Judges of Hades: And Other Simon Ark Stories by Edward D. Hoch

By Edward D. Hoch

Five vintage stories of murderous evil—and the immortal who was once selected to struggle for what's right

In a small city close to Washington, DC, seventy-three villagers make the spontaneous selection to jump from a cliff to their deaths. They go away no clarification in the back of, yet neighborhood rumor indicates they have been being manipulated by means of an historical, evil energy. In a monastery in West Virginia, a monk fears his brothers—and is ultimately driven from the window of 1 of the towers. And in a city in Westchester County, ny, a self-proclaimed witch casts a spell on a bunch of girl collage students.

These are unusual situations, doubtless past the grab of reason—and ideal fodder for Simon Ark. A Coptic priest of the traditional international, he used to be condemned after the Crucifixion to stay ceaselessly, wandering the earth and rooting out evil. And within the small, shadowy corners of small-town the USA, he'll come upon nice evil certainly.

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Little black flies swarmed around the fruit. Sam stretched out one arm and grabbed a banana, and the monster trembled. He pulled but the banana wouldn’t break loose. He glanced down and around at the townsfolk. Everyone was silent, watching him, waiting, he thought, for him to make a mistake and fall. Crazy Sam Briggs. “Okay,” he said. ” He jerked at the banana, once, twice, and it came away in his hand. She groaned. Where the banana had been attached, bright red blood gathered and fell in slow drops to the dusty street below.

He let them bunch up at the door behind him, then stepped aside and switched on the light to reveal a lavishly appointed dinner table. The walls of the dining room had been papered white with a faint red rose pattern. A picture Stuart had first mistaken for a big photograph mimicked a window on one wall. When he looked a little closer he saw it was a painting. Not a very good painting. He doubted even a very good painting would have chased away the overwhelming sense of being underground. It had something to do with the way light and sound behaved, something about the earthy smell of the air.

There’s still time for negotiation, Jessica,” I said. ” Jessica was doing what the nanopeople thought was Mom’s voice. I wasn’t fooled. Mom never whined. Not the old Mom anyway. At least we had the nanopeople’s attention these days. At first, Jessica had not bothered to even acknowledge our existence. Then we started pushing Mom into water over her head, and Jessica decided to talk to us. I tied the big rubber bands to Mom’s boots. “The word is bungee, Jessica,” Ada said. My sister was becoming one scary chick, I thought, what with her horse tattoo and western hat and the ever-present toothpick in the corner of her mouth.

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