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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).

Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo: Más allá del último río / Beyond the Last River

Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo; Más allá del último río, Beyond the Last River, 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



Todos los niños crecen, excepto uno.
James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan

La realidad no es lo mismo que la verdad ‒respondió el general‒. La realidad son sólo detalles. 
Sándor Márai, El último encuentro


El estruendo precede a un fogonazo tan intenso como fugaz. Luego, una indescriptible quietud. Se encuentra en un paraje familiar, un denso bosque salvaje. Un lugar donde la noble barbarie no ha de temer las intrigas de la artera civilización. En ese paraíso pagano no cabe la culpa cristiana; allí cada hombre es dueño de su destino, de su vida y su muerte. Aunque el sendero parece estrecho, la vegetación se abre a su paso.
Con andares felinos, el caminante, el joven de semblante afable y cuerpo musculoso en el que nada recuerda su infancia enfermiza, emprende viaje hacia su destino. En sus expertas manos la pesada espada se diría una pluma.
El sol comienza a ponerse tras el denso muro vegetal. Las sombras crecen y parecen acechar, pero no siente temor. Nada pueden ya contra él los espíritus malignos ni los demonios de la mente. No perderá la cabeza. Está en su reino, donde él es dueño y señor, donde le espera su recompensa y la gloria. Porque él, que ha penetrado tantas veces en lo desconocido con paso firme, sabe que en efecto existe otra vida más allá de la muerte. Una eterna. Su brillo no será un efímero fuego fatuo: él no se marchitará bajo los efectos del tiempo. El héroe permanecerá para siempre eterno en su recio vigor. Sus cenizas no se dispersarán en el viento sin dejar memoria de sí. No hay remordimiento ni pesar. Cuanto ha vivido le basta: es mucho más de lo que la mayor parte de los mortales podría soñar a lo largo de una longeva ‒y tediosa‒ existencia.
Aunque no es un mercader adinerado sino un guerrero que alquila su brazo para sobrevivir, no ha renunciado a defender las causas más justas. Porque no se considera un mercenario sin escrúpulos; nunca se ha arrodillado ante los crueles ídolos que juzgan y censuran para ganarse el caprichoso favor y cambiar así su incierta suerte.

Brian W. Aldiss: Super-Toys Last All Summer Long

Brian W. Aldiss, Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, 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

In Mrs. Swinton's garden, it was always summer. The lovely almond trees stood about it in perpetual leaf. Monica Swinton plucked a saffron-colored rose and showed it to David.

"Isn't it lovely?" she said.

David looked up at her and grinned without replying. Seizing the flower, he ran with it across the lawn and disappeared behind the kennel where the mowervator crouched, ready to cut or sweep or roll when the moment dictated. She stood alone on her impeccable plastic gravel path.

She had tried to love him.

When she made up her mind to follow the boy, she found him in the courtyard floating the rose in his paddling pool. He stood in the pool engrossed, still wearing his sandals.

"David, darling, do you have to be so awful? Come in at once and change your shoes and socks."

He went with her without protest into the house, his dark head bobbing at the level of her waist. At the age of three, he showed no fear of the ultrasonic dryer in the kitchen. But before his mother could reach for a pair of slippers, he wriggled away and was gone into the silence of the house.

He would probably be looking for Teddy.

Monica Swinton, twenty-nine, of graceful shape and lambent eye, went and sat in her living room, arranging her limbs with taste. She began by sitting and thinking; soon she was just sitting. Time waited on her shoulder with the maniac slowth it reserves for children, the insane, and wives whose husbands are away improving the world. Almost by reflex, she reached out and changed the wavelength of her windows. The garden faded; in its place, the city center rose by her left hand, full of crowding people, blowboats, and buildings (but she kept the sound down). She remained alone. An overcrowded world is the ideal place in which to be lonely.

