Today I want to introduce Emily of "Red House Books". I met Emily, who some of you may also know as WilowRaven, at Book Expo America and through crazy happenstance we ended up spending a lot of time together.
She's discussing three books that I remember quite well from my youth--the "Scary Stories" series of books by Alvin Schwartz (recently re-released as a Hardcover Treasury). One story in particular, from the first book, about a 'dog' from Mexico still gives me the creeps and makes me look twice at any animal vaguely resembling it...+++
When I was a kid I read every horror and ghost story I could get my hands on. Sometimes I couldn't sleep at night. Sometimes I had nightmares but I didn't care! So what if I still refuse to walk into a completely dark room by myself? What? I'm not scarred for life or anything :)
My absolute favorite scary stories came courtesy of Alvin Schwartz, in the forms of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and Scary Stories 3: More Tales To Chill Your Bones. I devoured these books! I read each story over and over again. And you know why they scared me so much? Because they were real. To me at least. These were true life tales of horror PLUS a few 'Boo!' stories to tell your friends and get them screaming.
It was one just story that lead to my first real life encounter with a ghost! Or, you know, maybe it was my overactive 12 year old imagination. You be the judge.
So, my friend (let's call her Laura), and I are at my house. My mom has left us alone for an hour or so while she runs an errand. We have strict instructions to NOT step foot outside the house for any reason, let the dog into the living room, answer the phone or door, run with scissors or have any fun at all. She forgot to add, ‘or scare yourselves stupid’ so of course, reading through Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is fair game.
Lauren and I settle on the couch and I start in on the first 'boo!' story. I'm reading all dramatic like and spooky and when I get to the end and yell and jump at her and scream all crazy like I'm suppose to, she totally falls for it and almost wets herself. A fabulous time is being had by me! Laura, not so much.
I promise her the next one isn't as bad (it was worse), I won't go all crazy on her (I'm lying) and she can have a cookie when we are done (nope, I ate them all already).
So, I start in again on the next tale. I'm all cool and spooky again.
Remember, the house is empty, mom is away, dog is banished to the kitchen.
I get about 3 lines in when the quite house suddenly isn't very quite anymore. From the hallway we both hear a faint and very distinct bell. The bell is ringing and the ringing is getting louder. The bell is definitely a bell and it's definitely in the house.
I look at Lauren and she says "It's the dog, right?" You know, because my dog has a collar and that collar as all her shinny metal tags on it that click together when she walks.
Me: "The dog's in the kitchen"
Laura: "I know, but she probably needs to go out or something"
Like two robots, we get off the couch, walk down the hall and enter the kitchen. Where we find my dog peacefully sleeping under the table.
What else do we find.
ON the table.
She got a nasty cut on her neck from the dog groomer's.
We took off the collar so it wouldn't irritate her.
She's asleep and has been the entire time we were in the living room .She is also small and kinda stupid and even if she knew her collar was on the table she in no way could have gotten to it.
Oh, and it wasn't he sound of dog tags clicking together that we heard. It was A BELL.
All of these thoughts flash through Laura's and my minds in about 1.2 seconds.
And then we are screaming and running and flailing and screaming and leaving the house and screaming and running down the block and screaming. And then we screamed some more.
My mother came home about 20 minutes later. We were still outside. I was grounded for leaving the house AND leaving the dog alone in the living room (she ate a box of tissues).
"But Mom! We might have been running down the block, past all our horrified neighbors, but at least we weren't running with scissors!"
Mom is not impressed.
When I tried to tell her it was the ghost's fault and not ours? Yeah, that didn't work either ;)
Do I still believe, to this day, that there was something ringing a bell in my house all those years ago? Yep!
Did I creep myself out writing this story up for you? Oh yeah.
Will I be sleeping with the lights on, under the covers and perhaps even in my four year olds bed tonight? You bet ya!
It's it great?!?
Emily Red House Books
Note to self, make sure to tell all guests writing for the blog that relaying stories that give ME nightmares is strictly forbidden...
Ever have an experience like Emily's?