The Saturday Night Special: “One Summer Night” by Ambrose Bierce

The fact that Henry Armstrong was buried did not seem to him to prove that he was dead: he had always been a hard man to convince. That he really was buried, the testimony of his senses compelled him to admit. His posture — flat upon his back, with his hands crossed upon his stomach and tied with something that he easily broke without profitably altering the situation — the strict confinement of his entire person, the black darkness and profound silence, made a body of evidence impossible to controvert and he accepted it without cavil.

But dead — no; he was only very, very ill. He had, withal, the invalid’s apathy and did not greatly concern himself about the uncommon

Ambrose Bierce October 7, 1892

Ambrose Bierce
October 7, 1892

fate that had been allotted to him. No philosopher was he — just a plain, commonplace person gifted, for the time being, with a pathological indifference: the organ that he feared consequences with was torpid. So, with no particular apprehension for his immediate future, he fell asleep and all was peace with Henry Armstrong.

But something was going on overhead. It was a dark summer night, shot through with infrequent shimmers of lightning silently firing a cloud lying low in the west and portending a storm. These brief, stammering illuminations brought out with ghastly distinctness the monuments and headstones of the cemetery and seemed to set them dancing. It was not a night in which any credible witness was likely to be straying about a cemetery, so the three men who were there, digging into the grave of Henry Armstrong, felt reasonably secure.

Two of them were young students from a medical college a few miles away; the third was a gigantic negro known as Jess. For many years Jess had been employed about the cemetery as a man-of-all-work and it was his favourite pleasantry that he knew ‘every soul in the place.’ From the nature of what he was now doing it was inferable that the place was not so populous as its register may have shown it to be.

Outside the wall, at the part of the grounds farthest from the public road, were a horse and a light wagon, waiting.

The work of excavation was not difficult: the earth with which the grave had been loosely filled a few hours before offered little resistance and was soon thrown out. Removal of the casket from its box was less easy, but it was taken out, for it was a perquisite of Jess, who carefully unscrewed the cover and laid it aside, exposing the body in black trousers and white shirt. At that instant the air sprang to flame, a cracking shock of thunder shook the stunned world and Henry Armstrong tranquilly sat up. With inarticulate cries the men fled in terror, each in a different direction. For nothing on earth could two of them have been persuaded to return. But Jess was of another breed.

In the grey of the morning the two students, pallid and haggard from anxiety and with the terror of their adventure still beating tumultuously in their blood, met at the medical college.

‘You saw it?’ cried one.

‘God! yes — what are we to do?’

They went around to the rear of the building, where they saw a horse, attached to a light wagon, hitched to a gatepost near the door of the dissecting-room. Mechanically they entered the room. On a bench in the obscurity sat the negro Jess. He rose, grinning, all eyes and teeth.

‘I’m waiting for my pay,’ he said.

Stretched naked on a long table lay the body of Henry Armstrong, the head defiled with blood and clay from a blow with a spade.

###

Text from www.eastoftheweb.com

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Neat poem.

angel-33068_1280

By DMG Byrnes

Now I lay me down to sleep,
To prepare for eve and darkness, deep.
Should blackness come for me this night,
It will meet a vicious fight.

As I lay me down to sleep,
I arm for nightmares as they creep.
Waiting to slip into sleeping mind.
When I find them, I shall not be kind.

Here I lay me down to sleep,
That soul may rest and till morning, keep.
Defy the night and its reaching claws
Slip through its fingers and snapping jaws.

 

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Next Meeting of Farmington Writers Circle Set for February 11, 2016

Farmington Hastings Hardback Cafe

Farmington Hastings Hardback Cafe

The next meeting of the Farmington Writers Circle will be at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at Hastings Hardback Café on 20th Street.   Phil Slattery will lead a discussion on establishing a blog and using it for publicity.  The meeting is open to the general public.  Authors of all genres are welcome.

The Farmington Writers Circle is a nascent organization of authors and writers, who are interested in publishing and marketing their works.

Please contact Phil Slattery via this website with any questions or comments.

Swiss Style & Your Blog

Tips for your horror blog or website…

The Daily Post

Let’s take a quick look at a period of design history, and discuss how it informs and applies to your blog today.

Even if you haven’t heard the term “Swiss Style” before, you’ve surely seen it in action. In graphic design history, “Swiss Style” (also known as the “International Typographic Style”) refers to a specific type of design that was made popular by Swiss designers like Joseph Müller-Brockmann and Armin Hofmann in the 1950s. The Swiss Style movement was based on the idea that design should be objective: the content should lead the message. Designers stripped out superfluous elements and used a clean, clear aesthetic to accentuate and amplify the core message.