Felisberto Hernández: El vapor

Felisberto Hernández, El vapor, 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

Fui a otra ciudad que tenía un río como para llegar o salir de ella en vapor. No me ocurrió nada raro hasta que salí de allí. Cuando caminaba por el muelle recordaba los momentos de actor que había representado en esa ciudad: en los conciertos, en las calles, en los cafés y en las visitas. Ahora en el muelle había muy poca gente y de esa gente parecía que nadie me conocía ni nadie había ido a mis conciertos. Entonces tuve una angustia parecida a la de los niños mimados cuando han vuelto de pasear y les sacan el traje nuevo. Me reí de esta ridiculez y traté de reaccionar, pero entonces caí en otra angustia mucho más vieja, más cruel y que por primera vez vi que era de una crueldad ridícula. Al principio de esta última angustia pensé que podía reaccionar como en la anterior: yo era fuerte, podía resistir todo y hasta podía realizar el poema de lo absurdo. Además tenía el placer de la impersonalidad: cuando me quedaba distraído. Sin darme cuenta me había parado en la punta del muelle como si ya fuera a subir al vapor, aunque éste todavía no se veía venir. Y sin darme cuenta caí en la impersonalidad: parecía que todo el cuerpo se me hubiera salido por los ojos y se me hubiera vuelto como un aire muy liviano que estaba por encima de todas las cosas. Pero de pronto la angustia me volvió a atacar y la sentí más precisa que nunca en su cruel ridiculez. La sentí como si dos avechuchos se me hubieran parado uno en cada hombro y se me hubieran encariñado. Cuando la angustia se me inquietaba, ellos sacudían las alas y se volvían a quedar tan inmóviles como me quedaba yo en mi distracción. Ellos habían encontrado en mí el que les convenía para ir donde yo hubiera querido ir solo. Habían descubierto mi placer y se me colaban, llegaban hasta donde iba mi imaginación y no me dejaban ir al placer libre de la impersonalidad. El vapor vino de arriba, pero al llegar frente al muelle dio una vuelta y quedó en sentido contrario al que venía. Yo subí sin mucha curiosidad ni mucho interés, y me empecé a pasear por cubierta mientras subían bultos. Tardaron mucho en esta operación y yo ya sabía cómo era todo el vapor. Entonces empecé a mirar para el muelle. Cuando estaba oscureciendo, el vapor salió y dio otra vuelta para seguir en la misma dirección que venía. Yo parado en cubierta miraba las calles que venían a morir al río y que al cruzar tan de cerca, el vapor parecía una imaginación pesada, suave y misteriosa. Cuando fui a entrar en mi camarote no lo encontré donde yo pensaba porque al dar vuelta el vapor y seguir mirando al muelle se me habían trastornado todos los lugares. Después que lo encontré volví a pasear y tuve una impresión rara y desagradable de mi angustia ridícula: la idea de los avechuchos se me había endurecido sin que yo me diera cuenta y sin querer caminaba despacio y sin moverme mucho para que los avechuchos no se inquietaran. Tuve una reacción: me sacudí y hasta llegué a hacer mención de pasarme una mano por un hombro. Pero la impresión desagradable de esa manera de caminar, me venía apenas me distraía un poco. La angustia se me había vuelto de una monotonía tan extraña como la de algunos cantos judíos: nos parece que nunca encuentran la tonalidad definida, que siempre les amaga y que para ellos es normal no encontrarla.

Ambrose Bierce: An Imperfect Conflagration

Ambrose Bierce, An Imperfect Conflagration, 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

Early one June morning in 1872 I murdered my father—an act which made a deep impression on me at the time. This was before my marriage, while I was living with my parents in Wisconsin. My father and I were in the library of our home, dividing the proceeds of a burglary which we had committed that night. These consisted of household goods mostly, and the task of equitable division was difficult. We got on very well with the napkins, towels and such things, and the silverware was parted pretty nearly equally, but you can see for yourself that when you try to divide a single music-box by two without a remainder you will have trouble. It was that music-box which brought disaster and disgrace upon our family. If we had left it my poor father might now be alive.

