Glimpses: The Best Short Stories of Rick Hautala








Print editions illustrated by award-winning artist Glenn Chadbourne

Cover Design by Andrew Smith



Illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne

Cover Design by Andrew Smith

ISBN: 978-1-937128-99-9

This eBook edition published 2012 by Dark Regions Press as part of Dark Regions Digital.  Just search “Dark regions Digital” to find the rest of our digital titles.

Dark Regions Press
300 E. Hersey St.
Suite 10A
Ashland, OR, 97520

© 2012 Rick Hautala

Premium signed print editions featuring eight interior illustrations and wrap-around cover artwork available at:

Table of Contents

1. Schoolhouse*

2. Every Mothers' Son

3. Gobli
n Boy

4. The

5. Knocking

6. Toxic Shock

7. The Nephews*

8. A Good Day for Dragons

9. Bloss
oms in the Wind

10. Late Summer Sha

11. Burning
Man Decapitated in Fatal Fall

12. Oil

13. Iron Frog*

14. The Call

Black Iron

16. True Glass*

17. Scared Crows

18. The Back
of My Hands

19. The Screaming Head*

20. Colt .24

21. The C
ompost Heap

22. Over the Top*

23. Voodoo Queen

24. Ghost



This book is dedicated to the memory of two dear friends

—Charlie Grant and Bill Relling—

Not a day goes by that I don’t send up a prayer for you both

I miss the stories you might have written, but not nearly as much as I miss you guys



I had intended to write a brief “introduction” to each of these stories, maybe to explain why certain one were included and others were left out. Readers may (emphasis on the word
) be interested in how I came to write each story … where I got the ideas, how long they took to write, etc. Problem is, I realized that in too many cases, I couldn’t remember much about the actual composition of any particular story, and I found it a challenge to write
the stories without giving away at least a small part of the surprise and (I sincerely hope) the charm and pleasure of reading them.

A lofty goal I didn’t reach … so this brief introduction will have to suffice.

Here are a handful of stories that may (or may not) be my “best” (…
so far
, I might add.).I certainly intend , the Good Lord willin’, to write better ones in the future simply because I believe that the art and craft (not to mention the
) of writing is that it must remain fresh or else the “art” will die and the artists might as well die. .

Speaking of “art,” I could never consider this a story collection of mine without the incredible artwork of the amazing Glenn Chadbourne. Glenn gives me—and my readers—visions even I didn’t imagine when I was writing the damned things.

I hope you enjoy what we’ve collected herein. Most of them were fun to write. A few were painful. “Over the Top,” “Ghost Trap,” and “Blossoms in the Wind” were tough ones; whereas “A Good Day for Dragons.” “Burning Man Decapitated in Fatal Fall,” and “The Compost Heap” were great fun. “Schoolhouse,” “Iron Frog,” and “The Nephews” are more personal … maybe even a bit more autobiographical than, say, “The Call” or “Black Iron.” Maybe … And of course I have to say a huge “THANK YOU!” to Mike Mignola for giving me permission to play around in his Hellboy universe. Talk about a fun story to write—“Scared Crows” was a hoot, at least from my point of view.

Although I enjoy writing screenplays more than any other format, I consider myself primarily a novelist. I see my short stories as places where I can fool around a little—experiment with styles and ideas and voices I might use later in a novel. But for the most part, these stories were written for the sheer pleasure of trying to scare the be-Jezus out of the reader … Failing that, my goal has always been at the very least to unnerve the reader enough.

Are those honorable goals?

Well, I think so. Because late at night, when I’m lying in bed, unable to sleep because of the story ideas and fears and worries swirling around inside my head, I’ll be comforted, knowing that somewhere out there in the dark night, someone else is lying in bed, wide awake, either reading a story of mine or unable to sleep because they just finished reading one.

