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).

Richard Laymon: Mess hall

Richard Laymon, Mess hall , 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

JEAN DIDN’T HEAR footsteps. She heard only the rush of the nearby stream, her own moaning, Paul’s harsh gasps as he thrust into her. The first she heard of the man was his voice.

“Looks to me like fornication in a public park area.”

Her heart slammed.

Oh God, no.

With her left eye, she glimpsed the man’s vague shape crouching beside her in the moonlight, less than a yard away. She looked up at Paul. His eyes were wide with alarm.

This can’t be happening, Jean told herself.

She felt totally helpless and exposed. Not that the guy could see anything. Just Paul’s bare butt. He couldn’t see that Jean’s blouse was open, her bra bunched around her neck, her skirt rucked up past her waist.

“Do you know it’s against the law?” the man asked.

Paul took his tongue out of Jean’s mouth. He turned his head toward the man.

Jean could feel his heart drumming, his penis shrinking inside her.

“Not to mention poor taste,” the man added.

“We didn’t mean any harm,” Paul said.

And started to get up.

Jean jammed her shoes against his buttocks, tightened her arms around his back.

“What if some children had wandered by?” the man asked.

“We’re sorry,” Jean told him, keeping her head straight up, not daring to look at the man again, instead staring at Paul. “We’ll leave.”

“Kiss goodbye, now.”

Seemed like a weird request.

But Paul obeyed. He pressed his mouth gently against Jean’s lips, and she wondered how she could manage to cover herself because it was quite obvious that, as soon as the kiss was over, Paul would have to climb off her. And there she’d be.

Later, she knew it was a shotgun.

She hadn’t seen a shotgun, but she’d only given the man that single, quick glance.

Paul was giving her the goodbye kiss and she was wondering about the best way to keep the man from seeing her when suddenly it didn’t matter because the world blew up. Paul’s eyes exploded out of their sockets and dropped onto her eyes. She jerked her head sideways to get away from them. Jerked it the wrong way. Saw the clotted wetness on the moonlit trunk of a nearby tree, saw his ear cling to the bark for a moment, then fall.

Paul’s head dropped heavily onto the side of her face. A torrent of blood blinded her.

She started to scream.

Paul’s weight tumbled off. The man stomped her belly. He scooped her up, swung her over his shoulder, and started to run. She wheezed, trying to breathe. His foot had smashed her air out and now his shoulder kept ramming into her. She felt as if she were drowning. Only a dim corner of her mind seemed to work, and she wished it would blink out.

Better total darkness, better no awareness at all.

The man stopped running. He bent over, and Jean flopped backward. She slammed something. Beside her was a windshield plated with moonlight. She’d been dumped across the hood of a car. Her legs dangled over the car’s front.

She tried to lift her head. Couldn’t. So she lay there, struggling to suck in air.

The man came back.

He’d been away?

