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“ I moved down the street, where other windows framed little worlds so strangely picturesque and so dreamily illuminated in the shabby darkness of that part of town. One of them was a bakery whose window display was a gallery of sculptured frosting, a winter landscape of swirling, drifting whiteness, of snowy rosettes and layers of icy glitter. At the center of the glacial kingdom was a pair of miniature people frozen atop a many-tiered wedding cake. But beyond the brilliant arctic scene I saw only the deep blackness of an establishment that kept short hours. Standing outside another window nearby, I was uncertain if the place was open for business or not. A few figures were positioned here and there within faded lighting reminiscent of an old photograph, though it seemed they were beings of the same kind as the window dummies of this store, which apparently trafficked in dated styles of clothing. Even the faces of the mannikins, as a glossy light fell upon them, wore the placidly enigmatic expressions of a different time. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Glamour”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 02-04-2008 #251

“ What about when it's raining and the brown bricks of these old places start to drip and darken? And the smoke-gray sky is the smoky mirror of your soul. You give a lightning blink at a row of condemned buildings, starkly outlining them. And do they blink back at you? Or does that happen only in another type of storm, when windows are slyly browed with city-soiled clumps of snow. Was it under such conditions that you first thought of all the cold and dark places in the universe, all the clammy basements and gloomy attics of creation? Maybe you didn't want to think about those places, but you couldn't help yourself at the time. Another time you could have. No two times are the same. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Chymist”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 02-11-2008 #252

“ Some of us, we were about a dozen in all, blamed ourselves and our own idiocy as soon as we arrived in that place which one neatly dressed old gentleman immediately dubbed the 'nucleus of nowhere.' This same gentleman, who a few days before had announced to several persons his abandonment of poetry writing due to the lack of what he considered proper appreciation of his innovative practice of the 'Hermetic lyric,' went on to say that such a place as the one in which we found ourselves was exactly what we should have expected, and probably what we idiots and failures deserved. We had no reason to expect anything more, he explained, than to end up in the dead town of Crampton, in a nowhere region of the country - of the world, in fact - during a dull season of the year that was pinched between such a lavish and brilliant autumn and what promised to be an equally lavish and brilliant wintertime. We were trapped, he said, completely stranded for all practical purposes, in a region of the country, and of the entire world, where all the manifestations of that bleak time of year, or rather its absence of manifestations, were so evident in the landscape around us, where everything was absolutely stripped to the bone, and where the pathetic emptiness of forms in their unadorned state was so brutally evident. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Shadow, The Darkness”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 02-18-2008 #253

“ 'You have found yourself fascinated by those moments after you have been asleep, and awake to see how the things around you are affected in their form. You look on as they change in every freakish manner, feeling the power that changes them to be connected to your own being, conveying to you its magic through a delicate cord. Then the cord grows too thin to hold, your mind returns to you, and the little performance you were watching comes to an end.' ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Tsalal”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 02-25-2008 #254

“ 'For as long as I can remember,' I said, continuing to speak to the figure standing in the archway, 'I have had an intense and highly aesthetic perception of what I call the icy bleakness of things. At the same time I have felt a great loneliness in this perception. This conjunction of feelings seems paradoxical, since such a perception, such a view of things, would seem to preclude the emotion of loneliness, or any sense of a killing sadness, as I think of it. All such heartbreaking sentiment, as usually considered, would seem to be on its knees before artworks such as yours, which so powerfully express what I have called the icy bleakness of things, submerging or devastating all sentiment in an atmosphere potent with desolate truths, permeated throughout with a visionary stagnation and lifelessness. Yet I must observe that the effect, as I now consider it, has been just the opposite. If it was your intent to evoke the icy bleakness of things with your dream monologues, then you have totally failed on both an artistic and an extra-artistic level. You have failed your art, you have failed yourself, and you have also failed me. If your artworks had really evoked the bleakness of things, then I would not have felt this need to know who you are, this killing sadness that there was actually someone who experienced the same sensations and mental states that I did and who could share them with me in the form of tape-recorded dream monologues. Who are you that I should feel this need to go to work hours before the sun comes up, that I should feel this was something I had to do and that you were someone that I had to know? This behavior violates every principle by which I have lived for as long as I can remember. Who are you to cause me to violate these long-lived principles?' ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Bungalow House”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 03-08-2008 #255

