Category Archives: free horror short stories online

The Haunted House in the Square, for Halloween

The Empty House  by Algernon Blackwood  (1906)

October’s Short Story for Halloween,  October 21, 2021

 

What could be more satisfying than to read a classic haunted house mystery during Halloween season? Especially a gabled house surrounded by dark gardens that cry out and air fragrant with ruin. Inside lurking staircases flicker shadows, and a faceless clock ticks away on the threshold of midnight.

Dean Koontz says of haunted houses: “We are haunted and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.” How utterly delightful to be a ghost! Maybe our DNAs truly are blueprints of the past.

One of the absolute finest writers of ghost stories is Algernon Blackwood. Here at Reading Fiction Blog, you will find six of his stories to read for free—because Blackwood is a master at ghosts, psychological chills, and performing the highest atmospherics. He has been considered the foremost British supernaturalist. His skills lie in drawing upon Oriental thought, psychology and philosophy, which bring an intelligence to his stories.

The Empty House is a simple story, a fiction over 100 years old. There was a murder in this house that is now empty and shunned by the village folk.  Aunt Julia and her nephew Jim Shorthouse spend a night in The Empty House.

 

We walk through this house with Aunt Julia and Jim, not as observers, but as participants in seeking the ghost.  The atmospherics do it all to illicit fear  and trembling as the characters engage in the supernatural events. Pay close attention to the narrative closure. It sneaks up on the reader, leaving you breathless in the sea air.

 

The original chatter about this story was that Blackwood personally experienced some of these ghostly events during his ghost hunting work at the Society of Psychical Research in London. We are in a well-written “quiet horror” of supernatural literature.

 

Read it here at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14471/14471-h/14471-h.htm

 

Listen to the audio on YouTube.com:

 

More of Algernon Blackwood’s free short stories here at Reading Fiction Blog:

Blackwood, Algernon  Ancient Sorceries, February 5, 2013

Blackwood, Algernon  Wood of the Dead, September 9, 2014

Blackwood, Algernon  House of the Past, November 9, 2015

Blackwood, Algernon  The Glamour of Snow,  March 1, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon A Psychological Invasion, Case 1,  June 28, 2016

Blackwood, Algernon  The Willows, October 16, 2018

 

Have a Happy Halloween!

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 by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

      Monster Librarian     

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

Discover Author of the Week posted on Mondays!

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Author of the Week, Catherine Cavendish, June 7

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  June 7

Catherine Cavendish

(Fiction: Ghost Stories, Supernatural, Gothic)

“I don’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I loved reading so much and started at a precociously early age. I kept running out of things to read, so I wrote my own.”

“Ever since I was a child and read The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, I have loved that delicious thrill you can only get from reading scary stories. I do believe there is more to this world than what we can see, hear, touch and feel. Scientists have already proved the existence of many more senses and dimensions than we thought we had a few decades ago.”

[Note: The ghost story has persisted in literature for a long time. Maybe they are reflections of who we really are? Maybe we just love the illusions and the power of the supernatural? Whatever, if you love ghost stories, you must try Catherine Cavendish novels.]

Catherine Cavendish is  author  of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels and novellas.  She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which was featured in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys rambling around stately homes, circles of standing stones and travelling to favourite haunts such as Vienna and Orkney. She lives with her long-suffering husband and black cat in a 260 year old haunted apartment in North Wales.

 

Interview with Catherine Cavendish with Brian Kirk:

Interview with Catherine Cavendish, Author of Dark Avenging Angel

 

Catherine speaks about Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

 

 

 

Amazon Reviews:

“Catherine Cavendish delivers a clever, accomplished book that entirely normalises the ghost narrative and the timeslip aspects of the story, making it perfectly easy to suspend disbelief and imagine myself on one of Hannah’s tours, seeing and experiencing things that jump straight into the realm of the supernatural.” (Crime Review )

“Superb writing […] Cavendish’s writing is spot on, building wonderful characters and weaving a spell on us unsuspecting readers.” (Final Guys )

“Cavendish sets the scene exceptionally well and the book is atmospheric and spooky throughout.” (The British Fantasy Society )

 

Catherine Cavendish Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Cavendish/e/B0059GDROQ

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by

contemporary and classic authors.

 

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Author of the Week, Robert Bloch, April 5

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   April 5

Robert Bloch

(Short Stories and Novels: Crime, Horror, Science Fiction Writer)

 

 

“Despite my ghoulish reputation, I really have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

“Horror is the removal of masks.”

