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 Sáiz Cidoncha: La caverna del sueño

Carlos Sáiz Cidoncha, La caverna del sueño, 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, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo


Han pasado exactamente siete años desde el día que el célebre arqueólogo español Gil Gámez Montalbán, el mejor amigo que yo haya tenido nunca, dejó para siempre este mundo.
Cualquiera pudo leer en la Prensa de la época la noticia de su muerte. Durante unas excavaciones en la región mesopotámica, mi amigo, poco aficionado al trabajo en grupo, abandonó un día el campamento llevándose consigo una buena cantidad de dinamita y algún material espeológico. Algunos naturales de la región oyeron la noche siguiente el estruendo de una gran explosión y Gil no volvió nunca más al campamento. Fue al día siguiente cuando se descubrió lo que había sido la boca de una caverna completamente obstruida por miles y miles de toneladas de piedra, fruto de un apocalíptico derrumbamiento. No había posibilidad alguna de desescombro, pese a intentarse una y otra vez, siempre sin el menor resultado.
Una lápida existe hoy en día en el lugar del accidente, de cuyo origen no cabe la más mínima duda. Gil, amigo de los procedimientos rápidos, debió provocar el alud al intentar abrirse paso con dinamita por el interior de la caverna, en busca de algo que nunca se sabrá. Su cuerpo debió quedar enterrado por el aluvión de rocas, o quizá emparedado vivo en el interior de la caverna.
Esta es la explicación oficial de la desaparición de mi amigo. Existe otra, tan fantástica que el único hombre capaz de exponerla prefiere callar, temeroso de ser tomado por loco o, lo que es peor, incluso acusado del asesinato de Gil. Ya que hubo un testigo de los últimos momentos del arqueólogo, un testigo que puede relatar segundo a segundo los extraños sucesos que se desarrollaron en el interior de la caverna.
Ese testigo soy yo, el mismo que escribe ahora estas líneas, siete años después de aquellos inexplicables acontecimientos. Unas líneas increíbles que me guardaré mucho de divulgar en el tiempo que me quede de vida, pero que quizá después de mi muerte sean leídas por alguna persona que las podrá tomar por ciertas o no. A beneficio de ese posible lector, nada puedo hacer sino asegurar con toda mi buena fe que en nada me he apartado de la verdad, por fantástica e inconcebible que dicha verdad pueda ser.
He aquí, pues, la historia:

Lisa Goldstein: The Game This Year

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It is a little before midnight, and three old people, two women and a man, are laboriously climbing the stairs in a ramshackle old office building.

Lily, the youngest-looking of the three, carries a box-shaped package. She looks like a woman you might see in a shopping mall or a church though a little over-dressed and behind the times. The other woman, Grace, is wearing a long coat patched together out of sky-blue velvet and emerald silk and ivory lace and embroidered upholstery fabric. Her gray hair is tied back in a bun, and a tabby cat, the same color as her hair, rides across her shoulders. Collier, the man, is using a stout staff to pull himself up the stairs. All the bulbs have burned out; the only light, a soft golden illumination, comes from the top of his staff. He is bald except for a few tufts of white hair, like sheep's wool, that surround his head. He stops, panting, and pushes up his round gold spectacles.

They come to the third floor and head toward the office at the end of the hall. Lily is moving too quickly; she steps on the train of Grace's coat. There is a tearing sound and the cat turns and mews softly. When they reach the office Lily opens her purse, takes out a heavy old-fashioned key, and unlocks the door.

She switches on the light and they stand clustered together in the doorway for a moment. There is an old battered desk and chair in the office and nothing else. Dust is everywhere; it covers the furniture and is strewn across the floor. In the breeze from the open door it spins and coalesces in the corners the way stars are said to do out in space. The cat sneezes.

Lily sets down her bundle and flings open the window. The window does not look out on more office buildings but on a small park, the only patch of green in this city's downtown. She says a few words and the dust vanishes out the window.

"They're late," Lily says.

"We're early, more like," Collier says. He shakes his watch and holds it to his ear. "This hasn't worked very well, these last few decades."