It was a most exquisite and beautiful piece of workmanship—inlaid with costly woods and carven very curiously. It would not only play a great variety of tunes, but would whistle like a quail, bark like a dog, crow every morning at daylight whether it was wound up or not, and break the Ten Commandments. It was this last mentioned accomplishment that won my father's heart and caused him to commit the only dishonorable act of his life, though possibly he would have committed more if he had been spared: he tried to conceal that music-box from me, and declared upon his honor that he had not taken it, though I know very well that, so far as he was concerned, the burglary had been undertaken chiefly for the purpose of obtaining it.

My father had the music-box hidden under his cloak; we had worn cloaks by way of disguise. He had solemnly assured me that he did not take it. I knew that he did, and knew something of which he was evidently ignorant; namely, that the box would crow at daylight and betray him if I could prolong the division of profits till that time. All occurred as I wished: as the gaslight began to pale in the library and the shape of the windows was seen dimly behind the curtains, a long cock-a-doodle-doo came from beneath the old gentleman's cloak, followed by a few bars of an aria from Tannhauser, ending with a loud click. A small hand-axe, which we had used to break into the unlucky house, lay between us on the table; I picked it up. The old man seeing that further concealment was useless took the box from under his cloak and set it on the table. "Cut it in two if you prefer that plan," said he; "I tried to save it from destruction."

Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas: El sueño del arquitecto

Ricardo Acevedo Esplugas, El sueño del arquitecto, 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

La arquitectura es el testigo menos sobornable de la historia.
Octavio Paz (México, 1914- 1998).


En el cielo revolotean como libélulas les hélicoptère (orgullo de la flota al mando de Gustave de Ponton d' Amecourt) dejando zigzagueantes siluetas al vapor, sus haces de luz recorren los perfilados techos de antiguas librerías y mansiones que flanquean el boulevard Saint-Michel…y es entonces que se divisa la agazapada silueta en la retícula: un anarquista… casi podía palpar la nitroglicerina. Un breve cálculo mental de posición, click y una silenciosa esfera cargada de electricidad hace impacto en la víctima, que cae al suelo envuelto en convulsiones, mientras las masas enloquecidas buscan ávidas en sus bolsillos, primero dinero, ropa, sangre. Ahora el rifle Hanley –excedente de las guerras Australo Mozambicanas− del l'architecte M descansa sobre el bureau. Sonríe ufano y piensa en la seguridad inexpugnable de su casa, fabricada siguiendo las indicaciones del luthiers del blindaje Matths Gruber, e intenta continuar su interrumpida conversación.

–Así que Barcelona aceptó el proyecto del mástil del amigo Eiffel ¿eh? –Todos cedieron brevemente un ligero murmullo de aprobación–.

Los libreros Gibert Joseph y Gibert Jeune hablaron casi al unísono: –Pero a pesar de la extrema inseguridad callejera, los motines y la inminente quiebra de la banca, el parlamento admitió vuestro regalo a Paris, un evidente símbolo de liberté, égalité, fraternité de nuestros días.

L'architecte M recita los datos que conoce de memoria: 50 ingenieros realizaron durante dos años 5.300 dibujos del ensamble conjunto o de algunos detalles, y cada una de 18.038 piezas de hierro…

Clarice Lispector: O Morto no Mar da Urca

Clarice Lispector, O Morto no Mar da Urca, 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