“There’s a great desire to communicate, I think, on the part of all of us. And if we are in situations where the communication is difficult due to difficult circumstances or shyness or an introversion, this is a wonderful outlet. And a direct one.”

 

Robert Albert Bloch (1917 — 1994) was a prolific American writer. Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories, over twenty novels of crime and science fiction, but was most famous for his horror fiction Psycho.

Bloch was one of the youngest members of the Lovecraft Circle, a contributor to pulp magazines such as Weird Tales in his early career.  He received a Hugo Award  for That Hell-Bound Train, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award. A good friend of the science fiction writer Stanley G. Weinbaum, Bloch wrote three stories for Star Trek.

Listen to Bloch’s Psycho, an audio preview of the novel (15 minutes):

 

Interested in the backstory, the inspiration for Psycho? Read it here at Galaxy Press about the Butcher of Plainfield:

The Backstory to Robert Bloch’s “Psycho”

 

“Horror is not about supernatural forces or things that go bump in the night; horror is about the fear we have within, buried deep in our brains.”

Read more at Lit Reactor about Robert Bloch: https://litreactor.com/columns/footnotes-psycho

 

 

 

More at Bloch Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Bloch/e/B001K6Q4QW

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog! And browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Ghost at the Threshold

Sir Edmund Orne  by Henry James (1891)

Tuesday’s Ghost Story for Halloween   October 27, 2020

Reading a ghost story during Halloween week is always a good idea. Sometimes it’s fascinating to go back to the classic authors who are so different from, and I dare say refreshing, our modern ghost writers. And who better to read than author Henry James. He’s known for his psychological realism and emotionally powerful ghost stories. Reading his novels and short stories is often an experience as in the famous Turn of the Screw. In 1903, James gave advice on how to read his work. He suggested you read a few pages a day and not break the thread  “The thread is really stretched quite scientifically tight. Keep along with it step by step — & the full charm will come out.”

There is literary magic in his stories. Reading his work slowly so the imagination can peak and run is a worthwhile effort.

In Sir Edmund Orne, we have a lovely coquette named Charlotte Marden and her mysterious mother Mrs. Marden who has “intuitions.” The story opens on a quiet sunny Sunday in Brighton, is full of romance, intrigue, and of course a ghost on a mission. The story is more quiet mystery than horror but unsettling and holds the suspense all the way through.

From our determined and charming narrator …

“I felt beneath my feet the threshold of the strange door, in my life, which had suddenly been thrown open and out of which unspeakable vibrations played up through me like a fountain. I had heard all my days of apparitions, but it was a different thing to have seen one and to know that I should in all probability see it familiarly, as it were, again.”

 

Read the story at East of the Web:

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/EdmuOrme.shtml

Listen to audio at Librivox Recordings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43FaG7G5Rj0

 

Henry James was an American novelist and critic.  He wrote 20 novels, 112 tales, and 12 plays  and volumes of travel writing and criticism.  He is best remembered for his The Portrait of a Lady (1881) and the novella The Turn of the Screw (1898).

 

 

The Haunting of Bly Manor, a Netflix anthology series is a twist on Turn of the Screw. 

 

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

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

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine  

Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

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Mr. Moundshroud and A Thousand Pumpkins

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury  (1967)

Tuesday’s Tale for Halloween    September 29, 2020

Halloween is one month away. If you’ve not read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, it’s a MUST READ for Halloween fans. This is an adventure story about a group of boys on Halloween night. Tom and his mates must search the Halloween world to find their missing friend Pip, who has been abducted into the Land of the Dead.

 

At some 160 pages, longer than a typical short story but not quite a novella, you can settle in for a spooky and nostalgic ride. What is so wonderful about this story, aside from all the little horrors along the way, is that we discover some of the oldest Halloween traditions from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mexico, Irish Druids, and much more about the Land of the Dead. Here’s a peek as the boys come upon a haunted house.

“Then the darkness within the house inhaled. A wind sucked through the gaping door. It pulled at the boys, dragging them across the porch. They had to lean back so as not to be snatched into the deep dark hall. They struggled, shouted, clutched the porch rails. But then the wind ceased. Darkness moved within darkness. Inside the house, a long way off, someone was walking toward the door. Whoever it was must have been dressed all in black for they could see nothing but a pale white face drifting on the air.”

