The Thing in the Water: a Lovecraftian Short Story

Rated 2.00/5 based on 1 reviews
Even a Caribbean cruise can't distract artist Daniel Bradshaw from his pending divorce. Then he meets Cliff. The old man’s interest in Daniel’s art is a much-needed ego boost, and Cliff even charms Daniel's worrywart sister and her uncouth husband. In short, Cliff seems like a godsend…and he is. Just not the god any of them expected. More

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About Mercy Loomis

Mercy Loomis grew up in a haunted house, and has had quite enough of ghosts for one lifetime, thank you. Though she now lives in a 150-year-old house, it is remarkably ghost-free. (That, or they’re staying on the down-low. She doesn’t care which.)
Mercy finished writing her first vampire novel when she was in middle school, and hasn’t stopped writing about them since. She loves stories about the paranormal because monsters are scary, but less scary than real people. Or at least less depressing.
Mercy graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison one class short of an accidental certificate in Folklore. She credits her love of mythology to her mom reading Greek myths as bedtime stories, and her love of fantastical adventure stories to watching cheesy movies with her dad. Her love of history (and coffee!) is completely her husband’s fault, but she doesn’t know who’s to blame for the fascination with physics.
She guesses that hanging out with Dad while he butchered deer also had an effect on her character, but exactly what effect, she leaves up to the reader.
See what Mercy’s up to and find links to her other work at

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Review by: Voice Spider on Nov. 06, 2013 :
I admit, I'm a sucker for Lovecraftian stories. When I saw this attractively priced story, I decided to pick it up. What started out as an interesting premise unfortunately ended on a disappointing note.

I give Loomis credit, the setting of a cruise ship is a unique setting idea. The characters, especially the main character, were wonderfully constructed. Their interactions were believable and there was a good dynamic between all of them, especially the narrator and Cliff. Each person intertwines nicely and overall Loomis does a good job keeping things moving as the story developed.

However, the major issue I found with this story was the climax. I admit, this is perhaps a bit of nit-picking, but if you are going to include a Lovecraftian creature, do your homework. Though Lovecraft himself didn't write a lot about Shub-Niggurath, it has pretty much been established that the Old One is primarily land/forest based. Putting her/it in the middle of the ocean, as well as the way she/it solves the narrator's problems, is completely out of character for that being. Her/its use in this story also seems to go against Shub-Niggurath's primary description as a corrupt fertility goddess as well. If another of Lovecraft's Old Ones were used, this tale would have come across a lot smoother.

Another element that fell short was the final climax of the story. That the main character would participate in what he does, even in the heat of the moment, seems fairly bloodthirsty and callous for someone who had not shown any of those elements previously in the story. Also, the fact that on a crowded cruise ship, three people would not be noticed by the ship's crew when all the other guests are apparently at a party feels unrealistic. That no one would notice someone falling overboard, or a missing person, adds to the breaking of the suspension of disbelief. Security tends to be fairly tight on cruise ships.

That said, if the reader has no prior knowledge of Lovecraft's mythos, or isn't wide read in the genre, then the above paragraph won't matter to them. Old One element aside, Loomis wrote a story with a unique setting, with an interesting premise, and with characters who will keep the reader engaged. I wouldn't recommend this story to frequent readers of Lovecraftian stories unless they wanted a quick read.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)

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