Blue World—A Collection of Horror Stories by Robert R. McCammon (TOC + Intro + Link)

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Table of Contents

Dear Readers (introduction to the preview of Mine) • essay by Robert R. McCammon
Mine (excerpt) • short fiction by Robert R. McCammon
ix • Introduction (Blue World and Other Stories) • (1989) • essay by Robert R. McCammon
1 • Yellowjacket Summer • (1986) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
25 • Makeup • (1981) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
49 • Doom City • (1987) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
65 • Nightcrawlers • (1984) • novelette by Robert R. McCammon
101 • Yellachile’s Cage • (1987) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
121 • I Scream Man! • (1984) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
131 • He’ll Come Knocking at Your Door • (1986) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
151 • Chico • (1989) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
163 • Night Calls the Green Falcon • (1988) • novelette by Robert R. McCammon
191 • Pin • (1989) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
215 • The Red House • (1985) • novelette by Robert R. McCammon
239 • Something Passed By • (1989) • short story by Robert R. McCammon
259 • Blue World • (1989) • novella by Robert R. McCammon

Introduction

Fast Cars, the sign said.

It was in front of a used-car lot in the neighborhood where I grew up. Fast Cars. My friends and I passed it every day on our way to school. Our bikes were the fast cars of our imagination, our Mustangs and Corvettes and Thunderbirds. We longed for four wheels, but we were confined to two and on them we hurtled into the future.

I’ve built my own fast cars. They’re in this book, and they’re eager for passengers.

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“The Haunting”—A Short Story by Joyce Carol Oates, 2003

The Haunting

Joyce Carol Oates, 2003


Originally appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in April 2003. It was later anthologized in Stephen Jones’ The Mammoth Bookmof Best New Horror, Vol. 15 in 2004; and collected in 2006 in Oates’ story collection: The Female of the Species: Tales if Mystery and Suspense.

There’s nothing! You hear nothing. It’s the wind. It’s your dream. You know how you dream. Go back to sleep. I want to love you, stop crying, let go of me, let me sleep for sweet Jesus’s sake I’m somebody too not just your Mommy don’t make me hate you.

In this new place Mommy has brought us to. Where nobody will know us Mommy says.

In this new place in the night when the rabbits’ cries wake us. In the night my bed pushed against a wall and through the wall I can hear the rabbits crying in the cellar in their cages begging to be freed. In the night there is the wind. In this new place at the edge of a river Mommy says is an Indian name — Cuy-a-hoga. In the night when we hear Mommy’s voice muffled and laughing. Mommy’s voice like she is speaking on a phone. Mommy’s voice like she is speaking, laughing to herself. Or singing.

Calvin says it might not be Mommy’s voice. It’s a ghost-voice of the house Mommy brought us to, now Mommy is a widow.

I ask Calvin is it Daddy? Is it Daddy wanting to come back

Calvin looks at me like he’d like to hit me. For saying some wrong dumb thing like I am always doing. Then he laughs.

“Daddy ain’t coming back, dummy. Daddy is dead.”

Daddy is dead. Dead Daddy. Daddy-dead. Daddydeaddead. Deaaaaaddaddy

If you say it enough times faster and faster you start giggling. Calvin shows me.

In this new place a thousand miles Mommy says from the old place where we have come to make a new start. Already Mommy has a job, in sales she says. Not much but only temporary. Some nights she has to work, Calvin can watch me. Calvin is ten: old enough to watch his little sister Mommy says. Now that Daddy is gone.

Now that Daddy is gone we never speak of him. Calvin and me, never when Mommy might hear.

At first I was worried: how would Daddy know where we were, if he wanted to come back to us?

Calvin flailed his fists like windmills he’d like to hit me with. Told and told and told you Daddy is D-E-A-D.

Mommy said, “Where Randy Malvern has gone is his own choice. He has gone to dwell with his own cruel kin.” I asked where, and Mommy said scornfully, “He has gone to Hell to be with his own cruel kin”

Except for the rabbits in the cellar, nobody knows me here.

In their ugly rusted old cages in the cellar where Mommy says we must not go. There is nothing in the cellar Mommy says. Stay out of that filthy place. But in the night through the wall I can hear the rabbits’ cries. It starts as whimpering at first like the cooing and fretting of pigeons then it gets louder. If I put my pillow over my head still I hear them. I am meant to hear them. My heart beats hard so that it hurts. In their cages the rabbits are pleading Help us! Let us out/We don’t want to die.

