Category Archives: mysteries

The African Veldt, Ray Bradbury

The Veldt  by Ray Bradbury

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   May 22, 2018

NATIONAL SHORT STORY MONTH,  May 2018.   Week Four.

READING FICTION BLOG

 

This is such a fun story. Somewhat like a haunted house story but one that crosses the lines as only Ray Bradbury can do so magnificently. George and Lydia Hadley have purchased a technologically advanced house that will do all the housekeeping and personal keeping for you. Virtual reality beyond anything we’ve seen. Once the Hadley family occupy this house—and are delighted that it can  cook your meals and clean up with ease and speed—things begin to change. The children Peter and Wendy love this house and its powers, especially in the nursery. The walls are glass and can project any landscape  they can dream up. Wouldn’t you love to live in a house that can receive your thoughts and desires and the send out that image? And then create that reality in real time? One day, the children leap beyond strawberry ice cream and hot dogs at the carnival they imagined. They begin to have unfriendly and wild thoughts.

Don’t miss Bradbury’s keen science of psychology here. Family life, secrets, communication, and manipulative kids who love the dangerous and exotic creatures of Africa on the veldtland.

 

 

 

Read the short story here at Veddma.com. My apologies that this story is in black with green text, but it’s the only free copy online:

http://www.veddma.com/veddma/Veldt.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the audio (29 minutes), read by Leonard Nimoy. You’ll love it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=dJAKjpb2eOs

 

 

 

If you are a Bradbury fan, HBO cable network is presenting an adaptation of his most famous novel Fahrenheit 451. This aired Saturday, May 19 but  is available On Demand. For repeat airings, check local listings for HBO. https://www.hbo.com/movies/fahrenheit-451

 

The original film in 1966 starred Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, directed by François Truffaut. Available on Amazon Prime Streaming.

Ray Bradbury is well known and loved for his fantastic imagination, literary prowess, and vision. He has won numerous awards such as Hugo Awards, World Fantasy Awards, Bram Stoker Awards, Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and others. Ray died on June 5, 2012 at the age of 91.

“I use a scientific idea as a platform to leap into the air and never come back.” 

 

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 two short stories 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   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Crime Meets Love

Married to a Murderer  by Alan Russell (1997)

Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery    March 13, 2018

Jean-Patrick Manchette wrote that “The crime novel is the great moral literature of our time.”

Queen of detective fiction Agatha Christie said that “time is the best killer.”

This week we are reading murder mysteries in Alan Russell’s Married to a Murderer (this short story named as one of the 25 finest crime and mystery stories of 1997). We have a wealthy young woman, Danielle Deveron, visiting a prison. She has an immediate attraction to a death row inmate Clay Potter.

The attraction wasn’t one-sided. Clay didn’t have the looks of the pretty boys Danielle usually associated with, but there was something about him that beguiled.

Potter is convicted of multiple murders and awaiting his execution. Why does the svelte and stylish Danielle want him? Why does the desperate Clay Potter want her? Ahh, we are alive with mysteries!

 

Publisher’s Weekly calls Allan Russell “One of the best writers in the mystery field today. The New York Times says, “He has a gift for dialogue,” while the Los Angeles Times acclaim him, “A crime fiction rara avis.” He writes whodunits, comedic capers, suspense, psychological thrillers, and has garnered a Critics’ Choice Award, The Lefty (best humorous mystery of the year), and two San Diego Book Awards.

 

 

 

Read this quick mystery at Mysterynet.com   http://www.mysterynet.com/love/romance/married/ 

Other Alan Russell crime fiction:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regular readers here know I’m a big Raymond Chandler fan for crime fiction (Philip Marlowe makes several appearances in my novel Greylock). Here’s a final memorable quote, from Chandler, that is in inspiration and one of my favorites.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome. Did you enjoy today’s post? Please LIKE or post a thought.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Leave a comment

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It Is the Haunted Who Haunt

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) for Women In Horror Month 2018

Tuesday’s Tales of Terror   February 13, 2018

Followers of this blog know that ghosts draw us together. We choose to be haunted by reading ghost stories. We are all haunted houses in our own minds. Elizabeth Bowen was a distinguished author of ghost stories, often compared to Henry James and Virginia Woolf for craft.  Some liken her to Alfred Hitchcock. You will find a moral vision and social commentary in all her fine fiction. One thing is certain, whether you think ghosts are not real or ghosts are real nonphysical consciousness, Bowen had total acceptance of the reality of ghosts and the occult—a woman I can certainly identify with for that belief.

