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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Shakespeare Week - Exit, Pursued By…?

I have been keen to have James Lovegrove contribute to an anthology of mine for some time, so I was delighted when he agreed to be a part of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu.
His story takes its inspiration from Shakespeare's most famous stage direction, and here's an extract for you to enjoy...
I will tell you this, scribe: it is not as I have always said it was.
For nigh on twenty years now, whenever anyone asks me how I came by my injury, I have lied to them. I have rigorously maintained that the stiffness in my shoulder, the jagged scars which extend from it halfway up my neck, the chunks of missing meat, are all the gruesome handiwork of a bear. The culprit was no more uncommon a creature than that. A roaming black bear pursued me, caught me up in its claws, and tore a pound of flesh from my body with its ravening teeth.
No one queries this reply. Bears are a familiar enough sight in these parts. Bohemia’s forests are riddled with them. Few who dwell in the country’s rural areas can say they have not encountered one at some point in their lives. Most, fortunately, have lived to tell the tale, although some have not been so lucky.
At any rate, with this explanation I have been able to deflect such slings and arrows of curiosity as are loosed at me. Upon hearing it people will offer sympathy, perhaps, or wince as they contemplate the agonies I suffered. I will in turn dismiss their coos and blandishments. “Let us not make a fuss about it,” I will say, sounding brave. “It is much ado about nothing.”
Now, at last, as I lie upon what must surely be my deathbed, I wish to confess the truth. For the first and final time in my life since the terrible events of that night on the storm-tossed southern shore of this land, I, Lord Antigonus, formerly a noble of Sicilia and once close associate of and trusted advisor to her monarch King Leontes, hereby state for the record that I was not attacked by any bear.
No, it was no bear.
It was something stranger and much worse.

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