At first I really didn’t see where the horror in this story came from. And then I got to the ending… trust me, it’s horror. Or at least, horrible. My brain conjured so many less than pleasant moments that could have proceeded this short story. Which was most definitely the point. And, honestly, it was the kind of ending that I love in a horror short story – seriously dark, twisted and uncomfortable.
I know that imaginary friends are a really common thing. It’s not something that I ever remember. And the idea of an imaginary friend coming to life in adulthood… that in and of itself feels incredibly disturbed. I mean, there is something just seriously wrong about it. And brining that into a marriage also felt… well, icky. But it got worse.
Mr. Fiddlehead doesn’t feel romantic or attractive from the get-go. There is a definite parasitic feel to him and his presence from the beginning. It steadily gets worse until the climax of this story. And then you just feel kind of wigged. Or at least I did. And now I’m really hoping that my own child doesn’t have an imaginary friend…
Title: Anna Author: F. Paul Wilson In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Horror, Murder Dates read: 18th August 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: Morley watched the fabric and padding of the stool dissolve in a burst of flame, watched the wood of the seat and legs char and smoke and burn and crumble.
He thought he was just buying a beautiful foot stool. But then the wood in his house starts to attack him and he has to open the door to the past… a past that is unexpectedly dark.
There is nothing I like better than a story in which the bad guy gets his comeuppance. I didnt quite realise that this would be one such story until I got about halfway through, but then I felt wonderfully happy and vindicated.
As someone who loves woodwork, I kind of liked the idea of the woodwork doing the haunting. To begin with, your not quite sure WHY Bill keeps getting stabbed by his footstool, but as the past unravels… *shudder.
This was definitely a well themed hauntings question. It was a tale that made me slightly cringe and grin throughout. Wonderful and a little spooky, definitely loved this short tale.
Title: Closing Time Author: Neil Gaiman In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Ghost stories, Horror Dates read: 15th August 2021 Pace: Slow Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: It existed solely to take advantage of the licensing laws of the day, which forced all pubs to stop serving drinks at eleven PM, closing time.
It’s closing time at the haunted old pub, the time of reminscing, hauntings and the telling of tall tales.
This had a kind of comfortable ghost feeling. Which I didn’t know was a feeling until I read this. I was expecting something dar more haunting considering the book I found this in… but, instead it was… comfortable.
I think that things from the past haunt all of us. That there is something that everyone remembers (whether correctly or incorrectly) from our pasts that makes us stop and think. This story felt like reminiscing on those moments. Those unanswered questions that we didn’t even know to ask when we were younger.
This story may not be haunting. But it was powerful. We’ve all been there at closing time and it always has that… empty feeling. That feeling of finishes and doors closing that we didn’t know we wanted left open. It’s a bit like saying goodbye to questions from our childhood…
Title: The Have-Nots Author: Elizabeth Hand In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 2.5 (Readable, but not worth reading again) My Bookshelves:Ghosts Dates read: 6th August 2021 Pace: Slow Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: But eventually it all settled down.
A series of tragic events leads to a surprise visit from a celebrity. But, when he comes back, things are a little bit… haunting.
I normally like stories that are a little bit jumpy and swirly. Not so much this one. I liked what the author was trying to do. I just didn’t love the execution of it.
The paragraphs that were the narrator talking about cosmetics or ?I think? someone in the room with them was just confusing. It didn’t lend to the story in the least, and actually ended up making me skim through the story. Which I only do when I’m not quite enjoying the tale.
I probably also didn’t love this because the whole story just felt gossipy and tragic. I liked the allusion to Elvis. But other than that, it just read like a lonely housewife saying negatives about someone to make themselves feel better about their own lives. Again, just not my favourite thing.
Title: The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4) Author: Caitlin R. Kiernan In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Crime, Horror Dates read: 26th July 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: She wonders how it will affect the sound, those five ancient stones, how they might warp and alter this violin’s voice.
