House of Dusk and Shadows

The Room in the Tower   by E.F. Benson  (1912)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, January 21, 2014

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“Jack will show you your room. I have given you the room in the tower.”

Sound friendly enough? Not in this story. Picture this: you are sixteen years old and a habitual dreamer with mostly pleasant adventures. One night you dream of a house full of shadows with a dark gloomy staircase leading to a tower where “Jack” brings you to your room. The room-in-the-tower nightmare produces a paralyzing fear but of what exactly you cannot identify.  And then this nightmare has the power of recurring in your sleep for years as you grow into an adult. And the nightmares grow too, each one becoming more frightening than the first.

Oh but this is only a dream, you say. Just wake up and go on with your life. And so you do … until the elements of the nightmare begin to appear in your waking life. And you actually meet “Jack” who leads you upstairs to the room in the tower.

Out of the dark silence comes the voice …

 “Jack will show you your room. I have given you the room in the tower.”

Wow I love stories like this! (My own novel Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural is similar in that it deals with the power of nightmares and how the subconscious and the conscious mind can mix it up and become true horror; so this story really spoke to me.)   E.F Benson explores the subconscious mind in a most disturbing way in The Room in the Tower. There might be tea on the lawn to lull the dreamer in, but there is also a dreaded silence to say nothing of the odors of decay and inexplicable bloody hands. And most important, the mysterious reality of supernatural dreaming.

ghostsEFBenson60075

79px-Benson,_27English novelist Edward Frederick Benson (Fred to his friends) was a prolific author of ghost    stories. He’s not as popular as some of the other authors here at Tales of Terror, but he was good enough to earn high praise from Lovecraft. Lovecraft so admired Benson’s talents, he mentioned several of  Benson’s titles in his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature (IX).If you’ve never experienced the stories of Fred Benson, get upstairs into that Room in the Tower.

Read The Room in the Tower at Gaslight (30-minute read)

Listen to the Librivox Recording (A good one!) recorded by Drew Heinmiller.

You’ll find more stories by E.F. Benson at  Gutenberg.net.

REMINDER: FEBRUARY IS WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH!

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 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

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GoodKindles.net      The Gothic Wanderer

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6 Comments

Filed under Dreams, fiction, psychological horror, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror

6 responses to “House of Dusk and Shadows

  1. Hi Paula,

    I thought your review of EF Benson book House of Dusk and Shadows was spot-on: fair, balanced, and with an objective overview. Your review sure makes me want to read it. Thanks for being a credible blogger.

    Valerie

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  2. I’d never read anything by E.F. Benson, but this one was very creepy – I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more by him – or is it a her?

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  3. Thanks, Jay. So, you like AC Benson? I’ve only read EF at this point. The Slype House; what an intriguing title. Yeah, it’s really convenient to have a free short story at your fingertips. My readers are very keen on that.

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  4. Jay

    Hi Paula,
    The only one of the “Brothers Benson” I’ve read is A.C. Benson, whose “The Slype House” is one of my favorites http://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/he-knew-that-a-battle-had-been-fought-over-his-soul-and-that-evil-had-not-prevailed-a-c-bensons-the-slype-house/

    I do think I have an E.F. Benson story among my anthologies that I haven’t gotten to yet, but it’s not this one, which sounds like one I’d like. As always, thanks for including the links tothe story inthe different formats. Makes it easy for your readers to follow through with reading when the stories are “right there.” 🙂

    -Jay

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