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David Sutton – The Satyr’s Head

Posted by demonik on September 7, 2007

David Sutton (ed) – The Satyr’s Head & Other Tales Of Terror (Corgi, 1975)

David Sutton The Satyr’s Head

Introduction – David A. Sutton

David Campton – Provisioning
Martin Ricketts – The Night Fisherman
David A. Sutton – Sugar & Spice & All Things Nice
James Wade – The Nightingale Floors
Ramsey Campbell – The Previous Tennant
Robin Smyth – Perfect Lady
Joseph Payne Brennan – The Business About Fred
Brian Lumley – Aunt Hester
David A. Riley – The Satyr’s Head
Eddy C. Bertin – A Pentagram For Cenaide

Eddy C. Bertin – A Pentagram For Cenaide: Artist Jack Morgan is horrified to find that he’s fallen in love with the wife of his best friend. Knowing that Cenaide will never leave her husband – she doesn’t particularly like Jack to begin with – he resorts to black magic, painting a portrait of her over a specially prepared canvas. As Jack stands in the pentagram, his beloved climbs out of her painting, and …

Joseph Payne Brennan – The Business About Fred: Plenty of lonely, alienated losers hang around in pubs keeping themselves to themselves (speaks the voice of experience), but few are as tenacious about it as Fred. A gentle, poignant even, ghost story.

David A. Sutton – Sugar & Spice & All Things Nice: The narrator notices a dishevelled little girl watching him from the street below. The following day she rings his doorbell: “You want to come out and play, mister?” He declines.

After learning that she’s been missing from home for three weeks, he catches up with her again, this time in the park, and agrees to a game of hide-and-seek. He traces her to a pool of stagnant water. There’s something very wrong going on and why is he so infernally hot all of a sudden …?

Robin Smyth – Perfect Lady: Rejected by gold-digger Lizzie, “the Jezebel of the laundry machine shop”, Rupert devotes his life to finding the perfect lady. This he does, but unfortunately her magnificent parts are apportioned over several imperfect women. When he decides to re-unite them, Fulham gets its very own Frankenstein and Ted Bundy.

James Wade – The Nightingale Floors: A junkie takes a job as lone nighidiotchman in the decrepit Ehlers museum. The ever-creaking floorboards – designed that way by the Japanese – soon get on his nerves, but it’s the apparition of an executioner and his bound victim in the gloomy Remington Gallery that decides him to quit and clean up. In an excellent collection, this may well be my standout.

Martin Ricketts – The Night Fisherman: Alone at the riverside after dark, Albert Jordan obsesses about his bait. How must that worm feel as it writhes in agony on the hook, as the fish’s mouth fold around it and sucks out it’s insides?

He doesn’t have to wait too long to find out.

David A. Riley – The Satyr’s Head.: Yorkshire. Student type Henry Lamson’s world is one of Wimpy bars, pubs, going to watch the Rovers play on a Saturday afternoon, attending screenings of The Shuttered Room and the like at the film society with his friend Alan Sutcliffe. He’s been dating Joan for some time but she’s shown no interest in sleeping with him.

Walking home across the Moors one night he encounters a filthy, diseased tramp who he can’t shake off – the malodorous one even sidles up next to him on the bus. Turns out that he wants to sell him a relic for a nominal fee. Despite himself, Henry shells out on the evil looking bauble … and that’s when his nightmares begin, nightmares in which he’s visited and raped by the original of the satyr.

When he next catches up the tramp (who is by now pretty much decomposing on his feet), the old boy sneers that the relic chose him because he is the “right sort” and Henry, mortified that he may indeed be a homosexual, books a session with local prostitute Clara Sadwick, but where Henry goes, his incubus goes too …

I knew there was a story I detested as a lonesome teenager because it made me feel kind of queasy on the grounds of it’s subject matter, but I didn’t know it was this one!

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