Creatures of the Pool
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Creatures of the Pool

by Ramsey Campbell
Release date: September 2009
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: horror

Introduction by Bryan Talbot.

"The calls on the radio are all about tunnels. Someone whose grandfather was involved in digging the first of the pair that take roads under the river says attempts were made to block up the excavations. The bosses accused the workmen of trying to prolong the job, but some of her grandfather's colleagues insisted the tunnel had been blocked from within. The wife of a worker at the sorting office on Copperas Hill reveals that the postmen are loath to use the tunnel that links the office to Lime Street Station. Perhaps it's a tale to frighten new recruits, since the veterans say the lights in the tunnel sometimes fail, unless they're switched off as a prank, at which point you may realise you have company that doesn't need to see you to find you, because you'll hear its whisper in your ear before you encounter its wet flabby touch. The construction of the offices unearthed coffins lined with lead. A ticket collector rings to talk about the underground railway, a loop of which passes beneath the centre of Liverpool, starting and returning at the bottom of the street the castle used to dominate. All the tunnels leak, and the loop has to be closed every spring while rails corroded by salt water are replaced. The employee says he's been told by contractors that they've heard intruders running or rather sloshing ahead of them in the dark, even in sections of the tunnels where there's no water underfoot…"

Gavin Meadows gives guided tours of Liverpool. Some of his stories are based on history and some on local legends. As a summer of rainstorms and redevelopment overtakes the city, his research starts to disinter the true nature of the place. What originally brought settlers to the Pool? What used to take place in the cellars of Liverpool's Whitechapel? Why did Joseph Williamson, the Mole of Edge Hill, construct a maze of underground tunnels only to brick them up? What drove Virginia Woolf's uncle mad in Liverpool as he summed up a prosecution for murder? As Gavin and his partner Lucinda delve deeper they're confronted by the truth behind the legends and encounter what has always lived under the city. At the end, what will come up from the dark?

updated 2010-09-07

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