Neil Gaiman had what I think is a truly wonderful idea: we celebrate Hallowe'en by giving each other scary books. I pretty much like any excuse to share my favorite books with people, and I am exceedingly fond of occasions whereon books are given to me. And I love Hallowe'en.
So I am going to celebrate this confluence of wondrous things by giving away a book. And there's going to be a contest.
Perhaps some of you remember when I wrote this post, wondering about whether what I was writing was horror (I decided that what I write generally falls in the dark/ creepy/ weird spectrum, and I'd let the reader decide precisely where, and I would stop worrying about what sort of thing I was writing, and just write it) and I mentioned the time I almost killed my sister with a fireplace poker as a result of reading Pet Sematary.
Here's the story: I was babysitting for my brothers, and my sister was, I thought, spending the night at a friend's. I was finishing Pet Sematary. Honestly, this is not the sort of book I recommend reading at night when everyone else in the house is in bed, but I'd gotten far enough along that even though I was literally shaking as I read, I had to finish. Finishing would put the worst of the terror to rest.
I turned the last page, and set the book down. And there was a thud at the front door. Then a rattle, like someone trying to get in.
In that moment, I did not think, "call the police" I thought, "holy shit! Dead things!" so I grabbed the fireplace poker, and ran to the front door. I raised the poker over my head so I could brain whatever was on the porch, and opened the door.
And nearly brained my sister. I screamed, she screamed, and the friend's mom who had given her a ride home from gymnastics peeled out of the driveway as if she had just seen a demon. At which point Liz and I stopped screaming, and stared after her. "Who leaves a kid to be killed by the poker-wielding crazy person?" I asked.
So that's my best story about a scary book.
Here's the contest: You tell me yours. The best story you have that involves reading a scary book. Leave it in the comments. Also, in the comments, tell me the scary book that you want me to send you if you win. On Hallowe'en, I'll pick my favorite story (yes, that's highly objective and unscientific) and I will send the winner the requested scary book (in print, paperback or e-format, because seriously, I am a writer, not an independently wealthy book collector). If you win, and want me to pick a book for you, I will, although you should tell me the level of terror you wish to experience, otherwise you risk my sending you Heart-Shaped Box, aka, The Scariest Book Ever.
Regardless of whether you participate, I highly encourage you to give someone a scary book for Hallowe'en. Because giving people books is awesome, and if enough people are encouraged to do this, maybe someone will send me one.