The Year's Best Horror Stories, Series VIII
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For the reader who hasn’t the patience to search through several shelves of books and magazines for enough good horror stories to furnish a year’s worth of nightmares—don't despair, those untroubled nights are over. Collected here are the best horror stories to be published in 1979. Here you will find both traditional and non-traditional horrors, terrors from the supernatural and from the inner mind. Some of these stories are from the most noted authors of the fantasy genre, others represent only an author’s first or second published story . . .
All of these stories do have one point in common, however, and that is their power to create a convincing mood of fear and unease. In selecting these stories I followed no restrictive definitions, guidelines or taboos. My goal was to gather together the best . . .
WELCOME TO THEIR NIGHTMARES.
—Karl Edward Wagner, Editor
and dullness, hadn’t visited the tiny town with any kind of permanent occupancy, but more in the guise of transients passing through. But Woodstover had the Half Cat. For Frank Vincy it was the town’s prize reminder of a tantalizing past. He decided to walk from the train station, not from any urge to exercise but from the natural tendency of the new landowner to survey his neighboring estates with an eye both critical and envious. Besides, Andrews was due tomorrow morning and Vincy wanted
slammed sharply. “My God, what’s that?” Butte pulled a gun from inside his coat. “A loose shutter in the night breeze, good buddy,” said Eddie. The rational explanation comforted neither Butte nor himself. “Now put that artillery away, take hold of yourself, and sit down at the kitchen table,” he instructed Butte. “We’ve got most of the night.” “Oh no we ain’t!” Butte protested. “We got to git the stuff an’ git the hell out o’ here!” Yet he submitted, taking from his pocket a rough sketch and
would only respond to directness, as animals do. “Why did you kill her?” He looked up, there was a pause that perhaps made fifteen seconds and felt like days. And then he spoke, and every muscle in my body relaxed at once. I had won. “I had to, I needed virgin blood, don’t you see?” As if to an idiot. “Why dirty her?” His manner suddenly changed, becoming at once confiding and condescending, like a lecturer in some Poly winning over a class. “It was a logical problem. I had to be sure she
hurried by, their breath and their parcels of fish and chips steaming. Queues of cars passed each other on the narrow road; their scoops of light caught dust, gasoline fumes, a moth. Soon they were gone, and the tarmac gleamed bleakly. “What do you think we’re going to do?” she said uneasily. “Oh, just sit around a table, I expect, like they did in that story.” Wendy sounded glad to talk. “Or maybe Richard will sit there with a pencil and see if it writes anything. I expect it’ll write something
. what was her name?” He swallowed hard. Even now, years later, long after it was ended, he found himself unable to cleanse the memories of pain and fear. “Her name was Cindy.” “Well, uh, what did she do that was so awful?” He thought about it for a second. This was a departure from the routine. He wasn’t usually asked for further specifics. And running back through the memories, he found that most of them had blurred into one indistinguishable throb of misery. There were incidents he