At the Sign of the Jack o'Lantern
by Myrtle Reed
Books Forgotten… This is one of those.
At the end of their honeymoon, on a dark and stormy night, Harlan and Dorothy come to the house Harlan has recently inherited. The house is big and weird and it is called Jack o`Lantern. The coachman does not wait to be paid, he tells the young couple he`ll come for the money the next day and hurries away.
While exploring the house, Dorothy is scared by two piercing eyes staring at her out of the dark. As it turns out, the eyes stare out of the portrait of the late Uncle Ebeneezer. Dorothy would like to remove the portrait, but neither she nor Harlan can do it. Then there appears, as if from nowhere, a black cat, as stately as if he were the proprietor of the house.
The house looks inhospitable, but the young people decide to make a home out of it. They can`t afford going to some other place, their nest-egg being but three hundred and ninety-seven dollars and twenty-three cents. Harlan, a journalist, wants to become a writer and hopes here, away from the noise and bustle of the City, he`d be able to write his first book. Dorothy loves her husband dearly and is resolved to do her best to help him. So they stay.
And then They start coming… Vampires? No. Zombies? No. Worse! Bit by bit and step by step, it comes out why did Uncle Ebeneezer bequeath his property to Harlan… I`m not telling you why, or who are the Them, because I don`t want to spoil the fun of reading. Just this: the ending is happy, and the book would make a perfect screenplay for a very funny movie, a horror comedy. No murders and no gore, of course!
Written and published more than a hundred years ago, the book (although by no means a masterpiece) is still worth reading.