Tag Archives: Kelly Link

Never Poison a Witch

Catskin  by Kelly Link   (2012)

 

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   January 31, 2017

 

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When we think of witches, we don’t think of soft round women, scented and powdered, wearing pink tufted slippers, and living in cute houses. They are more like women with twisted hearts that beat fierce blood into powerful spells over their victims. Kelly Link writes in odd directions and this story, Catskin,  is a world where you can totally lose yourself. Are you up for a horrific fairy tale? Here’s a warning: Never poison a witch.

The witch, up in her bedroom, was dying.

Now, since witches cannot have children in the usual way—their wombs are full of straw or bricks or stones, and when they give birth, they give birth to rabbits, kittens, tadpoles, houses, silk dresses, and yet even witches must have heirs, even witches wish to be mothers—the witch had acquired her children by other means: She had stolen or bought them.

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Do you like creepy cats? When I think of old cats, I conjure up lazy ones on a quilted bedspread, eyes slit closed and their soft minds dreaming in the shadows—a little bit like Poe said in The Raven: “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” Truly, I do.

 

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Cats trotted and slunk and leapt and crouched. They were busy. Their movements were catlike, or perhaps clockwork. Their tails twitched like hairy pendulums. They paid no attention to the witch’s children.

 

Witches and cats … a winning combination for a short story.

 

 

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Ancient Proverb: You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.”

 

Read Catskin at LightspeedMagazine.com  

 

kelly-linkKelly Link’s  debut collection, Stranger Things Happen, was a Firecracker nominee, a Village Voice Favorite Book and a Salon Book of the Year — Salon called the collection “…an alchemical mixture of Borges, Raymond Chandler, and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Stories from the collection have won the Nebula, the James Tiptree Jr., and the World Fantasy Awards. Her second collection, Magic for Beginners, was chosen as one of the best books of the decade by Salon and The Onion.  Kelly has taught at Smith College, Columbia University, UMass Amherst, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Clarion, Clarion West, and Clarion South in Brisbane, Australia, and the Imagination Workshop at Cleveland State University.

 

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Read more of Kelly Link’s work like Catskin in her Magic for Beginners.

 

 

Check out BuzzFeed’s Cat Stories.

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of nearly 200 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, ghost stories, and horror. Join me in reading one short story every other week!

Comments are welcome.

  

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

 

The Kill Zone

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

HorrorNews.net   Fangoria.com   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian      HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

Thriller Author Mark Dawson http://markjdawson.com/

Dawson’s Book Marketing site: http://www.selfpublishingformula.com/

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Filed under dark fantasy, Edgar Allan Poe, fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, witches, Women In Horror

Women of Horror for Halloween

The Specialist’s Hat   by Kelly Link (1999)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   October 29, 2013     Women In Horror

halloween-1351523573K4k On Halloween, take a clean whiff of the air. I mean really breathe in the landscape. Daylight is full of the toasted scent of rusty leaves. Maybe there’s a cider sunshine that sweetens the sky. But once that moon rises, the night’s scrim evokes thin spirits among the haunted oak trees, a bit smoky with tart of crab-apple, spice of pumpkin. And while the dead leaves crack at you like popped corn, taste the descending wind as it turns to cold ash when midnight strikes.

I love Halloween! So, for this week’s Women In Horror, let’s go contemporary. I know we love classic tales of terror, but I thought I’d divert in honor of Halloween and offer you a modern-day Woman of Horror: Kelly Link. Her short story The Specialist’s Hat won the 1999 World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction.

In The Specialist’s Hat, we are in a two-hundred year old house called Eight Chimneys. Claire and Samantha are twins spending the summer there with their father who is writing a history of the house.  The mother is dead.

The girls like to play the Dead game. The caretaker Mr. Coeslak says the woods aren’t safe.  And here’s the thing. Neither is the attic safe. Don’t go into the attic. This night, the little girls are with a babysitter, playing their Dead game.

“This house is haunted,” Claire says.

“I know it is,” the babysitter says. “I used to live here.”
Something is creeping up the stairs,
Something is standing outside the door,
Something is sobbing, sobbing in the dark;
Something is sighing across the floor.

Would you like to go into the attic and play the Dead game with Claire and Samantha?

Read The Specialist’s Hat at KellyLink.net 

KellyLinksthweb2 Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her short stories have won three Nebulas, a Hugo, and a World Fantasy Award.   Stranger Things Happen, was a Firecracker nominee, a Village Voice Favorite Book, and a Salon Book of the Year.

And for my diehard classic fans, I bring you two stories from another Woman of Horror:  Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Braddon was a prolific writer with over eighty novels, her most popular novel Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) and the highly acclaimed ghost story At Chrighton Abbey.

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The Cold Embrace (1860) is a chilly tale of love and romance. Gertrude is hopelessly in love with a handsome and charming artist, who swears his passion for her as well. But the golden dawns and rosy sunsets don’t last for long. How easily some men are bewitched.

Read The Cold Embrace at  Gaslight.

In Braddon’s The Shadow in the Corner (1879), Michael Bascom does not believe that Wildheath Grange is haunted. Until the young maid Maria comes to the old house. Read Shadow in the Corner at  Gaslight.   Listen to the narration at  Librivox Recording

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I hope you’ve enjoyed October’s Women in Horror at Tales of Terror. If you have a title or author you’d like to share, please drop a line in a comment box. And if you’d like more about Women in Horror, I have a guest blog at Monster Librarian, “Literary Ladies of Horror’s Haunted Mountain” where you’ll find a number of titles and authors, classic and contemporary.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

GoodReads     WattPad    Interesting Literature

Bibliophilopolis.wordpress.com

Horror Novel Reviews   Hell Horror    HorrorPalace

 Monster Librarian  Tales to Terrify     Spooky Reads

 Lovecraft Ezine      Rob Around Books    The Story Reading Ape Blog

GoodKindles.net      For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

The Gothic Wanderer

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Filed under fiction, ghost stories, Halloween stories, horror, quiet horror, short stories, tales of terror, Women In Horror