Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lunchtime read: The Best Short Stories

Although Kipling comes for some stick for writing a great deal about the old Empire days you could hardly accuse him of glamming it up with tales of heat, sun and delirium. There is also a slight tinge of Conan Doyle here at the end as the doctor tries to photograph his eyes to see what was reflected in them the moment his friend died.

At The End of the Passage
Four men get together each Sunday to play cards and keep each other sane. In the stifling heat of 101 degrees they meet up as usual and discuss one of their acquaintances who has ‘gone out’ after blowing his brains out. Then their worries start to mount over one of their own number and sure enough as the doctor stays with him that night he discovers that only morphine can help him sleep. He refuses to be sent home and the doctor leaves him and then gets bogged down dealing with a wave of illness sweeping through the plantation. When the friends meet up again for their game of cards they discover their friend dead with a look of terror on his face and when the doctor photographs his eyes it seems that something really did scare him to death.

Again a different style from Kipling that has a hint of the supernatural about it. It’s just a shame that the doctor was not able to share with us all a bit more about what was on the photograph.

More tomorrow…

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