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).

Carlos Gardini: Primera Línea

Carlos Gardini


El cielo es un caldo rojo cruzado por tajos blancos. Colores sucios vibran en la nieve sucia. El ruido es una inyección en el cerebro. Acurrucado en un pozo de zorro, el soldado Cáceres no tiene miedo. Piensa que el espectáculo vale la pena aunque el precio sea el miedo. De pronto es como si le sacaran la inyección, dejándole un hueco doloroso. Un ruido se desprende del ruido. Un manotazo de tierra y nieve sacude al soldado Cáceres. Un silencio gomoso le tapa los oídos.
Cuando abre los ojos, el cielo es blanco, hiriente, liso. Y el silencio sigue, un silencio puntuado por ruidos goteantes, quebradizos: pasos, voces, instrumentos metálicos. El suelo es blando. El suelo es una cama, una cama en un cuarto de hospital. Un tubo de plástico le llega al brazo. Le duelen las manos.
Un médico joven se le acerca mirándolo de reojo.
—Quedáte tranquilo —le dice—. Te vas a poner bien.
—Mis manos —dice el soldado Cáceres—. ¿Cómo están mis manos?
El médico tuerce la boca.
—No están —dice, sonriéndole a un jarrón con flores marchitas—. No están más.
No era lo único que había perdido.

Los días en el hospital eran largos, un corredor de sombras perdiéndose en un hueco negro. El hueco estaba lejos. Inmovilizado en la silla de ruedas, él no podía alcanzarlo. El corredor era opaco como un vidrio de botella, y detrás del vidrio había sombras. A veces las sombras se le acercaban, y adquirían un perfil borroso. Los rasgos se les deformaban cuando se apoyaban en el vidrio, y las voces sonaban distantes, voces envueltas en algodón.
Hoy tenés un plato especial, le decía una sombra. Pollo. ¿Querés que te guarde una pata de más? Y la sombra le guiñaba el ojo, le acariciaba el pelo a través del vidrio opaco. El soldado Cáceres miraba la manta que lo cubría de la cintura para abajo. Una pata de más, repetía estúpidamente. O bien la sombra se le acercaba para ofrecerle un cigarrillo. El soldado Cáceres alzaba los muñones de los brazos, y la sombra, pacientemente, le ponía el cigarrillo en la boca, se lo prendía, lo compartía. Poco a poco el vidrio se resquebrajó. Alicia, le dijo una sombra un día, me llamo Alicia. Y la voz ya parecía de este mundo, un mundo donde los relojes sonaban y el tiempo transcurría. Alicia le contaba anécdotas de otros heridos de guerra, y de cómo se habían curado. O de cómo no se habían curado. él no hablaba nunca.
Cuando estuvo mejor (o eso le dijeron, que estaba mejor) pasaba el día frente al ventanal. Estaba en un piso alto, y mirando desde el ventanal veía el movimiento de afuera. El movimiento eran camiones militares cargando ataúdes, helicópteros descargando cadáveres y heridos en el parque, jeeps que entraban y salían, grupos de mujeres sin uniforme que traían paquetes y flores, pero el movimiento no era movimiento porque le faltaba el ruido. Sin el vidrio del ventanal habría ruido, pero siempre habría más y más vidrios aislándolo del ruido verdadero, la inyección en el cerebro. En medio del parque ondeaba la bandera. Nunca colgaba del mástil. Siempre había viento, y siempre ondeaba. El soldado Cáceres miraba la bandera y buscaba en su memoria, buscaba algo que lo arrancara del sopor, algo que rompiera todos los vidrios. Un día recordó la letra de «Aurora» y le causó gracia. Le causó tanta gracia que cuando Alicia pasó por el corredor el soldado Cáceres se echó a reír.
—Veo que estás mejor —dijo Alicia, acercándose.

Katherine Mansfield: Poison

Katherine Mansfield


The post was very late. When we came back from our walk after lunch it still had not arrived.

“Pas encore, Madame,” sang Annette, scurrying back to her cooking.

We carried our parcels into the dining-room. The table was laid. As always, the sight of the table laid for two — for two people only — and yet so finished, so perfect, there was no possible room for a third, gave me a queer, quick thrill as though I’d been struck by that silver lightning that quivered over the white cloth, the brilliant glasses, the shallow bowl of freezias.

