You probably think of fairies, if you think of them at all, as wonderful little creatures flying happily through the forest, dancing and singing and making merry. Let me tell you something: Fairies might look lovely on the outside, but inside they are ugly, real ugly. Fairies are mean and vicious. They've got teeth like tiny needles. One bite wouldn't hurt much. But I'm pretty sure they wouldn't stop at one; they'd keep biting and chewing until they hit something vital. Fairies aren't good news. I know. Let me tell you about my fairy in a jar.
That's the opening from "Fairy in a Jar." It was the first really good horror story I ever wrote. The idea came to me in a flash. It also came to me in the shower, but that's another story. I was so inspired by it, I kept writing stories. Some were creepy, some were funny, and some were both scary and funny. But I think they're all pretty good, and definitely pretty weird. I don't want to overload you with too many samples, but here are a couple other openings to help give you the flavor of the book.
There are large rats in the basement of the apartment building where I live. That's not a problem. Rats don't bother me. There are eight hundred thirty-seven people in the building, not counting me. Eight hundred thirty-six of them are human. There's a vampire in apartment 47-D. That's not a problem, either. He doesn't bother me. No reason for him to. Kids don't have as much blood as adults. If I was a vampire, I wouldn't bother kids, either. To tell the truth, he doesn't bother anyone in the building. I know. I've watched him. Maybe once a week, late in the night, he'll go out to dinner.
That's from "The Vampire's Rat," which is also pretty dark. Just for balance, here's the start of "Kidzilla," which, as you can see, is a lot lighter and weirder.
When I woke up this morning, I was a lizard. I realized something was wrong the moment I rolled out of bed. The frame of the bed broke under my weight. I jumped as the mattress crashed to the floor, but I jumped too high, cracking my head on the ceiling and cracking the ceiling with my head. At the same time, my tail lashed the wall, knocking a large hole next to the window and spreading a shower of plaster. That made me sneeze, and I blew another hole in the wall.
Well, that should give you an idea of what's inside the book. If you want to know more, I've listed the table of contents below, along with a sentence or two about each story.
"Fairy in a Jar"
A kid catches a fairy. She has an attitude. And very sharp teeth. The kid has a major problem.
Lara thought a flea market was fun. Boy was she wrong.
"At the Wrist"
Probably the funniest story I've ever written. Assuming you find body parts amusing.
What can I say? Crizzles are just plain nasty.
"Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board "
It's a harmless game. Right?
"The Evil Tree"
Bad boy meets bad tree.
Bradley has a huge problem.
"Everyone's a Winner"
I love carnivals. They're so wonderfully cheap and sleazy. And just a little creepy.
"A Little off the Top"
Can you really trust a stranger with a razor at your neck?
Ever wonder about all those slimy little kids who swarm around the playground. Find out where they come from.
For anyone who's ever been chased by big kids.
"Your Worst Nightmare"
What's yours? I hope it isn't as bad as the ones things happen here.
This one has sort of a Twilight Zone feel.
Little brothers can be such a nuisance.
"On the Road"
Are we there yet?
"The Language of Beasts"
Meet a girl who would much rather spend her time with animals than people.
There are some places a class just shouldn't go.
Probably the scariest story in the collection.
A shocking tale about a man who really shouldn't be allowed in schools.
"The Vampire's Rat"
This one's a nice horror tale in the classic vein.
Inside each of us, there's a creature just dying to get out.
Cheap roadside attractions are almost as much fun as carnivals. Join a kid who's eager to get a closer look at some slithery reptiles.
"Burger and Fries"
You may never eat fast food again.
We've all seen that message a zillion times.
You can get them in the mail. But you probably shouldn't.
It's just a little bird.
"Join the Party"
Some things are worse than being alone.
"The Billion Legger"
Ick. Centipedes. Yuck.
A sharp little tale.
"In the Land of the Lawn Weenies"
Nothing is more important than a perfect lawn.
Too much sun can be a killer.
How dangerous can a spider be?
"The Witch's Monkey"
Everyone needs a pet.
"As You Say"
They picked on the wrong girl.
Probably the second scariest story in the collection.