A Night in Malnéant

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A Night in Malnéant is a horror short story written by Clark Ashton Smith and originally published in 1933 in the short story collection The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies.

Plot[edit]

An unnamed narrator, weary from his aimless wandering across the remote cities and roads of the old world, comes across a sinister gothic city lying just beyond a gray, colossal bridge called Malneant, despite being apprehensive to enter the city, and instead travel onwards to other more remote cities, he figures that Malneant is just as good a place as any, and he subsequently enters and finds himself within the city walls. Years earlier, he had caused the untimely death of his dearly beloved Lady Mariel, due to his cruel and vicious temper, and as a result she committed suicide, and his present wanderings are the result of her death. While in the city, he notices there are very few people out, but when he asks two women the directions to an Inn, they only tell him that they are busy making shrouds for a woman named Lady Mariel, whose funeral is constantly being announced via the distant tolling of mortuary bells, the man becomes confused and perplexed, but logic rules out his confusion and he surmises it's some other Lady Mariel, despite becoming increasingly uneasy as he continues to hear others within the city speak her name. Eventually he comes to an Inn but is refused entry on the grounds that the rooms are reserved for those leaving obsequies to Lady Mariel, and he realizes the entire city is preparing for her funeral procession, he eventually enters a church and sees that it is indeed his dearly beloved who lies dead within the coffin, clothed in white, with a smile on her face. He is shocked and horrified, and attempts to flee from the city, at first becoming hopelessly lost, but eventually finding his way and never looking back, searching after oblivion far beyond the accursed city.

References[edit]

http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/short-stories/155/a-night-in-maln%C3%A9ant