That Which Should Not Be - Brett J. Talley
The bartender threw another log on the fire, and as he did, the already burning wood cracked and spat embers into the air. They burned for a moment , lived for only an instant, before vanishing into the night. The wind blew with its greatest intensity, and the snow fell in sheets. The heart of the storm was upon us, revealing that its earlier fury had been only a preview of things to come....what sublime writing...admit it you are curious and are drawn in....

Do you remember when you were a kid and those old black and whites movies came on the telly, Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney Jr chasing or being chased by some unseen force...do you remember the coach and horses racing through the night, with a headless horseman and the clouds and darkness all around, with mysterious companions heading for some hellish destination and devilish meeting with fate....well if you remember you will love Brett J. Talley's wonderful and evocative "That which should not be."

Carter Weston is on a journey, a journey to discover the journal "Incendium Maleficarum" The Inferno of the Witch and return to Professor Thayerson at Miskatonic University. What are the professor's true intentions and what ancient magic will the book bestow on it's owner. Only if Carter accepts the challenge and, with true diligence searches for the answers, will the nature of this evil be revealed. This book is a diamond in the annals of storytelling, and it's images and stories are Lovecraftian in nature emphasizing the cosmic horror of the unknown.
Carter's journey takes him to a public house "The Kracken" in the township of Anchorhead..."I pushed open the heavy door and stepped inside, letting it slam behind me. The room was lit by oil lamps hung haphazardly from the ceiling. The gust of wind pursuing me had rocked them to and fro, and now their pale light cast grotesque shadows that seemed to gibber and dance on the tavern walls. I looked around the room. It was built like the bow of a ship, the center portion lower than its sides. There were several denizens, regulars of this establishment I would have wagered spread here and there about the place. But it was a particular table, the only one in the center depression that was occupied, that stood out to me the most. At it sat four men, incongruous for their diversity of dress and the mien with which they held themselves"

The four men have a tale to tell and not until the stories are complete do we learn the whereabouts of The Inferno of the Witch. The reader is taken on a magic devilish journey being assaulted with tales of the Wendigo, a demonic half beast and, a giant Gothic Castle in the bowels of eastern Europe with a mysterious Abbess..."May I help you gentlemen?" she asked, in a sing-song timber I couldn't trace but felt instantly entranced by. For a moment we just stood there, mesmerized both by her voice and by the glowing light that seemed to surround her. She was as out of place as she could possibly be. Finally, as was wont, Charles took the lead. Yes Abbess, I believe you may be able to help us. We are travelers. We have come from the village at the base of this mountain on our way to Czernowitz." My own particular favourite tale is William's story and his period of internship at Danvers Asylum!...."Darkness had long fallen on Danvers Asylum, but I knew no matter my misgivings, I could not put off the inevitable. I made my way to the west wing where the male patients were held. The incurables ward was particularly chaotic, and I wondered if they somehow sensed the tension among the doctors, or if Robert's bizarre death still resonated with them. But when the door to the incurables ward closed behind me, the heavy silence of the criminally insane was upon me."

In short I loved this story with it's Lovecraftian style of writing and its depiction of horror in images and stories rather than relying on gore or elements of shock although at times these are present when the story or situation demands. I certainly look forward to discovering more amazing tales from the mind of the talented Mr Talley!