Eu estava no apartamento de d. Lourdes, costureira, provando meu vestido pintado pela Olly - e dona Lourdes disse: morreu um homem no mar, olhe os bombeiros. Olhei e só vi o mar que devia ser muito salgado, mar azul, casas brancas. E o morto?
O morto em salmoura. Não quero morrer! gritei-me muda dentro do meu vestido. O vestido é amarelo e azul. E eu? morta de calor, não morta de mar azul.
Vou contar um segredo: meu vestido é lindo e não quero morrer. Na sexta-feira o vestido estará em casa, e no sábado eu o usarei. Sem morte, só mar azul. Existem nuvens amarelas? Existem douradas. Eu não tenho história. O morto tem? Tem: foi tomar banho de mar na Urca, o bobo, e morreu, quem mandou? Eu tomo banho de mar com cuidado, não sou tola, e só vou à Urca para provar vestidos. E três blusas. S. foi comigo. Ela é minuciosa na prova. E o morto? minuciosamente morto?
Morto de bobo que era. Só se deve ir à Urca para provar vestido alegre. A mulher, que sou eu, só quer alegria. Mas eu me curvo diante da morte. Que virá, virá, virá. Quando? aí é que está, pode vir a qualquer momento. Mas eu, que estava provando o vestido no calor da manhã, pedi uma prova de Deus. E senti uma coisa intensíssima, um perfume intenso demais de rosas. Entaõ tive a prova, as duas provas; de Deus e do vestido.
Só se deve morrer de morte morrida, nunca de desastre, nunca de afogação no mar. Eu peço proteção para os meus, que são muitos. E a proteção, tenho certeza, virá.

David Langford: Graffiti in the Library of Babel

David Langford, Graffiti in the Library of Babel  , 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

"There seems to be no difference at all between the message of maximum content (or maximum ambiguity) and the message of zero content (noise)."

-- John Sladek, "The Communicants"


As it turned out, they had no sense of drama. They failed to descend in shiny flying discs, or even to fill some little-used frequency with a tantalizing stutter of sequenced primes. No: they came with spray cans and spirit pens, scrawling their grubby little tags across our heritage.

Or as an apologetic TotLib intern first broke the news: "Sir, someone's done something nasty all over Jane Austen."

# # #

The Total Library project is named in homage to Kurd Lasswitz's thought experiment "Die Universal Bibliothek," which inspired a famous story by Jorge Luis Borges. Another influence is the "World Brain" concept proposed by H. G. Wells. Assembling the totality of world literature and knowledge should allow a rich degree of cross-referencing and interdisciplinary…

Ceri Evans looked up from the brochure. Even in this white office that smelt of top management, she could never resist a straight line: "Why, congratulations, Professor. I think you may have invented the Internet!"

"Doctor, not Professor, and I do not use the title," said Ngombi with well-simulated patience. "Call me Joseph. The essential point of TotLib is that we are isolated from the net. No trolls, no hackers, none of what that Manson book called sleazo inputs. Controlled rather than chaotic cross-referencing."

"But still you seem to have these taggers?"

"Congratulations, Doctor Evans! I think you may have just deduced the contents of my original email to you."

Pere Gimferrer: En la cocina

Pere Gimferrer, En la cocina, 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

Esta mañana, en la cocina había una bestia: un oso hormiguero, diríase. Al principio creí que lo soñaba.

(Me había quedado pesadamente dormido leyendo a Kafka, y conturbaban mis sueños dragones austrohúngaros)

Pero eran bien reales las manos que me zarandeaban y la fatiga perpendicular del pasillo.

La bestia se agazapaba al fondo, cerca del lavadero. Pensé si sería anfibia. No parecía peligrosa. En todo caso, nada había hecho a María cuando, minutos antes, la descubrió al lavar la vajilla. La ventana estaba cerrada. Evidentemente sólo había podido entrar por la abertura del ventilador. se me ocurrió abrirle la ventana. Pero no me constaba que pudiera irse. Permanecía heladamente inmóvil, agitada sólo por su respiración. Tal vez se hallaba herida, dormida, o enferma. Por otro lado, cabía también que me atacase súbitamente. Reclinada sobre sí misma como estaba, me era imposible ver la parte inferior de su cabeza. Su conformación sugería una lengua vibrátil; acaso, unos colmillos acuchillados. Los ojos se me negaban bajo un pelaje oscuro y erizado.

