LEVELS Sneak Peek: “An Eldritch Correspondence”

cover-smallMarch 23, 1932

Mr. Halward Comstock

c/o Bizarre Tales
New York, NY

Dear Mr. Comstock:

I have written to the letters column of Bizarre Tales a number of times in praise of stories published in that magazine, yours and others, but this marks the first occasion in which I have directed my praise toward the author himself. I have to let you know that your tale “The Fiend-Haunted Forest” moved me like none in my memory. The conviction with which you infused your words with the blackness of infernal necromancy was sheer genius. I stand in admiration before your supernal talent, and christen myself a devotee of your works of the first order.

With admiration,
Mel Plowers


March 30, 1932

Mr. Mel Plowers
Madison, Wisconsin

Dear Mel,

Thank you for your overly kind words about my story. I rarely get notes directly from readers, and thus yours, forwarded to me by Miles Philo, editor of Bizarre Tales, is both a novelty and a boon to my spirit. I earnestly hope that my future tales, some of which are already queued up to be published in Bizarre Tales, continue to earn your admiration.

With gratitude,
Halward Comstock


April 24, 1932

Dear Mr. Comstock:

Once again, you have exceeded my already lofty expectation with your latest in Bizarre Tales, “The Shadow Under the Mansion.” Apart from your awe-inspiring command of the English language and your uncanny ability to impress the eerie atmosphere and scene upon your readers with an economy of words, I am staggered by the verisimilitude with which you ground your stories. Even when very little space is given to exposition, as in “Shadow,” you leave the unignorable impression that these images are carved from a larger history of mankind’s ill-fated encounters with a plausible yet mind-shattering pantheon of hideous realities.

I cannot help but muse that such realism has been gained by study and pondering, by an exquisite grasp of and insight into the basis of the legendary impulse within the human psyche. Please enlighten me as to the path of your studies in this regard, as I desire to follow your hallowed footprints in plumbing the depths of the truth behind myth, for I firmly believe that in your fictions you are subtly introducing the insensible world to the shadows of truth for which they are unprepared to face head-on, in the full and uncompromising light of day.

In supplication,
Mel Plowers


April 27, 1932

Dear Mel:

Again, glad that “Shadows Under the Mansion” struck a chord with you. Bizarre Tales is a magazine with an unimpressive circulation, and I know that within that readership, my own contributions are not commonly deemed favorites, so it is heartening to know that there is a fraction of that fractional readership which looks forward to my contributions.

Forgive me for not replying fully to your second paragraph, but to be honest, your handwriting is a bit too taxing to my weak eyes, and I have several tales in various stages of completion which demand my attention. Must feed the maw of Bizarre Tales!

Halward Comstock…


This story and sixteen more are included in Levels: Fantastic and Macabre Stories, coming March 16th! Pre-order the ebook on Amazon or Smashwords today!

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