 

At this house they come upon the Halloween Tree …

The pumpkins on the Tree were not mere pumpkins. Each had a face sliced in it. Each face was different. Every eye was a stranger eye. Every nose was a weirder nose. Every mouth smiled hideously in some new way. There must have been a thousand pumpkins on this tree, hung high and on every branch. A thousand smiles. A thousand grimaces. And twice-times-a thousand glares and winks and blinks and leerings of fresh-cut eyes. And as the boys watched, a new thing happened. The pumpkins began to come alive.

 

Ray Bradbury at his best! Rich language, vivid imagery, and so eerie on our most famous dark autumn night of the year. I loved the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud.

Read the story free at the EnglishOnlineClub.com (Illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini):

http://englishonlineclub.com/pdf/Ray%20Bradbury%20-%20The%20Halloween%20Tree%20%5BEnglishOnlineClub.com%5D.pdf

 

Listen to the audio by Ray Bradbury on YouTube.com

 

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

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

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Mary Shelley Anniversary Birth Date, August 30, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley

Celebrating Mary Shelley’s Birth Date,  August 30, 1797

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos …”  Mary Shelley

Every year, the most ardent Mary Shelley fans remember this author on August 30. Frankenstein is still one of the most popular and enduring novels since its publication in 1818. We spend time reading her short stories and browsing her biographies, maybe  discovering a new fact about her life and writing.

Did you know Frankenstein was inspired by a nightmare? In the preface of the third edition of the novel, Mary says that Frankenstein came to her in a dream. During a sleepless night in her dark room, behind closed shutters “with the moonlight struggling to get through … I saw with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life …”

In 2018, The New Yorker Magazine published a stunning piece The Strange and Twisted Life of Frankenstein by Jill Lapore, a history professor at Harvard. Lapore writes …

‘Like the creature pieced together from cadavers collected by Victor Frankenstein, her name was an assemblage of parts: the name of her mother, the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, stitched to that of her father, the philosopher William Godwin, grafted onto that of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, as if Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley were the sum of her relations, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, if not the milk of her mother’s milk, since her mother had died eleven days after giving birth to her, mainly too sick to give suck—Awoke and found no mother.’

You can read more of this fascinating piece at this link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-strange-and-twisted-life-of-frankenstein 

 

The novel, as most of you know, is about Dr. Victor Frankenstein, the monster’s creator. For Mary, the Frankenstein name was an inspiration from Castle Frankenstein in Germany. Some biographers note that alchemist Johann Conrad Dippel lived at Castle Frankenstein and was likely the inspiration behind Doctor Frankenstein.

 

As an additional bonus in remembering Mary Shelley on this anniversary, I am offering my short story, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, as a Kindle Single FREE on Amazon (also FREE via Smashwords online for ibooks, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, PDF, epub, and more).

Beyond Castle Frankenstein was originally published in Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, at Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

Here is a recent review of Beyond Castle Frankenstein:

“Historical fact and fiction blend in an evocative and atmospheric tale of a romantic triangle, love and jealousy that transcends death, and a haunted protagonist; but is Mary Shelley truly haunted by the shade of her predecessor as Shelley’s wife–or by her own guilt? Using the literary conceit of a “found fiction,” accomplished and award-winning author Cappa skillfully crafts a work as macabre as any of her protagonist’s own creations.  Not to be missed by readers who are Shelley fans; but most readers of supernatural fiction will appreciate this e-story whether they’re Shelley fans or not.” Werner Lind, author of the vampire novella Lifeblood, award-winning short fiction, avid book reviewer, and a librarian with published scholarly articles.

 

Download for FREE here on Amazon.com

 

Download for FREE here on Smashwords.com

Do leave a comment here if you read the story. I have just reprinted it June of this year for Kindle Single and in need of reader response. I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s home in Italy.

On this blog, in the above INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES, you will find five short stories by Mary Shelley, and her famous essay of 1824 On Ghosts.

 

Watch the film Mary Shelley by IFC Films staring Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, Tom Sturridge, Jack Hickey, Joanna Froggatt, Ben Hardy, and Stephen Dillane. Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour.

