Urn and Willow, A Ghost Story in Parts by Scott Thomas — Part 1: Mr. Woodbridge’s Visit…

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Urn and Willow

A Novel by Scott Thomas, 2012

Mr. Woodbridge’s Visit

Massachusetts, 1836



All across Amesborough families huddled in dim parlors, owl-eyed by fires as autumn winds rushed and rasped and made windows tremble in their frames. The hour was late, and while most of the inhabitants should have been tucked under covers dreaming, this was not the case. Fathers, mothers, children, and hirelings waited, fidgeting, saying little or talking inexhaustibly for the sake of distraction. Such was the situation in the humble Browne house, in the eastern part of town where the trees were all but bare and the chill hand of the season held sway.

Abner Browne, lean, white-capped and weathered, was the oldest person in the house. He occupied the comfiest chair and sat with a blanket over his legs, his feet near the logs. His two grandchildren, a boy of ten and a girl of twelve, were close on low stools.

“Whereupon I said to Barrows, ‘It can’t be much farther beyond that hill –” the old man was telling a story that all the other Brownes in the room were familiar with, a tale which under other circumstances would have been welcomed like a comfortably worn piece of clothing. But tonight his words were little more than a drone in preoccupied minds.

Abner’s son, Tristam, who had proven successful as a joiner and owned the building the family occupied, was at the window with one of the curtains pulled slightly from the panes so that he could peer out. His body was pressed to the wall, off to the side, as if he expected a rhinoceros to come bursting through at any moment.

His wife Ann, who sat close to the blaze across from her father-in-law, watched Tristam intently, her face tight. Neglected knitting sat in her lap, the wrinkles in her bunched apron like black spoons. She observed her husband as he squinted and craned and as he let the curtain drop back in place before returning quietly to his own chair. He lighted, seeming to give ear to his father’s tale, but was up and back at the window after a moment.

Abner Browne broke off from his telling and scowled. “You’ll have a path worn in the floor afore the night is through, Tristam.”

“Would you have me sit and do nothing?” Tristam countered, not so respectful of his father as was usually the case.

“What more is there to do, son? If he comes, he comes.”

Olive, the girl, face awash in firelight, looked up, her voice a tremble. “Do you think he shall come here, Grandfather?”

The old man gave her a small, almost sad smile. “I can no more say if it should or should not rain, though my bones tell me that at times.”

“Do your bones tell anything of Mr. Woodbridge?”

Abner chuckled. “Nothing, alas.”

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IT 2017 (aka. Everyone’s a Critic)

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All hail the turtle…?

Sadly, not since 1986. But IT 2017 is still a very good film.

(In my opinion, there are no real spoilers here; that being said, please read at your own risk.)

I give IT, the new film version of Stephen King’s book, a solid B+. Had I been able to see both chapters in the “duology” at once, I might have been able to hump that score up a notch. I’ll admit to wanting to let that B+ inch its way toward A- on the merit of the acting from a few of the kid actors in it, and the digital monster effects on not just the clown but the other things that went bump in the Derry night. I do not like the new Well house concept. And I dislike some changes at the storm drain and in the homophobic hate crime at the canal in Ch 2 in the book, the concept of which was changed: and the terror of which was diluted in the new film.

Skarsgaard beats Curry at the storm drain and in many other places. Curry was just too Uncle Charlie the Molester for me in a literal interpretation of King’s Pennywise as a “Hi Georgie!”-weird-uncle-takes-you-to-Coney-Island-for-hot-dogs-then-fondles-you-on-the-ferris-wheel-while-listening-to-the-Dodgers-on-a-handheld-transistor-radio brogue that I absolutely loathe. Curry won though in places for his mockery of the kids and his zaniness that bordered on insanity. Think the ending of the 80s film Clue.

The 90s TV series like many series made in the 80s and 90s of King’s books, suffers from horrible corniness. The 90s series’ dialogue was truer to the book than that of the new film, which I like, but I’m not sure that matters much in the end (Kee-rect?). Some of the kid actors stole the show like Eddie and the “fuck this, fuck you, fuck that!” kid with the bottle-thick glasses. The absence of adult characters was a bit Hannah Montana…but the scares were real scares.