 

“Ghosts exploit the horror latent behind reality …. Our irrational darker selves demand familiars …. We are twentieth century haunters of the haunted.”

 

Elizabeth Bowen is my Women In Horror Month selection for 2018, which always includes the finest ghost tale writers. Bowen’s stories are a legacy to the Gothic, Sapphic,  psychological, and the ghostly realms in our minds.  She knew how to use the idea of a ‘living ghost’ a ghost who could appear in one place  and at the same time be a living person walking around in another place. I consider her required reading for any ghost story lover.

 

“Each time I sat down to write a story I opened a door; and the pressure against the other side of that door must have been very great, for things — ideas, images, emotions — came through with force and rapidity, sometimes violence …. Odd enough in their way — and now some seem very odd — they were flying particles of something enormous and inchoate that had been going on. They were sparks from experience—an experience not necessarily my own.”

If you want to read about how she handled cracks in the psyche, read The Demon Lover—paranoia or paranormal in wartime London. You be the judge.

 

 

Her three most famous ghost stories are the following. The Cat Jumps (1934 ), a country house, a previous murder, new owners. The Happy Autumn Fields (1941), a dreamy psychologically damaged young woman’s story akin to Turn of the Screw. Green Holly (1941), the ghost of a woman speaks out on Christmas Eve.

Read the short story The Demon Lover at BiblioKlept.org. 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the audio of The Demon Lover

here on YouTube.com.

 

 

 

You can download her famous novel The Last September. The  story depicts the tensions between love and the longing for freedom, between tradition and the terrifying prospect of independence, both political and spiritual. Life in the 1920s at the country mansion  in Cork during the Irish War of Independence. A young woman’s coming of age in a brutalized time and place, where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of history.

Get the FREE ebook here at MaconCountyPark.com.

 

 

 

The 1999 British film, screenplay by John Banville, starring Maggie Smith.

 

 

Do you think it is the haunted who haunts?

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two FREE short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

Leave a comment

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Our February Ghost, Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley, Conjuring Her Ghost on February 1st.

Tuesday’s Tale    January 30, 2018

 

Mary Shelley’s ghost is ever-present. And we are breathing life back into her ghost in 2018. As literary ghosts go, we hear stories of Hemingway haunting his Key West home with his typewriter tapping away; Ben Franklin’s statue sometimes walks along the Philadelphia streets; Poe is said to haunt his favorite bar in Baltimore and the staff leave out a glass of whiskey for him at closing time; Dylan Thomas has been seen drinking at the White Horse Tavern in New York.

But for our esteemed Mary Shelley, where is her ghost these days? Shall we conjure her back to us on the anniversary of her death, February 1st?

 

Mary Shelley died February 1, 1851. And all this year, 2018, we are marking the bicentennial of her greatest novel Frankenstein, published January 1818. There are global celebrations going on (Global Frankenstein Celebrations), blogs, events, podcasts, and radio shows, all commemorating this woman writer of horror and mother of science fiction.  We have a wealth of conscious thought active about her life, her triumphs, her stories, and her literary powers. And February is Women In Horror Month. 

 

 

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Did you know that Mary Shelley, and her husband, were highly intrigued on the use of electricity to animate human limbs? At the time of the writing of Frankenstein, an alchemist named Johann Konrad Dippel, was reported to have robbed graves and performed experiments on corpses at Frankenstein Castle (Burg Frankenstein). This castle sits above the Rhine Valley on Odenwald, a mountain in southern Germany, near the city of Darmstadt. More here about Mary Shelly and Frankenstein Castle at ExploringCastles.com.