"At least we're not late," Lily says. "We never heard the end of it, that last time--"

"Oh, don't worry about that," Grace says. "Come on, let's play. They'll be here soon enough."

Lily arranges herself carefully on the floor, folding her skirt neatly beneath her. She takes the Risk game out of her sack and begins setting up. Grace lets the cat jump down from her shoulders and gathers her coat around her as she sits. "Oh, dear," she says, holding up the torn edge of her coat. "When did this happen?"

The other two study the board intently. Collier rolls the dice.

"Went to a singles bar last night," Grace says.

Pere Gimferrer: En el jardín

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Terrible en el crepúsculo, el granadero permanecía en posición de firmes sobre la verja. A contraluz, su casco de kaiser horadaba las nubes. Una ojeada circular al jardín, silencioso y ya en penumbra, le reveló a un hombre que se mantenía insólitamente de pie en el tercer parterre. Sorteando barrotes y alambradas, el granadero llegó adonde se hallaba el desconocido. Éste tendría cuarenta años; una trinchera color beige le resguardaba del relente; sobre su labio superior, bajo la chispa de los ojos azules, se insinuaba un bigote estilizado y señoril. Nada justificaba su presencia allí, aunque tampoco contravenía con ella disposición alguna, por cuanto ciertamente no se había destinado al granadero para ahuyentar a inesperados paseantes. Miráronse de hito en hito, y ninguno de los dos rompió el silencio. En los días sucesivos una suerte de amistad terminó por desplazar la irritación del uno y el estupor del otro ante aquella poco frecuente convivencia. Se cambiaban impresiones sobre los trastornos atmosféricos, se discutía de arte y aun de filosofía, se contrapesaban los platos preferidos de la copiosa cocina regional. Con el tiempo se fue relajando la disciplina, y era el desconocido -ya conocido- quien a ratos montaba la guardia. Entre los dos construyeron un pabellón con muros de adobe para los días lluviosos. Aún hoy se mantiene en pie, agrietado y cubierto por la hiedra. Pues al terminar con el estado de excepción la necesidad estratégica que aconsejaba situar al granadero en la verja, se le relevó y el jardín quedó nuevamente abandonado. No compadezcáis al desconocido: todas las circunstancias sugieren su permanencia en el lugar por un lapso de tiempo muy anterior a la llegada del granadero. Y ganó algo en aquella pasajera alteración de sus costumbres: un refugio, aunque hoy ya ruinoso, como inevitablemente tenía que terminar una madriguera construida por manos inexpertas. En los jardines se cometen muchas irregularidades, y a menudo quien más debería saberlo no tiene de todo ello la menor noticia.

