“It’s midnight. Before dawn they will find me and take me to a black cell where I shall languish interminably, while insatiable desires gnaw at my vitals and wither up my heart, till at last I become one with the dead that I love.”
So begins the best short story I have ever read - The Loved Dead, by C.M. Eddy Jr. and revised by the master of macabre, H.P. Lovecraft. The Loved Dead is narrated by an unnamed necrophile, who details his love affair with corpses, starting from its sordid and disturbing beginnings at his grandfather’s funeral. The story feels almost confessional, with the narrator recounting his misdeeds as he awaits the dawn. The doomed protagonist is only suggestive in his recitation; there are no overt or explicit references to sexual engagement with the dead, but rather is implicit in the beautifully rendered prose. The writing in this story is fantastic, and the understated yet descriptive narrative style is disturbing and effective: it heightens the horror and creepiness of the tale, making the story both effortless and horrifying to read.
“I haunted the deathchamber where my mother lay, my soul athirst for the devilish nectar that seemed to saturate the air of the darkened room.”
The Loved Dead is a wonderful mélange of Eddy’s and Lovecraft’s individual authorial styles. It combines Eddy’s imagination and well paced writing with Lovecraft’s exquisite and atmospheric writing style; the story reads very much like a Lovecraft story, but faster paced and more enthralling.
It is difficult for me to do this fascinating story any justice: its ethereal beauty and sheer terror can only be appreciated if you read it for yourself - something I highly recommend you do.