Some people see things that others cannot. Tales of Mystery and Imagination. “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” (H.P. Lovecraft).

Clark Ashton Smith: Ubbo-Sathla

For Ubbo-Sathla is the source and the end. Before the coming of Zhothaqquah or Yok-Zothoth or Kthulhut from the stars, Ubbo-Sathla dwelt in the steaming fens of the newmade Earth: a mass without head or members, spawning the grey, formless efts of the prime and the grisly prototypes of terrene life . . . And all earthly life, it is told, shall go back at last through the great circle of time to Ubbo-Sathla.
—The Book of Eibon.

Paul Tregardis found the milky crystal in a litter of oddments from many lands and eras. He had entered the shop of the curio-dealer through an aimless impulse, with no particular object in mind, other than the idle distraction of eyeing and fingering a miscellany of far-gathered things. Looking desultorily about, his attention had been drawn by a dull glimmering on one of the tables; and he had extricated the queer orb-like stone from its shadowy, crowded position between an ugly little Aztec idol, the fossil egg of a dinornis, and an obscene fetich of black wood from the Niger.

The thing was about the size of a small orange and was slightly flattened at the ends, like a planet at its poles. It puzzled Tregardis, for it was not like an ordinary crystal, being cloudy and changeable, with an intermittent glowing in its heart, as if it were alternately illumed and darkened from within. Holding it to the wintry window, he studied it for awhile without being able to determine the secret of this singular and regular alternation. His puzzlement was soon complicated by a dawning sense of vague and irrecognizable familiarity, as if he had seen the thing before under circumstances that were now wholly forgotten.

He appealed to the curio-dealer, a dwarfish Hebrew with an air of dusty antiquity, who gave the impression of being lost to commercial considerations in some web of cabbalistic revery.

"Can you tell me anything about this?"

The dealer gave an indescribable, simultaneous shrug of his shoulders and his eye-brows.

"It is very old—palaeogean, one might say. I cannot tell you much, for little is known. A geologist found it in Greenland, beneath glacial ice, in the Miocene strata. Who knows? It may have belonged to some sorcerer of primeval Thule. Greenland was a warm, fertile region, beneath the sun of Miocene times. No doubt it is a magic crystal; and a man might behold strange visions in its heart, if he looked long enough."

Tregardis was quite startled; for the dealer's apparently fantastic suggestion had brought to mind his own delvings in a branch of obscure lore; and, in particular, had recalled The Book of Eibon, that strangest and rarest of occult forgotten volumes, which is said to have come down through a series of manifold translations from a prehistoric original written in the lost language of Hyperborea. Tregardis, with much difficulty, had obtained the medieval French version—a copy that had been owned by many generations of sorcerers and Satanists—but had never been able to find the Greek manuscript from which the version was derived.

The remote, fabulous original was supposed to have been the work of a great Hyperborean wizard, from whom it had taken its name. It was a collection of dark and baleful myths, of liturgies, rituals and incantations both evil and esoteric. Not without shudders, in the course of studies that the average person would have considered more than singular, Tregardis had collated the French volume with the frightful Necronomicon of the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred. He had found many correspondences of the blackest and most appalling significance, together with much forbidden data that was either unknown to the Arab or omitted by him ... or by his translators.

Harold Kremer: El combate

Harold Kremer, Relatos de misterio, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Relatos de ciencia ficción, Fiction Tales

