8

First off, this sounds like Yog-Sothoth, but the short story made no reference to Y-S, and the monster in question was not a god. I'm certain the author was not Lovecraft, but I'm kinda/sorta confident I know the author (Robert Bloch) and he was heavily influenced by Lovecraft. It has that vibe but wasn't set in the Twenties or Thirties.

  • About a monster that resembles a floating cloud of iridescent silver bubbles.
  • Was discovered in an old sea chest, suspected to contain treasure. Seems like it was trapped until the chest was opened.
  • The monster eats memories and identities, and gains the victim's knowledge
  • Setting was near the sea. I'm remembering beaches and maybe a sea cave
  • Time-wise, the setting of the story felt like anywhere from the mid-50's to the mid-60's
  • Main character was male, not a villain but felt unsavory.
  • Main character had a girlfriend or love interest whose mind is eaten by the monster
  • The ending is ambiguous, like the monster might keep going and eat the minds of all life on earth. I.e. there is no explicit resolution. The main character is either eaten or runs for his life.
  • I'm pretty sure the author was Robert Bloch, but my search of his stories is inconclusive. I can't find a synopsis of more than a couple of them, and that has not turned up any clues. (It's not "Opener of the Way")

What is the name of this short story? Thank you!

5

There is a Robert Bloch story that is a bit like this, though not a perfect match. It's Terror in Cut-Throat Cove, which I read in the anthology Mysteries of the Worm.

The story is about divers searching for a fabulous golden chest in a submerged wreck. It's set in the aforementioned cove, not a cave, and the protagonist Howard Lane is a somewhat seedy character with a girlfriend Dena Drake who comes to a sticky end.

However when the golden chest is found and opened the monster inside it emerges as a stream of black bubbles not iridescent bubbles:

I sought to brush away the encrustation of corrosion and fungoid growth and gaze upon the gold beneath, but as I reached out the lid began to rise. It swung open slowly, and the blackness seeped out; the black bubbles burst like bloating blossoms. And they were not bubbles, but heads, and each head had a face, and each face had a mouth, and each mouth was gaping wide to greet me with a grotesque grimace.

The monster does kind of eat memories. The monster engulfs the divers' ship and the narrator tells us:

“The Marie Celeste,” I murmured. “And countless other ships. Countless other mortals in all climes, in all times. When the appetite waxes, it awakens. When it wanes, it subsides. But now the hunger grows again and it will come forth to feed. Not on the bodies alone, but on the being. It will glut on soul-substance, feast on the emotions and the psyche.

Howard sacrifices Dena to the monster by binding her and carrying her to the beach for the monster to eat. The story ends with Howard in prison awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend.

The last section is written by the mayor of the nearby town where Howard is in prison. It ends (sic):

The moonlight is clear and I can see the black bubbles rising. They are moving closer to the shore, moving swiftly. And now I hear the screaming from the waterfront. They see it, they see it coming out of the water. It is black and immense, and it is slithering forward, it is coming to feast just as he said it would, it is coming to devour the w-

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