The Unconquerable (32)

By: Helen MacInnes
February 5, 2015

macinnes

HiLoBooks is pleased to serialize Helen MacInnes’s 1944 novel The Unconquerable (later reissued as While We Still Live), an espionage adventure that pits an innocent English woman against both Nazis and resistance fighters in occupied Poland. MacInnes, it’s worth noting, was married to a British intelligence agent, which may explain what one hears is the amazing accuracy of her story’s details. Under the editorship of HILOBROW’s Joshua Glenn, the Save the Adventure book club will reissue The Unconquerable as an e-book for the first time ever. Enjoy!

ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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Chapter 32: The Decision

The lodge was dark and cold and empty. Sheila paused at the door and looked for a moment at the stone fireplace. Its warm ashes were now scattered. Last night there had been songs and laughter. Last night she had sat over there with Adam and watched Jan and his spear-making with amusement. Accidents fell so sharply, brought tragedy quite beyond their proportion.

And now the maps on the walls had gone, the papers on the table had gone, Adam had gone. “I’ll follow you,” he had said. The worry that had chilled her eyes was leaving her. Adam would follow her. He would find her. She could even manage to smile for Mr Olszak. He was thinner and smaller, but he had lost none of his alertness.

“You look well,” he said as he took her hands. He looked keenly at her face, “Very well indeed. The forest agrees with you, I see.”

“I am glad to see you,” she said simply. “I’ve wondered how everything has been in Warsaw.”

“Not very good.” He let go her hands and walked back to the table. Sheila sat down on the bench. She rested her arms on the table: here it was where he used to work, the maps spread out in front of him just where her hand now touched the solid wood.

“Some of our departments were almost blotted out before they could get started. Jan Reska’s, for instance. We’ll have to organize the teaching of the children in another way. The school-teachers have been slaughtered. There’s no other word for it.” Olszak’s face was bitterly dark. Then he went on, forcing his voice to a cheerfulness he obviously did not feel, “However, other departments have been more fortunate. We’ve two secret newspapers with good circulation. The hidden radio system is having excellent results. We have established several efficient routes for secret travel, and we are managing to keep our contact with friends abroad. On the whole, I should say we have a lot to be thankful for.”

“What about Jan Reska?”

“He’s come here. He feels he will do better as a fighter than as an organizer.”

Sheila stared at Olszak blankly. “But Reska’s got brains. And he’s got courage. He’s liberal and sincere. He would be a good organizer.”

“These qualities you mention are also needed in a good fighter. He himself doesn’t think he’s a good organizer. He wants action. I agree with him.”

Then Reska had failed in his job. Olszak was letting him down as lightly as possible.

It seemed as if Mr Olszak was back in his old habit of reading her thoughts, for he said, “When this war is over I shall retire to the mountains. I intend to write a study on what makes, or doesn’t make, a man capable of efficient leadership. It is nothing you can see on the surface. It may even be nothing you can explain. But I should like to try.”

“When did Jan Reska come? I haven’t seen him.”

“Early this morning. He travelled with Casimir and Madame Aleksander and a dog. Madame Aleksander insisted on the dog. It was madness. But both Casimir and Reska supported her view.” He shook his head with extreme disapproval.

“Madame Aleksander?”

“They had to leave her at one of the small villages northeast of the forest. Dwór it is called. She is resting there. She was supposed to continue the last part of the journey with a village guide, to-morrow.” He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, but that plan will have to be changed too. “She isn’t so very well at the moment. And the journey from Warsaw tried her strength sorely.”

He paused. Then he said in the same even, purposely cold voice, “Edward Korytowski was imprisoned in Dachau. Then the Germans gave him the chance to head a Co-operative Council. He refused. He’s dead.”

He paused again. “Andrew Aleksander is a prisoner of war in Westphalia. The camp is already notorious. We have proof that the prisoners are subjected to every kind of insult and beating. There have even been some cases of torture. There is little hope for prisoners of war in Germany if their country has no German prisoners of war. When the Germans hold the whip hand they use it.”

