Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror
12/16/2017 – 12/22/2017
The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.
If you missed the first post you can find it here.
Well, counting down now to the end of the year. The last post will be next Friday in which, along with the stories I’ll be gathering the favourites together and giving a rundown of the authors most represented.
I’d also like to warn my readers that the first story is described more in detail than normal and the review contains a bit of conversation on the disgusting ‘Michigan Five’. If you’d rather not have the story spoiled or hear my rambling/ranting thoughts on it please feel free to skip to the next story.
The White Lady of the I-70 Overpass – Linda J. Dunn
Gary and his friend Bob are going to play a ‘joke’ and sprinkle a little ‘gravel’ on the first car they see. However, a figure from the shadows approaches. A lady, dressed in white, scares them from their task. Later in life, Tina comforts Garry as he wakes from a nightmare, a nightmare in which he and his friend go through with their plan, sending the car into a ditch and killing the driver’s little girl. It’s Tina. As Gary tells Tina, she remembers. She remembers the life she had stolen from her and the life she has lived. She doesn’t know how it’s possible but she doesn’t have time to wonder. She has someplace to be.
I don’t usually go this far into detail on the stories. I’d rather let the reader discover the pleasure of reading them for her or himself. Unfortunately, this story strikes a bit too close to home for me at this time. I’m sure most people are familiar with the ‘Michigan Five’ case that has happened recently. I’m ashamed they come from my home state. I believe that the media does a great deal of damage by labeling these types of incidents as ‘pranks’, ‘challenges’ and ‘stunts’. Something like this is not a prank. Any child over the age of five would know this is dangerous and I am sick of hearing them labelled as ‘kids’. Kids, not teens that are almost legally adults and should damn well know better. I’m sorry for the rant but the story definitely struck home with me.
…Who Swallowed a Spider – Steve Eller
Nan accidentally swallows a spider. In a flurry we get her past and why she might get…upset, over the spider she may or may not have accidentally eaten.
Well, that’s quite the reaction to having perhaps accidentally eaten a spider. I’m sure we’ve all heard the famous statistic on how many spiders we most likely eat during the course of our lives but I don’t think even my mom would freak out that badly. I did like the flashes of her life that really made me feel sorry for her. It’s a good piece of writing that instantly makes you sympathize with her and understand why her mind is a bit off-kilter.
Why We Fear the Dark – Brian McNaughton
On arresting a man for animal cruelty the narrator tries to keep The Dogman talking (wonder if he’s from Michigan?). The Dogman lays out his views on cats and cat people, bringing up Algernon Blackwood’s story “Ancient Sorceries” as proof. The narrator’s partner, Moog, seems…eager to have Mr. Dogman alone for a bit. When they get in an accident Moog mysteriously disappears, leaving behind only a uniform.
I can’t help it. I love cat people stories. There really aren’t enough of them, dogs get all the attention.
Wild Animals – Phyllis Eisenstein
Raccoons come every evening to the house Jack and Amanda have just bought out in the country. When their son makes friends with the raccoons something very strange starts to happen.
Um, were-raccoons. I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising in a book where there have been were-cats and were-trees. I have to admit that even though they do freak me out a bit (I’m always afraid they’ll hurt the cats) I love raccoons. I honestly believe that evolution made them cute so their depredations on our garbage cans are put up with.
A Wild Hair – Tim Waggoner
When Wayne accidentally drinks a glass of beer with a stray strand of hair in it he is grossed out for a minute but then thinks, “it’s just a hair, no biggie”. But then he becomes hairier…and hairier…and hairier…
Eww, this actually grosses me out more than the previous spider munching did. We’ve all had that hair stuck to our tongue and how much grosser it is when it’s someone else’s.
Windshield – Adam-Troy Castro
A rumination on the fate of a bug on the windshield and our own inevitable windshield rushing at us.
Not much to say except that “Sometimes we’re the windshield, sometimes we’re the bug”.
Winter Solstice – L.S. Silverthorne
Emily and Kyle are stuck in the wilderness without their snow chains. Emily is not happy about it and her shrillness is really starting to get on Kyle’s nerves. When they hear a strange noise in the woods they run for it, fearing it’s a grizzly bear. Kyle can’t make it but Emily makes a run for it over the ice…
I can’t help but think it highly ironic that I’m reading this and typing it up on the actual winter solstice. The ending was a bit of a surprise but thinking about it, it is one of the most convoluted murder plots ever. What would he have done if the ice had been thicker? Just because you know an area does no mean you know the exact depth of the ice at any moment.
Favourite of the Week:
As I love a good ghost story I will have to go with The White Lady of Overpass I-70 which gave a slight twist to both The White Lady and Ghostly Passenger urban legends. I also did like Why We Fear the Dark very much. As I said before there are not nearly enough were-cats in fiction.