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).

Neil Gaiman: I, Cthulhu

Neil Gaiman: I, Cthulhu, 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

Cthulhu, they call me. Great Cthulhu.
Nobody can pronounce it right.
Are you writing this down? Every word? Good. Where shall I start -- mm?
Very well, then. The beginning. Write this down, Whateley.
I was spawned uncounted aeons ago, in the dark mists of Khhaa'yngnaiih (no, of course I don't know how to spell it. Write it as it sounds), of nameless nightmare parents, under a gibbous moon. It wasn't the moon of this planet, of course, it was a real moon. On some nights it filled over half the sky and as it rose you could watch the crimson blood drip and trickle down its bloated face, staining it red, until at its height it bathed the swamps and towers in a gory dead red light.
Those were the days.
Or rather the nights, on the whole. Our place had a sun of sorts, but it was old, even back then. I remember that on the night it finally exploded we all slithered down to the beach to watch. But I get ahead of myself.
I never knew my parents.
My father was consumed by my mother as soon as he had fertilized her and she, in her turn, was eaten by myself at my birth. That is my first memory, as it happens. Squirming my way out of my mother, the gamy taste of her still in my tentacles.
Don't look so shocked, Whateley. I find you humans just as revolting.
Which reminds me, did they remember to feed the shoggoth? I thought I heard it gibbering.
I spent my first few thousand years in those swamps. I did not like this, of course, for I was the colour of a young trout and about four of your feet long. I spent most of my time creeping up on things and eating them and in my turn avoiding being crept up on and eaten.
So passed my youth.
And then one day -- I believe it was a Tuesday -- I discovered that there was more to life than food. (Sex? Of course not. I will not reach that stage until after my next estivation; your piddly little planet will long be cold by then). It was that Tuesday that my Uncle Hastur slithered down to my part of the swamp with his jaws fused.
It meant that he did not intend to dine that visit, and that we could talk.
Now that is a stupid question, even for you Whateley. I don't use either of my mouths in communicating with you, do I? Very well then. One more question like that and I'll find someone else to relate my memoirs to. And you will be feeding the shoggoth.
We are going out, said Hastur to me. Would you like to accompany us?
We? I asked him. Who's we?

Manuel Mujica Láinez: Narciso

Manuel Mujica Láinez, Narciso, 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

Si salía, encerraba a los gatos. Los buscaba, debajo de los muebles, en la ondulación de los cortinajes, detrás de los libros, y los llevaba en brazos, uno a uno, a su dormitorio. Allí se acomodaban sobre el sofá de felpa raída, hasta su regreso. Eran cuatro, cinco, seis, según los años, según se deshiciera de las crías, pero todos semejantes, grises y rayados y de un negro negrísimo.

Serafín no los dejaba en la salita que completaba, con un baño minúsculo, su exiguo departamento, en aquella vieja casa convertida, tras mil zurcidos y parches, en inquilinato mezquino, por temor de que la gatería trepase a la cómoda encima de la cual el espejo ensanchaba su soberbia.

Aquel heredado espejo constituía el solo lujo del ocupante. Era muy grande, con el marco dorado, enrulado, isabelino. Frente a él, cuando regresaba de la oficina, transcurría la mayor parte del tiempo de Serafín. Se sentaba a cierta distancia de la cómoda y contemplaba largamente, siempre en la misma actitud, la imagen que el marco ilustre le ofrecía: la de un muchacho de expresión misteriosa e innegable hermosura, que desde allí, la mano izquierda abierta como una flor en la solapa, lo miraba a él, fijos los ojos del uno en el otro. Entonces los gatos cruzaban el vano del dormitorio y lo rodeaban en silencio. Sabían que para permanecer en la sala debían hacerse olvidar, que no debían perturbar el examen meditabundo del solitario, y, aterciopelados, fantasmales, se echaban en torno del contemplador.

