Gothic: Ten Original Dark Talesby Deborah Noyes
A lovesick count and the ghost of his brutalized servant . . . a serial killer who defies death . . . a house with a violent mind of its own and another that holds a grotesque secret within its peeling walls. Here are witches who feast on faces, changeling rites of passage, a venerable/b>
"Get ready to sleep with the lights on!" — GIRLS' LIFE
A lovesick count and the ghost of his brutalized servant . . . a serial killer who defies death . . . a house with a violent mind of its own and another that holds a grotesque secret within its peeling walls. Here are witches who feast on faces, changeling rites of passage, a venerable vampire contemplating his end, and a fanged brat who drains the patience of a bumbling teenage boy. Here too are a flamboyant young novelist in search of a subject more compelling than his own eerie existence and the daughter of a sorcerer fighting to free her lover — and her will — from sinister bonds. Enter the world of GOTHIC!, a celebration of the literary form made famous by such writers as Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe.
With chilling stories by:
M. T. Anderson
Caitlín R. Kiernan
Janni Lee Simner
Vivian Vande Velde
Terri L. Lent
Read an Excerpt
Somewhere in the night, someone was writing.
Her feet scrunched the gravel as she ran wildly up the tree-lined drive. Her heart was pounding in her chest; her lungs felt as if they were bursting, heaving breath after breath of the cold night air. Her eyes fixed on the house ahead, the single light in the topmost room drawing her toward it like a moth to a candle flame. Above her, and away in the deep forest behind the house, night things whooped and skrarked. From the road behind her, she heard something scream, briefly — a small animal that had been the victim of some beast of prey, she hoped, but could not be certain.
She ran as if the legions of hell were close on her heels, and spared not even a glance behind her until she reached the porch of the old mansion. In the moon's pale light, the white pillars seemed skeletal, like the bones of a great beast. She clung to the wooden door frame, gulping air, staring back down the long driveway as if she were waiting for something, and then she rapped on the door — timorously at first and then harder. The rapping echoed through the house. She imagined, from the echo that came back to her, that, far away, someone was knocking on another door, muffled and dead.
"Please!" she called. "If there's someone here — anyone — please let me in. I beseech you. I implore you." Her voice sounded strange to her ears.
The flickering light in the topmost room faded and disappeared, to reappear in successive descending windows. One person, then, with a candle. The light vanished into the depths of the house. She tried to catch her breath. It seemed like an age passed before she heard footsteps on the other side of the door and spied a chink of candlelight through a crack in the ill-fitting door frame.
"Hello?" she said.
The voice, when it spoke, was dry as old bone — a desiccated voice, redolent of crackling parchment and musty grave-hangings. "Who calls?" it said. "Who knocks? Who calls, on this night of all nights?"
The voice gave her no comfort. She looked out at the night that enveloped the house, then pulled herself straight, tossed her raven locks, and said, in a voice that, she hoped, betrayed no fear, "'Tis I, Amelia Earnshawe, recently orphaned and now on my way to take up a position as a governess to the two small children — a boy and a girl — of Lord Falconmere, whose cruel glances I found, during our interview in his London residence, both repellent and fascinating, but whose aquiline face haunts my dreams."
"And what do you do here, then, at this house, on this night of all nights? Falconmere Castle lies a good twenty leagues on from here, on the other side of the moors."
"The coachman — an ill-natured fellow, and a mute, or so he pretended to be, for he formed no words but made his wishes known only by grunts and gobblings — reined in his team a mile or so back down the road, or so I judge, and then he shewed me by gestures that he would go no farther, and that I was to alight. When I did refuse to do so, he pushed me roughly from the carriage to the cold earth, then, whipping the poor horses into a frenzy, he clattered off the way he had come, taking my several bags and my trunk with him. I called after him, but he did not return, and it seemed to me that a deeper darkness stirred in the forest gloom behind me. I saw the light in your window and I . . . I . . ." She was able to keep up her pretense of bravery no longer, and she began to sob.
"Your father," came the voice from the other side of the door. "Would he have been the Honorable Hubert Earnshawe?"
Amelia choked back her tears. "Yes. Yes, he was."
"And you — you say you are an orphan?"
