The Monday Poem – Corinna

This week’s Monday poem is Thomas Campion‘s Corinna. I hope you like it!

Corinna

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    By Thomas Campion


    When to her lute Corinna sings,
Her voice revives the leaden strings,
And doth in highest notes appear
As any challenged echo clear.
But when she doth of mourning speak,
Even with her sighs the strings do break.

And as her lute doth live or die;
Led by her passion, so must I.
For when of pleasure she doth sing,
My thoughts enjoy a sudden spring;
But if she doth of sorrow speak,
Even from my heart the strings do break.

My Top 10 Weird Fiction Authors

Weird Fiction is one of my favourite genres to read and there’s no shortage of great authors in this field if you look hard enough! In no particular order, here are ten wonderfully weird authors.

    1. Premendra Mitra – The Discovery of Telenapota” by Bengali author Premendra Mitra is a good place to start if you want to skip over some of the more famous authors in The Weird. You won’t find much of Mitra’s work in English, and nothing at all in the U.S. apart from this tale. It’s a hallucinatory trip into rural India where you get to do some fly-fishing, fall in love, take a rather cramped ride in a miniature cart pulled by miniature bulls, and accept a marriage proposal under a false name. And it’s all directed at you in a mesmerizing future tense. But “Telenapota” is not just the trippy prose-poem that all suggests. There is some genuine emotion in the tale and a kind of clever twist in the end too. – Thommy Ford Reads
    2. Mike Russell – “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.  There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us.” If I had to concisely summarize these little stories, I seriously couldn’t think of a better way to do it than via Magritte’s words. – Oddly Weird Fiction. Read one of his short stories for free here. Disclaimer: Mike is my other half. I was a fan before we became a couple though :p If you enjoy Examining the Odd, supporting Mike is the best way to show your support! Thank you dear readers.x
      Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell
      Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell

      3. Joanna Russ – The narrator has just returned from one of these worlds where she was fomenting a revolution dressed up as a (male) arch-demon/faery prince, Issa/Ashmedai, in “Storybook Land” (122), and is telling her lover, the recipient of her letter, all about it. This is a performance of something like theater; the narrator compares it repeatedly to kabuki drama. The characters of Storybook Land are all faintly (or very) preposterous and unreal, so the narrator can do her job with some ease, but eventually Art and Bob (two noblemen) prove a problem. She has to keep them away from a woman they seem intent to rape by pretending to be the only one who can have her. Then she ends up having to have sex with the princess, who is determined to be had by her (in her male persona), and all sorts of bizarre courtly intrigues. Finally, the playacting done and pretty well injured, the narrator gets to come home and finds out that her own world isn’t at the probability center, either. There’s a revolution going, too. – TOR 1ac0335538f21dabd4a4ae1ca661a7be

The Female Man

4. Fitz James O’Brien – His writing contained both weird fiction and horror, and he is considered one of the forerunners of science fiction writing. What Was It, today’s short story, contains one of the first examples of invisibility in fiction, wherein the occupants of an apparently haunted house are assailed by, and then catch a strange invisible creature. It’s a traditional short mystery story with strong leanings towards Edgar Allan Poe, and short enough to read in a sneaky Friday coffee break (well, if you are quick!). Enjoy! Read the story here! – Dublin2019
Horror Classics

5. Carl Richard Jacobi – Carl Jacobi was a journalist, weird-fiction and adventure-story writer, and one of the last surviving pulp-fictioneers to have contributed regularly to the legendary American horror magazine Weird Tales during its “glory days” (the 1920s and 1930s). – Independent. Read one of his short stories for free here. the-long-voyage-carl-richard-jacobi

6. H. G. Wells – Short, cold, economic and totally unrelenting. – China Mieville writing for the Guardian.
H G Wells

7. Hanns Heinz Ewers – If you’re here for a weird tale about a supernatural earthly being, this was so much fun to read.
obviously the fact that it was written at the beginning of last century, adds up to the beauty of it. – Astrid Diaz on Amazon. Read one of his short stories for free here.

