Shortalk - moving words off the page
The Grave by the Handpost by Thomas Hardy
It is Christmas and a soldier returning from the war discovers a local choir singing a carol over the freshly dug grave by a cross roads. When the soldier discovers who is in the grave he vows to make amends. Thematically Thomas Hardy is under the microscope here, showing the tragedy of human existence with a wit as dry and bitter as a mid-winter gale blasting over the Wessex downs.
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
They say that revenge is a dish that is best served cold. it is positively icy in this classic tale as Montressor offers his 'friend' Fortunato a taste of his new acquisition, a pipe of Amontillado. Already full of revelry and the demon drink, Fortunato just cannot refuse. Poe is the master at creating tales that chill the blood and the further this story progresses, the more your temperature will drop.
The Phantom Coach by Amelia Edwards
A traveller is lost on the North Yorkshire moors. it is snowing and he fears for his life. He meets a man who could be his salvation... A dark story where the journey really is as important as the destination, perhaps Edwards was drawing on her experience as a travel writer, journalist and Egyptologist for this tale. She certaianly can create a sense of place and puts us right there, alone in the fading gray light, a bleak aspect indeed with little hope of light on the horizon.