'The change came as he was sleeping. There was barely time to prepare himself as the pain ripped through him, his muscles rippling and knotting and every joint in his body, it seemed, being stretched to the breaking point.'
The penultimate story in The Girl with the Peacock Harp is a tricky one. Michael Eisele offers an interesting variation on one of the most familiar tropes of horror fiction. I could add that it was used quite recently by scriptwriter X in TV series Y, but I'm not going to. No spoilers from me! But it could add that the vignette 'The Eyes' is something of a pendant to this longer tale.
Instead of blabbing about the central idea, let me say that it's a well-crafted story that deals with confusion, isolation, and fear. The outcast, in one form or another, dominates this collection. Here the nature of protagonist is implicitly supernatural, but the same sense of alienation is found among 'natural' characters, too. Eisele is on the side of the outsider, like many authors of weird fiction before him. Again and again the man/woman/child/being who seeks to escape the straitjacket of convention must battle for freedom, and sometimes wins.
Last story tomorrow! And, if you haven't clicked on the link above, you're missing a chance to look at a very beautiful book.