Robert E. Howard: Red Nails

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1. The Skull on the Crag

The woman on the horse reined in her weary steed. It stood with its legs wide-braced, its head drooping, as if it found even the weight of the gold-tassled, red-leather bridle too heavy. The woman drew a booted foot out of the silver stirrup and swung down from the gilt-worked saddle. She made the reins fast to the fork of a sapling, and turned about, hands on her hips, to survey her surroundings.
They were not inviting. Giant trees hemmed in the small pool where her horse had just drunk. Clumps of undergrowth limited the vision that quested under the somber twilight of the lofty arches formed by intertwining branches. The woman shivered with a twitch of her magnificent shoulders, and then cursed.
She was tall, full-bosomed, and large-limbed, with compact shoulders. Her whole figure reflected an unusual strength, without detracting from the femininity of her appearance. She was all woman, in spite of her bearing and her garments. The latter were incongruous, in view of her present environs. Instead of a skirt she wore short, wide-legged silk breeches, which ceased a hand's breadth short of her knees, and were upheld by a wide silken sash worn as a girdle. Flaring-topped boots of soft leather came almost to her knees, and a low-necked, wide-collared, wide-sleeved silk shirt completed her costume. One one shapely hip she wore a straight double-edged sword, and on the other a long dirk. Her unruly golden hair, cut square at her shoulders, was confined by a band of crimson satin.
Against the background of somber, primitive forest she posed with an unconscious picturesqueness, bizarre and out of place. She should have been posed against a background of sea clouds, painted masts, and wheeling gulls. There was the color of the sea in her wide eyes. And that was at it should have been, because this was Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, whose deeds are celebrated in song and ballad wherever seafarers gather.
She strove to pierce the sullen green roof of the arched branches and see the sky which presumably lay above it, but presently gave it up with a muttered oath.
Leaving her horse tied, she strode off toward the east, glancing back toward the pool from time to time in order to fix her route in her mind. The silence of the forest depressed her. No birds sang in the lofty boughs, nor did any rustling in the bushes indicate the presence of small animals. For leagues she had traveled in a realm of brooding stillness, broken only by the sounds of her own flight.
She had slaked her thirst at the pool, but now felt the gnawing of hunger and began looking about for some of the fruit on which she had sustained herself since exhausting the food originally in her saddlebags.
Ahead of her, presently, she saw an outcropping of dark, flint-like rock that sloped upward into what looked like a rugged crag rising among the trees. Its summit was lost to view amidst a cloud of encircling leaves. Perhaps its peak rose above the treetops, and from it she could see what lay beyond—if, indeed, anything lay beyond but more of this apparently illimitable forest through which she had ridden for so many days.
A narrow ridge formed a natural ramp that led up the steep face of the crag. After she had ascended some fifty feet, she came to the belt of leaves that surrounded the rock. The trunks of the trees did not crowd close to the crag, but the ends of their lower branches extended about it, veiling it with their foliage. She groped on in leafy obscurity, not able to see either above or below her; but presently she glimpsed blue sky, and a moment later came out in the clear, hot sunlight and saw the forest roof stretching away under her feet.

Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas: Astolfo, de lo que este vio en la luna y de lo que no contó

Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas,  Astolfo, de lo que este vio en la luna y de lo que no contó, 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, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo


En un profundo valle, situado entre montes altísimos, había un inmenso tesoro, compuesto con todo lo que en la Tierra se había desperdiciado.
Astolfo sulla luna (1532), Ludovico Ariosto.

El hipogrifo descendió suavemente entre los valles de la luna. Sin perder su dignidad permitió que Astolfo le acariciara bajo su cuello emplumado, para luego devorar con prontitud su ración de gemas.
Sin comprender por qué, Astolfo sabía de la utilidad y el nombre de todos los objetos presentes y futuros que allí se apilaban: un gran rompeolas hecho de chalecos salvavidas; balas perdidas que revolotean como moscas buscando un blanco invisible; la yerba facturada con discursos llenos de promesas incumplidas; y junto al viento desclasificaban todos los documentos secretos del mundo.
A lo lejos, Astolfo pudo otear una figura vestida de blanco de cómico andar, su voz le llegó llena de interferencias:
“Este es un pequeño paso para el hombre…”

