by E.F. Benson
While visiting his friends' Italian villa, a man has a terrifying encounter with otherworldly creatures. Is it a nightmare or something very real and deadly?
My Reaction (with SPOILERS):
I don't remember where I first heard/read about this story, but I've had a secret horror of it ever since-- without ever having ever read it myself! The subject matter is more deeply frightening than the usual "scary story" fare. Vampires? Ghosts? Zombies? Various and sundry supernatural happenings? Unsettling, yes, but most of us don't believe in those things, so they're essentially empty of real, lasting fear. Even stories about flesh-and-blood terrors-- merciless murder-- can mostly be argued away. Such things are unlikely to ever touch us personally. This, on the other hand... Disease is all too common. I prefer horror I can scoff at and, if it gets too unnerving, put away in a box labeled "Not Going to Happen".
I don't care to pick this one apart. It gives me the creeps. I've read it once; that's enough.