Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel by Thomas Ligotti (2005)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror March 11, 2014
Have you been watching Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective on HBO? Pizzolatto says in an interview with The Arkham Digest that “the work and vision of Thomas Ligotti was very influential for imagining Cohle’s (Rustin Cohle) overall worldview.” Cohle is a nihilistic and hypnotic character in this compelling crime and horror series. If you became mesmerized watching True Detective as I have, you will likely enjoy the short stories of Thomas Ligotti. His prose is luscious and the philosophy of horror one of the darkest you’ll experience. And while Ligotti is not a classic dead author as I normally feature here, I felt stimulated this week at the conclusion of True Detective to read one of Ligotti’s shorts.
Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel is about angels and demons with a dash of Gnostic theology. Add nightmares and the power of evil (favorite elements of my reading and in my own writing) and you’ve got a story intense with horror.
A young boy suffering from nightmares is brought to the long-widowed and witchy Mrs. Rinaldi for her curative methods.
“Do you know what dreams are?” she asked quietly, and then immediately began to answer her own question. “They are parasites-maggots of the mind and soul, feeding on the mind and soul as ordinary maggots feed on the body. And their feeding on the mind and soul in turn gnaws away at the body, which in turn again affects the mind and the soul, and so on until death.”
Until death. Makes one wonder if you could literally die inside of a nightmare … and then what? Does the nightmare triumph in the end? This young boy’s bodiless nocturnal adventures are not to be missed as you go with him into the blackness of old time.
Read Mrs. Rinaldi’s Angel at Ligotti.net
In keeping with today’s dream themes and for my classic horror fans …
Edward Lucas White wrote stories based on his own nightmares. This story is more than fantasy or a writer’s imagination. Our narrator is a traveler in the countryside when the image of a white stone catches his eye and he crashes his motorcar. He is knocked out and awakens to find a young boy with a hideous harelip, staring intensely at him. He spends the night inside the boy’s house and drops into a nightmare.
“It had a hot, slobbering, red mouth, full of big tusks, and its jaws worked hungrily. It shuffled and hunched itself forward, inch by inch, till its vast forelegs straddled the bed.”
This story will remind you of being a little kid, alone in your darkened room, afraid of the monster under the bed. White’s most famous short story collections are Lukundoo and Song of the Sirens
Read The House of the Nightmare at Gaslight.mtroyal.ca
Listen to the audio at Librivox Recordings
TRUE DETECTIVE LINKS YOU MIGHT LIKE
Other Reading Web Sites to Visit
For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed
Art is by William Blake, Red Dragon