The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 5
Darkness, both literal and psychological, holds its own unique fascination. Despite our fears, or perhaps because of them, readers have always been drawn to tales of death, terror, madness, and the supernatural, and no more so than today when a wildly imaginative new generation of dark dreamers is carrying on in the tradition of Poe and Lovecraft and King, crafting exquisitely disturbing literary nightmares that gaze without flinching into the abyss—and linger in the mind long after.
Multiple award-winning editor Ellen Datlow knows the darkest corners of fiction and poetry better than most. Once again, she has braved the haunted landscape of modern horror to seek out the most chilling new works by both legendary masters of the genre and fresh young talents. Here are twisted hungers and obsessions, human and otherwise, along with an unsettling variety of spine-tingling fears and fantasies. The cutting edge of horror has never cut deeper than in this comprehensive showcase of the very best the field has to offer. Enter at your own risk.
times, and the room fell silent again. Dawn light woke Ciccio first. There was one tiny window in the wall facing the groves, and dogs always wake before men. I woke a second later and looked around the room—at the little table and chairs I’d touched in the darkness, at the stone-and-mortar walls, and at the door to another room, one I hadn’t known was there. I got up, folded the blanket, put it in a corner, and led Ciccio out, closing the door behind us quietly in case people were sleeping in
of the floundering industrial areas had been redeveloped. There was a heavier police presence on the streets. People strolled casually, relaxing in the recreation areas that had been created. It felt almost like the dark underbelly of the city he’d abandoned had been varnished smooth, the cracks papered over. Yet peel back the veneer of respectability and the festering decay would be revealed. Of that he was sure. For several weeks Novak had watched the woman from a distance, noting her routines
much just basic equipment in any case. We toted rifles or pistols like folks in the Lower 48 carry cell phones and wallets. Mine was a .357 I stowed inside my anorak to keep the cylinder from freezing into a solid lump. The revolver was in my hand and it jumped twice and I don’t recall the booms. No sound, only fire. The closest pair of dog men flipped over and a small part of my mind celebrated that at least the fuckers could be hurt, it wasn’t like the legends or the movies; no silver required,
well.” “The jeep isn’t mine. It belongs to the village.” “Loan it to me then. Go with me as far as Luanda. After that, I’m on my own.” “But why should I help you?” “A fair question that I’d expect of you, a graduate of Swakopmund Girl’s School. Here, let me show you something,” His smile was confident, but his stomach corkscrewed at what he was about to do – betting everything on this girl’s gullibility and greed. “You say you want to see the wider world. What if I told you you could go
be kept happy. It’s only good manners.” “I do value good manners, you see. Courtesy, common or otherwise. The little gestures.” “Manners maketh man’, and all that.” “A party-dress on an ape, that’s all they are, when everything is said and done. But since there’s no alternative, they simply have to do.” “Given it must’ve been God who deeded you to us in the first place, directly or in-, do you think perhaps we might be part of your Hell, Nanny?” “I often ask myself that very question, my