“Keeping His Promise” by Algernon Blackwood
Card picked: Two of Spades – Wild Card!
From: Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown, edited by Marvin Kaye
Thoughts: Marriott, a Fourth Year Man at Edinburgh University, needs to study like he’s never studied before. If he doesn’t pass his next exam, his father is going to pull him from University. End of the line. So what happens during the night of the most important cram session ever? An old friend shows up. Marriott hasn’t seen Fields in years, but his friend is obviously in trouble. Marriott does his best to help his thin, shabby, silent, very tired childhood chum by feeding him some snacks (cold scones, stale oatcake, a bit of whiskey) and lending him a bed for the night. Considering the amount of reading Marriott needs to do, he won’t be doing much sleeping. The night passes fairly peacefully. Marriott, only bothered by an occasional pain in his arm, gets his reading done, pausing only to listen to the deep-sleep breathing of his friends. When dawn breaks, Fields is gone. But the sound of his breathing remains. It’s only later that Marriott remembers the schoolboy pledge they made so many years ago…
Sometimes, participating in RIPXI feels a little like cheating. These are the genres I read most of the time. I picked this story last week without thinking about R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, but this classic ghost story is a great way to kick off the event. And it’s available online too: “Keeping His Promise” by Algernon Blackwood @ Classic Reader!