“Blow the old postman! Whatever can have happened to him?” said Beatrice. “Put those things down, dearest.”

“Where would you like them . . .?”

She raised her head; she smiled her sweet, teasing smile.

“Anywhere — Silly.”

But I knew only too well that there was no such place for her, and I would have stood holding the squat liqueur bottle and the sweets for months, for years, rather than risk giving another tiny shock to her exquisite sense of order.

“Here — I’ll take them.” She plumped them down on the table with her long gloves and a basket of figs. “The Luncheon Table. Short story by — by —” She took my arm. “Let’s go on to the terrace —” and I felt her shiver. “Ça sent,” she said faintly, “de la cuisine . . . ”

I had noticed lately — we had been living in the south for two months — that when she wished to speak of food, or the climate, or, playfully, of her love for me, she always dropped into French.

We perched on the balustrade under the awning. Beatrice leaned over gazing down — down to the white road with its guard of cactus spears. The beauty of her ear, just her ear, the marvel of it was so great that I could have turned from regarding it to all that sweep of glittering sea below and stammered: “You know — her ear! She has ears that are simply the most . . . ”

She was dressed in white, with pearls round her throat and lilies-of-the-valley tucked into her belt. On the third finger of her left hand she wore one pearl ring — no wedding ring.

“Why should I, mon ami? Why should we pretend? Who could possibly care?”

Leopoldo Lugones: Viola Acherontia

Leopoldo Lugones


Lo que deseaba aquel extraño jardinero, era crear la flor de la muerte. Sus tentativas se remontaban a diez años, con éxito negativo siempre, porque considerando al vegetal sin alma, ateníase exclusivamente a la plástica. Injertos, combinaciones, todo había ensayado.

La producción de la rosa negra ocupóle un tiempo; pero nada sacó de sus investigaciones. Después interesáronlo las pasionarias y los tulipanes, con el único resultado de dos o tres ejemplares monstruosos, hasta que Bernardin de Sain-Pierre lo puso en el buen camino, enseñándole como puede haber analogías entre la flor y la mujer encinta, supuestas ambas capaces de recibir por “antojo” imágenes de los objetos deseados.

Aceptar este audaz postulado, equivalía a suponer en la planta un estado mental suficientemente elevado para recibir, concretar y conservar una impresión; en una palabra, para sugestionarse con intensidad parecida a la de un organismo inferior. Esto era, precisamente, lo que había llegado a comprobar nuestro jardinero. Según él, la marcha de los vástagos en las enredaderas obedecía a una deliberación seguida por resoluciones que daban origen a una serie de tanteos. De aquí las curvas y acomodamientos, caprichosos al parecer, las diversas orientaciones y adaptaciones a diferentes planos, que ejecutan guías, los gajos, las raíces. Un sencillo sistema nervioso presidía esas oscuras funciones. Había también en cada planta su bulbo cerebral y su corazón rudimentario, situados respectivamente en el cuello de la raíz y en el tronco. La semilla, es decir el ser resumido para la procreación, lo dejaba ver con toda claridad. El embrión de una nuez tiene la misma forma del corazón, siendo asaz parecida al cerebro la de los cotileidones. Las dos hojas rudimentarias que salen de dicho embrión, recuerda con bastante claridad dos ramas bronquiales cuyo oficio desempeñan la germinación.

Las analogías morfológicas, suponen casi siempre otras de fondo; y por esto la sugestión ejerce una influencia más vasta de lo que se cree sobre la forma de los seres. Algunos clarividentes de la historia natural, como Michelet y Fries, presintieron esta verdad que la experiencia va confirmando. El mundo de los insectos, pruébalo enteramente. Los pájaros ostentan colores más brillantes en los países cuyo cielo es siempre puro (Gould). Los gatos blancos y de ojos azules, son comúnmente sordos (Darwin). Hay peces que llevan fotografiadas en la gelatina de su dorso, las olas del mar (Strindberg). El girasol mira constantemente al astro del día, y reproduce con fidelidad su núcleo, sus rayos y sus manchas (Saint-Pierre).

He aquí un punto de partida. Bacon en su Novum Organum establece que el canelero y otros odoríferos colocados cerca de lugares fétidos, retienen obstinadamente el aroma, rehusando su emisión, para impedir que se mezcle con las exhalaciones graves...

