WANTED short, scary ghost stories - fiction or factual - for publication on this site.If published, we will be happy to list author's biographical details and a link back to your Web site.Copyright will remain with authors. Send submissions/outlines to abracad.
The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories (Algernon Blackwood) online
KEEPING HIS PROMISE
"I suppose so. But it frightens me horribly for some reason," returned his friend in a hushed voice. "And that poor devil--"
"But, after all, if the worst is true and--and that chap _has_ kept his promise--well, he has, that's all, isn't it?"
"There's only one thing that occurs to me," Greene went on, "and that is, are you quite sure that--that he really ate like that--I mean that he actually _ate anything at all_?" he finished, blurting out all his thought.
Marriott stared at him for a moment and then said he could easily make certain. He spoke quietly. After the main shock no lesser surprise could affect him.
"I put the things away myself," he said, "after we had finished. They are on the third shelf in that cupboard. No one's touched 'em since."
He pointed without getting up, and Greene took the hint and went over to look.
"Exactly," he said, after a brief examination; "just as I thought. It was partly hallucination, at any rate. The things haven't been touched. Come and see for yourself."
Together they examined the shelf. There was the brown loaf, the plate of stale scones, the oatcake, all untouched. Even the glass of whisky Marriott had poured out stood there with the whisky still in it.
"You were feeding--no one," said Greene "Field ate and drank nothing. He was not there at all!"
"But the breathing?" urged the other in a low voice, staring with a dazed expression on his face.
Greene did not answer. He walked over to the bedroom, while Marriott followed him with his eyes. He opened the door, and listened. There was no need for words. The sound of deep, regular breathing came floating through the air. There was no hallucination about that, at any rate. Marriott could hear it where he stood on the other side of the room.
Greene closed the door and came back. "There's only one thing to do," he declared with decision. "Write home and find out about him, and meanwhile come and finish your reading in my rooms. I've got an extra bed."
"Agreed," returned the Fourth Year Man; "there's no hallucination about that exam; I must pass that whatever happens."
And this was what they did.
It was about a week later when Marriott got the answer from his sister. Part of it he read out to Greene--
"It is curious," she wrote, "that in your letter you should have enquired after Field. It seems a terrible thing, but you know only a short while ago Sir John's patience became exhausted, and he turned him out of the house, they say without a penny. Well, what do you think? He has killed himself. At least, it looks like suicide. Instead of leaving the house, he went down into the cellar and simply starved himself to death. . . . They're trying to suppress it, of course, but I heard it all from my maid, who got it from their footman. . . . They found the body on the 14th and the doctor said he had died about twelve hours before. . . . He was dreadfully thin. . . ."
"Then he died on the 13th," said Greene.
"That's the very night he came to see you."
Marriott nodded again.