naigoth.carcosa.exe: My retelling of Ambrose Bierce’s “An Inhabitant of Carcosa” for the Joe Pulver Charity anthology, “Nightmares in Yellow.”

Ambrose Bierce is one of my favorite writers. His work typically highlighted the absurdity of death with elements of psychological horror, and other kinds of grotesqueries that could be construed as weird or ambiguous. His story, An Inhabitant of Carcosa is one of the earliest mentions of the doomed city that now lives in fabled infamy amongst the followers of Robert W. Chamber’s The King in Yellow.

An Inhabitant of Carcosa was first published in the San Fransisco Newsletter on December 25th, 1886. It concerns the narrator as he contemplates the nature of death and the words of the philosopher Hali. This is the first mention of Hali and is expounded upon later by other contemporaries. The narrator, a man from Carcosa, is wandering in a field, unaware of how he arrived at such a place and only remembers how he was sick. After following a strange path marked by tombstones, he finds himself sitting atop a grave marked by his name and date of birth and date of death, only to realize that he has been dead the entire and he has been standing in the ruins of “the ancient and famous city of Carcosa.”

At the end of the story, the author implants a footnote stating: “Such are the facts imparted to the medium Bayrolles by the spirit Hoseib Alar Robardin.”

I could read this story over and over again. The beauty and the language are immaculate, and the atmosphere Bierce creates is not only eerie, but unsettling, despite knowing the outcome.

As an attempted homage to this stunning tale, my story naigoth.carcosa.exe attempts to capture the same premise only with a 21st century feel where the narrator finds himself caught in a chatroom, his consciousness and soul, forever dead as he converses with a Cyber God on the nature of reality, realizing that all is lost when he undesrtands who he’s really talking to.

I had such a wonderful time writing this story, and even more so being able to write it for this particular cause. I never knew Joe Pulver, but I can only hope that my tale is worthy of the King in Yellow, now sitting upon his throne under black stars so vast and distant.

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