Quizá debía sacrificar a la bestia. El revólver se imponía como único instrumento viable; estremecía imaginar el desgarramiento de aquella masa rugosa bajo la incisión del metal. Pero un fallo podía excitarla y, por lo demás, no había en casa revólver alguno. Encerrarla en la cocina perturbaría nuestro régimen doméstico, sin contar con que la prolongada reclusión produce efectos del todo imprevisibles en algunas especies. Donde estaba no ocasionaba grandes trastornos, así que resolví dejarla.

Arthur Machen: The Children of the Pool

Arthur Machen, The Children of the Pool, 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

A couple of summers ago I was staying with old friends in my native county, on the Welsh border. It was in the heat and drought of a hot and dry year, and I came into those green, well-watered valleys with a sense of a great refreshment. Here was relief from the burning of London streets, from the close and airless nights, when all the myriad walls of brick and stone and concrete and the pavements that are endless give out into the heavy darkness the fires that all day long have been drawn from the sun. And from those roadways that have become like railways, with their changing lamps, and their yellow globes, and their bars and studs of steel; from the menace of instant death if your feet stray from the track: from all this what a rest to walk under the green leaf in quiet, and hear the stream trickling from the heart of the hill.
My friends were old friends, and they were urgent that I should go my own way. There was breakfast at nine, but it was equally serviceable and excellent at ten; and I could be in for something cold for lunch, if I liked; and if I didn't like I could stay away till dinner at half past seven; and then there was all the evening for talks about old times and about the changes, with comfortable drinks, and bed soothed by memories and tobacco, and by the brook that twisted under dark alders through the meadow below. And not a red bungalow to be seen for many a mile around! Sometimes, when the heat even in that green land was more than burning, and the wind from the mountains in the west ceased, I would stay all day under shade on the lawn, but more often I went afield and trod remembered ways, and tried to find new ones, in that happy and bewildered country. There, paths go wandering into undiscovered valleys, there from deep and narrow lanes with overshadowing hedges, still smaller tracks that I suppose are old bridlepaths, creep obscurely, obviously leading nowhere in particular.
It was on a day of cooler air that I went adventuring abroad on such an expedition. It was a "day of the veil." There were no clouds in the sky, but a high mist, grey and luminous, had been drawn all over it. At one moment, it would seem that the sun must shine through, and the blue appear; and then the trees in the wood would seem to blossom, and the meadows lightened; and then again the veil would be drawn. I struck off by the stony lane that led from the back of the house up over the hill; I had last gone that way a-many years ago, of a winter afternoon, when the ruts were frozen into hard ridges, and dark pines on high places rose above snow, and the sun was red and still above the mountain. I remembered that the way had given good sport, with twists to right and left, and unexpected descents, and then risings to places of thorn and bracken, till it darkened to the hushed stillness of a winter's night, and I turned homeward reluctant. Now I took another chance with all the summer day before me, and resolved to come to some end and conclusion of the matter.
I think I had gone beyond the point at which I had stopped and turned back as the frozen darkness and the bright stars came on me. I remembered the dip in the hedge, from which I saw the round tumulus on high at the end of the mountain wall; and there was the white farm on the hill-side, and the farmer was still calling to his dog, as he—or his father—had called before, his voice high and thin in the distance. After this point, I seemed to be in undiscovered country; the ash trees grew densely on either side of the way and met above it: I went on and on into the unknown in the manner of the only good guide-books, which are the tales of old knights. The road went down, and climbed, and again descended, all through the deep of the wood. Then, on both sides, the trees ceased, though the hedges were so high that I could see nothing of the way of the land about me. And just at the wood's ending, there was one of those tracks or little paths of which I have spoken, going off from my lane on the right, and winding out of sight quickly under all its leafage of hazel and wild rose, maple and hornbeam, with a holly here and there, and honeysuckle golden, and dark briony shining and twining everywhere. I could not resist the invitation of a path so obscure and uncertain, and set out on its track of green and profuse grass, with the ground beneath still soft to the feet, even in the drought of that fiery summer. The way wound, as far as I could make out, on the slope of a hill, neither ascending nor descending, and after a mile or more of this rich walking, it suddenly ceased, and I found myself on a bare hill-side, on a rough track that went down to a grey house. It was now a farm by its looks and surroundings, but there were signs of old state about it: good sixteenth-century mullioned windows and a Jacobean porch projecting from the centre, with dim armorial bearings mouldering above the door.

