Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Horror-horn

Fiction ~ short story
First published in Hutchinson's Magazine, September 1922
Collected in Visible and Invisible (1923)
5,360 words
(First read 18/12/2011) 

A horror story rather than a ghost story.  [Unidentified Narrator] is spending a holiday in Switzerland with his cousin 'Professor Ingram, the celebrated physiologist and alpine climber' ¹.  Prompted by news from the Everest expedition (which really happened, in 1922), during which, so he says, "they thought they came across the tracks of some naked human foot at a great altitude," Ingram recalls an occasion 20 years previously when he saw a 'wild man' on that mountain out there, the Ungeheuerhorn² ['Horror-horn'].  U.N.'s own encounter with this 'yeti' ~ or whatever you wish to call it: it doesn't matter ~ a few days later is far more, shall we say, hands-on.  Not a bad horror story in the Benson style, which is to say that it's all a tad repetitive, the horror takes a good while to appear and when it does is somewhat on the dull side; the chase scene is quite nicely handled, though.  It's available online here.

¹ I haven't made this up: it's actually a quote.
² This is made-up, by EFB.  The mountain described sounds rather like the Matterhorn to me, but I'm far from being an expert. 

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