Friday, October 7, 2011

"Was it a Dream?" by Guy de Maupassant

I feel like this wasn't a 'horror' story so much as a tragic romance. He loved, she died, he mourned is essentially the entire story. After losing the love of his life to an illness (supposedly pneumonia?) our narrator mourns, and then leaves Paris on a journey. Upon returning to the home he shared with her, he feels an overwhelming urge to pass the night in the cemetery by her grave, and sure enough hides out in the oldest part of the cemetery to avoid being forced out. At night, however, he gets lost and cannot find his love's grave, and wanders for a while trying to find it.

In a 'Night of the Living Dead' type plot, the skeletons dig their way out of the ground. Instead of walking the earth and bringing about the apocalypse, they turn to their tombstones and add a little honesty to the standard brightest-side epitaphs. 'He lived and loved honorably' became 'he tortured his family and deceived his neighbors' and the like. Kind of a final confession, I suppose. Also another reason I would rather be cremated than buried... I don't want to come back as a zombie and destroy my family, nor to I want any deep dark secrets revealed by my guilt-ridden corpse.

Sure enough, our narrator finds his beloved, and reads what is now written on her tombstone, and this is where I'll leave the summary. I think this was a well-written story, drawing on every lover's fear of being cheated on, or hurt in some way. It kind of also shows that guilt will follow you into the grave, as it appears to me that these souls were tormented by their sins even after death, and felt the need to rise up and use their finger bones to change what their epitaph says. Definitely an interesting way to look at a romance story, and I'm quite pleased with it (even though I'm more of an optimist than anyone could ever hope to be). Of all the things to be terrified would happen in a cemetery, at night, I would not expect honest corpses :P

So, I'm 5 stories into my fall challenge, and while my posts are falling a bit behind, I'm still pleased at the progress I've made (and yes, I have been reading a story a day, I just haven't had a chance to post before midnight, between school and work). We'll see how the rest of the month goes, between school, work, and now midterms and papers to worry about, but I'm pretty sure I'll still be able to keep up. We shall wait and see :)

- Justin

1 comment:

  1. We should have a Halloween wedding, I've decided. And an epic Halloween party to go with it.

    Love your posts and can't wait to see what you're gonna read for Halloween. I hope it's TERRIFYING.