Manuel Mujica Láinez: El hombrecito del azulejo

Manuel Mujica Láinez, El hombrecito del azulejo, 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

Los dos médicos cruzan el zaguán hablando en voz baja. Su juventud puede más que sus barbas y que sus levitas severas, y brilla en sus ojos claros. Uno de ellos, el doctor Ignacio Pirovano, es alto, de facciones resueltamente esculpidas. Apoya una de las manos grandes, robustas, en el hombro del otro, y comenta:

-Esta noche será la crisis.

-Sí -responde el doctor Eduardo Wilde-; hemos hecho cuanto pudimos.

-Veremos mañana. Tiene que pasar esta noche… Hay que esperar…

Y salen en silencio. A sus amigos del club, a sus compañeros de la Facultad, del Lazareto y del Hospital del Alto de San Telmo, les hubiera costado reconocerles, tan serios van, tan ensimismados, porque son dos hombres famosos por su buen humor, que en el primero se expresa con farsas estudiantiles y en el segundo con chisporroteos de ironía mordaz.

Cierran la puerta de calle sin ruido y sus pasos se apagan en la noche. Detrás, en el gran patio que la luna enjalbega, la Muerte aguarda, sentada en el brocal del pozo. Ha oído el comentario y en su calavera flota una mueca que hace las veces de sonrisa. También lo oyó el hombrecito del azulejo.

El hombrecito del azulejo es un ser singular. Nació en Francia, en Desvres, departamento del Paso de Calais, y vino a Buenos Aires por equivocación. Sus manufactureros, los Fourmaintraux, no lo destinaban aquí, pero lo incluyeron por error dentro de uno de los cajones rotulados para la capital argentina, e hizo el viaje, embalado prolijamente el único distinto de los azulejos del lote. Los demás, los que ahora lo acompañan en el zócalo, son azules corno él, con dibujos geométricos estampados cuya tonalidad se deslíe hacia el blanco del centro lechoso, pero ninguno se honra con su diseño: el de un hombrecito azul, barbudo, con calzas antiguas, gorro de duende y un bastón en la mano derecha. Cuando el obrero que ornamentaba el zaguán porteño topó con él, lo dejó aparte, porque su presencia intrusa interrumpía el friso; mas luego le hizo falta un azulejo para completar y lo colocó en un extremo, junto a la historiada cancela que separa zaguán y patio, pensando que nadie lo descubriría. Y el tiempo transcurrió sin que ninguno notara que entre los baldosines había uno, disimulado por la penumbra de la galería, tan diverso. Entraban los lecheros, los pescadores, los vendedores de escobas y plumeros hechos por los indios pampas; depositaban en el suelo sus hondos canastos, y no se percataban del menudo extranjero del zócalo. Otras veces eran las señoronas de visita las que atravesaban el zaguán y tampoco lo veían, ni lo veían las chinas crinudas que pelaban la pava a la puerta aprovechando la hora en que el ama rezaba el rosario en la Iglesia de San Miguel. Hasta que un día la casa se vendió y entre sus nuevos habitantes hubo un niño, quien lo halló de inmediato.

Edward Frederic Benson: The Man Who Went Too Far

Edward Frederic Benson, The Man Who Went Too Far, 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

The little village of St. Faith's nestles in a hollow of wooded till up on the north bank of the river Fawn in the country of Hampshire, huddling close round its grey Norman church as if for spiritual protection against the fays and fairies, the trolls and "little people," who might be supposed still to linger in the vast empty spaces of the New Forest, and to come after dusk and do their doubtful businesses. Once outside the hamlet you may walk in any direction (so long as you avoid the high road which leads to Brockenhurst) for the length of a summer afternoon without seeing sign of human habitation, or possibly even catching sight of another human being.