Fue en la guerra de los Mil Días. Raúl Sánchez, con una bala en el estómago, caminó durante tres días y tres noches. Se arrastró por montes y selvas hasta llegar a Buga. Entró a su casa, besó a su madre, a sus hermanas y se desmayó. A los dos días despertó. Vio a sus compañeros de guerra y preguntó por su madre y sus hermanas. Nadie le respondió. Preguntó por qué estaba allí en el campo de batalla. Le respondieron la verdad: iba a morir. Le dieron un calmante y volvió a dormir. Al despertar se encontró en su casa. Preguntó por sus compañeros. "Cuando ibas a partir a la guerra caíste enfermo", le dijo su madre. Raúl cerró los ojos y murió.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Randolph Carter, Relatos de misterio, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Relatos de ciencia ficción, Fiction Tales, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvellous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades, and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes climbed tiers of red roofs and old peaked gables harbouring little lanes of grassy cobbles. It was a fever of the gods; a fanfare of supernal trumpets and a clash of immortal cymbals. Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountain; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things, and the maddening need to place again what once had an awesome and momentous place.
He knew that for him its meaning must once have been supreme; though in what cycle or incarnation he had known it, or whether in dream or in waking, he could not tell. Vaguely it called up glimpses of a far, forgotten first youth, when wonder and pleasure lay in all the mystery of days, and dawn and dusk alike strode forth prophetick to the eager sound of lutes and song; unclosing faery gates toward further and surprising marvels. But each night as he stood on that high marble terrace with the curious urns and carven rail and looked off over that hushed sunset city of beauty and unearthly immanence, he felt the bondage of dream’s tyrannous gods; for in no wise could he leave that lofty spot, or descend the wide marmoreal flights flung endlessly down to where those streets of elder witchery lay outspread and beckoning.
When for the third time he awaked with those flights still undescended and those hushed sunset streets still untraversed, he prayed long and earnestly to the hidden gods of dream that brood capricious above the clouds on unknown Kadath, in the cold waste where no man treads. But the gods made no answer and shewed no relenting, nor did they give any favouring sign when he prayed to them in dream, and invoked them sacrificially through the bearded priests Nasht and Kaman-Thah, whose cavern-temple with its pillar of flame lies not far from the gates of the waking world. It seemed, however, that his prayers must have been adversely heard, for after even the first of them he ceased wholly to behold the marvellous city; as if his three glimpses from afar had been mere accidents or oversights, and against some hidden plan or wish of the gods.
At length, sick with longing for those glittering sunset streets and cryptical hill lanes among ancient tiled roofs, nor able sleeping or waking to drive them from his mind, Carter resolved to go with bold entreaty whither no man had gone before, and dare the icy deserts through the dark to where unknown Kadath, veiled in cloud and crowned with unimagined stars, holds secret and nocturnal the onyx castle of the Great Ones.
In light slumber he descended the seventy steps to the cavern of flame and talked of this design to the bearded priests Nasht and Kaman-Thah. And the priests shook their pshent-bearing heads and vowed it would be the death of his soul. They pointed out that the Great Ones had shewn already their wish, and that it is not agreeable to them to be harassed by insistent pleas. They reminded him, too, that not only had no man ever been to unknown Kadath, but no man had ever suspected in what part of space it may lie; whether it be in the dreamlands around our world, or in those surrounding some unguessed companion of Fomalhaut or Aldebaran. If in our dreamland, it might conceivably be reached; but only three fully human souls since time began had ever crossed and recrossed the black impious gulfs to other dreamlands, and of that three two had come back quite mad. There were, in such voyages, incalculable local dangers; as well as that shocking final peril which gibbers unmentionably outside the ordered universe, where no dreams reach; that last amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the centre of all infinity—the boundless daemon-sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin, monotonous whine of accursed flutes; to which detestable pounding and piping dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic ultimate gods, the blind, voiceless, tenebrous, mindless Other Gods whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep.

Horacio Quiroga: El hijo

Horacio Quiroga, Relatos de misterio, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Relatos de ciencia ficción, Fiction Tales

Es un poderoso día de verano en Misiones, con todo el sol, el calor y la calma que puede deparar la estación. La naturaleza, plenamente abierta, se siente satisfecha de sí.
Como el sol, el calor y la calma ambiente, el padre abre también su corazón a la naturaleza.

-Ten cuidado, chiquito -dice a su hijo, abreviando en esa frase todas las observaciones del caso y que su hijo comprende perfectamente.

-Si, papá -responde la criatura mientras coge la escopeta y carga de cartuchos los bolsillos de su camisa, que cierra con cuidado.

-Vuelve a la hora de almorzar -observa aún el padre.

-Sí, papá -repite el chico.

Equilibra la escopeta en la mano, sonríe a su padre, lo besa en la cabeza y parte. Su padre lo sigue un rato con los ojos y vuelve a su quehacer de ese día, feliz con la alegría de su pequeño.

Sabe que su hijo es educado desde su más tierna infancia en el hábito y la precaución del peligro, puede manejar un fusil y cazar no importa qué. Aunque es muy alto para su edad, no tiene sino trece años. Y parecía tener menos, a juzgar por la pureza de sus ojos azules, frescos aún de sorpresa infantil. No necesita el padre levantar los ojos de su quehacer para seguir con la mente la marcha de su hijo.

Ha cruzado la picada roja y se encamina rectamente al monte a través del abra de espartillo.

