Yoo hoo! I’m back! And I have with me more tales of terror to tingle your spine and freeze your very brain.
A Little Taste of Death – Patricia Windsor
This one is hard to rip into, because it’s super creepy and good. It’s about this girl called Louey (which totally makes me picture some fat, aging bald dude BTW) who’s staying with her grandma. And everyone knows that Grandma is no fun. One day Louey sees an advert in the local newspapers that resonates with her, detailing a man and a white hat and a lollipop. If you’ve met this man, and eaten his lollipop, the advert advises that you visit a local group as it could save your life.
At first Louey’s all, "that was ten years ago I ate that man’s lollipop who the fuck cares right?" But then she gets bored and decides to go along. She meets a boy of her age called Bobby Lee outside, and a bunch of other teens inside, led by another teenager named James. The teens are recounting tales of all the dreadful things they’ve done – sadly we don’t get to hear any of these stories. Louey’s totally not a badass, so the only story she has is the one detailing how she got the lollipop:
She was on a train and her mom fell asleep. A man with a white hat and green eyes and a brown tooth sidled up and gave her a lollipop. Her mom woke up and tells Louey not to eat the lollipop, but Louey was like, FUCK IT, eating lollipop is what I do bitch, and she gobbled that bad boy down.
In the meeting, James confirms that everyone there ate their lollipop and now they’re “going through the change.” I would insert a joke about the menopause here but last time I checked, I’m not Joan Rivers. The other kids start talking about how terrible “the change” is, and all the guilt they feel for the stuff they’ve done and they decide to kill themselves. That is a pretty good solution.
Louey freaks out and runs away from the meeting, stopping only to kick a poor stray puppy on her way home. The next morning, Louey feels like she’s done something she should be ashamed of but she can’t put her finger on what it is. Oh honey, I know that feeling well. She also starts having violent fantasies about her grandma (not like THAT. You people make me sick.)
Later, she goes for a walk and spots loads of police down the street. She finds out it’s because James killed himself. He slit his throat in the tub. Ewww. He slit his THROAT?! At least go for your wrists homeboy. As the newspaper arrives every day, there’s an obituary for another of the teens from the lollipop group that’s killed themselves. All except Bobby Lee.
Louey also starts having nightmares, and Bobby Lee features in all of them. In the dream he asks her weird things, like “what causes you heart the most pain?” How deep. Of course he also rides a motorcycle and he dresses in leathers in her dream. How very Grease 2.
Also in her dreams, he asks her to kill critters for him and then she wakes up with blood on her fingers. Eventually he asks her again what her worst, most private thing is. And she’s like, yeah I’ll do it. And then she falls off the motorbike and wakes up.
And hears her Gran screaming downstairs. Because there’s a dog boiling in a pot on the stove. I guess this is her worst, most private thing? I mean, who DOESN’T secretly yearn to kill and par boil a dog?
Louey takes charge and throws the dog away onto the compost heap (?)
Bobby Lee arrives at her door, in real life this time. And this time he has one brown tooth, green eyes and a white hat. Bobby Lee’s all, I’ve got ‘em all except you now, time to go. And Louey’s all doing her Tyra bitch face, like okay okay, nuh – HUH, and he’s all YUH – huh . But then Louey tells him that she remembers that she had one lick of the lollipop and put it away – so she doesn’t have to go with him after all - “Cause I only had a little taste of death.”
In conclusion – is it just me or does it feel like this story is meant to have some sort of a deeper meaning? I’m so distracted by the boiled dog and the slit throat that I can’t concentrate on anything else.
The Doll – Carol Ellis
Abby is 16 years old and she moves into a new house. She finds a creepy old doll that looks kinda like a “small dead child” in the attic. Since “small dead child” s are soooo 2011, she keeps the doll and gives it pride of place in her bedroom. Abby’s 12 year old sister teases her about the doll but Abby’s 12 year old sister is some loser who knows nothing about how chic dead child doll accessories are.
Abby starts having weird dreams (as a side note, if ONE more of these stories involves weird dreams, I swear to God….I mean, come on Point Horror brothers and sisters! These are short stories! You have like 10 pages to make the magic happen. Are you SURE you want to waste precious words on dream sequences?)