Pere Gimferrer: Una cara

Pere Gimferrer, Una cara, 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

A las diez la cena estaba servida, bajo el oro solemne de los candelabros. Nos sentamos los seis a la mesa. Todo -la vajilla, los cubiertos bruñidos, nosotros mismos— tenía su doble en el cristal que la cubría. Yo fui el primero en advertir que aquel siniestro cristal no nos devolvía seis rostros, sino siete. La cara intrusa se ubicaba entre Miguel y Mercedes, a la derecha, ligeramente hacia el centro. Podía llevar allí varios días: el cristal no se había limpiado desde el sábado, no nos constaba —la criada era nueva- que aquella limpieza se hubiera efectuado con particular diligencia, y ya se sabe que uno puede comer maquinalmente, sin detenerse a buscar su sosias en el cristal, no una, sino muchas veces. De modo que bien cabía asignar a la cara una estancia anterior de cinco o seis días. Otras interrogaciones se suscitaban: si había permanecido allí las veinticuatro horas de cada uno de estos días, si durante ellos su situación en la mesa había variado, si a cada día había correspondido una cara distinta. Sin olvidar, claro está, las más inmediatas y evidentes: la identidad de la cara, el motivo de su insólita presencia en aquel lugar. Creo que es hora de describir el objeto de nuestras dudas. La cara podía contar treinta o treinta y cinco años de edad. Todo en ella indicaba serenidad o más bien indiferencia. Las facciones eran regulares y correspondían a un individuo del sexo masculino. Tenía los cabellos- de color rubio. Los ojos oscuros se insinuaban bajo el arco de las cejas. ¿Nos miraba? Pasé una mano ante la cara; no lo acusó. Quizá estuviera fingiendo. No me atreví a tocarla, aun sabiendo que tal vez de este modo desapareciera: después de todo, era una cara viva. Retirar el cristal sería otra solución. Falsa, no tardé en reflexionar: la cara podía permanecer unida al cristal o surgir de la mesa desnuda. Ninguna de las dos posibilidades me agradaba, sin contar con el penoso cariz de mutilación que revestiría la ceremonia. En todo caso, la cara no parecía hostil. Evidentemente, no nos pedía -si es que había advertido nuestra presencia- otra cosa que quedarse donde asombradamente la habíamos encontrado. Se imponía desplazar nuestra cena al salón. Dudé un momento en el umbral: sin duda era preciso dejar la puerta cerrada, pero me desazonaba matar todas las luces. El pensamiento de que acaso esta medida, inofensiva por lo demás, precipitase el éxodo de la cara me decidió a condenarla a la penumbra. Erradamente, porque, noche tras noche, se obstinaba en el cristal. Comer en el salón se convirtió en un hábito. Finalmente el comedor, casi siempre cerrado y a oscuras, se abandonó a la cara. La última vez que entré no alcancé a verla. El polvo se había acumulado sobre la mesa formando una vegetación semejante a la que se observa bajo las camas. Acostumbrado a las tinieblas, el comedor parecía extrañamente opaco. Descuidado y sucio, resultaba selvático. Acaso la cara ya no esté allí.

Ramsey Campbell: It Helps If You Sing

Ramsey Campbell, It Helps If You Sing, 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

They could be on their summer holidays. If they were better able to afford one than he was, Bright wished them luck. Now that it was daylight, he could see into all the lowest rooms of the high rise opposite, but there was no sign of life on the first two floors. Perhaps all the tenants were singing the hymns he could hear somewhere in the suburb. He took his time about making himself presentable, and then he went downstairs.

The lifts were out of order. Presumably it was a repairman who peered at him through the smeary window of one scrawled metal door on the landing below his. The blurred face startled him so much that he was glad to see people on the third floor. Weren't they from the building opposite, from one of the apartments that had stayed unlit last night? The woman they had come to visit was losing a smiling contest with them. She stepped back grudgingly, and Bright heard the bolt and chain slide home as he reached the stairs.

The public library was on the ground floor. First he strolled to the job center among the locked and armored shops. There was nothing for a printer on the cards, and cards that offered training in a new career were meant for people thirty years younger. They needed the work more than he did, even if they had no families to provide for. He ambled back to the library, whistling a wartime song.

The young job-hunters had finished with the newspapers. Bright started with the tabloids, saving the serious papers for the afternoon, though even those suggested that the world over the horizon was seething with disease and crime and promiscuity and wars. Good news wasn't news, he told himself, but the last girl he'd ever courted before he'd grown too set in his ways was out there somewhere, and the world must be better for her. Still, it was no wonder that most readers came to the library for fiction rather than for the news. He supposed the smiling couple who were filling cartons with books would take them to the housebound, although some of the titles he glimpsed seemed unsuitable for the easily offended. He watched the couple stalk away with the cartons, until the smoke of a distant bonfire obscured them.

The library closed at nine. Usually Bright would have been home for hours and listening to his radio cassette player, to Elgar or Vera Lynn or the dance bands his father used to play on the wind-up record player, but something about the day had made him reluctant to be alone. He read about evolution until the librarian began to harrumph loudly and smite books on the shelves.