“ 'He first spoke to me on a night which I had spent wandering the tattered fringes of a city. It might have been a city like this one, or any city. What matters is the mute decrepitude I found among a few condemned buildings and vacant lots gone wild. I had all but forgotten my own name, who I was and what world I belonged to. And they are not wrong who say that my reason perished in the radiant face of unattainable dreams for the future. False dreams, nightmares! And then, in that same place where I had traveled to hang myself, I heard a voice among the shadows and moonlight. It was not a peaceful voice or a consoling voice, but something like an articulate sigh, a fabulously eloquent moan. There was also a man-like shape slumped down in a corner of that sad room which I had chosen for my ultimate refuge. The legs of the figure lay bent like a cripple's upon the broken floor, the moonlight cutting across them and leaving the rest of the body in darkness - all except two eyes that shone like colored glass in the moonlight. And although the voice seemed to emanate from everything around me, I knew it was the voice of that sad thing before me, which was the Creator's earthly form: a simple department store mannikin.' ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 03-30-2008 #256

“ 'Do I look surprised that you will not admit what you saw? But I'm not. Of course you did, you saw them in the garden. Please don't go on shaking your head, don't hide behind a vacant stare. You are not the only one who has passed this house. Almost everyone from the town has gone by, at one time or another, but no one will talk about it. Every one of you has seen them and carries their image with him. But you are the only one to come and see me about it, whether you think you have or not. It's foolish to be amazed, but I am. Because in itself this can only be a small terror, among the vastness of all terrible things. And if this small thing stops your speech, even within yourself, what would the rest of it do to you?' ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Flowers of the Abyss”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 03-30-2008 #257

“ I should say that I had never spoken to either Carla or the others about my delirious episodes, with their sensations of a tropical sewer and the emergent concept of the 'nightmare of the organism.' I had never told anyone. I had thought that these episodes and the deranged concept of the nightmare of the organism were strictly a private hell, even one that was unique. Until that rainy afternoon, I had considered it only a coincidence that the artworks inspired by Severini, as well as the titles of these works, served to call up the sensations and suggestions of my delirious episodes. Then I was sent a message by Severini, through Carla, that he and I were 'sympathetic organisms' and that 'the way into the nightmare is the way out.' For some time I had dreamed of being delivered from the suffering of my delirious episodes, and from all the suggestions and sensations that went along with them - the terrible vision that exposed all living things, including myself, as no more than a fungus or a collection of bacteria, a kind of monumental slime-mold quivering across the landscape of this planet (and very likely others). Any deliverance from such a nightmare, I thought, would involve the most drastic (and esoteric) procedures, the most alien (and illicit) practices. And, ultimately, I never believed that this deliverance, or any other, was really possible. It was simply too good, or too evil, to be true - at least this is how it seemed to my mind. Yet all it took was a few words from Severini, as they reached me through Carla, and I began to dream of all kinds of possibilities. In a moment everything had changed. I now became ready to take those steps towards deliverance; in fact, not to do so seemed intolerable to me. I absolutely had to find a way out of the nightmare, it seemed, whatever procedures or practices were involved. Severini had taken those steps - I was convinced of that - and I needed to know where they had led him. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Severini”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 03-30-2008 #258

“ Soon I may even be able to sleep in the way I once did, without visionary intrusions of any kind. No denying that my experiences of late have tipped the scales of the strange. I found myself just walking restlessly about - impossible to work, you know - and always carrying with me this heavy dread in my solar plexus, as if I had feasted at a banquet of fear and the meal would not digest. Most strange, since I have been loath to take nourishment during this time. How could I put anything into my mouth, when everything looked the way it did? Hard enough to touch a doorknob or a pair of shoes, even with the protection of the gloves. I could feel every damn thing squirming, not excluding my own flesh. And I could also see what was squirming beneath every surface, my vision penetrating through the usual armor of objects and discerning the same gushing stuff inside whatever I looked upon. It was that dark color from the dream, I could identify it clearly now. Dark and greenish. How could I possibly feed myself? How could I even bring myself to settle very long in one spot? So I kept on the move. And I tried not to look too closely at how everything, everything was crawling within itself and making all kinds of shapes inside there, making all kinds of faces at me. (Yet it was really all the same face, everything gorged with that same creeping stuff.) There were also sounds that I heard, voices speaking vague words, voices that came not from the mouths of the people I passed on the street but from the very bottom of their brains, garbled whisperings at first and then so clear, so eloquent. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Nethescurial”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 03-31-2008 #259

