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POLL! Scary reading?

Since I've already asked about your favorite Halloween film, I'll steal a page from baylorsr and ask...

Poll #597834 Scary Reading?

What is the scariest thing you've ever read? (Or, what do you like to read at Halloween?)

And now, the Halloween quote from the day, "The Ballad of Nearly-Headless Nick":

It was a mistake any wizard could make
Who was tired and caught on the hop
One piffling error, and then, to my terror,
I found myself facing the chop.
Alas for the eve when I met Lady Grieve
A-strolling the park in the dusk!
She was of the belief I could straighten her teeth
Next moment she'd sprouted a tusk.
I cried through the night that I'd soon put her right
But the process of justice was lax;
They'd brought out the block, though they'd mislaid the rock
Where they usually sharpened the axe.
Next morning at dawn, with a face most forlorn,
The priest said to try not to cry,
"You can come just like that, no, you won't need a hat,"
And I knew that my end must be nigh.
The man in the mask who would have the sad task
Of cleaving my head from my neck,
Said "Nick, if you please, will you get to your knees,"
And I turned to a gibbering wreck.
"This may sting a bit" said the cack-handed twit

As he swung the axe up in the air,
But oh the blunt blade! No difference it made,
My head was still definitely there.
The axeman he hacked and he whacked and he thwacked,
"Won't be too long", he assured me,
But quick it was not, and the bone-headed clot
Took forty-five goes 'til he floored me.
And so I was dead, but my faithful old head
It never saw fit to desert me,
It still lingers on, that's the end of my song,
And now, please applaud, or you'll hurt me.

"The Ballad of Nearly-Headless Nick" by J.K. Rowling
from the first draft of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
Man-size in marble, by E. Nesbit. Do NOT read this on the computer - Find a published copy and read it with a tea service in front of a fire on a fall/winter night. Freaks me the hell out!

Also of note, same author/short story: Hurst of Hurst of Hurstcote - I have *always* "cast" Jeffrey Combs in this one. ;-) All of Nesbit's thriller short stories are fabulous! At some point they were collected into a sort of rare book: In the Dark: Tales of Terror by E.Nesbit. I do recommend reading them the old fashioned way - the computer screen takes a lot away.
Oct. 25th, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
Sounds excellent. I must read these! I've read "Three Children and an It" and a few of those works, but never Nesbit's thrillers. Clearly, this will have to be changed. :) Thanks for the yummy suggestions!
Oct. 25th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
Yay! Nearly-Headless Nick!
Oct. 25th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC)
LOL! Now, please applaud, or you'll hurt him. :)
Oct. 25th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC)
Oddly, The Amityville Horror is the only 'scary' book I've read that didn't give me nightmares. But I don't think I'd ever reread it, since it's based on a true story and it freaks me out. ;)

I don't like being scared, to tell the truth. I'm into Halloween for the costuming!!
Oct. 25th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
LOL! I love the dark, atmospheric stuff, not because it's scary as much as it's evocative. Does that make sense? I delight in that.
Oct. 25th, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC)
MIne's a (teen?) book of short stories called Monsters You Never Heard Of. The stories are excellent and creepy and well-written, which is why I hesitate to call it a kid's book (it ain't no Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark), especially since the stories are so demented.

There's one inspired by Lady Bathory that absolutely gives me the creeps, and another about a creature that attaches itself to a person's back and sucks their life away.

I haven't read it in a while, but it gave me nightmares.
Oct. 25th, 2005 09:29 pm (UTC)
Would you believe I owned a copy of that? And loved it! Wow, does this ever take me back. I know the exact story you're referencing. I liked that whole book because it didn't pull any punches - it was delightfully twisted and dark and it made no apologies for it. I haven't thought of it in ages! You rule.
Oct. 26th, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)

That's awesome! I've never known anyone else who's heard of it--but then again, I should've expected. :-)
Oct. 25th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
The first things that come to mind are:

1. Raymond Feist's novel Faerie Tale - I read this in my early 20s (I think) and it freaked me out. I was all highly strung (yes, more than usual!) and twitchy while I was reading it and wouldn't stay in the house by myself, even in the day time. It was the last book to have that effect on me - I don't think I've read anything that scared me for years now. *laments*

2. Frank Belknap Long's short story "Second Night Out" - This was in a collection of horror short-stories that somehow ended up on my bookshelf. *Twilight Zone music* Hah. I think it it was a gift from someone who knew I liked scary stories. Long's is the one story I remember really well as it terrified me (I think I was in my early teens when I read it). I urged my younger brother to read it a couple of years afterwards and it had the same effect on him. We'd scare each other stupid by mentioning key phrases from the story. There was one time where we both ran screaming from a back bedroom because there was something sitting on the bed, slouched down in an old dressing gown and hat. So very still...
(it was my sister's art project - darn sister)

Ack - essay! Great question. :)

And I'm bad and didn't even do the poll. I guess the scariest read I've had would be a toss-up between these two!
Oct. 26th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
This is AWESOME! I owe you one. Now I have to check these out ASAP...!!! You rule, as usual. (As long as there are no heights in the stories, I'm fine. LOL!) :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )