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Tag: horror (Page 3 of 12)

“Fishfly Season” by Halli Villegas

A woman moves to a posh suburb with her husband and senses danger and terror beneath the serene surfaces.

This is a good story that builds subtle dread; it’s never clear whether Marisol’s terrifying visions are a result of her feeling out of place, her lack of sleep, actual malice, or a combination of all of these factors.

“By Night He Could Not See” by Joel Lane

Mysterious murders, with the victims found with hands and heads covered in paint, lead a man to believe that someone is seeking revenge for a terrible crime he participated in long ago.

This story steadily unwinds two gruesome events – one in the past, one in the present – and does a good job of building tension.

“Stemming the Tide” by Simon Strantzas

A misanthropic man and his partner go to the Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy to watch the tide, and other horrors, rush in.

This story has echoes of “Ringing the Changes” by Robert Aickman, but the protagonists appear at the end rather than the beginning of their relationship. It does a good job of building up the dread.

“The Cicerones” by Robert Aickman

A British traveler has an unusual tour of a Belgian cathedral.

This is a quietly unsettling Aickman story, with the weirdness building gradually with each morbid piece of artwork in the cathedral until a quite frightening conclusion. The ends are pulled together, but they are never tied off; the conclusion is ambiguous and all the more frightening for it.

“The Reaper’s Image” by Stephen King

An antique mirror displays an image of the Grim Reaper to some who gaze into it, causing them to disappear without a trace.

This is an enjoyable weird tale that bridges the pups and M.R. James in tone and theme; not particularly boundary-pushing, but the banter between the characters is enjoyable and the cursed object is sufficiently creepy. I’m sure I read this when “Skeleton Crew” came out in paperback – I devoured Stephen King’s books all through high school – but I don’t remember it. I may have to peruse some more stories in this collection that have slipped my memory.

“The Unsettled Dust” by Robert Aikman

An officer of an historic trust stays in an old manor house occupied by a pair of sisters, a wistful ghost, and a lot of dust.

Like most Aikman stories, this one takes its time to set up the situation and build out the characters and their relationships. It has few really scary moments, but a sense of dread runs through even the more mundane scenes. Aikman brings his own experience with historical preservation (and surely his experience of the politics within preservation societies) in this story, which adds another layer of interest.

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