Best New Horror 2
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This is the sensational showcase of the year's very best horror stories from the greatest contemporary masters of fear.
of children unwinding beneath the blinding sun. I felt sick from too many cigarettes and ice cream bars. My eyes ached; the landscape looked flat and bright, overexposed, the streams of children a timelapsed film: first the tiniest boys and girls, grinning and dirty as if freshly pulled from a garden. Then their older brothers and sisters, feral creatures with slanted eyes yellowed in the sunlight, bare arms and legs sleek and golden as perch. Girls just past puberty, one with her mother’s bra
darting between the pines. A flicker in the trees and they were gone, their pretty husks crumbled in the sun. Farther up and farther in we drove. The houses grew older, more scattered. There were no more telephone poles. The truck scaled tortuous roads so narrow I wondered how we’d get back down after dark. I stood beside the driver’s seat, balancing myself so that I could watch the sun dance in and out of the distant mountaintops. In front of me Cass fidgeted in his seat, chainsmoking. “Count
rhododendron. Linda was still talking. “Like my mother always said, and of course I wouldn’t listen to her, it only gets worse as they get older.” “I can hardly wait.” The intended sarcasm was undercut by a real excitement, a real eagerness to see her daughter grow up, which made Julie feel terribly vulnerable. She managed to swallow the last of the orange-flavored cream cheese, though it left a gummy patina on her tongue and on the backs of her teeth. Gelatin, she suddenly remembered, was made
disturbed. When his book Winter Solstice: The Longest Night of a Society was published, the general opinion was that it was disappointingly subjective and impressionistic, and that, aside from a few moving but “poetically obscure” observations, there was nothing at all to give it value. Those who defended Thoss claimed he was a kind of super-anthropologist: while much of his work emphasized his own mind and feelings, his experience had in fact penetrated to a rich core of hard data which he had
with his savings book and asked to withdraw everything but the one pound needed to keep the account open. “That’s a whole eleven pounds fifty-two pence,” she said to him. “Have we been saving up for something special?” “Oh, yes,” David said, dragging his good-boy smile out from the wardrobe and giving it a dust-down for the occasion. “A nice new toy? I know what you lads are like, all guns and armour.” “It’s, um, a surprise.” The lady humphed, disappointed that he wouldn’t tell her what it