Las distracciones que antes debiera a la lectura y a la música propuesta por un antiguo fonógrafo habían terminado por dejar su sitio al único placer de la observación frente al espejo. Serafín se desquitaba así de las obligaciones tristes que le imponían las circunstancias. Nada, ni el libro más admirable ni la melodía más sutil, podía procurarle la paz, la felicidad que adeudaba a la imagen del espejo. Volvía cansado, desilusionado, herido, a su íntimo refugio, y la pureza de aquel rostro, de aquella mano puesta en la solapa le infundía nueva vitalidad. Pero no aplicaba el vigor que al espejo debía a ningún esfuerzo práctico. Ya casi no limpiaba las habitaciones, y la mugre se atascaba en el piso, en los muebles, en los muros, alrededor de la cama siempre deshecha. Apenas comía. Traía para los gatos, exclusivos partícipes de su clausura, unos trozos de carne cuyos restos contribuían al desorden, y si los vecinos se quejaban del hedor que manaba de su departamento se limitaba a encogerse de hombros, porque Serafín no lo percibía; Serafín no otorgaba importancia a nada que no fuese su espejo. Éste sí resplandecía, triunfal, en medio de la desolación y la acumulada basura. Brillaba su marco, y la imagen del muchacho hermoso parecía iluminada desde el interior.

Kelly Link: The Specialist’s Hat

Kelly Link, The Specialist’s Hat, 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

“When you’re Dead,” Samantha says, “you don’t have to brush your teeth.”
“When you’re Dead,” Claire says, “you live in a box, and it’s always dark, but you’re not ever afraid.”
Claire and Samantha are identical twins. Their combined age is twenty years, four months, and six days. Claire is better at being Dead than Samantha.
The babysitter yawns, covering up her mouth with a long white hand. “I said to brush your teeth and that it’s time for bed,” she says. She sits cross-legged on the flowered bedspread between them. She has been teaching them a card game called Pounce, which involves three decks of cards, one for each of them. Samantha’s deck is missing the Jack of Spades and the Two of Hearts, and Claire keeps on cheating. The babysitter wins anyway. There are still flecks of dried shaving cream and toilet paper on her arms. It is hard to tell how old she is — at first they thought she must be a grownup, but now she hardly looks older than them. Samantha has forgotten the babysitter’s name.
Claire’s face is stubborn. “When you’re Dead,” she says, “you stay up all night long.”
“When you’re dead,” the babysitter snaps, “it’s always very cold and damp, and you have to be very, very quiet or else the Specialist will get you.”
“This house is haunted,” Claire says.
“I know it is,” the babysitter says. “I used to live here.”
Something is creeping up the stairs,
Something is standing outside the door,
Something is sobbing, sobbing in the dark;
Something is sighing across the floor.
Claire and Samantha are spending the summer with their father, in the house called Eight Chimneys. Their mother is dead. She has been dead for exactly 282 days.
Their father is writing a history of Eight Chimneys, and of the poet, Charles Cheatham Rash, who lived here at the turn of the century, and who ran away to sea when he was thirteen, and returned when he was thirty-eight. He married, fathered a child, wrote three volumes of bad, obscure poetry, and an even worse and more obscure novel, The One Who Is Watching Me Through the Window, before disappearing again in 1907, this time for good. Samantha and Claire’s father says that some of the poetry is actually quite readable, and at least the novel isn’t very long.
When Samantha asked him why he was writing about Rash, he replied that no one else had, and why didn’t she and Samantha go play outside. When she pointed out that she was Samantha, he just scowled and said how could he be expected to tell them apart when they both wore blue jeans and flannel shirts, and why couldn’t one of them dress all in green and the other pink? 