“ In any event, I sensed that the usual boundaries of my world of sleep had extended into another realm. And it was here, I found, that the lost dreams were fully alive in their essence. Consumed within that barren vapor which I had seen imbibe a mixture of my own saliva and the reddest wine, they lived in exile from the multitude of unwitting hosts whose experiences they had once used like a wardrobe for those eerie performances behind the curtain of sleep. These were the parasites which forced the sleeper into the dual role of both player and witness in the manipulations of his memories and his emotions, the ungranted abduction of his private history for those reckless revels called dreams. But here, in that prison of glittering purity, they had been reduced to their primordial state - dreams in abstraction, faceless and formless things from the old time that a very old woman had revealed to me. And although they had neither face nor form, none of the multitudinous disguises in which I had always known them, their presence was still quite palpable all around me, bearing down upon the richly laden lucidity I had brought with me into a place where I did not belong. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mrs. Rinaldi's Angel”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 04-07-2008 #260

“ 'Work in silence and think only in silence and do all things silently. Be courageous and silent.' ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Flowers of the Abyss”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 04-21-2008 #261

“ My attention became fully absorbed by the other faces in the club and the deep anxiety they betrayed to me, an anxiety that was not of the natural, existential sort but one that was caused by peculiar concerns of an uncanny nature. What a season is upon us, these faces seemed to say. And no doubt their voices would have spoken directly of certain peculiar concerns had they not been intimidated into weird equivocations and double entendres by the fear of falling victim to the same kind of unnatural affliction that had made so much trouble in the mind of the art critic Stuart Quisser. Who would be next? What could a person say these days, or even think, without feeling the dread of repercussion from powerfully connected groups and individuals? I could almost hear their voices asking, 'Why here, why now?' But of course they could have just as easily been asking, 'Why not here, why not now?' It would not occur to this crowd that there were no special rules involved; it would not occur to them, even though they were a crowd of imaginative artists, that the whole thing was simply a matter of random, purposeless terror that converged upon a particular place at a particular time for no particular reason. On the other hand, it would also not have occurred to them that they might have wished it all upon themselves, that they might have had a hand in bringing certain powerful forces and connections into our district simply by wishing them to come. They might have wished and wished for an unnatural evil to fall upon them but, for a while at least, nothing happened. Then the wishing stopped, the old wishes were forgotten yet at the same time gathered in strength, distilling themselves into a potent formula (who can say!), until one day the terrible season began. Because had they really told the truth, this artistic crowd might also have expressed what a sense of meaning (although of a negative sort), not to mention the vigorous thrill (although of an excruciating type), this season of unnatural evil had brought to their lives. What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment? For every diversion, for every thrill our born nature requires in this carnival world, even to the point of apocalypse, there are risks to be taken. No one is safe, not even art-magicians or esoteric scientists, who are the most deluded among us because they are the most tempted by amusements of an uncanny and unnatural kind, fumbling as any artist or scientist does with the inherent chaos of things. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Gas Station Carnivals”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 04-21-2008 #262

“ In whatever corner of our old house I happened to find myself, I could always sense the arrival of a priest. Even in the most distant rooms of the upper floors, those rooms which had been closed up and which were forbidden to me, I would suddenly experience a very certain feeling. The climate of my surroundings then became inexplicably altered in a manner at first vaguely troublesome and afterward rather attractive. It was as if a new presence had invaded the very echoes of the air and had entered into the mellow afternoon sunlight which fell in stripes and squares across the dark wooden floors and upon the pale contortions of the ancient wallpaper. All around me invisible games had begun. My earliest philosophy regarding the great priestly tribe was therefore not a simple one by any means; rather, it comprised a thick maze of propositions, a labyrinthine layering of systems in which abstract dread and a bizarre sort of indebtedness were forever confronting each other. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Library of Byzantium”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 05-21-2008 #263

