NOTE: This is the seventh in a series of 31 reviews of scary short stories and novels. As part of All Hallow’s Read, I will be sharing all the scary stories that I think you should consider giving to someone for Halloween. Because this is a tradition intended for people of all ages, some of these titles will be for children and young adults, while others are meant strictly for adults. Happy Reading.
Click-Clack the Rattlebag
Expect Neil Gaiman to show up in these articles a few more times. Not necessarily because he scares me (very little of his work does. But I don’t think he aims to scare a lot of the time. When he does, however, it works.). More because his work just fits with Halloween. Besides, he was the main inspiration for these articles to begin with.
The first of the Neil Gaiman stories I’ve chosen actually came from my girlfriend. I told her a moment ago that I wasn’t sure what to write about next. She said, “That Neil Gaiman story.” And somehow I knew she meant Click-Clack The Rattlebag.
It’s a brilliant choice because Neil made the audio story free to download from audible last year as his contribution to All Hallow’s Read.
What is there to say about Gaiman? He’s always been well-known and respected. Now more than ever, I think. There is no real evidence to support that. Not that I’m aware of. It just feels true. With his two episodes of Doctor Who, marriage to Amanda Palmer, The Graveyard Book winning a bunch of awards, and his recent release, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, it seems like everyone, all the time, is talking about Neil Gaiman. With good reason.
A friend once asked me why I love Neil’s writing so much. I said it was because he always knew exactly what word to use, when and how. He manages on getting a big story told in a few pages. He paints inside the mind. I stick by that answer. Each sentence is like the perfect brush stroke.
Because this is such a short story, I’ll keep my entry brief. I’ll be writing about Neil again soon enough, and I’ll have much more to say when the time comes.
About Click-Clack the Rattlebag, I will say it is a perfectly creepy story for Halloween. What makes it especially spooky is Neil’s own narration. He does the audio readings of all his books, and they are spellbinding. In the words of another one of my favorite writers, Patrick Rothfuss, Neil is so talented at audiobooks “he’s fucking amazing at it. Really irritatingly good.”
Below is a link where you can listen to the story for free. Give it a click now, or closer to Halloween. I’d advise making sure the lights are dark, and that you are alone…but…it doesn’t matter. When you hear Neil’s voice, nothing else will exist…except the rattlebag.