Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #48

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

12/09/2017 – 12/15/2017

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.

The end of the year approaches and Horrors will be winding down. Although I am looking forward to doing something new with you guys I will also miss reviewing this book with you. It’s been very fun and I’ve loved chatting with you guys (and sometimes the authors!) about the stories.

 


Voices in the DarkSteve Resnic Tem

Synopsis:
Brian keeps hearing voices in the night. Ever since he was little. Voices that keep asking him “Where is it? Why is it? What is it? Who is it?” Brian finds out who it is…it’s him.

Review:
I have no idea what in the heck this story was about. seriously. It was the voices and Brian seeing himself in bed. Was he dead? Out of body experience? I have no idea.


Waiting Up for FatherGreg van Eekhout

Synopsis:
A creation of his Father/Master he strives to be perfect but is always disappointing. Father/Master creates a new child. A female, flawless and beautiful. As quoted in the book “It takes Father decades to create his children. It takes a mere second to become a monster.”

Review:
An interesting take on the Frankenstein tale (although that name is never strictly mentioned) the creation is jealous and destroys the ‘perfect’ replacement. And waits for Father to come home. It’s unclear whether or not he is waiting to kill him or for his punishment.


Wall ArtShikhar Dixit

Synopsis:
They watch from the walls. Watch as you love, argue, hate and eventually kill. then they make room for you.

Review:
I’m not crazy about the title because it doesn’t seem to fit but the story is creepy as all get out. It gives a new spin on haunted/possessed houses.


Welcome HomeJuleen Brantingham

Synopsis:
While caring for her ailing mother the narrator takes this opportunity to get a writing career going. Her mother suggests speaking with the elderly woman who gives dolls for charities. An elderly woman whom the children used to be terrified of and as she steps into her parlor vague memories start to surface. The dolls may not be what they seem.

Review:
Lesson learned – do not mess with older ladies or they’ll turn you into something unnatural. Although, as the narrator recounts her misdeeds she didn’t seem very nice.


The WellAdam Troy-Castro

Synopsis:
As a man lives his comfortable, law-abiding life of contentment the spectre of the murder he committed as a child. He doesn’t know what drove him to push his best friend down, nor step on Jackie’s clutching hand. However, he feels fairly comfortable in his life. But he will pay. And it will be Jackie’s turn.

Review:
A very powerful beginning and ending. Very good.


Western MovesMichael Scott Bricker

Synopsis:
Ricky is unsure whether to be a ‘cowboy’ or an ‘indian’. He doesn’t know how to use a bow and arrow and Dad’s gun is so much realer than his.

Review:
The story would have been horrifying enough without the bizarre “ghost Indian” interjections. They really don’t fit.


White BeautyCynthia Ward

Synopsis:
The unicorn approaches the maiden, knowing that the mortal men are nearby. Little do they know that the beautiful beast is not a cow to be led to slaughter, nor whom it serves.

Review:
I love unicorns and an evil unicorn story is awesome. I will fully admit to geeking out at the unicorn in Cabin in the Woods. It’s definitely original. If I read more fantasy I might see more of them but, although I love dragons and unicorns, fantasy holds little interest.


Favourite of the Week:
Definitely White Beauty by Cynthia Ward. I told you, I love a good unicorn story. Generally they’re amoral at worst, vain and silly. Not usually literally from the depths of Hell.


Join us again next week as we count down the last two weeks of Horrors!

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #47

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror 

12/02/2017 – 12/08/2017

 

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.

The one upside to that nasty white stuff falling outside my door is that no one questions it when you curl up with a book. In fact, I truly believe that is what winter was invented for just that purpose. So let the snow fall (or the sun shine, lucky) and let’s get to some wintry horror…or whatever comes our way this week!


UpstairsLawrence Watt-Evans

Synopsis:
All the couple upstairs do is fight and yell. They are also very inconsiderate about leaving the tap running and something is stinking the place up. Jack says he’ll go talk to them…now something else is leaking through the ceiling. It’s not water though.

Review:
An ok story. I’m assuming the upstairs neighbors are probably serial killers hence all of the thumping and stink. However, they are usually smart enough to not kill their neighbors unless he literally walked in on them killing someone.


The Valley of the ShadowFrancis Amery

Synopsis:
A reading of the Bible leads one man to the conclusion that God smiles on industry…and industry requires sacrifice.

Review:
I don’t mind a little Biblical horror every now and then (which is different than horror or thrillers geared to Christians) but this was just weird. I almost think that they might have gotten inspiration from Centralia, perhaps.


Vampire NationThomas M. Sipos

Synopsis:
Count Farkas has awakened to a nation and a time of apathy. No one believes in the old superstitions anymore. What better climate for a vampire to exist in? But apathy can be contagious.

Review:
A good story about contagious indifference and boy, is it ever! It made me want to curl up and go to sleep!


The Vampire’s BurdenTippi N. Blevins

Synopsis:
While hunting among the vampire pretenders at the club Teddy finds the perfect victim. He thinks she’s all too human. He’s mostly right.

Review:
A little on the eh side. Miranda doesn’t really give Teddy an actual chance to change and she seems to be a forerunner of “Oooh, pretty vampires!”.


