Enter at Your Own Risk: Old Masters, New Voices

Enter at Your Own Risk: Old Masters, New Voices

An anthology of Dark Fiction
Edited by: Dr. Alex Scully

If Gothic masters like Lovecraft, Poe, and Stoker could whisper new tales from beyond the grave, what stories would they create in response to increasingly urgent issues such as the threat of environmental collapse, the ongoing struggles for equal rights, and the innumerable challenges, thrills, and dangers of life in the 21st century? In this new anthology, classic Gothic tales are juxtaposed with modern short stories in a fascinating exploration of how much things change in the world of horror and chills—and how much they stay the same. The stories provide an engaging time travel through the twisted tunnels of the human psyche and the equally disturbing behavior that accompanies it—guilt, lust, revenge, regret, the eternal (and often deadly) power of love, the inseparable allure/repellence of evil… and the sceptered shadow of Death which lurks over all. Special treats from the classic authors include a rare, early story from Poe, and Bram Stoker’s “lost” chapter from Dracula. With 26 tales from three centuries’ worth of delightfully deranged minds, this collection reveals the astonishing scope of the Gothic writer’s incomparable genius for revealing our deepest emotions and penetrating our darkest dreams.

Praise for the Enter at Your Own Risk series:

“Great Gothic horror… well-written, clever, and definitely dark.”

Horror Novel Reviews

“Creepy, disturbing, haunting.”

Kindle Book Review

“Genuinely disquieting on a visceral level.”

Eugene Daily News

 “The modern authors in this collection know their Gothic.”

DarkMedia

 “Full of old-fashioned haunting tales heavy on mood and atmosphere.”

John Grover

author Creatures and Crypts

 

“Four Horsemen of Apocalypse” (1887)
by the Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov

“Four Horsemen of Apocalypse” (1887) by the Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov“I combed her hair. I handled, I know not how, those icy locks. I twisted, knotted, and unknotted, and braided them. She sighed, bowed her head, seemed happy.

“Suddenly she said, ‘Thank you!’ snatched the comb from my hands and fled by the door that I had noticed ajar.

“Left alone, I experienced for several seconds the horrible agitation of one who awakens from a nightmare. At length I regained my senses. I ran to the window and with a mighty effort burst open the shutters, letting a flood of light into the room. Immediately I sprang to the door by which that being had departed. I found it closed and immovable!

                              “The Apparition” by Guy de Maupassant

 

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And then there came to me the crowning horror of all—the unbelievable, unthinkable, almost unmentionable thing. I have said that eons seemed to elapse after Warren shrieked forth his last despairing warning, and that only my own cries now broke the hideous silence. But after a while there was a further clicking in the receiver, and I strained my ears to listen. Again I called down, “Warren, are you there?” and in answer heard the thing which has brought this cloud over my mind. I do not try, gentlemen, to account for that thing—that voice—nor can I venture to describe it in detail, since the first words took away my consciousness and created a mental blank which reaches to the time of my awakening in the hospital. Shall I say that the voice was deep; hollow; gelatinous; remote; unearthly; inhuman; disembodied? What shall I say? It was the end of my experience, and is the end of my story. I heard it, and knew no more—heard it as I sat petrified in that unknown cemetery in the hollow, amidst the crumbling stones and the falling tombs, the rank vegetation and the miasmal vapors—heard it well up from the innermost depths of that damnable open sepulcher as I watched amorphous, necrophagous shadows dance beneath an accursed waning moon.

                                      “The Statement of Randolph Carter” by H. P. Lovecraft

 

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But not tonight! No! Tonight the earth shudders and splits apart just as the first notes are played. Tombstones tremble as the ground opens up and the dead return. The night air caresses them, such as they are, rotted or rotting, partially there or mostly not; swollen with gaseous poisons or lean and skeletal. It blesses them all. Some are but skeletons. Others more recently buried hardly bear the mark of death; the child of rot and contagion. See how the music stirs them. They move slowly, cautiously, until at last, some are so roused that they actually try to speak! But often only the sound of creaking bones is heard.

                           “Love Among the Dead” by Carole Gill

 

The sudden movement brought the eyes of the troll straight to her. It had remained deadly still as the truck had passed, flattening itself into the curvature of the wall so that it was invisible to anyone not looking closely. And how many people looked up at the ceiling of an overpass? The troll had little reason to fear being spotted by anyone on foot, either, since she rarely met another person walking along these roads. People in Cheat Lake preferred their cars.

Once the truck sped out of sight, the fear-serpent stirred to life as the troll scaled out of the overpass and inched closer to her. Catherine again marveled at the fairy-tale likeness—high forehead as wrinkly and pink as a newborn puppy; close-set eyes that tilted upwards like the crooked raindrop-eyes her children used to draw on happy faces. Although it didn’t have eyebrows, a halo of coarse, fuzzy hair surrounded its head and continued without pause down the sides of its face into a dark wilderness of beard. A lighter version of the same hair covered its body, preventing her from specifying anything beyond “it” despite the fact that it wasn’t wearing any clothes. The troll’s scrubby witch-broom of a tail just grazed the ground, and sharp, thick nails that explained its agility in high places protruded from long feet and hands. It couldn’t have stood more than three feet high.

The troll cocked its head, returning her scrutiny, and then it did something that Catherine never predicted in all of her late night conjecturing—it smiled at her. She cocked her head back at it in astonishment, creating an absurd mirror-image which caused the troll’s smile to widen, revealing large, yellowing teeth that to her surprise were not at all sharp or fierce-looking, but straight and squared off, like a horse’s teeth. Instinctively, Catherine smiled back. And she couldn’t be sure, but had the troll nodded its head just slightly, as if in acknowledgment? Before she could test out another smile, it turned and flashed out of sight up the embankment. Turning to walk home, Catherine noticed that the driver of the truck had tossed a bottle on the ground.

Maybe What We Need Are More Trolls Under the Bridge” by B.E. Scully

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Ground Always Wins by B.E. Scully

The Apparition by Guy de Maupassant

Inside Looking Out: Falling Through the Worlds by Mari Adkins

The Cold Embrace by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Immovable Fear by Robbie Anderson

The Statement of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft

The Virgin Grave by Nicky Peacock

Love Among the Dead by Carole Gill

The Specter Bride by William Harrison Aimsworth

Something Remains by Drew Keaton

The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows by William Butler Yeats

Feast with a Few Strangers by E.P. Berglund

The Picture in the House by H.P. Lovecraft

Riobatta by A.A. Garrison

The Emperor’s Nocturne by Ed Medina

The Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe

The Wedding Jaunt by Joshua Skye

The Interval by Vincent O’Sullivan

Johnny’s Monster by Benjamin Sperduto

The Man of Science by Jerome K. Jerome

The Trial of Mark Roberts by David Thomas

There was a Man Dwelt by a Churchyard by M.R. James

Bayou Life by John Karr

The Damned Thing by Ambrose Bierce

Maybe What We Need Are More Trolls Under the Bridge by B.E. Scully

Mademoiselle Cocette by Guy de Maupassant

Waking Dreams and the Space In-Between by Alex McDermott

Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker

 

Enter at Your Own Risk:

Old Masters, New Voices

can be found on Amazon.com