Tag Archives: horror stories

Don’t Go Into the Forest: The Third Bear

The Third Bear  by Jeff Vandermeer

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    April 16, 2019

2007 SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARD NOMINEE, 2007 WSFA SMALL PRESS AWARD NOMINEE

I dare you to stop reading this story. The Third Bear is a horror story, not the ‘quiet horror’  I prefer but it’s done well so I was good with it.  A ravenous bear on a killing spree, a banished witch-woman in the woods, a mysterious door hidden among the dark woods, and a town’s desperate passion to survive. But more than all this, we have a story of good old-fashioned fear with an ending sure to strike.

 

The door. In the middle of the forest. It was made of old oak and overgrown with moss and mushrooms, and yet it seemed to flicker like glass. A kind of light or brightness hurtled through the ground, through the dead leaves and worms and beetles, around the door  …

 

Read the short story here at ClarkesworldMagazine:

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/vandermeer_04_07/

 

 

I want to add for all the fiction writers who follow my blog, this story is a supreme example of well-written suspense, characterization, plot, and theme.  And the descriptions! Here is the author Jeff Vandermeer’s Eight Writing Tips. I found these tips to go beyond the same ol’ advice you’ve likely read before. Vandermeer has new thoughts, absolutely refreshing and inspiring. He believes  “in letting the things about writing that should be organic remain organic, but also working in targeted ways on those things that can be improved mechanically. (It may be six months to a year before I begin to write a novel).”

I also like the fact that Vandermeer honors an author’s “time spent thinking about what you are going to write.”  He speaks to the ecstatic vision about a scene or character. Lots more here:

https://chireviewofbooks.com/2018/03/05/8-writing-tips-from-jeff-vandermeer/

Jeff VanderMeer is an American author. He is an editor and literary critic. He established his fame in the New Weird literary genre and became known as ‘the weird Thoreau’ by the New Yorker Magazine. His bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy brought him into mainstream fiction and the book hit some 30 Best Lists in 2014. He is winner of numerous World Fantasy Awards, Hugo Award, and Nebula Award. He won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel for Annihilation. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

 

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.

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 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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Filed under dark fantasy, fantasy, fiction, fiction bloggers, free horror short stories online, free short stories, free short stories online, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror, weird tales

The Dark Mother: A Short and Most Hideous Horror Story

Graveyard Shift   by Richard Matheson (1960)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   July 22, 2014

What portal do we enter when we confront the dark mother?

 

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This short story by the esteemed Richard Matheson (1926-2013, author of I am Legend, Hell House, What Dreams May Come, Stir of Echoes) is a story that has all the elements of true horror, empathy, and shock. Matheson’s gift in this story is a perspective into the “dark mother.” Do you have one of these or know a dark mother who rules harshly, extolling her powers of fear and control? Have you witnessed the dark mother at her darkest, the woman who has the capacity to harm or neglect her child? She is the “shadow archetype” named by Carl Jung—who suggests that our negative emotions are part of the whole of the power we possess and part of our human experience (in order to appreciate the light, we must know the dark). The dark mother is taboo, of course; we don’t like to talk about mothers harming their children. I certainly don’t.

Nott_paintingHowever, I do like when horror stories get into the grit of a soul in order to enhance our understanding of our dark sides. And we all have a dark side somewhere, buried or not, and isn’t that why many of us love to explore horror fiction? Because we can dig up this dark side within the safety of fiction, recognize it, feel it, and do no real harm. I guess what I’m suggesting here is that if we didn’t read horror stories and enter this imaginary world, we might feel the need to act out our dark sides in the real world. Reading the news is an example of how many people actually do act out their shadow sides.

 

In Graveyard Shift, we have three letters (epistolary fiction) from Luke to his father Sam, from Sam to George and a letter from George to Sam. The widow Blackwell is found dead. Her little boy Jim is the only one alive in the cabin. To say more about this story would diminish its effects and Matheson deserves your clean eye and mind on the page … as you experience the shadowy portal of the dark mother.

