Atwoodian Gothic is both sinister and jokey, rather like the scary party game which Atwood describes in her prose poem
Murder in the Dark
, a game about murderers, victims and detectives played with the lights off. The only other thing the reader needs to know is that the victim is always silent and that the murderer always lies:
In any case, that’s me in the dark. I have designs on you, I’m plotting my sinister crime, my hands are reaching for your neck or perhaps, by mistake, your thigh. You can hear my footsteps approaching, I wear boots and carry a knife, or maybe it’s a pearl-handled revolver, in any case I wear boots with very soft soles, you can see the cinematic glow of my cigarette, waxing and waning in the fog of the room, the street, the room, even though I don’t smoke. Just remember this, when the scream at last has ended and you’ve turned on the lights: by the rules of the game, I must always lie.