Shaggy wild ponies may stop their feeding for a moment as you pass, the white scuts of rabbits will vanish into their burrows, a brown viper perhaps will glide from your path into a clump of heather, and unseen birds will chuckle in the bushes, but it may easily happen that for a long day you will see nothing human. But you will not feel in the least lonely; in summer, at any rate, the sunlight will be gay with butterflies, and the air thick with all those woodland sounds which like instruments in an orchestra combine to play the great symphony of the yearly festival of June.

Winds whisper in the birches, and sigh among the firs; bees are busy with their redolent labour among the heather, a myriad birds chirp in the green temples of the forest trees, and the voice of the river prattling over stony places, bubbling into pools, chuckling and gulping round corners, gives you the sense that many presences and companions are near at hand.

Yet, oddly enough, though one would have thought that these benign and cheerful influences of wholesome air and spaciousness of forest were very healthful comrades for a man, in so far as Nature can really influence this wonderful human genus which has in these centuries learned to defy her most violent storms in its well-established houses, to bridle her torrents and make them light its streets, to tunnel her mountains and plough her seas, the inhabitants of St. Faith's will not willingly venture into the forest after dark. For in spite of the silence and loneliness of the hooded night it seems that a man is not sure in what company he may suddenly find himself, and though it is difficult to get from these villagers any very clear story of occult appearances, the feeling is widespread. One story indeed I have heard with some definiteness, the tale of a monstrous goat that has been seen to skip with hellish glee about the woods and shady places, and this perhaps is connected with the story which I have here attempted to piece together. It too is well-known to them; for all remember the young artist who died here not long ago, a young man, or so he struck the beholder, of great personal beauty, with something about him that made men's faces to smile and brighten when they looked on him. His ghost they will tell you "walks" constantly by the stream and through the woods which he loved so, and in especial it haunts a certain house, the last of the village, where he lived, and its garden in which he was done to death. For my part I am inclined to think that the terror of the forest dates chiefly from that day.

Pere Calders: El testament de la hiena

Pere Calders, El testament de la hiena, 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

