Summoning the courage to open a creaky door inside a spooky old house, Jack finds himself in a candlelit room with 12 strangers sitting around a table.
Someone brings him a chair, and thus begins an evening of storytelling as, one by one, Jack’s companions share haunting tales, each extinguishing a candle when done. Thirteen tales—Jack’s is the last—are framed by brief introductions from the storytellers, characters in their own rights, lending depth to this lightly illustrated collection of stories within a story. In “Let Me Sleep,” a man is haunted by the voice of someone he’s robbed and killed until he returns to the burial site. “The Wrong Side of the Road” features a taxi ride that ends with terrifying similarity to a crash the passenger caused a year before. A character with a “craggy face” tells a tale of “darkness inside darkness” in “The Patchwork Sailor.” A man writes himself to death in “Unputdownable,” and in “Snowstorms,” one Antarctic explorer after another mysteriously disappears. The tales become increasingly eerie as the candles are blown out and Jack realizes what his own role is.
An enjoyable collection of ghost stories, perfect for reading by flashlight. (Short stories. 9-13)