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Tonight’s Read: Gaslight Gothic—An Anthology of Strange Stories of Sherlock Holmes, ed. by Charles Prepolec & J R Campbell (EDGE-Lite 2018)

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Table of Contents

Publisher’s Note
Books in the Gaslight Series
Introduction
It Is Not the Cold Which Makes Me Shiver by Charles Prepolec
The Cuckoo’s Hour by Mark A. Latham
The Spirit of Death by David Stuart Davies
Father of the Man by Stephen Volk
The Strange Case of Dr. Sacker and Mr. Hope by James Lovegrove
The Ignoble Sportsmen by Josh Reynolds
The Strange Adventure of Mary Holder by Nancy Holder
The Lizard Lady of Pemberton Grange by Mark Morris
The Magic of Africa by Kevin P. Thornton
A Matter of Light by Angela Slatter
The Song of a Want b Lyndsay Faye
About the Editors
About the Cover Artist
Need something New to Read
Detail

Link

“The Screaming Skull”—A Vintage Ghost Story by F. Marion Crawford, 1908

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Art by Devin Francisco (deviantart.com).

The Screaming Skull

F. Marion Crawford, 1908


Below: “The Screaming Skull originally appeared in Volume 41 of Collier’s National Weekly Magazine—in two parts—in the July 11 and July 18, 1908 issues. (Click thumbnails to enlarge.)

Top-left: The 1911 book cover for F. Marion Crawford’s story collection Wandering Ghosts, which included “The Screaming Skull”; and top-right: Original story illustration for the 1911 edition (caption reads: “What? . . . It’s gone, man, the Skull is gone!!”); artist unknown. (Images: Wiki; Pinterest; Haithi Trust; Public Domain.)

I have often heard it scream. No, I am not nervous, I am not imaginative, and I have never believed in ghosts, unless that thing is one. Whatever it is, it hates me almost as much as it hated Luke Pratt, and it screams at me.

If I were you, I would never tell ugly stories about ingenious ways of killing people, for you never can tell but that someone at the table may be tired of his or her nearest and dearest. I have always blamed myself for Mrs Pratt’s death, and I suppose I was responsible for it in a way, though heaven knows I never wished her anything but long life and happiness. If I had not told that story she might be alive yet. That is why the thing screams at me, I fancy.

She was a good little woman, with a sweet temper, all things considered, and a nice gentle voice; but I remember hearing her shriek once when she thought her little boy was killed by a pistol that went off, though everyone was sure that it was not loaded.

It was the same scream; exactly the same, with a sort of rising quaver at the end; do you know what I mean? Unmistakable.

The truth is, I had not realized that the doctor and his wife were not on good terms. They used to bicker a bit now and then when I was here, and I often noticed that little Mrs Pratt got very red and bit her lip hard to keep her temper, while Luke grew pale and said the most offensive things. He was that sort when he was in the nursery, I remember and afterward at school. He was my cousin, you know; that is how I came by this house; after he died, and his boy Charley was killed in South Africa, there were no relations left. Yes, it’s a pretty little property, just the sort of thing for an old sailor like me who has taken to gardening.

One always remembers one’s mistakes much more vividly than one’s cleverest things, doesn’t one? I’ve often noticed it. I was dining with the Pratts one night, when I told them the story that afterwards made so much difference. It was a wet night in November, and the sea was moaning. Hush! – if you don’t speak you will hear it now…

Do you hear the tide? Gloomy sound, isn’t it? Sometimes, about this time of year – hallo! – there it is! Don’t be frightened, man – it won’t eat you – it’s only a noise, after all! But I’m glad you’ve heard it, because there are always people who think it’s the wind, or my imagination, or something. You won’t hear it again tonight, I fancy, for it doesn’t often come more than once. Yes – that’s right. Put another stick on the fire, and a little more stuff into that weak mixture you’re so fond of. Do you remember old Blauklot the carpenter, on that German ship that picked us up when the Clontarf went to the bottom? We were hove to in a howling gale one night, as snug as you please, with no land within five hundred miles, and the ship coming up and falling off as regularly as clockwork – ‘Biddy te boor beebles ashore tis night, poys!’ old Blauklot sang out, as he went off to his quarters with the sail-maker. I often think of that, now that I’m ashore for good and all.

Yes, it was on a night like this, when I was at home for a spell, waiting to take the Olympia out on her first trip – it was on the next voyage that she broke the record, you remember – but that dates it. Ninety-two was the year, early in November.

The weather was dirty, Pratt was out of temper, and the dinner was bad, very bad indeed, which didn’t improve matters, and cold, which made it worse. The poor little lady was very unhappy about it, and insisted on making a Welsh rarebit on the table to counteract the raw turnips and the half-boiled mutton. Pratt must have had a hard day. Perhaps he had lost a patient. At all events, he was in a nasty temper.