M'havien delegat per a assassinar un funcionan i, encara que em vingués a repèl, havia de complir. En aquest món, si només fèiem allò que ens ve de gust ens estovaríem. A més, considero que quan un home milita, ha d'ésser disciplinat i obedient.
El funcionari em va rebre de seguida, perqué li portava de part d'una amiga seva una carta magistralment falsificada. Figurava que li duia un paquet confidencial i, en asseure'm davant d'ell, a l'altra banda de la gran taula de ministre, vaig obrir la cartera de mà i en vaig treure la pistola amb el silenciador posat. El burócrata es va tornar groc i es mostra molt estranyat. No se sabia avenir, em digué, que hagués passat els controls de vigilancia. En explicar-li que els teníem sota suborn, va condemnar farisaicament la corrupció que imperava.
Em feia llàstima. Potser era la falta de costum o es devia a l'abim que hi ha entre les prediques i les accions. El cert és que no em decidia a engegar-li el tret, no hi havia prou franquesa. Això sense comptar els escrúpols, que també pesen.
—Qué li passa? —em va preguntar el personatge.
—És que vosté hauria d'ajudar —vaig respondre-li—. Si disparo amb presses i el toco malament, patirà i em farà patir a mi. En canvi, programant-ho entre tots dos, podem encertar de bones a primeres una ferida fulminant, mortal de necessitat, que ens permeti de prescindir del daltabaix de l'agonia...
Em va dedicar un gest despectiu amb el brae, com si m'enviés a la porra, i s'alcà del setial amb l'aire de fer unes quantes gambades. «Quiet!», vaig cridar-li. No s'aturà i ni tan sols es va girar per mirar-me. Recorregué el despatx amunt i avall, sense reparar en la meva presencia. Cal dir que jo tenia molt disminuida la capacitat d'espantar, pel fet d'haver declarat d'entrada el meu propòsit de matar-lo. Qué podia afegir que em fes més perillos?
—Miri que si disparo de mala fe i li toco el nervi, la sentida pot ser brutal —vaig dir-li amb veu ronca—. Hi ha fiblades pitjors que la mort mateixa...
Se'm va plantar al davant i em clava una mirada interrogadora.
—Com està d'anatomia topogràfica? —em pregunta—. Vol dir que sap on apuntar, no ja per martiritzar-me (tal com insinua), sino per a eliminar-me, que és la pedra de toc d'aquesta entrevista?
—No —vaig contestar-li—. No sé anatomia de cap mena, fora del coneixement senzill de la figura. La idea és anar de cara al cor i deixar que la naturalesa faci el seu curs.
—I on el tinc el cor, si no és indiscreció?
—Al costat esquerre, com tothom.
—No. Com tothom, el tinc entre els dos pulmons, justament damunt del diafragma. A vostè li falten els coneixements indispensables...
M'havia fet el propòsit de tenir paciéncia perqué, pobre home, prou tribulació devia passar. Eren unes reflexions que em feia aleshores, desconeixedor del caràcter de la meva víctima. I, de passada, que se'm permeti una consideració que pot ésser útil a molts: quan es vol matar algú, convé conéixer-li el caràcter i les sortides abans d'embolicar-se. Tant de bo que jo ho hagués tingut en compte!

Robert Silverberg: Not Our Brother

Robert Silverberg, Not Our Brother, 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

Halperin came into San Simón Zuluaga in late October, a couple of days before the fiesta of the local patron saint, when the men of the town would dance in masks. He wanted to see that. This part of Mexico was famous for its masks, grotesque and terrifying ones portraying devils and monsters and fiends. Halperin had been collecting them for three years. But masks on a wall are one thing, and masks on dancers in the town plaza quite another.
San Simón was a mountain town about halfway between Acapulco and Taxco. “Tourists don’t go there,” Guzmán López had told him. “The road is terrible and the only hotel is a Cucaracha Hilton—five rooms, straw mattresses.” Guzmán ran a gallery in Acapulco where Halperin had bought a great many masks. He was a suave, cosmopolitan man from Mexico City, with smooth dark skin and a bald head that gleamed as if it had been polished. “But they still do the Bat Dance there, the Lord of the Animals Dance. It is the only place left that performs it. This is from San Simón Zuluaga,” said Guzmán, and pointed to an intricate and astonishing mask in purple and yellow depicting a bat with outspread leathery wings that was at the same time somehow also a human skull and a jaguar. Halperin would have paid ten thousand pesos for it, but Guzmán was not interested in selling. “Go to San Simón,” he said. “You’ll see others like this.”
“For sale?”
Guzman laughed and crossed himself. “Don’t suggest it. In Rome, would you make an offer for the Pope’s robes? These masks are sacred.”
“I want one. How did you get this one?”
“Sometimes favors are done. But not for strangers. Perhaps I’ll be able to work something out for you.”
“You’ll be there, then?”
“I go every year for the Bat Dance,” said Guzmán. “It’s important to me. To touch the real Mexico, the old Mexico. I am too much a Spaniard, not enough an Aztec; so I go back and drink from the source. Do you understand?”
“I think so,” Halperin said. “Yes.”
“You want to see the true Mexico?”
“Do they still slice out hearts with an obsidian dagger?”
Guzmán said, chuckling, “If they do, they don’t tell me about it. But they know the old gods there. You should go. You would learn much. You might even experience interesting dangers.”
“Danger doesn’t interest me a whole lot,” said Halperin.

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Tales of Mystery and Imagination

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