Hume Nisbet: The Old Portrait

Hume Nisbet


Old-fashioned frames are a hobby of mine. I am always on the prowl amongst the framers and dealers in curiosities for something quaint and unique in picture frames. I don’t care much for what is inside them, for being a painter it is my fancy to get the frames first and then paint a picture which I think suits their probable history and design. In this way I get some curious and I think also some original ideas.
One day in December, about a week before Christmas, I picked up a fine but dilapidated specimen of wood-carving in a shop near Soho. The gilding had been worn nearly away, and three of the corners broken off; yet as there was one of the corners still left, I hoped to be able to repair the others from it. As for the canvas inside this frame, it was so smothered with dirt and time stains that I could only distinguish it had been a very badly painted likeness of some sort, of some commonplace person, daubed in by a poor pot-boiling painter to fill the secondhand frame which his patron may have picked up cheaply as I had done after him; but as the frame was alright I took the spoiled canvas along with it, thinking it might come in handy.
For the next few days my hands were full of work of one kind and another, so that it was only on Christmas Eve that I found myself at liberty to examine my purchase which had been lying with its face to the wall since I had brought it to my studio.
Having nothing to do on this night, and not in the mood to go out, I got my picture and
frame from the corner, and laying them upon the table, with a sponge, basin of water, and some soap, I began to wash so that I might see them the better. They were in a terrible mess, and I think I used the best part of a packet of soap-powder and had to change the water about a dozen times before the pattern began to show up on the frame, and the portrait within it asserted its awful crudeness, vile drawing, and intense vulgarity. It was the bloated, piggish visage of a publican clearly, with a plentiful supply of jewellery displayed, as is usual with such masterpieces, where the features are not considered of so much importance as a strict fidelity in the depicting of such articles as watch-guard and seals, finger rings, and breast pins; these were all there, as natural and hard as reality.
The frame delighted me, and the picture satisfied me that I had not cheated the dealer with my price, and I was looking at the monstrosity as the gaslight beat full upon it, and wondering how the owner could be pleased with himself as thus depicted, when something about the background attracted my attention—a slight marking underneath the thin coating as if the portrait had been painted over some other subject.
It was not much certainly, yet enough to make me rush over to my cupboard, where I kept my
spirits of wine and turpentine, with which, and a plentiful supply of rags, I began to demolish the
publican ruthlessly in the vague hope that I might find something worth looking at underneath.
A slow process that was, as well as a delicate one, so that it was close upon midnight before the gold cable rings and vermilion visage disappeared and another picture loomed up before me; then giving it the final wash over, I wiped it dry, and set it in a good light on my easel, whi le I filled and lit my pipe, and then sat down to look at it.