The performance at the storm drain by Skarsgaard will be hard to match by any scene in any horror movie anytime ever. Absolutely chilling.

I may go see the new film again just for that scene. Or maybe I’ll wait until after I finish my reread of the novel in which King uses many Lovecraftian tropes (that do not appear in either film) which elevate the book to a cosmic-horror piece of art neither film has been able to match to date.

And that’s a shame.

My advice: Do King a solid and read his novel for the masterpiece of horror that it is. Reading is good for your brain, Georgie.

All hail the turtle…

High Fantastic: Colorado’s Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction, ed. Steve Rasnic Tem, 1995, Contents

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Table of Contents

Origin of Order • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
1 • Fellfield • (1993) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
3 • Introduction (High Fantastic: Colorado’s Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction) • (1995) • essay by Steve Rasnic Tem
6 • Calling the Lightning by Name • short story by Edward Bryant
26 • Prococipio and the Shoes of Iron • (1949) • short story by William Jones Wallrich
30 • Survivors of Chapultepec • (1995) • poem by Lee Ballentine
35 • The Tavern of the Winds • (1946) • short story by Stanley Mullen [as by Stan Mullen]
44 • The Gold of the Vulgar • (1995) • short story by Don Webb
52 • Man on the Tracks, Ralston Station to Golden • (1995) • poem by Carrie Frasier
58 • Piñon Fall • (1970) • short story by Michael Bishop
71 • End of the Range • (1991) • poem by Anselm Hollo
71 • Space Baltic • (1991) • poem by Anselm Hollo
72 • Remember Boar’s Head • (1993) • poem by Anselm Hollo
78 • The Far Way • (1935) • short story by David R. Daniels
90 • Good Colors • (1995) • short story by Vance Aandahl
107 • Divide • (1986) • short story by Ronald Sukenick
113 • Cutthroat on a Full Moon • (1995) • poem by J. P. White
114 • On the Return of Halley’s Comet • (1995) • poem by J. P. White
116 • Broken Bones • (1995) • short story by Gregory R. Hyde
130 • Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea • (1995) • short fiction by Caitlín R. Kiernan
140 • The Meaning Field • (1995) • novelette by David Ira Cleary
163 • Angel of the Atom • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
164 • The Doctrine • (1986) • poem by Pattiann Rogers
168 • Rabbi David’s Wife • (1994) • short story by Joanne Greenberg
174 • Rain Shadow • (1990) • short story by Melanie Tem
194 • Buffalo Ghosts • (1992) • short story by David Curtis
208 • Bonefinder • (1993) • short story by James B. Hemesath [as by James Hemesath]
222 • La Loma, La Luna • (1995) • short story by Sue Kepros Hartman
238 • Water Babies • (1995) • novelette by Jo Etta Ledgerwood
260 • How I Met My First Wife, Juanita • (1991) • short story by Robert Frazier
272 • Falling Back • short story by Michael A. Arnzen
280 • Windows • (1995) • short story by Caitlin Burke
294 • Heart Pains • (1995) • short story by Lucy Taylor
304 • Flight Pattern • (1979) • novelette by Joanne Greenberg
326 • The War Inside • (1991) • short story by Mark Budz
338 • Soul Food • (1995) • short story by Reginald McKnight
348 • What the Wind Carries • (1995) • short story by Bruce Holland Rogers
356 • Displaced • (1995) • short story by Robert Devereaux
364 • Swimmers • (1995) • poem by Reg Saner
365 • Denver Planetarium: The Archive Priject • (1995) • poem by Reg Saner
368 • Cibola • (1990) • short story by Connie Willis
384 • Tall Skies • short story by Steve Rasnic Tem
398 • Looking for Kelly Dahl • (1995) • novella by Dan Simmons
434 • The Death of Living Rocks and the Consequences Thereof • (1995) • poem by Patiann Rogers
436 •  A Short Hector Portfolio • (1995) • interior artwork by Hector
443 • 150 Centuries of Fantasy, Give or Take • essay by Edward Bryant
462 •  Fine Art Meets the Fantastic in Colorado, 1932-1952 • (1995) • interior artwork by Lee Ballentine

Rain-washed, a Poem by Mick A. Quinn, 2017

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Rain-washed

Today, wool-grey
Rain leans into its
Falling; every struck
Surface sings, a
Needle-song of plinks
and plings. And
Hollow things pull
Apart—red and naked
Like a heart.