 

 

 

More on Castle Frankenstein and the Shelleys in my earlier blog, Feb. 2016: “A Lump of Death.”  

 

Mary Shelley wrote lots of short stories, several which you can read featured on past dates on this blog by clicking the title:

 The Invisible Girl, October 15, 2013

The Mortal Immortal, February 26, 2013

Transformation, February 4, 2014

The Last Man  February 8, 2016

On Ghosts, October 15, 2013

And here’s a short one you probably haven’t read:  The Evil Eye, free read at Gutenberg.netAustralia.

Because I love ghost stories, I wrote a ghost story about Mary Shelley, Beyond Castle Frankenstein, published in the anthology Journals of Horror, Found Fiction, edited by Terry M. West, published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment. [Available at Amazon.com ( https://www.amazon.com/Journals-Horror-Terry-M-West/dp/1508805725 ) ]. Here’s a peek into my short story: A letter is found written by Mary Shelley. Mary recounts a night when she attempts to conjure up the ghost of her dead husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

 

Mary Shelley is buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Bournemouth, Dorset England. Read her biography here at The Poetry Foundation.org.  

 

“I busied myself to think of a story, — a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my ghost story would be unworthy of its name.” (Introduction to Frankenstein, 1831)

 

Watch the adaptation of Frankenstein, 2004, with William Hurt, PART 1.

 

 

And Part 2.

 

[Image by Esao Andrews oil on wood, 2010. Young Mary Shelley. Visit Andrews website here.]

 

“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through,and pour a torrent of light into our dark world.” 

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments and LIKES are welcome. 

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed 

Leave a comment

Filed under classic horror stories, dark fantasy, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Gothic fiction, Gothic Horror, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, mysteries, occult, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, science fiction, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror, Women In Horror, Women in Horror Month

Black Cat Zodiac

The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe  (1843)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  January 16, 2018

Did you know that Sigmund Freud said  “time spent with cats is never wasted”? I find that just gazing at my cat makes me happy. It is well known that cats were once worshipped as gods in ancient times and maybe that’s why they so often pose themselves like beauties of wisdom.

They are masterpieces that might walk on the very clouds with utmost grace and silence. Charles Dickens believed that there was no greater gift than the love of a cat.  Aldous Huxley told us that if you want to write, keep cats. Lots of mystery writers are cat owners: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman to name a few. And of course Edgar Allan Poe “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” His cat was Catterina.

January 19 is the anniversary of Poe’s birth date. Let’s honor him by reading one of his best works. This week’s short story is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat. First published in the Saturday Evening Post, the story has themes of alcoholism and just a little bit of insanity but told from a perfectly sane perspective. Pluto is the black cat, thought to be bad luck or a witch in disguise. Well, maybe. I think cats are a blessing.

Our narrator is in prison and begins his story telling us that “tomorrow I die.” We meet his cat Pluto a “remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree.” Once you read this story, you will see just how shrewd Pluto can be. Karma at its macabre best!

 

Read The Black Cat here at PoeStories.com.

 

 

Listen to the audio by Tom O’Bedlam here on YouTube.com 

Watch The Black Cat, A Short Film (18 minutes)  Exciting scenes and storytelling by an actor who looks much like Poe himself. Rob Green (The Bunker, House, The Trick), a special director for the genre of horror and thriller, made this short movie to Poe’s story. Excellent!

 

 

Our Miss Kitty

This week we had to put down our beloved “Baby” cat who we love to address as “Miss Kitty.” Although she’s my daughter’s cat, Miss Kitty has been my constant companion for 17 years. Because I work as an editor out of my home office, Miss Kitty would sit at my feet while I worked at my desk, joined me for morning coffee in my kitchen, and remained my carpet buddy while I watched television. Oh that sweet gaze of her eyes! No matter how bad a day went, Miss Kitty made it better with her sweet purring and furry rubs of her face on my  hand.  I adore how cats communicate without saying a single word. I swear Baby is still here with her little paw-poohms on the wood floors and her muted half-meows at the cellar door. I miss her dreadfully. Maybe, just maybe because I believe in ghosts, Miss Kitty will give me the the pleasure of haunting us.

