Strangers In the Night – A Short (!) Story by Henrik Sandbeck Harksen

In my breaks I sometimes need to do “something else.” This is a flash fiction horror story, the result of a challenge I gave myself: Write a story in 1 hour. It’s good exercise, at least for me.

It’s not edited, but here you go. I hope you’ll enjoy it.



By Henrik Sandbeck Harksen August, 2012


It was the party. You know – the party. Talk of town. The place where everything went down. Talk of the century. Yeah, you know how it is. You heard about it. It was mentioned everywhere: The Internet, gossip papers, newspapers, TV, radio. You tell me a media and I can guarantee you the event were mentioned.

But did you ever wonder why no word was mentioned the day after? Or ever after, for that matter? Don’t believe me? Go check whatever information source you consider most credible – Google it, call Reuter’s, get your local, trustworthy detective on the case. Believe me – you’ll find no information.

And if you check your own memory, start digging the recesses of your memory that lie dormant, yet strangely powerful, you will most likely discover that there is a vague, indefinable haze obscuring everything relating to this single event and what happened. Most of the time your thoughts will start to wander, your mind finding some other obscure memories (the first time ever you fantasized about fucking a girl; the shadow of a cat looking down at you in your cradle, when you were an infant, causing you to have an abnormal fear of cats ever since) and perform other twists – but if you’re really lucky (well, in lack of a better word) you will, for just one fleeing second, see that you’re trying to access a deep, empty hole where the memories should be.

Oh, and in case you now start to think that it’s all a grand conspiracy, you know, one of those where everyone who do not talk are shady characters and evil corporations lurk behind everything, all bend on keeping the truth from you. (Sorry – keeping The Truth from you.)

I wish.

By God the Almighty I wish.

Yes, I understand. I can see it in your eyes. In your attitude. I too would think me a weirdass lunatic if I were in your shoes. The most pathetic thing is… Your’re right. I am. I am a weirdass lunatic.

But even crazy people are right from time to time. It happens.

That’s what happens when you attend the grandest party of all time, you see. And if, by some odd chance, you get out of it alive.

Did I mention that, as far as I know, I am the only survivor? Yes, yes, that’s right. Can you believe it? Can you fucking believe it? For a long time I couldn’t either. Not sure I can now, to be honest, but all evidence suggests that I am. And it’s driving me crazy.

I am lonely. Do you know how it feels to be all alone in the world? Without a companion and without even the tiniest hope of seeing that undervalued, so human, flicker of recognition in another person’s eye? Desperately trying to see even a hint of sympathy?

No. No, of course not. How could you? But it’s not as interesting as it sounds, I tell you.

Knowledge is a bitch.

As I said, everyone was there. All the VIPs, from all the Important Circles of Society – politicians, artists, rock- and pop stars (hell, even some r’n’b and tough hip hop stars, can you believe it?), the foremost thinkers in the sciences and philosophy, and, of course, business men worth their salt were in attendance too. Nobody wanted to miss this once-in-a-lifetime event.

They got what they were looking for, I bet. Just not the way they expected.

It all took place in the grandest place in the city. Of course. Nothing less would do. But don’t think we’re talking about a huge, gothic mansion or something like that. No. Quite the opposite. I suppose the best description I can come up with is, hm… Do you know the architect Pei? Yes, you’ve heard of him? Good, then you know that his designs are with a modern modern, 20th Century outlook, and with an emphasis on light. Clean, open spaces to make sure light enters as much as possible. This was such a building – in the form of the biggest, most venerated modern mansion in the city.

What? You don’t recall that such a building exists in this city, you say? But of course you don’t. Remember what I said about the empty recesses of certain places in your memory? Well, this is one of them, I tell you.

Besides, that architectural gem is gone too. Along with everyone else that fatal night. Gone the same place as the memories, I suppose.

Now, the party was going well and everyone was having the blast of a time – and as always when joy and partying is mingled with unmanned amounts of alcohol hedonistic traits started to surface, and it wasn’t midnight yet when debauchery was more than an erotic note beneath every conversation and all the music playing and all the bodies dancing; it was all that was on everyone’s mind and, not long after that, all that the bodies lived.

No one at all – and I do mean no human being present – noticed the advancement of the darkness from outside. Just as the particular structure of the building made sure light entered the best possible ways during daytime, the structure also guaranteed that the dark entered the best possible ways during nighttime. Or, you could say, entered the worst possible ways. Very yin-yang. So come midnight, and madness, shrieking, and orgasmic killing, outright slaying, I tell you, was all there was for a terrible while. And then all there was was… annihilation.

Where are you going? Why, you need to hear the rest. It is of utmost important that you hear this, that you learn from this. You hear me? Now, stay. No, don’t go. Stay. Listen! Stay, I say! You fucking retard – don’t try to escape, there is no escape, why don’t you listen, why won’t you people fucking ever listen? Stay put or I’ll have to –

Fuck. See what happened? See what you made me do?

Fuck. Again. And you’re a pretty heavy guy. Never thought of working out, huh? You could at least have done so out of consideration for me. Ugh, you’re too heavy for me. Okay, I’ll drag you, drag you across the street. See – you satisfied now? I’m sweating, fucking panting my ass off to carry your sorry ass over to that dark place her. Right across the street. We’re lucky there’s no cars around right now, huh? Now, you see that, right there? No? No, of course not. You’ve never given it any thought. Just a huge area of ground hidden in the shadows, right? Why the fuck are you people so stupid? How can you ignore it?

That’s where the mansion was. Where the party went down! Now swallowed by darkness. And I just wanted to show it to you. Sigh. Now I’ll just have to throw you in there – in there with the rest. To haunt in the damp recesses of our minds.

There. There you go. You lie there and have a nice time with the others. The souls of the guests, and the souls of the others who tried to escape, like you.

Huh, what do you know? Someone is coming down the sidewalk. Perhaps he – oh, sorry, it’s a she – will listen.

Hey there, girl. Hello.

Have you heard of the party? It was the party…

In the Works

So, how’s it going with the books? Well, here’s a brief wrap-up of the situation today:



Seret” by John Mayer. For Hex Code and Others by John Mayer.



  • Hex Code and Others by John Mayer. I am back on track with this, which will be the first hardcover in English from me. It’s a beauty. I don’t expect any more glitches here, so it’s an August 2012 release.
  • A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos: Origins Of the Cthulhu Mythos by John D. Haefele. Just received the 200+ pages from John, and printed what I need to read the next week. Honestly, folks, this will change scholarship re. Derleth & Lovecraft. ‘Nuff said for now. Publication: October 2012.
  • Lovecraftian Covens by Franklyn Searight. Publication: November 2012.


BOOKS IN DANISH (written in Danish):

  • Pix. Novellesamling med moderne, gotiske fortællinger, redigeret af Henrik Sandbeck Harksen. Inkl. en CD med et nummer komponeret af Ras Bolding eksklusivt til denne udgivelse. Alt i alt en udgivelse ulig nogen anden i Danmark. Forventes udgivet i oktober eller november 2012. (Nærmere information følger snart, inkl. vedr. novellerne og forfatterne.)


Oh… Have I forgotten to mention that there will soon be a call for submission in the third Series? A follow-up to the already very popular Urban Cthulhu: Nightmare Cities. Theme? — Well, again the title says most, if not all: Whisperers in Darkness: New Horrors.

More on that one soon, here and on the website…

Stay tuned;-)

Coming: Updates and Emails Coming Friday Aug. 24

Just thought you’d like to know. ‘Tis time this man walks out his dark cave and make some announcements, updates and generally start spewing weird stuff upon the unsuspecting World again. No more sleeping.

That also means that the contributors to recent publications + coming publications shall expect receiving mails from me. Danish and English.

As they say nowadays:



Cover to Darktowne by Ran Cartwright. Cover art & design by Allen Koszowski and Henrik Sandbeck Harksen.


Book Shelf VIII


I only have two T. E. D. Klein books — but what books! He is indeed, as many experts claim, one of the modern masters. I especially like The Ceremonies. It’s one of the rare novels that manages to build a sense of horror all the way through. A shame he didn’t write so many tales. As you can see these two fine books are nested between books by Jan Kjærstad and Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. None of those read yet by me.

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Weeeeee, look what just arrived!!!:-D Signed copy of Kiernan’s latest collection, including this beautifully produced booklet “on the side” that come with this limited edition, “The Yellow Book.” It’s no. 440 out of 600, btw, just like volume 1. I notice the collection is dedicated to the gents. Wilum H. Pugmire and S. T. Joshi. Very nice.

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