The River of Mystery (Synopsis)

Clark Ashton Smith

An explorer follows a little-known river in Africa which suddenly plunges into an ^alien^ [unknown] world or dimension. In this world, the river turns to a red, luminous, flame-like substance, in which the boat continues to float without being burned. The explorer finds that the wood of the boat is undergoing a strange change, and that his own flesh is turning translucent. His feelings are indescribable, and constitute a mingling of alarm and strange exhilaration. He is drawn to land by a weird-sweet music, and finds that it issues from a circle of gigantic flowers, standing about a flat black spongy stone, which form an impenetrable wall about him with their thorny leaves when he ventures among them. A strange animal has been also trapped within the circle, and a sort of shadow, like a pillar of black radiance, issues from the porous, flat stone and devours this creature. Then, from the heavens, a luminous grey cloud comes down and does battle with the shadow. The explorer escapes, ^conveyed by the cloud,^ and rowing backward on the weird river, re-emerges in Africa.

(Have a native guide, whose arm is devoured by the shadow. There are two suns in this world, of diverse colors, circling low down in opposite areas of the heavens. )

^xxx^ xxx was added by Smith.
[xxx] xxx was deleted by Smith.

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