Christopher Stanley’s little collection of shorties is everything you’d expect. Super dark stories that draw you in, making you hope for the best but knowing that happy ending just isn’t coming.
There are three bite-sized doses of horror here, and each one a brief snapshot of a journey into terrooooor.
Things kick off with Devil’s Reach where a dude is escaping with his kid on a ferry. His wife appears to have gone pretty crazy and he feels he needs to get the hell away from her. But even this isn’t enough to be rid of her and her evil powers. Her reach is certainly of the diabolical nature.
If you thought the tooth fairy was all make-believe then I’m afraid to say you are wrong. Coincidentally, the next story, Hell’s Teeth, involves this very creature. (Un)fortunately she doesn’t live up to the glowing reputation she once had. This fairy offers her services for very dark purposes, if the price is right. Luckily she’s very cheap. One young girl, the victim of constant bullying, reaches out to the tooth fairy to help her. And revenge is sweet. But Stanley can’t just leave it as a nice little wrap-up at the end, which was very much welcomed by myself!
And finally we have the title track, Unbecoming Me. This was a very weird tale, I could imagine this story directed by David Lynch, what with all the rebirths of the narrator (just read it). Student life is hard enough, but this is taking it to the next level. Ghosts, death, madness(?). This was a really well-delivered closer.
I do enjoy it when authors give insights into their inspiration, and Stanley’s notes at the end enabled me to not dwell on the darkness too much. It’s always interesting to hear their reasons for settings and character names, etc. Although I spotted the caretaker reference straight away – and loved it!
Christopher Stanley writes great short fiction, so read some more of him!!