Swiss-style posters by Josef Müller-Brockmann Swiss Style posters by Josef Müller-Brockmann. Designed between 1953-1980. Via Maryellen McFadden on Flickr

Though we often refer to this as “Swiss Style”, the core concepts didn’t necessarily originate in Switzerland. Swiss Style is based on a number of ideas that originated in…

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Sourcing Free Images 2.0

If you need images for your work of horror or anything…

Live to Write - Write to Live

paulus self portrait Paulus Moreelse self-portrait from the Rijksmuseum

I needed an image of a Renaissance self portrait for a recent post on my blog,  but having made an expensive mistake once, I’ve become hyper vigilant about sourcing free images.

In my search for digital images I could use free and clear, I made two discoveries worth sharing. First, I stumbled across Open Culture, which proclaims to be “the best free cultural and educational media on the web.” There, I found links to over twenty world-famous museums that make images of their collections available on-line.

Museum in Valencia, Spain. Photo by Margit Wallnery via pixabay. Museum in Valencia, Spain. Photo by Margit Wallnery via pixabay.

Essentially, it’s possible to see a significant portion of the world’s great art with the ease of a few keystrokes. While this isn’t the same as visiting the Museum of New Zealand in person, for those of us in North America, it’s a lot cheaper…

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Zuvembies and the Voo-Doo Man

Fiction from Robert Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, via Paula Cappa.

Paula Cappa

Pigeons From Hell    by Robert E. Howard  (1938 Weird Tales)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  January 26, 2015

house-984648_960_720

Come to the old south, to Blassenville Manor. Who doesn’t love a Southern Gothic horror story?  Blassenville Manor is long abandoned when two young men stumble upon this decaying mansion and decide to spend the night.

‘The old deserted house stimulated their imagination with its suggestion of antebellum splendor and ultimate decay. They left the automobile beside the rutty road, and as they went up the winding walk of crumbling bricks, almost lost in the tangle of rank growth, pigeons rose from the balustrades in a fluttering, feathery crowd and swept away with a low thunder of beating wings.

 ‘The oaken door sagged on broken hinges. Dust lay thick on the floor of the wide, dim hallway, on the broad steps of the stair that mounted up from the hall…

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At Your Fingertips: Tips and Tricks for Our Mobile Apps

New technical advice for writers.

The Daily Post

I wrote the entire post you’re about to read without touching a computer. The whole thing was written on an iPad Air 2 in (you guessed it) the WordPress app.

In fact, the app has become my prime publishing tool. I keep a workout log on WordPress.com that I can easily update from my phone when I’m at the gym. The iPad is my tool of choice for personal blogging (it helps to remove distractions). When I’m not creating content, I’m often consuming it through the Reader within the app (browsing our awesome Discover showcase).

Note: Learn even more about our mobile apps here!

Our WordPress mobile apps allow anyone to publish a post and even manage their entire blog on the go. Let’s dive into some specific features in both the iOS and Android apps that make this possible.

Manage all your sites

I use the iOS mobile app on a daily basis for…

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Press Release: The Eschatologist

Coming from the land down under…

HorrorAddicts.net

Eschatologist-coverThe Eschatologist is the fifth novella from Australian horror author and artist, Greg Chapman.

This post-apocalyptic horror novella, centers on a family being pursued by a murderous prophet after the world has been toppled by a biblical apocalypse.

David Brewer is trying to keep his family alive in a world torn asunder by a Biblical apocalypse. Yet there is salvation, in the guise of a stranger who offers survivors sanctuary. All they have to do is declare their faith in God’s final – and bloody – plan.

Chapman is the author of the novellas Torment, The Noctuary, The Last Night of October and the short story collection, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares. He is also an artist, with his comic book illustrations gracing the pages of MidnightEcho magazine and his graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, with Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, winning the Bram…

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It all goes south in the must see trailer for Southbound

Source: It all goes south in the must see trailer for Southbound

No kidding!  You have to see this terrific trailer for “Southbound” over at Missing Reel.  Check it out now!  “Southbound” opens in limited theaters on February 5 and then hits VOD February 9.   I am looking forward to it.

