Short Story #173: A Vine on a House by Ambrose Bierce

Title:  A Vine on a House

Author:  Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceA house lay in ruins with nothing but a vine running through it.  It had been abandoned for a while since the Harding family went away.  First the wife was sent away to visit her mother several states away while Harding and his sister in-law remained.  Eventually, they too disappeared and the house fell into disrepair as well as became victim to marauders.  Years later, a minister and attorney find that it is the perfect spot to meet between their two dwellings.  After several meetings, they decide to explore the house.  They decide to take down the vine that rings through the house.  As they get to the root of the vine, they discover it is oddly shaped in the form of a human body with one leg (which happens to be a description of the wife).  Further inquiry leads them to discover that the wife never did visit her relatives and no one knows what happen to Harding and the sister-in-law.  


A reasonably creepy story that reminds me a bit of an E.C. Comics horror tale with its dark comeuppance.  The idea of a snaking vine strangling the house of life also gets some points for darkness and creepiness.  

Short Story #173 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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