“ Quite abruptly, that closed, cavernous room dissolved into an open stretch of land: open yet also cluttered with a bric-a-brac topography whose crazed shapes were all of that single and sinister color. The ground was if covered with an ancient, darkened mold and the things rising up from it were the same. Surrounding me was a landscape that might once have been of stone and earth and trees (such was my impression) but had been transformed entirely into something like petrified slime. I gazed upon it spreading before me, twisting in the way of wrought iron tracery or great overgrown gardens of writhing coral, an intricate latticework of hardened mulch whose surface was overrun with a chaos of little carvings, scabby designs that suggested a world of demonic faces and forms. And it was all composed in that color which somehow makes me think of rotted lichen. But before I exited in panic from my dream, there was one further occurrence of this color: the inkish waters washing upon the shores of the island around me. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Nethescurial”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 05-21-2008 #264

“ 'There are enough fatalities of a mundane sort. Find a quiet place and wait for one of them to carry you off.' ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Gas Station Carnivals”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 05-21-2008 #265

“ 'His research had taken him into areas where, how should I say, where the shapes and levels of phenomena, the multiple planes of natural existence, revealed their ability to establish new relationships with one another... to become interconnected, as it were, in ways that were never apparent. At some point everything became a blur for him, a sort of pandemonium of forces, a phantasmagoria of possibilities which he eagerly engaged. We can have no idea of the tastes and temptations that may emerge or develop in the course of such work... a curious hedonism that could not be controlled. Oh, the vagaries of omnipotence, breeder of indulgence. Well, Mr. Catch retreated in panic from his own powers, yet he could not put the pieces back as they had been: unheard of habits and responses had already ingrained themselves into his system, seemingly forever. The worst sort of slavery, no doubt, but how persuasively he spoke of the euphorias he had known, the infinitely diverse sensations beyond all common understanding. It was just this understanding that I required in order to free him of a life that, in its own fashion, had become as abysmal and problematic as your own - except he is at the opposite pole. Some middle ground must be established, some balance. How well I understand that now! This is why I have brought you two together. This is the only reason, however it may seem to you.' ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Cocoons”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 05-21-2008 #266

“ But even if I cannot know his name, I have always known his voice. That is one thing he can never disguise, even if it sounds like many voices. I know his voice when I hear it speak, because it is always speaking of terrible secrets. It speaks of the most grotesque mysteries and encounters, sometimes with despair, sometimes with delight, and sometimes with a voice not possible to define. What crime or curse has kept him turning upon this same wheel of terror, spinning out his tales which always tell of the strangeness and horror of things? When will he make an end to his telling? ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “GRIMSCRIBE (Introduction)”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 05-21-2008 #267

“ And it was at this place in my dream that I came to believe that there obtained a terrible intimacy between myself and those whispering effigies of chaos whose existence I dreaded for its very remoteness from mine. Had these beings, for some grim purpose comprehensible only to themselves, allowed me to intrude upon their infernal wisdom? Or was my unwanted access to such putrid arcana merely the outcome of some loathsome fluke in the universe of atoms, a chance intersection among the demonic elements of which all creation is composed? But the truth was notwithstanding in the face of these insanities; whether by calculation or accident, I was the victim of the unknown. And I finally succumbed to an ecstatic horror at this insufferable insight. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Sect of the Idiot”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 05-26-2008 #268

“ Like peeping in windows?' asked a voice behind me. 'Windows are the eyes of the soulless,' said another. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Dreaming in Nortown”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-17-2008 #269

“ Each day thereafter he studied the hypnotic episodes of the little book; each night, as he dreamed, he carried out shapeless expeditions into its fantastic topography. To all appearances it seemed he had discovered the summit or abyss of the unreal, that paradise of exhaustion, confusion, and debris where reality ends and where one may dwell among its ruins. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Vastarien”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-17-2008 #270

“ The clock begins to sound within the room and for a moment the silent void has found an echoing voice. Everything is dimming, dissolving... the next dream will be darker still. And when I awake the room will be darker, dissipating like a fog around me, a black fog in which everything will drown and all my thoughts will be gone forever. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “One May Be Dreaming”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-17-2008 #271