The Saturday Night Special: “The Tree” by H.P. Lovecraft

The Tree

by Howard Philips Lovecraft

(1920)

from www.hplovecraft.com

 

On a verdant slope of Mount Maenalus, in Arcadia, there stands an olive grove about the ruins of a villa. Close by is a tomb, once beautiful with the sublimest sculptures, but now fallen into as great decay as the house. At one end of that tomb, its curious roots displacing the time-stained blocks of Pentelic marble, grows an unnaturally large olive tree of oddly repellent shape; so like to some grotesque man, or death-distorted body of a man, that the country folk fear to pass it at night when the moon shines faintly through the crooked boughs. Mount Maenalus is a chosen haunt of dreaded Pan, whose queer companions are many, and simple swains believe that the tree must have some hideous kinship to these weird Panisci; but an old bee-keeper who lives in the neighbouring cottage told me a different story.

H.P. Lovecraft, 1915

H.P. Lovecraft, 1915

Many years ago, when the hillside villa was new and resplendent, there dwelt within it the two sculptors Kalos and Musides. From Lydia to Neapolis the beauty of their work was praised, and none dared say that the one excelled the other in skill. The Hermes of Kalos stood in a marble shrine in Corinth, and the Pallas of Musides surmounted a pillar in Athens, near the Parthenon. All men paid homage to Kalos and Musides, and marvelled that no shadow of artistic jealousy cooled the warmth of their brotherly friendship.
 But though Kalos and Musides dwelt in unbroken harmony, their natures were not alike. Whilst Musides revelled by night amidst the urban gaieties of Tegea, Kalos would remain at home; stealing away from the sight of his slaves into the cool recesses of the olive grove. There he would meditate upon the visions that filled his mind, and there devise the forms of beauty which later became immortal in breathing marble. Idle folk, indeed, said that Kalos conversed with the spirits of the grove, and that his statues were but images of the fauns and dryads he met there—for he patterned his work after no living model.
 So famous were Kalos and Musides, that none wondered when the Tyrant of Syracuse sent to them deputies to speak of the costly statue of Tyché which he had planned for his city. Of great size and cunning workmanship must the statue be, for it was to form a wonder of nations and a goal of travellers. Exalted beyond thought would be he whose work should gain acceptance, and for this honour Kalos and Musides were invited to compete. Their brotherly love was well known, and the crafty Tyrant surmised that each, instead of concealing his work from the other, would offer aid and advice; this charity producing two images of unheard-of beauty, the lovelier of which would eclipse even the dreams of poets.
 With joy the sculptors hailed the Tyrant’s offer, so that in the days that followed their slaves heard the ceaseless blows of chisels. Not from each other did Kalos and Musides conceal their work, but the sight was for them alone. Saving theirs, no eyes beheld the two divine figures released by skilful blows from the rough blocks that had imprisoned them since the world began.
 At night, as of yore, Musides sought the banquet halls of Tegea whilst Kalos wandered alone in the olive grove. But as time passed, men observed a want of gaiety in the once sparkling Musides. It was strange, they said amongst themselves, that depression should thus seize one with so great a chance to win art’s loftiest reward. Many months passed, yet in the sour face of Musides came nothing of the sharp expectancy which the situation should arouse.
 Then one day Musides spoke of the illness of Kalos, after which none marvelled again at his sadness, since the sculptors’ attachment was known to be deep and sacred. Subsequently many went to visit Kalos, and indeed noticed the pallor of his face; but there was about him a happy serenity which made his glance more magical than the glance of Musides—who was clearly distracted with anxiety, and who pushed aside all the slaves in his eagerness to feed and wait upon his friend with his own hands. Hidden behind heavy curtains stood the two unfinished figures of Tyché, little touched of late by the sick man and his faithful attendant.
 As Kalos grew inexplicably weaker and weaker despite the ministrations of puzzled physicians and of his assiduous friend, he desired to be carried often to the grove which he so loved. There he would ask to be left alone, as if wishing to speak with unseen things. Musides ever granted his requests, though his eyes filled with visible tears at the thought that Kalos should care more for the fauns and the dryads than for him. At last the end drew near, and Kalos discoursed of things beyond this life. Musides, weeping, promised him a sepulchre more lovely than the tomb of Mausolus; but Kalos bade him speak no more of marble glories. Only one wish now haunted the mind of the dying man; that twigs from certain olive trees in the grove be buried by his resting-place—close to his head. And one night, sitting alone in the darkness of the olive grove, Kalos died.
