“The Moon-Slave” by Barry Pain

Walpurgisnacht. Springtime Halloween.
A famous tale… of the danger of dance.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Moon-Slave”

Barry Pain

The Princess Viola had, even in her childhood, an inevitable submission to the dance; Continue reading

“Patterns” by Amy Lowell

Armistice Day:
A celebrated poem about the Flanders Campaign of the British army during the War of the First Coalition, written and published during the First World War as the British army was fighting in Flanders.
-The Voice before the Void

“Patterns”

Amy Lowell

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down Continue reading

“What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

All lost, all forgotten.
-The Voice before the Void

“What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

“The Dead Valley” by Ralph Adams Cram

Halloween:
All the more creepy to think this based upon some obscure forgotten folklore.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Dead Valley”

from Black Spirits and White

Ralph Adams Cram

I have a friend, Olof Ehrensvärd, a Swede by birth, who yet, by reason of a strange and melancholy mischance of his early boyhood, has thrown his lot with that of the New World. It is a curious story of a headstrong boy and a proud and relentless family: the details do not matter here, but they are sufficient to weave a web of romance around the tall yellow-bearded man with the sad eyes and the voice that gives itself perfectly to plaintive little Swedish songs remembered out of childhood. In the winter evenings we play chess together, he and I, and after some close, fierce battle has been fought to a finish—usually with my own defeat—we fill our pipes again, and Ehrensvärd tells me stories of the far, half-remembered days in the fatherland, before he went to sea: stories that grow very strange and incredible as the night deepens and the fire falls together, but stories that, nevertheless, I fully believe. Continue reading

“The Night Ocean” by R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

Halloween:
Amidst brooding philosophy, the pieces of the horror lie unobtrusively throughout the story for us to fit together. A superb story.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Night Ocean”

R.H. Barlow and H.P. Lovecraft

I went to Ellston Beach not only for the pleasures of sun and ocean, but to rest a weary mind. Since I knew no person in the little town, which thrives on summer vacationists and presents only blank windows during most of the year, there seemed no likelihood that I might be disturbed. This pleased me, for I did not wish to see anything but the expanse of pounding surf and the beach lying before my temporary home.

My long work of the summer was completed when I left the city, and the large mural design produced by it had been entered in the contest. It had taken me the bulk of the year to finish the painting, and when the last brush was cleaned I was no longer reluctant to yield to the claims of health and find rest and seclusion for a time. Indeed, when I had been a week on the beach I recalled only now and then the work whose success had so recently seemed all-important. There was no longer the old concern with a hundred complexities of colour and ornament; no longer the fear and mistrust of my ability to render a mental image actual, and turn by my own skill alone the dim-conceived idea into the careful draught of a design. And yet that which later befell me by the lonely shore may have grown solely from the mental constitution behind such concern and fear and mistrust. For I have always been a seeker, a dreamer, and a ponderer on seeking and dreaming; and who can say that such a nature does not open latent eyes sensitive to unsuspected worlds and orders of being? Continue reading

“Darkness” by Lord Byron

Halloween:
Ineluctably, the world shall end.
-The Voice before the Void

ca-1825-jmw-turner-barnard-castle-watercolor
“Darkness”

Lord Byron

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy Earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chilled into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crownéd kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face; Continue reading

“The Room in the Tower” by E.F. Benson

Halloween:
A cold reading of what has instantly become a new favorite Halloween story.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Room in the Tower”

E.F. Benson

It is probable that everybody who is at all a constant dreamer has had at least one experience of an event or a sequence of circumstances which have come to his mind in sleep being subsequently realized in the material world. Continue reading

Infinite Pages: 4 Stories by Jorge Luis Borges, from Wikipedia

Jorge Luis Borges’ Birthday:
Four stories of philosophy, touching upon fantasy, horror, and weirdness, and even H.P. Lovecraft.
Spoilers.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Aleph”

Wikipedia

“The Aleph” is a short story by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. First published in September 1945, it was reprinted in the short story collection, The Aleph and Other Stories, in 1949, and revised by the author in 1974.