Anyway, Abby’s friend Erin comes to visit and she picks up the doll, comments on how creepy the doll is etc. Then Abby dreams about a little girls hand pushing someone down the stairs. She wakes up to screams - Erin has just fallen down the stairs. Don’t worry, though, she’s ok. I miss the boiled dog.
Later, Abby has Erin over, as well as another friend called Holly Roselle. I don’t know what Holly Roslle has done that’s so great to get her surname included. Maybe that famous Point Horror casting couch isn’t an urban myth after all – Carol Ellis, you sly old dog.
Then a giant lamp falls on Holly’s head. There’s blood and a gash (tee hee) but that’s pretty much it. Abby remembers that she’d dreamed it happening. Nice work, mystic Meg. Woulda been just swell if you coulda remembered that dream about 5 minutes ago.
I skim read the next 2 pages because they started with the word “dream” and I got so angry that I forgot how to read. But I think that Abby’s little sister got trapped in a tree-house fire (?)in real life, that Abby dreamed the doll started. And apart from some gnarly burns she’ll be ok.
Abby is now too scared to go to sleep. For some reason she still has the doll in her room. Even though she keeps dreaming about a small , doll like hand carrying out these acts of violence, she doesn’t seem to have put two and two together and noticed that this doll is seriously bad news.
Some dude called Mark comes round and he and Abby kiss. That night Abby dreams about a car crash, JUST GET RID OF THE DAMN DOLL ALREADY!
Mark’s late to pick Abby up and when she calls his house, his mom tells her that Mark is dead – he died in a car crash. He had to swerve cos he saw a little girl in the road and that’s what did it.
Abby hears a creepy little giggle and the penny FINALLY fucking drops that the doll is doing all the bad shit. Abby puts the doll back into its wooden box, and drives it to the cliff. She can hear little tiny fists beating against the inside of the wooden box. She throws the box over the cliff. And there’s some stupid addendum – 9 years later, a man finds the doll ona beach and takes it home to give his daughter for Christmas yadda yadda. What the fuck kind of a lousy parent would give their kid some rotten doll that had been in the sea for NINE years as a Christmas gift? Had that happened to me, I would have had myself legally emancipated.
One sentence synopsis: It’s the creepy doll that’s murdering everyone, Abby. It’s the creepy doll.
Conclusion – I’m always so scathing about these people not realising what’s going on sooner. But that’s kind of worrying. I wonder whether if something weird happened to me, I’d now instantly blame the creepy doll for attempted murder? If so then Point Horror is paying for my psychiatric care. And I'm expensive, baby.
House of Horrors – JB Stamper
Mark works in the House of Horrors as a guide, alongside Lisa, who he has the hots for. Eliot also works there, and Mark is jealous of Eliot’s rugged good looks.
Mark takes a group of teens around the House of Horrors. The House of Horrors is appropriately horrifying. As the working day draws to a close, Mark is excited as he’s going to after hours party with the other tour guides. Eliot instructs Mark to hide amongst the waxwork corpses after his last tour so the boss doesn’t see him and clock on about the illegal after hours party. Once the boss has left, the party starts! Uh oh. I think I can see where this is going.
As instructed, Mark hides amongst the waxworks. That is totally something that I could never do. Waxworks actually terrify me to a ridiculous degree. Mark waits in the library room for his boss to finish doing his rounds. At 10pm, Mark goes looking for the others.
The others are not there.
Mark starts running through all the rooms that make up the House of Horrors with only his flashlight for company as he grows increasingly panicked. Finally, the only room left to investigate is the dungeon.
The dungeon’s pitch black and Mark gets MAADDDD when he realises that he’s been fooled. He turns back to head home, but the only exit is locked, so Marky baby’s going nowhere.
Things get worse when he hears footsteps coming towards him and he runs back to the dungeon. And notices a waxwork of a beautiful vampire woman in the dungeon that was previously in the library. At this point, I would totally have lost my marbles, and therefore had no worries at all.
