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Join Dan and Ning as they read and analyze this masterpiece by Sherwood Anderson. Truly a master of weird fiction, H. Meet the bizarre personality behind Cthulhu and listen to the stories from his life which we find just as fascinating. An author described by H. In this episode, we read a story where nature acts as a portal to the next dimension and […].

Two light-hearted tales by Mark Twain— One about an infectious jingle that drives men to the end of their wits, and another about a haunting which Twain wrote as a satirical response to a fraudulent exhibit of the Cardiff Giant in New York. Alright everyone, SFTR is officially on the road and temporarily nomadic, so we apologize for the audio quality in this episode.

In fact, if one listens carefully, one might even hear a truck backing up at the very end.

However, this will not take away […]. Recommended reading: […]. Starting our new season is a dark fairy tale about a traveler and his mysterious companion who turns out to be one hack of a wingman. Magic, mystery, friendship, a beautiful and cruel princess… truly, Andersen does not disappoint. And of course, […]. Madame Loisel, wife of a government clerk, believes she was made for a more elegant life than the common, boring one she leads.

Then one day, she gets an invitation that allows her to live her dream for one magical night— a night that would […]. The Dobin sisters take their positions as leaders of society very seriously. However, as the two get older and finally reached the unwelcome realization that their […]. A profound and meticulously crafted masterpiece, it is no wonder that this is such a popular choice among high-school teachers.

A Horseman in the Sky by Ambrose Bierce

Join us as we read and discuss this moving story of a little girl who had to make a choice between a young hunter and […]. Jabez Wilson, a humble pawnbroker, was recently hired into an easy, high paying job based on his distinctive physical trait. When this position was suddenly terminated and his employer nowhere to be found, he comes to Baker Street, […]. And Carter soon left his home, and everyone he loved to wear the blue uniform of the Union soldier.

One sunny afternoon, a few weeks later, Carter Druse lay with his face in the dirt by the side of a road. He was on his stomach, his arms still holding his gun.

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Carter would not receive a medal for his actions. In fact, if his commanding officer were to see him, he would order Carter shot immediately. For Carter was not dead or wounded. He was sleeping while on duty. Fortunately, no one could see him. He was hidden by some bushes, growing by the side of the road. It began in a forest, down in the valley, and climbed up the side of a huge rock.

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Anyone standing on the top of this high rock would be able to see down into the valley. And that person would feel very dizzy, looking down. If he dropped a stone from the edge of this cliff, it would fall for six hundred meters before disappearing into the forest in the valley below. Hidden in the valleys forest were five union regiments -- thousands of Carters fellow soldiers. They had marched for thirty-six hours. Now they were resting.

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But at midnight they would climb that road up the rocky cliff. Their plan was to attack by surprise an army of southerners, camped on the other side of the cliff. But if their enemy learned about the Union Army hiding in the forest, the soldiers would find themselves in a trap with no escape. That was why Carter Druse had been sent to guard the road.

Son vs. Father: Ambrose Bierce’s “A Horseman in the Sky” (1889)

It was his duty to be sure that no enemy soldier, dressed in gray, spied on the valley, where the union army was hiding. But Carter Druse had fallen asleep. Suddenly, as if a messenger of fate came to touch him on the shoulder, the young man opened his eyes. As he lifted his head, he saw a man on horseback standing on the huge rocky cliff that looked down into the valley.

The rider and his horse stood so still that they seemed made of stone. The mans gray uniform blended with the blue sky and the white clouds behind him.

A Horseman in the Sky

He held a gun in his right hand, and the horses reins in the other. Carter could not see the mans face, because the rider was looking down into the valley. But the man and his horse seemed to be of heroic, almost gigantic size, standing there motionless against the sky. Carter discovered he was very much afraid, even though he knew the enemy soldier could not see him hiding in the bushes. Suddenly the horse moved, pulling back its head from the edge of the cliff. Carter was completely awake now.

He raised his gun, pushing its barrel through the bushes. And he aimed for the horsemans heart.

A Son of the Gods, and A Horseman in the Sky by Ambrose Bierce

A small squeeze of the trigger, and Carter Druse would have done his duty. At that instant, the horseman turned his head and looked in Carters direction. He seemed to look at Carters face, into his eyes, and deep into his brave, generous heart. Carters face became very white.

A horseman in the sky

His entire body began shaking. His mind began to race, and in his fantasy, the horse and rider became black figures, rising and falling in slow circles against a fiery red sky. Carter did not pull the trigger. Instead, he let go of his gun and slowly dropped his face until it rested again in the dirt.

Is it so terrible to kill an enemy who might kill you and your friends? Carter knew that this man must be shot from ambush -- without warning. This man must die without a moment to prepare his soul; without even the chance to say a silent prayer. Slowly, a hope began to form in Carter Druses mind. Perhaps the southern soldier had not seen the northern troops. Then Carter looked down into the valley so far below. He saw a line of men in blue uniforms and their horses, slowly leaving the protection of the forest. A foolish Union officer had permitted his soldiers to bring their horses to drink at a small stream near the forest.

And there they were -- in plain sight! Carter Druse looked back to the man and horse standing there against the sky.