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Short Horror Stories Vol. 12: Scary Ghosts, Monsters, Demons, and Hauntings (Supernatural Suspense Collection) Kindle Edition
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From the Inside Flap
Heathcote had been the home of his mother's half-brother. Michael had spent three long childhood summers there and remembered that it was an odd sort of house. As he rode up to the gates, he felt his heart sink at the sight of the place. As a boy he had thought it huge, too vast for anyone to thoroughly explore. Now he realized Heathcote was both misshapen and thoroughly lacking in character. It was simply a boxy, red brick edifice that was too tall to look graceful. He remembered a schoolfriend saying, on seeing a snapshot of Heathcote, that 'it looks as if its wings had been clipped'.
His uncle's lawyer, Carmody, was waiting at the gate, vaping as he leaned on the hood of his BMW. Michael got out of the cab and took a deep breath of cool Lincolnshire air that held a distinct tang of vanilla. Then he walked over, forced a smile, and offered a handshake. The lawyer was tall, handsome, and looked to be in his late thirties. He was at first inclined to dislike Carmody, who seemed too smooth and clever, a shallow character. But after a couple of minutes, Michael chided himself when the man said something about his uncle's funeral. Carmody sounded genuinely moved at how few people had attended the ceremony. He reminded himself that Carmody had been a friend of sorts to the old man in his final years.
"I couldn't make it in time," he said. "And Uncle Martin and I weren't really that close, you know."
"Ah, yes," Carmody said. "It's not easy to keep up family ties across the Atlantic. And the old boy was a bit of a recluse, towards the end."
Carmody opened the gates, and they walked up the drive to Heathcote. Seen close up, it had changed. Michael remembered a house that had been well-kept, the ivy carefully pruned, while now it seemed to be determined to smother all the tall, slit-like windows. The paint on the door and window frames was paling, and he saw guttering hanging loose.
"Yes," Carmody said, following his gaze. "That's why I'm recommending you just sell it as soon as possible. Auction it off, take the money--minus all the usual fees. But that's your call, of course."
The lawyer unlocked the door, then indicated that Michael should go in first. As he entered the hall, leaving the weak April sunlight, he saw his uncle walking toward him, eyes wide with something like horror. Then Michael recognized himself and felt dismay over how saggy and gray he looked in the mirror.
But it's just an ordinary mirror. Perhaps the other one isn't even around anymore. Glass breaks, antiques are sold off...
Carmody's gentle voice brought him back to the dusty, uncarpeted hallway. The lawyer led him through the house, pointing out failings, damp patches, rotten floorboards, speculating as to how much work would be required, the possibilities of Heathcote becoming a conference center or a posh spa hotel.
"Certainly not feasible to make it an actual home again," Carmody added wryly. "It's just too ruddy big, I'm afraid. Unless you know any rock stars, oil sheiks, internet billionaires?"
"No," smiled Michael. "I agree--get rid of the place. Hell, I don't care if they bulldoze the lot and put up a mall."
Carmody's professional veneer cracked a little at that, and Michael felt slightly ashamed of his small outburst. They continued the tour, and he wondered if he could explain to the other man why he had come to hate Heathcote. It would not be easy. In fact, if he tried, he might simply come across as a crazy person.
Although the house had changed, mostly through decay, it was still familiar enough to bring the past surging back, threatening to swamp his mind like a dark and unrelenting tide. For the first time in years, he was remembering just what had happened. Or what he believed had happened.
- Publication date : February 19, 2020
- File size : 183 KB
- Print length : 31 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : ScareStreet.com (February 19, 2020)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B084M1SKLV
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #212,948 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Home Again by Ron Ripley:
In the early 20th century, literary lion Thomas Wolfe announced, YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN. I'm fairly certain he didn't have in mind the sort of homecoming that protagonist Allen experiences in this story! As well as this works as a SCARY short story, I could hope that the inimitable Ron Ripley (who has an incredible imagination and a love of history) would decide in future to expand on certain characters and events mentioned--specifically those of three generations earlier.
The Inhabitant of the Mirror by David Longhorn: our protagonist, English by birth but long-ensconced in America, inherits the bizarre manor home of his mother's late half-brother, including its Magic Mirror.
Allen goes home to settle the family business after the death of his grandmother.
When he was five years old, he promised his grandfather that he would destroy the mysterious box that is locked away in his grandmother’s curio closet.
A wonderful ending!
The Inhabitant of the Mirror by David Longhorn:
Michael spent many childhood summers with his mother’s half-brother. His relationship with his uncle was sometimes strange.
One of the strangest things was the antique mirror his uncle kept inside his bedroom. Not only did Michael have horrific nightmares about the mirror, but there were times when he seen it walk.
Definitely my favorite. 🙂
As usual, this pair of short stories provides scares aplenty and examine the dark side of humanity, which can be scarier than horror fiction (but that's a topic for another time). I love reading these stories and always look forward to the next volume. I hope these authors never get writers block.