This next winter tale is a good old-fashioned, creepy haunted house story — but a modern one, by Jeanette Winterson, author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and The Passion.
I found it as one of five Christmas ghost stories (all excellent) published by the Guardian Weekend magazine in 2013. Each of the stories has its own strengths; I liked them all. I chose Ms. Winterson’s story because of the five, it feels the most traditional to me.
We had borrowed the house from a friend none of us seemed to know.
A lone narrator in a mysterious, isolated house; footsteps in empty rooms; bats; flakey electricity, and of course (that modern touch) a phone that gets no signal. Oh, and an incomplete Nativity scene. What more could you want for a Christmas ghost story?
Reading this called up a lot of my favorite ghost stories, like Edith Wharton’s “Afterward” and M.R. James’ “Lost Hearts” — not that this story resembles either of those. There are just passing moments in “Dark Christmas” that brought those other stories to my mind. A good thing, in my opinion.
A list (with links) of the winter tales I’ve shared in previous years is on my Winter Tales page.
Five modern Christmas ghost stories (including this one) from The Guardian.