“The Drowned Man’s Kiss” is inspired by the works of the Greek Poet Nikos Kavvadias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikos_Kavvadias
In his poem “Esmeralda” there’s this verse: “Come sweet dawn, the drowned man kissed you.” And the story was born from that, playing as it went with the theme of the cursed dagger, which also features in another of Kavvadias’ poem, “To Machairi” (The dagger).
Longtime listeners or backers of our Pseudopod 10 Year anniversary will be familiar with the artistic work and madcap visions of Jonathan Chaffin of Horror In Clay. He makes fine horror-themed tiki mugs, art, and ephemera. He made a Cthulhu tiki mug, before that was a thing, and a cask of Amontillado and an Innsmouth Fogcutter. Now, he has a warning for you. Somewhere in the infinite multiverse, or just on the other side of this shadow, the King In Yellow awaits. “The Pallid Mask” from Horror In Clay is a 8in tiki mug inspired by love for the linked short stories of Robert W. Chambers, and every subsequent writer caught by that fateful play.
The mug is available on Kickstarter, and will ship in August. The mug is part of a collection with companion pieces like a custom-written D6 tabletop RPG module and a Mai Tai glass from the mythic “Shores of Carcosa” restaurant. Learn more on Kickstarter by searching for “Pallid Mask” or at Horror In Clay.
The Drowned Man’s Kiss
by Christine Lucas
Last night, I dreamt of the drowned man again.
It starts with a murmur. A prayer, slithering through a sleeping shipmate’s lips. Or perhaps a confession, or a memory caught in the fog of the ghostly hours before dawn. It lingers little down here, in the stale air heavy with the stench of urine and unwashed bodies. Soon it rises higher, amidst the sails and the riggings, hungry for fresh air. Then comes the scratching against the ship’s hull. Grip by grip, claw-like hands dig into the wood dragging upwards God knows what.
I lay still on my hammock, squeezing my eyes shut. I don’t dare to steal a peek at the narrow stair leading upwards, to the main deck. But I hear the slow drip of water—stagnant, black water mixed with putrid drool and I gag at the stench. Once, when I was a young fool, I did dare a glimpse. Never again. I’ve seen enough of the corpse sprawled across the upper steps, its torso reaching downwards, the rest out of sight. Grey, bloated flesh bathed in the milky light of early dawn. Bone grinds on bone as he turns to seek me out amidst the slumbering sailors. One eye dangles on its decaying cheek, the other socket a dark nest for crabs. (Continue Reading…)