Plot summary

In Borges’ story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion. The story traces the theme of infinity found in several of Borges’ other works, such as “The Book of Sand.” Continue reading

Interview with Noelle Myers of the Northern Ink Writers’ Group of Grand Forks, North Dakota

I sat down with Noelle Myers, the moderator of the Northern Ink Writers’ Group, which meets every two weeks in the Grand Forks Public Library in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The Red River, which flows through Grand Forks north to the Hudson Bay, catastrophically flooded the city in 1997. The Grand Forks Herald won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage of the flood.
We talked about Northern Ink’s Life in the North anthology; fiction genres; literary charities; writers’ conferences; constructive criticism; narrative construction; creating a new genre; geological and economical fiction; the “new adult” genre; “heat” or sex in fiction; rules for publishing and “pirate rules”; taboo subjects in fiction; the difference between romance fiction and women’s fiction or literary fiction; science fiction and Hugo Gernsback; sub-genres; anthologies; the purpose of life; being a better writer; the UND and NDSU sports rivalry; sports, arts, literature, and other frivolity; beauty; collegiate sports funding; online writing groups and writing sprints; dead-tree books and Nooks; antique children’s books; book collecting; the Grand Forks Flood of 1997; antique stores; the library swap shelf; support and encouragement; the Grand Forks Herald and its Pulitzer; and writers’ characters.
“There’s like 20 different -punks.”
-The Voice before the Void

Northern Ink
The Laughing Girls Poetry Reading Series and The Laughing Girls on Facebook
Teegan Loy at Dreamspinner Press
Written? Kitten!
WriteOrDie.com
PaperbackSwap.com

Interview with Noelle Myers of the Northern Ink Writers’ Group of Grand Forks, North Dakota

The Voice before the Void

3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse by Charles Eastman

Battle of the Little Bighorn Anniversary:
June 25 is the anniversary of the great victory. As of 2016, it’s been only 140 years.
From one of his popular books, here presented are dramatic biographies of three men by the Dakota writer Ohiyesa, more widely known as Charles Eastman.
-The Voice before the Void

3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse

from Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains

Charles Eastman

“Red Cloud”

The Sioux were now entering upon the most stormy period of their history. The old things were fast giving place to new. The young men, for the first time engaging in serious and destructive warfare with the neighboring tribes, armed with the deadly weapons furnished by the white man, began to realize that they must soon enter upon a desperate struggle for their ancestral hunting grounds. The old men had been innocently cultivating the friendship of the stranger, saying among themselves, “Surely there is land enough for all!”

1865-1880 - Sioux - Red Bear, Young Man Afraid of his Horses, Good Voice, Ring Thunder, Iron Crow, White Tail, Spotted Tail, Yellow Bear, Red Cloud, Big Road, Little Wound, Black CrowRed Cloud was a modest and little-known man of about twenty-eight years when General [William S.] Harney called all the western bands of Sioux together at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, for the purpose of securing an agreement and right of way through their territory. The Ogallalas held aloof from this proposal, but Bear Bull, an Ogallala chief, after having been plied with whisky, undertook to dictate submission to the rest of the clan. Enraged by failure, he fired upon a group of his own tribesmen, and Red Cloud’s father and brother fell dead. According to Indian custom, it fell to him to avenge the deed. Calmly, without uttering a word, he faced old Bear Bull and his son, who attempted to defend his father, and shot them both. Continue reading

“Dewey Lake Monster” from Wikipedia

Dewey Lake Monster Sightings Anniversary:
In the Northern Hemisphere, June is when bipedal creatures are most active.
-The Voice before the Void

“Dewey Lake Monster”

Wikipedia

The Dewey Lake Monster is the name given to a large bipedal creature approximately 10 feet (3 meters) tall and weighing about 500 pounds (227 kilograms), which first gained wide notoriety in June 1964 after several reported sightings near Dewey Lake in Dowagiac, Michigan. It is also referred to as the Michigan Bigfoot and Sister Lakes Sasquatch.

