The Living Dark On The Daily Strange



I called aloud, shouting my friend's name. The empty rooms only echoed my own outcry. And then--I say this with no attempt to be dramatic--an unutterable fear came over me.


For a moment I stood there in the hall, undecided whether to turn and run or to advance farther. The living darkness was in my eyes, in my throat, vibrant with its high-pitched whirring sound and hideous with a stench of fetid decay. It clung here, in the corridor of Mc Chai's home, a thousand times more ugly than in the street outside. It was stalking me.


Then I found false courage. Resolved to find my friend, or at least discover where he had gone, I felt myself estranged forward. I say ''strange'' --it was weird, nothing more. With both hands out-flung before me as a barrier of defense, I went slowly down the hall. Somehow in the dark I found the door of Mc Chai's library, the room where he spent most of his time. Never in all the years I had known Mc Chai, had he gone off and left the door of his most private sanctum open.


Here I struck a match. The sulfur sputtered a suddenly flared bright; and I shrank from the threshold with a gurgling cry. I saw that scene for only an instant; yet as I write this on Daily Strange & 2 weeks later, it is still vivid and frightful. Before me lay the narrow, book-lined room with its single table. A huge carved chair stood by the table; and in that chair, staring straight toward me, sat Mc Chai.


When I say that the man's face was a mask of unspeakable horror, I mean just that. I have seen torment before, where torment is a routine thing. I have handled crushed, broken bodies on the operating table; I have watched men and women die slow deaths when the more merciful thing would have been a bullet. But Mc Chai's face when I looked into it at that moment, was the essence of all agony. The eyes protruded like sticks of charcoal; the tongue was a black, bloated lolling horror. And the body below that was no body at all, but a shapeless, bloody mass of sodden pulp, propped here in mockery.


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