|Ambrose Bierce, American author and journalist, 1842-1914|
I've known for years about An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, a short story by Ambrose Bierce. It's included in a collection I have entitled Shadows of Blue & Gray: The Civil War Writings of Ambrose Bierce. I'm interested in the Civil War and heard that this was a chilling story. Since I'm in the chilly story mode these days, I thought I'd give it a go.
It is remarkable. Just twelve pages long, it is a perfect story. The writing is crisp, almost clinical, as the narrator describes the execution of a Southern plantation owner during the latter days of the war when defeat was inevitable but loyalty to the cause still ran high.
As with any great short story writer, Bierce manages to convey a strong sense of the personality and drivers of the main character, the man being executed, in but a few phrases. And as with any great short story, there are one or two moments at which the reader does a double-take. The end of the story, of course, takes your breath away.
I love stories like this one and writers like Bierce. At least I think I like him--I should probably read more than one story by him before making such a blanket statement.
Read it here and tell me what you think!
And in case you don't read it, I assure you, it qualifies as an R.I.P. challenge work!