Memories, all alone in the moonlight…

On my way home on the bus yesterday, I was flipping through my copy of American Supernatural Tales, looking to find the excellent “The Events at Poroth Farm”, when a fragment of text caught my attention:

…not an “animal of some kind,” as he put it. Something with a dragging tail, with scales, with great clawed feet–

And in the back of my head, a little voice is going wait, wait, I remember this…

–and I knew it had no face.

Yes.

“The Lonesome Place”, by August Derleth.

It’s been so long since I read that that I have no idea, now, where I first saw it.  It’s been printed in a ton of places, but none of them ring any bells. I was surprised to discover it was by Derleth; I always thought of it as a children’s story, the kind of thing you’d find sitting on a shelf with A Touch of Chill and Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Witches.  It’s got a sort of calm tone to the horror, nothing giddily overbearing.  Puts me in mind of Bradbury:

“See, baby? Something bright… something pretty!”
A scalpel.

(It occurs to me, as I write this, that I might have a mildly elastic definition of “children’s story.”  Might.  I’m just tossing that out there for consideration.)

But yeah; I just thought I’d make a note of recognizing an old acquaintance, is all, one I didn’t expect to see there.

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