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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Rudyard Kipling

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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of Rudyard Kipling
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Rudyard Kipling
Date Published: 2013/04
Page Count: 540
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-075-8
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-074-1

Ghosts, werewolves and other terrors from the pen of a master writer

Rudyard Kipling was one of the giants of popular fiction in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His novels, stories and poems for both adults and children have become enduring classics and many have been adapted for film, television, radio and the stage. The author’s stories of the Indian sub-continent at the time of the British Raj have created an abiding image in the public consciousness, from Mowgli and the Jungle Book to his irrepressible ‘Soldiers Three’—Ortheris, Learoyd and Mulvaney—the Queen Empresses most entertaining ‘hard bargains.’ It would have been unusual if he had not turned his talents to the writing of tales of the supernatural and bizarre and, predictably, Kipling’s qualities shine through in such stories, where his familiarity with India, its mystery and inherent strangeness, feature prominently. Here are bizarre tales to chill the blood, humorous ghost stories, horrors worthy of Edgar Alan Poe, fakirs, creepy entities and strange creatures all woven into irresistible tales by a master wordsmith. This very substantial special Leonaur single volume collection of Kipling’s supernatural and weird fiction contains no less than thirty eight outstanding short stories including ‘The Phantom Rickshaw,’ ‘They,’ ‘The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes,’ ‘The Lost Legion,’ ‘The Mark of the Beast,’ ‘Haunted Subalterns,’ ‘The Solid Muldoon’ and many more.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

‘Come in,’ said Strickland sternly. ‘Come in at once.’<br>
Fleete came, and when the lamps were brought, we saw that he was literally plastered with dirt from head to foot. He must have been rolling in the garden. He shrank from the light and went to his room. His eyes were horrible to look at. There was a green light behind them, not in them, if you understand, and the man’s lower lip hung down.<br>
Strickland said, ‘There is going to be trouble—big trouble—tonight. Don’t you change your riding-things.’<br>
We waited and waited for Fleete’s reappearance, and ordered dinner in the meantime. We could hear him moving about his own room, but there was no light there. Presently from the room came the long-drawn howl of a wolf.<br>
People write and talk lightly of blood running cold and hair standing up and things of that kind. Both sensations are too horrible to be trifled with. My heart stopped as though a knife had been driven through it, and Strickland turned as white as the tablecloth.<br>
The howl was repeated, and was answered by another howl far across the fields.<br>
That set the gilded roof on the horror. Strickland dashed into Fleete’s room. I followed, and we saw Fleete getting out of the window, he made beast-noises in the back of his throat. He could not answer us when we shouted at him. He spat.<br>
I don’t quite remember what followed, but I think that Strickland must have stunned him with the long boot-jack or else I should never have been able to sit on his chest. Fleete could not speak, he could only snarl, and his snarls were those of a wolf, not of a man. The human spirit must have been giving way all day and have died out with the twilight. We were dealing with a beast that had once been Fleete.<br>
The affair was beyond any human and rational experience. I tried to say ‘Hydrophobia,’ but the word wouldn’t come, because I knew that I was lying.<br>
We bound this beast with leather thongs of the punkah-rope, and tied its thumbs and big toes together, and gagged it with a shoe-horn, which makes a very efficient gag if you know how to arrange it. Then we carried it into the dining-room, and sent a man to Dumoise, the doctor, telling him to come over at once. After we had despatched the messenger and were drawing breath, Strickland said, ‘It’s no good. This isn’t any doctor’s work.’ I, also, knew that he spoke the truth.<br>
The beast’s head was free, and it threw it about from side to side. Anyone entering the room would have believed that we were curing a wolf’s pelt. That was the most loathsome accessory of all.<br>
Strickland sat with his chin in the heel of his fist, watching the beast as it wriggled on the ground, but saying nothing. The shirt had been torn open in the scuffle and showed the black rosette mark on the left breast. It stood out like a blister.<br>
In the silence of the watching we heard something without mewing like a she-otter. We both rose to our feet, and, I answer for myself, not Strickland, felt sick—actually and physically sick. We told each other, as did the men in Pinafore, that it was the cat.<br>
Dumoise arrived, and I never saw a little man so unprofessionally shocked. He said that it was a heart-rending case of hydrophobia, and that nothing could be done. At least any palliative measures would only prolong the agony. The beast was foaming at the mouth. Fleete, as we told Dumoise, had been bitten by dogs once or twice. Any man who keeps half a dozen terriers must expect a nip now and again. Dumoise could offer no help. He could only certify that Fleete was dying of hydrophobia. The beast was then howling, for it had managed to spit out the shoe-horn. Dumoise said that he would be ready to certify to the cause of death, and that the end was certain. He was a good little man, and he offered to remain with us; but Strickland refused the kindness. He did not wish to poison Dumoise’s New Year. He would only ask him not to give the real cause of Fleete’s death to the public.<br>
So Dumoise left, deeply agitated; and as soon as the noise of the cart-wheels had died away, Strickland told me, in a whisper, his suspicions. They were so wildly improbable that he dared not say them out aloud; and I, who entertained all Strickland’s beliefs, was so ashamed of owning to them that I pretended to disbelieve.<br>
‘Even if the Silver Man had bewitched Fleete for polluting the image of Hanuman, the punishment could not have fallen so quickly.’
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