For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not — and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them.
And so begins the short story The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe. Published in 1843 in The Saturday Evening Post the story is written in the voice of a man awaiting execution the following day. Describing himself as sane, an animal lover, finding the company of creatures of comfort as they are faithful and true, the narrator desires to put forward his story to offer explanation for his actions. However, this is Poe and any reader will know that the plot will have turns and twists and leave the reader with a racing heart and questioning. Central to the story is the narrator’s black cat and readers are left wondering.
Edgar Allan Poe, the creator of the American short story believed that there should not be one word that doesn’t leave an impression on the reader. He wrote, “I do believe God gave me a spark of genius, but he quenched it in misery”. This master of Gothic short stories writes tightly crafted prose that often don’t take much time to read, but much longer to digest. Unlike stories of today there isn’t gore and detail, but psychological tension, questions that leave readers wondering. Classic Halloween horror writing this fine story is worth reading, and will set the mood for the season.