Day (Necrosaurus Rex, 2014) offers 11 dark tales teeming with monstrous beings.
It’s fitting that so many characters in this horror short story collection are surrounded by death. William, the groundskeeper for the Reed family in “The Ghosts in Winter’s Wake,” for example, had a sister who was murdered, and both his mother and Philip, the youngest Reed child, died in the snow. The latter loss conjures up somber memories, which may be causing William to hear voices. Similar tragedies befall the main characters of “Snow Like Lonely Ghosts…” and the genuinely unsettling “Bright Red Mess,” both of whom have lost their mothers. These tales both delve into the shadowy side of humanity; some characters are unhinged while others are sane but simply evil. Vile creatures abound in other stories: some friends soon regret swimming in the vicinity of a rumored Volkswagen-sized turtle in “Chomp Chomp,” and there may be validity to the warning from Tim’s grandfather about a witch in “Spoiling.” Day showcases his versatility in the last two tales: “Beast Mode” abandons chills in favor of action, as vengeance-seeking bikers make the mistake of attacking a werewolf on his wedding day. It’s a visceral piece, rife with blood, biting, and bullets, this time making the monster the protagonist (complete with a romance) and the purely human characters far more ghastly. In the closer, “GG Allin and the Final Flight of the Chrysanthemum Byzantium,” the late, infamous real-life rocker of the title gets a pass out of hell and the gift of immortality. It’s a gleefully odd sci-fi/fantasy hybrid, and exactly how GG stays immortal is best left unspoiled. Prefacing each story are Spooner’s (Dead Men, 2015, etc.) stunning black-and-white illustrations, which look as if they’ve been scratched onto the pages. They accentuate the already haunting descriptions, such as this passage from “Snow Like Lonely Ghosts…”: “Snow falls thick, like meat, and covers damn near everything but the persistence of man….The cold outside is patient, aches bones, like the pain of being lonely.”
Often horrific, relentlessly stark, and truly unforgettable.