Saturday, August 3, 2013

"The Awakening and Other Stories" by Emma Meade

The Awakening and Other Stories
by Emma Meade

The Awakening and Other Stories is an exquisite collection of short stories I came across as a member of the Shut Up & Read group on Goodreads.

Put on the kettle, close the curtains and curl up by the fire. Dive into 8 short tales, each with a slice of the paranormal.
"Ghost Story" - Who is the shadow in the window of the abandoned house, and what or who is he waiting for?
"The Awakening" - It's time for Sabrina to wake up and face the light.
"End of the Line" - Cassie wants to die. When midnight rolls around, she stands on the tracks waiting for the train to come.
"Milsa Loris" - The once magnificent kingdom of Milsa Loris comes alive one night each winter. The King's witch is brewing up a little magic, sure to make the soup all the tastier.
"The Old Vampire" - Hailey spent her life dreaming of a dark prince falling in love with her. He never showed up, until now.
"The Knocking" - Alison's grandfather has one eye on the next life. After all, he's heard a lot of rapping at his door lately.
"The Boy on the Beach" - Kate's grandmother warns her about the boy with the green eyes. Will she pay heed?
"Snowglobes" - It's busy at Calvin's Cabins this Christmas. Eddie and Maggie are a young couple in trouble. Not to fear, Calvin is always ready to lend a hand.

Excerpt from "Milsa Loris"
The old witch watched the sun go down from the roof of the majestic castle, her favourite spot in all the land. No one came up here these days. Miles of barren land and toppled trees surrounded the giant, stone fortress. The landscape below had been destroyed, but her home remained untouched and untouchable.
Noraleen remembered the days of old. The thick, green forest behind the castle had once been her sanctuary. There she had gathered sprigs of lavender, bluebells, wood violets, chickweed and liverwort for her potions and whispered to the leaves and creepy crawlies. Ingredients were harder to come by nowadays since the land had been ravaged, but she made do.
Gnarled hands rested in her lap and thin lips smiled, revealing only a few remaining chipped, rotten teeth. She felt every one of her ninety eight years and knew she wouldn’t make it to a hundred. There was no time to dwell on her impending end. Noraleen had a job to do this evening. Then she could rest.
Old friends arrived every hour into the ruined city of Milsa Loris, gathering before her King and Queen. They came one night a year to pay their respects to a lost time and place.
Noraleen looked to her right, to where ivy crawled up the turret walls. Her beloved Eruanna stared down at the visitors, unaware of the old set of eyes watching. Such a beauty she was, the King’s only daughter, her golden hair blowing about in the night’s cool air. Noraleen recognised the longing in her eyes. The girl had been alone too long.
Oh, how Noraleen adored her King and his family. She couldn’t bear to see him or his people suffer any longer. The castle was where they all belonged.
“World outside gone crazy,” she said, her raspy voice scaring the birds nesting nearby.
Laughter and greetings drifted up from the ground below. “Come my children,” she said, smiling a near toothless grin. “Stay awhile.”


By Lynda Dickson

The Awakening and Other Stories is a collection of eight short stories with varied themes including ghosts, vampires, suicide, witches, Ouija boards, and demons. In "Ghost Story" Jessica confronts a ghost from her grandmother's past. In "The Awakening" Sabrina awakes from a vivid dream about a vampire. In "End of the Line" Cassie attempts suicide by train. In "Milsa Loris" the former inhabitants of the deserted town of Milsa Loris return to the ruined city for a ten year reunion; but what does the old witch Noraleen have planned? In "The Old Vampire" Hailey still dreams of a vampire lover. Who keeps knocking on Grandad's door in "The Knocking"? In "The Boy on the Beach" Kate's grandmother warns her from beyond the grave about the boy with the green eyes. In "Snowglobes" Eddie and Maggie visit Calvin's Cabins on Christmas Eve.
This collection is well-edited and a pleasure to read. My favorite story was "The Awakening". These are the kind of stories I wish I'd written. They are short, to the point, and beautifully and elegantly told. Somber and melancholy, they will haunt you for days to come. My only complaint is that I think this collection should be renamed End of the Line, not only because of the chosen cover art, but because each story has death (or at least life as we know it) as its underlying theme.
Warnings: This book contains some coarse language, violence, and adult themes. I recommend it for mature young adults.

About the Author
Emma Meade lives in rainy Ireland and loves all things supernatural. Stephen King's The Stand is one of her most loved books and she's lost count of the number of times she's read L. J. Smith's trilogy, The Forbidden Game.
Books, DVDs, and TV show box sets take up lots of space in her home, and she collects all the Point Horror books she can get her hands on.
Writing supernatural stories & watching marathon re-runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are some of Emma's favourite ways of escaping reality.
Emma writes paranormal fiction. She is the author of several short stories including her latest release, Dark Whiskey. She has also written the novel Under the Desert Moon.