Artist: Lou Rogers

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The invisible air, full of unknowable Forces: The Horla by Guy De Maupassant

Happy Birthday to Guy De Maupassant
(5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893)

The best introductions De Maupassant's weird writing are by Ramsey Campbell and at Matt Cowan's fine blog Horror Delve.

"The Horla" rewards re-reading, especially if you misremember most of it courtesy of the Vincent Price film.

I reread it a year ago and the ending came as a slap in the face.

The narrator decides to burn his own house down to kill The Horla:

....  I went and hid myself at the bottom of the garden, in a clump of laurel bushes. How long it was! how long it was! Everything was dark, silent, motionless, not a breath of air and not a star, but heavy banks of clouds which one could not see, but which weighed, oh! so heavily on my soul.

     I looked at my house and waited. How long it was! I already began to think that the fire had gone out of its own accord, or that He had extinguished it, when one of the lower windows gave way under the violence of the flames, and a long, soft, caressing sheet of red flame mounted up the white wall, and kissed it as high as the roof. The light fell on to the trees, the branches, and the leaves, and a shiver of fear pervaded them also! The birds awoke; a dog began to howl, and it seemed to me as if the day were breaking! Almost immediately two other windows flew into fragments, and I saw that the whole of the lower part of my house was nothing but a terrible furnace. But a cry, a horrible, shrill, heart-rending cry, a woman's cry, sounded through the night, and two garret windows were opened! I had forgotten the servants! I saw the terror-struck faces, and the frantic waving of their arms!

Full story here:

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Horl.shtml

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