EXCERPTS
The following twenty-five teasers are from Robin Spriggs's critically acclaimed collection of short stories, WONDROUS STRANGE: Tales of the Uncanny.

MR. ABERYSTWYTH AND THE THREE WEIRD SISTERS
They peeled themselves from their cobweb shrouds, emerging like forlorn moths from cocoons immemorial, groping for the remnants of their long-buried lives.

CHIMAERA'S
Then he saw the faces, gaunt, ghost-pale, and faintly glowing, countless blanched moons, turning toward him and waxing full by the light of the candle flames, their eyes shadow-craters, their hair wispy strands of cotton or black twine.

THE MESSENGER
Hermes loped down Lethe Street, tail awag, tongue aloll, ears aflop like broken wings.

LADYLOVE AND THE OLD NICK OF TIME
So what if she was only a mannequin? Before today she'd been nothing more than a recurring dream, his splendorous but insubstantial Fata Morgana, a shining mirage in the murky desert of sleep. But now . . . now she was real.

CU ANUEE
It started off not so bad. Just a whimper or two from Mama beyond the bedroom door. But as time went on, her whimpers got louder and lasted longer, turned into moans and loonlike wails that made my blood run cold.

TIN-CAN MOLLY
A strange rain fell upon the landfill where Tin-Can Molly was buried. It sank through the unhappy marriage of earth and trash, down to her deep resting place, anointed her rusty hide, and filled with wonder-working sludge the copious empty vessels of which she was made. And for the first time ever, Tin-Can Molly stirred.

MIDNIGHT SHARP
Eleven o'clock came. Eleven thirty. A worm of nervousness squirmed in the pit of his stomach. Of course there was no way he was going to comply with the directive on the red strip of paper, but just knowing that someone thought he might was downright maddening.

BUGS
She peeled back the covers, revealing naked curves, and traced the crescent of her upper lip with the tip of a naughty tongue. "Come to bed, Harold."

KINGDOMS IN THE WIND
Jake's mama had died bringing him into the world, but that didn't stop him from talking about her all the time, telling stories about stuff she told him in the middle of the night, when his no-account daddy had drunk himself to sleep--crazy-sounding stuff about old ways and old gods and kingdoms in the wind.

RICHARD CULPEPPER'S ONE-MAN SHOW
Tonight was the night. Richard Culpepper, actor, well past fifty but certainly (make no mistake) nowhere close to sixty, would give them the performance of a lifetime.

NOCTURNE ETERNE
I climbed to the top of the rock and the creature rose to greet me, never missing a note. Face to face, eye to eye, song to silence, we stood. Slowly, tentatively, I reached out. Then the creature was in my arms and there was no telling its bones, its flesh, its heartbeat from my own.

BOBO'S MONSTERS
The Tiger Lady curled up on her side and whimpered like a baby. She reached into a clump of hay, pulled out a dingy, half-bald doll, and hugged its mauled face to her breast, suckling it on the milk of her festering gashes.

THE BOTTLE
The bottle lingers, waiting for the next wave. And Will lingers, waiting for the bottle--just as he has waited every day since boyhood, since FDR's third term, since World War II borrowed his father and failed to give him back.

HER AND HIM IN THE COLD DARK UNDERNEATH
Her just woke up. Her wanted to stay asleep because Her was dreamin' of the Big Bright Place again. But now Her awake in the Cold Dark Underneath where Her ALWAYS been. And now Her wait for Him to come.

THE BUTLER
Attraction to other human beings was no longer possible; that delusion had been laid to rest a century ago, at least in America, thanks to the Butler, who had helped them see the light.

BECOMING FATHER
The mirror doesn't lie, as they say. But what they don't say--what they don't know--is that the mirror sees so much more than the naked eye can see: ghosts, past lives, and hellish transformations such as mine.

TILLMAN'S LITTLE DEVIL
Tillman reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the gun. It gleamed like ice in the moonlight. He set the little devil down and squatted beside him. "Now remember, son, here's the safety on the side. Keep it on till you're ready to shoot."

KUDZU AND POISON IVY
They met every night beneath a natural canopy of kudzu and poison ivy. She brought the black candle and he brought the match. If the match didn't strike, they went back home. If it did strike, they got right to work.

THE EATER OF HEARTS

Even from a distance he could hear the hearts of the city, beating, throbbing, loving, hating, fearing, mourning, longing, breaking. It was a symphony he knew by heart. And somewhere in that vast pulsing orchestra he would find the heart whose craving matched his own.

MOTHER AND SUN
The zombie-man reached her bed, proffered the chalice. She shook her head, tried to hold her arms down, but they rose like puppet arms drawn by unseen strings. Then the chalice was in her grasp, tingling her hands, arms, every eggshell inch of her wasted body.

RETURN OF THE RED DEATH
Bug hadn't read a lotta writers, but that didn't stop him from knowin' Poe was best. Besides, him and Eddie had a lot in common. They was both little and from the South.

HITHER AND YON
No one knew about the dark spot on the floor at the back of the little girl's closet--no one, that is, save the one who crawled up out of it late every night to stand beside her bed and watch her while she slept.

THE HUNGRY PURPOSE OF PECULIAR URGES
I remember feeling for the first time that the compulsion came not from within but from without, that the will of someone or some thing was overriding my own, and that perhaps--just perhaps--such had always been the case with my so-called peculiar urges.

A MOONDANCE FOR ANGUS
He had never seen anyone dance with such reckless abandon, with such jungle wildness, with such blood-on-fire lunacy, and alone to boot, and late at night--a school night, mind you, when every kid in the neighborhood (except himself, of course) had been in bed for at least an hour.

CINEMA SURRENDARI
The smiling, glassy-eyed mob sluiced down the aisle, filling the front row first, then the second, then the third. The oddly merry faces were a blur of twisted familiarity, the faces of friends and loved ones in a dream gone suddenly awry.

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DISCLAIMER: Though this site exists with the permission of Robin Spriggs, in whose name it was established, it should by no means be considered his official on-line presence. All blame, criticism, and praise for its existence and contents should be directed at yours truly, Amarantha Pharr, a proud member of the "real-world" House of Nine and a great admirer of its aforementioned founder. In short, all materials herein, unless otherwise noted, are © 2001 - 2009  Amarantha Pharr,  and may not be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved.