Things Come Out at Night and Other Terror Tales
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by Ardath Mayhar
Category: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Description: Must-Read Collection of Dark Terrors from the Balrog Winning Author! Here is how this famed fantasist describes herself: "To look at me, you would think I am a sweet little old lady without a mean bone in her body. You would be dead wrong. I grew up on a farm in East Texas, dealing with the worst that nature, cows, varmints, and weather could hand out. Those didn't manage to kill me, so they made me strong and tough and mean as a wet wasp, when circumstances call for it. They also honed my imagination to a wicked edge. Once at a World SF Convention I met someone who stared at me in shock. You mean YOU wrote "A Night in Possum Holler?" she gasped. Now that is one mean little story, and I did write it, with great gusto. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I look harmless. Perhaps if I looked to match the stories I write I might have been lynched early on, leaving some toe-curlers of tales untold. And it may be that when you read some of these stories you may justifiably turn to your companions and say, "Get a rope!" Sometimes I shock myself!' You will find 'A Night in Possum Holler," in this all new eBook collection by the woman with the wicked-edged imagintion who shocks herself! It's a major literary event no one should miss. Contents:
Digging Up Arthur
The Tuck At The Foot of the Bed
Needles and Pins
The Immortal Part
Down in the Dark
The Nicholas Caper
In The Mists of Gellorn
The Face in the Glass
The Well that Whispered Darkness
A Night in Possum Holler
Things Come Out at Night
Cage of the Heart
Echo of Thunder
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PAGETURNER, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: August 2005
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [195 KB]
Reading time: 130-182 min.
DIGGING UP ARTHUR
(Strange to say, something much like this actually happened in my home county in East Texas. I got the basic idea for this from a newspaper story. We do grow weird characters here in the piney woods.)
Even after ten years, I still kill him again every night. There's no satisfaction in it, of course, because I know I'm dreaming. You'd think, having gotten away with it as slick as a whistle, that I'd let the thing drop, let him be, let him lie there in the cemetery in the woods and rot in peace.
I can't seem to do that. He died too fast. It wasn't slow and painful enough to fulfill the need that made me kill him to begin with. I wish I hadn't taken the gun with me at all. My bare hands would have had the pleasure of wringing his miserable life out of him, cutting off his breath, feeling him struggle and heave, watching him go black in the face ... I get excited when I think about it. Have to go out and walk around the block very quickly, while I cool down again.
I never had the urge to kill anyone else. Not ever. But after he married Linda ... my Linda ... I never wanted anything so much in my life as to kill Arthur, slowly, painfully, lingeringly ... there! My blood pressure is going up again. Have to watch that.
I go about my business just about the way anyone else does. Take my wife and children to church and to picnics and ball games. I'm no monster. I don't let that fixation get in the way of earning a living and helping out my neighbors. I even ran for the City Council last year, though I was pretty relieved when I was beaten in the runoff.
It's just about this time of year, late summer, with the grass drying in the fields and pears getting ripe on the trees, the heat wavering in a haze over everything, that I think of that last day of Arthur's life. It all came to a head, that day, though he didn't have the foggiest notion I had ever been upset with him at all, any more than anyone else had.
I walked up to him in the back woods behind his farmhouse. He thought I'd been out hunting rabbits, I suppose, because he didn't more than glance at the shotgun I carried.
I blew him away before he could finish saying hello. Everyone, including the deputies and the sheriff, thought somebody had been hunting in the woods and had killed him by accident and been afraid to own up to it. There was a big funeral, and I took Carrie and the baby, and we all looked mighty sad.
The dreams started a while later. I'd wake up out of a sound sleep, covered with sweat, seeing him dying. Not by the shotgun blast but in a lot of different ways, all of them slow. Carrie began to believe I was coming down with something and kept giving me vitamins.
There would be months and months when everything went along fine as silk. Then I'd get to thinking about Arthur. I'd go out there to Rosebud Cemetery, whenever Carrie took the kids to see her mother for a few days, and do nothing but drink, lying there on Arthur's grave, cursing him better and better the drunker I got.
The cemetery is so far out in the woods that nobody goes there except for a funeral or, from time to time, to put a plot in order. There's plenty of warning ... you can hear a car rattling over the washboard road for a mile or more before it gets there, so I never got caught. But after a while it got so that wasn't enough.
I went all over the area, when I could steal the time from my job, and tore down his advertising stickers for his real estate business that he ran along with his farm. Got every one in the county and most of those in the adjoining counties. That helped for a good long time, because it wasn't a thing you can get done in a year, or even in two.
I quit having the dreams as long as it lasted. But there came a time when I couldn't find a sign or a sticker or even a business card left anyplace. That's when the dreams started again.