I was shopping in the large Chequers supermarket, and as I passed the book display, I glanced idly at the books for sale, as one does. Sometimes a book glanced with peripheral vision can stand out because the title has been misread, and I could scarcely believe my eyes when I read:
Seven Occult Tales - Enid Blyton
Did the famous and popular children's writer really have a darker side? Was this a old publication, a dusty manuscript that had lain buried in a bank vault for many years? Or - as has happened with Blyton - was it an "accredited writer" providing new stories, as has happened with "The Famous Five" and "Malory Towers". Maybe at the publishers request, they've decided to move the Blyton franchise into the "Point Horror" market?
But it was not to be. A closer examination than a mere glance revealed the real title - "Seven O'Clock Tales". A nice book of cosy nursery stories by the author herself. But it got me thinking - what if Enid Blyton had actually written the book title that I'd imagined I'd seen. What might we expect then? Here, then, is "Seven Occult Tales", and they may bear a certain resemblance to a famous author's works! So pull up the blanket, settle down in bed, with a candle flickering in the dark to....
Five on Zombie Island
In which Julian, Dick, Ann, George and Timmy the dog discover one of Uncle Quentin's mad experiments has gone terribly wrong, and anyone who visits Kirrin Island for more than a day will turn into a flesh-eating zombie. The only thing that will defeat the zombie is lashings of ginger beer!
Julian: Gosh, that's Uncle Quentin, with those dark eyes, and sharp teeth. Sorry George.
George: I always knew there was something odd about him. He'd always turn up at odd points in our adventures, shuffle on, grunt, and shuffle off. Now we know he was really turning into a zombie.
Dick: Good thing zombies only have a shambling gait, and we can run away.
Ann: Throw a pork pie at him, George. Maybe that will slow him down. I can't. I'm a girl.
George: Timmy ate the last one. I'll just have to shake this bottle of ginger beer and let the exploding fizz get in his eyes. That will slow him down.
All: Gosh, look, he's dissolving into a grey puddle! Hurrah!
Professor Joad: "Well done, Famous Five. Now we know how to deal with zombies everywhere.
Julian: It was nothing really, sir. Just a days work for the Famous Five.
In the Dark at Malory Towers
In which Darrell Rivers discovers that school after dark can be a scary place, and Miss Grayling is actually the Gray Ling, a alien who prowls the corridors in the night looking for her arch-enemy, Mam Zelle from the Planet Zong.
Alicia: I thought I heard footsteps
Darrell: Yes, that's right. Someone's coming, they may discover our midnight feast.
Alicia: Let's hide in the lacrosse sticks cupboard
(they hide, but suddenly the door is opened)
Darrell: It's Miss Grayling, but her eyes are glowing red, and her face is a green colour.
Gray Ling:[ in electronic voice] Earth girls. Erase memory and ignore. The dust of oblivion.
(pulls out two blackboard duster and bangs together, a cloud of dust envelopes the girls, she then shuffles off - the girls just stand still, looking dazed)
Alicia (coming round, blinks): I thought I heard footsteps
Darrell: No, nobody is round here.
Alicia: Funny, I could have sworn. Well, never mind, let's have a jolly good feast! Some smashing cakes, and lashings of ginger beer.
Noddy and the Vampire
Noddy: "Why, Big Ears, what big teeth you have."
Big Ears: "Don't worry about that Noddy. I don't want all the children to have nightmares that I might creep into their bedrooms at night and suck their blood."
Noddy: "How can you be a vampire and be safe?
Big Ears: "There's only one way to be a bloodsucker and safe. I'm going to stand for Mayor of Toytown"
Mr Plod: "Now then, Big Ears, I heard some of those there goblins cast a nasty spell on you."
Big Ears turns into a bat and flies off.
Mr Plod: "Was it something I said? He certainly went off in quite a flap".
Other tales include
"The Labyrinth of Adventure" in which Dinah, Lucy-Ann, Jack and Philip desert their school and discover an ancient mummy which comes to life when they break open the seal on a three thousand year old pot of marmite. Kiki the parrot saves the day by distracting the mummy by calling out "Pieces of Shroud, Pieces of Shroud", so that Bill Smugs can destroy the amulet of Thoth, causing the mummy to turn into dust.
"The Naughtiest Weregirl in the School": In which the naughtiest girl finds even better ways to be naughty especially when there is full moon. This book will have you chortling away; it's a howling success.
"The Secret Seven's Sabbath": In which the Secret Seven hold a Wiccan Sabbath, and build a Wicker Man. It's Wicced!
And finally, Nursery Tales of Horror. Features the story Nightmare on Teddy Street, The Chocolate Omen, the Toy Exorcist, and The Stepford Dolls.
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