Accept this rain-washed
Art. Every stroke
Untethers hope and
Flings it, flying,
Toward the Sun.

There is nothing that
Remains undone.

Heaviness falls, the
Rain cries,
Like Sin, wheeling.

Summer, now, a
Withered petal-
Dream of crisper air.
Heft and harrow disappear.
Little mirror-drops,
Languish like stars on the
Roof of my car. And
Light’s promise is
Crawling, like a
Thief at night,
Quietly away.

Mick A. Quinn
Lone Tree, Colorado
August 24, 2017

(C)2017 by Mick A. Quinn. All Rights Reserved.

“In Dark New England Days” a Creepy Tale by Sarah Orne Jewett, 1890

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Photo by Gato-Azul.

In Dark New England Days

Sarah Orne Jewett, 1890

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(This story first appeared in Century 40, 1890 issue; opening above.)

The last of the neighbors was going home; officious Mrs. Peter Downs had lingered late and sought for additional housework with which to prolong her stay. She had talked incessantly, and buzzed like a busy bee as she helped to put away the best crockery after the funeral supper, while the sisters Betsey and Hannah Knowles grew every moment more forbidding and unwilling to speak. They lighted a solitary small oil lamp at last, as if for Sunday evening idleness, and put it on the side table in the kitchen.

“We ain’t intending to make a late evening of it,” announced Betsey, the elder, standing before Mrs. Downs in an expectant, final way, making an irresistible opportunity for saying good-night. “I’m sure we’re more than obleeged to ye, — ain’t we, Hannah? — but I don’t feel ‘s if we ought to keep ye longer. We ain’t going to do no more to-night, but set down a spell and kind of collect ourselves, and then make for bed.”

Martha [Susan] Downs offered one more plea. “I’d stop all night with ye an’ welcome; ’tis gettin’ late — an’ dark,” she added plaintively; but the sisters shook their heads quickly, while Hannah said that they might as well get used to staying alone, since they would have to do it first or last. In spite of herself Mrs. Downs was obliged to put on her funeral best bonnet and shawl and start on her homeward way.

“Close-mouthed old maids!” she grumbled as the door shut behind her all too soon and denied her the light of the lamp along the footpath. Suddenly there was a bright ray from the window, as if some one had pushed back the curtain and stood with the lamp close to the sash. “That’s Hannah,” said the retreating guest. “She’d told me somethin’ about things, I know, if it hadn’t ‘a’ been for Betsey. Catch me workin’ myself to pieces again for ’em.” But, however grudgingly this was said, Mrs. Downs’s conscience told her that the industry of the past two days had been somewhat selfish on her part; she had hoped that in the excitement of this unexpected funeral season she might for once be taken into the sisters’ confidence. More than this, she knew that they were certain of her motive, and had deliberately refused the expected satisfaction. “‘Tain’t as if I was one o’ them curious busy-bodies anyway,” she said to herself pityingly; “they might ‘a’ neighbored with somebody for once, I do believe.” Everybody would have a question ready for her the next day, for it was known that she had been slaving herself devotedly since the news had come of old Captain Knowles’s sudden death in his bed from a stroke, the last of three which had in the course of a year or two changed him from a strong old man to a feeble, chair-bound cripple.

Mrs. Downs stepped bravely along the dark country road; she could see a light in her own kitchen window half a mile away, and did not stop to notice either the penetrating dampness or the shadowy woods at her right. It was a cloudy night, but there was a dim light over the open fields. She had a disposition of mind towards the exciting circumstances of death and burial, and was in request at such times among her neighbors; in this she was like a city person who prefers tragedy to comedy, but not having the semblance within her reach, she made the most of looking on at real griefs and departures.

Some one was walking towards her in the road; suddenly she heard footsteps. The figure stopped, then came forward again.

