Melange Books has released Jenny Twist’s short story collection, Take One At Bedtime, which can currrently be purchased directly from their website. The book will be available on the Kindle in early May.

Description: Nobody ever goes upstairs in Margaret’s house. So what is making the strange thumping noises up there? And why is there a toy rabbit under the kitchen table?

“Margaret’s Ghost” is just one of a collection of short stories consisting mainly of horror and science fiction, ranging from a classic gothic tale – “Jack Trevellyn” – to the “Wyndhamesque Victim of Fortune,” and the modern “Waiting for Daddy,” with its spine-chilling twist.

There is also the occasional excursion into romance with A Castle in Spain and Jess’s Girl.

But most of these tales take you to a place which is not quite as it seems.

It’s bedtime now. Time to go upstairs. Time to take a look.

Just one look.

WARNING: Do not exceed the stated dose.

Here’s an excerpt:

She reached up and switched on a hanging lamp above the table, then marched across to the door and switched off the main light. Instantly the room was plunged into near total darkness. Only the space in the middle of the table was illuminated with a deep, rosy glow. He noticed that the lamp was draped in some soft, silky material of a deep red. Behind him came a stumbling sound and a muffled curse as the old woman tripped over something on her way back to the table.

After some fumbling, she resumed her seat and carefully unwrapped the object she had removed from the windowsill. It was a simple glass globe on a wooden stand, but she gazed at it reverently as if it were a holy relic.

Passing her hands over the top of it several times and crooning under her breath, her face bloodied by the red light, she could have been some ancient priestess communing with her dreadful gods. Gradually, he began to get the impression that her face was under-lit, that the globe itself was giving out a milky luminescence. She closed her eyes and swayed slightly, then opened them wider than before and peered into the globe.

“I can see a strange land,” she declared in a sonorous chant, her voice suddenly taking on a deep and powerful note. “It is a dreadful place, all red desert and black rocks. And it is hot.” She drew her hands back from the globe as if she could feel the heat scorching her flesh. “So hot.” She moaned.

She seemed to have forgotten the presence of the young man and he leaned forward, trying to see into the globe. It remained clear and empty, bland and innocuous.

“There are terrible storms here. The winds rage over the surface and rains fall on the black rocks. A terrible place.” She drew her breath in a long whistle. “The rain is poisonous. Nobody could live here. How could anyone live in this desolate place?”

She lifted her eyes and looked at him, but it was clear that she wasn’t really seeing him. In a daze, she returned to the crystal.

“Yet there are people here. There are buildings, and I can see people walking amongst them. I think they are people.”

She uttered a low moan, closed her eyes and shuddered, then her eyes snapped open and she looked directly at him, seeing him.

“You!” she cried. “You come from this place!”

Readers can order Twist’s collection here: Take One At Bedtime

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