Wilkie Collins: The Ghost in the Cupboard Room

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 Mr. Beaver, on being “spoke” (as his friend and ally, Jack Governor, called it), turned out of an imaginary hammock with the greatest promptitude, and went straight on duty. “As it’s Nat Beaver’s watch,” said he, “there shall be no skulking.” Jack looked at me, with an expectant and admiring turn of his eye on Mr. Beaver, full of complimentary implication. I noticed, by the way, that Jack, in a naval absence of mind with which he is greatly troubled at times, had his arm round my sister’s waist. Perhaps this complaint originates in an old nautical requirement of having something to hold on by.
These were the terms of Mr. Beaver’s revelation to us:
What I have got to put forward, will not take very long; and I shall beg leave to begin by going back to last night — just about the time when we all parted from one another to go to bed.
The members of this good company did a very necessary and customary thing, last night — they each took a bedroom candlestick, and lit the candle before they went up-stairs. I wonder whether any one of them noticed that I left my candlestick untouched, and my candle unlighted; and went to bed, in a Haunted House, of all the places in the world, in the dark? I don’t think any one of them did.
That is, perhaps, rather curious to begin with. It is likewise curious, and just as true, that the bare sight of those candlesticks in the hands of this good company set me in a tremble, and made last night, a night’s bad dream instead of a night’s good sleep. The fact of the matter is — and I give you leave, ladies and gentlemen, to laugh at it as much as you please — that the ghost which haunted me last night, which has haunted me off and on for many years past, and which will go on haunting me till I am a ghost myself (and consequently spirit-proof in all respects), is, nothing more or less than — a bedroom candlestick.
Yes, a bedroom candlestick and candle, or a flat candlestick and candle — put it which way you like — that is what haunts me. I wish it was something pleasanter and more out of the common way; a beautiful lady, or a mine of gold and silver, or a cellar of wine and a coach and horses, and such-like. But, being what it is, I must take it for what it is, and make the best of it — and I shall thank you all kindly if you will help me out by doing the same.
I am not a scholar myself; but I make bold to believe that the haunting of any man, with anything under the sun, begins with the frightening of him. At any rate, the haunting of me with a bedroom candlestick and candle began with the frightening of me with a bedroom candlestick and candle — the frightening of me half out of my life, ladies and gentlemen; and, for the time being, the frightening of me altogether out of my wits. That is not a very pleasant thing to confess to you all, before stating the particulars; but perhaps you will be the readier to believe that I am not a downright coward, because you find me bold enough to make a clean breast of it already, to my own great disadvantage, so far.
These are the particulars, as well as I can put them.

Juan Eduardo Zúñiga: La prisionera

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Estoy en el jardín de un antiguo palacio que no sé de quién fue ni cuál es hoy su dueño. La tarde es húmeda, y otoñal el ocaso; en el blando suelo las hojas mueren adheridas al barro. No hace viento, no oigo ningún ruido entre los árboles que forman paseos en los que mudas estatuas, sobre pedestales de hiedra, alzan su desnudez.
Quisiera recorrer este extraño jardín, pero estoy quieto. Nadie lo visita, nadie hace crujir el puentecillo de madera sobre el constante arroyo. Nadie se apoya en las balaustradas del parterre ante la fila de bustos que la intemperie enmascaró con manchas verdinegras.
Estoy ante la gran fachada cubierta de ventanas que termina en altas chimeneas sobre el oscuro alero del tejado. Todo en ella muestra haber sufrido los ataques del tiempo pero estos rigores no dañaron a la única ventana que yo miro. Cada día, tras los cristales, aparece ella, su delicada silueta, y aparta la cortina de tul y largamente pasea su mirada por los senderos que se alejan hacia el río. Vestida de color violeta, siempre seria, eternamente bella, conserva su rostro juvenil, su gesto de candor, atenta a la llegada de alguien que ella espera. Inmóvil, tras el cristal, no habla, no muestra si acepta mi presencia, acaso no me ve. Resignada se dobla mi cabeza sobre el hombro mordido por las lluvias; desearía que sus dedos me rozasen antes de que su mano se haga transparencia. Desfallece mi cabeza enamorada; tras mis ojos vacíos atesoré palabras y palabras de amor dedicadas a ella. Acaso un día logren mover mis labios de durísima piedra.

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Day Before the Revolution


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In memoriam Paul Goodman, 1911-1972


