This article is part of the The Great Authors Series series.
I will begin this tale of woe with a warning that must be heeded by all men of wisdom and constitution: do not follow the path I have trod, for in my travels I have come upon many things from which sane men recoil. Do not seek out that forbidden knowledge which was hidden long ago by beings from distant shores. Do not place a silvered disc into your queer player and project the image onto glass. If you are not driven to madness by the piping of black-eyed tavern-goers or the rantings of an ambushed squid-fiend, then you will be sickened by the acrobatics of a sinister clown holding colour in beams
The Knight in Black
I lay upon my bed, wracked with fear, my mind shattered by the hallucinatory scene of a great wedge, big as the stars themselves, traveling in pursuit of some incomprehensible scheme. Men cower in terror from this ominous presence. They arm themselves, but their bolts are as nothing to the Knight in Black. He strides through smoke as if he was himself the smoke (an evil smoke) and he dispatches men with ease. Death itself must dwell behind his sinister mask and I dare not think upon him any longer or I will, myself, be cast into the black abyss which surely he inhabits.
The Gnarled Wizard
Dwelling in a ghastly bog, this gnome appears feeble, but is nonetheless possessed of great vigor. He is a keeper of misbegotten mysteries, meant for no mind to contain, and should be avoided at all costs. He speaks in riddles meant to coax men to explore forbidden knowledge, enticing them to confront the cosmic truth of the universe: that madness is the only release from some things once known that cannot otherwise be forgotten.
The Brown Brute
I speak only of this beast under duress, you understand, and to warn you to avoid at all costs this savage creature whose solitary purpose is to rend the limbs of men from their bodies. Shaggy-haired and terrible of face, I dare not explain him further for fear of creating too great an impression in you that this fiend can be understood by a rational mind. Like a great gorilla or a man of the West Indies, but many times more fierce, I suspect he might drink blood, though I did not observe such things with certainty.
A Terrible Speed
In a strange place where insects speak with the voice of men and creatures with the hideous corpulence of slugs rule a race is held. This is no running of the horses. Human children compete against things which I hesitate to even describe. Listen to me, Carter, when I tell you that children were lashed to chariots of screaming steam engines and flung through the air at great speed. A beast which I mistook for an otter at first, but which was far more devious and cruel, sought to kill a human child. For what purpose, Carter? The sheer horror of this realm is too much to bear. I assume the child was killed, for I could not bear to watch any longer.
The Goats of the Snow
In my madness, I looked upon a land so perilously frozen that a man could perish in moments. The ice-choked heath is roamed by floating black skeletons which spit fire and great, shaggy white things that will devour a man without remorse. In this strange place, no horse or train will travel, so man must rely on beasts like goats that walk upon two legs. I was not, at first, too put out by these creatures, until a man was placed into the body of one of them. He was stuffed into its inhuman viscera! How could such a thing be? No. I cannot accept this. I will not speak of it any longer.
The Frog Negro
Perhaps the strangest inhabitant of this benighted land of long ago was a rubber-faced jazz rascal from an underwater kingdom. I found his antics amusing, but as his presence became oppressive I drew back from the images in horror. An entire race of these creatures populates a loathsome abyssal cove. His wild race seems untamable and for reasons I could not discern they battled with mannequins using spheres of light. My concern is that these peculiar men might discover earth and show our earth Negros the means of launching glowing balls. For the time, we must remain vigilant and forbid those of the savage races from interfering in sport lest they jostle our mannequins or worse, our ladies. Go, now, while you can! Before they find their way back to our world!
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