Sunday, October 30, 2011

"The Horror-Horn" by E. F. Benson

Not only does this prey on any person's fear of what may inhabit snowy mountains and woods, it also makes you feel significantly colder just through the language itself! I'm also rather amused that this was tonight's story, just after our little October snowfall yesterday and throughout last night. The literary powers out there have uncanny timing with that kind of stuff.

Who doesn't believe in the rumors of the Abominable Snowman? Whether it's belief in one being or a tribe, most people can rationally agree that there may in fact be some kind of human-like creature inhabiting whatever mountain range you choose to believe he lives in. This story takes place in the Swiss Alps, and also hints at potential Yeti-life on Mount Everest as well. Creepy.

Naturally, the story begins with a hard snowfall, and the sharing of stories by the fireplace in what I take to be a ski resort (early 20th century style, of course). The narrator listens to a tale of encountering a strange human-like beast, that makes the story-teller think of the un-beauty of life and the idea that such creatures could be crawling from the abyss from which we once crawled, only much less evolved than mankind. Sure enough, the narrator scoffs and only believes the 'intellectual' part of this story, but not so much the sheer animalistic horror felt by one who looks upon such a creature.

The narrator then journeys a few miles off to visit a friend at a separate ski resort (and skis there, rather than, you know, driving. Like a normal person who wouldn't want to be completely beat after such a journey), and gets lost in the clouds and coming snowfall of that evening. What does he come across when the clouds clear up slightly, BUT A SHE-YETI! OH MY GOD I HOPE HE DOESN'T GET RAPED BY IT! He naturally flees, and has to give a coherent, non-psychotic and non-drugged account of his story later for anyone to believe him, and a search party only turns up circumstantial evidence of his encounter with this monster. Surrrrrprise.

I kinda liked this story, because I for one do believe that Yeti might actually exist (make fun of me all you want, but I'm more willing to accept the existence of a species than to deny it simply because I haven't seen it). Also, the author did a great job instilling this pure horror in his readers. I wouldn't want to be eye to eye with such a beast, I happen to be optimistic and look on the bright side of everything. After this kind of encounter, it doesn't appear that anyone would be able to see the better side of life anymore. What kind of world do we live in when these unevolved monsters still exist? A terrifying one.

One more day in October, and one more horror story to go. And I'm very excited for it, as it's H. P. Lovecraft's "The Outsider". It's gotta be good. Right?

- Justin

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