Perhaps Bright should have gone up sooner. When he hurried round the outside of the building to the lobby, he had never seen the suburb so lifeless. Identical gray terraces multiplied to the horizon under a charred sky; a pair of trampled books lay amid the breathless litter on the anonymous concrete walks. He thought he heard a cry, but it might have been the start of the hymn that immediately was all he could hear, wherever it was.

Norberto Luis Romero: El relicario de Lady Inzúa

Norberto Luis Romero, El relicario de Lady Inzúa, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Lady Inzúa, Elizabeth Sheridan de soltera, llevaba casada con Gon­zalo Inzúa Aguirre poco más de tres años. Era éste acaudalado comer­ciante y eminente miembro de la sociedad porteña, proveniente de las Vascongadas españolas, perseguido en 1819 acusado de afrancesado y liberal por el gobierno absolutista de Fernando VII, y aunque no lo pa­reciera a simple vista, dados su tamaño y aspecto rústico y campecha­no, era hombre de excelsa cultura, refinados modales, carácter retraído y taciturno, que casi rozaba la melancolía. Si bien eran parte de su ca­rácter estos sentimientos sombríos, es verdad que, para sorpresa de to­dos y de la misma lady Inzúa, y contrariamente a lo esperado, dado el amor sostenido durante el noviazgo y que continuaban profesándose, los sentimientos sombríos, repito, iban gradualmente acentuándose a medida que pasaban los años y comprobaba, con profunda tristeza, cómo los sueños de perpetuar su estirpe se desvanecían con cada pri­mavera. Gonzalo le llevaba a su esposa veinte años y esta diferencia de edad le provocaba un profundo aunque infundado sentimiento de cul­pa, así como una continua tendencia a infravalorarse.

Elizabeth apenas frisaba los veintitrés años, tenía esa piel de aspecto transparente y frágil que refleja una exquisita procedencia familiar, un privilegiado linaje y los mayores cuidados recibidos a lo largo de todas las etapas de su vida. Su cabello, de un negro azulado, habitualmente partido al medio y recogido en un moño a la nuca, brillaba con más fuerza a medida que pasaban los años, y en sus ojos no había indicio al­guno de su íntima y oculta tristeza. Su carácter abierto, jovial y extre­madamente dulce, contrastaba con el de su marido, que se agriaba año tras año volviéndose más huraño a causa de ese hijo anhelado que se re­sistía a venir al mundo y llenar sus vidas de plenitud.

Esa relampagueante noche, los Inzúa Sheridan celebrarían en su casona de Palermo una fiesta por todo lo alto. No había sido Elizabeth la única responsable en concebir y convocar esta fiesta, lo fue sólo en parte, como un intento más de los que habitualmente hacía para distraer a su amado esposo procurando paliar su tristeza; porque las verdaderas artífices, quienes vislumbraron la idea original del espectáculo que habría de quedar registrado en los anales de la historia de Buenos Aires, fueron tres importantes damas de la rancia sociedad porteña, íntimas amigas, sí, de lady Inzúa, quienes inocentemente conspiraron a espaldas de Gonzalo. Una de estas damas, Celeste Rocamora, apodada en la intimidad «la pizpireta», había sido, meses antes, quien le había sugerido a Elizabeth lo de la momia.
-Querida -le había dicho-, es lo que se lleva en los salones de Londres y París. ¡Hace furor!
En efecto, el mayor refinamiento y esnobismo que podía exhibirse por entonces en una fiesta de aristócratas que se preciara de serlo, consistía en desenvolver ante los invitados atónitos una momia traída de Egipto. Abundaban de tal forma estas reliquias en los desiertos, que los barcos llegaban a Liverpool cargados de sarcófagos cuya dudosa utilidad hacía que acabaran en su mayor parte en los hornos de los telares a vapor de las industrias textiles de Inglaterra.
Al oír la propuesta de su amiga, Elizabeth se había llevado una mano al pecho con un marcado mohín de disgusto. Escandalizada, le había respondido que la idea le parecía de mal gusto y una afrenta a los muertos.
—¡Pero querida, mi conciencia me impide hacer semejante cosa! —protestó-. Jamás me perdonaría si llegase a cometer tal afrenta a la naturaleza humana y divina. No volvería a pegar ojo y el remordimiento acabaría conmigo.
Dos años antes, los señores Rocamora Stegman, padres de Celeste y Blanca, con ocasión de un viaje de placer por Europa, asistieron a una velada en un salón londinense, donde se llevó a cabo el desenvolvimiento de una momia especialmente traída desde El Cairo. Según palabras del matrimonio: «Una experiencia inolvidable, sublime y muy inquietante». A su regreso a Buenos Aires, la señora de Rocamora había comentado a sus amigas más íntimas mientras tomaban el té:

