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).

Santiago Eximeno: Primero

Santiago Eximeno

¡Primero las mujeres y los niños!, gritó el capitán, y los tiburones exhibieron sus mejores sonrisas mientras esperaban.

Robert Murray Gilchrist: The Holocaust

Robert Murray Gilchrist

My husband and master the bishop being called to Court, I journeyed yesterday to Broadlow. This morning my cousin’s second lady vehemently desired me to tell all I know of her who once held the place she adorns so brightly. We were in the still room, and the bantlings played on the floor, pulling the buckles of their mother’s shoes and croodling like culvers. The request was over-sudden; to gain time, I opened the green lattice, and looking out to the herb garden, said that little Bab herself had mounted by Neptune in the empty tank, and that in the sun-haze her countenance bore a plain likeness to one dead. And the row of clarifying waters in the window span round and round, and I swooned in madam’s arms. But she consoled me, and now to her will, I write the following history, in trust that my lord may never be permitted to read. The fustian preface I will omit; ‘tis but a record, unprofitable to the would-be adventurer, of life among the Barbary Rovers, of voyagers to Feginny, of the saving of a ship’s crew. Its six volumes are in the library, bound in pigskin, and revered by all. Of my cousin’s three years in Bologna – years devoted to the joys of Italian gallantry – little is known, for on that score he hath ever been silent.

Thirteen years ago he returned for good – even then scarce more than a youth – with the Princess Bice. As you know report tells that ere he travelled to Italy he and I had had love passages. The grandams teased me, and (for I am assured, madam, that you have heard) once I stole away from Broadlow for a month, and came back lightened. We were close akin, and Bible patriarchs enjoyed their handmaids…When news came of his marriage I prayed for a renewal of his ardour; but at the first sight of the Princes Bice, as she sat at his side in the big chariot, I knew that all hope was unavailing. Yet she was not more beautiful than you, dear lady; indeed her face lacked the mysterious and tender charm that shines from a woman whom nature has intended for motherhood. Where you are snowy, she was olive, her black her was dull and lifeless, not all quick and gold. If at any time Bab be taken into a darkened room, and the curtain lifted aback of her head some faint resemblance may be seen. Once, peeping unawares to the princess Bice’s dressing-closet, I saw her naked afront of the mirror – her wondrous hair unbound and tumbling to the floor. At my appearance her body flushed and methought I watched a rashlight burning in a grove of firs.

Her manner was haughty; at first it seemed as she mistrusted me, looking from her spouse to me and back again with some suspicion. He leaned on her shoulder, and it was as though I head, ‘This is she – was not I foolish? nay, sweetheart, trust me!’ The roses I had greeted her with were out carelessly aside.

My lord took my hand with ancient friendliness, ‘Diana is your gentlewoman,’ he said. ‘She will conduct you to the chamber.’

Gilberto J. Signoret: La agonía

Un aturdimiento lo despierta. Abre los ojos. Es lo mismo de siempre. Siempre lo mismo. Siente su lecho. Mira hacia arriba y ve el techo bajar Como antes. Siente el piso subir. Como siempre. Es la insatisfacción, se dice. Y ve las paredes. Cuatro aún Como antes Cuatro de múltiples facetas. Pero hay una puerta. Su vida exterior es mediocre. No vale la pena. La puerta se abrió para dejarlo salir y se reabre para dejarlo entrar. Es lo mismo; el techo que baja y el piso que sube, cuatro paredes que se acercan. Duerme. Un sobresalto lo despierta. Todo igual. Cuatro paredes que se estrechan y dos planchas que se acercan. Es la soledad, se dice. La puerta es pequeña. Pero sale, y su vida mediocre retranscurre. La puerta se abre. Casi no cabe. Pero entra. Las paredes y las planchas se le acercan más aún. Como antes. Es el cansancio de la noche, se dice. Pesadilla. Despierta gritando. Se acercan más y más. Con dificultad logra salir Mediocre vida de perro. Entra, ayudado por la desesperación, dejando carnes y alma afuera, de tan chica que es la puerta. Toma el cráneo en sus manos, se recuesta y palpa el techo, el piso, una pared, otra, la otra y otra más. Son suaves. Es la agonía, se dice. Abandona la mente. Abandona la tierra. Abandona la vida. La tumba se cierra al fin.

Ambrose Bierce: The Isle of Pines

Ambrose Bierce

For many years there lived near the town of Gallipolis , Ohio , an old man named Herman Deluse. Very little was known of his history, for he would neither speak of it himself nor suffer others. It was a common belief among his neighbors that he had been a pirate - if upon any better evidence than his collection of boarding pikes, cutlasses, and ancient flintlock pistols, no one knew. He lived entirely alone in a small house of four rooms, falling rapidly into decay and never repaired further than was required by the weather. It stood on a slight elevation in the midst of a large, stony field overgrown with brambles, and cultivated in patches and only in the most primitive way. It was his only visible property, but could hardly have yielded him a living, simple and few as were his wants. He seemed always to have ready money, and paid cash for all his purchases at the village stores roundabout, seldom buying more than two or three times at the same place until after the lapse of a considerable time. He got no commendation, however, for this equitable distribution of his patronage; people were disposed to regard it as an ineffectual attempt to conceal his possession of so much money. That he had great hoards of ill-gotten gold buried somewhere about his tumble-down dwelling was not reasonably to be doubted by any honest soul conversant with the facts of local tradition and gifted with a sense of the fitness of things.