Medardo Fraile: La trampa

Medardo Fraile


-¿Adonde vas?
-No sé.
De doce de la noche a ocho de la mañana se duerme. De ocho de la mañana a doce de la noche, no.
-¿A dónde vas?
-¡Yo qué sé!
Hay tres caminos. Llevan a tres sitios, los mismos siempre. ¿Y entre ellos? ¿Y si fuera por entre dos de ellos? Iría también a sitios conocidos, siempre los mismos. Porque esto es conocido. Porque nada se mueve. Porque somos así. Porque estamos en el mapa y en el padrón y nos busca el tren, el coche de línea, el correo, el teléfono, los amigos, la familia, y nos encierra la calle, la habitación, la puerta. La ventana mira siempre al mismo sitio. ¿Y si un día mirase a otro sitio? No lo hará.
Hay veces en que a las cuatro de la tarde o a las siete tengo un sueño de losa. Pero a esa hora no se duerme y yo no duermo. Hay veces en que a las cuatro de la mañana, o a las cinco, tengo los ojos abiertos y la cabeza clara como una estrella. Y quiero dormirme. Y no puedo. Y mi mujer duerme. Y mis hijos. Porque el brasero y yo somos iguales: tarda en enfriarse. Noto en mi cabeza las brasas, las últimas brasas de la madrugada, en las que, a veces, cae una idea, cualquiera, y las reaviva dolorosamente, con algo funeral, como puñado de espliego.
¿Por qué no he podido comer hoy a la hora de comer?
-¿A dónde vas a estas horas?
Estas horas son siempre para otra cosa, lo sé. A veces huele a comida en las calles, o a cocina recién encendida, o a muía adormilada y caliente, o los campos y las estrellas empiezan a echar el vaho. ¿Y si ahora saliera y no viera a Mateo, no le viera nunca más y no se hubiera muerto?
-Acuéstate.
-No puedo…
-Levántate.
-Más tarde…
El otro día hubiera dado cualquier cosa por pasar a la otra habitación por otro sitio. Quise hacerlo y no pude. Empujé y no pude. Di puñetados y voces y no pude. Estuve a punto de ir por la piqueta.
Al filo de una madrugada estrangulé al gallo. Le echaron de menos porque no cantó. Aunque los vecinos cantaron como todos los días.
No quiero cerrar nada por las noches, ni las ventanas, ni las puertas, ni el corral, ni la cuadra. No quiero dejar de ver el sol por las noches. Y lo veo. ¿Cómo se explica que nadie en absoluto, nadie, salga a la calle de noche? Sí quiero fumarme ahora un cigarro con Felipe, ¿lo puedo hacer?
A veces me voy a trabajar a las tantas, aunque no tenga trabajo pendiente. Luego, a lo mejor, no hago nada; un monigote de hierro sin pies ni cabeza. Pero entre golpe y golpe me empapo de silencio; un baño, como si me diera un baño. Y hasta las tías del Egido están dormidas; las tías del Egido, con sus nalgas gordas, lustrosas, bien magreadas. Si quisiera… Pero también tengo mi cama y mi mujer, que esperan. ¿Y si no quiero esa cama?

Ray Bradbury: A Scent of Sarsaparilla

Ray Bradbury


r. William Finch stood quietly in the dark and blowing attic all morning and afternoon for three days. For three days in late November, he stood alone, feeling the soft white flakes of Time falling out of the infinite cold steel sky, silently, softly, feathering the roof and powdering the eaves. He stood, eyes shut. The attic, wallowed in seas of wind in the long sunless days, creaked every bone and shook down ancient dusts from its beams and warped timbers and lathings. It was a mass of sighs and torments that ached all about him where he stood sniffing its elegant dry perfumes and feeling of its ancient heritages. Ah. Ah.
Listening, downstairs, his wife Cora could not hear him walk or shift or twitch. She imagined she could only hear him breathe, slowly out and in, like a dusty bellows, alone up there in the attic, high in the windy house.
"Ridiculous," she muttered.
When he hurried down for lunch the third afternoon, he smiled at the bleak walls, the chipped plates, the scratched silverware, and even at his wife!
"What's all the excitement?" she demanded.
"Good spirits is all. Wonderful spirits!" he laughed. He seemed almost hysterical with joy. He was seething in a great warm ferment which, obviously, he had trouble concealing. His wife frowned.
"What's that smell ?"
"Smell, smell, smell?"
"Sarsaparilla." She sniffed suspiciously. "That's what it is!"
"Oh, it couldn't be!" His hysterical happiness stopped as quickly as if she'd switched him off. He seemed stunned, ill at ease, and suddenly very careful.
"Where did you go this morning?" she asked.
"You know I was cleaning the attic."
"Mooning over a lot of trash. I didn't hear a sound. Thought maybe you weren't in the attic at all. What's that?" She pointed.
"Well, now how did those get there?" he asked the world.
He peered down at the pair of black spring-metal bicycle clips that bound his thin pants cuffs to his bony ankles.
"Found them in the attic," he answered himself. "Remember when we got out on the gravel road in the early morning on our tandem bike, Cora, forty years ago, everything fresh and new?"
"If you don't finish that attic today, I'll come up and toss everything out myself."
"Oh, no," he cried. "I have everything the way I want it!"
She looked at him coldly.
"Cora," he said, eating his lunch, relaxing, beginning to enthuse again, "You know what attics are? They're Time Machines, in which old, dim-witted men like me can travel back forty years to a time when it was summer all year round and children raided ice wagons. Remember how it tasted? You held the ice in your handkerchief. It was like sucking the flavor of linen and snow at the same time."

