A short story by Vincent Hobbes
Two couples on vacation in Colorado when they run out of gas on a back mountain road during a blizzard, one that has dumped 3″ of snow on them in a matter of minutes.
Freezing cold & scared to death, the men leave their wives to walk up the road toward the light they see. A gas station. Everything will be ok… right?
One of the men returns, bloody and missing two things he left with. His brother and a body part.
I can’t say more, for fear of spoiling it for everyone. It’s a short horror story that got my stomach tense, and brought on that uncomfortable claustrophobic feeling in the short amount of time I was there. Not a lot of authors can pull that off.
I’ve enjoyed the three stories I read by Vincent Hobbes today, and I will be reading more of his work. I recommend his work for both horror fans & non. Reading his work brings on the nostalgia of watching The Twilight Zone late at night. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s where my mind takes me, and in case you can’t tell – it’s a very good thing.
“There is but one truely serious psychological problem – and that is suicide.”
~ Albert Camus
The life of a small town…
The death of a small town…
Gethsemane was a small rural town. As small rural towns went it was a sleepy little burg. It woke up with the sun. It went to bed with the moon. The fields had been planted, and now the farmers watched them grow.
And the teenagers who normally ran rampant about the town – fucking, drinking, and vandalizing away the days – were afraid to leave their houses.
The teenagers in Gethsemane are dying.
When the news and papers finally pick up the story, they call it ‘The Suicide Virus’, but two residents of this town, Stephen & Elise, know differently. This is no virus.
But, let us not get ahead of ourselves here. THE SORROW KING is not the first thing I’ve read by Anderson Prunty, although it is the best so far. When I picked up the others, it was before I knew what Bizarro Fiction was, before I knew Prunty’s name. Knowing this now, I fully intend to go back and re-read my copy of Jack and Mr. Grin, and dive into the (at least) five other titles I already own.
Prunty does an excellent job with characterization. I got to know the main players well, Steven & Elise, Steven’s dad – Conner, Drifter Ken…(I would like more on this character – a SS maybe? There’s another story in Ken Blanchard.) You can get a feel of each character, without ever getting the feeling of TMI.
Alright. That’s way more than I’ve ever said on that. The story just grabs you in the first chapter, and never let up. I never had a moment of wanting to stop reading, and when I had to… I’d start again asap. This wasn’t one that just sat there like – ‘meh. whenever.’ It’s dark. Surreal.
It’s uncomfortable in spots. Capturing the teenaged mind all too vividly, it drags you through those disheartening emotions. Those days when every trouble is multiplied x100. There are some graphic sexual pieces. But, your not a prude. Not if your reading my reviews. They may be cringe worthy if you remember their ages, I do know a lot Steven’s sexual fantasies now. Hmm.
Back to the story.
The teenagers in Gethsemane (Ohio) are dropping like flies. Dying in apparent suicides. Steve knows better, he feels it, he’s writing about it in his sleep, but how can he stop it? Elise knows better, too. But, she believes she might be part of the problem.
Conner, desperately trying to make certain his son doesn’t become a statistic, starts looking for answers, too. The story he hears from the town’s Drifter is one of ghosts and poisoned towns.
Behind it all, is the Sorrow King. The Jackthief. And he’s growing stronger each day.
Did that grab ya? How ’bout this… “There are no happy endings in Hell”.
Two quotes will stick with you after reading this.
“Gotta take care of your own, boy.” and
“…life goes on, remember that.”
Flesh & Blood is not just another zombie story. If fact, even if you’re not a fan of the genre, you will still enjoy this short from Jerry Mckinney.
Most reviewers have compared this, in some way, to ‘The Walking Dead’ – only better!
Jessie, a young man living on the farm with his dad, has already led a hard life. When the world he knows turns upside down, he is forced to grow up quickly and face some heartbreaking decisions. To me, a great story pulls you in, tuggs at your emotions, makes you lose yourself in the Authors mind. That’s what Flesh & Blood did to me. I felt Jessie’s emotions with him, the grief of having to ‘lose’ his beloved dog, the pride in making his pa proud, the confusion & terror he felt when he first saw his friend’s dad, then his friend. Even the little crush he had on the neighbor girl, Sarah.
I would love to see a follow up story written to this. I want to see where Jessie goes, how he survives, and the man that he has become. It could lead to an excellent series! (Didja hear that, Jerry?)
They say that time heals all wounds. But, some wounds run so deep that the best you can hope for is to eventually just learn to live with the pain. Bill and Anne are trying to do just that. It’s been nine years since their son Thomas vanished. Years spent searching and hoping turn to years of loss and grieving. They eventually mourn the loss of their son and try to go on living. The birth of their daughter, Mia, brings a new lease on life and a second chance at being a family. Then they get the news. Thomas is alive and he’s coming home! But, nine years is a long time! Where has he been? What kept him away so long? Can they accept him back as part of their family after accepting their fate and mourning his loss?
The Missing Years Of Thomas Pritchard is very different from the other stories I’ve read by Matt Shaw. And, although the story is different, his style -of not adding the unnecessary fluff- remains the same. This had the feel of a Stephen King book, if you removed 500 pages of irrelevant backstory. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was getting misty eyed at around the 86% mark, and I tears pouring down my face at the end. I’m not saying Matt has a squishy spot, I’m just saying that he has the ability to break your heart, not just leave it pounding with fear.
Let me close this review with a note I posted to Matt on his fb wall.
” I love this story, Matt! It’s different, but that doesn’t mean bad! You have the ability to write excellent stories in whatever genre you desire, that is pure talent. This story made me cry. Whatever emotion I experience in any of your books – I experience it physically. Real -out loud- laughter, real tears, real cringes & with the help of an outside noise… I really jumped while reading one story! There was a point, while reading a passage in a Peter story, that I was reading, kinda gasping/laughing/cringing all while slapping my husband on the leg with my free hand! Haha!!”
This is one of the scariest titles I’ve read from Matt Shaw. I could feel that something big was going to happen, and it had me on edge throughout the whole story. I have never jumped from a book, until ‘The Cabin’, and I was hesitant to get out of bed after I finished. I only wish I had ‘The Cabin: Asylum’ ready and waiting for me when I finished. Read this with the lights down low, your feet under the covers, and – trust me – close the curtains!
When Craig was a child, he used to travel to the cabin with his father, a writer, to get away from everything for a bit. These are some of his favorite memories. Now, all grown up and an author himself, he thinks that some time at the cabin is just what he needs to finish his newest book. Unfortunately, his wife, Susan, thinks some time at the cabin with the kids sounds like a perfect family vacation. Not much quiet time for writing now. With his publisher already pushing him about his deadline, and his peaceful getaway turned into an outing, Craig is already on edge. The traffic, whining kids, and smart ass comments from his wife, are pushing him closer every minute – and they’re just barely on the road to Brattleboro. He passes the time telling his family stories his father told him as a child. Tales of the local asylum, insane patients, and suicides, all setting the tone for their arrival. What they find when they get there is not the quaint and peaceful retreat they were expecting. Vandalism, locals, and something sinister await them. And then, the night comes…