The Red Hand is a horror novella by Welsh writer Arthur Machen.
The Red Hand features the main characters from The Three Impostors. The story focuses on a murder performed with an ancient stone axe.
The mercurial Dyson and rationalist Phillipps debate the prospect that troglodyte man walks among them in the streets of London. They step out for an evening stroll and drift into an obscure region of town, where they stumble across a murder victim.
There’s a primitive flint knife near the scene and ‘a few rude marks, done in red chalk’ on the wall. A cryptic, hand-written note and a drunken woman in a Gray’s Inn Road pub soon deepen the mystery.
Dyson’s ‘theory of improbability’, literary aptitude and walker’s knowledge of the city lead him to the obscene truth – an unfathomable horror that leaves our intuitive and intellectual interlocutors alike high and dry.
The Red Hand was first published in 1895.
Arthur Machen (1863-1947) was a Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella "The Great God Pan" (1890; 1894) has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror (Stephen King has called it "Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language"). He is also well known for his leading role in creating the legend of the Angels of Mons.