‘The Hospice’ by Robert Aickman

I was introduced to Aickman’s work in 2014, through a collaboration with the Curious Tales collective. It was the centenary of Aickman’s birth and Faber had reissued his ‘strange stories’ – I read two collections back to back, Cold Hand in Mine and Dark Entries, immersing myself in his world. In ‘The Hospice’, Lucas Maybury is driving home when he gets lost, ending up “somewhere at the back of beyond”. Hungry, injured and low on petrol, he stops at The Hospice for dinner and accommodation. What follows is an unnerving and anxiety-dreamlike experience, and a memorably unsettling final paragraph.

First published in Cold Hand in Mine: Eight Strange Stories, Victor Gollancz, 1975. Also collected in Cold Hand in Mine, Faber & Faber, 2014

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