One Dark Night: 13 Masterpieces of the Macabre

One Dark Night: 13 Masterpieces of the Macabre

by Kathleen Blease

An artist can't shake the eerie, cold embrace from the ghost of his jilted love. An enormous rat with baleful, glaring eyes, possesses the spirit of a notorious hanging judge. A hauntingly beautiful woman appears to a student in his dreams—and then in flesh and blood. . . .

From old-fashioned ghost stories by H. G. Wells and Guy de Maupassant to chilling

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An artist can't shake the eerie, cold embrace from the ghost of his jilted love. An enormous rat with baleful, glaring eyes, possesses the spirit of a notorious hanging judge. A hauntingly beautiful woman appears to a student in his dreams—and then in flesh and blood. . . .

From old-fashioned ghost stories by H. G. Wells and Guy de Maupassant to chilling tales that defy description by literary masters Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Washington Irving, One Dark Night is an extraordinary collection full of gothic mood and ghastly haunts. Rich in atmosphere and creepy detail, these terrifying tales illuminate the darkest corners of the mind and make real our most innate fears. One Dark Night will sate even the most intrepid reader's hunger for the macabre. Beware of reading them past midnight!

Editorial Reviews

The editor has chosen magnificent stories from Mark Twain, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving and others, which tell of the unnatural world impinging on the natural world; the result is a masterpiece of the macabre. The lucky 13 stories are designed to scare readers with such features as ghosts that seem real, an enormous rat that repulses his human guest, and a woman who appears from the bottom of the lake. Each story has a preface with illuminating facts about the author and what makes each story special. Make sure it is in the hands of older middle school students and not the younger set. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Ballantine, 206p, 21cm, 00-106224, $10.00. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Sherri Forgash Ginsberg; Duke School for Children, Chapel Hill, NC January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Edition
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.48(d)

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Lennox Robinson

Long associated with the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Lennox Robinson was best
known as one of Ireland's finest playwrights. He also wrote novels,
biographies, dramatic criticisms, and tales of the supernatural. "The
Face" is an experiment that explores what the mind can conjure, develop,
make real. The reader and young Jerry Sullivan alike are pulled into this
place where the mysterious becomes tangible. This is my favorite story in
One Dark Night.

Never in the daytime or in bright sunlight could you see it, but sometimes
just before sunset when some sinking ray of the sun was reflected from the
rock to the lake's dark surface, and always in moonlight and on clear
starry nights then, lying flat on the top of the cliff and peering over
you could see the face quite clearly.

It lay in the deep pool at the foot of the cliff, a few yards from the
shore and apparently a foot or two deep in the water. First it appeared as
a piece of white rock with a film of lakeweed floating across it, then
gradually your vision cleared and you saw the pale features distinctly,
the closed eyes and the long dark lashes, the curved eyebrows, the gentle
mouth and the fair hair which half hid the white neck and which sometimes
drifted like a veil across the face; below the neck the pool lay in deeper
shadow, and no one had ever been able to tell the shape of the beautiful
creature that lay there.

It was a precipitous climb down the face of the cliff and no one but Jerry
Sullivan had ventured it, but as he touched with his fingers the water of
the pool the face shivered away, and stretching his armdeep into the
water it met nothing except a tendril of lake-weed. Only once had he
climbed down because he was afraid that if he probed too deeply the face
would disappear forever—for it was days after he touched the water before
he saw it again; for the future he was content to gaze at it from above.

He had known it all his life. He could not have been more than six years
old when his father had led him to the cliff's edge and shown him the
sleeping face in the water. He had never been afraid of it as were some of
the other boys, on the contrary when he was sent to drive the sheep from
one hill to another he would contrive to pass the lake either coming or
going, he would loiter there until the sun sank and risk a scolding when
he got home; but hardly a week passed without his seeing the face.

Up among those lonely mountains he saw few women. There was only his
mother, old now and grey, and a mile or two to the west the MacCarthy's
cottage with the two girls Peg and Ellen, coarsely featured both with
thick black hair, and the few other women he saw from time to time were
either coarsely dark or foxy red. Was it any wonder that he turned from
them to the fair face floating in the water? any wonder that as he grew
older he judged every woman's face by that hard standard and found them
all wanting.

His father died when he was eighteen years old and Jerry lived on with his
mother, tilling the little bit of land, cutting turf on the side of the
mountain, driving the sheep. It was a lonely, silent life—for he was an
only child—and his mother often urged him to take a wife, but he made the
excuse that while she was there he wanted no other woman in the house, and
though she remonstrated with him she was well content to remain sole
mistress of the cottage to the day of her death. He never told her of
those hours he spent by the lake; hidden in a fold of the hills no one saw
him go there, the neighbors shunned the place as haunted, and as the years
crept by the face grew to be more and more particularly his own.

Fifteen years after his father's death his mother died, and when the
funeral was over he climbed the mountain and stared for a long time into
the water. It was a stormy winter evening and as the sun went down a pale
young moon appeared. Never had the face been so clear, never had it looked
more lovely. He had felt very lonely when the earth was thrown on his
mother's coffin, now he felt quietly content. He had nothing left in the
world to love except this face. It had no rival now, he could pour out all
the love of his heart in adoration of it.

And so for three years it went on like this: more and more he shunned the
neighbors, more and more time he spent by the lake. He began to neglect the farm, for what pleasure was there in working only for himself? And to the overtures
of the match-makers he was either morosely silent or roughly violent. He
spent now whole nights on the cliff; sometimes he thought he saw a stirring
of the eyelids and the fancy grew in him that after sufficient concentration of
devotion on his part the eyes would open; already the cheeks seemed less pale,
the mouth had parted slightly, he thought he saw a gleam of white teeth.

He grew worn with watching. The woman in the water seemed to draw her
vitality from him, and as her cheeks grew fuller his own grew thin, and as
her face flushed his paled until one evening gazing down at those closed
eyes he saw the lids stir and stir again and at last very slowly they
opened. The eyes behind them were dazzlingly blue and they met his grey
ones with a long comprehending look. Everything he had ever hoped to see
in a woman's eyes was there, and half in terror, half in joy, he gave a
cry and drew back from the cliff; when he looked again a second later the
face had vanished.

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