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Beyond the Wall

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce’s literary reputation is based primarily on his short stories about the Civil War and the supernatural, a body of work that makes up a relatively small part of his total output. Often compared to the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, these stories share an attraction to death in its more bizarre forms, featuring depictions of mental deterioration, uncanny, otherworldly manifestations, and expressions of the horror of existence in a meaningless universe. Beyond the Wall is a ghost story that was first published by Cosmopolitan in December 1907. The unnamed narrator returns from Hong Kong to visit a friend in San Francisco. His friend’s name is Mohun Dampier, a young man from an aristocratic family who likes to dabble in the occult. The night is stormy when the narrator visits Dampier’s house, and he is surprised to find a note that tells him to not ring the doorbell but simply to come up the stairs. This annoys the narrator, but he understands why Dampier left the note when he sees him – Dampier has aged dramatically, and looks very unwell. Dampier makes a reference to his impending death, and the narrator is puzzled. Suddenly, a gentle tapping is heard behind the wall just behind the chair that the narrator is sitting in as if someone is seeking entrance. Dampier stares at the wall with a strange look on his face, then explains to the narrator that there is no room behind the wall, even flinging open a nearby window for proof. But no one is there… Listen online to free English audiobook "Beyond the Wall” on our website to experience Ambrose Bierce's work.

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