I think it’s pretty safe to say that SI CLARKE can write literally anything and I will do everything I can to get my hands on it.

Thieving Magpie, Goodreads user

Dare vs the Doll

standalone short story
Dare vs the Doll by SI CLARKE

Word count: 4,300
Page count: 36
Find it on Goodreads or Readerly

Who expects a haunted doll to be such a nuisance?

When Dare’s dog discovers an abandoned doll on their doorstep, Dare assumes it’s nothing more than a lost toy… until it begins to talk.

After the doll offers up a string of bad suggestions and unhelpful advice, Dare is left wondering if the isolation of lockdown has finally proved too much.

Struggling to get rid of the bed-tempered toy, Dare has no idea that this not-quite-scary fiend will accidentally change everything.

With a dash of humour, this queer cosy-horror short story is a fun, quirky tale – perfect for readers who like the idea of being scared more than the reality of it.

Scariness rating
Silliness rating
Sassy doll
Neuodivergence rep

A short and sweet little story. I really like the blend of horror, humour, and … just life.

Caroline, Goodreads user

Copy-editing by

Nicholas Taylor of Just Write Right 

Proofreading by

Hannah McCall of Black Cat Editorial Services

Illustration by

This was quick, quippy, and fun … and struck me as a pandemic retelling of Poe’s The Raven.

Maddie, Goodreads user

Fans of these other spec-fic authors may also enjoy this short story: Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Jim C Hines, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, Christopher Brookmyre, Kaia Sønderby, Nino Cipri, Grady Hendrix, J Emery, Mira Grant

File under keywords: comedy horror, speculative fiction, cosy, cozy, misfit characters, British, short story, bumbling hero, agender characters, asexual, autistic characters, found family, outsiders, London, Scotland, fictional pubs, humour, humorous short stories, dogs in fiction, haunted doll, disabled, isolation, anxiety, disability, sarcastic, queer

ebook ISBN 978-1-9162878-8-4