“Oh, ’tis you, ain’t it?” with a tone of disappointment. “I cal’lated you’d stop all night, ‘t had got to be so late, an’ I was just going over to the Knowles gals’; well, to kind o’ ask how they be, an'” — Mr. Peter Downs was evidently counting on his visit.

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Wanna Get to Know the World’s Greatest Horror Writer Better?

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H. P. Lovecraft: How to Become More Intimate With Both the Man & the Work in Just 2 Steps!


First, read this (it’s short)…

Born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, Lovecraft always felt as though he were an anachronism of the time in which he lived. His great fondness for the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations as well as his love of such fantasies as Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the Arabian Nights provided the backdrop for the fascinating tales he would spin later in his life. By the age of twelve, he had already mastered the standard English meters of poetry and was mainly a poet until about 1917, when the life blood of prose poured forth out of his pen and leaked mesmerizing tales on to the parchment stained with his imagination. Lovecraft drew much of his inspiration from the works of Edgar Allen [sic] Poe, whose style is evident in many of Lovecraft’s stories. S.T. Joshi, a leading literary critic who has devoted much time to the study of Lovecraft and written several volumes about his life and works, says Lovecraft’s discovery of Poe at the age of eight gave Lovecraft’s writing “the greatest impetus it ever received.”

Lovecraft’s family life was filled with tragedy. In 1893, Lovecraft’s father, a traveling salesman named Winfield Scott Lovecraft, became paralyzed and remained in a coma until his death in 1898. As a result of this unfortunate turn of events, Lovecraft’s grandfather, Whipple V. Phillips, a wealthy industrialist, sustained Lovecraft and his mother, Sarah Susan Lovecraft, until he met his death in 1904. From this point on, poverty would be Lovecraft’s lot in life until his untimely demise at the age of forty-six in 1937. Though Lovecraft loved his mother dearly, he suffered much emotional scarring from her as she deemed him ugly and, for no apparent reason, hated him for his father’s poor health. She was hospitalized for her disturbed psychological condition and Lovecraft made no special efforts to see her during her final days. Her death in 1921, however, led Lovecraft to combat suicidal tendencies. After the collapse of his brief and unhappy marriage to Sonia H. Greene, Lovecraft lived with his aunt, Lilian D. Clark, until her death in 1932. He then moved in with his other aunt, Annie E. Phillips Gamwell, and remained with her until his death.

Some believe Lovecraft’s greatest accomplishment was his correspondence with fans of his work and other authors. It is estimated that he wrote over 100,000 letters in his life to such people as Henry Kuttner, Samuel Loveman, and Vincent Starrett. The letters describe his feelings about the nature of life, his aspirations, and his interests. Some readers find these more fascinating than his fiction works as they unleash his true writing genius completely unfettered.

(from “H.P. Lovecraft, 1890-1937,” an article published on the University of North Carolina at Pembroke website)


Now, click here…

http://www.teemingbrain.com/2013/06/03/how-to-read-lovecraft-a-practical-beginners-guide/

The Mummy in Literature, A Bibliography of Fiction & Nonfiction Sources (Work in Progress)

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Two-Penny Press Edition (2017) of Jane C. Webb Loudon’s Novel, The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century. London (then Webb) published the novel anonymously in three volumes when she was just seventeen years of age. It is now considered one of the earliest science-fiction novels written by a woman author. After reading something she had written, George Loudon sought Jane Webb out, helped her get published, and married her as well. (Amazon.com)


Sources: International Science Fiction Database (ISFDB); Wikipedia; Brian J. Frost’s The Essential Guide to Mummy Literature (Scarecrow Press, 2007); Bill Pronzini’s Tales Of The Dead; and the anthologies and collections listed in parentheses below.

If you are aware of a story or novel or nonfiction work not on this list, in which a mummy/mummies figure(s) as a character/villain or subject, please let me know at thesanguinewoods@gmail.com and I will add it to the bibliography.

This bibliography is current up through the most recent publications of The Book of the Dead, mummy stories ed. Jared Shulin, Jurassic London, 2014; and The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, ed. Paula Guran, Prime Books, 2017.


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Mummy Short Stories

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