Ramón Gómez de la Serna: Sueño del violinista

Ramón Gómez de la Serna


Siempre había sido el sueño del gran violinista tocar debajo del agua para que se oyese arriba, creando los nenúfares musicales.

En el jardín abandonado y silente y sobre las aguas verdes, como una sombra en el agua, se oyeron unos compases de algo muy melancólico que se podía haber llamado “La alegría de morir”, y después de un último glu-glu salió flotando el violín como un barco de los niños que comenzó a bogar desorientado.

Algernon Blackwood: The Man Whom the Trees Loved


Algernon Blackwood

~I~

He painted trees as by some special divining instinct of their essential qualities. He understood them. He knew why in an oak forest, for instance, each individual was utterly distinct from its fellows, and why no two beeches in the whole world were alike. People asked him down to paint a favorite lime or silver birch, for he caught the individuality of a tree as some catch the individuality of a horse. How he managed it was something of a puzzle, for he never had painting lessons, his drawing was often wildly inaccurate, and, while his perception of a Tree Personality was true and vivid, his rendering of it might almost approach the ludicrous. Yet the character and personality of that particular tree stood there alive beneath his brush—shining, frowning, dreaming, as the case might be, friendly or hostile, good or evil. It emerged.

There was nothing else in the wide world that he could paint; flowers and landscapes he only muddled away into a smudge; with people he was helpless and hopeless; also with animals. Skies he could sometimes manage, or effects of wind in foliage, but as a rule he left these all severely alone. He kept to trees, wisely following an instinct that was guided by love. It was quite arresting, this way he had of making a tree look almost like a being—alive. It approached the uncanny.

"Yes, Sanderson knows what he's doing when he paints a tree!" thought old David Bittacy, C.B., late of the Woods and Forests. "Why, you can almost hear it rustle. You can smell the thing. You can hear the rain drip through its leaves. You can almost see the branches move. It grows." For in this way somewhat he expressed his satisfaction, half to persuade himself that the twenty guineas were well spent (since his wife thought otherwise), and half to explain this uncanny reality of life that lay in the fine old cedar framed above his study table.

Yet in the general view the mind of Mr. Bittacy was held to be austere, not to say morose. Few divined in him the secretly tenacious love of nature that had been fostered by years spent in the forests and jungles of the eastern world. It was odd for an Englishman, due possibly to that Eurasian ancestor. Surreptitiously, as though half ashamed of it, he had kept alive a sense of beauty that hardly belonged to his type, and was unusual for its vitality. Trees, in particular, nourished it. He, also, understood trees, felt a subtle sense of communion with them, born perhaps of those years he had lived in caring for them, guarding, protecting, nursing, years of solitude among their great shadowy presences. He kept it largely to himself, of course, because he knew the world he lived in. HE also kept it from his wife—to some extent. He knew it came between them, knew that she feared it, was opposed. But what he did not know, or realize at any rate, was the extent to which she grasped the power which they wielded over his life. Her fear, he judged, was simply due to those years in India, when for weeks at a time his calling took him away from her into the jungle forests, while she remained at home dreading all manner of evils that might befall him. This, of course, explained her instinctive opposition to the passion for woods that still influenced and clung to him. It was a natural survival of those anxious days of waiting in solitude for his safe return.

Federico García Lorca: Juego de damas

Federico García Lorca


Las cinco damas de una corte llena de color y poesía, enamoradas las cinco de un joven misterioso que ha llegado a ella de lejanas tierras. Lo rondan, lo cercan y se ocultan mutuamente su amor. Pero el joven no les hace caso. El joven pasea el jardín enamorando a la hija del jardinero, joven con la piel tostada y de ninguna belleza, aunque sin fealdad, desde luego. Las otras damas lo rondan y averiguan de qué se trata e, indignadas, tratan de matar a la joven tostada, pero cuando llegan ya está ella muerta con la cara sonriente y llena de luz y aroma exquisito. Sobre un banco del jardín encuentran una mariposa que sale volando y las ropas del joven

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Tales of Mystery and Imagination

" Tales of Mystery and Imagination es un blog sin ánimo de lucro cuyo único fin consiste en rendir justo homenaje
a los escritores de terror, ciencia-ficción y fantasía del mundo. Los derechos de los textos que aquí aparecen pertenecen a cada autor.


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