Dewey Lake Monster Michigan Bigfoot Sister Lakes Sasquatch Garcon Train Sighting picture by The Terror Tales via WikipediaThe beast had already been known to locals in the area for several years prior to the June 1964 events and was rumored to dwell primarily along a 15-mile stretch of swamp-land extending from Dowagiac/Sister Lakes toward Decatur, Michigan (along Dewey Lake Street); however, in 1964 it gained national attention in the United States after several notable attacks and sightings prompted investigation by authorities, which in turn resulted in coverage by national newspapers and caused a flood of curious thrill-seekers and monster-hunters to besiege the local community in the summer of ’64. Continue reading

Lights in the North Dakota Night Sky

We were sitting around the kitchen table, telling stories.
-The Voice before the Void

Lights in the North Dakota Night Sky

The Voice before the Void

“A Deal in Wheat” by Frank Norris

One of the greatest of the great stories. In masterful narrative form, juxtaposing world upon world, Norris delivers the quintessence of the American civilization.
-The Voice before the Void

“A Deal in Wheat”

Frank Norris

I. The Bear – Wheat at Sixty-Two

As Sam Lewiston backed the horse into the shafts of his buckboard and began hitching the tugs to the whiffletree, his wife came out from the kitchen door of the house and drew near, and stood for some time at the horse’s head, her arms folded and her apron rolled around them. For a long moment neither spoke. They had talked over the situation so long and so comprehensively the night before that there seemed to be nothing more to say.

The time was late in the summer, the place a ranch in southwestern Kansas, and Lewiston and his wife were two of a vast population of farmers, wheat growers, who at that moment were passing through a crisis—a crisis that at any moment might culminate in tragedy. Continue reading

“A Balloon Attack” by James Norman Hall

World War I:
American volunteer pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille of the French air service target German observation balloons behind enemy lines in Hall’s wry – and, at times, beautiful – first-hand account of flying in the First World War.
-The Voice before the Void

“A Balloon Attack”

from High Adventure: A Narrative of Air Fighting in France

James Norman Hall

“I’m looking for two balloonatics,” said Talbott, as he came into the messroom; “and I think I’ve found them.”

Percy, Talbott’s orderly, Tiffin the steward, Drew, and I were the only occupants of the room. Percy is an old légionnaire, crippled with rheumatism. His active service days are over. Tiffin’s working hours are filled with numberless duties. He makes the beds, and serves food from three to five times daily to members of the Escadrille Lafayette. These two being eliminated, the identity of the balloonatics was plain.

“The orders have just come,” Talbott added, “and I decided that the first men I met after leaving the bureau would be balloonatics. Virtue has gone into both of you. Now, if you can make fire come out of a Boche sausage, you will have done all that is required. Listen. This is interesting. The orders are in French, but I will translate as I read:—

On the umteenth day of June, the escadrilles of Groupe de Combat Blank [that’s ours] will cooperate in an attack on the German observation balloons Continue reading

“Who Made the Law?” by Leslie Coulson

World War I:
Soldier’s war poetry.

“Who Made the Law?”

Leslie Coulson

Who made the Law that men should die in meadows?
Who spake the word that blood should splash in lanes?
Who gave it forth that gardens should be bone-yards?
Who spread the hills with flesh, and blood, and brains?
Who made the Law?

Who made the Law that Death should stalk the village?
Who spake the word to kill among the sheaves,
Who gave it forth that death should lurk in hedgerows,
Who flung the dead among the fallen leaves?
Who made the Law?

Those who return shall find that peace endures,
Find old things old, and know the things they knew,
Walk in the garden, slumber by the fireside,
Share the peace of dawn, and dream amid the dew —
Those who return.

Those who return shall till the ancient pastures,
Clean-hearted men shall guide the plough-horse reins,
Some shall grow apples and flowers in the valleys,
Some shall go courting in summer down the lanes —
THOSE WHO RETURN.

But who made the Law? the Trees shall whisper to him:
“See, see the blood — the splashes on our bark!”
Walking the meadows, he shall hear bones crackle,
And fleshless mouths shall gibber in silent lanes at dark.
Who made the Law?

Who made the Law? At noon upon the hillside
His ears shall hear a moan, his cheeks shall feel a breath,
And all along the valleys, past gardens, crofts, and homesteads,
HE who made the Law,
He who made the Law,
He who made the Law shall walk along with Death.

“The Canal” by Everil Worrell

Vampire romance – vintage, and done properly… that is: with horror.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Canal”

Everil Worrell

Past the sleeping city the river sweeps; along its left bank the old canal creeps.

I did not intend that to be poetry, although the scene is poetic—somberly, gruesomely poetic, like the poems of Poe. I know it too well—I have walked too often over the grass-grown path beside the reflections of black trees and tumble-down shacks and distant factory chimneys in the sluggish waters that moved so slowly, and ceased to move at all.