He paused again. And then, as if to try and dispel the horror in the girl’s eyes, he said, “But all my news is not bad. Hofmeyer is still safe and working well. Russell Stevens reached Switzerland and accomplished his mission and had an interesting conversation with your uncle.”

“Uncle Matthews? Steve’s in London, then?”

“They met in France, actually. Stevens, by the way, has accepted a job in Geneva. On your uncle’s advice. He is still fighting with us.”

“I knew he would,” Sheila said. “Schlott and Bill?”

“Fighting on, too. Each in their own way.”

“I knew they would — at least, I hoped they would.”

“What made you fear that they might not?”

“Well, it would be only human to — well, relax or ease up or something. Once you felt out of danger, that is. Once you were away from the bombings and the massacres. It takes a lot of self-control for a hungry man to look at a roasted turkey and then choose dry bread instead.” She hesitated for a moment, and then added, “Uncle Matthews… Is he angry with me?”

Olszak smiled openly. “Annoyed in some ways, perhaps. In other ways, he seems to be quite proud.”

Olszak watched the girl’s startled eyes. His amusement increased. “So, you’ve nothing to be proud of!” he said.

Sheila reddened, shrugged her shoulders, traced the pattern of the wood with her fingers. Olszak was probably trying to cheer her up, after having depressed her so violently with the first part of his news. One thing was certain: she had no tears left. They were all used up. Andrew… Uncle Edward… They were now woven into the same grim pattern of sadness which covered her memory of Barbara, of Aunt Marta, of little Teresa, of Jan, of Korytów. And the pattern would keep increasing, it would become more complex still. Perhaps only one’s own death ever ended it.

“You are fond of your uncle?” Olszak asked suddenly.

She looked up in surprise. “Yes.”

“You would obey him if he gave a really sincere order? You trust his judgment now?”

Sheila was suddenly wary. “I trust his judgment,” she said evenly.

Olszak leaned against the table’s corner. “He would like you to leave Poland. He has asked me to act in his place and see that you do.”

Sheila was silent. And then she spoke quickly as if to make up the time she had lost by that silence. “But when he decided that he didn’t know how much I want to stay. There’s no question of going away. Not now. He was only thinking of my safety. He doesn’t know that I am safe, that ——”

The sudden change in Olszak’s eyes halted her.

“Yes,” he said quietly, “the hungry man wants the roasted turkey….”

“But that’s not fair, Mr Olszak.” Her voice was rising. Olszak looked quickly towards the window at the back of the Lodge. But it was only the doctor’s wife passing by.

“There’s no choice about what is my duty this time, thank God!” Sheila was ending.

“No?”

She stared at Olszak. A sudden fear warned her. She searched desperately for reasons against her going. “You know I can’t leave Poland. What about Anna Braun? She cannot come to life in another country. Mr Hofmeyer couldn’t go on working then.”

“Our Mr Hofmeyer saw that possibility coming. The story of your abduction and possible death on the Lowicz road was generally accepted. Actually, we ourselves were extremely upset about it until we got your message from one of Wisniewski’s men. You were in all the German-controlled newspapers. Not the headlines, I’m sorry to say. Just a small paragraph headed Polish Terrorism. As far as my men can discover, Streit and Engelmann had no reason to doubt the official report on your disappearance. But there’s a man called Heinrich Dittmar.”

Sheila’s face went rigid.

“Dittmar, it seems, didn’t altogether accept the story of your probable death. He questioned Madame Aleksander with unnecessary violence. Oh, yes, he vented some of his temper on her. But he learned nothing. Madame Aleksander was released; no doubt he hoped she would lead him to you if you were still alive. However, we have seen to it that her journey here was most secret. Except for that damned dog.” Olszak shook his head slowly, incredulously — his love of perfection had been affronted by such an idea.

“Well, to return to Dittmar… He visited the Lowicz road. Then he questioned the spy who had reported your presence in Reymont’s camp. Then he visited the camp itself. He collected the remains of your papers and clothes. Then he visited the two villages which lie to the south-east of Reymont’s wood. For the spy was wounded severely, by the way, after the German attack on the camp. He was shot as he stood on the road beside a staff car. He was shot by some one who escaped over the fields to the south-east. That some one evaded the German soldiers who tried to follow him. Dittmar, two days later on the scene, guessed that the man who had tried to kill the spy must have been hidden in a near-by village while the Germans had searched the fields. Usually a man tries to get far away from the scene of his shooting; but when no widespread search found a wandering Polish soldier Dittmar guessed that the man had stayed so close to the woods that he had outwitted the Germans who were searching. So Dittmar visited the two nearest villages beside the wood on its south-east side. He visited them very thoroughly.”

He stopped and looked at Sheila’s face. “Did you know about that shooting?”

“No. Not at the time. Now it — it seems as if I should have known.” She remembered how the talkative Jan had been so abrupt about that return visit to the wood. She remembered his words to the blacksmith near Rogów: “Five good bullets.” At the time she had thought, why only five? The men had all loaded their revolvers fully before they left Reymont’s camp. Now she knew. “Yes, it might have been Jan,” she said. Dear Jan, she thought, you always did things which infuriated less impulsive people, and yet they always liked you all the more in spite of their irritation.

“But how do you know all this about Dittmar?” she asked with veiled admiration.

“I’ve shared your distrust of the man,” Olszak said with a narrow smile. “He’s only made one mistake so far. He has a weakness for a young man. You know him. His name is Hefner.”

“But Hefner isn’t one of us.”

“No. Decidedly no. He is merely a young man with a lot of ambition attached to his snobbery. He isn’t quite sure yet whether Hofmeyer or Dittmar is the man whose coat-tails are going to pull him into power. He accompanied Dittmar on his search for information, and Hofmeyer found out as much as he dared when Hefner returned to Warsaw. Hofmeyer can handle Hefner very neatly: he knows that young man’s price. In return, he can always depend on stray pieces of information. They are enough for our friend Hofmeyer.”

Mr Olszak’s smile was really very peculiar. “What would you have done, Sheila, if you had been Hofmeyer and had seen Dittmar’s suspicions growing about your late secretary? Especially if that secretary, Anna Braun, was out of danger from Dittmar?”

Sheila’s smile was nervous. “If I were Hofmeyer…” she began slowly. She halted. “No, I wouldn’t. At least, I don’t think so….”

“Yes, you would. If you knew your whole organization was at stake you would. You’d have to pretend to play the game your opponent’s way. That’s what Hofmeyer had to do. Anna Braun, the pawn, was sacrificed. While Dittmar was searching every corner of these two villages to try to find some one who had belonged to the camp, so that he could learn more about you; while Dittmar saw some pieces of grey wool hanging out to dry behind one of the cottages and thought it looked expensive cloth for a peasant to own; while Dittmar found that the weave of the grey material matched your jacket which had been found at Reymont’s camp, our Mr Hofmeyer was having a most serious talk with Engelmann and Streit. It seems he had become suspicious about Anna Braun. He had been making complicated investigations. He still hadn’t exact proof, but he was beginning to believe she had been ‘planted’ on the innocent Germans by the perfidious British. He disproved your life-story as skilfully as only the man could who had invented it. He was careful not to disprove too much, just as he was careful to show you had not learned anything of value if you were a British spy. He agreed with Streit that you were dead. His opinion was that you suffered poetic justice at the hands of your own allies. All he did was to put his suspicions on record before Dittmar could drag him down with you.”

“I asked them to burn that skirt and jumper,” Sheila said unhappily. Olszak’s brows frowned. She hadn’t been listening to anything since he had mentioned that grey material.

He said sharply, “You should have done the burning yourself. You cannot expect anyone who has so little to throw away anything that costs good money.”

She closed her eyes wearily. She was afraid to ask the next question.

“The woman and the children.”

“The woman was questioned — unpleasantly — in front of the children. They screamed out the truth. That last phrase is Hefner’s, as recounted to Hofmeyer.” Olszak paused. “The children were deported. The woman died from the questioning. But not before Dittmar had proof that you weren’t dead, that you were travelling south with a man and a boy.”

“And now?” An impulse to shoot a spy in the dark, a stained grey skirt whose weave and colour matched a torn, discarded jacket — small things to end one’s feeling of success, small things to bring such complete failure and tragedy….

“Dittmar is continuing his search for you. He didn’t return to Warsaw with Hefner. He has disappeared meanwhile.”

“It’s you he is really after,” Sheila said slowly. “I alone am not worth all this trouble.”

“That he is searching for Kordus is nothing new,” Olszak said coolly. “I think a psychiatrist would perhaps give us the real answer to Dittmar’s persecution of you.”

“He’s searching for Olszak now. If he finds that Olszak isn’t so harmless as he pretends, then he will have all Olszak’s friends and contacts arrested, too. He has already killed most of Kordus’s friends and found that wasn’t enough.” Now she knew why this man had doubled his name. Not to keep his Kordus activities secret, as anyone would naturally suppose; but to keep Olszak’s interests and friends quite safe. It was the use of the pseudonym in reverse.

And as Olszak still kept silent, his thoughts hidden behind his clever eyes, she said quickly, “Don’t men ever suffer from intuition? Or, as Steve would say, haven’t you heard of anyone having a hunch?”

Olszak was looking at her, at least.

“For I think Dittmar has one. And he doesn’t want to chase away all the others he could catch with Olszak if he hunted him slowly and carefully.” The last time she had seen Dittmar he had brought Olszak’s name into the conversation. Subtly, cleverly. She tried hard to remember Dittmar’s exact words and failed. She had had so many things to think about recently… she was forgetting. She had believed that her life in Warsaw as Anna Braun was over, and she had tried to forget it. She had succeeded.

Olszak had risen from the table and paced in front of it, his hands clasped behind his back. “I don’t disbelieve in intuition,” he said. “I’ve had attacks of it myself.” Then he stopped his pacing and faced her squarely. “Well, we won’t discuss that any more. I’ve one thing to ask you.” And it seemed as if the imperturbable Mr Olszak didn’t enjoy asking it. There was a pause, a sharp look from his quick eyes, some more pacing round the table. He wasn’t looking at her any more.

“I want you to take Madame Aleksander and Stefan out of the country. You will have papers in order, you will travel by train to Vienna and then to Switzerland. You will be given suitable clothes and money and a story to fit your papers. Stanislaw Aleksander will do an excellent job for you. In Vienna you will be met and sheltered by an Austrian. In Switzerland Stevens will see that you are sent safely on to France and men England. Others have already travelled this way. You need not worry. Just keep your head and stick to your story. That’s all.”

Sheila said in a low voice, “But now, more than ever, I want to stay here.”

Olszak said with remarkable gentleness, “I know.”

“I can’t go,” she said in sudden desperation.

This time he said nothing.

“Surely, if the journey is to be so prearranged, surely Stefan is old enough to take care of Madame Aleksander?” Her voice became pleading. “Isn’t he?”

“Yes,” he said gently. “They could go alone.”

“But you want me to go. Is that it?”

Watching the controlled face in front of her, she half-guessed the reason.

“Why don’t you say it?” she demanded angrily. “You’ve never been afraid to hurt before.” And then she wished she hadn’t said that. She had placed the barb too well.

Firm footsteps sounded on the hard earth threshold. It was Sierakowski. Sheila’s face lightened as she turned hopefully to him. He was her friend. He was Adam’s friend. He could answer Olszak. And then, as she noticed the relief with which Olszak greeted him, she realized that there would be little help here. Sierakowski had known of Olszak’s plan to send her away. He had come, not to help her, but to join in persuading her.

She looked at both men in turn. “I won’t go,” she said. She was fighting for all her happiness now, the only real happiness she had ever known. Even in war, Uncle Edward had told her, even in war happiness need not be refused.

“If I were to say that sacrifice of individual happiness is sometimes necessary for the good of the whole?” Olszak asked.

“But that doesn’t apply to us. I won’t keep Adam from being a good leader.”

“White hands cling to the bridle rein, slipping the spur from the booted heel.” Olszak quoted the lines slowly.

“No!” Sheila protested. “No.”

“Would Wisniewski have risked that shot this morning, risked the camp, if it hadn’t been you who were about to be savaged by that boar?”

