The Necromancers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about The Necromancers.

The fascination of the thought was enormous; and, like a child who begins to take notice and to learn the laws of extension and distance, so he began to learn their reverse.  He saw, he thought (as he had seen once before, only, this time, without the sense of movement), the interior of the lighted drawing room at home, and his mother nodding in her chair; he directed his attention to Maggie, and perceived her passing across the landing toward the head of the stairs with a candle in her hand.  It was this sight that brought him to a further discovery, to the effect that time also was of very nearly no importance either; for he perceived that by bending his attention upon her he could restrain her, so to speak, in her movement.  There she stood, one foot outstretched, the candle flame leaning motionless backward; and he knew too that it was not she who was thus restrained, but that it was the intensity and directness of his thought that fixed, so to say, in terms of eternity, that instant of time....

So it went on; or, rather, so it was with him.  He pleased himself by contemplating the London streets outside, the darkness of the garden in some square, the interior of the Oratory where a few figures kneeled—­all seen beyond the movements of light and shadow in this clear invisible radiance that was to his perception as common light to common eyes.  The world of which he had had experience—­for he found himself unable to see that which he had never experienced—­lay before his will like a movable map:  this or that person or place had but to be desired, and it was present.

And then came the return; and the Horror....

He began in this way.

He understood that he wished to awake, or, rather, to be reunited with the body that lay there in deep sleep before the fire.  He observed it for a moment or two, interested and pleased, the face sunk a little on the hand, the feet lightly crossed on the fender.  He looked at his own profile, the straight nose, the parted lips through which the breath came evenly.  He attempted even to touch the face, wondering with gentle pleasure what would be the result....

Then, suddenly, an impulse came to him to enter the body, and with the impulse the process, it seemed, began.

That process was not unlike that of falling asleep.  In an instant perception was gone; the lighted room was gone, and that obedient world which he had contemplated just now.  Yet self-consciousness for a while remained; he still had the power of perceiving his own personality, though this dwindled every moment down to that same gulf of nothingness through which he had found his way.

But at the very instant in which consciousness was passing there met him an emotion so fierce and overwhelming that he recoiled in terror back from the body once more and earth-perceptions; and a panic seized him.

It was such a panic as seizes a child who, fearfully courageous, has stolen at night from his room, and turning in half-simulated terror finds the door fast against him, or is aware of a malignant presence come suddenly into being, standing between himself and the safety of his own bed.

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The Necromancers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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