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Daily Short Story Diary - Week 11

Day 71: March 10, 2019

WITCH HAZEL by Jeffrey Ford

Haunted Nights – 2017

Horror – 15 Pages

Okay, so to open, there’s a four-page historical info dump. Then we’re in the time, but more info is dumped for a handful more pages. I assume the author was doing like a period-pastiche, but shit, there’s a reason people don’t have eleven of fifteen pages of a story being written like a historical essay anymore. Once stuff starts happening, there’s some cool imagery involving worms, but nothing else. At. All.


Day 72: March 11, 2019

MR. CRUEL by Philip Drake

The Second Book of Corona Horror Stories – 2018

Horror – 8 Pages (about, digital)

Having a kid with a babysitter is a good pairing to cast aside much by way of character development. It’s just so imaginable. The babysitter is quick to scare, but it doesn’t really transfer off the page, I mean her terror doesn’t make for reader terror. Readable. Quick. A bit of atmosphere.


Day 73: March 12, 2019


100 Years of the Best American Short Stories – 2015 (story originally published in The New Yorker, 1948)

General – 9 Pages

I’m a decent way into this anthology and I think this is the first one that went fully at a hey, what if, rather than going with life looks like this. Hey, what if the radio picked up the lives of other people in the building? It’s a fantastic idea (been done plenty since, radios, TVs, webcams) that has a ton of possible avenues. Like observing a car wreck, a woman can’t keep her ears away from the big radio, listening to the horrid gossip and humanity of her neighbors. There’s not much playout, but it comes around nicely. Great story. Great writing.


Day 74: March 13, 2019

CARNIVORES by Kate Jonez

Lady Bits – 2019

Crime – 20 Pages (about, digital)

This one follows a pretty neat path, not much meandering, and from the onset, it seems as if it can go one of two ways. It does. My guess, this opens up the collection and is as it is to be a sort of thematic precursor for the rest of the stories to follow. Blood and intrigue meeting the eventual.


Day 75: March 14, 2019

NOS GALAN GAEAF by Kelley Armstrong

Haunted Nights – 2017

Horror – 20 Pages

Pretty straightforward, a boy is bullied and wants revenge. Not sure the real origin of the ceremony in this story, but it had to come from somewhere because it was in a Tales From the Darkside episode, from stones to sow. It’s a slow rolling kind of story that doesn’t really have you (me) rooting for any clear victor. The bully might be a bully, but the boy is a bit of a dickhead, so…a wash. The end was abrupt after a pretty slow buildup.


Day 76: March 15, 2019

CHOPPERS by Mike Murphey

Gallows Hill Magazine – 2019

Horror – 2 Pages

Preference-wise, I cringed a few times at the dialogue and the dialogue tags, and then some more at all the adverbs used in order to forego much by way of descriptions. That said, this story is quite a bit of silly, bloody fun, and short as it is wicked, which is perfect because if you get to thinking too much about stories like this you’re apt to start saying now wait a damned minute.


Day 77: March 16, 2019


The Second Book of Corona Horror Stories – 2018

Horror – 12 Pages (about, digital)

Everybody had to go play at that stinky kid’s house one time, the kid who talked shit and you couldn’t deck because you were in his house. This story starts there and immediately I get it, I’m with the character because...fuck that guy’s house and fuck being stuck there until Mom comes. This one unravels into a wildly suspenseful ride. It’s thrilling and scary and the ending takes a mean left turn.


Favorite of the week was THE NIGHT OF THE PATRIARCH by Simon Lee-Price.

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