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This was my first introduction into reading drabbles and what l discovered in this 150+ micro-tales of terror was like finding a glorious little shop of horrors. Summer Terrors is the theme running throughout this anthology. l personally cannot stand the hot, sticky and humid weather we often get here in England during our summer time and reading the blurb of this book, which describes creepy curiousities with lots of tentacles and the most bizzare rules for a safer summer of fun instantly had me intrigued. Here we are invited into a darker side of summer, one that l found a much more tantalising way of how to suck me in and distract me from the blasted heat! Within these pages l found there to be a lot of thought provoking stories. This soon made me realise the quick hitting impact of the effect that a drabble can achieve, and l was hooked. Bring on the Summer Terrors l say!
Here are just some of my favourites, without wanting to give too much away:
We begin with a bomb, litterally the first story titled Bombs Bursting In Air by Rachel C. Pendragon. Where we are told a tale describing gruesome and explosive death's taking place, whilst listening to America's National Anthem. A dramatic and disturbing celebration of Independence Day gone so horrifically wrong, it makes you shudder with fear.
Black Magic Treehouse by Patrick Winters A hauntingly twisted tale of a pale skinned girl called Abigail, who had been accused of being a nasty witch. As a form of punishment she was made to swing from a tree. This one really left me with chills down my spine.
Camp Murder by Christo Healy Shelby is hiding from an unknown killer, and this person could be so much closer than she could have ever anticipated. An eerie story that made me gulp in terror.
Beware of Animals by Rador DeBoard This was such a delight to read, and right up my street. Darrell was alert to an intruder and decided to investigate. The words "his paw trembled" and "her brown fur all matted", had me doing a double take. Then to read "it's a human!" This just made me realise how quickly we can make assumptions without knowing any of the facts first, and how things are not always as they seem. This story without a doubt kept me on my paws.
Party Time by Nat Whiston It would not be summer without a concert and certainly not a British one without a bit of rain. Here the scene is set, a girl is left alone in a tent waiting for her boyfriend Michael to return. Just as she is getting cosy in her cocoon, a blade rips through the tent and she finds herself frozen on the spot and unable to move. "A dark figure steps in and screams are concealed by the roar of the crowds". This made me gasp in horror and conjure up alsorts of questions in my mind, leaving this story open to interpretation. Who or what could be so frightening. Could it be a creature of some sort? Or could it infact be her boyfriend Michael and if so, what has he come back as!?
Beach Day By Nat Whiston I would strongly advise you to make the most of those sunbathing days by the beach with your loved ones, or maybe it is best to not go there in the first place. Sadly it is too late for Lisa because within the blink of an eye, she was being hacked to death by a monster. Such twisted and evil satisfaction is expressed through it's unhuman eyes and torchuring laughter, and to think that is not even the worst part!
A Birthday Wish by Dorian J. Sinnott A boy who hated that his birthday was in summer, even worse was having to share it with his twin brother. Although there is one thing that he never has to share, and that is his birthday wish. An l must admit, this gave me an evil chuckle.
The Dive by Nicholas Wilkinson This made me feel like l was going deeper down with every sentence, as if l was entering the twighlight zone itself. The Dive took me through majestic caves and awakened the unknown uncertanty of a beast that lay ahead, with razor'd-beak tentacles and eyes as black as coal. Describing such wonder, yet a cruel darkness that leads you to an unexpected tomb!
Web of Venom by Maggle D Brace With the excitement of a weekend trip the first thing James does to settle in is set up his hammock. Though how much more settled in can he get, as we soon discover he is infact shrouded by cobwebs! "His empty carcass infested with spiderlings". This was such a creepy thought to contemplate, and poor James did not stand a chance.
Deadly Illusion by Dawn DeBraal Vern is a chalk artist, who accepts the invitation of a chalk off competition. He has perfected his skills so well, that his art can trick the mind into visually believing that what you see before you has come to life. Little do we realise how dangerous this proves to be, and even more disturbing is Vern watching.
The Hand In The Lake by Stephen Johnson This poem was so beautifully descriptive that l felt as if l was in tune with the movement and the motion of the ripples in the lake. Suddenly, there was a disturbance in the water and a hideous cry rings out where a bloody hand emerges! A clear warning to stay away from the hand in the lake. This story drew me in so quickly, yet made me want to pull away from the lake just as quick towards the end.
A Brief History of drabbles: A drabble also known as flash fiction is a story made up of 100 words. Drabble story telling first came about in the early 1980's, in the UK Science Fiction Society at Birmingham University. On April Fool's Day in 1988 Rob Meades and David B Wake published a book of drabbles titled "The Drabbles Project". Since then Drabble II: Double Century (1990) and Drabble Who? (1993) were published. These three books include stories written by Neil Gaiman, Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett to name a few.