The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24
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For nearly twenty-five years The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror has been the world’s leading annual anthology dedicated solely to showcasing the best in contemporary horror fiction. This newest volume offers outstanding new writing by masters of the genre, such as Joan Aiken, Peter Atkins, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Fowler, Joe R. Lansdale, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Robert Silverberg, Michael Marshall Smith, Evangeline Walton, and many others!
on taking. I pleaded with him not to, but he said he would study the contents and then return it to the tin box at a later date. “Over the next few days I was aware that Macpherson was in the process of reading the manuscript but I never saw him doing so. Whenever we met I would ask him to reveal to me something of what he had read, but he refused. I did not even know if, after reading the notebook, he had returned it to its rightful place, though I later found out that he could not have done so
student practical joke, a botched bastardisation Transformered together from three or more skeletons at once: spine articulated like a boa constrictor’s, ribs everywhere, even in its limbs; skull like a Rubik’s helmet, slabbed and fluted and interlocking, a puzzle-box with a million solutions but no answers. The fact that it proved surprisingly easy to assemble is the least of your worries, a strangeness so trivial it’s barely worth sparing the energy to consider . . . not when there’s just so
possessed of – or haunted by – a devil in her own likeness. But I did not. All the way back to New York, on the swift plane that carried me away from the sleepy old Southern city, I tried to figure out exactly what I did believe. The ancient Egyptians believed in what they called the ka, a “Double”, a body within a body; they mummified their dead and built elaborate tombs, believing that the ka might come and go like a live man from that house of death. They thought that sometimes it might leave
prayed that the child would disappear. When I next dared to open my eyes, some minutes later, the child was gone. The parents sat in their seats, talking quietly, perfectly happily. I assumed the child was in the lavatory, and I dreaded his inevitable return. I determined to enjoy the peace for as long as I could. I dozed a bit. “Whenever I thought to open my eyes to check, the child still hadn’t returned. And he never did. We arrived in Edinburgh some hours later; we all got off the train; the
raised between the fingertips of both hands. “See the sign.” If the players do so, they keep quiet about it, not even greeting the number or bemoaning their luck. The caller displays the next ball like a magician and puts a finger to the edge of a grin that’s meant to appear mysterious. “Sixty-three,” he says. “Time to flee.” The murmur this provokes is unamused, and he concentrates on the ball that rolls out of the dispenser. “Twenty-four,” he says. “Can’t do more.” His gaze is drifting