain, Mr. Howsen arrives. Annalinda makes to pay him, but he says that she and John will pay the price instead to One Other by the Bottomless Pool. With a scratched mark, Mr. Howsen binds them to the mountaintop to await One Other's arrival...


One Other is a tempter from another dimension, and John's charms for angels and demons slide off this creature. He is looking for more servants to give him more power and influence in our world. Inspired by alchemy, John uses fire to drive One Other back into his dimension.

While not necessarily Mythos, "One Other" certainly resonates with the extended stories of Lovecraft's creations. Wellman had made Mythos homages before, in such stories as "The Terrible Parchment" and in such stories as "The Letters of Cold Fire:, John Thunstone's arch-enemy, Rowley Thorne, mimics the interests and misadventures of Mythos magicians. But while Wellman would namedrop several names familiar to the Mythos in his writings, as he was wont to do with many Weird Tales worlds, little of the actual Mythos could be found in his work. Yet he would return, time and again, to the idea of extra-dimensional terrors such as One Other and the Shonokins. But where Lovecraft wrote of strange beings incomprehensible to human understanding, Wellman's aliens share with the Devil an ability to assume a pleasing shape...or one that, while grotesque, is more pleasant than their true form. For more on Wellman and the Mythos, check out the page devoted to it on his estate's website.


One of the truisms currently out of favor in contemporary times is that men and women have different mentalities, and when women break, they break in a different manner than men. We've seen how the rich and the proud break men in "Vandy, Vandy" and "O Ugly Bird!", and how the need to control drives the witch men in those stories. In "The Little Black Train" and "One Other", vanity drives the women bad, and the need to be praised drives them to their evils. Wellman shows the faults of both sexes throughout his writings.  For instance, John mentions that "Nothing flurries a woman like being caught in the truth." But while evil is challenged no matter if committed by man or woman, the evil men get led to destruction while the women are usually saved from the full consequences of their evil. And not in a "make it go away" sense, but with the full moral knowledge of the choices they made.

No comments:

Post a Comment