Ebook short story, $0.99
Cemetery Dance has over the last few years published a number of Halloween themed short stories in ebook form. (They all have the same cover illustration you see here with different text.) I reviewed some of them a couple of years ago and enjoyed all the ones I read. Richard Chizmar, in addition to being a top-notch editor, is also a writer.
The night before Halloween is known in many parts of the country as Devil’s Night. In the story of the same name, a small town high school teacher is alone in the parking lot of an abandoned rural post office on Devil’s Night. He’s worrying about things and is taking advantage of the solitude to think. Then a car pulls up in another part of the lot.
The Phantom of the Opera gets out, throws up repeatedly, then takes a body from the trunk. After disappearing into the woods for a brief time, the Phantom returns to his car and leaves, completely unaware that he’s been observed.
Instead of going for the police, the teacher looks for the body in the woods. It turns out to be one of his students. You would think the guy would go to the police now, wouldn’t you? Well, you would be wrong. He goes looking for the killer. He isn’t quite prepared for what he finds and the monster he ends up facing.
I’ll not give away anymore of the story. It is a short story, after all, and not a novel. It’s also a good read. Chizmar gets into the head of the teacher (makes me wonder if he’s been a teacher himself) in ways that I could relate to. The man is a father with two young children, and he worries about them. I get that.
Chizmar has a clean prose style that tells the story in a straight-forward manner without a lot of flashy literary effects. If you need something to read for about a half hour, “Devil’s Night” would be a good choice.