The Vampire’s CaravanIlona Ouspenskaya

Synopsis:
One enchanted evening a peasant girl watches the majesty of the Vampire’s Caravan and is offered a place in it. What will her choice be?

Review:
Very beautifully described and it makes me curious which path she is trying to take.


Vengeance is MeTom Piccirilli

Synopsis:
A woman sleeps, imagining her husband’s death, over and over while he lies awake amidst hallucinations born of his guilt. Or are they?

Review:
I did not like this one. It had a good guilt theme to it but there are two refrains repeated over and over that are just gross and unnecessarily repeated.


VocabularyAdam Troy-Castro

Synopsis:
Trying to find that word that’s on the tip of our tongue can be frustrating. So frustrating, in fact, that you might try checking other people’s tongues. And you’ll let them go, of course. They just need to figure out the word.

Review:
A rather gruesome story. Not torture porn descriptive but your imagination does the work for you.


Favorite of the Week:
Hmm. While not a terrible week it was sort of blah, wasn’t it? It would have to be Vampire Caravan by Ilona Ouspenskaya for the sheer loveliness of the prose and description.


Thank you for joining us this week and come back next week for another seven days of Horrors!

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #46

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

11/25/2017 – 12/01/2017

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.

We’re getting to the end of the year. While I have enjoyed sharing these wonderful stories with you guys, I’m also very excited to get a new project started that I hope you’re going to love! I’m also flattered and so happy you all have been following along with me for this long. It’s made me very happy. Ok, ok, enough with the gushiness, my fellow ghouls. Let’s get on with the gore-fests!


Trigger MomentYvonne Navarro

Synopsis:
After decorating for her Halloween party Ellen wants nothing more than a brain-numbing, seasonally appropriate movie. Afterwards, though, began the dream. A dream where a creature is stalking her with a deadly implacability. But it’s just a dream, right? And she’s sure the young man her mother introduces her to is only in costume. They can’t be real claws, right?

Review:
A good story with a slasher movie feel. I was wondering about the strange doors she can reach over. I thought for sure it was going to be a movie screen and she was in a horror movie.


TunnelAnne Bishop

Synopsis:
She doesn’t like driving through tunnels. They’re dark and she gets panicky. At least he can see the light up ahead. Until the tunnel starts to close in on the car. And then her.

Review:
A very good, claustrophobia inducing story. Tunnels freak me out a bit, too. Bridges even more.


Twelve All HallowsLou Kemp

Synopsis:
For twelve All Hallows Margaret has been meeting Glenna. For twelve All Hallows her father doesn’t know. On this twelfth All Hallows, Glenna will have her revenge.

Review:
I love a good ghostly revenge story. It puts me in mind of the traditional murder ballads.


Two Shades, Hearts in ShadowsMichael Scott Bricker

Synopsis:
A knight, dusted down to bone searches endlessly for Eldorado. In his quest he meets his creator, Poe. And they ride, boldly ride, together. Forever.

Review:
I liked it but I was confused as to why Poe was referenced. Did he do a story about a knight? I will admit to not having read every single story of his so if there is one please let me know!


Unfinished JourneyHugh B. Cave

Synopsis:
The next-door neighbor, Henry keeps having the same dream. A dark alley, a long walk through the street where dark shapes lurk in doorways. But Henry always wakes up before the dream ends. So when the doctor gives him a prescription to help him sleep, enabling to finish the dream and leave the alley Henry decides to try it. What could go wrong?

Review:
Somewhat peculiar and I was a bit disappointed in the more mundane monsters. And I wasn’t sure how to read the doctor, exactly. It seemed he was complicit in the dreams but how?


Until the Next TrainBenjamin Adams

Synopsis:
Jourgenson has been battling an unseen tagger. Every morning Jourgenson awakes to the name ‘Malo’ tagged on his shop and every day he washes it away. On this day Jourgenson realizes that the paint is still wet, ‘Malo’ is nearby. He’ll soon wish he weren’t.

Review:
This had a way creepier ending than I was expecting. The ‘Malo’ and his brethren is described as…I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s freaking creepy.


Up Our BlockBenjamin Adams

Synopsis:
Jenny wakes up, unhappy to be alive again. She now has an indent in the back of her skull. Blunt force trauma, perhaps. Perhaps she was a nurse…before. Now she’s just a zombie slave. And the family likes it just fine.

Review:
Another by Benjamin Adams. I have to say, he writes in a subtly creepy way that sneaks up on you. Or makes everything normal until the horror slaps you in the face.


Favorite of the Week:
So many good ones this week! It’s hard to decide. The two by Benjamin Adams (Up Our Block and Until the Next Train) have a creepy neighborhood horror that creeps up your spine. Twelve All Hallows by Lou Kemp was a great ghostly revenge story.


Thanks for joining us again this week and be sure to come back next week for more Horrors!

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #45

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

11/11/2017 – 11/24/2017

 

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.

Hello humans…the Furry Four-Leggeds have temporarily triumphed in the Battle of the Bed. This is why your Story Human was unavailable last week. We will let her come up from the cold wastelands of the end of the bed temporarily to let her tell her scary stories to you.

Hello! I hope you enjoyed last week’s review of Where Nightmares Come From, it was an excellent book. For you guys this means a double-post of Horrors! this week so, yay! Let’s get to the spookiness!


Teacher’s PetsHugh B. Cave

Synopsis:
After following some strange footsteps to his reclusive neighbor’s home, Joe goes to inspect. He finds his neighbor dead and evidence of evil experiments. Ever wonder what your neighbor’s doing in their garage?

Review:
Not bad but it’s told so dispassionately that it’s a little…meh. It’s hard to get excited during it.


TemperanceStephen Mark Rainey

Synopsis:
Two strangers meet in a bar. Hardly a strange occurrence. But what happens when they start to fight like cats and dogs?

Review:
I thought it was a really cute story but the narrator was a jerk, I think. Cats and dogs seem to get along just fine, judging by the amount of bed is taken up at the moment by them.


Terminal IntensityJoel S. Ross

Synopsis:
During a drug bust gone bad police officer Lucy must make a choice between following the light and staying a possible captive in her own body. Torn between the decision, Fate chooses for her. But Fate isn’t always kind.

Review:
I get where the author was going with this but I really don’t think that the ironic, karmic end was justified. It seemed they were reaching a little too hard for the twist.


That’s Mr. Wiggles!Dominick Cancilla

Synopsis:
Elvira Tugalug, known nutter and suspected witch, calls on the fire brigade to help her. Mr. Wiggles, whom she’s just conjured up that morning, has gotten itself into a tree. She does try to warn them that Mr. Wiggles might be frightened of strangers. Too bad they think she’s jut the crazy cat lady.

Review:
I really liked this one. Although I have a feeling that if you called the fire department to get a cat out of a tree in real life you’d be slapped with a hefty fine. I also wanted to know what Mr. Wiggles was, exactly.


That’s the OneC.J. Henderson

Synopsis:
The Story Police have arrived to settle a complaint. Alice refuses to drink from the ‘Drink Me” bottle and that’s not the way the story goes. Someone reading this might thnk it’s silly. But what do you do when the item in your story calls them on you?

Review:
I really loved the idea of this story. It’s ending got much darker than expected but in a good way. It is pretty interesting to think of a Story Police on hand to make sure things go exactly the way they’re told. interesting…and more than a little terrifying.


There it is Again Andrew Sands

Synopsis:
We’ve all been there: we hear a creak somewhere in the house and somebody has to go look. Erica sends her husband, armed to the teeth with a baseball bat. Erica figures it’s nothing when her husband gets back into bed with her. Or is it?

Review:
Great story!It actually gave me a scalp prickle because even though you know from the type of story that things probably aren’t going to end very well it’s still a surprise.


The Thing in the Dark Del Howison Jr.

Synopsis:
Bobby has been told over and over that the monsters he thinks are there at night are just his imagination. One night he hears his mother calling from outside. She’s locked herself out and is afraid something is out there. But it’s just his imagination, right?

Review:
A pretty good story and creepy as well but all I could think was “Pick up a freaking rock and break the damn window!”


This is a TestJohn C. Bunnell

Synopsis:
Two Greys (not Christian Greys, that would be even scarier) discuss their two specimens. Put back in their native habitat of Seattle the second subject starts to prepare to meet the first subject. But first he has some shopping to do…including a very sharp knife.

Review:
I liked the thrust of the story but it doesn’t really explain what they did with the woman or why. It says they removed inhibitors (presumably on the man) but hers seems to be more of a hypnosis thing. Perhaps to make sure she crosses his path? I’m really not sure.


Three Dark DoorsRichard Gilliam

Synopsis:
For years the man has lived prosperously and well, as have the generations before him. In his mansion, however, are three doors that are not to be opened. Two can be opened safely but the third will lead to nothing but ruin. One night a drummer passing by is enlisted for his aid. And they open the doors.

Review:
It was ok but it seemed like a lot of build-up just to get to a semi-ironic end. The doors aren’t explained, neither is the drummer disappearing or why the doors are even there.


‘Til Death Do Us PartMichael Mardis

Synopsis:
Harry’s wife is a bit on the nagging side. She complains about being cold so he brings her a sweater. As she yells at him to put it on her he considers burying her a little deeper next time.

Review:
Not too bad but it was kind of obvious where it was heading.


TimeJames Robert Smith

Synopsis:
Alan has screwed up big time. He’s screwed over his partner and Rob isn’t going to stand for it. He’s going to make Alan pay. And they’ve got nothing but time.

Review:
I can see why they would wait for the ‘surprise’ but I’d really like to have gotten a few of Billy’s emotions or thoughts. Does he want to kill Alan to save himself? Or does he not like Alan either and is happy to do it? It kind of bugs me that they don’t say.


Time CapsuleMartin Mundt

Synopsis:
While excavating the narrator finds a statue. A statue unlike any other, carved before man even existed. As he studies the statue the statue studies him. Which will be the one to walk away?

Review:
It reminded me quite a lot of the Lovecraftian dream stories. Just a fragment of alien history stumbled upon that has always been waiting.


Time FliesScott M. Brents

Synopsis:
Anna wants the clock. so badly she’s willing to almost steal it from the shop’s proprietor. As she drives off with her new acquisition she hears first one fly…then another. Six hundred and sixty six in total. All buzzing the same name. Beelzebub. Anna realizes too late that she’s made a mistake.

