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In this story, a man relates a recurring dream of Middle Eastern swordsmen on horseback riding hard toward him along a curve of sandy shore. They approach closer and closer each night, and he is haunted and afraid. Eventually, one morning the man is found "sliced to ribbons" (or similar language) in his bed. Apparently he offended someone very powerful. This is a story by a famous author, I am quite sure: Poe or similar, but not as far out as Lovecraft or his buddies.

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  • Speaking of Lovecraft, The Hound is similar in concept (but probably not what you're looking for)
    – Shawn
    Dec 17, 2023 at 2:52

1 Answer 1

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The Janissaries of Emilion by Basil Copper.

This novelette is told by a friend of a brilliant scientist who began experiencing a series of interconnected dreams where he washes up ashore of a beach during what he somehow knows to be of ancient times. Each time the dream finds him moved a little closer inland toward a beautiful city in the distance which he also inexplicably knows is called Emilion. Although he doesn’t know her name, he knows a woman lives there which is his lover and that he needs to go to her. The first time he wakes from the dream, he’s damp with seawater and has sand all over his skin. As the dreams draw him nearer to the city, a horde of warriors come into view between him and the city calling themselves The Janissaries of Emilion. He believes if they reach him in the dream, they’ll kill him both there and in the real world.

I read it in a horror anthology as a boy of ten, probably in The Eighth Pan Book of Horror Stories by the legendary Herbert van Thal as those anthologies were compulsory reading back in the 1970s. It terrified the pants off me and I couldn't sleep for several days, though I'm sure it would be very tame if I read it now. It made such an impression that I clearly remember it after fifty years.

The story can be read in the scan of Copper's anthology And Afterward, the Dark on the Internet Archive.

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  • That's the one! Yes, I found this story mesmerizing. I'll have to look up more Basil Copper, since in the real world (not the world of dreams) I would swear I have never heard of him!
    – Alveric
    Dec 17, 2023 at 16:11

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