Adela Fernández: El montón

dela Fernández, El montón, 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

Rodó la canica por tierra, cruzó el círculo trazado con una vara, pasó de largo sin caer en el hoyo. Al hincarme me rompí el pantalón de las rodillas. ¡Pelas! Ya me debes tres canicas. Me preguntó qué quería ser cuando fuera grande. Encarcelado, le dije. Me corrigió: carcelero. No, encarcelado, reafirmé; pienso matar al cabrón de mi padre.
Se me quitaron las ganas de seguir jugando. No tenía caso decir mis cosas. Me arrepentí de haberle contad
o al Grillo que yo quería matar a mi padre. Por fortuna tiene tan mala memoria que mañana ya lo habrá olvidado.
Allá en la refresquería junté muchas corcholatas, me las eché a los bolsillos y me puse a correr para oír su ruido, de esa manera ya no escuchaba las voces que traía siempre en la cabeza. Sentí cómo se hacía de noche porque el hambre me crecía oscura; ese dolorcito de siempre que revierte en mi boca un sabor agrio. Me fui para la casa. A la entrada de la vecindad la Márgara mataba ratas con un palo. La vieja como no puede dormir se pasa las noches matando ratas, por eso el cabrón le puso de apodo La Gata, y como tiene la piel grisácea y los ojos amarillos, y como sólo come pan remojado con leche, pues la verdad el apodo le queda muy bien.
Entré al cuarto y vi las mismas cosas de siempre. Para cualquiera todo eso estaba en desorden, y no, cada cosa estaba en su lugar: los trastos en la estufa y en la mesa. En el rincón, izquierda al fondo, la bacinica. Medicinas, veladoras y papelitos en la repisa. Los quintos encajados en la rendija de la ventana. Las toallas deshilachadas colgadas en los clavos de la pared derecha, ahí junto, la chamarra roja del viejo: hace mucho que ya no se la pone, desde que consiguió la de cuero. En la alacena los kilos de frijoles, la manteca, la sal, el café y el piloncillo. Ahí la estampita de San Judas Tadeo y un vaso con hierbas espanta espíritus, epazote y albahaca. En los rincones los montones de ropa, el costal de carbón, la lata de petróleo...
Ya era de noche, todos mis hermanos dormían menos la Jacinta, ella le sobaba la espalda a mi mamá. Me serví un plato de frijoles y me los comí muy despacio haciéndome a la idea de que estoy educado (mi bonito juego fantasioso) muy por encima del dolor que produce el hambre. Contuve el gesto animal y lo hice así, despacio como si comer no fuera nutrirse sino desmayarse. Comí de espaldas para no verlos. Luego
me viré y los vi: ahí estaban en el suelo, amontonados como cadáveres envueltos en trapos, una mancha color mugre, los miembros confundidos, entrelazados o desparramados, una pierna encima de aquel brazo, unas espaldas, una mano como sola en aquella esquina, tres montones de cabellos, y una cabeza muy visible, la de Juanito, con la boca abierta. Así son mis hermanos todas las noches: algo sucio y sofocado, seres en fragmentos sumergidos en una pesadilla, algo hediondo, espeso y ronco.
Lupita estaba acostada en la cama, la única cama. Bien envuelta medía apenas medio metro. Tenía los cabellos mojados de sudor, embarrados sobre el rostro. Cualquiera diría que un gran miedo la había empapado.

Norman Partridge: The Hollow Man

Norman Partridge, The Hollow Man, 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

