The Vengeance of the Dead and Other Stories – Five stories of horror, reincarnation, monsters and redemption by Eli Colter.
The Greatest Gift (1927) – Throughout the ages Lenore Andless paid in anguish of soul for a moment of cruel pride
The Deadly Amanita (1925) – Poisonous Mushrooms — the Harsh Penance of Henry Wytten
The Curse of a Song (1928) – A malignant hatred that came back from the grave to blight the lives of two lovers
The Corpus Delecti (1926) – Burgensdorf heard Hasting’s boastful story and then out of the clouds there flashed the wrath of the Almighty
The Vengeance of the Dead (1929) – A two-part serial story of a strange monster whose ghastly depredations terrified the guests at Waggener Wilds
1. The Marked Man
2. Cassimer Natchez
3. The Rising Terror Part 2 – The Story Thus Far
4. The Monster
5. The Vengeance of the Dead
6. The Loyalty of the Living
Eli Colter was born May Eliza Frost in 1890 in Portland, Oregon. In the early 1920s she adopted the name Eli Colter and wrote hundreds of stories with that name. While her earlier writing was primarily in the genre of fantasy and horror, during the 1940s and 1950s Colter wrote nearly exclusively in the genres of mystery and Western. She died in Los Angeles in 1984 at the age of ninety-three.
Vengeance of the Dead and Other Stories contains 6 illustrations.
YOU see, it was all Hasting’s fault. That’s why Lorrimer and I felt as we did about it, took the action we did, and still feel the same way concerning the whole affair. Besides, we had nothing to do with it, it wasn’t under our jurisdiction, you might say. Call it God — Fate — Destiny, anything you choose. The whole ghastly affair was beyond our prevention or intervention. We were only witnesses, not willing witnesses, either, but horror-frozen into impotent bystanders.
I shan’t attempt to tell you what kind of man Hasting was. I will only tell you what he himself said, and you will know. I fancy you’ll agree with me he had it coming to him. He started the whole hideous mess himself, and when it came down to cases he couldn’t finish it. Hasting was always starting things he couldn’t finish. Rotten principle, that. There we were, all sitting around the campfire, the four of us. The air had thickened, and I was thinking idly that a midsummer thunderstorm was coming up, when Hasting began, apropos of nothing:
“There was a woman, once—”
He made a short pause, and Burgensdorf kicked the fire into sparks with his right foot, cutting him short with a rather disgusted ejaculation. “Hell, there’s always a woman!”
It was a mean remark. Innocuous in itself, perhaps, in the exact grouping of words and in significance. But in Burgensdorf’s mouth it suddenly, became a mean, sarcastic — I almost said a dirty remark. You know how some men have the faculty for making the most harmless words writhe with hidden meaning. Burgensdorf had it, when he chose to make use of it. Hasting glanced across at him and his eyes snapped.
“Now, what the devil do you mean by that, Burgy?”
But Burgensdorf wouldn’t be baited. He rolled a potato from the fire, jammed it on a stick and reached for the salt.
“If the shoe fits, put it on,” he answered mildly.
“I suppose you mean there’s always a woman where I’m concerned?” Hasting spat a belligerent challenge.
“Ah!” Burgensdorf half whispered; “it did fit, didn’t it?”
“Humpf!” Hasting flung off Burgensdorf’s insinuation with an insolent shrug and went calmly on. “The trouble was, there was another woman.” He glanced covertly at Burgensdorf, but Burgy went on eating his potato as though he hadn’t heard. Just as Hasting was about to resume speaking, Burgy said, rather loudly, “Blotto! There’s always another woman.”
“Say, I wish you’d go to the devil with your insulting remarks. I’m talking to Lorrimer.” Hasting abruptly turned his back on Burgensdorf, with the obvious intent of ignoring him and his answers.
Lorrimer smiled indolently, and winked at me. He seldom gave any serious consideration to the argumentative tendencies the conversation always developed when Hasting and Burgensdorf were both present. The enmity between those two men, a strange, almost unconscious enmity, made itself rather unpleasantly felt at times. A veiled undercurrent that was almost malignant ran beneath the surface antagonism. And none of us knew what it was all about. Hasting himself didn’t know! But the rest of us had a sneaking belief that Burgy knew, quite accurately, and that when he chose to reveal what he knew things would pop.
(They popped, all right! I’m not asking you to believe this: but the thing happened just as I set it down. You needn’t strain your credulity. I frankly admit if I hadn’t seen it I shouldn’t believe it either. And if you dislike things grisly, if you shrink from seeing the hand of Destiny at its ghastly work, if you had rather avoid viewing the Law of Retribution on a hideous mission, you had better read no farther. This isn’t exactly a pretty story.)”
Excerpt From: Eli Colter. “The Vengeance of the Dead and Other Stories”
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