The Year's Best Horror Stories, Series XI

Language: English

Pages: 148


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Horror is enjoying a period of unparalleled popularity. Horror novels regularly make the bestseller lists. Horror films, whether big budget or bargain basement, rake in the bucks. In short fiction, the horror genre continues to prosper and develop, as older writers perfect their art and new writers come along to lead the genre in new directions.

“Horror stories have a way of springing up everywhere—not just in science fiction/fantasy magazines and anthologies, but in amateur publications and in any sort of periodical that might publish fiction. Trying to read all the horror stories published during each year and then select the best of them is no easy task. You are holding the result of a year’s reading and selecting.”

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piton, its hand extended toward it. As Percy watched, the claw recoiled, the creature stopped and began to retreat, the others shifting below him. When he looked down again they were coming again, but using routes bypassing the piton. On the right the tatter-bearded thing was ahead, further down on the left the one in dark rags led his own file of spidery horrors. At least the lizardlike one that had been climbing the parallel rib was stopped, baffled by an overhang. Against all training Percy

nothing natural. In the dancing light of the torch, it seemed to be thatched over with dark, wet fronds and tussocks. Its head was draped with such stuff, through which gleamed to closely set eyes, pale as white-hot iron. A mouth opened in the tangle and out came a grumbling shout, like the roar of a great beast. It slouched heavily toward him, on two feet like shovels. Thunstone slid warily to one side, keeping the beam of the light upon the creature, at the same time poising his blade. “So

the evidence with eyes that were starting to water and sting from nervous tension. The little white sticks were scattered across the top of the vanity formica, and as Russell watched them, they began to move. Vibrating ever so slightly at first, tingling as if touched by a slight breeze, the bones—and Russell knew now that they were indeed bones—moved like iron filings over a magnet to form a caricature of a skull. Screaming involuntarily, he swept the pieces off the counter scattering them

play games with him, to watch him gazing stupidly through the wall they’d wrecked. Rage sprang him to his feet. Grabbing the flashlight, he strode through the doorway. He had to slow down in the storeroom, for he didn’t want to touch the shelves fattened by grime. As soon as he reached the wall he flashed the light into the cinema. The light just managed to reach the walls, however dimly. There was nobody in sight. On either side of the screen, which looked like a rectangle of fog, the theater

her neck. She was so intensely present to him that it was appalling. Then she stepped aside, annoyed by him, whatever he was. He reached out, but couldn’t quite seize her arm. He had to stop her somehow. “Don’t,” he cried. At that, she fled. He’d started after her when two policemen blocked his path. Perhaps they hadn’t noticed him, perhaps they wouldn’t grab him—but it was too late; she was lost in the Oxford Street crowd. He turned and ran, fleeing the police, fleeing back to his hotel. As

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