The speaker's voice was as loud as empty beer-trucks in a stone street, and the people at the meeting were jammed up close, cobblestones, that great voice booming over them. Taviri was somewhere on the other side of the hall. She had to get to him. She wormed and pushed her way among the dark-clothed, close-packed people. She did not hear the words, nor see the faces: only the booming, and the bodies pressed one behind the other. She could not see Taviri, she was too short. A broad black-vested belly and chest loomed up, blocking her way. She must get through to Taviri. Sweating, she jabbed fiercely with her fist. It was like hitting stone, he did not move at all, but the huge lungs let out right over her head a prodigious noise, a bellow.. She cowered. Then she understood that the bellow had not been at her. Others were shouting. The speaker had said something, something fine about taxes or shadows. Thrilled, she joined the shouting--"Yes! Yes!" --and shoving on, came out easily into the open expanse of the Regimental Drill Field in Parheo. Overhead the evening sky lay deep and colorless, and all around her nodded the tall weeds with dry, white, close-floreted heads. She had never known what they were called. The flowers nodded above her head, swaying in the wind that always blew across the fields in the dusk. She ran among them, and they whipped lithe aside and stood up again swaying, silent. Taviri stood among the tall weeds in his good suit, the dark grey one that made him look like a professor or a play-actor, harshly elegant. He did not look happy, but he was laughing, and saying something to her. The sound of his voice made her cry, and she reached out to catch hold of his hand, but she did not stop, quite. She could not stop. "Oh, Taviri," she said, It's just on there!" The queer sweet smell of the white weeds was heavy as she went on. There were thorns. tangles underfoot, there were slopes, pits. She feared to fall, to fall, she stopped.
Sun, bright morning-glare, straight in the eyes, relentless. She had forgotten to pull the blind last night. She turned her back on the sun, but the right side wasn't comfortable. No use. Day. She sighed twice, sat up, got her legs over the edge of the bed, and sat hunched in her nightdress looking down at her feet.
The toes, compressed by a lifetime of cheap shoes, were almost square where they touched each other, and bulged out above in corns; the nails were discolored and shapeless. Between the knob-like anklebones ran fine, dry wrinkles. The brief little plain at the base of the toes had kept its delicacy, but the skin was the color of mud, and knotted veins crossed the instep. Disgusting. Sad, depressing. Mean. Pitiful. She tried on all the words, and they all fit, like hideous little hats. Hideous: yes, that one too. To look at oneself and find it hideous, what a job! But then, when she hadn't been hideous, had she sat around and stared at herself like this? Not much! A proper body's not an object, not an implement, not a belonging to be admired, it's just you, yourself. Only when it's no longer you. but yours, a thing owned, do you worry about it-- Is it in good shape? Will it do? Will it last?
"Who cares" said Laia fiercely, and stood up.
It made her giddy to stand up suddenly. She had to put out her hand to the bed-table, for she dreaded falling. At that she thought of reaching out to Taviri in the dream.
What had he said? She could not remember. She was not sure if she had even touched his hand. She frowned, trying to force memory. It had been so long since she had dreamed about Taviri; and now not even to remember what he had said!
It was gone, it was gone. She stood there hunched in her nightdress, frowning, one hand on the bed-table. How long was it since she had thought of him--let alone dreamed of him--even thought of him, as "Taviri?" How long since she had said his name?
Asieo said. When Asieo and I were in prison in the North. Before I met Asieo. Asieo's theory of reciprocity. Oh yes, she talked about him, talked about him too much no doubt, maundered, dragged him in. But as "Asieo," the last name, the public man. The private man was gone, utterly gone. There were so few left who had even known him. They had all used to be in jail. One laughed about it in those days, all the friends in all the jails. But they weren't even there, these days. They were in the prison cemeteries. Or in the common graves. 

Pere Calders: Invasió subtil

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A l'Hostal Punta Marina, de Tossa, vaig conèixer un japonès desconcertant, que no s'assemblava en cap aspecte a la idea que jo tenia formada d'aquesta mena d'orientals.

A l'hora de sopar, va asseure's a la meva taula, després de demanar-me permís sense gaire cerimònia. Em va cridar l'atenció el fet que no tenia els ulls oblics ni la pell groguenca. Al contrari: en qüestió de color tirava a galtes rosades i a cabell rossenc.

Jo estava encuriosit per veure quins plats demanaria. Confesso que era una actitud pueril, esperant que encarregués plats poc corrents o combinacions exòtiques. El cas és que em va sorprendre fent-se servir amanida -"amb força ceba", digué-, cap i pota, molls a la brasa i ametlles torrades. Al final, cafè, una copa de conyac i una breva.