Para cazar en el monte -caza de pelo- se requiere más paciencia de la que su cachorro puede rendir. Después de atravesar esa isla de monte, su hijo costeará la linde de cactus hasta el bañado, en procura de palomas, tucanes o tal cual casal de garzas, como las que su amigo Juan ha descubierto días anteriores. Sólo ahora, el padre esboza una sonrisa al recuerdo de la pasión cinegética de las dos criaturas. Cazan sólo a veces un yacútoro, un surucuá -menos aún- y regresan triunfales, Juan a su rancho con el fusil de nueve milímetros que él le ha regalado, y su hijo a la meseta con la gran escopeta Saint-Étienne, calibre 16, cuádruple cierre y pólvora blanca.

Él fue lo mismo. A los trece años hubiera dado la vida por poseer una escopeta. Su hijo, de aquella edad, la posee ahora y el padre sonríe...

Rudyard Kipling: The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes

Rudyard Kipling, The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes, Relatos de misterio, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Relatos de ciencia ficción, Fiction Tales

Alive or dead—there is no other way.
—Native Proverb.

There is, as the conjurers say, no deception about this tale. Jukes by accident stumbled upon a village that is well known to exist, though he is the only Englishman who has been there. A somewhat similar institution used to flourish on the outskirts of Calcutta, and there is a story that if you go into the heart of Bikanir, which is in the heart of the Great Indian Desert, you shall come across not a village but a town where the Dead who did not die but may not live have established their headquarters. And, since it is perfectly true that in the same Desert is a wonderful city where all the rich money lenders retreat after they have made their fortunes (fortunes so vast that the owners cannot trust even the strong hand of the Government to protect them, but take refuge in the waterless sands), and drive sumptuous C-spring barouches, and buy beautiful girls and decorate their palaces with gold and ivory and Minton tiles and mother-n'-pearl, I do not see why Jukes's tale should not be true. He is a Civil Engineer, with a head for plans and distances and things of that kind, and he certainly would not take the trouble to invent imaginary traps. He could earn more by doing his legitimate work. He never varies the tale in the telling, and grows very hot and indignant when he thinks of the disrespectful treatment he received. He wrote this quite straightforwardly at first, but he has since touched it up in places and introduced Moral Reflections, thus:

In the beginning it all arose from a slight attack of fever. My work necessitated my being in camp for some months between Pakpattan and Muharakpur—a desolate sandy stretch of country as every one who has had the misfortune to go there may know. My coolies were neither more nor less exasperating than other gangs, and my work demanded sufficient attention to keep me from moping, had I been inclined to so unmanly a weakness.

On the 23d December, 1884, I felt a little feverish. There was a full moon at the time, and, in consequence, every dog near my tent was baying it. The brutes assembled in twos and threes and drove me frantic. A few days previously I had shot one loud-mouthed singer and suspended his carcass in terrorem about fifty yards from my tent-door. But his friends fell upon, fought for, and ultimately devoured the body; and, as it seemed to me, sang their hymns of thanksgiving afterward with renewed energy.

The light-heartedness which accompanies fever acts differently on different men. My irritation gave way, after a short time, to a fixed determination to slaughter one huge black and white beast who had been foremost in song and first in flight throughout the evening. Thanks to a shaking hand and a giddy head I had already missed him twice with both barrels of my shot-gun, when it struck me that my best plan would be to ride him down in the open and finish him off with a hog-spear. This, of course, was merely the semi-delirious notion of a fever patient; but I remember that it struck me at the time as being eminently practical and feasible.

Salvador Elizondo: Puente de piedra

Salvador Elizondo, Puente de piedra, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales

