Mammoth Books Presents Unexpected Encounters (Mammoth Books)
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Autumn Chill - Richard L. Tierney
Inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Donald Wandrei, Robert E. Howard and Frank Belknap Long, Tierney's poetry has been collected in Dreams and Damnations, The Doom Prophet and One Other, the Arkham House volume of Collected Poems, Nightmares and Visions, The Blob That Gobbled Abdul and Other Poems and Songs and Savage Menace and Other Poems of Horror. S.T. Joshi has described Tierney as "one of the leading weird poets of his generation."
The Lemon in the Pool - Simon Kurt Unsworth
"In the summer of 2009, I went on holiday with my family - the extended version. As well as my wife and son, Wendy and Ben, there were my parents, my sister and her husband, and my mother-in-law all sharing a villa in Moreira, Spain. "One of the delights of the holiday was having a private pool, and seeing Ben enjoy himself in the water, where over the course of seven days he learned to swim. Perhaps even more fun was seeing his joy when things started to appear in the pool on a daily basis - a tomato, a lemon, two courgettes, three green chillies. "I have no idea where they came from, but I suspect that children in a neighbouring villa were playing a joke on us and Ben loved it. It got to be one of the most exciting things about the holiday, waiting to see what would appear that day. After the appearance of the courgettes, my sister said, 'This'll find its way into one of Simon's stories,' and everyone laughed and someone (I think my mum) said, 'Even he couldn't write a story about this.' "Mum, if it was you that said that, this story is entirely your fault."
Losenef Express - Mark Samuels
About the story, Mark Samuels explains: "I think most fans of horror will recognise at once the late, great American author upon whom the central character of this tale is based (or, perhaps more accurately, filtered through my imagination). We never met, although I did once catch sight of him across a room at the 1988 World Fantasy Convention in London and, prompted by curiosity, took a hasty, half-obscured photograph. "A number of my friends knew him well, and I regret I myself never had the chance to do so. Sadly, I only discovered his brilliant work years after his untimely death."
As Red as Red - Caitlín R. Kiernan
"I don't know that 'As Red as Red' had any single source of inspiration," says Kiernan. "It coalesced from numerous experiences and accounts of the supernatural in Rhode Island. Also, I very much wanted to write a non-conventional vampire story which was also (and maybe more so) a werewolf story and a ghost story. "It's also true that I was just coming off having finished The Red Tree, and, in some ways, 'As Red as Red' is an extended footnote to that novel. I was still trying to get The Red Tree out of my system."
climbed aboard, hauling their luggage into the compartments, and Knox waited until the other seven travellers had chosen seats before he joined the service. He wanted to find a seat where he could not easily be seen by anyone else, at least until he had managed to clean himself up. The very last compartment of the rear coach was completely unoccupied and so Knox chose this one for his purposes, climbing inside only as the platform guard blew his whistle and the train actually began to move. Once
that his fellow passengers appeared to be as uninterested in mingling with one another as was he; they sat as far apart from one another as they could, in individual compartments where possible, or at the opposite ends of seating where a compartment was already occupied. They slumped in their places as if they had already travelled for hours and hours. Some were either already drunk or else in a dull confused state between sleep and waking. One could not easily tell which. He pulled open the
corpse groaned for a third time, a hollow and despairing groan that issued from unimaginable depths of suffering. Something conscious existed within the shell. Knox backed away, leaving the hideous cadaver face-upright. And still it continued to issue its uncanny cries. The next compartment along contained a similar horror. The occupant, a woman with long dusty blonde hair, faced the wall with her hands reached out as if clutching at it for support. She made heartrending sobbing and snuffling
imagined he had. All this business on the train was brought on by a bump to the head. He put his shades back on and grinned. Then he ran his fingers over the entirety of his skull, working through the mass of red hair that covered it. His grin evaporated. There was no damage to his skull. The train began to slow down and finally drew to a halt amidst a grinding screech. From further along the corridor, out of the buffet cabin, the conductor emerged. He’d removed the long scarf he had wound
at the front desk whispering a little louder than usual. Or maybe the migraine magnifies her voice and only makes it seem that way. In fact, all these small, unremarkable sounds seem magnified, if only by the quiet of the library. When I open my eyes, I have to blink a few times to bring the room back into focus. So I don’t immediately notice the woman standing outside the window, looking in at me. Or only looking in, and I just happen to be in her line of sight. Maybe she’s looking at nothing