Review:
I really liked this story and it makes me curious about the clock and the shop’s proprietor. Is he guarding the clock or merely taking care of it?


The Tooth FairyDel Stone Jr.

Synopsis:
Jimmy tries to stay awake as long as possible. Tries to stay awake until dreamless exhaustion claims him. Because when he dreams, he dreams of The Tooth Fairy. Not the magical fairy but something gaunt and lifeless. And it’s waiting for him.

Review:
I loved this story! It had great visuals like the packaged meat slopping down onto the supermarket conveyor belt (because we’ve all experienced that leaky package and it’s gross) or the meat package full of human jawbones.


Favorite of the Week(s):
The Tooth Fairy by Del Stone Jr. is definitely on top just for the sheer, vivid imagery of it. That’s the One by C.J. Henderson had a dark and grim whimsy to it that lets you fill in the ending for yourself. There it is Again by Andrew Sands was a very creepy, if more realistic “What if?”


Join us again next week at the normal time for another round of Horrors! And, in the meantime, sweet dreams.

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #44

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

11/04/2017 – 11/10/2017

 

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.

 

Fall has fallen (all over the yard) and it’s officially cold enough to start being invaded by by all of the four-legged furballs who are trying to take over the bed. It’s a stalemate at the moment. They seem to have a hatred of books as that seems to be their preferred layabout spot. I shall prevail!

 

 


Summer RetreatKevin Shadle

Synopsis:
The Copse family has a lot to do before their summer retreat. They have to bring in the harvest, mulch it into the ground and avoid the inquisitive neighbors. It’s tough being a were-tree.

Review:
Enjoyable with a bit of a different spin on the ‘were’ creatures.


Swamp FlowersDavid C. Woomer

Synopsis:
On their honeymoon Lynette and her new husband made the mistake of going out into the Great Dismal swamp. Lynette never returned. Every year her husband takes a skiff into the swamp for their anniversary ritual.

Review:
A beautiful and sad story. I’m a sucker for ghostly anniversaries.


Sympathy for Mad ScientistsJohn Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
A series of letters from baron Frankenstein to Dr. Schmidt on attending the Hamelberg Conference for scientists. Between a punctured assistant and tending to the boiling oil ones needs as defense against ignorant peasants a mad scientists has a lot on his hands.

Review:
I’ve always liked epistolary stories. This one is hilarious and I love the asides about annoying peasants and Igor’s puncturing.


Sympathy for MummiesJohn Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
On an Egyptian dig they are uncovering the tomb of an ancient bureaucrat. So what would a bureaucrat curse someone with? Paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork.

Review:
Another funny one by Mr. Betancourt. There are a few of them in a row by hi.


Sympathy for Psychos John Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
Crane has been hiding in the cemetery, ever since the spiders first attacked. They are sneaky, though. They look like humans but Crane knows better. He knows the spiders are just using them.

Review:
A very good story. Crane’s character is at once horrifying and sympathetic.


Sympathy for Vampires John Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
Shelly has had it with her neighbor. He hovers outside of her window at night, waiting to be invited in for a bite. His wife declares he’s just going through a phase but Shelly is getting irritated. Finally, she strikes on the perfect way to get him to leave her alone. It seems wannabe vampires don’t see the romance of scrubbing the shower.

Review:
Another funny one. Especially Shelly’s idea of getting rid of him. There’s nothing worse than a man going through a mid-vamp crisis.


Sympathy for Wolves John Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
A man stands at his window, his pack calling for him to join them. But he’s a man now and it’s so cold out. He’s not heartless though. As the pack files into his house they all share a common ground, briefly.

Review:
A nice story and the ending made me happy because I thought it would have been really mean not to let his pack in to spend the night.


Favourite of the Week:
Well, um, there’s a lot of John Gregory Betancourt isn’t there? While his titles aren’t exactly creative his stories were certainly varied, thank goodness. He shows a talent for switching between laughter and heartbreak with ease. That being said my favorite for this week was Swamp Flowers by David C. Woomer. It’s heartbreaking but beautiful as well. As for Mr. Betancourt’s entries I loved Sympathy for Mad Scientists and Sympathy for Wolves the best.


Join us again next week for another round of horror stories to make you laugh and cry.

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #43

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

10/28/2017 – 11/03/2017

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.

 

I hope everyone had a great and safe Halloween. If you were able to get out there…I’m jealous, lol. It rained here but since we are horror geeks and proud of it we had a full costume session of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. Although it must be admitted that The Keeper did not sound very fearsome with a stuffy nose.

 

 


StainsLawrence Person

Synopsis:
Can an act bbe so damning that you can never wash the blood off your hands?

Review:
Some people might not like it because it has a Biblical tone to it but really, you could apply it to many historical figures and have the same story.


StakeoutDon D’Ammassa

Synopsis:
Carter has been stalking the thief, Nils Kaszlow for a very long time. Unfortunately, Kaszlow is an immortal vampire and Carter is not, so his time is a bi more limited. When the tools of his FVH (Fearless Vampire Hunter) trade are stolen he has to rely on furniture in the house. Too bad today’s standards don’t meet the wood-crafting trades of yester-years.

