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."
coffeehouse on Thames, and the Redwood Library, and standing in a dream hallway, looking down on my subconscious rendering of the Common Burying Ground. A woman playing a violin beneath a tree. A woman with whom I have only actually spoken once, but about whom I cannot stop thinking. It is believed that consumption is not a physical but spiritual disease, obsession, or visitation . . . After the lecture, and the questions, after introductions are made and notable, influential hands are shaken,
I want to laugh at myself, because I can actually feel the prick of goose bumps along my forearms, and the short, fine hairs at the nape of my neck standing on end. I’ve blundered into a horror-movie cliché, and I can’t help but be reminded of Val Lewton’s Cat People, the scene where Jane Rudolph walks quickly past Central Park, stalked by a vengeful Simone Simon, only to be rescued at the last possible moment by the fortuitous arrival of a city bus. But I know there’s no helpful bus coming to
the lemon (still warm from bobbing at the surface of the water in the afternoon’s heat), she looked up at it. Her back wall was high, over fifteen feet, and it obscured most of the villa’s lower floor, but she could still see the upper storey. No one moved on the balconies or behind the windows, and she could not hear the children playing. She put the lemon in the kitchen, next to the courgette. It was full and bright, and Helen thought she might cut it into slices for her evening gin and tonic.
contents on her as she walked, so she ended up dragging it, stretched out, her back aching and her muscles singing in protest. This wasn’t what she had thought she’d be doing when she retired, she reflected, looking again at the villa up the hill. All those years of drudgery in the office, all the meetings and reports and filing, all the late nights in the office completing the work for bosses, and the lonely nights at home, all the insincere greetings and hollow works’ parties, they were the
empty but then saw, floating near the bottom of the deeper end, something small and black. “Another piece of fruit?” she asked herself aloud, and then the black thing shifted sluggishly. Helen watched as it unfurled, stretching out until it was a few inches long. It jerked and then moved through the water before slowing and stopping, finally drifting to the bottom like a half-furled parachute. She picked up the net and trawled for it but couldn’t reach; the bottom of the net passed over the top