Hi Gang, Tonight's fare is from across the pond - to a writer and anthologist who recently got a nice nod of recognition by the fine folks at Midnight House (A Haunting Beauty and The Harlem Horror). I hope to snag these one day, but A Haunting Beauty is already OP. Here's a blurb from the back of that one: In the 1960's one author was almost solely responsible for keeping the horror genre alive in Britain, Sir Charles Birkin. In the years from 1964 to 1971 the author produced a string of powerful collections including The Kiss of Death, Spawn of Satan, and The Smell of Evil.
AU CLAIR DE LUNE
Thelma was a nuisance, a most devastating bore,
Who tried to blackmail Rodney, the silly scheming whore.
Her Gallant pressed his light-o' love to picnic in a wood;
Left her there with rodents that were very short of food,
Trussed up like a mummy, all cocooned in rope and tape,
Defenceless as a dummy while he made good his escape.
Rats abounded in the thick scrub, weasels - errant mink -
After a few days slid by the corpse began to stink.
Her pillow was an, ants' nest beside a rush-fringed pond
Below a weeping willow of which she had grown fond.
Keen "undertaker" beetles dragged hard at her remains
Writhing maggots bored the skull, enjoying the lady's brains.
Soon death-caps flaunted leprous gills and pallid fleshy cones,
The loathsome toadstools flourishing, well nourished by her bones.
The girl, whose life had not been pure, quickly lost her fresh allure.
She found for death there was no cure - but made the highest class manure.
They never found her body, and Rodney's in the clear.
He told his wife about it - (sweet Ann was such a dear!)
Confessing his dark secret when he was very tight
His understanding spouse declared that he had been quite right
Rod picked and cooked the fungi one sparkling autumn day.
He made a stew, when Ann had 'flu. She swiftly passed away,
(Miss Tilly Davies he had met, an hieress and a little pet,
Who was by far his best yet, and on a marriage set.)
His new life was perfection - apart from her gross greed.
She'd spoon each rich confection far more than she had need.
Her appetite was shocking, creamed mushrooms she adored.
Sly Rodney's smile was mocking as she guzzled at his board,
A visit to the shallow grave when the moon rides
Should fix his mate. (Kismet! Just fate! And surely worth a try?)
A millionaire that boy will be, gay and healthy, young and free,
And all of it due, between you and me, to the carrion's slime neath the mourning tree.
(From: The Eleventh Book of Pan Horror Stories)