On the 9th of November, 1867, the old man died; at least his dead body was discovered on the 10th, and physicians testified that death had occurred about twenty-four hours previously - precisely how, they were unable to say; for the post-mortem examination showed every organ to be absolutely healthy, with no indication of disorder or violence. According to them, death must have taken place about noonday, yet the body was found in bed. The verdict of the coroner’s jury was that he “came to his death by a visitation of God.” The body was buried and the public administrator took charge of the estate.

A rigorous search disclosed nothing more than was already known about the dead man, and much patient excavation here and there about the premises by thoughtful and thrifty neighbors went unrewarded. The administrator locked up the house against the time when the property, real and personal, should be sold by law with a view to defraying, partly, the expenses of the sale.

The night of November 20 was boisterous. A furious gale stormed across the country, scourging it with desolating drifts of sleet. Great trees were torn from the earth and hurled across the roads. So wild a night had never been known in all that region, but toward morning the storm had blown itself out of breath and day dawned bright and clear. At about eight o’clock that morning the Rev. Henry Galbraith, a well-known and highly esteemed Lutheran minister, arrived on foot at his house, a mile and a half from the Deluse place. Mr. Galbraith had been for a month in Cincinnati . He had come up the river in a steamboat, and landing at Gallipolis the previous evening had immediately obtained a horse and buggy and set out for home. The violence of the storm had delayed him over night, and in the morning the fallen trees had compelled him to abandon his conveyance and continue his journey afoot.

Luis Ignacio Helguera: El cara de niño

Luis Ignacio Helguera

En carrera enloquecida, huyendo, entre las piedras, de los zapatos.

-¡Déjame ver su cara de niño, papá!

-No tiene cara de niño, se llama así nada más.

Voltearon con una rama la masa aplastada, con patas estertóreas todavía. Y un golpe de la luz radiante en plena cara del insecto reveló al verdugo una instantánea desconocida, en que aparecía él mismo cuando niño haciendo un gesto lastimoso y plañidero porque quería seguir jugando en el jardín y le habían dado alcance inapelable.

Ray Bradbury: Free Dirt

Ray Bradbury

The cemetery was in the centre of the city. On four sides, it was bounded by gliding streetcars on glistening blue tracks and cars with exhaust fumes and sound. But, once inside the wall, the world was lost. For half a mile in four directions, the cemetery raised midnight trees and headstones that grew from the earth, like pale mushrooms, moist and cold. A gravel path led back into darkness and within the gate stood a Gothic Victorian house with six gables and a cupola. The front porch light showed an old man there alone, not smoking, not reading, not moving, silent. If you took a deep breath, he smelled of the sea, of urine, of papyrus, of kindling, of ivory, and of teak. His false teeth moved his mouth automatically when it wanted to talk. His tiny yellow seed eyes twitched and his poke-hole nostrils thinned as a stranger crunched up the gravel path and set foot on the porch step.
‘Good evening!’ said the stranger, a young man, perhaps twenty.
The old man nodded, but his hands lay quietly on his knees.
‘I saw that sign out front,’ the stranger went on. ‘“Free Dirt”, it said.’
The old man almost nodded.
The stranger tried a smile. ‘Crazy, but that sign caught my eye.’
There was a glass fan over the front door. A light shone through this glass fan, coloured blue, red, yellow, and touched the old man’s face. It seemed not to bother him.
‘I wondered, free dirt? Never struck me you’d have much left over. When you dig a hole and put the coffin in and refill the hole, you haven’t much dirt left, have you? I should think…’ “
The old man leaned forward. It was so unexpected that the stranger pulled his foot off the bottom step.
’You want some?’ said the old man.
‘Why, no, no, I was just curious. Signs like that make you curious.’
‘Set down,’ said the old man.
’Thanks.’ The young man sat uneasily on the steps. ‘You know how it is, you walk around and never think how it is to own a graveyard.’
‘And?’ said the old man.
’I mean, like how much time it takes to dig graves.’
The old man leaned back in his chair. ‘On a cool day, two hours. Hot day, four. Very hot day, six. Very cold day, not cold so it freezes, but real cold, a man can dig a grave in one hour so he can head in for hot chocolate, brandy in the chocolate. Then again you get a good man on a hot day, he’s no better than a bad man in the cold. Might take eight hours to open up, but there’s easy digging soil here. All loam, no rocks.’
‘I’m curious about winter.’

Ángel Olgoso: Persistencia

Ángel Olgoso

Aún te deseo, denodadamente deseo volver a trepar a tu carne en carne viva, varar en tus oquedades, rozar tus huesos como yemas de prietos tallos, te deseo con rumor de rebosadero, comensal de tu piel de lava, de tu aster silvestre, aún me atormenta a zarpazos el deseo, bocana de mi puerto, te deseo aún, vivamente, desde las cenizas de esta urna.

