Halloween Reading: The Black Cat by Poe

blackcateyes.jpgMy 8th grade English teacher took great pains to prepare us for reading Edgar Allan Poe’s short story that Autumn. Still, I was shocked that Poe would use his talent to create such horror. I had not read Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the time, and that was before Jason and Freddie hit the screen.

As an adult, I am no less disgusted by the actions of Poe’s villain, but I take much pleasure in the presentation.

Have a haunting All Hallow’s Eve!

Excerpts from The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe.

When I first beheld this apparition –for I could scarcely regard it as less –my wonder and my terror were extreme. But at length reflection came to my aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this garden had been immediately filled by the crowd –by some one of whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my chamber. This had probably been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spread plaster; the lime of which, had then with the flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, accomplished the portraiture as I saw it.

And later…

But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! –by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman –a howl –a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the damned in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation.

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