Review:
A great vampire story with a clever surprise at the end. I have to wonder what Kaszlow’s intentions are. Does he plan to kill Carter or make him an all instead of an enemy?


StaticLouise Rowder

Synopsis:
An alien and human are broke down by the side of the road. After her Yelling at the Machinery Ritual is completed they set off on foot towards Bladrej’s home. Once there Bladrej is curious to record Lark’s “unprepared reaction” towards their attempt to help the missionaries do the rituals of their faith by painstakingly recreating their icons and medallions. At Lark’s seemingly enthusiastic response Bladrejwonders if he should perhaps help her worship as well. After all, being helpful is the cornerstone of his faith.

Review:
An excellent story and quite apropos. What could be seen as kindness and in one culture could be seen as arbaric and vice versa.


Stone FaceBlythe Ayne

Synopsis:
Alesia has stared across the street at the gargoyle on the corner for a very long time. He appears to have intelligence in his stony face. One stormy day, she notices his mouth clogged. During a n irrational act of kindness by clearing it she cuts herself, drawing blood. Bringing a gargoyle to life is one thing…but what’s she supposed to do with him?

Review:
I loved this story! I love gargoyles and I’d be more than happy to bring him home. I have to wonder, though, about the pillows. For the life of me I can’t think why she’d need them. Perhaps to keep him from chipping in the bag? I’ve always enjoyed Blythe Ayne’s stories but they’ve always struck me as fantasy, sometimes dark fantasy but fantasy nonetheless.


Straight to the HeartDavid Niall Wilson

Synopsis:
Once, long ago beneath a tree, Hiram was trysting was another man’s wife. Sid tried to shoot Hiram down but Hiram’s aim was better. After leaving Sid’s wife after the trial she hung herself from that fateful tree. The tree that’s been haunting his dreams for years. So Hiram decides to cure his nightmares with a chainsaw. But the dead can wait a long time for vengeance.

Review:
I loved this story. It has the feel of an urban legend but a similar accidental death has been recorded. So now I’m curious. Was the actual report actually an ‘accident’.


The Stranger’s TombTerry Campbell

Synopsis:
While making the rounds for his photography book – Memories in Stone: Rural Graveyards of the South, Wylie stops at a small town in Texas. Their claim to fame is The Stranger’s Tomb, a tomb for a man passing through town and dying the next day with no identification. According to legend. Wylie thinks the stone looks suspiciously new. And the graveyard seems very full of Stranger’s Tombs.

Review:
Very interesting and it took a turn that I didn’t expect. The multiple tombs seem a little odd, though, in light of the reason The Stranger’s Tomb needs to be ‘refilled’.


SudsAdam-Troy Castro

Synopsis:
On Lydia’s day off she spends a good part of it soaking in the tub. When she tries to turn on the hot water tap, however, she discovers to her horror that she seems to be melting into the tub. Literally. I guess you should be careful of using extra-strength skin softener. It might get a tad too soft.

Review:
A fun story that makes a fun play on how people always wish to just melt into a cozy bath.


Favorite of the Week:
The Halloween gods have blessed us with an excellent week of stories! And I can honestly say that the story that fell on Halloween night was my favorite. Even though it’s not quite scary or creepy how awesome would it be to have a Gargoyle such as the one in Stone Face by Blythe Ayne. I also very much liked Stains by Lawrence Person.

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #42

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

10/21/2017 – 10/27/2017

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.

 

Halloween draws near and hopefully it’s a good one for everyone. With the rain we’ve been having here I’m starting to despair of  a warm Halloween. But, if rain is good for one thing, it’s good for reading some cozily frightening horror stories.

 

 

 


Sometimes the Answer is YesRon Collins

Synopsis:
In debt to the really wrong people, Johnny makes a desperate plea to God to get him out of the ocean and get revenge. Something answers. Something from an area a little South of Heaven.

Review:
A little bland, really. With the creature answering I was kind of hoping for a bit…more.


The SoundLawrence Greenberg

Synopsis:
You wake up in the middle of the night by a noise. A loud, irregular thumoing that seems to move through the house with you. What could it be? Why does everything seem to be stifled, murky? Why does your face look so wan in the mirror.

Review:
Not too bad. I thought, though, that it was going to be the narrator was going to be a ghost. In that regard the ending was a bit surprising but I still thhink it woould work as a ghost story.


Special Interests Lillian Csernica and Kevin Andrew Murphy

Synopsis:
True love can be found online, occasionally. For a girl interested in duct tape, kitchen utensils and a hairy chest what could be better than finding a man interested in duct tape, knives and large breasts. It’s a match made in…well, somewhere I’m sure.

Review:
I liked this story immensely. It was darkly fun and playful. I also like that two authors wrote it. It gives it a feeling of reality. Just not too realistic, I hope. I’m also curious…if she doesn’t care for knives then what other kitchen utensils is she using?


SpeedT.W. Kriner

Synopsis:
Marasigan wants nothing more than to beat Reignbos in a marathon. After losing to Reignbos for a second time at the Boston Marathon, Marasigan makes a literal deal with the devil to beat Reignbos’ best time ever. This includes many physical changes that make him look like a bat out of hell. And when Reignbos sees the brand new Marasigan running behind him…well, wouldn’t you run faster than you ever had before?

