"The Thing in the Woods"  
Something Magic This Way Comes.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Something Magic This Way Comes
Publisher DAW
Reprinted No
Collected No
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publication date 2008

"The Thing in the Woods", published in Something Magic This Way Comes, edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Sarah A. Hoyt, DAW 2008, is a fantasy short story by Harry Turtledove.

The story centers on two young boys, Tim and Geoffrey, and their growing suspicion that some creature lives in the woods behind Geoffrey's home after hearing a series of unearthly howls. Tim is briefly convinced that there is a werewolf lurking in the woods, much to Geoffrey's amusement.

The story's setting is never specified, but is consistent with Turtledove's depictions of suburban California communities in his other stories.

The copyright page of We Install and Other Stories suggests that "The Thing in the Woods" was planned to be reprinted in that volume, but this did not happen, for reasons unknown.

Literary Criticism[]

"The Thing in the Woods" is a rather slight story that ends with an abrupt and nonsensical twist. The creature's identity is never resolved. However, the ending reveals Tim, Geoffrey, their parents, and evidently everyone else in their community, are vampires.

The story's plot structure, setting, and character treatment, closely resemble a typical installment of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series.

See also[]