Do you believe in ghost cats? Watch this.

 “Until one has love an animal, a part of one’s soul has remained unawakened.”

Anatole France.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. “LIKES” and comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

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Christmas River Ghost by Paula Cappa

Christmas River Ghost    by Paula Cappa

A Christmas Tale,  Thursday,  December 7, 2017

Merry Christmas to my readers and followers. I give you a free short story by yours truly (flash-fiction, 12-minute read). Snuggle in with a cup of hot spiced cider, a Christmas cookie, and the Christmas River Ghost.

 

 

They come—through the icy wind, between the naked trees, walking the bridge, by Eagle Hill River. On Christmas Eve, I come home to call the old time back. Holly wreaths, tea and sugar, apple cakes, a partridge in a pear tree. And a peacock hung dead with its speckled feathers in the pantry. ‘ Take the peacock, break its neck.’  That I remember with a shiver.

Tonight there is the good news of snow falling, the dark village sleeping beneath giant snow drops everywhere as I make my way through Main Street. The church steeple chimes do not sound yet, as it is not midnight. My mind calls up pixies and elves, the ringing of sleigh bells across the sky.

The house waits for me, shabby with the grief of those passed on. Spending Christmas alone has its virtue, my sister Annabella used to say, whose heart was ever open to charity’s claims and gift-giving. She would know about such solitude; she had spent many a Christmas alone. Too many times, my fault.

A Christmas Eve supper will sooth me: ham and apricots, a fresh biscuit, a glass of warm red wine with a cinnamon stick. The crabbed and wrinkled Scrooge breaks into my thoughts. Maybe I would read a few pages of Dickens. Remind myself of the miserly and cold-hearted man.

Snow pelts arrows at me as I stumble up the hill to the front path. I ring the doorbell just for fun, announcing my arrival to no one. Maybe Annabella will hear it. That is, if her spirit still lives here. Christmas ghosts are common, I’m told. Christmas miracles and all that—the arrival of the holy babe makes a holy night. If true, her presence would certainly reside in the kitchen especially. Her lilac perfume and the green ribbons in her light brown tresses every Christmas day. I can see her at the stove, blue eyes sparkling, her cheeks flushed with the holiday excitement. Home is such a magnet. In the front hall I nearly expect to hear her laughter just one more time.

The kitchen is the same as when I was a girl. Oak table by the frost-crazed window panes. That ancient curly-legged cast iron stove that spouted smoke at the ceiling. A white cupboard, open-shelved where pies would cool and tempt.

‘ Rose, take the peacock, break its neck, cut its throat.’

Again I shiver. “Time to make Christmas.” I warm the kitchen with Annabella’s boiling copper kettle and make a pot of orange tea in her china teapot trimmed in holly. I set my slice of ham, three apricots, and biscuit into the oven. The red wine steams with the cinnamon stick on the stovetop. The savory aroma is exactly as Annabella used to make it. In the library, I stack logs and kindling in the hearth as she did every Christmas when I was a child. Nothing like a roaring fire to set things right. For I must set things right tonight.

As I recline in the giant armchair, I decide against reading Dickens. No need for Scrooge now, nor the reminder of being arrogant and vain and stingy.  My tight-fisted hand at the grindstone. Is this really me? I’m done with all that. Music will serve. I find Annabella’s old Christmas records. Sleigh bells ring … are you listening … walking in a winter wonderland.

