Friday, 6 April 2012

The Terror by Night

Fiction ~ short story
First published in The Room in the Tower and Other Stories, 1912
2,880 words
(First read 06/04/2012) 

Somewhat unusually EFB starts this spook story with a bit of background 'theory' on what he calls the transference of emotions:
[...] to take the analogy of wireless telegraphy, we are all of us probably 'receivers' to some extent, and catch now and then a message or part of a message that the eternal waves of emotion are ceaselessly shouting aloud to those who have ears to hear, and materialising themselves for those who have eyes to see.
Jack Lorimer, a friend of our Unnamed Narrator's, has been forced to pack his new wife Daisy off to Davos to recover from consumption in the pure Swiss air.  Obviously as soon as EFB/UN says "She's making a spectacular recovery" we know the poor lass is doomed.  Meanwhile, back in London, Jack and UN, now living together at the latter's house for convenience's sake, start to feel exactly the same sensation of dread ~ of what they don't know ~ at the same time.  In a bid to shake off this inexplicable fear the two pals invite a third (Philip) to come to the theatre¹.  That evening, as they're getting ready to go out, Daisy expires in Switzerland, but not before 'manifesting herself' to no fewer than four people: our three friends and (perhaps a shade incongruously) UN's 'man'.
For some unknown reason I've always been partial to stories about moment-of-death revenants, and this is a good example of the genre.  It also has the advantage that it's only about half the length of the average EFB spook and so seems to go at a decent clip, for once.
It's available online here

¹ To see The Man from Blankley's, by F. Anstey, another favourite author of mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment