Short Story #189: Charles Ashmore's Trail by Ambrose Bierce

Title:  Charles Ashmore's Trail

Author:  Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceDuring a fall evening, Charles Ashmore took a bucket to go fill at the nearby spring while the rest of his family stayed warm.  He left but did not return.  His father and the eldest daughter after some time went out to determine where he went.  As it had been snowing, they were able to follow his trail in the snow but the trail just stopped without any clear indication of what happen to Charles.  They returned home and in the morning light returned to look but found nothing still.  Several days later, the mother visited the spring and swore that she heard Charles' faint voice.  Though this continued randomly for months afterwards, she was the only one to experience this.  


Another tale of a dubious disappearance.  Mayhaps these stories aren't as palpable to modern readers who live in safe parts of the world where the idea of people vanishing seems strange but I can imagine in less safer environments, this story would hit the nerves of the readers.  I think also this idea of nature just randomly absorbing someone plays--or the supernatural seizing upon the living in the remote areas is more easier to believe (or fear) when living in such isolation.
Short Story #189 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/2/2014
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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