Violet Page (Vernon Lee): Dionea

Violet Page, Dionea, Vernon Lee, John Singer Sargent, 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo
Vernon Lee by John Singer Sargent

From the Letters of Doctor Alessandro De Rosis to the Lady Evelyn
Savelli, Princess of Sabina.
Montemiro Ligure, June 29, 1873.
I take immediate advantage of the generous offer of your Excellency (allow an old Republican who has held you on his knees to address you by that title sometimes, 'tis so appropriate) to help our poor people. I never expected to come a-begging so soon. For the olive crop has been unusually plenteous. We semi-Genoese don't pick the olives unripe, like our Tuscan neighbors, but let them grow big and black, when the young fellows go into the trees with long reeds and shake them down on the grass for the women to collect—a pretty sight which your Excellency must see some day: the grey trees with the brown, barefoot lads craning, balanced in the branches, and the turquoise sea as background just beneath…. That sea of ours—it is all along of it that I wish to ask for money. Looking up from my desk, I see the sea through the window, deep below and beyond the olive woods, bluish-green in the sunshine and veined with violet under the cloud-bars, like one of your Ravenna mosaics spread out as pavement for the world: a wicked sea, wicked in its loveliness, wickeder than your grey northern ones, and from which must have arisen in times gone by (when Phoenicians or Greeks built the temples at Lerici and Porto Venere) a baleful goddess of beauty, a Venus Verticordia, but in the bad sense of the word, overwhelming men's lives in sudden darkness like that squall of last week.
To come to the point. I want you, dear Lady Evelyn, to promise me some money, a great deal of money, as much as would buy you a little mannish cloth frock—for the complete bringing-up, until years of discretion, of a young stranger whom the sea has laid upon our shore. Our people, kind as they are, are very poor, and overburdened with children; besides, they have got a certain repugnance for this poor little waif, cast up by that dreadful storm, and who is doubtless a heathen, for she had no little crosses or scapulars on, like proper Christian children. So, being unable to get any of our women to adopt the child, and having an old bachelor's terror of my housekeeper, I have bethought me of certain nuns, holy women, who teach little girls to say their prayers and make lace close by here; and of your dear Excellency to pay for the whole business.
Poor little brown mite! She was picked up after the storm (such a set-out of ship-models and votive candles as that storm must have brought the Madonna at Porto Venere!) on a strip of sand between the rocks of our castle: the thing was really miraculous, for this coast is like a shark's jaw, and the bits of sand are tiny and far between. She was lashed to a plank, swaddled up close in outlandish garments; and when they brought her to me they thought she must certainly be dead: a little girl of four or five, decidedly pretty, and as brown as a berry, who, when she came to, shook her head to show she understood no kind of Italian, and jabbered some half-intelligible Eastern jabber, a few Greek words embedded in I know not what; the Superior of the College De Propagandâ Fide would be puzzled to know. The child appears to be the only survivor from a ship which must have gone down in the great squall, and whose timbers have been strewing the bay for some days past; no one at Spezia or in any of our ports knows anything about her, but she was seen, apparently making for Porto Venere, by some of our sardine-fishers: a big, lumbering craft, with eyes painted on each side of the prow, which, as you know, is a peculiarity of Greek boats. She was sighted for the last time off the island of Palmaria, entering, with all sails spread, right into the thick of the storm-darkness. No bodies, strangely enough, have been washed ashore.