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

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

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Granny and That Red Riding Hood

The Werewolf   by Angela Carter (1979)

Tuesday’s Fairy Tale, A Modern Retelling   August 11, 2020

As an avid reader, you might know that fairy tales are being retold in modern and highly inventive ways. You may have seen titles like Cinderella is Dead or The Librarian and the Beast or Alice, The Wanderland Chronicles. Retellings of Little Red Riding Hood are one of the most popular stories to flood the literary marketplace. Amazon has over 100 retellings (The Red Wolf; Moon and Fangs; Reluctant Hood).  Why we still love fairy tales comes from our need to believe that magical things can happen to common folk and what better place to indulge in that than fiction.

The original Little Red Riding Hood is believed to have been written by Charles Perrault (17th century), or possibly more ancient than that as an 11th century poem, according to anthropologist Jamie Tehrani at National Geographic. Most of us know the story as authored by the Brothers Grimm from 1812 “Rotkäppchen.”

Reportedly, there are 58 versions of the tale from Japan to Africa to Korea. Here is the original by Grimm, if you’d like a read:
(https://germanstories.vcu.edu/grimm/redridinghood.html )

This week, however, I bring you a version of Little Red Riding Hood by Angela Carter, The Werewolf. Flash fiction at 900 words, a 5-minute read. And what a read it is. Gothic, pastoral, sharp. And this little riding girl is skilled at using a hunting knife. It ends grimly but like all fairy tales, the last line in this miniature narrative is dramatically tight.

 

Read Carter’s The Werewolf  here at Biblioklept.org:

https://biblioklept.org/2012/06/03/read-the-werewolf-a-short-fable-by-angela-carter/

 

Remember this song? For Betty Boop lovers!

 

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

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month. 

 

Comments are welcome!

Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian       The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

 

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Beyond Castle Frankenstein, a Ghost Story of Mary Shelley

 

July 6, 2020   Beyond Castle Frankenstein by Paula Cappa

Inside the ruins of Castle Frankenstein in Darmstadt, Germany, a ghost resides.  This is no ordinary ghost. It is a ghost of the unfinished.  The saddest thing about ghosts is that they have no home. They exist in a kind of blue dementia where most of us are afraid to enter. If a time ever comes to you when you are tempted to enter that blue dementia, I encourage you to open the door.  This short story, a fiction both historical and biographical, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, is what happened to Mary Shelley when she opened that door and passed over threshold.

This story was originally published in Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, at Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.  I have reprinted it on Amazon as a Kindle single and in ebook format on Smashwords.

 

Mary Shelley is haunted. Haunted beyond cemeteries and tombstones. Love and madness rattle her every day. Scandal and drama steal her sleep. And finally it is the stab of her own impending death that drives her to conjure the dead.

 

Those who have been following this blog and read my supernatural mysteries, you may be familiar with this story as I have posted about it and Mary Shelley a few times. As well, I have several of her short stories in the INDEX above for your reading pleasure.  Beyond Castle Frankenstein is my favorite because it relates factual information about one of our most enduring and talented authors in literature. I felt honored to discover this story in my writing world and present it to so many readers both via Pleasant Storm Entertainment publisher and now as a reprint.

Castle Frankenstein still stands today in Darmstadt, Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As does the Casa Magni in Italy where Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley lived for short period of time.

 

The image below is a shocking portrait of the body of Percy Bysshe Shelley being cremated.

 

Some early reviews of Beyond Castle Frankenstein

“Historical fact and fiction blend in an evocative and atmospheric tale of a romantic triangle, love and jealousy that transcends death, and a haunted protagonist; but is Mary Shelley truly haunted by the shade of her predecessor as Shelley’s wife–or by her own guilt? Using the literary conceit of a “found fiction,” accomplished and award-winning author Cappa skillfully crafts a work as macabre as any of her protagonist’s own creations.  Not to be missed by readers who are Shelley fans; but most readers of supernatural fiction will appreciate this e-story whether they’re Shelley fans or not.” Werner Lind, author of the vampire novella Lifeblood, award-winning short fiction, avid book reviewer, and a librarian with published scholarly articles.

“Paula Cappa’s Beyond Castle Frankenstein is just the kind of supernatural story I most enjoy: A touch of antiquarianism (reminiscent of M.R. James), the involvement of real people and places (presented accurately), imaginative, atmospheric, and with just the right frisson of horror at the end. It is a well-conceived story well told, and a welcome addition to the world of supernatural fiction. I am looking forward to reading more of Paula Cappa’s work.” Andrew M. Seddon, author of What Darkness Remains, In Death Survive, Tales from the Brackenwood Ghost Club.
Did you know that Mary Shelley …
 … Said she made up the name “Frankenstein.” In German, Frankenstein  means Stone of the Franks. Historians report that the Shelleys visited Castle Frankenstein on a journey up the Rhine River.

