The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24
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For nearly twenty-five years The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror has been the world’s leading annual anthology dedicated solely to showcasing the best in contemporary horror fiction. This newest volume offers outstanding new writing by masters of the genre, such as Joan Aiken, Peter Atkins, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Fowler, Joe R. Lansdale, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Robert Silverberg, Michael Marshall Smith, Evangeline Walton, and many others!
Radio-man spoke, the Collector started knocking his knuckles on the table. Not in rhythm with the music, but rapping them down, which drew Nadine’s eyes to his face. His eyes narrowed, focused over her shoulder toward the stairwell or maybe nowhere at all. Lips compressed, head half-tilted in a shake. Because she’d missed something. Radio-man had pushed back from his broadcasting equipment, folded his veiny arms across his chest. Even sitting, he looked tall as a telephone pole. And as
fins and dived deeper, following the curve of the reef wall and equalising the pressure in his ears as he went. He had always felt at home in the ocean. From the moment he’d taken his first breath underwater he’d felt as though he belonged. On land he was graceless and ordinary; down here he could fly. He swam through an icy patch and then the water was warm again. The strata of ocean currents seemed to have new and strange edges this morning. It was like passing through undiscovered rooms in a
which direction it was coming from. It was never entirely silent in the deep. The sea had its own voices. As he swam towards more debris his beam illuminated a school of blue pinstriped surgeonfish, nibbling on bits of wreckage, investigating every nook and cranny. They swam languidly aside as he passed among them, as though he were one of them. Another shoal of silver fish hung suspended before him. Unless the same one had followed him. The small fish dispersed and rejoined like liquid metal,
greedily at the oars each time they dipped into the river’s jaws, as if it was reluctant to let them go. He could tell by the way the boatman pushed hard against them that the current was offering him no help at all. It was as well that they did not have far to go. It was only a few minutes since they had left the banks of the city, and already the tall warehouses on the other side glowered above them. The towers of Babylon, he thought. Dark-bricked, dimly lit on the bank side, with barred
drink right out of the rusty taps, because that was the drink his own blood was thirsting for. If anything Walker felt more at home at the Crossroads than he had anywhere in years. He’d drink the water and he’d breathe the dry desert air, taking it deep into his lungs until he found that trace of distant but unmistakable corruption he always knew to be there. He’d walk around outside barefoot at night, feeling the chill in the ground that went deeper than anyone else could know. He’d walk around