Azorín: El fin de un mundo

Azorín, El fin de un mundo, 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, Alejandro Cabeza, José Payá Bernabé, Azorín,  Director de la Casa Museo Azorin, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo
Azorín por Alejandro Cabeza

La especie humana perecía. Miles de siglos antes de que extinto el Sol, congelado el planeta, fuese la Tierra inhabitable, ya el hombre, nostálgico de reposo perenne in este perenne flujo y reflujo de la substancia universal, luí na acabado. La Tierra estaba desierta.
Los hombres eran muertos. Poco a poco los mató el hastío de las bienandanzas que la ciencia, la industria y el arte realizaron al trocar en realidad presente el ensueño de pensadores prehistóricos.
Poco a poco, predicado y afirmado el generoso altruismo, fueron desapareciendo del trato humano la ambición, la envidia, la crueldad, la ira, los celos, la codicia. Y los hombres, sojuzgadas las fuerzas de la Naturaleza, dueños del complicado tecnicismo del arte, amándose lodos, trabajadores todos y fuertes todos, vivían, sin odios y sin pasiones, sin el ensueño de la esperanza y sin la voluptuosidad del desconsuelo, dichosos en la Naturaleza y en el arte. De este modo, transcurrieron cuatro, seis, diez siglos. Inactivos, quieto el pensamiento y sosegados los músculos, fiado todo el trabajo terrestre a la maquinaria triunfadora, paseábanse los felices humanos hora tras hora, día tras día, año tras año, siempre igual, sin esperanzas de mudación, por sus ciudades y por sus campos. Ni la Naturaleza en sus paisajes, de todos conocidos, ni el arte en sus obras maestras, por todos admiradas, lograban despertar en nadie un nuevo estremecimiento estético.
La vida se había simplificado. No había derecho porque no había deber, no había deber porque no había coacción, no había justicia porque no había iniquidad, no había verdad porque no había error, no había belleza porque no había fealdad...
Desaparecidos los irreductibles antagonismos que en las viejas sociedades dieron nacimiento a las ideas absolutas, las ideas absolutas —Verdad, Belleza, Justicia-— eran desconocidas de las nuevas generaciones. ¿Cómo pudiera conocer la luz quien nunca hubiese conocido las sombras? ¿Cómo pudiera conocer el movimiento quien nunca hubiese conocido el reposo? ¿Cómo pudiera conocer el placer quien nunca hubiese conocido el dolor?
Así, mientras el dolor —que es error, que es fealdad, que es injusticia— se desintegraba de la vida, la vida se reducía de sus antiguos grandiosos límites: y así —por paradoja extraordinaria— la amplia y fecundadora ley del progreso tornábase en deprimente ley de ruina y acabamiento. La tierra se despoblaba. Cansada e inactiva, la especie humana desaparecía de siglo en siglo.
Y llegó un momento supremo en que solo un hombre sobrevivió a la humanidad muerta.

Arthur Conan Doyle: Lot No. 249

Arthur Conan Doyle, Lot No. 249 , 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Of the dealings of Edward Bellingham with William Monkhouse Lee, and of the cause of the great terror of Abercrombie Smith, it may be that no absolute and final judgment will ever be delivered. It is true that we have the full and clear narrative of Smith himself, and such corroboration as he could look for from Thomas Styles the servant, from the Reverend Plumptree Peterson, Fellow of Old’s, and from such other people as chanced to gain some passing glance at this or that incident in a singular chain of events. Yet, in the main, the story must rest upon Smith alone, and the most will think that it is more likely that one brain, however outwardly sane, has some subtle warp in its texture, some strange flaw in its workings, than that the path of nature has been overstepped in open day in so famed a centre of learning and light as the University of Oxford. Yet when we think how narrow and how devious this path of Nature is, how dimly we can trace it, for all our lamps of science, and how from the darkness which girds it round great and terrible possibilities loom ever shadowly upwards, it is a bold and confident man who will put a limit to the strange by-paths into which the human spirit may wander.

