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Strange Alliance   By: (1918-1988)

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Haunted by their dark heritage, a medieval fate awaited them....



Doctor Spechaug stopped running, breathing deeply and easily where he paused in the middle of the narrow winding road. He glanced at his watch. Nine a.m. He was vaguely perplexed because he did not react more emotionally to the blood staining his slender hands.

It was fresh blood, though just beginning to coagulate; it was dabbled over his brown serge suit, splotching the neatly starched white cuffs of his shirt. His wife always did them up so nicely with the peasant's love for trivial detail.

He had always hated the silent ignorance of the peasants who surrounded the little college where he taught psychology. He supposed that he had begun to hate his wife, too, when he realized, after taking her from a local barnyard and marrying her, that she could never be anything but a sloe eyed, shuffling peasant.

He walked on with brisk health down the narrow dirt road that led toward Glen Oaks. Elm trees lined the road. The morning air was damp and cool. Dew kept the yellow dust settled where spots of sunlight came through leaves and speckled it. Birds darted freshly through thickly hung branches.

He had given perennial lectures on hysterical episodes. Now he realized that he was the victim of such an episode. He had lost a number of minutes from his own memory. He remembered the yellow staring eyes of the breakfast eggs gazing up at him from a sea of grease. He remembered his wife screaming after that only blankness.

He stopped on a small bridge crossing Calvert's Creek, wiped the blood carefully from his hands with a green silk handkerchief. He dropped the stained silk into the clear water. Silver flashes darted up, nibbled the cloth as it floated down. He watched it for a moment, then went on along the shaded road.

This was his chance to escape from Glen Oaks. That was what he had wanted to do ever since he had come here five years ago to teach. He had a good excuse now to get away from the shambling peasants whom he hated and who returned the attitude wholeheartedly the typical provincial's hatred of culture and learning.

Then he entered the damp, chilled shadows of the thick wood that separated his house from the college grounds. It was thick, dense, dark. One small corner of it seemed almost ordinary, the rest was superstition haunted, mysterious and brooding. This forest had provided Doctor Spechaug many hours of escape.

He had attempted to introspect, but had never found satisfactory causes for his having found himself running through these woods at night in his bare feet. Nor why he sometimes hated the sunlight.

He tensed in the dank shadows. Someone else was in this forest with him. It did not disturb him. Whatever was here was not alien to him or the forest. His eyes probed the mist that slithered through the ancient mossy trees and hanging vines. He listened, looked, but found nothing. Birds chittered, but that was all. He sat down, his back against a spongy tree trunk, fondled dark green moss.

As he sat there, he knew that he was waiting for someone. He shrugged. Mysticism was not even interesting to him, ordinarily. Still, though a behaviorist, he upheld certain instinctual motivation theories. And, though reluctantly, he granted Freud contributory significance. He could be an atavist, a victim of unconscious regression. Or a prey of some insidious influence, some phenomena a rather childish science had not yet become aware of. But it was of no importance. He was happier now than he had ever been. He felt free young and new. Life seemed worth living.

Abruptly, with a lithe liquid ease, he was on his feet, body tense, alert. Her form was vaguely familiar as she ran toward him. She dodged from his sight, then re appeared as the winding path cut behind screens of foliage... Continue reading book >>

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