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Lest You Should Suffer Nightmares: A Biography of Herbert Van Thal by Johnny Mains (Screaming Dreams 2012) + Link

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Cover of the limited edition. Only 100 copies were printed and included bibliographical references.

Bertie Maurice van Thal (1904–1983), known as Herbert van Thal, was a British bookseller, publisher, agent, biographer, and anthologist. Van Thal’s grandfather was a distiller (King’s Liqueur Whisky), and was a director of the theatre proprietors, Howard and Wyndham. Henry Irving and Harry Lauder were friends of the family. After the Second World War, he founded the short-lived publishing house of Home and van Thal, with his friends Margaret Douglas-Home and Gwylim Fielden Hughes. The house was known as a “mushroom” publisher, since it sprang up overnight after the war. Later he became a general editor of the Doughty Library published by Anthony Blond. Van Thal was a friend and publisher of the critic James Agate, whom he met in 1932. He had been impressed by Agate’s review of Wycherley’s The Country Wife. Agate once described him as looking like “a sleek, well-groomed dormouse” out of a John Tenniel illustration of Alice in Wonderland, due to Bertie’s tendency to dress in a dapper suit, bow tie, monocle, and black shiny shoes. He had deep familiarity with Victorian literature, opera, and Restoration dramatists. He was one of the first publishers to recognize the talent of Hermann Hesse, and reprinted novels by George Gissing and Theodore Hook. He also edited anthologies of detective and horror stories; the Pan Book of Horror Stories series ran to 24 volumes, from 1959 to 1983. He edited an anthology of Hilaire Belloc for Allen and Unwin in 1970, and edited the papers of famous music-critic Ernest Newman. (Source: Wikipedia)

Additional Information/Links

http://horrorworld.org/lest-you-should-suffer-nightmares-a-biography-of-herbert-van-thal/

https://gingernutsofhorror.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/lest-you-should-suffer-nightmares-a-biography-of-herbert-van-thal-by-johnny-mains/

 

The Burning Circus–An Anthology of Dark Fantasy Stories, ed. by Johnny Mains (The British Fantasy Society 2013), TOC

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Cover art by David Whitlam.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword (The Burning Circus) • essay by Johnny Mains
  • Introduction (The Burning Circus) • essay by Ramsey Campbell
  • Doll Hands • short fiction by Adam Nevill
  • Death Walks en Pointe • short fiction by Thana Niveau
  • The Burning Circus • short story by Angela Slatter
  • Where Is Uncle Phillip? • short fiction by Alex Hamilton
  • The Queen in the Yellow Wallpaper • short story by Lynda E. Rucker
  • The Peter Lorre Fan Club • short fiction by Stephen Volk
  • The Garscube Creative Writing Group • short fiction by Muriel Gray
  • The Sixteenth Step • short story by Robert Shearman

The Screaming Book of Horror–An Anthology of Stories, ed. by Johnny Mains (Screaming Dreams 2012), TOC

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Cover art by Steve Upham.

Table of Contents

1 • Introduction (The Screaming Book of Horror) • (2012) • essay by Johnny Mains
5 • Christenings Can Be Dangerous • (2012) • short fiction by John Llewellyn Probert
17 • Larva • (2012) • short fiction by John Brunner
39 • The Swarm • (2012) • short fiction by Alison Littlewood
57 • Natural Selection • (2012) • short fiction by Robin Ince
57 • One of the Family • (2012) • short fiction by Bernard Taylor
77 • Cut! • (2012) • short fiction by Anna Taborska
93 • The Christmas Toys • (2012) • short fiction by Paul Finch
113 • The Quixote Candidate • (2012) • short story by Rhys Hughes
129 • Helping Mummy • (2012) • short fiction by Kate Farrell
139 • The City of Plenty • (2012) • short story by Alex Miles
149 • The Iron Cross • (2012) • short fiction by Craig Herbertson
173 • Sometimes You Think You Are Alone • (2012) • short fiction by Alison Moore
179 • Bird Doll • (2012) • short fiction by Claire Massey
187 • What Shall We Do About Barker? • (2012) • short fiction by Reginald Oliver
205 • Old Grudge Ender • (2012) • short fiction by David A. Riley
227 • Jack and Jill • (2012) • short fiction by Steve Rasnic Tem
233 • The Blackshore Dreamer • [The Adventures of Dr. Caspian and Bronwen • 4] • (2012) • novelette by John Burke
261 • Imagination • (2012) • short story by Christopher Fowler (variant of Anything Can Happen)
283 • The Baby Trap • (2012) • short fiction by Janine-Langley Wood
293 • The Tip Run • (2012) • short fiction by Johnny Mains
299 • Dementia • (2012) • short fiction by Charlie Higson