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Crypt of the Moon Spider by Nathan Ballingrud





About Crypt of the Moon Spider


Crypt of the Moon Spider is a dark and dreamy tale of horror, corruption, and identity spun into the stickiest of webs.

Years ago, in a cave beneath the dense forests and streams on the surface of the moon, a gargantuan spider once lived. Its silk granted its first worshippers immense faculties of power and awe.

It’s now 1923 and Veronica Brinkley is touching down on the moon for her intake at the Barrowfield Home for Treatment of the Melancholy. A renowned facility, Dr. Barrington Cull’s invasive and highly successful treatments have been lauded by many. And they’re so simple! All it takes is a little spider silk in the amygdala, maybe a strand or two in the prefrontal cortex, and perhaps an inch in the hippocampus for near evisceration of those troublesome thoughts and ideas.

But patients aren’t the only ones with trouble on their minds, and although the spider’s been dead for years, its denizens are not. Someone or something is up to no good, and Veronica just might be the cause.



Praise For Crypt of the Moon Spider


“This short, surreal novella feels like a slice of a much larger story in the best way. A thoughtful meditation on personhood, judgment, and trauma. Not for the arachnophobic among us.”
—Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the Alchemical Journeys series

“A wicked, pulpy, hideously gorgeous phantasmagoria that will leave you helplessly twitching in its grand web. Nathan Ballingrud once again demonstrates that he’s one of our finest writers.”
—Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts

“Crypt of the Moon Spider is a Gothic fantasy where madness nests within madness of emotional vistas that are as bleak as bleached bones. Ballingrud’s immense talent shines, cold and furious.”
—Laird Barron, author of Not a Speck of Light (Stories)

“Crypt of the Moon Spider is a superb and unnerving work of science fiction.”
—Owen King, author of The Curator

“Nathan Ballingrud is one of our best and most original writers….Crypt of the Moon Spider is psychologically rich, nightmarishly vivid, and deeply scary.”
—Dan Chaon, author of Sleepwalk





We humans on earth try to survive and make do and good within our own perplexing lives and frailties but unfortunately things break, and can and can’t be undone, and one may seek out cures of all kinds and if all else fails there is one on a distant moon involving a home and spiders.
Book a seat on a shuttle to this destination, seats are limited and expensive!

One day in 1923 a Veronica Brinkley was voluntarily handed over in custody by her husband for Treatment of the Melancholy at Barrowfield home.
The complexities of her dilemma upon earth along with the anxieties and frailties of what to come are well crafted necessary elements hooking the read in upon a moon amongst spidery matters and frightening minutes within a metamorphosis of one Veronica with a deeply effective human tragedy.

Upon a moon amidst the immeasurable cosmos denizens of human and spider entities be awaiting with a infusion of human frailty and the macabre and ancient holy wonder in a mesmeric manifestation of gothical grotesque excellence penned by Nathan Ballingrud with a phantasmagoric procession of monstrous delights.

The Brinkleys
Veronica Brinkley
Dr. Barrington Cull
Charlie Duchamp
Goodnight Maggie
Bentley Myles
Alabaster Scholars




Ever since she was a little girl, standing in the swaying grasses of the Nebraska plains and gazing up at the gray shadows on the moon’s face, she dreamed of a day she would be able to go there to see the great woods for herself.

This was 1923, after all, not the Dark Ages. She was not coming here to have an exorcism performed. She was coming here to be cured. It was expensive and he had spent a great deal of money to give her—to give them both—this chance. She was determined to be grateful.

They flew over this expanse for several minutes, until the light from the sun winked out behind an outcropping of rock and they passed completely over to the moon’s hidden face.

Then it dawned on her that the forest was covered in a vast system of spiderwebs, cast over the canopy of every tree, so that it seemed they were flying over a ghostly wood, a revenant returned from darkness in a terrible glamor.

Barrowfield Home was a massive, rectangular gray building sitting among the web-shrouded trees, a great block of stone as incongruous to the setting as a sailing ship. Four stories tall and as smooth as marble, seen from on high it offered no consolation to the eye or spirit: no variation in color, no embellishment, no cheerful banner or window box of lunar perennials. It was a building constructed only to do a job, which was to warehouse people.

A rough-looking, heavyset man stepped aboard. His body looked pale and unfinished, like something wriggled up from the earth. Like a grub. He was smartly dressed in white-and-cream-colored clothing, creating a dissonance she found both grotesque and mildly disquieting—a worm wrapped in a gentleman’s waistcoat.

(More to come upon publication)





About Nathan Ballingrud

Nathan Ballingrud, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, is the author of The Strange, Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell, and North American Lake Monsters, which was adapted into the Hulu series Monsterland. His work has been shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Bram Stoker awards. He lives in Asheville, NC.