Hanns Heinz Ewers
Hanns Heinz Ewers

8. Maurice Level – Almost wholly devoted to this form is the living writer Maurice Level, whose very brief episodes have lent themselves so readily to theatrical adaptation in the “thrillers” of the Grand Guignol. As a matter of fact, the French genius is more naturally suited to this dark realism than to the suggestion of the unseen; since the latter process requires, for its best and most sympathetic development on a large scale, the inherent mysticism of the Northern mind. – H.P.Lovecraft.com. Read his short stories for free here. hqdefault-1

9. Jay Lake – Joseph Edward “Jay” Lake, Jr.[1] (June 6, 1964 – June 1, 2014) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. In 2003 he was a quarterly first-place winner in the Writers of the Future contest. In 2004 he won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction. He lived in Portland, Oregon, and worked as a product manager for a voice services company. – Wikipedia. Read some of his short stories for free here.
Endurance

10. Luigi Ugolini – A compelling tale of weird transformation, “The Vegetable Man” was originally published in 1917 in an Italian publication whose title translates as The Illustrated Journal of Travel and Adventure Over Land and Sea. Brendan and Anna Connell’s skilful translation of the story for The Weird is the first in the English language. Brendan Connell has lent further insights on this story, deriving valuable context for reading not just from the author’s experience and viewpoints, but also from the spirit of the times in which he wrote. – Weird Fiction Review.

BOOK QUIZ – Who should YOU read next?

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If you enjoy the content here at Examining the Odd, we probably have fairly similar tastes in books. This is great; it means you’re open to all sorts of genres and to discovering new authors. It’s also a curse; how on earth do you choose what to read next?

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This quiz will give you a helping hand. It’s an old-fashioned magazine style quiz which will lead you to one of five authors to try next (so no peeking at the results before you answer the questions!). If you’re lucky, you might get a tie and then you have two authors to pursue…

Ready? Let’s go!

Which era do most of your favourite authors hail from?

A: They’re all dead. 1800s

B: They’re alive! Alive!

C: The era of revolution! 1960s

D: Turn of the century. Yes, I’m still using that to refer to 1890s-1910s…

E: because we also have writers of the milennium! 1990s-200s

2014-10-21-PoliticallyChargedMeme

 

What type of politics do you lean towards?

A: Reactionary. Usually pretty conservative.

B: Liberal

C: Environmental/Green

D: Nationalist

E: Democratic

 

Which of these genres do you love the most?

A: Science Fiction

B: Metaphysical (abstraction, spiritual ideas)

C: Mystery

D: Fantasy

E: Horror

 

What’s your preferred writing/language style?

A: Artistic, complex

B: To the point

C: Prose, flowing

D: Musing, reflective, thoughtful

E: Graphic, visual, descriptive

 

Which of these jobs would the child-you have chosen?

A: Astronaut or scientist

B: Office or factory worker

C: Witch, Wizard, Shaman or other magical figure

D: King/Queen/Prince/Princess

E: Monster/Zombie

 

Money and reality are no object. Where do you choose to go on holiday?

A: Mars

B: A traditional seaside resort with donkeys and ice cream aplenty

C: A cave. Alone

D: A lush forest or enchanted woodland

E: Somewhere cold and snowy

 

And finally. What’s your length of choice?

A: Novella

B: Flash fiction. Then I can choose to read one or a hundred!

C: Short story

D: Novel

E: Series

 

And now for the results…

 

Mostly A

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Percy Greg.

Percy Greg (1836-1889) was an English writer.

His Across the Zodiac (1880) is an early science fiction novel, said to be the progenitor of the sword-and-planet genre. For that novel, Greg created what may have been the first artistic language that was described with linguistic and grammatical terminology. It also contained what is possibly the first instance in the English language of the word “Astronaut”.

