The Witch’s Mark and Other Stories by Dorothy Quick
Love and lust make the world go around. Sometimes in the afterlife also.
The Witch’s Mark and Other Stories – Love and lust make the world go around. Sometimes in the afterlife also.
Four stories of love and lust and the evil that can accompany them.
The Lost Door (1936) – An alluring but deadly horror out of past centuries menaced the life of the young American—a fascinating tale of a strange and eery love
The Black Adder (1932) – A tale of India—Talfa, the dancing-girl, tries to thwart the burning passion of the Rajah
The Horror in the Studio (1935) – A dramatic weird story of Hollywood and a soul-blasting horror
The Witch’s Mark (1938) – Shamus O’Brien risked his very soul for the red, red lips of Cecily Maltby— a strange and curious story about a beautiful, evil woman with red-gold hair
When Dorothy Gertrude Quick (1896-1962) was eleven, she met Mark Twain on a trans-Atlantic crossing while returning from a trip to Europe with her parents. Their friendship lasted until his death in 1910.
Twain was instrumental in encouraging Quick to write. She became a regular contributor of short stories to the pulp magazines, such as Weird Tales, Pearson’s Magazine and Unknown.
The Witch’s Mark and Other Stories contains 6 illustrations.
Excerpt: The Witch’s Mark
THE first time Shamus saw Cecily Maltby he thought her easily the most fascinating woman he had ever seen. He weighed her charm against her beauty and found they balanced each other perfectly.
The second time he thought of Isolde —Isolde of the red-gold hair and the snow-white skin. Cecily Maltby’s skin was so white that a camellia seemed yellow against it. She had a slim figure from which her breasts curved lushly, and she moved with the unconscious grace Isolde must have had.
The third time he saw her he was conscious that her lips were much too red, that they looked as though blood had been smeared across them. Quite suddenly he forgot her beauty and charm and felt an odd repugnance toward her, all the more odd because her great eyes were looking at him with the expression a woman wears when she loves a man and is willing to let him see that she does.
Shamus O’Brien was an author of sorts. That is, he lived on an income left him by his father and played at writing because he had nothing better to do and was always in hopes of striking literary gold. He had an attractive apartment in the East Sixties and was popular enough to have his engagement book filled far ahead.
He had a sense of humor. His father was Irish and his mother French. He was six feet tall, broad-shouldered, with regular features and brown hair that would wave no matter how he struggled to make it lie flat. All in all, he was quite an ordinary young man of twenty-seven and there was no apparent reason why he should have been thrown into such a maelstrom of curious events.
They began on the Friday morning when Jim Blaketon came breezing into his living-room.
“Hi, old Stick-in-the-Mud, I’ve come to dig you out,” he shouted, his words reverberating among the Italian antiques.
“I’ve just settled in for the week-end. I’ve got a swell idea for a new story.” Shamus waved a box of newly sharpened pencils at his friend.
“Rats! You’re too good-looking to deprive the debutantes of for anything so inconsequential as a story. Come on, my lad, Trudy’s giving a house-party. She’s a man short, so she sent me an S. O. S. to get you.”
Shamus liked Trudy Rose. She was a swell girl and they’d always been friends.
“Why didn’t she call me herself?” Shamus asked.
Jim laughed. “I just happened to be talking to her. Long-distance calls cost money these days.” Then his face sobered. “If you must have the truth, I think Trudy’s a bit shy of you. Unrequited love turns sour after a point.” Unrequited love! Trudy in love with him? Shamus had never dreamed of such a thing. Trudy and he had been pals, playmates, for years. He couldn’t picture his life without her, and yet often he didn’t see her for weeks. He conjured up a vision of her piquant rounded face with its turned-up nose, friendly smile and clear blue eyes. She was like Diana, slender and unawakened. It had never occurred to him to light the spark that would change her from the cold moon-maiden into a warm, passionate woman. If it hadn’t been for Jim, he would have gone on playing big brother to Trudy indefinitely. But now he suddenly realized how lost he would be without her, and his heart beat faster at the idea of Trudy —and love!
He looked at Jim with perhaps a little of the elation he felt showing on his face.
“Shamus O’Brien,” Jim said sternly, “if you ever so much as hint to Trudy that I’ve let the cat out of the bag. I’ll tar and feather you! I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut and let a fine romance go to waste for want of proper direction.”
“I never dreamed—”
“You wouldn’t. You’re kind of dumb where women are concerned. That’s why I spoke up. I knew you had a soft spot for Trudy and that you’d never find it unless it was pointed out to you.”
With the perfect understanding there sometimes is between men who have done college and night-life together, they read each other’s thoughts. Then Jim slapped Shamus on the back and pulled him toward the bedroom, talking as they went.
“Come on, pack the bag. I’ll guarantee you a moon tomorrow night so you can propose.”
THERE was a moon, and Trudy was beside Shamus, her arm linked in his —but he did not propose. In the meantime he had met Cecily Maltby.
Excerpt From: Dorothy Quick. “The Witch’s Mark and Other Stories.”
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