Click-Clack the Rattlebag
by Neil Gaiman
Plot Summary:"'What kind of story would you like me to tell you?' 'Well,' he said, thoughtfully, 'I don't think it should be too scary, because then when I go up to bed, I will just be thinking about monsters the whole time. But if it isn't just a little bit scary, then I won't be interested. And you make up scary stories, don't you?'"
So begins this subtle, witty, deceptive little tale from master storyteller Neil Gaiman. Lock the doors, turn off the lights, and enjoy!
But first!This short story (10 minutes long) is available to download for FREE as an audiobook from Audible. (or Amazon) But only through Halloween. It is also for charity, so for each download, Audible will donate $1 to the charity DonorsChoose.org. I recommend downloading it right now, before you finish reading this post, because although my review won't be directly spoilery, it might ruin a little of the fun of the story. So do go have a listen! It's written and read by Neil Gaiman. It's a perfect scare for Halloween. You can't lose!
The story starts off with a mundane, very normal scenario - a little boy wants to hear a scary story. Just like the listener. And the narrator is happy to try and oblige the boy. As the boy must prepare for bed, the narrator and the boy move from the warm, lighted kitchen to the creaky, dark, old staircase that leads to the boy's bedroom. Introduce a rather odd bogey monster as the listener is swept up in the tale, and the whole story becomes insidiously creepy and unsettling.
Neil Gaiman having written and also reading the story elevates the simple premise of the tale. With Neil Gaiman, of course there is a brilliant use and economy of words. He drops words and descriptions that gradually change and warp the images that appear in your head as you listen. His reading has just the right pause and emphasis to bring out all kinds of meaning behind the words. The story's end was a little predictable for me - only because it is such a short story, and I was waiting for the really scary thing to happen, only to realize that it might be happening all along. Even if you almost know what is going to happen, there is a shivery delight in hearing the story all the way to it's conclusion. And having Neil Gaiman lead you there.