Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Afternoon Drink or Two with Genteel Occult Novelist Dennis Wheatley

Drunk with an inverted spiritual exaltation and excess of alcohol - wild-eyed and apparently hardly conscious of each other - the hair of the women streaming disordered as they pranced, and the panting breath of the men coming in laboured gasps - they rolled and lurched, spun and gyrated, toppled, fell, picked themselves up again, and leaped with renewed frenzy in one revolting carnival of mad disorder. Then, with a final wailing screech from the violin, the band ceased and the whole party flung themselves panting and exhausted upon the ground, while the huge Goat rattled and clacked its monstrous cloven hoofs together and gave a weird laughing neigh in a mockery of applause.

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"What's that!" exclaimed Simon, and they swung round to face the new danger. The shadows were massing into deeper blackness in one corner of the room. Something was moving there.

A dim phosphorescent blob began to glow in the darkness; shimmering and spreading into a great hummock, its outline gradually became clearer. It was not a man form nor yet an animal, but heaved there on the floor like some monstrous living sack. It had no eyes or face but from it there radiated a terrible malefic intelligence.

Suddenly there ceased to be anything ghostlike about it. The Thing had a whitish pimply shin, leprous and unclean, like some huge silver slug. Waves of satanic power rippled through its spineless body, causing it to throb and work continually like a great mass of new-made dough. A horrible stentch of decay and corruption filled the room; for as it writhed it exuded a slimy poisonous moisture which trickled in little rivulets across the polished floor. It was solid, terribly real, a living thing. They could even see long, single, golden hairs, separated from each other by ulcerous patches of skin, quivering and waving as they rose on end from its flabby body - and suddenly it began to laugh at them, a low, horrid, chuckling laugh.

From Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out (1934)

A fine profile of Mr. Wheatley.

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