Four. Yes, that’s how many there were. Come to my home. Come to my home in the hills. Come in the middle of feast, when the skin had been peeled back and I was ready to sup. Interrupting, disrupting. Stealing the comfortable bloat of a full belly, the black scent of clean bones burning dry on glowing embers. Four.
Yes. That’s how many there were. I watched them through the stretched-skin window, saw them standing cold in the snow with their guns at their sides.
The hollow man saw them too. He heard the ice dogs bark and raised his sunken face, peering at the men through the blue-veined window. He gasped, expectant, and I had to draw my claws from their fleshy sheaths and jab deep into his blackened muscles to keep him from saying words that weren’t mine. Outside, they shouted, Hullo! Hullo in the cabin! and the hollow man sprang for the door. I jumped on his back and tugged the metal rings pinned into his neck. He jerked and whirled away from the latch, but I was left with the sickening sound of his hopeful moans.
Once again, control was mine, but not like before. The hollow man was full of strength that he hadn’t possessed in weeks, and the feast was ruined.
They had ruined it.
“Hullo! We’re tired and need food!”
The hollow man strained forward, his fingers groping for the door latch. My scaled legs flexed hard around his middle. His sweaty stomach sizzled and he cried at the heat of me. A rib snapped. Another. He sank backward and, with a dry flutter of wings, I pulled him away from the window, back into the dark.
“Could we share your fire? It’s so damn cold!”
“We’d give you money, but we ain’t got any. There ain’t a nickel in a thousand miles of here . . .”
Small screams tore the hollow man’s beaten lips. There was blood. I cursed the waste and twisted a handful of metal rings. He sank to his knees and quieted.
“We’ll leave our guns. We don’t mean no harm!”
I jerked one ring, then another. I cooed against the hollow man’s skinless shoulder and made him pick up his rifle. When he had it loaded, cocked, and aimed through a slot in the door, I whispered in his ear and made him laugh.
And then I screamed out at them, “You dirty bastards! You stay away! You ain’t comin’ in here!”
Gunshots exploded. We only got one of them, not clean but bad enough. The others pulled him into the forest, where the dense trees muffled his screams and kept us from getting another clear shot.
The rifle clattered to the floor, smoking faintly, smelling good. We walked to the window. I jingled his neck rings and the hollow man squinted through the tangle of veins, to the spot where a red streak was freezing in the snow.
I made the hollow man smile.

Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo: Nuptiae Sabbati

Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo, Nuptiae Sabbati, 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, Arthur Machen

Si uno es escritor, escribe siempre, aunque no quiera hacerlo, aunque trate de escapar a esa dudosa gloria y a ese sufrimiento real que se merece por seguir una vocación.
                 Carmen Laforet

Apenas recibida la noticia hicieron el equipaje. No había tiempo que perder; la enfermedad avanzaba. En las ruinas célticas y romanas de los frondosos bosques de Gwent, en las prácticas populares y paganas, buscó remedio. En vano.
Aunque atraído por las más ocultas ramas del saber desde joven, fue Amy quien le presentó algunos escritores versados en el esoterismo. Poco después apareció Ella, que descorrió definitivamente el velo. Estaba seguro de no conocerla, pero su rostro le pareció familiar. Como esos seres fantasmales de nuestros sueños. Mientras relee La luz interior, contempla la joya en la que le ayudó a introducir el alma de su primera esposa.
 “Tu medicina, querido”. Ella, bellísima estatua griega ‒enajenada bacante cuando se enfurece‒, le ofrece el inocente polvo blanco que toma tras comida y cena. Su melancolía se va mitigando. Podría recuperar el gusto por los placeres mundanos.
“Esta noche vendrán unas amigas. Iremos a bailar al bosque. Tendremos una de nuestras habituales... reuniones”.
Sólo ha atisbado el secreto insondable y, a pesar del horror, no renuncia a ahondar en su espantoso conocimiento. Ha sido distinguido con el privilegio o la maldición de la literatura, esa puerta que le permite descender a las profundidades de todo ser: a la hirviente corrupción y la sórdida podredumbre que nos habita. No puede resistirse a la llamada de lo arcano. Ni a ese matrimonio sacro con las letras, aunque acabe en locura. Está dispuesto a convertirse en sacerdote del “Dios de los Abismos” a cualquier precio. Ningún ojo humano puede presenciar el misterio desnudo y salir ileso.
Se estremecerá convertido en una obscena mancha húmeda, oscura como la tinta, un charco irreconocible sobre las inmaculadas sábanas del tálamo nupcial. Piel, carne y huesos, todo su cuerpo derretido, consumido por ese fuego que lo devora y al tiempo le da vida. De él quedarán dos puntos llameantes entre los cuales algún alma pía, quizá la de un crítico, golpeará una y otra vez. Hasta que finalmente reine el silencio.