Whatever the case, I don’t feel quite so alone, so enjoy these “glimpses” into what lies beyond …

—Rick Hautala

June 12, 2012

, ME 


GLIMPSES: The Best Short Stories of Rick Hautala
Publishing History

(NOTE: stories marked by an * and in bold type have accompanying artwork)


*1. "
," published in
Thunder's Shadow
, August, 1995. (Originally collected in

2. "Every Mothers' Son," originally published in
Maine Impressions
, Vol. 1, # 2, March 1987. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

3. “Goblin Boy,” Cemetery Dance # 64 “
Special Halloween Issue
,” 2010. (Collected here for the first time)

*4. “
The Hum
,” published in
Man vs. Machine
, edited by Marty Greenberg and John Helfers for DAW, 2007. (Collected here for the first time)

5. "Knocking," published in 1999, edited by Al Sarrantonio, published by Avon Books, September, 1999. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

6. "Toxic Shock," published in
The Earth Strikes Back
, edited by Rich Chizmar, published by Mark Ziesing, December, 1994. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

*7. “
The Nephews
,” published
in Lighthouse Hauntings
, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Down East Books, 2003. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

8. “A Good Day for Dragons,” published
in Imaginary Friends
, edited by John Marco and Martin Greenberg, DAW, 2008. (Collected here for the first time)

9. “Blossoms in the Wind,” published in
Dark, Deadly Valley
, edited by Mike Hefferan, 2007. (Collected here for the first time)

*10. "
Late Summer Shadows
," originally published in
, Vol. 1, # 1, September/October, 1989. (Originally collected in

11. “Burning Man Decapitated in Fatal Fall,” published in
Shroud Magazine
# 4
. (Collected here for the first time)

12. “Oilman,” published
Occasional Demons
CD Publications, 2009. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

*13. "
Iron Frog
," published in
Murders for Mother
, edited by Martin Greenberg, NAL, 1994. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

14. “The Call,” originally published in
Occasional Demons
, 2009.

15. “Black Iron,” published in
Delirium 2
, Delirium Books, 2007. (Collected here for the first time)

*16. “
True Glass
,” published in
Shivers 5
, edited by Rich Chizmar, CD Publications, 2009. (Collected here for the first time)

17. "Scared Crows," a
story, written with Jim Connolly, in
Hellboy: The Anthology
, published by Dark Horse Publishing, January, 2000. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

18. "The Back of My Hands" published in More Phobias, edited by Webb, et. al, Pocket Books, 1995. (Originally collected in

*19. “
The Screaming Head
,” in
Skull Full of Spurs
, edited by Jason Boverg, published by Dark Highways Press, 2000. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

20. "Colt .24," originally published in Isaac Asimov's
Magical Worlds of Fantasy #8
: Devils, edited by Asimov, Isaac; Martin Greenberg, and Charles Waugh, NAL, 1987. (Originally collected in

21. "The Compost Heap," originally published in
Night World
magazine, Vol.2 #2, edited by Erik Winter and Lyman Feero, Winter, 1991. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

*22. “
Over the Top
,” published in
Armies of the Fantastic
, an anthology edited by John Helfers and Marty Greenberg, DAW, 2007. (Originally collected in
Occasional Demons

23. "Voodoo Queen," originally published in
The Overlook Connection
edited by David Hinchberger, Summer, 1989. (Originally collected in

24. “Ghost Trap,” in
The New Dead
, edited by Christopher Golden, St. Martin’s, January, 2010. (Collected here for the first time)



As soon as he saw the old
Pingree School schoolhouse again, Pete Garvey knew that what had been bothering him all along had something to do with it.


It had
to do with it.

He'd come back home to
Hilton, Maine, because his mother was in the hospital, following a serious heart attack. Fearful that she might die soon—and at eighty-one years old, that fear was entirely reasonable—she had asked her son to come home and settle her affairs for her before she passed.

Pete had been living in
San Diego for the past fifteen years. He made every effort not to come back to Maine more than once every two or three years. For the first time since he had moved away, he finally dared to direct his afternoon walk down Story Street, past the Pingree School—his old grammar school.

Ever since he could remember, he hadn't felt comfortable even going near the old building. Today, he realized he probably should face it and try to figure out why, throughout his entire adult life, he had been bothered by recurring nightmares about the place.

The two-story brick building looked innocuous enough, sitting atop a low-crested rise with a thick screen of oak and pine trees behind it, like a stage backdrop. Beside the school, at the far end of the wide playing field, was an abandoned playground with a rusted swing set, jungle gym, and weed-choked sandbox. Deep divots in the turf beneath each swing and at the bottom of the slide marked the passing of uncountable children’s feet.

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