“Click-Clack the Rattlebag” Summary by Neil Gaiman

“Click-Clack the Rattlebag” is a horror short story by Neil Gaiman from his 2015 collection Trigger Warning. Here’s a summary of “Click-Clack the Rattlebag”.

“Click Clack the Rattlebag” Summary

A precocious boy asks for a story before he’s taken up to bed. His older sister’s boyfriend is babysitting. He’s a writer, so the boy knows he can come up with a story. He wants one that’s just scary enough to keep him interested, but not too scary. The house is very big and has some lights that don’t work, so he’s already a bit scared.

The best stories are about Click-Clack the Rattlebag, but the boyfriend doesn’t know any. The boy thought everyone knew Click-Clack the Rattlebag.

They leave the warmth and light of the kitchen. The hallway is chilly and the light doesn’t work. The moonlight coming through the high windows casts shadows. The boy seems less precocious as he takes the babysitter’s hand. The boyfriend feels like a responsible adult as he walks with the boy.

They continue up the creaking stairs and the upper corridor. He wishes he had a flashlight. The boy says the Click-Clacks come from the dark—they’re made of the dark and they take you back to their lair when you’re not paying attention. They aren’t like vampires, which neither of them find scary. They bite you, which turns everything but your bones and skin to mush, and then they drink you through your eyes. Then they hang the bones and skin on a hook; that’s the rattlebag.

Click-Clack the Rattlebag Summary by Neil Gaiman
“Click-Clack the Rattlebag” Summary

The boyfriend finds it disgusting that kids make up stuff like that.

The Click-Clacks look like whatever you’re not expecting, what you’re not paying attention to. They climb more steps. The boy walks easily, despite the dark. He asks about a story, but the boyfriend hasn’t thought of one yet. The boy suggests telling him the story of tonight.

That isn’t very interesting. His girlfriend inherited this big, old house and they’re going to spend their first night here tonight. She’s out with her housemates getting wine and food.

They reach the attic door and the boy pushes it open. It’s completely dark inside, but the door disturbs the air and the boyfriend hears a faint rattling—Click. Clack. Click. Clack. He wants to pull away but can’t. The small, firm fingers pull him into the dark.

I hope this “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” summary by Neil Gaiman was helpful.