Can Such Things Be?: An Inhabitant of Carcosa & Other Stories

 
9781496030825: Can Such Things Be?: An Inhabitant of Carcosa & Other Stories

As he pressed forward he became conscious that his way was haunted by invisible existences whom he could not definitely figure to his mind. From among the trees on either side he caught broken and incoherent whispers in a strange tongue which yet he partly understood. They seemed to him fragmentary utterances of a monstrous conspiracy against his body and soul. It was now long after nightfall, yet the interminable forest through which he journeyed was lit with a wan glimmer having no point of diffusion, for in its mysterious lumination nothing cast a shadow. A shallow pool in the guttered depression of an old wheel rut, as from a recent rain, met his eye with a crimson gleam. He stooped and plunged his hand into it. It stained his fingers; it was blood! Blood, he then observed, was about him everywhere. The weeds growing rankly by the roadside showed it in blots and splashes on their big, broad leaves. Patches of dry dust between the wheelways were pitted and spattered as with a red rain. Defiling the trunks of the trees were broad maculations of crimson, and blood dripped like dew from their foliage. All this he observed with a terror which seemed not incompatible with the fulfillment of a natural expectation. It seemed to him that it was all in expiation of some crime which, though conscious of his guilt, he could not rightly remember. To the menaces and mysteries of his surroundings the consciousness was an added horror. Vainly he sought by tracing life backward in memory, to reproduce the moment of his sin; scenes and incidents came crowding tumultuously into his mind, one picture effacing another, or commingling with it in confusion and obscurity, but nowhere could he catch a glimpse of what he sought. The failure augmented his terror; he felt as one who has murdered in the dark, not knowing whom nor why. So frightful was the situation-the mysterious light burned with so silent and awful a menace; the noxious plants, the trees that by common consent are invested with a melancholy or baleful character, so openly in his sight conspired against his peace; from overhead and all about came so audible and startling whispers and the sighs of creatures so obviously not of earth-that he could endure it no longer, and with a great effort to break some malign spell that bound his faculties to silence and inaction, he shouted with the full strength of his lungs! His voice broken, it seemed, into an infinite multitude of unfamiliar sounds, went babbling and stammering away into the distant reaches of the forest, died into silence, and all was as before. But he had made a beginning at resistance and was encouraged. He said: “I will not submit unheard. There may be powers that are not malignant traveling this accursed road. I shall leave them a record and an appeal. I shall relate my wrongs, the persecutions that I endure-I, a helpless mortal, a penitent, an unoffending poet!” Halpin Frayser was a poet only as he was a penitent: in his dream. Taking from his clothing a small red-leather pocketbook, one-half of which was leaved for memoranda, he discovered that he was without a pencil. He broke a twig from a bush, dipped it into a pool of blood and wrote rapidly. He had hardly touched the paper with the point of his twig when a low, wild peal of laughter broke out at a measureless distance away, and growing ever louder, seemed approaching ever nearer; a soulless, heartless, and unjoyous laugh, like that of the loon, solitary by the lakeside at midnight; a laugh which culminated in an unearthly shout close at hand, then died away by slow gradations, as if the accursed being that uttered it had withdrawn over the verge of the world whence it had come. But the man felt that this was not so-that it was near by and had not moved.

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About the Author:

AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914?), American journalist, short-story writer, and poet, was born in Ohio, served in the Civil War, and then settled in San Francisco. He wrote for Hearst's Examiner, his wit and satire making him the literary dictator of the Pacific coast and strongly influencing many writers. He disappeared into war-torn Mexico in 1913.

Review:

Praise for the works of Ambrose Bierce:

''These pieces are not dated, nor are they lacking any of the narrative elements necessary to attract and hold the attention of anyone interested in the horror genre.'' -- SF Booklog

''Ambrose Bierce was an iconoclastic literary genius and . . . most readers will enjoy his malevolent skepticism and underlying rage against hypocrisy . . . His legacy is memorable.'' --Amazon.com editorial review

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Ambrose Bierce
Editorial: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN 10: 1496030826 ISBN 13: 9781496030825
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Revaluation Books
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Descripción CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Paperback. Estado de conservación: Brand New. 134 pages. 9.00x6.00x0.31 inches. This item is printed on demand. Nº de ref. de la librería zk1496030826

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