Recently, I purchased The Century’s Best Horror Fiction, a beautiful two-volume set of short horror stories, edited by John Pelan and published by Cemetery Dance Publications. I feel like something this epic deserves special treatment, and so I’m challenging myself to read one story a day for the next 100 days, posting reviews as I go. Tonight, I read a tale chosen from the year 1905: R. Murray Gilchrist’s “The Lover’s Ordeal” …
Cool story with an excellent set-up of someone saying to his lover that he wished she’d challenge him to some great ordeal to prove his worth. She challenges him to spend a night in a haunted house. So he goes, happily. I like that a lot: the idea of the hero riding with good cheer to a haunted house. I’d definitely do that, and it felt quite realistic to me.
I’ll stop here, because this is a really short story. It’s really good, despite some mythological liberties that I wasn’t entirely on board with.
The last line is outstanding.
Giving this one 4/5 stars, for brevity and charming realism, and for really bringing it home in the final moments.