The Toll House: A Ghost Story for Christmas by W.W. Jacobs
My rating: 3/5 cats
“There is no fun in passing a night in an ordinary empty house. Let us make sure that it is haunted.”
in a story that has ZERO to do with cookies, four traveling companions spend the night together at an old house with a reputation – “It has taken toll of at least one life of every family that has lived there–however short the time”, all to prove to the skeptic among them that ghosts are real.
FOUR MEN ENTER, FOUR MEN FRATERNIZE!
it becomes a gentleman’s slumber party – playing cards, smoking, telling stories, hearing noises and trying to freak each other out about what might be making those noises; all fun and games until a couple of them start drifting off into sleep. which would be fine and normal at a regular slumber party, but their sleep seems… unnatural, and they will not be awakened by even the most determined shaking and stern remonstrations.
FOUR MEN ENTER, TWO MEN SLEEP!
after that, things fall apart a bit for the men left awake and aware, one of whom, naturally, is the skeptic. it’s an ambiguous frantic night that puts the “mad” in “madcap.” what happens in the dark stays in the dark, and all we really know at the end is
FOUR MEN ENTER, THREE MEN LEAVE!
mission statement copied from my review for One Who Saw:
this holiday season, i am going to read through ‘seth’s christmas ghost stories’ line on biblioasis, and i encourage you to do the same. the books are so cute and tiny, you can stuff someone’s stocking or dreidel with ’em! the cover art and interior illustrations are by seth, and they are seasonally spoooooky, blending the spirit of halloween with christmas cheer the way nature, and jack skellington, intended.
9 more to go!