In 2010 a crater on Mars was named Greg in recognition of his contribution to the lore of Mars.

Congratulations if you ended up with Percy. Why? He’s free! Read Across the Zodiac here.

Mostly B

Mike Russell.

“For me, creating is discovering and storytelling is bringing into the world dreams that are universal. They come from a deep place; they want to be known and they want to help us. Storytelling is a way of turning the world inside out, which I believe it desperately needs.” Mike Russell

Mike has a book of flash fiction and a book of short stories. You can read one of each (respectively) for free here and here!

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Mostly C

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Margaret St. Clair.

Margaret St. Clair was an American science fiction writer, who also wrote under the pseudonyms Idris Seabright and Wilton Hazzard.
1911-1995
Mostly D
Lord Dunsany.
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Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany was an Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work, mostly in fantasy, published under the name Lord Dunsany.
1878-1957
Lucky you! Loads of Lord Dunsany’s work is free to read here.
Mostly E
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George R. R. Martin.
George Raymond Richard Martin, often referred to as GRRM, is an American novelist and short story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, a screenwriter, and television producer.
Born: 1948 (age 67)
Obviously, we all know who he is! But have you read his other novels and short stories?
That’s it!
I hope you enjoyed the quiz, but more importantly: I hope you enjoy reading the author I lumbered you with! Share who you got in the comments. Have you read them before? Do you like them?

Lord Dunsany (Edward Plunkett)

A Dreamer's Tales

Irish fantasy author Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) is one of my all time favourite writers. His work is so different to anything else that I have read, and the exciting point for me is that I haven’t read them all yet (it’s a pretty big body of work)!

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The King of Elfland’s Daughter is my favourite so far, and it’s probably the most famous of his books too. It’s well known that Dunsany was a keen hunter and it’s not so well known that I’m a keen vegetarian and animal lover, so I’m sure I receive The King of Elfland’s Daughter (which contains a fair amount of hunting) quite differently to how he perhaps intended. Having said that, Dunsany was also an animal rights campaigner and was president of his local RSPCA branch, so he confuses me greatly! I guess it had something to do with the difference between animal and pet.

The Charwoman's Shadow

Dunsany made his first literary tour to the USA in 1919, and made further such visits right up to the 1950s, notably to California. Dunsany’s own work, and contribution to the Irish literary heritage, was recognised through an honorary degree from Trinity College, Dublin… In 1957, Lord Dunsany became ill while eating with the Earl and Countess of Fingall, in what proved to be an attack of appendicitis, and died in hospital in Dublin at the age of 79. He had directed that he be buried in the churchyard of the ancient church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Shoreham, Kent, in memory of shared war times… The catalogue of Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (Lord Dunsany)’s work during his 52-year active writing career is quite extensive, and is fraught with pitfalls for two reasons: first, many of Dunsany’s original books of collected short stories were later followed by reprint collections, some of which were unauthorised and included only previously published stories; and second, some later collections bore titles very similar to different original books. In 1993, S. T. Joshi and Darrell Schweitzer released a bibliographic volume which, while emphasising that it makes no claim to be the final word, gives considerable information on Dunsany’s work. Wikipedia

Many of Lord Dunsany’s stories were illustrated by Sidney H. Sime, who I created a blog post about earlier this year.

If you haven’t read any of Dunsany’s work before, I highly recommend you try a couple of his short stories. Most of them can be found for free online, or through your Kindle! The Public Domain is a wonderful thing. Please comment if you find any particularly good stories that you wish to share.

I hope for this book that it may come into the hands of those that were kind to my others and that it may not disappoint them. —Lord Dunsany (the preface for A Dreamer’s Tales)

Mike Russell and his Surreal Stories

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Mike Russell is the author of two short story collections; Nothing Is Strange and Strange Medicine. His work is surreal and often humorous, with some stories even being described as erotic, absurd or disturbing. Mike has performed his stories in the South of England for over a decade, wearing his famous top hat with its all-seeing eye.