Arthur Machen: Out of the Earth

Arthur Machen, Out of the Earth, 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 was some sort of confused complaint during last August of the ill behaviour of the children at certain Welsh watering-places. Such reports and vague rumours are most difficult to trace to their heads and fountains; none has better reason to know that than myself. I need not go over the old ground here, but I am afraid that many people are wishing by this time that they had never heard my name; again, a considerable number of estimable persons are concerning themselves gloomily enough, from my point of view, with my everlasting welfare. They write me letters, some in kindly remonstrance, begging me not to deprive poor, sick-hearted souls of what little comfort they possess amidst their sorrows. Others send me tracts and pink leaflets with allusions to "the daughter of a well-known canon"; others again are violently and anonymously abusive. And then in open print, in fair book form, Mr. Begbie has dealt with me righteously but harshly, as I cannot but think.
Yet, it was all so entirely innocent, nay casual, on my part. A poor linnet of prose, I did but perform my indifferent piping in the Evening News because I wanted to do so, because I felt that the story of "The Bowmen" ought to be told. An inventor of fantasies is a poor creature, heaven knows, when all the world is at war; but I thought that no harm would be done, at any rate, if I bore witness, after the fashion of the fantastic craft, to my belief in the heroic glory of the English host who went back from Mons fighting and triumphing.
And then, somehow or other, it was as if I had touched a button and set in action a terrific, complicated mechanism of rumours that pretended to be sworn truth, of gossip that posed as evidence, of wild tarradiddles that good men most firmly believed. The supposed testimony of that "daughter of a well-known canon" took parish magazines by storm, and equally enjoyed the faith of dissenting divines. The "daughter" denied all knowledge of the matter, but people still quoted her supposed sure word; and the issues were confused with tales, probably true, of painful hallucinations and deliriums of our retreating soldiers, men fatigued and shattered to the very verge of death. It all became worse than the Russian myths, and as in the fable of the Russians, it seemed impossible to follow the streams of delusion to their fountain-head—or heads. Who was it who said that "Miss M. knew two officers who, etc., etc."? I suppose we shall never know his lying, deluding name.
And so, I dare say, it will be with this strange affair of the troublesome children of the Welsh seaside town, or rather of a group of small towns and villages lying within a certain section or zone, which I am not going to indicate more precisely than I can help, since I love that country, and my recent experience with "The Bowmen" have taught me that no tale is too idle to be believed. And, of course, to begin with, nobody knew how this odd and malicious piece of gossip originated. So far as I know, it was more akin to the Russian myth than to the tale of "The Angels of Mons." That is, rumour preceded print; the thing was talked of here and there and passed from letter to letter long before the papers were aware of its existence. And—here it resembles rather the Mons affair—London and Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham were muttering vague unpleasant things while the little villages concerned basked innocently in the sunshine of an unusual prosperity.
In this last circumstance, as some believe, is to be sought the root of the whole matter. It is well known that certain east coast towns suffered from the dread of air-raids, and that a good many of their usual visitors went westward for the first time. So there is a theory that the east coast was mean enough to circulate reports against the west coast out of pure malice and envy. It may be so; I do not pretend to know. But here is a personal experience, such as it is, which illustrated the way in which the rumour was circulated. I was lunching one day at my Fleet Street tavern—this was early in July—and a friend of mine, a solicitor, of Serjeants' Inn, came in and sat at the same table. We began to talk of holidays and my friend Eddis asked me where I was going. "To the same old place," I said. "Manavon. You know we always go there." "Are you really?" said the lawyer; "I thought that coast had gone off a lot. My wife has a friend who's heard that it's not at all that it was."

Guadalupe Dueñas: Historia de Mariquita

Guadalupe Dueñas, Historia de Mariquita, 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

Nunca supe por qué nos mudábamos de casa con tanta frecuencia. Siempre nuestra mayor preocupación era establecer a Mariquita. A mi madre la desazonaba tenerla en su pieza; ponerla en el comedor tampoco convenía; dejarla en el sótano suponía molestar los sentimientos de mi padre; y exhibirla en la sala era imposible. Las visitas nos habrían enloquecido a preguntas. Así que, invariablemente, después de pensarlo demasiado, la instalaban en nuestra habitación. Digo “nuestra” porque era de todas. Con Mariquita, allí, dormíamos siete.

Mi papá siempre fue un hombre práctico; había viajado mucho y conocía los camarotes. En ellos se inspiró para idear aquél sistema de literas que economizaba espacio y facilitaba que cada una durmiera en su cama.

