Cemetery Dance Publications | August 2016 | 126 pgs
As the title suggests, this anthology consists of six chilling stories; in which these are entries of a short story competition run by Hodder & Stoughton and the Guardian to celebrate the publication of Stephen King's The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. These six stories are selected by Stephen King himself and he was so impressed with them that he recommended they be published in one book and here it is.
The first story, Wild Swimming by Elodie Harper tells a harrowing tale of a lone tourist visiting a place called Vaiduoklis where it was believed that the old village there was sunk during the Soviet days. The story is written in an electronic mail format and after reading this I don't think I'd dip my toes in (let alone swimming) in any lakes (absolutely no reservoirs!), local or overseas.
Eau-de-Eric by Manuela Saragosa is a story surrounding the relationship between a mother and daughter and the latter's obsession with a teddy named Eric, which she named after her dead father. Sounds creepy, isn't it?
The third story, The Spots by Paul Bassett Davies revolves around a leopard and the observation as part of Maximilian's assignment. The first phase was to count the leopard's spots. Max's determination in fulfilling the task will push him forward despite the danger and readers will learn that there's something more fearful than the feline itself.
The Unpicking by Michael Button reminds me a little of the animation film Toy Story whereas all the toys come alive but of course the similarity ends there. Out of boredom they decided on an evening's entertainment and it had led to something horrific than the other games they'd played.
La Mort de L'Amant by Stuart Johnstone is the last second story of this anthology and it is about an encounter between an older man and a young policeman. What caught my attention to this story is the usage of a few lovely quirks of language which formed the spine of this story amid the somber mood.
Finally, The Bear Trap by Neil Hudson is a tale about the trap a twelve-year-old boy, Calvin, laid for a threatening trespasser who barged into his father's farmhouse one day. This story has that mournful feel not only of the ash storm which had clouded over the place thereafter but also Calvin seemed to be living on his own for a year after his father left the farm to get Uncle Jake.
Although not all of these stories fall under the "bump in the night" category, each is unique in a way and makes you think that a person's dark mind could be even scarier than those of the paranormal. I couldn't name a favourite but I've to say Wild Swimming left a deep impression on me.
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