Title: Beyond the Wall (Chilling Horror Short Stories)
Author: Ambrose Bierce
Genre: Short Story, Horror, Gothic
Pages: 6 (25-30)
Beyond the Wall is very similar to That Damned Thing by the same author, in that the majority of the story is told as a story to another character. While I didn’t care for it in the latter short story, I felt that it worked pretty well for the former. In Beyond the Wall, the meat of the story is told through the dialogue of two old acquaintances; one is visiting while the other is telling the ‘spooky story’. This was handled better because the told story had the normal flow of a story, while the told story in That Damned Thing did not and therefore felt out of place.
Again, I didn’t find this story to be creepy, scary, or chilling. For me the story, while still very interesting, was more of a sad tale than one for fright. There are elements that may be frightening to younger audiences, but it was another instance in which time has taken away some of the fright. In 1907, I’m sure this story was quite unnerving, but I believe that the audience of today would find it less so.
Overall, this was a very interesting and enjoyable short story. Some readers may not like or have issues with the now old writing style. Bierce’s voice is very poetic and complex, with sentence structures that may lead some readers to confusion. Lovers of classics and English will definitely enjoy this story. While not chilling or frightening, I still really liked this story and find it to be the best of Bierce in this collection of short stories.