Algernon Blackwood: Secret Worship

Algernon Blackwood

Harris, the silk merchant, was in South Germany on his way home from a business trip when the idea came to him suddenly that he would take the mountain railway from Strassbourg and run down to revisit his old school after an interval of something more than thirty years. And it was to this chance impulse of the junior partner in Harris Brothers of St. Paul's Churchyard that John Silence owed one of the most curious cases of his whole experience, for at that very moment he happened to be tramping these same mountains with a holiday knapsack, and from different points of the compass the two men were actually converging towards the same inn.

Now, deep down in the heart that for thirty years had been concerned chiefly with the profitable buying and selling of silk, this school had left the imprint of its peculiar influence, and, though perhaps unknown to Harris, had strongly coloured the whole of his subsequent existence. It belonged to the deeply religious life of a small Protestant community (which it is unnecessary to specify), and his father had sent him there at the age of fifteen, partly because he would learn the German requisite for the conduct of the silk business, and partly because the discipline was strict, and discipline was what his soul and body needed just then more than anything else.

The life, indeed, had proved exceedingly severe, and young Harris benefited accordingly; for though corporal punishment was unknown, there was a system of mental and spiritual correction which somehow made the soul stand proudly erect to receive it, while it struck at the very root of the fault and taught the boy that his character was being cleaned and strengthened, and that he was not merely being tortured in a kind of personal revenge.

That was over thirty years ago, when he was a dreamy and impressionable youth of fifteen; and now, as the train climbed slowly up the winding mountain gorges, his mind travelled back somewhat lovingly over the intervening period, and forgotten details rose vividly again before him out of the shadows. The life there had been very wonderful, it seemed to him, in that remote mountain village, protected from the tumults of the world by the love and worship of the devout Brotherhood that ministered to the needs of some hundred boys from every country in Europe. Sharply the scenes came back to him. He smelt again the long stone corridors, the hot pinewood rooms, where the sultry hours of summer study were passed with bees droning through open windows in the sunshine, and German characters struggling in the mind with dreams of English lawns--and then the sudden awful cry of the master in German--

"Harris, stand up! You sleep!"

Guillermo Samperio: La Señorita Green

Guillermo Samperio

Esta era una mujer, una mujer verde, verde de pies a cabeza. No siempre fue verde, pero algún día comenzó a serlo. No se crea que siempre fue verde por fuera, pero algún día comenzó a serlo, hasta que algún día fue verde por dentro y verde también por fuera. Tremenda calamidad para una mujer que en un tiempo lejano no fue verde.
Desde ese tiempo lejano hablaremos aquí. La mujer verde vivió en una región donde abundaba la verde flora; pero la verde flora no tuvo relación con lo verde de la mujer. Tenía muchos familiares; en ninguno de ellos había una gota de verde. Su padre, y sobre todo su madre, tenían unos grandes ojos cafés. Ojos cafés que siempre vigilaron a la niña que algún día sería verde por fuera y por dentro verde. Ojos cafés cuando ella iba al baño, ojos cafés en su dormitorio, ojos cafés en la escuela, ojos cafés en el parque y los paseos, y ojos cafés, en especial, cuando la niña hurgaba debajo de sus calzoncitos blancos de organdí. Ojos, ojos, ojos cafés y ojos cafés en cualquier sitio.
Una tarde, mientras imaginaba que unos ojos cafés la perseguían, la niña se cayó del columpio y se raspó la rodilla. Se miró la herida y, entre escasas gotas de sangre, descubrió lo verde. No podía creerlo; así qué, a propósito, se raspó la otra rodilla y de nueva cuenta lo verde. Se talló un cachete y verde. Se llenó de raspones y verde y verde y nada más que verde por dentro. Desde luego que, una vez en su casa, los ojos cafés, verdes de ira, la nalguearon sobre la piel que escondía lo verde.
Más que asustarse, la niña verde entristeció. Y, años después, se puso aún más triste cuando se percató del primer lunar verde sobre uno de sus muslos. El lunar comenzó a crecer hasta que fue un lunar del tamaño de la jovencita. Muchos dermatólogos lucharon contra lo verde y todos fracasaron. Lo verde venía de otro lado. Verde se quedaría y verde se quedó. Verde asistió a la preparatoria, verde a la universidad, verde iba al cine y a los restoranes, y verde lloraba todas las noches.
Una semana antes de su graduación, se puso a reflexionar: "Los muchachos no me quieren porque temen que les pegue mi verdosidad; además dicen que nuestros hijos podrían salir de un verde muy sucio, o verdes del todo. Me saludan de lejos y me gritan 'Adios, Señorita Green', y me provocan las más tristes verdes lágrimas. Pero desde este día usaré sandalias azul cielo, aunque se enojen los ojos cafés. Y no me importará que me digan Señorita Green, porque llevaré en los pies un color muy bonito."

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