Offspring of the Grave (Synopsis)

Clark Ashton Smith

Allen Finlay and his bride Margaret lease an old country mansion that had reputedly belonged to a sorcerer and sorceress, now dead and buried in a double coffin in one grave, somewhere on the estate. They had died childless, leaving only an evil reputation which still clung to the mansion itself. The Finlays find that the neighborhood has been terrorized by the depredations of certain feral but still unidentified animals of a blood-sucking propensity. One night, Margaret, sleeping alone, wakes to find that her bedcovers have been drawn back, and that a small, half-hairless, monstrous creature with human hands and face is tearing at her night-robe. She screams, and Allen comes to her assistance. At the same time, another monster, a female, enters by the window and, as if furious with jealousy, flies at Margaret's throat. A terrible battle ensues, in which the girl's throat is badly torn, and the monsters are both wounded by shots from Allen's automatic. They flee. After binding his wife's wounds, Allen follows their bloody trail in the early dawn . The trail leads to the grave of the sorcerer and sorceress. At the foot of the grave there is a burrow like that of some fox or other like-sized animal. Allen assails the grave with a pick and shovel. In the huge, half-rotted coffin, under a sort of coverlet, he finds the withered remains of the evil pair. Something stirs hideously beneath the coverlet, and he strikes with the pick, impaling certain still-living objects, on which he shovels the earth hastily back without inspecting them.

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Printed on: December 18, 2018