Mark drops the flashlight, and the footsteps get closer. He runs towards the library now, and hears an evil laugh. He can’t escape – the laugh gets closer and some fangs sink into his meaty neck: “another victim for the House of Horros”.
The next day, Lisa comes to work also excited and chuckling about how scared Mark would have been. Mark’s not there – but there is a new waxwork, A waxwork that looks an awful lot like Mark.
Conclusion: I guess all my fears about waxworks aren’t unfounded after all.
One sentence synopsis: Eliot and Lisa are absolute vaginas.
Where The Deer Are – Caroline B Cooney
This one’s about a girl called Tiffany, which I instantly love because it makes me think about the most beautiful and graceful Tiffany in all the world.
Tiffany lives in a house that’s deep in the woods, and damn but Tiffany hates those darn woods. She goes so far as to compare the trees to teenage anorexics. See – Caroline B Cooney knows about issues and stuff.
( is it just me or does that anorexic tree look an awful lot like Quentin Tarantino?)
Tiff also has issues with the deer that populate the woods. Her house is a particularly favourite hang out spot for the deer, and Tiffany is convinced it’s so they can watch her. Jeez, conceited much? I mean, sure, you were hot in Saved By The Bell, but this is nature we’re talking about here, y’know? And nature is more discerning than AC Slater and Zack "preppy" Morris put together.
One more thing that Tiffany finds shit about where she lives: a part of the woods called Dead Kid Curve from whence two kids disappeared 25 years ago.
Tiffany avoids Dead Kids Curve like she’s Victoria Beckham and it’s a morsel of carbohydrate (zing!) . She walks to school through the woods with four other friends who share the same fear.
Walking to school, Tiffany starts obsessing over the deer and thinking about how humans shoot them and stuff. One of the other kids, Janie, starts predicting that one of them is going to be taken by the dead kid curve today. What a buzzkill.
Tiffany gets “caught in a fever of trees. A paralysis of deer.” We get it, there are shit loads of trees. And deer.
Lest the kids go five fucking seconds without thinking or talking about deer, they start discussing “where the deer go”. Because they never see a trace of them on top of a cliff? I dunno. I don’t want to think about this too hard. Let’s all just agree that the deer are mysterious.
Patrick reminds Tiffany that her father killed a deer last week. These kids need to take up drinking, or sex, or anything. Just take their minds of the deer.
Unfortunately, the path they usually take is blocked by a whole bunch of debris so they have no option but to go the Dead Kid Curve route. Tiffany is still actually FREAKING out. Her skull’s vibrating, she’s crying and shaking, the full works.
They head towards the curve taking Tiffany with them. She has some weird vision of cellar door opening, and she’s convinced that the curve is going to choose to take her.
They reach the school and Tiffany is ridiculously relieved. Except Janie’s missing. Ruh-roh. The kids decide to walk back to the curve to find her. Except Tiffany, who’s to scared and runs straight to school.
At school, still freaking out, Tiffany goes to the bathroom. And in the mirror, she sees the reflection of a deer. The deer daintily climbs out of the mirror. Tuiffany runs out of the bathroom. And the school is suddenly deserted.
Tiffany runs out into the street – which is also empty of humans. But full of deer. Good old deer. The deer are all staring at her, and kind of judging her. Tiffany runs back through the woods towards home, but she’s not feeling too hopeful: “She would disappear. And that would not be man-made. It would be deer-made”
Tiffany sees the boys far in the distance – and Janie with them – she’d just forgotten her lunch bag.
Tiffany’s still running, and she’s all like, it’s not my fault you deers get shot and humans are terrible environmentalists. But it’s too late, and she begins the long fall through the cellar, which she knows will never end.
Wow, was that ever depressing.
Conclusion: Caroline B Cooney definitely does eerie well. Her stories always succeed in making me feel a little bit sick and claustrophobic – in a totally good way.
One sentence synopsis: deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer deer.
Okay, I’m going to have to stop there for now – but I have 5 more tales of terror to recount to you, so stay tuned, terror fans. And I’ll update quicker this time - I swear on my deer’s life.