Como explico, lo importante era descubrir el lugar para Mariquita. En ocasiones quedaba debajo de una cama, otras en un rincón estratégico; pero la mayoría de las veces la localizábamos arriba del ropero.

Esta situación sólo nos interesaba a las dos mayores; las demás, aún pequeñas, no se preocupaban.

Para mí, disfrutar de su compañía me pareció muy divertido; pero mi hermana Carmelita vivió bajo el terror de esta existencia. Nunca entró sola a la pieza y estoy segura de que fue Mariquita quien la sostuvo tan amarilla; pues, aunque solamente la vio una ocasión, asegura que la perseguía por toda la casa.

Mariquita nació primero; fue nuestra hermana mayor. Yo la conocí cuando llevaba diez años en el agua y me dio mucho trabajo averiguar su historia.

Su pasado es corto, y muy triste: Llegó una mañana con el pulso trémulo y antes de tiempo. Como nadie la esperaba, la cuna estaba fría y hubo que calentarla con botellas calientes; trajeron mantas y cuidaron que la pieza estuviera bien cerrada. Isabel, la que iba a ser su madrina en el bautizo, la vio como una almendra descolorida sobre el tul de sus almohadas. La sintió tan desvalida en aquél cañón de vidrios que sólo por ternura se la escondió en los brazos. Le pronosticó rizos rubios y ojos más azules que la flor del helitropo. Pero la niña era tan sensible y delicada que empezó a morir.

Dicen que mi padre la bautizó rápidamente y que estuvo horas enteras frente a su cunita sin aceptar su muerte. Nadie pudo convencerlo de que debía enterrarla. Llevó su empeño insensato hasta esconderla en aquel pomo de chiles que yo descubrí un día en el ropero, el cual estaba protegido por un envase carmesí de forma tan extraña que el más indiferente se sentía obligado a preguntar de qué se trataba.

Clifford Donald Simak: Project Mastodon

Clifford Donald Simak, Project Mastodon, 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 chief of protocol said, "Mr. Hudson of—ah—Mastodonia."

The secretary of state held out his hand. "I'm glad to see you, Mr. Hudson. I understand you've been here several times."

"That's right," said Hudson. "I had a hard time making your people believe I was in earnest."

"And are you, Mr. Hudson?"

"Believe me, sir, I would not try to fool you."

"And this Mastodonia," said the secretary, reaching down to tap the document upon the desk. "You will pardon me, but I've never heard of it."

"It's a new nation," Hudson explained, "but quite legitimate. We have a constitution, a democratic form of government, duly elected officials, and a code of laws. We are a free, peace-loving people and we are possessed of a vast amount of natural resources and—"

"Please tell me, sir," interrupted the secretary, "just where are you located?"

"Technically, you are our nearest neighbors."

"But that is ridiculous!" exploded Protocol.

"Not at all," insisted Hudson. "If you will give me a moment, Mr. Secretary, I have considerable evidence."

He brushed the fingers of Protocol off his sleeve and stepped forward to the desk, laying down the portfolio he carried.

"Go ahead, Mr. Hudson," said the secretary. "Why don't we all sit down and be comfortable while we talk this over?"

"You have my credentials, I see. Now here is a propos—"

"I have a document signed by a certain Wesley Adams."

"He's our first president," said Hudson. "Our George Washington, you might say."

"What is the purpose of this visit, Mr. Hudson?"

"We'd like to establish diplomatic relations. We think it would be to our mutual benefit. After all, we are a sister republic in perfect sympathy with your policies and aims. We'd like to negotiate trade agreements and we'd be grateful for some Point Four aid."

The secretary smiled. "Naturally. Who doesn't?"

"We're prepared to offer something in return," Hudson told him stiffly. "For one thing, we could offer sanctuary."


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

Lisa Goldstein, The Game This Year, 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

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

Pere Gimferrer, En el jardín, 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

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

Robert E. Howard, Red Nails, 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

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.

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Tales of Mystery and Imagination

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