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"The Red Room" is a short story written by H. G. Wells in 1894.

Plot summary

The story centers around an unnamed protagonist who chooses to spend the night in the remote Lorraine Castle. The narrator intends to rest in a room said to be haunted, in an effort to disprove the various legends surrounding it. Despite ominously vague warnings from the three infirm custodians who reside there ("this night of all nights!"), the narrator ascends to the "Red Room" to begin his night's vigil.

Initially confident, the narrator begins to feel uneasy once in the room, and attempts to conquer his fear by lighting every corner of the room with candles. He then fights a losing battle to keep the candles lit in the drafty room; every time a candle goes out, the narrator's fear is increased, as he begins to wonder if the drafts are being guided by a malevolent intelligence. Eventually, the narrator's fear reaches a crescendo, and he is forced to flee from the room in a blind panic.

The caretakers initially feel vindicated when the narrator reveals to them that the room is in fact haunted, and are eager to hear a description of the phantom they assume the narrator has encountered. However, he surprises them by explaining that there is no ghost residing in the room; rather, the room is haunted by fear itself.

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