My daughter Bethany is ten years old now, and she still has golden curls that are almost like ringlets. When she was abut one and a half, I visited my parents house with the kids for Christmas. We arrived at about midnight, and my dad was already out for the night. Right around six in the morning, I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. My dad walked in and we caught up a bit. Suddenly, he got as pale as a sheet and stopped mid-sentence. I asked what was wrong, and he pointed down the hallway. I looked around the corner, and there was my toddler in her little princess outfit walking down the hall. He thought she was a china doll come to life. We all laughed, but I'm not sure he ever got over it.
My wife will punch me if I say, "My name is Talking Tina..." My sister banned gifts of china dolls for my niece. If I go into a toy store and there are dolls on the shelves, my daughters guide me toward stuffed animals and games. Face it, to a lot of us, dolls are creepy and scary. Enter Angelic Knight Press, a fabulous independent publisher of speculative fiction. Their initial anthology in their Satan's Toybox series is called Demonic Dolls, and they are...demonic and dolls.
Some of these stories are super cool. Adeline, by Melissa Farrar, is an interesting treat. Scott Goriscak's Playing with Dolls is a typical Goriscak gem. I really enjoyed Stacey Turner's Soul Collector as well. You'd think nobody could do an "unsuspecting people end up in haunted property and they're the last to know it was haunted" story and still make it worth reading, but Turner does. Blaze McRobb, the knight who is not quite angelic who heads up this indie publisher has a fabulous introductory poem. Here's a taste.
And so the girl, now is sitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, on the shiny floor of horror, deep inside the room of gloom.
And her eyes have all the knowing of the dolls around her showing, and the knowledge still is growing, deep within this eerie room.
Want to take a guess to whom he's offering tribute?
Great anthology at a great price.