My mother recently remembered being told by a uni friend about a story in which the main character encounters a strange woman in a garden who then moves her hand in front of her face and makes it disappear; he flees in horror and retells the story to someone else, who then does the exact same motion and becomes faceless. Her uni friend specialised in Lovecraft, so she thought it might have been a story by him, but I cannot find something that fits at a glance. It must have been published by the late 1960s at the latest.


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It's the E.F. Benson short story "The Step", available to read online in the short story collection monograph More spook stories (1934) Hutchinson & co. (publishers) ltd., London.

The Step tells the bizarre and terrifying tale of a British money-lender in Alexandria who is aware of uncanny footsteps following him as he walks home from his club at nights. Initially he ignores the footsteps... then he plucks up courage to challenge the invisible follower... then finally he meets the mysterious follower and what he sees sends him running up the street in sheer terror. But worse is yet to come...

It seems she misremembered quite some details, but it fits :)

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