I hadn’t read a good old gothic story in a while, so things needed to change! Well this short tale certainly managed to creep me out, even with such a short page count.
Jamie has grown tired of her life on the seas. Discarding her ship’s captain hat she decides she wants to find a place to settle down and live out her life in peace, and on dry land, of course.
She conveniently finds a seemingly abandoned manor that would be perfect for her. Seems too good to be true, eh? Well yeah, it is.
Jamie thinks she’s found ‘the one’ in house-terms, but when she meets the lovely Elizabeth who lives in the old manor, she’s found two ones at once. Her life is complete. She falls for Elizabeth and then some. Desperate to spend as much time as possible with her, Jamie offers to help out around the house in exchange for a place to stay. Plus it gives her an excuse to spend more time with Liz.
And what’s even better is Elizabeth feels the same. Hmm, this is all going too well.
Elizabeth’s elderly and bedbound father lives in the house, too, and he is very welcoming of Jamie, mistaking her as a man. Come on, he’s old!
There is something very off about this house, though. An old house setting by the sea could come across cliché if not handled correctly, but there is none of that here. The eerie atmosphere is captured in full-on gothic delight.
Jamie hears noises in the night as though someone or something is scampering behind the walls and along the corridors. She witnesses ghosts speaking to Elizabeth, seemingly warning her to get Jamie the hell out of there.
When ghosts start to warn the living, you just know that things are going to go downhill.
Before long Jamie and Elizabeth are married, but Liz seems to be holding something back. She refuses to tell Jamie exactly what is going on, and eventually pleads with her to leave, for her own safety. We do eventually find out what is going on and when we do; wow, things get creepy-scary and fast!
Perhaps a little too fast. I would have liked more on the antagonist of this tale, but it’s a short story so to complain about that is a little nit-picky of me. Leaving the reader wanting more is definitely better than them losing their attention.
I don’t want to give too much away, but there are ghosts, a disgusting monster, and corpses on show here. The mystery surrounding the place is gripping, and as such I flew through this fine story in no time at all.
The writing was superb, this could have been written 100 years ago, and I mean that as a massive compliment. The mood of the gothic tale is captured perfectly. That unnerving sensation that lingers throughout is unleashed with harrowing effect in the closing act of the story.
This one definitely put the ‘shock’ into Short Sharp Shocks! If you enjoy gothic horror, or even just gothic or horror, you can’t really go wrong by picking this one up!
Categories: book review