He Who Comes
A Gothic thriller by Nina Nenova
On her aunt’s invitation, the twenty-seven-year-old Emilia Orlovska comes to the Reedleys Estate, where, near the ocean, she hopes to recover from a recent illness. As soon as she arrives, however, she discovers that everyone in the mansion – the entire Reedley family, the deaf servant Arnold, the three tenants and the mysterious Tina – live strangely tortured lives, in which the past and the present blend in horrifying ways. The conduit for this invasion of the past into the present is the mythical figure of Iono – the Drowned Man who legend has it, and eyewitnesses confirm, roams the phosphorescent heart-shaped swamp near the mansion at night, surrounded by swarms of glowing moths.
Having been impressed by Iono’s portrait since her childhood, Emmy succumbs to her feelings and fantasies, which surge back from the past. Her only defense is her reason. But curiously, the more she tries to analyze the situation rationally, the deeper she sinks into the confusion of her own mind. When Death arrives at the mansion, taking out its inhabitants, one by one, Emmy realizes that the memories she is forced to experience as her living present, are not only her own…
Read an excerpt from the novel
A fragment from "Pilgrimage" by Encho Pironkov, 1998.