Dabbled in Blood, the Masked Figure

Tuesday’s Short Story, January 25, 2022

The Masque of the Red Death  by Edgar Allan Poe (1842)



This month of January is the anniversary of  Edgar Allan Poe (birth January 19, 1809). What better time to mark our appreciation of this great writer than to read one of his stories?

The Masque of the Red Death is fast 20-minute read for readers who love supernatural and mystery. I think this story has a timeliness during this Covid pandemic when we are all wearing masks and where many of us wish we could run away to our private abbeys to stay safe.

“The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous.”

Prince Prospero summons his dominions to his castle, an abbey in the far hills. Here the ‘gay society’ is safe to enjoy themselves in the seven rooms of different colors—which have its own mystery. We are at a masked ball with music and dancing, but who arrives? An uninvited mysterious figure. In the seventh room that is draped in black velvet with blood red window panes, our tale goes deep with supernatural, psychological, and horrific elements in grand Poe style. This is soooooo Gothic!

Read the short story at Gutenberg.org



Listen to the audio read by Sir Christopher Lee:


Watch the film created at the University of Technology, Sydney for Media Arts and Production (15 minutes). Sweeping, baroque, and spooky.



Poe wrote in many genres. He was the first to include deep psychological and intuitive horror in his stories. His tales often reflect that the true monster of evil is within each person and what happens when that evil is acted upon. His most famous work is The Raven.





Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories (some with audio), by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.


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 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

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7 responses to “Dabbled in Blood, the Masked Figure

  1. I remember going to this story back in March, 2020, for obvious reasons. There have been a lot of “pandemic wipes out the human race” stories, but few are as rich as that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point, Brian. I’ve actually not been reading many of the covid stories out there. It’s bad enough we have to live it and hear about real life stories happening. Spending my time in more covid stories or fiction just wasn’t appealing. You are right, The Masque of the Red Death is extraordinary.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You found a Christopher Lee reading of The Masque of the Red Death? That’s so cool!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Steven Arellano Rose

    This is one of his best stories and a favourite of mine. It’s so true that it’s so much like today’s Covid plague and it definitely is worthy of an allusion for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Steven: Yeah, the parallels of covid and masks and alienation/isolation are so striking. I also like that a certain element of society sought to escape and enjoy themselves regardless of everyone else suffering and dying. The story ending is of course so disturbing. I think it was the cholera pandemic of 1832 that inspired Poe to write the story. But then Poe was often obsessed with man’s fear of death. Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steven Arellano Rose

        No problem! Yes, often the fear of death is what makes a lot of good horror. It even helps some (at least earlier in life) cope with the problem.

        Liked by 1 person

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