Plus, I have an excerpt from one of the stories, so enjoy!
HorrorAddicts.net Press presents… Clockwork Wonderland
Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.
Edited by Emerian Rich
Cover by Carmen Masloski
Laurel Anne Hill
With Foreword by David Watson
Clockwork Wonderland is available on Amazon
Excerpt from Jabberclocky by Jonathan Fortin
As the fist hit Henry’s jaw, the impact rippled through his whole body.
“That the best you can do, you little shit?” his father roared, looming over him like an irate bear. His father’s hands, Henry knew, were accustomed to detailed, delicate work, bearing tools tiny enough to make clocks tick again. Then, when night fell and the shop closed, one of those hands would curl around a bottle, and the other would form a beefy fist. Henry’s father’s hands, it seemed, could take whatever shape the situation required.
Henry had never had dexterous hands like his father’s. Henry’s hands were clumsy and frail, and shook when he tried to grip tiny tools. If he ever tried to throw a punch, it would be his hand that was hurt. And just then, as he fell to the floor, the pain seemed to rattle his very bones.
“Try again!” His father picked up a clock and threw it to the floor. Gears blasted out, one nicking Henry in the cheek. “Try again, or no dinner!”
Although it hurt to even move, Henry pushed himself up and crawled like a rat to pick up the scattered pieces of clock. As he examined them, he had a rush of panic.
“They’re...dented,” Henry said.
His father brought the bottle to his lips for another swig before coughing.
“Dented? Must have been because you weren’t careful enough the first time, you ungrateful little shit. Dented. Pft. I’ll show you what’s dented.”
He stomped over. Henry, hypnotized in fear, dropped the clock, and even more pieces scattered away.
Father had a very bad hangover the next morning.
“Go open the shop,” he grunted from his bed, and Henry obeyed. Henry knew how to man the register and take orders. In truth, he didn’t mind doing it all on his own. It was quieter. Less stressful.
The way Henry saw it, all he needed was a chance. Every day, he watched his father in the shop, seeing him smile so sweetly to the customers. The bear that came out at night was a purring teddy during business hours. But even sober, his father might glance at Henry from the corner of his eye, and the ferocity would be there, warning what might come once night fell. The fear was suffocating. Whenever Henry tried to repair a broken clock, his father’s eyes would be on him, and Henry knew what would be coming if he failed. If he could just work on a clock without his father watching, then maybe he’d get it right.
Henry opened the drapes in the front window and saw the most peculiar thing outside. A man in a top hat was twirling through the streets like some kind of gentleman ballet dancer. Only, the more Henry looked, the less the man seemed like a gentleman at all.
The man’s clothes were tattered, with many rips and brown stains that might have been from mud, or perhaps tea. His hat was absurdly tall, and his waistcoat and tailcoat both had exceedingly long tails that snaked down to the backs of his knees and swished in wide, hungry arcs.
It was a cold, rainy morning, and the street was empty save for the man. He seemed to take no notice of the rain, but merely continued to spin and spin, his arm outstretched, perpetually pointing every which way his body turned. What on Earth could possess a man to do such a thing? He had to be mad. Yes, he was obviously a gentleman who’d lost his mind and—for whatever reason—had not yet been escorted to Bedlam.
So, it was quite alarming when the man stopped spinning at the exact moment his outstretched finger pointed in Henry’s direction.
Henry’s heart stopped. It was the first time he could see the man’s face clearly, and his visage froze Henry to the core. It was a gnarled face, with a nose that seemed as long and jointed as a bent finger. The man’s eyes were wide with glee, and his smile was twisted into a grin that resembled a jagged series of arches.
Panicking, Henry ducked away from the window, but only a moment later, he heard a knock upon the door.
“Is this a clock repair shop?” came a muffled voice. “I find myself in need of your services.”
Henry crouched in the corner, quivering. Unlocking the door was the last thing left to do, and it was certainly the last thing he wanted to do.
“Pardon my rudeness, but are you indeed open?” The knock became a furious rapping.
Above Henry were shelves where clocks ticked incessantly. Combined with the rapping on the door, Henry’s head rattled. All the same, his father had ordered him to open the shop and if Henry did not do that, he would certainly be in danger of a beating. The man in the tall hat was strange, but that didn’t necessarily mean he was dangerous. Henry’s father, however, most certainly was.
Henry reluctantly pulled himself to his feet and went to open the door. The man stood outside, his eyes and grin both unnaturally wide.
“I apologize for any trouble. I seem to, herm, my clock seems to be broken. I should very much like aid.” There was an unusual affectation to the man’s speech, and his eyes had a confused wildness to them, as though he wasn’t quite certain whether Henry was real or not.
“I would be happy to help you, sir. May I see the item in question?” Despite his fear, Henry greeted him with the same smile he’d seen his father give customers many times before.
“But of course, child.” The man with the tall hat dug into his pocket and pulled out a pocket watch. Henry couldn’t help but notice the man’s remarkably long fingers.
Henry took the watch and jerked his hand back, as if trying to snatch a paper from a roaring fire. The man took no notice of Henry’s nervousness. Instead, he tossed a bundle of notes onto the floor and bowed.
“I shall check in tomorrow at nine o’clock precisely. I trust it will be done by then?”
To read the full story and more Clock-inspired, Alice Horror, check out Clockwork Wonderland