‘ We cut its throat. Flay him, skin him, feathers and skin altogether.’ I squeeze my eyes shut to blink away the raw images. Such exquisite turquoise- and purple-eyed quills. Peacocks are perfect everlasting beauties. I shoot my vision out the side window. Through the snow, I see the old ice house still stands by the bridge. And that marvelous sledding hill that Annabella and I rode, sisters hanging on to each other at every curve. Veering right, veering left, flying high. I never minded numb fingertips.

‘ Draw him down tight. Keep the neck whole. Mind the dripping blood now.’  My breath catches in my chest like an ice block. I down the wine and head to the kitchen to check the ham. I set out my Christmas supper on the oak table and sit down. Later on we’ll conspire … as we dream by the fire … walking in a winter wonderland. The biscuit is oozing with melted butter. The ham juicy and tender. I add a dash of salt and pepper.

‘ Brine the bird with salt, sugar, a palmful of peppercorns.’ Annabella’s words repeat in my head. She always basted the peacock with beaten eggs and honey.   ‘To keep the meat moist and tender.’ And she never believed the folklore that peacocks were bad luck or evil-eyed spirits. ‘ Pure as snow,’ she was certain.

‘ Let’s roast him high as if he is sitting up alive—just like a king.’

Every Christmas she would carry the bird on a silver platter on her shoulder to the table. The breast dripped with golden gravy. Annabella dressed it with the tail feathers struck out in a wild plumage of color. Before we ate it, as was usual from our childhood days, we made the peacock vow of immortality, an honor to the bird’s ‘ love and beauty forevermore.’

Forevermore, Annabella’s favorite word to shout out every Christmas.

“Annabella? Are you here with me tonight? Please be here with me tonight.”

Silence at Christmas time can be unnerving. I listen closely for a moment. “Annabella?”

Words float into my mind.  ‘ Rose, remember the flocks in the woods. Remember the dancing peacocks when you were a little girl.’

I gaze out to the vast woods and recall the giant birds’ studded tails, how they twirled their feathers into violet hues. I would practically swim in those exuberant colors, getting lost in them. What loud calls they made, like urgent church bells. Each peacock seemed to walk alone, though, on his own path. I always wondered why. Still, I loved the luster in their eyes as I greeted them good morning and good night each day.

‘ Remember, Rose. The bridge. Our favorite spot by the river.’

Maybe Christmas ghosts are real. If I could be granted just one moment with her. One moment to say just two words. Within minutes I bundle up, hat to boots, and slosh out. Leaving tracks behind me in the snow, uphill toward the sledding hill, I stop at the foot of the bridge. The river is churning slowly with ice patches. Through the snowfall, on the far side, I see a tangle of shadows, pointed shapes, hot-blue barrel chests, and streaming colorful threads. Dark is present. I am not afraid of the dark. I walk across the bridge and stop midway. Only the soft sounds of the snowflakes surround me. And then I see them. The flocks. Hundreds of all-seeing eyes stare straight at me. The woods are full of peacocks, their plumage unfurled and radiant, just like when I was a girl. My heart shivers.

One by one they turn away from me and walk through the trees on their separate paths. No Annabella appears. Nor will she. I know that now. There is no such thing as a ghost. No extra moments to be given. No words allowed to mend the past. Too many years now since the river swallowed Annabella that Christmas morning. Her canoe overturned; her body never found. I should have been here.

We live. We die. Only the peacock’s flesh does not decay when it dies, Annabella used to say. ‘ They live on for all of us, these forgiving souls of wisdom.’

A single peacock comes forward from the woods now. He mounts the bridge where I stand. With his beak lifted, he trails a dusty green aura behind him. Regal beyond words, he holds all the secrets in his vibrancy. I so envy him.

 

The snow stops. The peacock curls his soft feathers around me and I smell his meaty flesh. He flaps his wings and cries out as if laughing at life. He follows me back to the house, just like when I was a kid. Peacocks are such gifts. “Goodnight, lovely peacock. Goodnight.”

Christmas chimes ring out from the church steeple. Midnight, holy night. His wings flare, his tail swings generously, rocking the darkness. He perches himself up on the backyard fence rail, letting his feathers drip down like tresses.

