Sucking the Life Right Out of the Room: Mary Wilkins Freeman’s “Luella Miller”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Mary Wilkins Freeman’s “Luella Miller,” first published in the December 1902 issue of Everybody’s Magazine. Spoilers ahead.

“‘Yes,’ says I, ‘she’s killin’ herself. She’s goin’ to die just the way Erastus did, and Lily, and your Aunt Abby. You’re killin’ her jest as you did them. I don’t know what there is about you, but you seem to bring a curse,’ says I. ‘You kill everybody that is fool enough to care anythin’ about you and do for you.’”

Summary

From villagers old enough to remember Luella Miller to children born long after her death, all fear and shun her former home. None will enter the unassuming one-story house, much less ...