Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Outer Dark is a novel at once fabular and starkly evocative, set is an unspecified place in Appalachia, sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; he leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alone to find her son. Both brother and sister wander separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.
some mammoth browsing creature. He paced off the fallen section and straddling the trunk, working backwards, dressed off the limbs. Then he marked off two feet from the butt end and sank the axe into the wood. He worked easily, letting the weight of the axehead carry the bite. He had cut four sections before he stopped to rest. He looked at what he was doing and then he looked at the sun. He stood the axe against the stump and returned to the shed to look for the negro but he wasn’t there. He
come huntin work, Holme said. The squire hauled by its long chain a watch from somewhere in his coat, snapped it open and glanced at it and put it away. It’s near six o’clock, he said. Likin about three minutes. How much time would you say you put in on that job? I don’t know, Holme said. I don’t know what time it was I commenced. Is that right? Don’t know? No sir. Well it was just before dinner. And now it’s just before supper. That’s the best part of half a day. Ain’t it? I reckon, he
I’ve not slept nary wink. He was holding watch at the window, his own face drawn and sleepless. I believe it wants to clear, he said. I wonder if they’s ary fire in under them ashes. He returned to the hearth and poked among the dead coals and blew upon them. I doubt they be a dry stick of wood in the world this mornin, he said. The sun rose and climbed to a small hot midpoint in the sky. In the yard the man’s shadow pooled at his feet, a dark stain in which he stood. In which he moved. In
all that fury had been swallowed up in the river traceless as fire. The barge rocked gently and ceased. Holme slid to the deck, gasping, his two fists together against his chest. He raised his head and listened to the silence. When he was sure it had gone he rose cautiously and made his way to the bow, unbalanced and staggering in such blackness. With his hands on the rails he leaned and looked down toward the water. The river mouthed the hull gently. After a minute he realized he was standing on
the man said nothing, watching him, chewing. Yes, he said. Listen. Maybe the squire might have somethin. Some work around the house or somethin. He seized up the reins again. Where’s he at? The man took the reins in one hand and with the other he pointed down the road to the north. Bout a quarter mile, he said. Big house on the left as you leave town. You’ll see it. He lifted the reins and chucked them and the horse leaned into the traces and broke the wheels with a slight sucking noise. Much