Aphelion Issue 265, Volume 25
September 2021
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

The Horla

by Ron Larson

From a short story by Guy de Maupassant

I spent the late morning stretched out on the grass.
Then I had an anxious sense, but felt it would pass.
It occurred when a Brazilian ship came into view.
Perhaps it had something to do with my bout of flu.

Then I spent the next day in bed with a high fever.
My much alarmed servant even called the doctor.
He was pleased that my temperature was ninety-nine
And gave me a vial of quinine and said I'd be fine.

With each passing day, I am feeling much worse,
And I'm starting to dwell on that familiar curse—
The curse of the Horla, from the tropics of Brazil.
It seems like this menace is taking over my will.

I wonder what I've done to have angered this spirit,
But I know of no sane way to rid myself of it.
Yes, this unseen presence is taking total control.
Will it at last dominate my immortal soul?

Last night I put a glass of water near the settee.
When I awoke, the glass was completely empty.
This morning I saw a rose suspended in the air.
It came out of nowhere and landed on a chair.

As far as I know there isn't a trace of insanity
In my family, so that couldn't affect me.
But there is something in which I take no pride.
A number of my relatives have committed suicide.

© 2016 Ron Larson

Ron Larson is a retired community college professor, one of whose hobbies is writing poetry of all kinds. The poem above is from his soon to be self-published book, "66 Classic Horror Stories Outlined in Rhyme", which will be available online. Additional horror stories are available in his "Grimm's Complete Fairly Tales Outlined in Rhyme." His website may be found at ronlarsonclassics.com.

Find more by Ron Larson in the Author Index.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.