“Tienes que venir al pic-nic”, le había dicho, “ésa será como la prueba de fuego de tus sentimientos”. Ella no hubiera querido estar sola con él allí en el campo. Pero no podía negarse porque muchas veces, desde que se habían conocido, ella le había dicho: “Me gustaría estar sola contigo en un cuarto; ver cómo eres en la intimidad, cuando te sientas en un sillón y te pones a leer o a fumar”. Por eso el pic-nic era como una fórmula de transacción. La soledad, pero no la soledad sucia del consabido departamento equívoco, pequeño y abigarrado, con los inevitables carteles de París y de Picasso, el cuadro dizque abstracto, el tocadiscos, los cigarrillos resecos, los libros que no interesan y los muebles mal tapizados, sino una soledad abierta hacia las copas de los árboles y hacia las faldas de los montes en la mañana. “Será un encuentro en la naturaleza”, había dicho un poco para obligarla y un poco para que ella estuviera segura de sus buenas intenciones. Ambos gustaban, sin embargo, de estar al cubierto. Amaban el cine y los cafés, y las vueltas a la manzana en automóvil porque así siempre estaban bajo techo. Parecía como que las estrellas los inquietaban y de noche se detenían en alguna esquina solitaria y se quedaban hablando largo rato en el interior del coche. Sólo el sol de mediodía los llenaba de entusiasmo a pesar de sus inclinaciones. Al mediodía les gustaba encontrarse en el Centro y mezclarse al bullicio de los empleados y de los turistas porque ellos eran como una isla bajo los árboles de los jardines públicos y ella le decía: “¡Cuántas veces he pasado por aquí y nunca me había parecido como ahora!” Se equivocaba quizá, pero en esa equivocación estaba contenido todo lo que él amaba en ella y le aterrorizaba la posibilidad de que su separación inminente tuviera lugar entre un estrépito de automóviles o en una garçonière de mal gusto. El pic-nic ponía una nota neutra, pero que podría interpretarse como sublime, en el recuerdo de aquella escena de despedida. Ella había aceptado. Él esperaba retenerla para siempre, pero ella, después de haber aceptado, llegaba a su casa por la noche y lloraba igual que siempre, encerrada en su cuarto mientras sus padres y sus hermanos pequeños veían la televisión. Era como una anciana o como una niña. De la ilusión pasaba al desencanto, temerosa siempre de perder la estabilidad de sus sentimientos. Pero su intuición, que las más de las veces la inquietaba, le decía ahora que ese día de campo no tendría la menor importancia. Por eso consideraba que no había hecho mal aceptando.

Él cifraba todas sus esperanzas en ese paseo. Odiaba la naturaleza, es verdad. Sobre todo, ese campo agresivo en que los perros hambrientos acudían invariablemente a devorar los restos de la comida y en donde, como en las playas, siempre surgía el espectáculo de esas mujeres gordas que llevan pantalones, esos empleados deplorables que juegan fútbol con sus hijos, esos adolescentes que tocan con sus guitarras canciones de moda. Durante aquellos días hizo un minucioso inventario de las localidades y de las posibilidades que ofrecía el día de campo. El trópico no era lo suficientemente sereno para ser escenario del diálogo que tenía previsto. El vino tal vez surtiría un efecto demasiado violento o demasiado opresivo en el calor. Sería preciso dirigirse hacia el norte. Ese paisaje alpino inmediatamente al alcance de la mano, con sus barrancas de abetos, con sus riachuelos de guijarros, con su posibilidad de detenerse un momento en la caminata para recoger una piña y exclamar: “¡Mira, está llena de piñones!”, como si en esta frase quedara comprendido un vago amor a la naturaleza. Y ese frío tierno, templado, que siempre justifica una botella de vino, un queso fuerte con unos trozos de pan, un grito salvaje de efusión musical en medio del silencio que sólo estaría roto por el ruido de la corriente de un arroyo.

Abraham Merritt: The woman of the wood

Abraham Merritt, The woman of the wood, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales

MCKAY sat on the balcony of the little inn that squatted like a brown gnome among the pines on the eastern shore of the lake.

It was a small and lonely lake high up in the Vosges; and yet, lonely is not just the word with which to tag its spirit; rather was it aloof, withdrawn. The mountains came down on every side, making a great tree-lined bowl that seemed, when McKay first saw it, to be filled with the still wine of peace.

McKay had worn the wings in the world war with honor, flying first with the French and later with his own country's forces. And as a bird loves the trees, so did McKay love them. To him they were not merely trunks and roots, branches and leaves; to him they were personalities. He was acutely aware of differences in character even among the same species—that pine was benevolent and jolly; that one austere and monkish; there stood a swaggering bravo, and there dwelt a sage wrapped in green meditation; that birch was a wanton—the birch near her was virginal, still a dream.

The war had sapped him, nerve and brain and soul. Through all the years that had passed since then the wound had kept open. But now, as he slid his car down the vast green bowl, he felt its spirit reach out to him; reach out to him and caress and quiet him, promising him healing. He seemed to drift like a falling leaf through the clustered woods; to be cradled by gentle hands of the trees.

He had stopped at the little gnome of an inn, and there he had lingered, day after day, week after week.