A review for Mike’s first collection, Nothing Is Strange: “Reader Beware: If you enjoy reading stories that are written with structure, stories that are comprised of a beginning, middle, and end, or stories that do not transcend the boundaries of reality, then this book is not for you. If, on the other hand, you want to read stories that will free you from the chains that are attached to the anchor of reality, then this is your must-read collection.

Nothing is Strange is a collection of twenty short stories in which everything is strange, but strange in a good way.

The twenty stories are miniature narratives. The collection is well written and highly imaginative. Each story takes you on a journey where the imaginary becomes reality. Instead of reason we have imagination. In place of the banal we have passion for liberation. Instead of the ordinary, we have magic.

By their very nature, the stories are freeing. They will take you to places within your mind you never knew existed. For those unaccustomed to reading surreal stories these stories may be hard to swallow. One might compare it to looking at modern art for the first time. I can only imagine how people felt the first time Duchamp exhibited his Readymades, or Picasso his art. A typical first reaction might raise the question of whether or not the artist is authentic, or is he simply trying to put one over on us.

The concept of these stories first appears to be too simple to be called art. Yet, as one delves into the collection, and crosses back and forth between the boundaries of real and unreal, one comes away with the feeling that there is more to them than at first appears – and you would be correct in this assumption.

Reading these stories feels as if you’re following footprints in the snow, footprints that take you somewhere and nowhere. Sometimes the footprints are deep and easy to follow, but sometimes they are obliterated and nearly imperceptible. The reader may, for a time, get lost. For some, tripping through these stories may be a harrowing experience. But for others, the journey on the wind of imagination will be a mind-blowing and rewarding experience.

But the magic doesn’t end there, for once discovered and devoured, the effects of a surreal adventure multiplies the further out one travels.

My advice then, dear reader, is for you to read this collection. Take a chance you may be hooked on the reality of non reality, which, in turn, will inspire you to explore other artists of the genre, some who are long gone, and others, like Mike Russell, who are our modern guides on the surreal journey.

So go ahead: Jump into the swimming pool with your clothes on. You may very well find you won’t want to get out of the water.” – Gerard Bianco

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Mike Russell’s website is StrangeBooks.com and both books are available in paperback or for Kindle. You can also read Dunce, a story from Nothing Is Strange for free here, and Flock, a story from Strange Medicine for free here!

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The Mezzotint by M.R. James

The Mezzotint is a ghost story by M.R. James, another author whose work is in the Public Domain, so I read it for free on my Kindle. It’s part of a collection of short stories, so plenty more to read there too!

Or listen to it for free here with theme music by The Eldritch Light Orchestra or here.

The classic “Jamesian” ghost story includes the following elements:

  1. a characterful setting in an English village, seaside town or country estate; an ancient town in France, Denmark or Sweden; or a venerable abbey or university
  2. a nondescript and rather naive gentleman-scholar as protagonist (often of a reserved nature)
  3. the discovery of an old book or other antiquarian object that somehow unlocks, calls down the wrath, or at least attracts the unwelcome attention of a supernatural menace, usually from beyond the graveGhost

The Mezzotint offers a charming view of life at Uxbridge College in older times, as well as being a great, classic ghost story. I really enjoyed it and recommend giving it a read (or a listen).

The Shunned House – H.P. Lovecraft 2/5

Read Chapter One here.

Chapter Two.