… Said that she wrote Frankenstein from a waking dream: “I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think.”

“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideious phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life. … He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold, the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains and looking on him with yellow watery, but speculative eyes.” Preface from the London Edition of Frankenstein, 1831.

 Buy on Amazon.com  .99 cents

 

 

On Smashwords.com for ibooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1028313

 

Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, editor Terry M. West, Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.

 

Thank you to all my readers and followers on this Reading Fiction Blog!

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Dawn Wind in the Hawthorne

The Witch’s Headstone  by Neil Gaiman  (2008)

Tuesday’s Tale  of  Ghost Fantasy,  June 16, 2020

 

Who doesn’t remember the green-tinted witch in the film The Wizard of Oz? Deep inside our psyches, we are all ten years old when it comes to witches. And maybe deep inside you, there’s a little bit of a witch stirring around. Have you buried her? Author Neil Gaiman writes a story about not just ghosts in a graveyard, but a buried witch. I urge you to dig up your witch’s psyche and read what Gaiman has to tell us about traveling into the world of the dead.

A boy named Bod.  A witch. A graveyard. And of course, ghosts.  Bod is a charming young fellow who visits a graveyard and is fascinated by the residing ghosts. He meets the witch from Potter’s Field, and his adventures with an ancient Indigo man and the frightening Sleer create even higher dangers in the real world. An exciting little story that is entertaining for adults as well as for a YA audience (55% of YA readers are adults who love coming of age stories).  I felt like I was brought back to my own childhood with Bod exploring a graveyard and finding a mission to please the dead. As modern fairy tales go, this one is a charmer.

(Witch’s Headstone, illustration)

 

Read the short story here at Epdf.pub:

https://epdf.pub/the-witchs-headstone.html

 

The Witch’s Headstone was published as a short story in the Gaiman anthology M Is for Magic and in Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy. This story is an excerpt from Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. If you enjoyed Bod’s adventures, you’ll likely want to read The Graveyard Book.

 

Neil Gaiman

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

 

Follow or sign up to join me in reading

one short story every month.

Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

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A Thin Woman With a White Face

The Lady’s Maid’s Bell   by Edith Wharton (1902)

Tuesday’s Ghost Story,  April 14, 2020

 

Colin Dickey, author of Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places said, “We tell stories of the dead as a way of making a sense of the living … Ghost stories reveal the contours of our anxieties, the nature of our collective fears and desires, the things we can’t talk about in any other way.”  For me ghost stories are the dark whispers and inside those whispers are elements of truth. So, if you love a good ghost story, you’ve come to the right place.

Today’s ghost story, The Lady’s Maid’s Bell  has undertones of personal prisons, infidelity, and jealously. Add a loveless marriage, a spinster maid, and kindred spirits. The Lady’s Maid’s Bell is told by Alice Hartley, a lady’s maid, endearing and charming, who takes a position in the country estate at Brympton Place. Upon arriving on her first day, Alice meets the ghost.

“… a thin woman with a white face, and a dark gown and apron; the woman does not speak.”

The mistress of Brympton Place, Mrs. Brympton, never rings the bell for her new maid Alice. Yet the bell does ring. This story is tense with dark thresholds and doors, and the color red for juicy symbolism. You will find that the impact of the narrative does not just come from the appearances of the ghost, but from the relationships of the characters. This is a puzzle for the reader, fraught with secrets and mysterious events.

 

This was Wharton’s first attempt at a writing a ghost story. Her artistry in this story creates a text that is like a warning flash for women of her day, failed marriages, and society’s complacency of the times. A wonderful spooky little yarn that you will not be able to stop reading until Alice Hartley brings you to the very end.

Edith Wharton became a published writer at age 16.  She published her first novel at the age of 40 in 1902, a non-fiction work, The Decoration of Houses. Her breakthrough came in 1905 with The House of Mirth, then Ethan Frome in 1911 and The Age of Innocence in 1920, which won her the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Read the short story here at Online-Literature

http://www.online-literature.com/wharton/2920/

Listen to the audio here on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX__-esn_28

 

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

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Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine    HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds

   Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

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For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Literature Blog Directory   

Blog Collection

Blog Top Sites

 

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