Category Archives: Free Fiction

31 Days of Halloween: Day 25

…and also it is a Friday, so: Free Fiction Friday! (A bit late, but better late than…)

Today’s tale is by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman who was born on Halloween in 1852. As The Literary Gothic points out: “Her reputation went into decline for much of the mid-[twentieth century], for her “feminine” subjects were often dismissed by critics as simply unimportant in the context of larger world events. More recent scholarship has argued convincingly for the importance of Freeman’s work, which often does feature spinster heroines or—especially in some of her more well-known ghost stories—abandoned children (this ‘forlorn child’ theme is widely thought to be Freeman’s working out of her own feelings regarding the death, at age seventeen, of her sister). Freeman’s ghost stories have only recently begun to attract appreciative critical attention…”

This one concerns a little girl ghost who cannot find her mother. Nala the Official Halloween Cat does not find this story to her liking as it involves the spectral pulling of an innocent cat’s tail, but we hope you otherwise enjoy.

The Lost Ghost
Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman

(First published in Everybody’s Magazine, May 1903)

LostGhostMrs. John Emerson, sitting with her needlework beside the window, looked out and saw Mrs. Rhoda Meserve coming down the street, and knew at once by the trend of her steps and the cant of her head that she meditated turning in at her gate. She also knew by a certain something about her general carriage—a thrusting forward of the neck, a bustling hitch of the shoulders—that she had important news. Rhoda Meserve always had the news as soon as the news was in being, and generally Mrs. John Emerson was the first to whom she imparted it. The two women had been friends ever since Mrs. Meserve had married Simon Meserve and come to the village to live.

Mrs. Meserve was a pretty woman, moving with graceful flirts of ruffling skirts; her clear-cut, nervous face, as delicately tinted as a shell, looked brightly from the plumy brim of a black hat at Mrs. Emerson in the window. Mrs. Emerson was glad to see her coming. She returned the greeting with enthusiasm, then rose hurriedly, ran into the cold parlour and brought out one of the best rocking-chairs. She was just in time, after drawing it up beside the opposite window, to greet her friend at the door.
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31 Days of Halloween: Day Eighteen

Free fiction Friday here on the eighteenth day of our celebration!

This time a classic weird tale from Francis Marion Crawford. If you are interested, here’s an insightful personal essay on the story by Claire Armistead in The Guardian.

And, of course, bear with me for yet another reminder about Halloween: Magic, Mystery, & the Macabre and its new seasonal stories. It’s not too late for you to share the word about it and get a chance to win a free copy…but it will be soon!

The Screaming Skull
by F. Marion Crawford
(First published in two parts in Collier’s, July 11 and July 18, 1908 issues)

screaming-skullI have often heard it scream. No, I am not nervous, I am not imaginative, and I never believed in ghosts, unless that thing is one. Whatever it is, it hates me almost as much as it hated Luke Pratt, and it screams at me.

If I were you, I would never tell ugly stories about ingenious ways of killing people, for you never can tell but that some one at the table may be tired of his or her nearest and dearest. I have always blamed myself for Mrs. Pratt’s death, and I suppose I was responsible for it in a way, though heaven knows I never wished her anything but long life and happiness. If I had not told that story she might be alive yet. That is why the thing screams at me, I fancy.

She was a good little woman, with a sweet temper, all things considered, and a nice gentle voice; but I remember hearing her shriek once when she thought her little boy was killed by a pistol that went off though everyone was sure that it was not loaded. It was the same scream; exactly the same, with a sort of rising quaver at the end; do you know what I mean? Unmistakable.
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31 Days of Halloween: Day Eleven

halloween-tamlinFree Halloween fiction Friday again!

Last we offered an original, very modern halloween tale, “Sacred Light” (that evidently no one read), but, indefatigable in my efforts to get you in the mood for Halloween fiction)—specifically for Halloween: Magic, Mystery & the Macabre—I’ll try a more traditional Halloween tale this time: both the sanitized story and a more lurid poetic version.

Based on the ancient Scots ballad “Tam Lin”*
(From: More English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, 1894)

Young Tamlane was son of Earl Murray, and Burd Janet was daughter of Dunbar, Earl of March. And when they were young they loved one another and plighted their troth. But when the time came near for their marrying, Tamlane disappeared, and none knew what had become of him.

Many, many days after he had disappeared, Burd Janet was wandering in Carterhaugh Wood, though she had been warned not to go there. And as she wandered she plucked the flowers from the bushes. She came at last to a bush of broom and began plucking it. She had not taken more than three flowerets when by her side up started young Tamlane.
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31 Days of Halloween: Day Four

HalloweenJesusPumpkinAs promised: free never-published anywhere original Halloween fiction! “Sacred Light” is a very short story, about 1300 words, and set in an evangelical Christian church that feels Halloween is a temptation that can lead you off the path of righteousness, it is probably not for the easily offended… [Read the story]

[And, of course, don’t forget our giveaway treats connected with Halloween: Magic, Mystery and the Macabre!