Not till my adult years did my uncle set before me the notes and data which he had collected concerning the shunned house. Dr. Whipple was a sane, conservative physician of the old school, and for all his interest in the place was not eager to encourage young thoughts toward the abnormal. His own view, postulating simply a building and location of markedly unsanitary qualities, had nothing to do with abnormality; but he realised that the very picturesqueness which aroused his own interest would in a boy’s fanciful mind take on all manner of gruesome imaginative associations.
     The doctor was a bachelor; a white-haired, clean-shaven, old-fashioned gentleman, and a local historian of note, who had often broken a lance with such controversial guardians of tradition as Sidney S. Rider and Thomas W. Bicknell. He lived with one manservant in a Georgian homestead with knocker and iron-railed steps, balanced eerily on a steep ascent of North Court Street beside the ancient brick court and colony house where his grandfather—a cousin of that celebrated privateersman, Capt. Whipple, who burnt His Majesty’s armed schooner Gaspee in 1772—had voted in the legislature on May 4, 1776, for the independence of the Rhode Island Colony. Around him in the damp, low-ceiled library with the musty white panelling, heavy carved overmantel, and small-paned, vine-shaded windows, were the relics and records of his ancient family, among which were many dubious allusions to the shunned house in Benefit Street. That pest spot lies not far distant—for Benefit runs ledgewise just above the court-house along the precipitous hill up which the first settlement climbed.
     When, in the end, my insistent pestering and maturing years evoked from my uncle the hoarded lore I sought, there lay before me a strange enough chronicle. Long-winded, statistical, and drearily genealogical as some of the matter was, there ran through it a continuous thread of brooding, tenacious horror and preternatural malevolence which impressed me even more than it had impressed the good doctor. Separate events fitted together uncannily, and seemingly irrelevant details held mines of hideous possibilities. A new and burning curiosity grew in me, compared to which my boyish curiosity was feeble and inchoate. The first revelation led to an exhaustive research, and finally to that shuddering quest which proved so disastrous to myself and mine. For at last my uncle insisted on joining the search I had commenced, and after a certain night in that house he did not come away with me. I am lonely without that gentle soul whose long years were filled only with honour, virtue, good taste, benevolence, and learning. I have reared a marble urn to his memory in St. John’s churchyard—the place that Poe loved—the hidden grove of giant willows on the hill, where tombs and headstones huddle quietly between the hoary bulk of the church and the houses and bank walls of Benefit Street.
     The history of the house, opening amidst a maze of dates, revealed no trace of the sinister either about its construction or about the prosperous and honourable family who built it. Yet from the first a taint of calamity, soon increased to boding significance, was apparent. My uncle’s carefully compiled record began with the building of the structure in 1763, and followed the theme with an unusual amount of detail. The shunned house, it seems, was first inhabited by William Harris and his wife Rhoby Dexter, with their children, Elkanah, born in 1755, Abigail, born in 1757, William, Jr., born in 1759, and Ruth, born in 1761. Harris was a substantial merchant and seaman in the West India trade, connected with the firm of Obadiah Brown and his nephews. After Brown’s death in 1761, the new firm of Nicholas Brown & Co. made him master of the brig Prudence, Providence-built, of 120 tons, thus enabling him to erect the new homestead he had desired ever since his marriage.
     The site he had chosen—a recently straightened part of the new and fashionable Back Street, which ran along the side of the hill above crowded Cheapside—was all that could be wished, and the building did justice to the location. It was the best that moderate means could afford, and Harris hastened to move in before the birth of a fifth child which the family expected. That child, a boy, came in December; but was still-born. Nor was any child to be born alive in that house for a century and a half.
     The next April sickness occurred among the children, and Abigail and Ruth died before the month was over. Dr. Job Ives diagnosed the trouble as some infantile fever, though others declared it was more of a mere wasting-away or decline. It seemed, in any event, to be contagious; for Hannah Bowen, one of the two servants, died of it in the following June. Eli Liddeason, the other servant, constantly complained of weakness; and would have returned to his father’s farm in Rehoboth but for a sudden attachment for Mehitabel Pierce, who was hired to succeed Hannah. He died the next year—a sad year indeed, since it marked the death of William Harris himself, enfeebled as he was by the climate of Martinique, where his occupation had kept him for considerable periods during the preceding decade.
     The widowed Rhoby Harris never recovered from the shock of her husband’s death, and the passing of her first-born Elkanah two years later was the final blow to her reason. In 1768 she fell victim to a mild form of insanity, and was thereafter confined to the upper part of the house; her elder maiden sister, Mercy Dexter, having moved in to take charge of the family. Mercy was a plain, raw-boned woman of great strength; but her health visibly declined from the time of her advent. She was greatly devoted to her unfortunate sister, and had an especial affection for her only surviving nephew William, who from a sturdy infant had become a sickly, spindling lad. In this year the servant Mehitabel died, and the other servant, Preserved Smith, left without coherent explanation—or at least, with only some wild tales and a complaint that he disliked the smell of the place. For a time Mercy could secure no more help, since the seven deaths and case of madness, all occurring within five years’ space, had begun to set in motion the body of fireside rumour which later became so bizarre. Ultimately, however, she obtained new servants from out of town; Ann White, a morose woman from that part of North Kingstown now set off as the township of Exeter, and a capable Boston man named Zenas Low.
     It was Ann White who first gave definite shape to the sinister idle talk. Mercy should have known better than to hire anyone from the Nooseneck Hill country, for that remote bit of backwoods was then, as now, a seat of the most uncomfortable superstitions. As lately as 1892 an Exeter community exhumed a dead body and ceremoniously burnt its heart in order to prevent certain alleged visitations injurious to the public health and peace, and one may imagine the point of view of the same section in 1768. Ann’s tongue was perniciously active, and within a few months Mercy discharged her, filling her place with a faithful and amiable Amazon from Newport, Maria Robbins.
     Meanwhile poor Rhoby Harris, in her madness, gave voice to dreams and imaginings of the most hideous sort. At times her screams became insupportable, and for long periods she would utter shrieking horrors which necessitated her son’s temporary residence with his cousin, Peleg Harris, in Presbyterian-Lane near the new college building. The boy would seem to improve after these visits, and had Mercy been as wise as she was well-meaning, she would have let him live permanently with Peleg. Just what Mrs. Harris cried out in her fits of violence, tradition hesitates to say; or rather, presents such extravagant accounts that they nullify themselves through sheer absurdity. Certainly it sounds absurd to hear that a woman educated only in the rudiments of French often shouted for hours in a coarse and idiomatic form of that language, or that the same person, alone and guarded, complained wildly of a staring thing which bit and chewed at her. In 1772 the servant Zenas died, and when Mrs. Harris heard of it she laughed with a shocking delight utterly foreign to her. The next year she herself died, and was laid to rest in the North Burial Ground beside her husband.
     Upon the outbreak of trouble with Great Britain in 1775, William Harris, despite his scant sixteen years and feeble constitution, managed to enlist in the Army of Observation under General Greene; and from that time on enjoyed a steady rise in health and prestige. In 1780, as a Captain in Rhode Island forces in New Jersey under Colonel Angell, he met and married Phebe Hetfield of Elizabethtown, whom he brought to Providence upon his honourable discharge in the following year.
     The young soldier’s return was not a thing of unmitigated happiness. The house, it is true, was still in good condition; and the street had been widened and changed in name from Back Street to Benefit Street. But Mercy Dexter’s once robust frame had undergone a sad and curious decay, so that she was now a stooped and pathetic figure with hollow voice and disconcerting pallor—qualities shared to a singular degree by the one remaining servant Maria. In the autumn of 1782 Phebe Harris gave birth to a still-born daughter, and on the fifteenth of the next May Mercy Dexter took leave of a useful, austere, and virtuous life.
     William Harris, at last thoroughly convinced of the radically unhealthful nature of his abode, now took steps toward quitting it and closing it forever. Securing temporary quarters for himself and his wife at the newly opened Golden Ball Inn, he arranged for the building of a new and finer house in Westminster Street, in the growing part of the town across the Great Bridge. There, in 1785, his son Dutee was born; and there the family dwelt till the encroachments of commerce drove them back across the river and over the hill to Angell Street, in the newer East Side residence district, where the late Archer Harris built his sumptuous but hideous French-roofed mansion in 1876. William and Phebe both succumbed to the yellow fever epidemic of 1797, but Dutee was brought up by his cousin Rathbone Harris, Peleg’s son.
     Rathbone was a practical man, and rented the Benefit Street house despite William’s wish to keep it vacant. He considered it an obligation to his ward to make the most of all the boy’s property, nor did he concern himself with the deaths and illnesses which caused so many changes of tenants, or the steadily growing aversion with which the house was generally regarded. It is likely that he felt only vexation when, in 1804, the town council ordered him to fumigate the place with sulphur, tar, and gum camphor on account of the much-discussed deaths of four persons, presumably caused by the then diminishing fever epidemic. They said the place had a febrile smell.
     Dutee himself thought little of the house, for he grew up to be a privateersman, and served with distinction on the Vigilant under Capt. Cahoone in the War of 1812. He returned unharmed, married in 1814, and became a father on that memorable night of September 23, 1815, when a great gale drove the waters of the bay over half the town, and floated a tall sloop well up Westminster Street so that its masts almost tapped the Harris windows in symbolic affirmation that the new boy, Welcome, was a seaman’s son.
     Welcome did not survive his father, but lived to perish gloriously at Fredericksburg in 1862. Neither he nor his son Archer knew of the shunned house as other than a nuisance almost impossible to rent—perhaps on account of the mustiness and sickly odour of unkempt old age. Indeed, it never was rented after a series of deaths culminating in 1861, which the excitement of the war tended to throw into obscurity. Carrington Harris, last of the male line, knew it only as a deserted and somewhat picturesque centre of legend until I told him my experience. He had meant to tear it down and build an apartment house on the site, but after my account decided to let it stand, install plumbing, and rent it. Nor has he yet had any difficulty in obtaining tenants. The horror has gone.