Review:
A bit of a departure from the usual deal with the devil story, this one involves actual physical changes rather than just being made magically faster. It does have the usual “you got screwed” ending. however.


Speed Demon Jay R. Bonansinga

Synopsis:
After a fatal car accident in which two teenagers got killed, Dickie has learned to be more careful on the highway. It’s easy to avoid irritants like speeding tickets and accidents if you just get behind someone going faster than you. You might want to be careful which car you choose though they could be cruising for something else entirely…

Review:
I loved the story. Especially the use of an El Camino for the ‘demonic’ car. I have a soft spot in my heart for them. Dickie’s comeuppance was certainly a bit satisfying.


Spring Joe Meno

Synopsis:
Up at his parent’s cottage for what Brody thinks will be a romantic weekend. When his girlfriend storms out a whole bunch of crazy comes barging in. Brody is confronted by a naked man being stalked by a lonely wolf.

Review:
This story was very confusing for what should have been a fairly straightforward werewolf story. It sounds like the naked man running from the wolf is the wolf’s mate but if so, why would he be running away? And it’s not really clear what it has to do with the title. It feels like this was a half-idea that was just jotted down and sent in.


St. Louis #2Michael Grisi

Synopsis:
Jim tells his buddy Larry about the ‘oven vaults’ in the cemetery but Larry doesn’t believe him. What can you do to answer a challenge like that but visit the cemetery and check out the vaults? You might want to make sure its occupants appreciate visitors first, though.

Review:
A nice little story with a bit of a Tales from the ‘Crypt’ feel to it (I couldn’t help myself).


Favorite of the Week:
Well, with so many good weeks of stories I guess a week of indifferent ones was to be expected. Not that they were terrible, just not up to the standards of some of the previous weeks. The best of this week, though, was one I loved – Special Interests by Lillian Csernica and Kevin Andrew Murphy. It was great. Creepy yet a touch humorous. I still wonder which kitchen utensils she uses. Is it possible to whisk someone to death?


Join us next Friday for another round of horror stories. Have a happy and safe Halloween, my pretties.

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #41

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

10/14/2017 – 10/20/2017

 

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.

So did you guys make it through Friday the 13th without any unexpected Jason’s showing up? No offense to the non-stalker, non-Voorhees Jasons out there. For all of you that did, great! For those of you who had unfortunate run-ins with black cats, ladders and umbrellas inside the house may I suggest curling up on the couch with some good horror stories?

 

 

 


Slips of Pink PaperCindie Geddes

Synopsis:
A group of friends hears a rumour. If you sit in a certain booth at a Chinese restaurant the fortune in your fortune cookie will be true. So what could it mean for Larry that his fortune cookie is blank.

Review:
Love this story. I always love creepy fortunes, prophecies, palm readings and the like. The thought of unavoidable fate or destiny creeps me out. There’s not a whole lot of surprise to the end (i mean, really, everyone knows what happens if your fortune is blank) but it’s a good story nonetheless.


SmellBrian McNaughton

Synopsis:
When Wilbur gets bonked on the head he wakes up with an unusual talent. He can smell people. He quickly finds how to use this to his advantage and us the game a bit more. After making a lucrative contract (on the basis of accidentally grabbing someone else’s coat) he learns that he can use other people’s scent to his advantage. Until one evening, just before an important meeting with Lord Cummerbund, he filches a tweed coat from a pub. Not too big of a deal, right? Unless that coat belongs to a murderer.

Review:
A very interesting idea based on how much people are, consciously or subconsciously, influenced by scent. It kind of reminded me of a study where they took couples that had been together for varying lengths of time. Then they had the men remove their shirts and the women would try to choose which one was their partners based on scent alone. The couples that had been together longer were able to do it more consistently than those that had only been together a short period of time.


Smother LoveNancy Kilpatrick

Synopsis:
Marcie is waiting on the porch, waiting for Timothy. Timothy’s mother ‘strongly suggests’ that he not see her. It’s his choice of course…

Review:
Ok. The story is not bad. But I was thinking a lot about this lately. There are a ton of songs about healthy parental love between Mother-Daughter, Father-Daughter, Father-Son but very rarely is there anything about single fathers or healthy Mother-Son relationships. Typically Mother-Son relationships in so many medias are presented as either distant or smothering. And it’s very annoying. Daddy’s Girl is considered generally cute (in a normal way) but Mommy’s Boy has so many negative connotations. Sorry for the rant, it’s been something that has really been nagging me a lot.


The Snow GlobesBenjamin Adams

Synopsis:
Tully and Brian, a London couple, are perusing an antique store, looking for items for their London Americana kitsch store. They are entranced with some lovely snow globes but they are $300 and the owner refuses to break up the set. So Brian decides to be a ‘man’s man’ and use the five finger discount to grab one. Bad idea.

Review:
Meh. Entitled douche snags something he wants but can’t have and pays the price. Can’t say I feel sorry for him at all.


SnowmanDonald R. Burleson

Synopsis:
Roland hates the snow. He also dislikes when the neighborhood kids play on his lawn. Today they seem to be making a snowman and dancing around it. And why would they put these strange marks in the snow? Roland is about to find out.