As Sheila’s eyes widened and her lips, half-opened, couldn’t speak, Sierakowski said quietly, “As his wife you would follow the camp rules and live in one of the villages. You would always be in danger of being taken by the Germans and held as a hostage. If Adam weren’t our leader I should say that it would be your own choice to face that. As our leader he needs a free mind.”

“Antoni and Marian ——” began Sheila, and then stopped. It was a weakening of her defence.

“Antoni is hardly Wisniewski, either in his duties or in his — emotions,” Olszak said. “When I chose Wisniewski for this job I knew he had enough energy and training and brilliance for it. I had to wait and see if the responsibility would make him into a true leader. It has. He has learned to think of the good of the whole rather than the happiness of the individual. His job is only beginning. This winter is only the planning stage. He has proven himself. We need him. He’s more important to us as a fighter for freedom with eventually thousands of men depending on his leadership, than he is as the husband or lover of a pretty girl. All we are thinking of now is the freedom we have to regain.”

Sheila felt the mild rebuke sting at her eyes, flail her cheeks until they were scarlet.

“I didn’t think that — that one thing cancelled out the other…” Her voice trailed even as her eyes said, “You are being too harsh.”

“That is why, I suppose, generals bring their wives or mistresses into battlefields? Why captains of warships have their women living on board?”

Sheila rose. She didn’t look at either of them any more. Her heart rebelled, but her mind agreed with them. That was why she had fought so badly: her mind agreed. The choice was not hers to make. It was only in peace and freedom that you could make your own decisions.

The tears, which she had thought were dried up for ever, soaked her face. She turned her head away. She fought for control over her voice and, having failed, kept silent. She walked suddenly towards the door. This large room was crushing her, stifling her. Sierakowski was at her elbow, holding her arm gently. She shook herself free and ran into the open.

“We are going to eat,” he was calling. “We…” He stopped as he saw her face.

She saw a man staring at her as he hobbled towards her.

She turned and ran away from him, away from the Lodge, from Olszak, from Sierakowski standing so silently in the doorway. As if to torture herself still more, she had chosen blindly the short path where Adam had led her last night.

*

In the Lodge Olszak said abruptly, “All plans made for me to leave to-night? Guide ready? Patrols warned?”

Sierakowski turned slowly back into the room.

“Yes, everything’s ready,” he said slowly.

“I’ll take Miss Matthews with me as far as Dwór, where she will find Madame Aleksander. Is the boy Stefan here yet?”

“He hasn’t come back yet. There is scarcely time for his return. It will be difficult to persuade him to leave us.”

“He will do as he’s told. He needs some discipline. He has lived too long with too many women. If he hadn’t gone with that fool Jan this morning Sheila wouldn’t have gone after them, Wisniewski wouldn’t have left us when that young nurse told him where Sheila had gone, the shot would never have been fired, and all this emergency would never have arisen. If that Jan had gone alone, then the score would have been still the same — one dead man…. But the results would have been very different.”

“It was the shot, then, which decided you that Miss Matthews must leave? This morning you accepted her here. You had plans for Madame Aleksander to join us here and help in the hospital.” Sierakowski’s quiet voice softened still more. “And yet, I myself would have fired that shot. So would the rest of the men in the camp. So would you.”

Olszak looked at him keenly. The smile which wasn’t a smile appeared once more on his lips. “Are you trying to plead for them, Sierakowski? No, it wasn’t the shot that decided me. I made the decision when that worried nurse came interrupting me, when Wisniewski leapt to his feet, left us — like that!” He cracked his thin fingers. “Until then I thought it was one of those mad attractions, infatuations, blood-fevers — call it what you will. But then I knew it wasn’t. I saw his face. And now, after this last hour, I know I am right. This isn’t an infatuation that will spend itself in six weeks. It isn’t a pleasant decision for me to make. The right one seldom is.”

He walked over quickly to the silent Sierakowski. “When this fight is over I’ll be the first to find Sheila Matthews and bring her back. She will have earned her happiness.”

“If either of them are still alive,” Sierakowski said heavily.

“If any of us are still alive. It is every one’s risk.” With his short, brisk step Olszak crossed the patch of fading sunlight at the doorway. Evening was coming. Night would follow, and with the darkness Olszak would leave the camp.

