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Dark Screams: Volume Four by [Clive Barker, Ed Gorman, Heather Graham, Brian James Freeman, Richard Chizmar]

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Dark Screams: Volume Four Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 117 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Collectively, Volume Four constitutes the most cohesive, narratively enriching and entertaining Dark Screams entry to date. Be it the presence of genre icons Barker and Morton, stories from the lesser-known but equally talented Garton and Gorman, or the pure fun of Graham’s tale, fans of horror of every variety will find something to love in these pages.”LitReactor
 
“The best of the bunch so far.”
Examiner.com
 
“Stacks up well with any of the other three books so far [with] a fairly good variety in the kinds of horror stories too . . . If you’re new to the series, this is a good jumping-on point.”
—Wagging the Fox
 
Dark Screams is one of the best values on the horror market. . . . Do yourself a favor, and pick it up.”—Adventures Fantastic

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Departed

Clive Barker

It was not only painters who were connoisseurs of light, Hermione had come to learn in the three days since her death; so, too, were those obliged to shun it. She was a member of that fretful clan now—a phantom in the world of flesh—and if she hoped to linger here for long she would have to avoid the sun’s gift as scrupulously as a celibate avoided sin, and for much the same reason. It tainted, corrupted, and finally drove the soul into the embrace of extinction.

She wasn’t so unhappy to be dead; life had been no bowl of cherries. She had failed at love, failed at marriage, failed at friendship, failed at motherhood. That last stung the sharpest. If she could have plunged back into life to change one thing, she would have left the broken romances in pieces and gone to her six-year-old son, Finn, to say: Trust your dreams, and take the world lightly, for it means nothing, even in the losing. She had shared these ruminations with one person only. His name was Rice, an ethereal nomad like herself who had died wasted and crazed from the plague but was now in death returned to corpulence and wit. Together they had spent that third day behind the blinds of his shunned apartment, listening to the babble of the street and exchanging tidbits. Toward evening, conversation turned to the subject of light.

“I don’t see why the sun hurts us and the moon doesn’t,” Hermione reasoned. “The moon’s reflected sunlight, isn’t it?”

“Don’t be so logical,” Rice replied, “or so damn serious.”

“And the stars are little suns. Why doesn’t starlight hurt us?”

“I never liked looking at the stars,” Rice replied. “They always made me feel lonely. Especially toward the end. I’d look up and see all that empty immensity and . . .” He caught himself in mid-sentence. “Damn you, woman, listen to me! We’re going to have to get out of here and party.”

She drifted to the window.

“Down there?” she said.

“Down there.”

“Will they see us?”

“Not if we go naked.”

She glanced around at him. He was starting to unbutton his shirt.

“I can see you perfectly well,” she told him.

“But you’re dead, darling. The living have a lot more trouble.” He tugged off his shirt and joined her at the window. “Shall we dare the dusk?” he asked her, and without waiting for a reply, raised the blind. There was just enough power in the light to give them both a pleasant buzz.

“I could get addicted to this,” Hermione said, taking off her dress and letting the remnants of the day graze her breasts and belly.

“Now you’re talking,” said Rice. “Shall we take the air?”

All Hallows’ Eve was a day away, a night away, and every shop along Main Street carried some sign of the season. A flight of paper witches here; a cardboard skeleton there.

“Contemptible,” Rice remarked, as they passed a nest of rubber bats. “We should protest.”

“It’s just a little fun,” Hermione said.

“It’s our holiday, darling. The Feast of the Dead. I feel like . . . like Jesus at a Sunday sermon. How dare they simplify me this way?” He slammed his phantom fists against the glass. It shook, and the remote din of his blow reached the ears of a passing family, all of whom looked toward the rattling window, saw nothing, and—trusting their eyes—moved on down the street.

Hermione gazed after them.

“I want to go and see Finn,” she said.

“Not wise,” Rice replied.

“Screw wise,” she said. “I want to see him.”

Rice already knew better than to attempt persuasion, so up the hill they went, toward her sister Elaine’s house, where she assumed the boy had lodged since her passing.

“There’s something you should know,” Rice said, as they climbed. “About being dead.”

“Go on.”

“It’s difficult to explain. But it’s no accident we feel safe under the moon. We’re like the moon. Reflecting the light of something living, something that loves us. Does that make any sense?”

“Not much.”

“Then it’s probably the truth.”

She stopped her ascent and turned to him. “Is this meant as a warning of some kind?” she asked.

“Would it matter if it were?”

“Not much.”

He grinned. “I was the same. A warning was always an invitation.”

“End of discussion?”

“End of discussion.”

There were lamps burning in every room of Elaine’s house, as if to keep the night and all it concealed at bay.
How sad, Hermione thought, to live in fear of shadows. But then, didn’t the day now hold as many terrors for her as night did for Elaine? Finally, it seemed, after thirty-one years of troubled sisterhood, the mirrors they had always held up to each other—fogged until this moment—were clear. Regret touched her, that she had not better known this lonely woman whom she had so resented for her lack of empathy.

“Stay here,” she told Rice. “I want to see them on my own.”

Rice shook his head. “I’m not missing this,” he replied, and followed her up the path, then across the lawn toward the dining room window.

From inside came not two voices but three: a woman, a boy, and a man whose timbre was so recognizable it stopped Hermione in her invisible tracks.

“Thomas,” she said.

“Your ex?” Rice murmured.

She nodded. “I hadn’t expected . . .”

“You’d have preferred him not to come and mourn you?”

“That doesn’t sound like mourning to me,” she replied. Nor did it. The closer to the window they trod, the more merriment they heard. Thomas was cracking jokes, and Finn and Elaine were lapping up his performance.

“He’s such a clown!” Hermione said. “Just listen to him.”

They had reached the sill now, and peered in. It was worse than she’d expected. Thom had Finn on his knee, his arms wrapped around the child. He was whispering something in the boy’s ear, and as he did so a grin appeared on Finn’s face.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00PEPR6ZI
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Hydra (August 4, 2015)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ August 4, 2015
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2959 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 99 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 117 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
117 global ratings

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 2, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 19, 2015
Michael Stubberfield
3.0 out of 5 stars Some original story telling...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 2, 2015
Adele Wolfe
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read it already
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on November 15, 2018
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4.0 out of 5 stars This one is the best of the four. All stories were very good. Much better authors I suppose. Very readable and enjoyable.
Reviewed in Australia 🇦🇺 on January 20, 2017
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