 Beautiful beyond words was the marble sepulchre which stricken Musides carved for his beloved friend. None but Kalos himself could have fashioned such bas-reliefs, wherein were displayed all the splendours of Elysium. Nor did Musides fail to bury close to Kalos’ head the olive twigs from the grove.
 As the first violence of Musides’ grief gave place to resignation, he laboured with diligence upon his figure of Tyché. All honour was now his, since the Tyrant of Syracuse would have the work of none save him or Kalos. His task proved a vent for his emotion, and he toiled more steadily each day, shunning the gaieties he once had relished. Meanwhile his evenings were spent beside the tomb of his friend, where a young olive tree had sprung up near the sleeper’s head. So swift was the growth of this tree, and so strange was its form, that all who beheld it exclaimed in surprise; and Musides seemed at once fascinated and repelled.
 Three years after the death of Kalos, Musides despatched a messenger to the Tyrant, and it was whispered in the agora at Tegea that the mighty statue was finished. By this time the tree by the tomb had attained amazing proportions, exceeding all other trees of its kind, and sending out a singularly heavy branch above the apartment in which Musides laboured. As many visitors came to view the prodigious tree, as to admire the art of the sculptor, so that Musides was seldom alone. But he did not mind his multitude of guests; indeed, he seemed to dread being alone now that his absorbing work was done. The bleak mountain wind, sighing through the olive grove and the tomb-tree, had an uncanny way of forming vaguely articulate sounds.
 The sky was dark on the evening that the Tyrant’s emissaries came to Tegea. It was definitely known that they had come to bear away the great image of Tyché and bring eternal honour to Musides, so their reception by the proxenoi was of great warmth. As the night wore on, a violent storm of wind broke over the crest of Maenalus, and the men from far Syracuse were glad that they rested snugly in the town. They talked of their illustrious Tyrant, and of the splendour of his capital; and exulted in the glory of the statue which Musides had wrought for him. And then the men of Tegea spoke of the goodness of Musides, and of his heavy grief for his friend; and how not even the coming laurels of art could console him in the absence of Kalos, who might have worn those laurels instead. Of the tree which grew by the tomb, near the head of Kalos, they also spoke. The wind shrieked more horribly, and both the Syracusans and the Arcadians prayed to Aiolos.
 In the sunshine of the morning the proxenoi led the Tyrant’s messengers up the slope to the abode of the sculptor, but the night-wind had done strange things. Slaves’ cries ascended from a scene of desolation, and no more amidst the olive grove rose the gleaming colonnades of that vast hall wherein Musides had dreamed and toiled. Lone and shaken mourned the humble courts and the lower walls, for upon the sumptuous greater peristyle had fallen squarely the heavy overhanging bough of the strange new tree, reducing the stately poem in marble with odd completeness to a mound of unsightly ruins. Strangers and Tegeans stood aghast, looking from the wreckage to the great, sinister tree whose aspect was so weirdly human and whose roots reached so queerly into the sculptured sepulchre of Kalos. And their fear and dismay increased when they searched the fallen apartment; for of the gentle Musides, and of the marvellously fashioned image of Tyché, no trace could be discovered. Amidst such stupendous ruin only chaos dwelt, and the representatives of two cities left disappointed; Syracusans that they had no statue to bear home, Tegeans that they had no artist to crown. However, the Syracusans obtained after a while a very splendid statue in Athens, and the Tegeans consoled themselves by erecting in the agora a marble temple commemorating the gifts, virtues, and brotherly piety of Musides.
 But the olive grove still stands, as does the tree growing out of the tomb of Kalos, and the old bee-keeper told me that sometimes the boughs whisper to one another in the night-wind, saying over and over again, “Οἶδα! Οἶδα!—I know! I know!”

17 | Shirley Jackson Week

Cool.

Crime Time

That’s right, Lee and Eddie will be discussing one of the greatest horror authors to have ever lived, Shirley Jackson! The ever controversial short story “The Lottery” is the major topic of discussion. What makes it so creepy? We literally don’t know, but we do know you can listen to A.M. Homes read it on the New Yorker: Fiction Podcast available for free on iTunes! In fact, do that right now!

Lee and Eddie go head to head in yet another book vs book where neither has read the other! Will We Have Always Lived in the Castle win over The Haunting of Hill House? Are either really committed to anything other than victory? Were they both just happy to read some great books? Find out in this week’s episode!

If you like what you hear, let us know via Twitter, or send us some…

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