I have always had a taste for nocturnal prowling. Continue reading

“Three Toes of Harding County” from Wikipedia

Old stories, told long ago.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Three Toes of Harding County”

Wikipedia

Three Toes of Harding County was the nickname given to a solitary North American male wolf who killed livestock at ranches in Harding County, South Dakota over a thirteen-year period in the early 20th century. His hunting range extended into southwestern North Dakota and southeastern Montana.

Three Toes began his depredations in 1912, becoming a fully fledged livestock killer by 1917. He was estimated to have killed $50,000 worth of livestock in his thirteen-year career. He is known to have killed 66 sheep in two nights shortly before his capture. He was pursued by over 150 men, only to be trapped on July 23, 1925, in the Kahoun pasture, near Gallup, South Dakota, by Clyde F. Briggs, the state deputy predatory animal inspector.

Three Toes was thought to have been 20 years old, and measured 6 feet in length and weighed between 75 and 80 pounds.

1925 July Three Toes of Harding County South Dakota famous wolf taken by Clyde F Briggs state deputy predatory animal inspector

“The Bad Year” by Edward William Thomson

Winter Special:
So we try to get through.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Bad Year”

Edward William Thomson

May, blighted by keen frosts, passed on to June;
No blooms, but many a stalk with drooping leaves,
And arid Summer wilted these full soon,
And Autumn gathered up no wealthy sheaves;
Plaintive October saddened for the year,
But wild November raged that hope was past,
Shrieking, “All days of life are made how drear —
Wild whirls of snow! and Death comes driving fast.”
Yet sane December when the winds fell low,
And cold calm light with sunshine tinkled clear,
Harkened to bells more sweet than long ago,
And meditated in a mind sincere: —

“Beneath these snows shining from yon red west
How sleep the blooms of some delighted May,
And June shall riot, lovely as the best
That flung their odors forth on all their way;
Yes, violet Spring, the balms of her soft breath,
Her birdlike voice, the child-joy in her air,
Her gentle colors” — sane December saith
“They come, they come — O heart, sigh not ‘They were.'”

Old Yellow Top, or the Pre-Cambrian Shield Man

Apparently, Bigfoots have individuating characteristics and long lifespans. “Bigfoot” does start to sound less like a mythical creature, more like a species of large primate.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Pre Cambrian Shield Man Seen by Two Prospectors”

North Bay Nugget, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Cobalt, Ontario, Canada
July 27, 1923

Mr. J. A. MacAuley and Mr. Lorno Wilson claim they have seen the “Pre-Cambrian shield man” while working on their mining claims North and East of the Wettlaufer Mine, near Cobalt. This is the second time in seventeen years that a hairy ape-like creature nicknamed “Old Yellow-Top” because of a light colored mane has been seen in the district. The two prospectors said they were taking test samples from their claim property when they spotted what looked like a bear picking in a blueberry patch. Mr. Wilson said he threw a stone at the creature. He said, “It kind of stood up and growled at us, then ran away. It sure was like no bear I have ever seen. Its head was kind of yellow and the rest of it was black, like a bear, all covered with hair.” The first report of the creature was made in Sept. 1906, by a group of men building the head frame at the Violet Mine, east of Cobalt. It had not been seen since that time.

“Old Yellow Top”

Wikipedia

Old Yellow Top was reported to be a 7-foot (2-meter) tall Sasquatch-like creature that was sighted several times around the town of Cobalt, Ontario, Canada, during the 20th century. Descriptions of the creature by eyewitnesses closely resembled that of a Sasquatch; however, Old Yellow Top had a blonde patch of hair on its head and a light-coloured mane, which accounted for the creature’s name.

Alleged sightings took place over a 64-year period, Continue reading

“Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp” from Wikipedia

First Reported Sighting of the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp Anniversary Special:
Something’s out there.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp”

Wikipedia

The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (also known as the Lizard Man of Lee County) is a reptilian humanoid cryptid which is said to inhabit areas of swampland in and around Lee County, South Carolina, as well as sewers and abandoned subways in towns near the swamp.

