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‘The Night of Dead Ages’
The Treader of Dust by Clark Ashton Smith

“...after many attempts to exorcise the dim, bodiless legion of his fears...”

So John Sebastian suffered and fled before the creeping evidence that he was in fact the manifestation of some unfathomable doom, something beyond good and evil, unveiling the academic fancies of his mind and striking deep dread into “his overheated mind” as he recognized but refused to acknowledge “the sheer, brittle, worm-hollowed antiquity” of his home.

But the testaments found in the demonology and occult tomes he had long studied in an attempt to fathom the mystery of the universe, where beginning to bear the horrible fruits that are the fathoming of the mystery of the universe.

The precise and incongruently nuanced diction of Clark Ashton Smith is, in this brief flexion of his unparalleled command of the craft of weaving weird tales in the diverse threads of English, an example of short fiction that any aspiring writer should consider. In the end, the Treader of Dust is a cautionary tale, that there are things which might be known by Man, but are best left cloaked in mystery.

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