I have discovered Joe Hill. During the day, I listen to Heart-Shaped Box on audio as I putter about in the kitchen, but at night, I have been enjoying his collection of short stories called 20th Century Ghosts.
I've curled deep in the covers before bedtime and read about a young girl whose spirit haunts a movie theater and who inspires the people who have seen and spoken to her to keep the theater open at all costs. Do spirits sometimes require us to maintain their earthly dwelling place? After living in a house in Rowley, Massachusetts that was haunted by an elderly man who became quite disturbed at some renovations that we were making, I related to this story.
Another story tells of a boy who has agonized over a childhood prank that had dire consequences and the haunting disappearance of the friend that urged him to commit the dangerous act. The fact that the boy's brother may have caused the friend's disappearance compounds the enormity of the boy's fearful guilt. Yes, guilt is a haunting emotion that can poison one's life.
I've read about a deranged father whose superstition regarding vampires destroys his family and ultimately leads to a darker deed. Are there really vampires hunting us? Hmmm ...
I've squirmed through a story about a murderous kidnapper who has the tables turned on him by one of his many victims. That particular story was the creepiest to me, for what mother doesn't have heart palpitations at the thought of one of her children being taken by a stranger with evil intent?
There seems no end to the dark imagination of Joe Hill and this time of year is the perfect time to light some candles, soften the other lights and enjoy a spooky read. Horror and mystery are not my usual chosen genres. Putting myself in an uncomfortable place as a reader is all for a purpose, though! It's time to participate in Carl's annual literary challenge called RIP IX, a book/story/movie share of all things mystical, horrific, Gothic, murderous, and fantastical. 20th Century Ghosts is the first of my offerings, not a new book or a new author, but new to me and my tender sensibilities! Next up, Heart-Shaped Box !
To join in the reading fun, hit the link for Carl's RIP IX post that I created above and check out all the options for participating ... there's a lot of good creepy reading out there! September and October are ripe for a jaunt through the genres of horror, mystery, crime series, Gothic horror, psychological thrillers, et cetera! Come on ... double dog dare you!