M'havia imaginat que el japonè menjaria amb una pulcritud exagerada, irritant i tot, pinçant els aliments com si fossin peces de rellotgeria. Però no fou pas així: l'home se servia del ganivet i la forquilla amb una gran desimboltura, i mastegava a boca plena sense complicacions estètiques. A mi, la veritat, em feia trontollar els partits presos.

D'altra banda, parlava català com qualsevol de nosaltres, sense ni una ombra de cap accent foraster. Això no era tan estrany, si es considera que aquesta gent és molt estudiosa i llesta en gran manera. Però a mi em feia sentir inferior, perquè no sé ni un borrall de japonès. És curiós de constatar que, el toc estranger a l'entrevista, l'hi posava jo, condicionant tota la meva actuació -gestos, paraules, entrades de conversa-, al fet que el meu interlocutor era japonès. Ell, en canvi, estava fresc com una rosa.

Jo creia que aquell home devia ésser representant o venedor d'aparells fotogràfics, o de transistors. Qui sap si de perles cultivades... Vaig provar tots aquells temes i ell els apartà amb un ample moviment del braç. "Venc sants d'Olot, jo", digué. "Encara hi ha mercat?", vaig preguntar-li. I em va dir que sí, que anava de baixa però que ell es defensava. Feia la zona sud de la Península, i va afirmar que, així que tenia un descans o venien dues festes seguides, cap a casa falta gent...

Diego de Torres Villarroel: La casa de los duendes


Diego de Torres Villarroel, La casa de los duendes, 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, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo


Ya estaba yo puesto de jácaro, vestido de baladrón y reventando de ganchoso, esperan­do con necias ansias el día en que había de partir con mi clérigo contrabandista a la solicitud de unas galeras o en la horca, en vez de unos talegos de tabaco, que (según me dijo) habíamos de transportar desde Burgos a Madrid, sin licencia del Rey, sus celadores ni ministros; y una tarde muy cercana al día de nuestra delincuente resolución, encontré en la calle de Atocha a don Julián Casquero, capellán de la excelentísima señora condesa de los Arcos. Venía éste en busca mía, sin color en el rostro, poseído del espanto y lleno de una horrorosa cobardía. Esta­ba el hombre tan trémulo, tan pajizo y tan arrebatado como si se le hubiera aparecido alguna cosa sobrenatural. Balbuciente y con las voces lánguidas y rotas, en ademán de enfermo que habla con el frío de la calentura, me dio a entender que me venía buscando para que aquella noche acompañase a la señora condesa, que yacía horriblemente atribulada con la novedad de un tremendo y extraño ruido que tres noches antes había resonado en todos los centros y extremidades de las piezas de la casa. Ponderome el tristísimo pavor que padecían todas las criadas y criados, y añadió que su ama tendría mucho consuelo y serenidad en verme y en que la acompañase en aquella insoportable confusión y tumultuosa angustia. Prometí ir a besar sus pies, sumamente alegre, porque el padecer yo el miedo y la turbación era dudoso, y de cierto aseguraba una buena cena aquella noche. Llegó la hora, fui a la casa, entráronme hasta el gabi­nete de su excelencia, en donde la hallé afligida, pavorosa y rodeada de sus asistentas, todas tan pálidas, inmobles y mudas, que parecían estatuas. Procuré apartar, con la rudeza y desenfado de mis expresiones, el asombro que se les había metido en el espíritu; ofrecí rondar los escon­dites más ocultos, y, con mi ingenuidad y mis promesas, quedaron sus corazones más trata­bles. Yo cené con sabroso apetito a las diez de la noche, y a esta hora empezaron los lacayos a sacar las camas de las habitaciones de los criados, las que tendían en un salón, donde se acos­taba todo el montón de familiares, para sufrir sin tanto horror, con los alivios de la sociedad, el ignorado ruido que esperaban. Capitulose a bulto entre los tímidos y los inocentes a este rumor por juego, locura y ejercicio de duende, sin más causa que haber dado la manía, la pre­cipitación o el antojo de la vulgaridad este nombre a todos los estrépitos nocturnos. Apiñaron en el salón catorce camas, en las que se fueron mal metiendo personas de ambos sexos y de todos estados. Cada una se fue desnudando y haciendo sus menesteres indispensables con el recato, decencia y silencio más posible. Yo me apoderé de una silla, puse a mi lado una hacha' de cuatro mechas y un espadón cargado de orín, y, sin acordarme de cosa de esta vida ni de la otra, empecé a dormir con admirable serenidad. A la una de la noche resonó con bastante sen­timiento el enfadoso ruido; gritaron los que estaban empanados en el pastelón de la pieza; desperté con prontitud y oí unos golpes vagos, turbios y de dificultoso examen en diferentes sitios de la casa. Subí, favorecido de mi luz y de mi espadón, a los desvanes y azoteas, y no encontré fantasma, esperezo ni bulto de cosa racional. Volvieron a mecerse y repetirse los porrazos; yo torné a examinar el paraje donde presumí que podían tener su origen, y tampo­co pude descubrir la causa, el nacimiento ni el actor. Continuaba, de cuarto en cuarto de hora, el descomunal estruendo, y, en esta alternativa, duró hasta las tres y media de la mañana. Once días estuvimos escuchando y padeciendo a las mismas horas los tristes y tonitruosos golpes; y, cansada su excelencia de sufrir el ruido, la descomodidad y la vigilia, trató de esconderse en el primer rincón que encontrase vacío, aunque no fuese abonado a su persona, grandeza y familia dilatada. Mandó adelantar en vivas diligencias su deliberación, y sus criados se pusie­ron en una precipitada obediencia, ya de reverentes, ya de horrorizados con el suceso de la última noche, que fue el que diré.