 

The PDF link below may or may not be working. I think copyrights are still legal, preventing free reads. You can read it in the anthology “Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural,” selected by Marvin Kaye on Amazon (a fine selection of offbeat and rare stories), or likely borrow this book at your local library (try WorldCAT to locate in a library near you).

Try this PDF link to read Graveyard Shift (Scroll to Story #12):

http://ny.iadicicco.com/Finished/20,000%20Ebooks/Richard%20Matheson/Richard%20Matheson%20-%20Short%20Story%20Collection%20Volume%20I.pdf

 

 

220px-Draper-Lamia

 

In literature/mythology, other dark mother themed stories are Lamia who was a child-eating demon (also the poem Lamia by John Keats in 1820), Medea, Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic, Bloch’s Norma Bates in Psycho, and contemporary Neil Gaiman’s novel Coraline. There are others, of course, and if you have a short story or novel in mind, please post it in the comments below.

 

 

Lamia

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Bibliophilica.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer   Sirens Call Publications  The Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror classic Authors.

 

 

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Filed under dark fantasy, fiction, horror, horror blogs, short stories, tales of terror

Where is Death?

Death and the Woman   by Gertrude Atherton  (1892)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror, February 25, 2014    Women In Horror Month

220px-MortDeath as persona is a classic technique in horror stories. Today, I thought I’d try something different: instead of creating an introduction of the story, I’d string a few lines from the text to tempt you to read this author, Gertrude Atherton. She wrote some 40 novels and five volumes of short stories as well as nonfiction. Her fiction was quite modern for the American woman seeking emancipation at the turn of the century. A woman writing about women, their inner conflicts and struggles in society, politics, and sexuality, and in this story, Death and the Woman, a wife facing the terror of her husband’s death.

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If you’ve ever stood at the bedside of a dying relative or friend, this story will certainly punctuate that experience of awe and fear. If you’ve never witnessed death enter, well, this story will give you a foreboding peek into the final moments of life.

Where was Death?

She had heard of the power of the corpse to drive brave men to frenzy, and had wondered …

She knew that it was Death who was coming to her through the silent deserted house; knew that it was the sensitive ear of her intelligence that heard him, not the dull, coarse-grained ear of the body.

The dying man took no notice of her, and she opened his gown and put her cheek to his heart, calling him again.

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Read Death and the Woman at American Literature.    https://americanliterature.com/author/gertrude-atherton/short-story/death-and-the-woman

Listen (by candlelight as flickering shadows will add a thrilling atmosphere to the fine prose) to the audio at Librivox 

Read more short stories by Gertrude Atherton at  American Literature  https://americanliterature.com/author/gertrude-atherton 

1796515_10152579730360558_1087184371_nWomen In Horror Month (WiHM). One of the most prolific authors in gothic and dark literature in our modern day is without question Joyce Carol Oates. Who doesn’t know this author’s reputation for her visceral and surreal twisted stories and psychological horrors. Many know her work in this genre from Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque. You won’t find a ghost haunting a house so much as you’ll find the inner hauntings of the self and these are often times more horrific than any mere ghost.

Oates says in Reflections on the Grotesque … “…This is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo—that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices.”

Where Are You going, Where Have You Been? (1996) is about a teenage girl and a sinister stalker. This is not a typical horror story, but a powerful and chilling tale with high tension writing. Do read it slowly and thoughtfully to get full potency. If you’ve ever felt yourself alone and vulnerable, this tale will get into your head and under your skin. Some find the ending powerful; others find it too subtle. You decide.

Read Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? at University of San Francisco

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Joyce Carol Oates

http://www.usfca.edu/jco/

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

WiHM Contemporary Horror Short Stories at Sirens Call Publications

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

HorrorSociety.com

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify       Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

     The Gothic Wanderer

Fussy Librarian

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

 

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Filed under fiction, haunted mind, Hauntings, horror, literary horror, short stories, tales of terror, Women In Horror