Olszak’s arranged everything, Sierakowski thought bitterly, everything except Adam Wisniewski. Olszak won’t be here to face him when he returns. I’ll have to do that. And there will be hell to pay.

The colonel swore softly to himself. The shadows in the room were cold. He moved to the doorway and watched the reddening sky and the trees’ dark skeletons. If the Germans hadn’t heard the shot, if there were no attack, if this alarm was false, then the camp would settle back, here. Adam had planned to leave this week at the latest for the Carpathians. Sierakowski was to have been given command of this camp, while Wisniewski made the long preparations for a summer base in the mountains. It would have been pleasant to be in command here…. Sierakowski shook himself free from his thoughts. There was no time now for regrets. Captain Mlicki would make as good a commander as he would; Mlicki had wanted the command as much as he had.

Under the tree he paused again to listen. No shooting, as yet. No warning signals. Well, the camp would know in another twenty-four hours. It would be able to judge better when the boy Stefan got back with any information from the village. Perhaps there had been no Germans near the forest at the time of the shot. Anyway, the camp would know in another twenty-four hours. If the Germans were going to attack they would strike before then.

Sierakowski looked round him with approval. The men had worked well. The camp had been thoroughly prepared for evacuation. There was a certain sense of pleasure in seeing what had been prepared on paper, against such an emergency as this, suddenly working so smoothly, becoming a fact instead of a series of sentences. His soldier’s training approved, even as he silently cursed this blasted dislocation of camp life. He heard the voices coming from the direction of the kitchen. Better find the English girl and persuade her to eat something, too. She would need it.

This was the path he had seen her choose. He entered it quickly as if to make up for these last minutes of hesitation. He was as nervous about meeting her as he was before a skirmish with the Germans.

When he found her she was lying on the thick bed of leaves round the broad roots of a beech-tree, her eyes fixed on the patchwork of sky overhead. She had heard a twig crack under his foot. She rose and came towards him. His nervousness began to disappear when he saw she was quite calm again.

“I think we’d bett ——” he began hesitatingly.

“Yes,” she said, and walked beside him back to the camp.

Olszak’s wrong, he thought suddenly. And so was I. She would take any amount of punishment without a whimper or complaint. She’s as good a soldier as any man.

He said, “If the Huns don’t attack and the camp settles down again Adam will go to the mountains. All his plans are made. He’s been ready to leave for the Carpathians ever since he got back from the raid.” And now I know why he postponed it to the last minute, he thought, looking down at her guarded face. “That is where he is going to be this winter,” he said.

“I know.” She suddenly looked up at him. The brown eyes with their long sweep of lashes veiling them seemed to be saying, “Did you think I was afraid of mountains or cold or hunger or danger? Did you think I’d be afraid of anything, even ultimate capture by the Germans, if I were with him?”

“I am going with him.”

“I thought you were to be in command here.” The brown eyes were puzzled now, as if searching for the reason behind his decision.

“I am going with him,” Sierakowski said, and he saw she had understood why.

The brown eyes softened, and her hand touched his arm for a moment, and she said, “I am glad.”

NEXT INSTALLMENT | ALL INSTALLMENTS SO FAR

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READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

SERIALIZED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | Morley Roberts’s The Fugitives | Helen MacInnes’s The Unconquerable | Geoffrey Household’s Watcher in the Shadows | William Haggard’s The High Wire | Hammond Innes’s Air Bridge | James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen | John Buchan’s “No Man’s Land” | John Russell’s “The Fourth Man” | E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” | John Buchan’s Huntingtower | Arthur Conan Doyle’s When the World Screamed | Victor Bridges’ A Rogue By Compulsion | Jack London’s The Iron Heel | H. De Vere Stacpoole’s The Man Who Lost Himself | P.G. Wodehouse’s Leave It to Psmith | Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” | Houdini and Lovecraft’s “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” | Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sussex Vampire”.

ORIGINAL FICTION: HILOBROW has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Flourish Klink’s Star Trek fanfic “Conference Comms” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Charlie Mitchell’s “Sentinels” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | John Holbo’s graphic novel On Beyond Zarathustra (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”

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