Review:
I liked it but it seemed a bit unfinished. Why were these kids so ticked at Roland? He didn’t even really chase them out of the yard or anything.


SolsticeLisa Jean Bothell

Synopsis:

Megan’s family has just moved into the house left to them by Megan’s grandmother. Megan’s grandmother wasn’t very nice, it seems, always telling her that the ‘things’ under the bed would get her if she stayed uncovered. but maybe grandma wasn’t trying to scare her but to warn her.

Review:
A little on the meh side. Megan’s age seems to be a bit iffy. I thought she was an adult at first. Then I figured out that she was supposed to be a kid but her age seems to waffle between a precocious 6 and fifteen. Also, not really sure why the title ‘Solstice’.


Someday My Prints Will ComeLawrence Schimel

Synopsis:
Eleanor does cover art for the biggest romance names. Her imagined Prince Charming smolders inside her head and she paints him longingly, jealous of the women she paints onto the covers with him. She decides to try painting him just for herself as an experiment. Unfortunately, the guys on romance covers aren’t exactly gentlemen. So what’s a girl to do when your prince isn’t as ‘princely’ as you thought? The next week she starts painting for horror covers.

Review:
Humorous in a bit of a twisted way. After all, she’s punishing him because he acted in the way that she created him. Either way I do like stories about paintings coming to life and being creepy.


Favorite of the Week:

Definitely Smell by Brian McNaughton. It had an interesting premise to it with an outcome that I didn’t see coming. The stories continue to be good and hopefully stay that way. I’m hoping we get some good ones week after next for Halloween so, fingers crossed.

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #40

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

10/07/2017 – 10/13/2017 

 

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.

 

This Friday is the thirteenth. Better not go to any camps, have sex or do drugs. In fact, it’s safer to just not move. So curl up with our site for some scary stories and hope Jason isn’t lurking outside your door.

 

 


Shooting EvilLawrence C. Connolly

Synopsis:
A man and his new lady love take some boudoir photos of her lying on the bed. Afterward, while developing the film, something’s not quite right. She doesn’t seem to be in the photograph…

Review:
I loved the angle this story took on the vampire myth. I also didn’t know that silver was used in black and white photography. Unfortunately for the femme fatale I don’t think she thought her plan through very well.


ShutterGordon Linzner

Synopsis:
Annette is being photographed by an unknown man. Despite various tricks he always seems to be there, click, taking his pictures. While being mugged he carries on, click. a police officer is on hand to help, however, and annette thinks her troubles are over. Or are they?

Review:
This story seemed a little strange to me. Annette thinks to herself that it would be silly to report the man to the police as he’s only taking pictures. I do believe that’s still referred to as stalking. If this were a more recent story it would make good commentary on what certain people think of as their right to take pictures of total strangers and post them wherever they please with no regard for that person’s privacy or possible consequences of doing so.


Sibling RivalryBrian Hodge

Synopsis:
After a traumatic incident a woman buys herself what sounds like a Chucky doll and bizarrely names it Annabel Lee. Then they invite their nephew over for the week and Annabel Lee does not want to share her mother’s affection.

Review:
A creepy doll story that is pretty gruesome, to me. I did think it weird that the doll seems like a boy doll but is named Annabel Lee. I get the reference but it seems rather wedged in.


The Silver and the Damage DoneScott M. Brents

Synopsis:
Walter is a werewolf. He pounces on a peasant girl and is shot down in quick order. It replays again…and again…and again.

Review:
First of all, I’m curious if the author got his title from the Neil Young song ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ (which is far more depressing than this story). It had an interesting side to it in that the ‘werewolf’ is a VR game called ‘Silver Death’: “A werewolf game so real it should be outlawed”. Walter, the man in question, had hooked himself up to the machine and died of dehydration. Actual cause of death? The quarter he had used was a silver quarter. And we all know silver and werewolves don’t mix.


Silver FuturesStephen Dedman

Synopsis:
A werewolf is under arrest aboard a spaceship. Very cocky he believes that the officer has bitten off more than he can chew. However, leaving the moon’s reach it may be the werewolf has bitten off more than he can chew.

Review:
This did raise an interesting question. Would the Earth moon be the only moon to have an effect on werewolves? And would a planet with more moons have more of an effect or less?


Six Deaths MoreJudith Post

Synopsis:
Teresa’s nightmares are getting worse. They start with a Roaring Twenties gangland slaying as she and her date are gunned don in a restaurant. The next is a nightmare of the Civil War, dying at the hands of the Yankees as she fires on them. The third is as one of the ‘Witchcraft Girls’ in Salem, fingering Tituba as the instigator of the witchcraft panic which claims five more innocent lives. as she dies again in her most recent nightmare she realizes that she will have to ‘die’six more deaths before her sin is purged.

