As part of my participation in R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril) this year, I am doing the "Peril of the Short Story" to add to my Deal Me In Lite activity. (Click that link for a list of the stories I will be reading.) I'm using a special deck of cards to pick the 13 stories of the Peril, the Bicycle Tragic Royalty set. Here's what the suit of spades looks like:
The pips on the number cards have a little decoration, but the face cards are the real highlight of this deck. They are creepy! And according to the packaging, they glow in black light. I don't have a black light, so I haven't tested that out yet.
The backs of the cards also have a suitably creepy design, for Bicycle cards:
"The Trick" is a weird, creepy, and somewhat confusing story. The story opens as a young girl named Debbie, and her best friend Sandra, are getting ready for Halloween. Debbie lives across the street from an old woman that she believes to be a witch. Witch or not, the old woman is disliked by pretty much everyone in the neighborhood -- she's mean to both people and animals, and lives in a dilapidated house with an unkempt, wild yard. However, no one will say anything to her or against her, because they are all secretly afraid of her.
On the morning of Halloween, Debbie and Sandra decide to visit an old abandoned railway tunnel near their house. The witch sees them and essentially loses it, telling them to stay away from there. They get the impression that she's hiding something there, but they don't know what. That evening, as they make their rounds of the neighborhood trick-or-treating, they go to the witch's house and she gives them each a piece of homemade candy. There's clearly some kind of magic associated with the candy, but it's never clear exactly what the candy does. At first it seems as if it may be some kind of drug, because Debbie goes on a weird and spooky expedition to the tunnel with Sandra in the middle of the night, looking for Sandra's dog which has run off. There they meet the witch plus some other unsettlingly creepy friends of hers. Debbie wakes up and it appears to have been a dream. But further events transpire (as in all good scary stories) to suggest that maybe the events of the dream were more real than the characters first imagined.
I liked this story well enough. But as in my thoughts on The Haunting of Hill House, I really don't care for stories where the author is SO obtuse that the reader gets confused and wonders what is really going on. This story was a little like that. However, it was a fine start for my R.I.P. short story project.