Short Story Highlight: “Strabismus” by Stefan Grabiński (Poland)

Weird Fiction Review feature the short story Strabismus by Stefan Grabiński (1887-1936), a Polish writer of horror fiction. It is translated by Miroslaw Lipinski.

He had attached himself to me, I don’t know how or when.

His name was Brzechwa, Jozef Brzechwa. What a name!  Something about it fastens and hooks onto the nerves, irritating them with its grating resonance.  He was cross-eyed.  He especially saw poorly out of his right eye, which peered out in a stone gaze under ruddy lashes.  His small, brick-colored repulsive face grimaced perpetually in a malicious sneer of half-irony, as if in this sorry way it could avenge its own ugliness and squalor.  A tiny, rusty moustache, twirled rakishly upward, moved constantly, like the pincers of a poisonous scarabaeus — sharp, stinging, evil.

A horrible man.

He was agile, elastic as a ball, slender-figured, of medium build; he walked with a light, elusive step and could slip into a room unnoticed like a cat.

I couldn’t stand him from the first time I saw him.  His repugnant look seized me with indescribable disgust and made me think of his character, which suited his physical features so well.

This person was extremely different from me in his disposition, tastes and behavior. For me, he was the personification of antipathy. He was my living antithesis, with whom there could be no reconciliation. Maybe precisely because of this he latched himself onto me with a rabid passion, as if sensing my natural aversion toward him.

He probably experienced particular delight in seeing how unsuccessfully I tried to extricate myself from the nets he was ensnaring me with more and more.  He was my inseparable companion in cafes, on walks, at the club; he knew how to worm his way into the circles of my nearest acquaintances; what’s more, he could conquer the favor of women to whom I was closely connected.  He knew of my smallest plans, my slightest movements. – continue reading.


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