Inside the house, I sit in the armchair by the window. Does he know I’m watching him? The shifting iridescence of his colors in the sudden moonlight saturate my thoughts. Alone on my own path, I drift off to sleep in the chair. Were it not for the church chimes ringing in the holy babe on Christmas morn, I might not have woken from such a deep sleep. Scrambling to my feet, I look out the window to the fence. Gone. His claw prints are tracks leading back to Eagle Hill River.

There, in the pure white snow he had shed his full plumage. A wild fan of green-rimmed, blue-eyed feathers are glistening in the Christmas sun—standing upright, alive like a king.

“Forevermore,” I say aloud. “Forevermore, Annabella.”

 

 

 

 

 

In medieval times, peacock was served for the Christmas feast. The bird would be skinned, roasted whole and then redressed in its feathers to look as if it was still alive. Its beak was gilded with gold leaf and a piece of cloth soaked in spirits was inserted into the beak and set alight. It would be served by the highest lady of the house.

 

 

By many accounts, it is well known that the iridescence in the peacocks’ colors represent the reality of the spiritual world rather than the imaginary world. In Christianity, peacocks are a common motif representing eternal life, the peacocks’ feathered eyes symbolizing the all-seeing eye of God. 

Fra Angelico’s Nativity with a peacock on the stable roof.

 

 

Friends, do leave me a comment. This is my newest short story and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Or, ask me a question, let me know if you would recommend this story to friends, or if you’re so inspired, write me a quick review. 

 

 

 

 

Christmas River Ghost. Copyright © 2017 by Paula Cappa.

All Rights Reserved. 

 

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Charles Dickens’ The Haunted House

The Haunted House (in two chapters) by Charles Dickens (1859)

Tuesday’s Tale of Ghosts    November 21, 2017

Have you ever thought of early morning as the most ghostly time? Dickens creates a spooky yarn in this odd story: a hooded woman with an owl, a one-eyed tramp named Joby, and a haunted house in the full of autumn. Perfect for a Thanksgiving ghostly read. Lively, Victorian,  spooky storytelling, and compelling in this portmanteau style story.

“A house that was shunned by the village, to which my eye was guided by a church spire some half a mile off—a house that nobody would take.  And the natural inference was, that it had the reputation of being a haunted house.”

So, our narrator gets his sister and friends to spend the night and discover the ghosts within.  The thing about this story is that Dickens co-wrote it with five collaborators (Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins among them), for his weekly series in All the Year Round. The book has 8 chapters and each written by a different author.

The chapters in the book are the following: “The Mortals in the House” (Charles Dickens); “The Ghost in the Clock Room” (Hesba Stretton); “The Ghost in the Double Room” (George Augustus Sala); “The Ghost in the Picture Room” (Adelaide Anne Procter); “The Ghost in the Cupboard Room”  (Wilkie Collins); “The Ghost in Master B’s Room” (Charles Dickens); “The Ghost in the Garden Room” (Elizabeth Gaskell); “The Ghost in the Corner Room” (Charles Dickens).

 

You can read Dickens’ two chapters  The Mortals in the House  and The Ghost in Master B’s Room here:

 

 

Read Dickens’ two chapters at Gutenberg.org

Listen to the audio (1 hour) on YouTube.com.  

Check out the full book on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

“An idea, like a ghost … must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”  Charles Dickens

Biographical highlight:  A Dinner at Popular Walk was Dickens’s first published story. It appeared in the Monthly Magazine in December 1833.  He adopted the soon to be famous pseudonym Boz. Dickens’s first book, a collection of stories titled Sketches by Boz, was published in 1836.

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories,  suspense, crime, sci-fi, and ‘quiet horror.’ Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

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

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Filed under Charles Dickens, classic horror stories, fiction, ghost stories, ghost story blogs, Ghosts, Gothic Horror, haunted houses, Hauntings, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, mysteries, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short story blogs, soft horror, supernatural, supernatural fiction, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror