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When I was homeless, I stumbled onto a collection of horror short stories from either 2002 or 2003. They where all based around a single award I can't remember the name of.

The only memorable story was told through a collection of postcards found in a museum archive that was being put up for auction. Following the theories of "Forsythe" (the only name I remember), a man journeys to a remote location in search of the "Snake goddess". His team is killed off, and he is detained. A man with a tongue made of silver stabs him and then a priestess has sex with him. He watches her give birth to something that looks like a giant centipede/snake. The story ends with the last postcard being a drawing of a naked woman sitting on a throne, while on man is about to be attacked by a giant centipede/snake monster. The drawing is called "judgment".

This story impressed me and has had an influence on my writing; unfortunately I can't actually remember its name.

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  • Are the postcards illustrations, or just described verbally?
    – Spencer
    Nov 12, 2021 at 14:47

1 Answer 1

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The Prospect Cards by Don Tumasonis. I read it in the horror anthology Dark Terrors 6.

Dark Terrors 6

The story begins:

Card No. 1

Description: A dock, in some Levantine port. A number of men and animals, mostly mules, are congregated around a moored boat with sails, from which large tonnes, evidently containing wine, labelled as such in Greek, are being either loaded or unshipped.

And it ends:

Card no. 22

Description: A shining centipede probably of gold, coiled upon a dais of ebony, or some other dark wood, this last encrusted with bejewelled precious metal of arabesque form. The central object’s size may be inferred from the various items imbedded in it: Roman cameos, Egyptian scarabs, coins from crushed empires and forgotten kingdoms, some thousands of years old, the votive offerings of worshippers over the millennia we infer the sculpture to have existed. The object is fabulous: an utter masterwork of the goldsmith’s art rivalled only by the Cellini salt cellar and one or two other pieces. It almost seems alive

Forsythe is one of the characters, but it a character called Evans who has the theories about the snake goddess:

Card no. 4

Evans, who should have stuck to Bosnia and Illyria. I never thought his snake goddesses to be anything other than some Bronze Age fantast’s wild dream, if indeed the reconstructions are at all accurate.

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