Review:
While I liked the idea behind it, some parts didn’t make sense. For starters, Tituba was not hanged for witchcraft. She was imprisoned and released, which is a bit surprising., given the times. While it was true that most who confessed did avoid the gallows they also had their land and money stripped from them. Since Tituba had no land or property she knew that confessing would save her from the gallows. Also, the story states that five other lives (besides Tituba’s, two other slaves and five other innocent women were dead before the witch panic died down. This also is untrue. In total 24 accused witches had died. Nineteen were hung, four died in prison and one was pressed to death (Giles Corey, who refused to say anything, therefore allowing his family to keep their lands). I know, I know. I’m probably being way too particular for a short story but these are easily obtainable facts, even before the internet. I did like the idea of working out your past ‘guilt’ through the nightmares but it does seem like a bit of a light punishment, comparatively speaking.


SkepticTim Waggoner

Synopsis:
Two teenagers are watching a wrestling bout on tv. one of the boys keeps snarking about how fake and unrealistic it is (a little ironic after my two paragraph harangue on the witch trials in the review above). Finally the other boy turns it off in a huff and accuses the first boy of having no imagination. They decide to head out for a bite to eat…after they sharpen their claws, that is.

Review:
I really liked this story. We all have that friend. You know the one I mean. The one who, when you question the motivations of a character in a movie their only answer is “Because it’s in the script.” And we’ve all been annoyed by them. I liked the twist at the end.


Favorite of the Week:
The run of good stories continues! I attribute it to the Gods of Bookdom and Halloween to be in a favorable mood! It’s another hard choice. I very much liked Shooting Evil by Lawrence C. Connolly as the lady’s thoughtlessness could be written off as cockiness. I also loved Skeptic by Tim Waggoner. It had a fun and amusing twist at the end. Two (presumably) supernatural creatures arguing about whether or not televised wrestling is real or not.


Thank you for joining us yet again for another round of frightful tales! Please join us again next week as we move closer to the horror fan’s ultimate holiday!

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #39

 Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

09/30/2017 – 10/06/2017

 

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.

It’s October!! The month every horror fan waits for. Because people tend to look at you a little weird when you dress up as a Vampiric Easter Bunny. The countdown begins!

 

 

 


Serial KillersStephen Woodworth

Synopsis:
A serial killer stalks the streets. A very unusual one, however. It kills men and women and its victims literally beg for death.

Review:
A very good story, if a little depressing. I really didn’t see the twist coming.


Shades of GraySue Storm

Synopsis:
Janey sees everything in shades of gray. ever since the baby came she feels replaced, as if her parents don’t see her anymore. But they want to…more than anything in the world.

Review:
Well, that was depressing as hell. At first it seems like the typical jealous older sibling type of story so I really wasn’t liking it. But then it takes a turn for the very sad. It’s more affecting but it makes me wonder what happened and who the boy is?


ShadrachAdam Niswander

Synopsis:
Galen loves fire and the former building of the Temple of the Hours stands empty and unguarded. But the Templars’ altar is a Phoenix and that which was burnt may rise again.

Review:
It’s kind of obvious what Galen’s ultimate end will be it comes in a way I didn’t expect it to.


Shattering the SonataDevon Monk

Synopsis:
Leona hates practicing the piano with the bust of Beethoven glaring his disapproval. Finally she seems to be mastering it…but is it really her that’s playing?

Review:
I have a question. If you play or own a piano is it mandatory to have a bust of Beethoven on it? I liked the story but if you hate it that much why play? And even if your parents force you to I think I’d still find a way to ‘accidentally’ break the bust if it bothered me that much.


Sherri Goes to the OfficeYvonne Navarro

Synopsis:
Sherri is a model employee. She will not leave her job until the filing is done. So what if she’s a little smelly? So what if she can’t remember the alphabet? So what if she died two weeks ago and is now a zombie? She’s not going to let a little thing like that stop her.

Review:
The narrator does raise an interesting point. Would firing someone for being undead be discrimination? An awesomely funny story that is a good pick-me-up from the first two depression fests.


She Waits…Kay Reynolds

Synopsis:
Mano and Lela were perfect partners. One would bait the hook, the other would skin the fish. Until one night they pick the wrong mark. A mark who puts Mano in the hospital and Lela in the grave. Mano is prepared when the man comes calling. He and Lela have never worked with anyone and Mano isn’t about to share now.

Review:
One of the best vampire stories I’ve read in a while. Not quite up there with the Dracula is Jesus one from this week but still very good.


ShiftDavid Annandale

Synopsis:
Nielson buys a telescope at a yard sale and is very pleased that it works. It does, however, seem to have a few cracks. He didn’t notice any and cracks don’t move. Be careful when looking down a telescope, though. Something might be looking back. Or the image and reality itself could…shift.

Review:
While this story wasn’t insanely thrilling the writing alone carries it above what it is. For example: “And there are shifts that are all of these, bigger than tectonic, but as easy to get into as a glance gone wrong, and irrevocable beyond the laws of any god.” and this quote: “He didn’t want to turn, didn’t want to see, but he did and in his last second received one more gift: A fear so huge his old universe could not have held it.” *

Great lines, both of them. Some very nice writing.


Favorite of the Week:
Since I’m in the mood for a bit more of a humorous story it is definitely Sherri Goes to the Office by Yvonne Navarro. Shift by David Annandale was well-written with an interesting premise. Another great week for stories, we are on a roll!

*Quotes used fall under the Fair Use Act


Thanks for joining us this week and come back next year for more creepy yarns.