An never-finished story by Roald Dahl, the master of haunting fiction, has turned up, and you could own the original manuscript. Plus the project he wrote it for, a finish-it-yourself story collection featuring Madeleine L'Engle, could still come out.
According to Publishers Weekly, Dahl wrote the first two pages of "The Eyes Of Mr. Croaker" for a book project called The Do-It-Yourself Children's Storybook in 1982, which would have included incomplete stories that children could finish for themselves. Besides Dahl and L'Engle, contributors would have included Richard Adams, P.L. Travers, Joan Aiken and others. Every contributor was slated to receive $200, but only Dahl was paid up front for his contribution. The book never appeared — but Jerry Biederman, who co-created the project 28 years ago, is presenting a new proposal to publishers. Dahl's literary agent has already agreed that the original publication agreement still stands, and according to PW:
I've been advised by top copyright attorneys that all I need to do in order to publish the other story submissions is to fulfill the agreement to pay the authors $200 upon publication," says Biederman, who is in possession of all the original documents related to the book.
And he's hoping to get modern-day masters, including J.K. Rowling, to contribute as well.
True to form for the creeptastic Dahl, "The Eyes of Mr. Croaker" includes a scary old man with staring eyes, and two kids, Stewart and Susan, who "had once caught sight of Mr Croaker carrying into his house a sack that wriggled ... worse still, Mr Croaker had seen her seeing him." A sack that wriggled! What was in that sack? Only you can decide.