She thought of her father, of his tweed jacket, as the maelstrom seized him and whipped him onto the rocks and away from her forever.
"He died trying to save my mother's life. They both were drowned."
She heard the dull chunking of a key being turned in a lock, then twin booms as iron bolts were drawn back. "Welcome, then, Miss Amelia Earnshawe. Welcome to your inheritance, in this house without a name. Aye, welcome — on this night of all nights." The door opened.
GOTHIC!: TEN ORIGINAL DARK TALES edited by Deborah Wayshak. Copyright (c) 2006 by Deborah Wayshak. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA
Meet the Author
Editor Deborah Noyes lives near Boston. "I've always loved dark, atmospheric tales," she says, "and receiving original stories from these writers was a little like being a kid again, rooting through my bag late Halloween night — one delicious surprise after another."
Joan Aiken is the beloved author of more than one hundred books for young readers and adults, including the classic Wolves Chronicles, which began with THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE. Among many other honors, she received the Lewis Carroll Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and the Guardian Award.
M. T. Anderson has published three novels for teens, most recently FEED, a National Book Award Finalist, a BOSTON GLOBE — HORN BOOK Honor winner, and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Neil Gaiman is the author of nonfiction, radio plays, comics, and screenplays in addition to his highly acclaimed and award-winning fiction. His books include AMERICAN GODS, NEVERWHERE, CORALINE, THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS, and many classic graphic novels, among them eleven volumes of THE SANDMAN.
Caitlín R. Kiernan is the author of four novels, including SILK and THRESHOLD, and her short fiction has been collected in three volumes: TALES OF PAIN AND WONDER, FROM WEIRD AND DISTANT SHORES, and TO CHARLES FORT, WITH LOVE. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Gregory Maguire is the author of more than a dozen novels for young readers, including the HAMLET CHRONICLES. One of his adult novels, WICKED, is the basis of the Broadway musical of the same name. He lives in Massachusetts.
Garth Nix is the award-winning author of several books for young readers, including SABRIEL, LIRAEL, ABHORSEN, and the Seventh Tower series. He lives in Sydney, Australia.
Celia Rees has written many acclaimed books for teens, including WITCH CHILD and SORCERESS. She lives in Warwickshire, England.
Janni Lee Simner lives in the hot, bright, and not-at-all-gothic Arizona desert. Her short stories have appeared in more than two dozen anthologies and magazines, including BRUCE COVILLE'S BOOK OF NIGHTMARES and HALF HUMAN.
Vivian Vande Velde is the author of more than twenty books, mostly science fiction and fantasy for middle-grade readers and teens, including HEIR APPARENT, NEVER TRUST A DEAD MAN, and GHOST OF A HANGED MAN. She lives in Rochester, New York.
Barry Yourgrau's adult books include WEARING DAD'S HEAD. He starred in THE SADNESS OF SEX, a movie adaptation of his stories, and has appeared on MTV and NPR. He lives in New York City.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I purchased this book after it was recommended by a fellow teacher. I currently teach 8th grade Language Arts and we do a short story unit to begin the year. The timing is wonderful b/c they are scary and it is around Halloween that we read them. The children loved the ones we read "The Writing on the Wall" and "Morgan Rohmar's Boys", especially the surprise endings. Because of the age of my students I couldn't use a few of the stories but I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good scare every now and then.
'Gothic!' is a great book for anyone looking for a bit of a chill. The stories are a mix of scary humor, frightning ghost stories, and dark mysterious tales. The authors all have a unique and wonderful way of writing all while conveying the true sense of a gothic story. The authors include very well known writers of dark books, such as Vivian Van Velde and M.T Anderson. This is a book that you can read over and over and never get bored of. My personal favorite in this collection is 'Endings' by Garth Nix. In all, this is a great series of short, gothic stories for anyone, especially those who a good (and dark) read.
This book of tales is gripping and simply nerve rattling. I had chills run down my spine and the hair stand on the back of my neck. This book is for the thrill seeking and Ghost loving!!
I have not read the book yet but I have read on the back of the book about what is is about so... So far From the intro of it I think it is good but, I have a Autographed copy so I don't know if I should touch it that much so thats why I have not read it... And well this is my first book that is signed so... But I think the book is really good from what I have heard from friends