The Viy by Nikolai Gogol
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As soon as he found himself alone, he began to feel in the grip of his fears. He again saw the dark pictures of the saints in their gilt frames, and the black coffin, which stood menacing and silent in the middle of the church. - Nikolai Gogol
"The Viy" is a short horror story which possesses a singularly rare quality to stay in the reader's mind forevermore. This is the first story that I have read by Nikolai Gogol, but it will most certainly not be my last.
The story recounts the brief adventure of three travellers, all university students that wander from one town to the next in the blaring heat of the summer's sun in search of food and lodging. When they encounter a small town in the dead of night, the three university students part their separate ways and accept their lodging by a strange old lady that allows them to spend the night at her house. Thomas, the main character, is forcibly separated from his friends Khalava (the theologian) and Tiberius Gorobetz (the philosopher), and is taken into a corner of a barn where he is expected to sleep with the animals. Exhausted by his tireless wandering throughout the day, he is nearly asleep when he is startled by the presence of the same old lady. Her appearance is very much the same, but there is something distrusting about her eyes and the way them gleam at him under the faint reflection of the moonlight. Immediately he distrusts her presence, but it is too late- he has fallen into the hands of a witch and not even Thomas can stop the fateful ties that has strung their two souls together. Will Thomas ever be able to break the unholy bond between them? For even in death the witch haunts him still! And can Thomas' desperate prayers of exorcism stop her scheming spells, or is the witch's powers to great for even Thomas to break free from them?
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