Edward Frederic Benson: The cat

Edward Frederic Benson, The cat, 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, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo


Many people will doubtless, remember that exhibition at the Royal Academy, not so many seasons ago which came to be known as Alingham's year, when Dick Alingham vaulted, with one bound, as it were, out of the crowd of strugglers and seated himself with admirably certain poise on the very topmost pinnacle of contemporary fame. He exhibited three portraits, each a masterpiece, which killed every picture within range. But since that year nobody cared anything for pictures whether in or out of range except those three, it did not signify so greatly. The phenomenon of his appearance was as sudden as that of the meteor, coming from nowhere and sliding large and luminous across the remote and star-sown sky, as inexplicable as the bursting of a spring on some dust-ridden rocky hillside. Some fairy godmother, one might conjecture, had bethought herself of her forgotten godson, and with a wave of her wand bestowed on him this transcendent gift. But, as the Irish say, she held her wand in her left hand, for her gift had another side to it. Or perhaps, again, Jim Merwick is right, and the theory he propounds in his monograph, "On certain obscure lesions of the nerve centres," says the final word on the subject.

Dick Alingham himself, as was indeed natural, was delighted with his fairy godmother or his obscure lesion (whichever was responsible), and (the monograph spoken of above was written after Dick's death) confessed frankly to his friend Merwick, who was still struggling through the crowd of rising young medical practitioners, that it was all quite as inexplicable to himself as it was to anyone else.

"All I know about it," he said, "is that last autumn I went through two months of mental depression so hideous that I thought again and again that I must go off my head. For hours daily, I sat here, waiting for something to crack, which as far as I am concerned would end everything.

"Yes, there was a cause; you know it."

He paused a moment and poured into his glass a fairly liberal allowance of whisky, filled it half up from a syphon, and lit a cigarette. The cause, indeed, had no need to be enlarged on, for Merwick quite well remembered how the girl Dick had been engaged to threw him over with an abruptness that was almost superb, when a more eligible suitor made his appearance. The latter was certainly very eligible indeed with his good looks, his title, and his million of money, and Lady Madingley—ex-future Mrs. Alingham—was perfectly content with what she had done.

She was one of those blonde, lithe, silken girls, who, happily for the peace of men's minds, are rather rare, and who remind one of some humanised yet celestial and bestial cat.

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Tales of Mystery and Imagination

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