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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.155.181
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 12:33 pm:   

RC
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.155.181
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 12:34 pm:   

RC2
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.155.181
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 12:36 pm:   

RC3
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.155.181
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 12:36 pm:   

RC4
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Matthew Fryer (Matthew_fryer)
Username: Matthew_fryer

Registered: 08-2009
Posted From: 90.195.182.194
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 12:56 pm:   

Brilliant, thanks for posting.

Great punchline.
And I particularly liked the acerbic retort of "Well, what is it? Hear a skeleton knocking at the door?"
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.155.181
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 01:05 pm:   

The first full paragraph on page 9 shows a little nascent skill in description.

But my favourite line is the ejaculating Inspector. :-)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 01:41 pm:   

Is that the one you wrote last week?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.9.248.78
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 01:49 pm:   

Yesterday, in fact...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 02:01 pm:   



All joshing aside, this is fascinating. I particularly love the little illustrations.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.9.248.78
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 02:35 pm:   

To be serious, I should explain I was eleven at the time!
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.155.181
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 04:47 pm:   

Maybe I'm stretching this a bit, but there's a few nascent Campbellian stuff here. The "off-camera", hinted-at scenes of horror. The occasional sleight-of-hand, playing on the "stage-managed" assumptions of readers (foot of page 8, running onto 9). The first complete paragraph on page 9, which shows some descriptive promise and then employs a standalone line which renders the text before more resonant: "It had been hard work, holding the lid shut." Compare this to, say, the final line in a paragraph from the short story Just Behind You, where the ghost first appears in the car:

"He deserves more of an apology, but Im too preoccupied by realising that it wasnt such a good idea to overtake the bus. The only person on board whos visible to me is the driver. At least I can see that hes alone in the cabin, but who may be behind him out of sight? Suppose hes distracted while hes driving? A woman at a bus stop extends a hand as if shes attempting to warn me, and to my relief, the bus coasts to a halt. The Mini wavers into view around it and trundles after my car. I put on as much speed as I dare and risk a glance in the mirror to see whether there was anything I needed to leave behind. The old man is on his own. Tom and I arent, however."

At any rate, it shows a decent command of writerly horrory tricks, which would later blossom and become the storytelling and literary effects we all know and love.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 2.24.5.170
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 05:38 pm:   

Indeed. And the couple intimating to each other that they intend to go to bed at the same time... some old-school genre fiction editors would consider that too suggestive.

And the dog with a bitten throat may have influenced Barker's 'Rawhead Rex'...

The final chunk of exposition, while being characteristic of inexperienced writers, may also show the influence of 1950s monster films.

The outstanding detail for me is the cat faces carved into the wood of the chest. Were they carved with a knife or with claws?
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Carolinec (Carolinec)
Username: Carolinec

Registered: 06-2009
Posted From: 92.232.199.129
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 06:41 pm:   

That's fascinating, Ramsey - many thanks for sharing that with us! It really shows amazing skill for an 11 year old - the promise of what was to come. I love the drawings too!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.77.121
Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 - 09:39 pm:   

This is the second story in Ghostly Tales, Crypt of Cthulhu #50, 1987. Seventeen tales in all. The illustrations are reprinted in black and white. I doubt this booklet has ever been reprinted.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.201.137
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 - 06:25 am:   

I have that issue with Ghostly Tales, Hubert! I'm disappointed that the 'afore-mentioned skeleton' didn't make an appearance in 'The Oak Chest' - he must have been in another story. Time to rummage through my Crypt of Cthulhu, Necrofile and Studies in Weird Fiction collection, if I can find it...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 - 06:48 am:   

And what's with that overly persistent milkman? It seems he wanted to create his own little horror story, but got there a bit too late.

I love it!
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 81.158.78.71
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 - 07:43 am:   

Fantastic! I also thought the cats' heads were a nice touch. And what meticulous presentation! I love the italics.

It's a real gem of a story.
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 193.89.189.24
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 10:52 am:   

Fantastic indeed- thank you for posting that Gary.
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Matt_cowan (Matt_cowan)
Username: Matt_cowan

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 68.58.73.80
Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 06:21 pm:   

Thanks for sharing that. I remember I had a little hand drawn ghost story book from a very young age that was on the shelf in my parents basement for years. Recently I tried to locate it again in curiosity over how I had done back then but it's appearantly lost for good. Incidentally, between this Oak Chest and the chest in Joseph Payne Brennan's "The Calemander Chest", it's probably best to destroy all chests unopened that immediately.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.127.22
Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 10:24 pm:   

Gary, does your knowledge of Freud help you to make an interpretation of that last illustration?
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.26.154.182
Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 08:50 am:   

Preceded by the words "ejaculated" and "Inspector" . . .

Symbolic references to id and superego in the illustrated company of their principal bone of contention.

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