Monday, December 19, 2011

Deadly Treats: Halloween Tales of Mystery, Magic, and Mayhem

Sabrina's Scary Christmas Part III

This will be an ongoing review of 21 short stories found in the Halloween anthology, Deadly Treats: Halloween Tales of Mystery, Magic, and Mayhem compiled and edited by Ann Frasier.

Today's short stories are brought to you by Leandra Logan, Marilyn Victor, Julia Buckley, Lance Zarimba, and L.K. Rigel. They contain a little bit of this, and a little bit of that... mingled with a serial killer, an ogre, a woman hearing voices, a romantic date, and a writer gone nuts.  Enjoy.

When I was eighteen and a live-in babysitter for the Johnson family in Salt Lake City, I started receiving phone calls. They always came after the Johnson's had left for the day and I was home alone with the youngest girl, Katie. No one ever responded to my greetings, just breathing. It was annoying. But since the Johnson's didn't have caller ID, I had no choice but to answer the phone in case the school was calling about the oldest child, or the parents were calling to check in. Eventually the calls started coming at night when the Johnson family would go out on the weekends and I was left at the house alone.  

One evening the phone rang and the person on the other end spoke. He told me he could see me through the windows and that he knew I was home alone. I really didn't know what to do. I just hung up the phone and closed all the blinds and double checked the locks on the doors.  But the phone... it rang all night long. And finally fearing that the Johnson family was trying to contact me, I answered, and was greeted by the same male voice informing me that he could still see me and that he was holding a knife.  I left the house as soon as the sun came up (I wasn't about to go outside in the dark... and calling the police didn't even enter my mind. I was young,,,) and I didn't return until the family was home. Turns out Mr. Johnson's employment with NASA, meant our phone line was always monitored. A simple check by the office told us that the neighbor boy was making the calls.  

There might not have been prank calls in You Called by Leandra Logan, but there was a creepy guy on the other end of the line.  Except he didn't sound so creepy when Paula first spoke to him. Paula, by my own definition, is a strange one. She likes to check out who called her during the day when she's been out, and then she likes to call people back... even if she doesn't know them. One night after calling a number that she's not familiar with, she strikes up a conversation with a man, ends up dating him over the phone, and after a drunken night of sharing sad stories about being stood up for senior prom, she agrees to have him over to her house for a night of Halloween fun and dancing... or not. Turns out the guy never lived at the number she dialed from home that night. He was there, alright... making a killing while talking on the phone with Paula.  In You Called by Leandra Logan, curiosity comes very, very close to killing the cat.

A young witch learns a horrible lesson when she's unwilling to wait until she's more mature to find her soulmate in The Ogre of Her Dreams by Marilyn Victor.  Aurora Piddleworth is a young witch in training. She's also in a hurry to find a soulmate. Unfortunately she's doesn't have what it takes to create the man of her dreams on her own, so she threatens her professor and ultimately forces her to spin the spell for a soulmate for her.  But Aurora should have done her homework, and should have done some more research when she found missing pages in a forbidden book. Turns out the text book is quite clear... a witch's soulmate is an OGRE.  Yeah, you know the ones. The big ugly dudes that like to stick their finger in their noses. Worse... this Ogre now belongs to Aurora for five hundred years unless she takes her professors suggestions and lets her cast a spell to hide Aurora from her new love. Of course Aurora agrees, and... well, let's just say that I'll never look at frogs the same way again. 


In Motherly Intuition by Julia Buckley, Daphne is a thirty-four year old woman grieving the loss of her mother, and hearing voices in her head.  A trip to a psychiatrist doesn't prove helpful, but it does make one voice in her mind more clear.  Turns out her mother has found a way to communicate from beyond the grave, and to prove it's her, she sends Daphne to her old home to locate the secret stash of erotica books she kept in the fuse box (Heh... erotica books. I think Daphne's mom and I would have gotten along perfectly).  Anyway, Daphne locates the hidden stash, their communication stays intact, and Daphne's mother helps her avoid danger and find true love. I love happy endings!


Ima and Billy Joe Jim Bob are having a night on the town in Fangs for the Memories by Lance Zarimba.  This is perhaps the oddest couple I have ever read about, and... I'm truly at a loss for words. All I know is that Billy Joe Jim Bob drove me nuts with his one liners... and I'm super happy Ima got her fangs in him.


A writer working hard for her next big novel (we'll call her Anon), is interrupted by the horrible rumblings of her muse in Slurp!


Seems the court hearings are causing quite a stir, and this little writer might get the comeback she's been wishing for when superagent, Betsy Blitz, makes a phone call to her attorney. Now Anon has lots of things to think about, never mind that her muse hasn't been heard from since her arrest.  She's meeting her fans while sitting in court, watching a live blogger outing her status online, and anxiously awaiting the results of her twitter status. And that's when she hears it... Slurp! Only this time the noise isn't meant for her... it's meant for little Ms. LiveBlogger sharing the secrets from court. Looks like Anon has lost her muse for good this time. I wonder if this interferes with the big comeback? 

I'll be back with more stories from Deadly Treats: Halloween Tales of Mystery, Magic, and Mayhem. Until then, feel free to pick up a copy from the following links below...

Deadly Treats is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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