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robert e. howard

the thing I like about robert e. howard's stuff
is that he had his chosen mood and he stuck to it
that is, everything was "black"
over half his stories had "black" somewhere in the title
and whenever anything nasty came along
it was always "black"
sure once in a while he'd throw in a synonym
like "dark" or "ebony"
but it would always come back to "black" eventually

and no matter how many times he did it
you still felt the danger
felt the stifling malevolent presence
lurking in the black whatever it was
so dark that even though you couldn't see it
you could feel it
coiling around with eldritch (see that's a good one too) tendrils
just up to no good at all

and of course conan would bust in
even if he was a little scared or superstitious
he was still unstoppable, moving, and stronger
than the black thing because he was moving
a pretty black-browed, grim fellow himself
but armed with bright things, fire and steel
and he'd go ripping in to the blackness
and break the evil thing inside
and then leave, after which
it might still be dark in there, but a peaceful kind of dark
and not what howard would have called "black"
because that wasn't really a color for him
it was absence, in the soul
a lack, void, an evil, solid malice
and the great thing about his stuff was
that you felt it every time
he put "black" next to something
z/word/poor punctuation