The Shell of Sense by Olivia Howard Dunbar (1940s)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror April 26, 2016
If you’ve ever mused about what it’s like to be newly dead, here is a story about two sisters, one who has recently passed but remains earthbound. Theresa and Frances. And, Frances’ husband Allan.
It is Frances who has passed but lingers in her home with her sister Theresa and Allan.
“No spirit still unreleased can understand the pang that I felt with Allan sitting almost within my touch. Almost irresistibly the wish beset me to let him for an instant feel my nearness.”
Frances manifests herself as transiently, as a thought. “I could produce the merest necessary flicker, like the shadow of a just-opened leaf, on his trembling, tortured consciousness.”
Oliva Howard Dunbar writes more than a ghost story here. And even more than a love story. Beautifully written, this short story is about jealously and love and will soothe as much as it will haunt.
Olivia Howard Dunbar was Massachusetts-born in 1873, active in the Suffrage Movement, and became editor of New York World. Her stories were published in Harpers and The Dial. She is most famous for her essay The Decay of the Ghost in Fiction. She also wrote The Long Chamber, The Sycamore, and The Dream Baby.
Read the short story The Shell of Sense at EastOfTheWeb.com.
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