He’s a collector. The only thing? One collection is on public display… and then the other? Well, that one is just haunting.
You know that a story is going to be creepy when the lead character is called The Collector. And when the whole story is written from this eerie birds eye point of view. But, it was kind of much more intense than I had expected….
There is always something a bit eerie about Kiernan’s writing. Yet, I found this one particularly bad. Probably because The Collector is a serial killer. And you spend the whole time wondering who the next victim will be. And what the obsession with the violin is.
Nothing about this story is comfortable. But it was intriguing. And I loved that uncomfortable feeling that lingers at the end. Truly haunting.
Title: Nothing Will Hurt You Author: David Morrell In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Family, Horror Dates read: 30th June 2021 Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Parents are supposed to be able to protect their children. But what happens when they fail?
To start with I had some pretty amazing Edward Scissorhand vibes. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe there’s a reference I picked up subconsciously from my long ago watching of the movie. And honestly, I thought that reference was dark enough…
It got darker. It got more disturbing and I felt quite uncomfortable by the time I’d finished this short story. Which, I suppose makes sense for the fact that it’s in the Hauntings collection. It also left you with a but of a “haunting” feeling when you turned that final page…
I love the idea that a father will do anything to protect his daughter. I also loved how this story took that protective instinct WAY too far. Combined with the haunting by the daughter, a quest for revenge and just the general creepiness of this story… well, I’m still tingling.
Title: Delta Sly Honey Author: Lucius Shepard In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one) My Bookshelves:Ghosts, Horror Dates read: 16th April 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: But it stains you alla same.
They’re in a warzone and constantly battling for a future. But there may be someone haunting their world.
This short story was a bit of a skim read for me. It wasn’t the kind of story that I’d necessarily return to and be obsessed with, but it was enjoyable all the same. Just an easy and fun read altogether.
The confusion and multiple deaths in this story definitely have a haunting feeling to them. But it was about war, so that kind of lent itself further to this storyline. I mean, war is seriously confusing and terrifying. So why wouldn’t a story about it be seriously confusing?
There is a lot of death in this tale. Mostly I just felt confused and trying to count the number of deaths in this tale. Which kind of works when it’s a story all about hauntings…
Title: Cargo Author: E. Michael Lewis In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:Horror Dates read: 31st March 2021 Pace: Fast Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: There was none.
Their job is to ship cargo. They don’t get to know what or why. But this lot of cargo has a much darker secret.
This story seriously and deeply hurt my poor heart. There is nothing more tragic in war than the loss of innocent children’s lives. And I seem to be coming up against this theme quite a bit at the moment. So reading a seriously creepy horror story about this theme… yeah, my heart bled a little. Particularly since I read this so soon after finishing Zlata’s Diary.
War is one of the more horrifying aspects of human nature in my opinion. Reading about it was harsh and kind of sucked. But it most definitely drove home the fact that it’s the innocents that really suffer. And that children, the world over just want to play.
In this story, the fact that children just want to play is kind of creepy. I mean, it’s a great notion. But the actual moments in this story? Yup. Seriously terrifying.
Title: Hunger: A Confession Author: Dale Bailey In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow) Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Horror Dates read: 28th February 2021 Pace: Slow Format: Short story Publisher: Tachyon Year: 2013 5th sentence, 74th page: That’s when I remembered Mom’s warning that I wasn’t to fool around down here.
Jeremy has always told the most horrifying stories right before bed time… but this one will make you want to keep the light off.
This was… freaking terrifying. Like. Completely, totally and utterly terrifying. I’m really damn glad that I didn’t read this late at night.
I’m a big sister, and I know that I have done many, many things over the years to torture my little sister. But what was happening in this story… I think she should be glad that I didn’t try and torture and scare her as much as Jeremy did in this. But, the uh…. Comeuppance was waaaaaaay more worse.
This was brilliantly written and completely spine tingling. It is beautiful and wonderful. But yeah… don’t read this late at night. Honestly, it is horrifying.