Darkness surrounds us. We can find darkness anywhere: in a strange green stone etched with mysterious symbols; at a small town''s annual picnic; in a ghostly house that is easy to enter but not so easy to leave; behind the dumpster in the alley where a harpy lives; in The Nowhere, a place where car keys, toys, people disappear to; among Polar explorers; and, most definitely, within ourselves. Darkness flies from mysterious crates; surrounds children whose nightlights have vanished; and flickers between us at the movie theater. Darkness crawls from the past and is waiting in our future; and there''s always a chance that Halloween really is a door opening directly into endless shadow. Welcome to the dark. You may never want to leave. This inaugural volume of the year''s best dark fantasy and horror features more than 500 pages of dark tales from some of today''s finest writers of the fantastique. Chosen from a variety of sources, these stories are as eclectic and varied as the genre itself.