While I typically don’t read a lot in terms of short stories, every now and again a short story collection comes along that really grabs my attention. This is often the case when it comes to horror – so when I saw this was coming out, I was super excited for it. Thank you to Scholastic for sending me a copy of this – it was such a creepy read!
The thing that made this book even neater than just being a book full of creepy short stories was that the short stories were actually stories being told within the main story. That I think that gave the book a different and unique kind of feel that we don’t see too often. I’ve read other short story collections that were all separate short stories, and in that I mean that they weren’t really connected. But all the stories in this book were actually stories being told by an old man, who was one of the two main characters in the book. Let me go into further detail:
In the book, the story starts off with a young boy who accidentally takes the wrong train to get back to the station he needs to be at to get home. Well, he gets on a train that takes him into the middle of nowhere, and once he is dropped off there, he isn’t sure where he is or how to get back – and there is a creepy old man and his dog, both of which come to talk to him until the next train comes.
Only talking to the old man leads him into telling the boy stories…stories that are creepy, thrilling, and downright spine-tingling.
Nanny’s Little Candle was the first story that the old man tells the boy – a story about a girl moving into a new home, discovering something from an old woman who lived there, and uncovering a shocking story. The way that this story ended was unlike anything I had expected, but it was so brilliant and honestly I thought it was a great start for the book. This was actually probably my favorite story in the book.
The Security Light is the next story that the old man tells, and while this was kind of creepy, I wasn’t as chilled or terrified as I was with the first story. The story is about a girl who is home alone for a night while her parents go out for a few hours, and the power goes off. However, the security light in the back keeps blinking on and off, and she senses that something more sinister is lurking around. It was a really tense kind of story, and it was good, but the ending kind of cut off a bit abruptly and I was hoping for something scarier than that.
Your Lucky Day tells the story of a boy who gets a surprise when his father shows him the old car that he bought. The boy has a creepy vibe from the car, and he didn’t like it – especially when it became clear to him that maybe the previous owner of the car might still be with them…
Babysitting was good, but really weird. It was the story about a teenage girl who frequently babysits, so when her mother leaves a message for her telling her she has a job, she goes there by herself to watch the kids. Only when she gets there, she finds out that the kids that are there are a bit odd…as is everything else about the house. Kids are always creepy in horror stories, so I really did enjoy this one.
Picture Me was another weird story, but it was a good one. A family comes across a photo album, and when the woman’s granddaughter looks through the photos, she sees weird pictures of the older woman frightened or staring at the camera. Soon after, she begins to notice that there are pictures like this on her cell phone, but of her, and it starts freaking her out – especially when the pictures disappear as soon as she tries to show them to anyone.
Soot is a creepy story about a family who hears a strange sound in the chimney, but the father blames it on a baby bird who must have fallen out of the nest. So he decides to break through the wall to find the bird, since they have to remodel anyway, only to find out the bird isn’t there – all the father finds in the chimney is a little boy’s boot. Things start to get weird with the main character’s little brother after that, in a very creepy way.
Dead Molly was another of my favorites in this book – it was really creepy and I loved the whole “in a dream” type of premise that the story had going on. The whole story had me wondering whether or not the main character was really experiencing the stuff that was going on, and the whole story was just incredibly bone chilling.
The Black Forest Chair was the last story in the book, and it was probably the most lackluster story in the book, at least in my opinion. I’m not sure why, but I really didn’t care much for this story. It tells of a boy who comes into possession of a strange bear shaped chair when his mother brings it home, and he starts to see weird things. It was a little slower than the others, and for whatever reason I didn’t really feel like it was all that creepy – just weird. I was hoping it would have been a better story to end on.
After all of these stories are told, and before the train comes to pick up the boy, the old man tells him that in order for the train to come, he has to pick one of the stories as his favorite. The boy doesn’t want to, but he inevitably chooses one so that he can just get out of the nightmare he feels like he is stuck in. He doesn’t realize why the old man was telling him to choose, or what he meant by having the boy “play his game.”
This was such a delightfully creepy book, and those who are a fan of horror ought not to miss this one. There are a lot of chilling moments. This would make a really great book to take along on a camping trip, having everyone take turns going around the campfire telling the stories, so it’s fitting that this book came out in the summer.
This is a pretty short yet exciting book – I finished it in a single afternoon, and it’s really gripping to the point where you won’t want to put it down.