Tag Archives: skulls

Skulls in the Stars: Solomon Kane

Skulls in the Stars  by Robert E. Howard  (1929)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, January 28, 2014

How’s your imagination these days? Looking for something fiendish?

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In Skulls in the Stars, our character Solomon Kane attempts to cross the moor road on his way to Torkertown. The villagers have warned him of an evil haunting on the moors. Something wicked is killing the travelers and the deaths are as gruesome as one could not imagine. Kane is advised to take the swamp road. But if you know anything about the adventurous Solomon Kane (a Puritan of high faith and dedicated to defeating evil), meeting up with Satan himself would not deter this man. What does Kane meet on the moors?

“…a thing that had once been a man—a gore-covered, frightful thing that fell at Kane’s feet and writhed and groveled and raised its terrible face to the rising moon, and gibbered and yammered, and fell down again and died in its own blood.”

… “The moon began to rise, lean and haggard, like a skull among the stars.”

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If you like your horror full throttle, this is it. Robert E. Howard writes a thrilling story, saturated with descriptions of this beast and its victims. Truly nightmarish. A virtual exercise in evil vs. courage. I actually needed some of Kane’s courage to finish reading this story (as you know I’m more the quiet horror type). This story did in fact give me a nightmare; I woke up screaming. I admit this story made me feel like a kid again, reading the scariest story, being haunted by the images, and afraid to shut the bedroom lights off. Are you laughing?

We all know author Robert E. Howard for his famous character Conan the Barbarian, and sword and sorcery genre. Most of the Solomon Kane stories were published in Weird Tales at the height of pulp fiction era. Here is the official Solomon Kane Web site: http://www.solomonkanethemovie.com/

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Read the short story at Gutenberg.net Australia  (and do keep the lights on).

Solomon Kane Movie Trailer:

Another of Howard’s titles is Moon of the Skulls: African jungle story where Solomon Kane seeks the vampire queen of Negari: crags dark and forbidding with impenetrable blackness, a virgin on a Black Altar, a tower of death, Babel of bestial screams, blood drenched brains  … I didn’t make it through this one. But you might.

Read Moon of the Skulls at Gutenberg.net

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

NEXT WEEK BEGINS WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH

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Filed under fiction, horror, short stories, supernatural, tales of terror

I Have Often Heard It Scream

The Screaming Skull by Francis Marion Crawford (1908)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   May 14, 2013

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Consider this: a murder, a haunting, a tinned iron ladle, and a hatbox containing a skull. If the tinned ladle isn’t sinister enough for you, I promise, it will be.

The Screaming Skull is not about reading a horror story. The Screaming Skull is about listening, and listening not just with your ears, but with your imagination. As we avid supernatural readers know, ghosts are never only about ghosts.

Captain Charles Braddock, our narrator, is a rational man who absolutely does not believe in the supernatural or in ghosts. When he inherits a house by the sea from his cousin Luke Pratt (a country doctor who is found dead with a wicked bite in the throat by some unknown creature), Braddock is repeatedly tested in his beliefs.

Captain Braddock narrates this story while sitting in Luke’s chair, by Luke’s hearth, in Luke’s house. Braddock explains the events to a “friend” sitting opposite him in Luke’s wife’s chair.  This friend is quite mysterious because he’s not only anonymous but doesn’t ever speak a single word. We learn his reactions only through Braddock. What an odd literary technique, to say the least, for our author to create a character so mute, so passive, so nondescript that he’s practically a ghost himself. This technique, though,  is highly effective if you the reader, if you the “listener” sit in the wife’s chair and listen as if YOU are the friend.  [I admit I’m in the realm of speculation here, but I do think the author intended his reader to be the friend to fully experience this little horror.]

To tell you more of this story would ruin the unfolding of the narrative method. The title tells you enough. Yes, there is unidentified shrieking in the house. Yes, there is a mysterious skull (I’m partial to skulls as some of you know who have read The Dazzling Darkness).

The question for Braddock is … is the screaming truly supernatural? Or is the screaming the effect of the wind, the gloomy tides, or even Braddock’s own psychological shrieking? The ending answers this explicitly!

“Hush!—if you don’t speak, you will hear it now.”

Read it at Gaslight etexts.

http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/scremskl.htm

Or watch the vintage 1958 film adaptation on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHHh3aE40M

**MYSTERY BONUS SHORT STORY**

I’m thrilled to announce that my latest short story Abasteron House is now a narration by Folly Blaine, podcast at Every Day Fiction. And just in time for May National Short Story Month—my first literary podcast. And only 9 minutes long at the link below.  If you like the story, I’d so appreciate a comment and a star rating on their Web site. Many thanks!

http://www.everydayfiction.com/podcast-edf117-abasteron-house-by-paula-cappa-read-by-folly-blaine/

http://www.hellhorror.com/links/

Next Week, A.C. Doyle in honor of his birth date on May 22nd.

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Filed under crystal skull, fiction, ghost stories, Ghosts, horror, literature, mysteries, occult, short stories, skulls, supernatural, tales of terror, weird tales