In a certain wing of what we will call Old College in Oxford there is a corner turret of an exceeding great age. The heavy arch which spans the open door has bent downwards in the centre under the weight of its years, and the grey, lichen-blotched blocks of stone are bound and knitted together with withes and strands of ivy, as though the old mother had set herself to brace them up against wind and weather. From the door a stone stair curves upward spirally, passing two landings, and terminating in a third one, its steps all shapeless and hollowed by the tread of so many generations of the seekers after knowledge. Life has flowed like water down this winding stair, and, waterlike, has left these smooth-worn grooves behind it. From the long-gowned, pedantic scholars of Plantagenet days down to the young bloods of a later age, how full and strong had been that tide of young English life. And what was left now of all those hopes, those strivings, those fiery energies, save here and there in some old-world churchyard a few scratches upon a stone, and perchance a handful of dust in a mouldering coffin? Yet here were the silent stair and the grey old wall, with bend and saltire and many another heraldic device still to be read upon its surface, like grotesque shadows thrown back from the days that had passed.

In the month of May, in the year 1884, three young men occupied the sets of rooms which opened on to the separate landings of the old stair. Each set consisted simply of a sitting-room and of a bedroom, while the two corresponding rooms upon the ground-floor were used, the one as a coal-cellar, and the other as the living-room of the servant, or scout, Thomas Styles, whose duty it was to wait upon the three men above him. To right and to left was a line of lecture-rooms and of offices, so that the dwellers in the old turret enjoyed a certain seclusion, which made the chambers popular among the more studious undergraduates. Such were the three who occupied them now ––Abercrombie Smith above, Edward Bellingham beneath him, and William Monkhouse Lee upon the lowest storey.

Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo: Oigo los cascos de mi caliente muerte que me busca

Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo, Oigo los cascos de mi caliente muerte que me busca, 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

Era una mañana, 26 de octubre, no se me olvida. Yo iba con prisa. Apenas divisé el taxi, levanté el brazo. Los caballos del motor frenaron en seco. Subí raudo, pero para mi sorpresa constaté que un desconocido había entrado al tiempo por la otra puerta. Ahora los dos compartíamos vehículo. “Yo lo vi primero”, protesté indignado. “Eso no lo niego”, respondió con sorna el Otro, que —finalmente advertí yo— era ciego. “No obstante me corresponde llegar antes al destino: la antigüedad ha de contar algo, señor mío; desde el 86 vengo realizando este trayecto”. De buena gana le hubiese bajado los humos, pero el taxista se volvió a reprendernos: “No dispongo de todo el día. Tengo una cita en Mendoza; unos caballeros me esperan desde el 29”. Arrancó como si conociese la dirección y partimos los tres. Fue en 2010, y desde entonces otros han ido subiendo.

Ambrose Bierce: Bottomless Grave

Ambrose Bierce, Bottomless Grave, 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

My name is John Brenwalter. My father, a drunkard, had a patent for an invention, for making coffee-berries out of clay; but he was an honest man and would not himself engage in the manufacture. He was, therefore, only moderately wealthy, his royalties from his really valuable invention bringing him hardly enough to pay his expenses of litigation with rogues guilty of infringement. So I lacked many advantages enjoyed by the children of unscrupulous and dishonorable parents, and had it not been for a noble and devoted mother, who neglected all my brothers and sisters and personally supervised my education, should have grown up in ignorance and been compelled to teach school. To be the favorite child of a good woman is better than gold.