10 Short Stories challenge – day 10

Today I read Weird Dinner by L. L. Heberlein. Two people share a meal of what are clearly their last remaining morsels of food, scrounged from somewhere.

The story is very simple, but one of those which has so many possibilities. I enjoyed the way the couple (I assume) are still treating each other the same way as they always would, even though they seem to be facing some kind of crisis.

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I read Weird Dinner over on Flash Fiction MagazineGo and have a read and come back to tell me your thoughts in the comments.

So, that’s the end of my 10 Short Stories challenge! I’ve really enjoyed hunting down the different pieces and I think I’ll have to look in to most of the authors more. If you have any short story or flash fiction recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

10 Short Stories challenge – day 9

Today I read Palomino by Olivier De Beventine. I love everything about this story but I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to ruin the many surprises!

The story opens with two men discussing their unusual horse. I won’t say any more than that. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if this story is sad, a social commentary, funny, a horror tale… it’s certainly unique anyway and it makes me want to read more stories by this writer.

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I read Palomino over on The Strange and the Curious. Go and have a read and come back to tell me what you think in the comments!

Agapanthus and the Crystal Ornamen is Olivier de Beventine‘s latest book.

“Like the idea of reading but can’t be bothered…? This is the book for you. Will lie around anywhere unobtrusively, leaving you to get on with your life. If you do ever pick it up, don’t worry, you’ll not be hooked for precious hours on end. Indeed, the stories are so short, you’ll read five before breakfast, and the whole lot by the time the sun is over the yardarm. Thenceforth, you can congratulate yourself heartily on the swift conclusion of one of your ‘five-a-year’ with the first and subsequent gins of the day. NOT SUITABLE FOR SERIOUS PEOPLE, NOR ACTUAL CHILDREN – A small, illustrated booklet of strange and sensational short story sketches, ideal reading for the W.C. Weird, laughable, absurd; characters include an opportunist octopus, a palomino horse, a diarised father figure, an uninnocently perching puffin, a studioful of dating show participants, and an electric eel.”

Sounds damn good to me.