Short Australian(?) horror story about... Pingles? Stay with me here.
March 10, 2014 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Somewhere between 20 and 30 years ago in Australia, I read an anthology of horror stories. I'm pretty sure it was a specifically YA anthology (it wasn't very gruesome) and I think that the stories and authors were Australian. One of the stories was very elliptical, riffing on a sign that said something like "Pingles Parking", and ending with some unspecified but dreadful apocalypse at night, possibly involving parked cars and machinery actually being monsters (this being the hideous true meaning of "Pingles", or whatever the sign said). I think there was an illustration of a steam shovel silhouetted against the night sky. One of the final scenes featured the child protagonist's grandfather dying in bed, his skin "like paper" or "papery" or something. There may have been a lot of irony or misdirection that I completely failed to understand (like maybe it was all just about the horror of your grandfather dying, and there weren't any real monsters involved). MetaFilter, what was this story?
posted by No-sword to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Was the anthology either Hair-Raising or Spine-Chilling? They're YA horror compilations that came out in Australia at about that time, published through Ashton-Scholastic I think so easily available for kids.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:36 AM on March 10, 2014

Response by poster: I don't think it was either of those -- None of the titles in them ring a bell, and I feel like the cover design was much more subdued and old-fashioned, more like a school reader than the Goosebumps/Stephen King aesthetic.
posted by No-sword at 8:00 AM on March 10, 2014

The anthology is The Pickled Boeing. I have it at home, I'll dig out the title of the story when I get there.
posted by goo at 12:14 PM on March 10, 2014

Best answer: Ok, found it. The story is Pymbles by Lilith Norman, with creepy illustrations by Quentin Hole.


Grandpa has a stroke, after dad mysteriously disappears/ is taken by the Pymbles. There's some Aboriginal mythology relating to the Bunyip-impilly. I think it's just about loss really - I remember being pretty scared by it as a kid.
posted by goo at 1:45 PM on March 10, 2014

There's an ecological element as well - the Pymbles are the large diggers and cranes encroaching on the family home with development of the neighbouring area.

Grampa's hand was papery when he died: "His eyes closed, and the papery hand which had been clutching her wrist fell to the blanket. Cassie shook him, but he didn't move".
posted by goo at 1:58 PM on March 10, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you, Goo! That is exactly it! It scared me a lot as a kid too -- it was like My First Lovecraft. (I guess it scared me so much that I misremembered the whole book as a horror anthology, which the cover strongly suggests is not the case.)
posted by No-sword at 2:46 PM on March 10, 2014

It's not a horror-themed book, no, but none of the stories are what you'd call overly cheery. It was a fundraiser for the Children's Medical Research Foundation and is quite a good collection of early 80s Australian writing and illustration for children.
posted by goo at 2:36 AM on March 12, 2014

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