When I was nineteen years of age my father had the misfortune to die. He had always had perfect health, and his death, which occurred at the dinner table without a moment's warning, surprised no one more than himself. He had that very morning been notified that a patent had been granted him for a device to burst open safes by hydraulic pressure, without noise. The Commissioner of Patents had pronounced it the most ingenious, effective and generally meritorious invention that had ever been submitted to him, and my father had naturally looked forward to an old age of prosperity and honor. His sudden death was, therefore, a deep disappointment to him; but my mother, whose piety and resignation to the will of Heaven were conspicuous virtues of her character, was apparently less affected. At the close of the meal, when my poor father's body had been removed from the floor, she called us all into an adjoining room and addressed us as follows:

"My children, the uncommon occurrence that you have just witnessed is one of the most disagreeable incidents in a good man's life, and one in which I take little pleasure, I assure you. I beg you to believe that I had no hand in bringing it about. Of course," she added, after a pause, during which her eyes were cast down in deep thought, "of course it is better that he is dead."

She uttered this with so evident a sense of its obviousness as a self-evident truth that none of us had the courage to brave her surprise by asking an explanation. My mother's air of surprise when any of us went wrong in any way was very terrible to us. One day, when in a fit of peevish temper, I had taken the liberty to cut off the baby's ear, her simple words, "John, you surprise me!" appeared to me so sharp a reproof that after a sleepless night I went to her in tears, and throwing myself at her feet, exclaimed: "Mother, forgive me for surprising you." So now we all—including the one-eared baby—felt that it would keep matters smoother to accept without question the statement that it was better, somehow, for our dear father to be dead. My mother continued:

Emilia Pardo Bazán: El comadrón

Emilia Pardo Bazán, El comadrón, 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Era la noche más espantosa de todo el invierno. Silbaba el viento huracanado, tronchando el seco ramaje; desatábase la lluvia, y el granizo bombardeaba los vidrios. Así es que el comadrón, hundiéndose con delicia en la mullida cama, dijo confidencialmente a su esposa:

-Hoy me dejarán en paz. Dormiré sosegado hasta las nueve. ¿A qué loca se le va a ocurrir dar a luz con este tiempo tan fatal?

Desmintiendo los augurios del facultativo, hacia las cinco el viento amainó, se interrumpió el eterno «flac» de la lluvia, y un aura serena y dulce pareció entrar al través de los vidrios, con las primeras azuladas claridades del amanecer. Al mismo tiempo retumbaron en la puerta apresurados aldabonazos, los perros ladraron con frenesí, y el comadrón, refunfuñando se incorporó en el lecho aquel, tan caliente y tan fofo. ¡Vamos, milagro que un día le permitiesen vivir tranquilo! Y de seguro el lance ocurriría en el campo, lejos; habría que pisar barro y marcar niebla... A ver, medidas de abrigo, botas fuertes... ¡Condenada especie humana, y qué manía de no acabarse, qué tenacidad en reproducirse!

La criada, que subía anhelosa, dio las señas del cliente; un caballero respetable, muy embozado en capa oscura, chorreando agua y dando prisa. ¡Sin duda el padre de la parturienta! La mujer del comadrón, alma compasiva murmuró frases de lástima, y apuró a su marido. Este despachó el café, frío como hielo, se arrolló el tapabocas, se enfundó en el impermeable, agarró la caja de los instrumentos y bajó gruñendo y tiritando. El cliente esperaba ya, montado en blanca yegua. Cabalgó el comadrón su jacucho y emprendieron la caminata.

Apenas el sol alumbró claramente, el comadrón miró al desconocido y quedó subyugado por su aspecto de majestad. Una frente ancha, unos ojos ardientes e imperiosos, una barba gris que ondeaba sobre el pecho, un aire indefinible de dignidad y tristeza, hacían imponente a aquel hombre. Con humildad involuntaria se decidió el comadrón a preguntar lo de costumbre: si la casa donde iban estaba próxima y si era primeriza la paciente. En pocas y bien medidas palabras respondió el desconocido que el castillo distaba mucho; que la mujer era primeriza, y el trance tan duro y difícil, que no creía posible salir de él. «Sólo nos importa la criatura», añadió con energía, como el que da una orden para que se obedezca sin réplica. Pero el comadrón, persona compasiva y piadosa, formó el propósito de salvar a la madre, y picó al rocín, deseoso de llegar más pronto.