1. Strange car mauling

In the summer of 1988, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene of a strange instance of vehicle damage. On the morning of July 14, deputies made their way to a residence located in a small rural community known as Browntown on the outskirts of Bishopville, South Carolina. When they arrived, homeowners Tom and Mary Waye showed them the vehicle in question. Police found that the chrome molding had been torn away from the fenders, the sidewalls were scratched and dented, the hood ornament was broken, the antenna was bent, and even some wires from the motor had been ripped out. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that parts of the molding had actually been chewed, as if an animal had used its teeth to inflict the damage. To further support the animal theory, the Wayes pointed out clumps of reddish colored hair and muddy footprints that had been left all over the car. However, while Sheriff Liston Truesdale was investigating the car, local residents informed him that there might be yet another, more bizarre possibility. Truesdale said, “While we were there looking over this situation, we learned that people in the Browntown community had been seeing a strange creature about seven feet tall with red eyes. Continue reading

“The Man Who Found Out (A Nightmare)” by Algernon Blackwood, part 3

A weird ending… but what other ending could be possible?
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Man Who Found Out
(A Nightmare)”

Algernon Blackwood

part 3

5

It was five o’clock, and the June sun lay hot upon the pavement. He felt the metal door-knob burn the palm of his hand.

“Ah, Laidlaw, this is well met,” cried a voice at his elbow; “I was in the act of coming to see you. I’ve a case that will interest you, and besides, I remembered that you flavoured your tea with orange leaves!—and I admit—”

It was Alexis Stephen, the great hypnotic doctor.

“I’ve had no tea to-day,” Laidlaw said, in a dazed manner, after staring for a moment as though the other had struck him in the face. Continue reading

“The Man Who Found Out (A Nightmare)” by Algernon Blackwood, part 2

Knowledge is fearsome to possess, sojourner, but take solace: you shall never possess it.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Man Who Found Out
(A Nightmare)”

Algernon Blackwood

part 2

3

A year passed slowly by, and at the end of it Dr. Laidlaw had found it necessary to sever his working connexion with his friend and one-time leader. Professor Ebor was no longer the same man. The light had gone out of his life; the laboratory was closed; he no longer put pen to paper or applied his mind to a single problem. In the short space of a few months he had passed from a hale and hearty man of late middle life to the condition of old age—a man collapsed and on the edge of dissolution. Death, it was plain, lay waiting for him in the shadows of any day—and he knew it.

To describe faithfully the nature of this profound alteration in his character and temperament is not easy, but Dr. Laidlaw summed it up to himself in three words: Loss of Hope. Continue reading

“The Man Who Found Out (A Nightmare)” by Algernon Blackwood, part 1

Summer Vacation Special:
A quintessential weird tale.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Man Who Found Out
(A Nightmare)”

Algernon Blackwood

part 1

1

Professor Mark Ebor, the scientist, led a double life, and the only persons who knew it were his assistant, Dr. Laidlaw, and his publishers. But a double life need not always be a bad one, and, as Dr. Laidlaw and the gratified publishers well knew, the parallel lives of this particular man were equally good, and indefinitely produced would certainly have ended in a heaven somewhere that can suitably contain such strangely opposite characteristics as his remarkable personality combined.

For Mark Ebor, F.R.S., etc., etc., was that unique combination hardly ever met with in actual life, a man of science and a mystic.

As the first, his name stood in the gallery of the great, and as the second—but there came the mystery! Continue reading

“On the Dunes” by Sara Teasdale

Summer Vacation Special:
The great promise of death.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“On the Dunes”

Sara Teasdale

If there is any life when death is over,
These tawny beaches will know much of me,
I shall come back, as constant and as changeful
As the unchanging, many-colored sea.

If life was small, if it has made me scornful,
Forgive me; I shall straighten like a flame
In the great calm of death, and if you want me
Stand on the sea-ward dunes and call my name.

“Biking in the Spring” by Steve Kosbab

Springtime Special:
The arrival of spring is ever of note.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Biking in the Spring”

Steve Kosbab

Rolling out the wheels after a winter’s rest,
Inspecting all to make sure it is right.
Jumping on the seat,
Gripping the handlebars, testing the brakes.
Then, wow!
I’m off, like a dragracer or derby horse just
Out of the gate.
The wind in my face, the fresh spring air
Through my lungs.
The sun on my back.
Speeding, swaying, swerving
Right into a puddle, and down. Continue reading