The trees had nursed him; soft whisperings of leaves, slow chant of the needled pines, had first deadened, then driven from him the re-echoing clamor of the war and its sorrow. The open wound of his spirit had closed under their green healing; had closed and become scar; and even the scar had been covered and buried, as the scars on Earth's breast are covered and buried beneath the falling leaves of Autumn. The trees had laid green healing hands on his eyes, banishing the pictures of war. He had sucked strength from the green breasts of the hills.

Yet as strength flowed back to him and mind and spirit healed, McKay had grown steadily aware that the place was troubled; that its tranquillity was not perfect; that there was ferment of fear within it.

It was as though the trees had waited until he himself had become whole before they made their own unrest known to him. Now they were trying to tell him something; there was a shrillness as of apprehension, of anger, in the whispering of the leaves, the needled chanting of the pines.

And it was this that had kept McKay at the inn—a definite consciousness of appeal, consciousness of something wrong—something wrong that he was being asked to right. He strained his ears to catch words in the rustling branches, words that trembled on the brink of his human understanding.

Mario Benedetti: Eso

Mario Benedetti, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales

Al preso lo interrogaban tres veces por semana para averiguar «quien le había enseñado eso». Él siempre respondía con un digno silencio y entonces el teniente de turno arrimaba a sus testículos la horrenda picana.

Un día el preso tuvo la súbita inspiración de contestar: «Marx. Sí, ahora lo recuerdo, fue Marx.» El teniente asombrado pero alerta, atinó a preguntar: «Ajá. Y a ese Marx ¿quién se lo enseñó?» El preso, ya en disposición de hacer concesiones agregó: «No estoy seguro, pero creo que fue Hegel.»

El teniente sonrió, satisfecho, y el preso, tal vez por deformación profesional, alcanzó a pensar: «Ojalá que el viejo no se haya movido de Alemania.»

Frédéric Mistral: Les secrets des bestes

Frédéric Mistral, Tales of mystery, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales

A mon ami Mariani

En faisant des recherches dans la bibliothèque de Carpentras, je mis la main sur un manuscrit, par très ancien, au plus de la première moitié du seizième siècle, où je trouvai un certain nombre d’historiettes assez curieuses.

D’où provient ce recueil, que j’ai tout lieu de croire inédit ? Probablement du fonds Peyresc, qui a contribué à enrichir la bibliothèque Inguimbertine (c’est le nom de la célèbre bibliothèque de Carpentras). Parmi les contes ou fabliaux du manuscrit carpentrassien s’en trouve un, chose singulière, qui m’a paru se rapporter à ce fameux Vin de Coca, remis en vogue de nos jours par Mariani. Ce qui prouve une fois de plus que bien des choses considérées comme de belles découvertes ont été connues autrefois et jusqu’à en être légendaires.

Voici du reste le fabliau de la Coca, il est intitulé : Les Secrets des Bestes.

Un jeune bûcheron s’en allait une fois couper du bois dans la forêt, lorsqu’il entendit, à distance, un formidable bris de gaulis et de branches produit, aurait-on dit, par quelque fauve énorme qui se serait ouvert une voie dans les fourrés.

Le gars, tout effrayé, se mussa dans un arbre creux qui se trouvait à proximité, sur le bord d’une mare, et apparurent, tout d’un coup, sortant du bois l’un après l’autre, un lion, un léopard et un monstrueux reptile appelé cocadrille. Or, cette mare était l’endroit où, paraît-il, journellement ces animaux venaient boire et, après boire, ils parlaient entre eux, se confiant ce qu’ils savaient sur les secrets de la Nature.

Le lion dit :

- Si à Madrid ils avaient une source limpide, inépuisable comme celle-ci, n’est-ce pas ? ils ne pâtiraient pas de soif, comme ils le font cette année, par l’extraordinaire sécheresse qui règne. Et pourtant, s’ils savaient ! sur la Plaza Mayor il y a une grosse pierre qui en occupe le milieu : ils n’auraient qu’à la soulever et une source merveilleuse en jaillirait, suffisante pour désaltérer tout Madrid et la Castille avec !

- Ah parbleu ! s’ils savaient ! dit le léopard, et la reine d’Espagne, qui est au lit depuis neuf ans, qui mange, boit comme une personne en plein état de santé, et qui pourtant languit et se meurt de consomption, au point qu’elle en est blanche comme si elle n’avait plus une goutte de sang rouge ! On n’aurait cependant qu’à regarder sous son lit et, en soulevant un carreau, on aurait vite vu la cause, la cause épouvantable de son dépérissement.

Le cocadrille à son tour dit :

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Tales of Mystery and Imagination

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