I never got a chance to read Carl's short story post from last Sunday until Friday morning, but when I did, well, I was instantly itching to pick up a couple volumes of scary short stories and hide away in the library for the day. But we had a trip to the local zoo on slate for the day, so that just wasn't an option.
But...I did the next best thing I could think of...I grabbed Scary Stories Treasury to take along with us. This is actually a collection of three books, books in which Alvin Schwartz has collected and retold numerous scary stories from folklore. The stories are rather short, and we all took turns reading them aloud (well, except for Rich, as he was driving). It was really great fun! And we managed to finish the first two sections of the first book. Schwartz called the stories in the first section "jump stories," the kind of stories you can tell your friends and make them jump. Our collective opinion--they were o.k. But the next section contained ghost stories, and these ones we all loved! There was a story about a ghost wolf (Annie's favorite, of course), a story about a mysterious house, a story about a mysterious creature and the aftermath of getting too close to it, a story about lovers torn asunder, and my favorite, a story about a ghost seeking justice for her murder.
The art in this book is by Stephen Gammell. And it is fabulous! Fabulous! It's beautiful and haunting and sometimes downright creepy. But don't take my word for it:
One slight problem. I knew all along that this would be a book we needed to read during the daytime, for no way would Gray ever be able to sleep if we read these at bedtime. Well, turns out the whole "just read them in the daylight" strategy wasn't enough...guess who's had to sleep in the boys room with them the last two nights. Oh well.
Last evening, I decided I really wanted to dive into a nice RIP short just for myself. So I grabbed The Best of Roald Dahl (thanks again, Ana!) off my nightstand and finally cracked it open. But I'm afraid to say that the first story, "Madame Rosette," was a disappointment. In fact, I didn't really like it al all. But it wasn't really fitting for RIP anyway. So today I started the second tale, "Man from the South." Holy crap...it was sooooo good!!! And so very, very fitting, with all its delicious creepiness, for RIP. It drops this little bomb near the beginning, and this left me squirming inside and out throught the rest of the story. I was reading as fast as I could to find out how it would turn out, yet by the time I got towards the end, I was afraid to turn the page for fear of what might happen. And no, the ending did not disappoint!
And finally there's Pemba's Song: A Ghost Story by Marilyn Nelson and Tonya C. Hegamin. Which really isn't a short story at all. But I swear that's sort of how it felt. In fact, when I listed this book as a possible RIP read, Eva commented that she wished this book had had more complexity to it. After reading it, I know exactly what she meant by that. I wish this book had been three or four or five times as long as it was. And I wouldn't say that if I didn't like the story. But I did...there was a lot I liked a great deal about this book.
Pemba, a teen forced to move from Brooklyn to the small town of Colchester, CT, is having a tough time. She's had to leave her best friend and her boyfriend behind, and she's not particularly happy with her mom about it all. Pemba feels very authentic to me, and frankly, I adored her. And I felt for her. Because, as if things weren't bad enough, strange things start happening to her. She wakes up in the dusty old attic of their new house and has no clue how she got there, she starts getting horrible headaches, she sees someone else's reflection in an old mirror. And she's afraid to talk to her mom about these things because of what happened after her father died.
I don't want to give away any of the story, so I'll stop there, but I will say this worked well for RIP. It wasn't actually scary, but well, as the title says, it's a ghost story. :D