Anduvieron y anduvieron, patrullando las monturas en el barro pegajoso, cruzando bosques sin hoja, vadeando un río, salvando una montañita y no parando hasta un valle, donde los grisáceos torreones del castillo se destacaban con vigoroso y escueto dibujo. El comadrón, poseído de respeto inexplicable se apeó en el ancho patio de honor, y, guiado, por el desconocido, entró por una puertecilla lateral, directamente, a una cámara baja de la torre de Levante, donde, sobre una cama antigua, rica, yacía una bellísima mujer, descolorida e inmóvil. Al acercarse, observó el facultativo que aquella desdichada estaba muerta; y, sin conocerla se entristeció. ¡Es que era tan hermosa! Las hebras del pelo, tendido y ondeante, parecían marco dorado alrededor de una efigie de marfil; los labios color de violeta, flores marchitas; y los ojos entreabiertos y azules, dos piedras preciosas engastadas en el cerco de oro de las pestañas densas. La voz del desconocido resonó, firme y categórica:

-No haga usted caso de ese cadáver. Es preciso salvar a la criatura.

Bram Stoker: The Man From Shorrox

Bram Stoker, The Man From Shorrox, 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, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Throth, yer ’ann’rs, I’ll tell ye wid pleasure; though, trooth to tell, it’s only poor wurrk telling the same shtory over an’ over agin. But I niver object to tell it to rale gintlemin, like yer ’ann’rs, what don’t forget that a poor man has a mouth on to him as much as Creeshus himself has.

The place was a market town in Kilkenny—or maybe King’s County or Queen’s County. At all evints, it was wan of them counties what Cromwell—bad cess to him!—gev his name to. An’ the house was called after him that was the Lord Liftinint an’ invinted the polis—God forgive him! It was kep’ be a man iv the name iv Misther Mickey Byrne an’ his good lady—at laste it was till wan dark night whin the bhoys mistuk him for another gindeman, an unknown man, what had bought a contagious property—mind ye the impidence iv him. Mickey was comin’ back from the Curragh Races wid his skin that tight wid the full of the whiskey inside of him that he couldn’t open his eyes to see what was goin’ on, or his mouth to set the bhoys right afther he had got the first tap on the head wid wan of the blackthorns what they done such jobs wid. The poor bhoys was that full of sorra for their

mishap whin they brung him home to his widdy that the crather hadn’t the hearrt to be too sevare on thim. At the first iv course she was wroth, bein’ only a woman afther all, an’ weemun not bein’ gave to rayson like nun is. Millia murdher! but for a bit she was like a madwoman, and was nigh to have cut the heads from affav thim wid the mate chopper, till, seein’ thim so white and quite, she all at wance flung down the chopper an’ knelt down be the corp.

‘Lave me to me dead,’ she sez. ‘Oh mm! it’s no use more people nor is needful bein’ made unhappy over this night’s terrible wurrk. Mick Byrne would have no man worse for him whin he was living, and he’ll have harm to none for his death! Now go; an’, oh bhoys, be dacent and quite, an’ don’t thry a poor widdied sowl too hard!’

Well, afther that she made no change in things ginerally, but kep’ on the hotel jist the same; an’ whin some iv her friends wanted her to get help, she only sez: ‘Mick an’ me run this house well enough; an’ whin I’m thinkin’ of takun’ help I’ll tell yez. I’ll go on be meself, as I mane to, till Mick an’ me comes together agun.’

An’, sure enough, the ould place wint on jist the same, though, more betoken, there wasn’t Mick wid his shillelagh to kape the pace whin things got pretty hot on fair nights, an’ in the gran’ ould election times, when heads was bruk like eggs—glory be to God!

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