Within the Pulse of Darkness

An essay by Cassius Carter, as provided by Lucas Leery
Art by Luke Spooner

Dear Cass,

I invite you to assist me on my next expedition. The site is in remote, northern land that I trust you will remember well. Your task will be simple: to record data thoroughly and accurately.

I apologize, but I cannot share more. You must understand the significance of this project. Please keep my offer private, as my research is of a most sensitive nature.

I leave Thursday.



Though we had been friends since childhood, Kent’s proposition was strictly business. The letter nonetheless excited me, snapped my thoughts from the doldrums of my daily routine. Despite its vagueness, I accepted his offer in hopes of reconnecting with a friend lost to time. The letter was stark and abrupt, much like the writer himself, but I sensed in its language something as close to a plea as ever a man like Kent could make. Somehow, though I had not heard from him in over a decade, I felt a responsibility to respond. Besides, the trip was an excuse for escape, if but brief, from my life as a bachelor in the city, a situation I found exceedingly tedious as the years wore on me.

Kent worked as a geobiologist studying the evolution of Earth’s relationship with life. Though we had fallen largely out of touch since our schooldays, I kept up to date on his studies by following him in academic publications. In recent years, however, his name had disappeared from headlines, and I assumed that he had taken his career elsewhere. I myself, a former laboratory technician who now struggled as a freelance science journalist, was surprised to hear that he still practiced research in the field.

I was not surprised, however, that he had chosen me for his companion. We grew up together exploring deep within those northern reaches, woods I once knew more intimately than anyone alive. Moreover, I pursued science seriously enough to make a career of it, was familiar with equipment and repairs, and was a trustworthy, if not predictable, friend. Besides, I was a budding science journalist. He made it clear from the start that he intended the story of this expedition to make headlines.

Art for "Within The Pulse Of Darkness"

The sleet had melted through the day, and the forest was deepening to a cold blue-black light, the dark forms of trees silhouetted against a thick and colorless sky. A faint choir’s trembling pulse drifted to me from beyond the spectral darkness.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2018 collection.

Cassius (Cass) Carrington, born 1904, was a lab technician and science journalist who lived most of his adult life in Boston, MA. Quiet and reserved, Cass was known for his love of stories, whiskey, and the outdoors. He perished on a camping trip in 1966, leaving behind a wife and two sons. His body was never found.

Lucas Leery lives on the coast of Maine and spends a lot of time outside, collecting treasures found in the ocean and on land.

Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree, he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy, or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility, as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.

“Within the Pulse of Darkness” is Copyright 2018 Lucas Leery
Art accompanying story is Copyright 2018 Luke Spooner

Follow us online:
This entry was posted in Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.