“ Here and there scraps of debris hop about with no wind to guide them. These are the only things that seem to move in these streets, though there is a constant scraping noise that follows one's steps. If one pauses for a moment to look into a narrow space between buildings, something may be seen dragging itself along the ground, or perhaps it has already laid itself across the street, obstructing the way that leads out of the city. This figure is only that of a dead-eyed dummy; yet, when someone tries to step over the thing, its mouth suddenly drops open. At the time this is the best the city can do - a sham of menace that has no life and deceives no one. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “New Faces in the City”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 06-17-2008 #272

“ Although I formerly believed myself to be the consummate knower of the town's secrets, the following day was one of unforeseen discovery. The streets that I looked upon that motionless morning were filled with new secrets and seemed to lead me to the very essence of the extraordinary. And a previously unknown element appeared to have emerged in the composition of the town, one that must have been hidden within its most obscure quarters. I mean to say that, while these quaint, archaic facades still put on all the appearance of a dreamlike repose, there now existed, in my sight, evil stirrings beneath this surface. The town had more wonders than I knew, a secreted cache of blasphemous offerings. Yet somehow this formula of deception, of corruption in disguise, served to intensify the town's most attractive aspects: a wealth of unsuspected sensations was now provoked by a few slanting rooftops, a low doorway, or a narrow backstreet. The mist spreading evenly through the town early that morning was luminous with dreams. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “The Sect of the Idiot”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 07-06-2008 #273

“ More exotic or antiquated paraphernalia were revealed slumbering in crates and boxes: cauldrons, retorts, masks with wide-open mouths, alembics, bellows of different sizes, crusted bells that rang with dead voices, and rusted tongs that squeaked when manipulated; a large hourglass, a small telescope, shining swords and dull knives, a long wooden pitchfork with two hornlike prongs and a tall staff with marvelously embellished headpiece; miniature bottles of very thick glass plugged with stoppers in the shape of human or animal heads, candles in ivory holders with curious carvings, bright beads, beautiful convex mirrors of perfect silver, golden chalices engraved with intricate designs and powerful phrases; huge books with brittle pages, a skull and some bones; doll-like figures made of wax and wood, and various little dummies composed of obscure materials. Finally, there was a shallow crate from which Dr. Haxhausen removed a vaguely circular object that seemed to be a flat stone, but a stone that was translucent and mottled like an opal with a spectrum of soft hues. And all these things the scientist brought together within his dim and drafty laboratory: each, in his mind, would play its part in his design. Clearly his ideas about the practice of science had taken an incredible leap, though whether the direction was forward or backward remained to be seen. ”
  Thomas Ligotti - “Mad Night of Atonement”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 07-06-2008 #274

“ Dipping my hand into my pocket, I took out those few coins I needed to bring the Punchinello to life. In the following second came the presence of a light to gift me easy sight of that brightly-coloured cabinet of dubious entertainment. Upon the sand-covered floor before it, sat four rows of silently watching, wooden children. Yet when the Punchinello began his most violent routine, every cross-legged figure became quick to give up all pretence of innocence, clapping their tiny wooden hands together in a shocking display of macabre delight.

My intruding eyes then fixed upon the sinister figure of the Punchinello itself, and my ears filled with the corrupt laughter of children at every swipe of the wooden club held in its hand. The uniformed authority-figure it struck out at, gave vent to timely cries of inhuman pain, all being perfectly synchronised with the cruel contact of the wooden club. Yet I was to lose myself in the violence of the Punchinello's repeated action, so that I saw myself as a conductor of mechanised puppets, with the wooden club within my wooden hand being akin to a conductor's baton. For with every swipe I made there was a crescendo to their malign laughter, and in my head I knew they eternally mocked at all humanity by their response to this bizarre parody of our behaviour.

But still I became one with the puppet-soul of the Punchinello, revelling in its deathless quality and eternal cruelty, and sneering at the brief and pointless life of humanity. Then all I knew was the violent motion of that wooden club, so that for a few moments I became enveloped of my own swift-approaching deliverance.

Yet very abruptly the Punchinello froze in its movements; the cruel club poised forever to wound the representation of all mankind - the puppet holding extreme dominance over its own maker. Its carved head now peering upwards and into my own face, its expression was one of sneering triumph and elation, secure in the knowledge it had cast me eternally outwards of its own mechanical paradise.
  John B. Ford and Thomas Ligotti - “The Mechanical Museum”
Added by: G. S. Carnivals on 07-06-2008 #275

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