CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 38 . . . . June 3, 2011
Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell; Lewd I Did Live.
Michael Kelly, ed.
Calgary, AB: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2011.
206 pp., pbk., $14.95.
Horror tales, Canadian (English).
Fantasy fiction, Canadian (English).
Canadian fiction (English)-21st century.
Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.
Review by Ronald Hore.
"You were pregnant." His voice was as flat line as his stare, as cold as the perennial gusts from the still open window. "You’ve been pregnant for weeks. I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know how. I thought I was okay with it. I really thought I could let Him go through with it. But when He told me what the baby would be like, I couldn’t allow it to be born. I tore it out of you."
She watched him flinch, double over, then vomit onto the floorboards.
"How could I do that, Jo? How? What kind of man can just rip out an unborn child like he’s cleaning a turkey?"
"Stop!" Joelle’s reach for the lamp chain was fumbling, but she eventually found and yanked it.
The burst of light made her squint, and when she ultimately looked down at the quilt, she noticed stains, ugly dark blotches. Some of these spots evaporated once her eyes grew accustomed to the lamp glow, but those that remained became even blacker and uglier. She poked one. It was wet, and some of it came off to stain her flesh. (From “King Him”.)
Chilling Tales is an anthology of 18 horror tales from Canadian writers. There is a two page introduction from the editor titled "A Disquieting Solitude," 204 pages of short stories, five pages of biographical material on the authors, and four pages listing other volumes from this publisher.
The first story in the collection, Tom Chestnut’s "Midnight Blues," tells of a cowboy singer, haunted by the ghost of an old girlfriend.
This is followed by "King Him," a tale of a couple who may be hearing voices, and what those voices tell them to do.
The next title is "404" which tells of life in a business office, with some unusual human resources practices.
"Stay" is a tale built around an incident in a northern café and a trucker who has an accident on the road. He is taken in by the local folks.
The next story, "Blacklight," tells of a young couple. She meets an interesting young lady at university. They experiment, with dangerous results.
"The Deafening Sound of Slumber" is a story set in a sleep laboratory where an illegal experiment goes all wrong.
In the story "Last Waltz,"a sick man has a conversation with a crow who claims to be a doctor. Dr. Crow’s first question to his patient is, "You dead yet?"
This is followed by "Sympathy for the Devil," a story about a difficult patient recuperating in a hospital from a serious accident that he might have caused. His caretaker is very sympathetic.
The next tale, "The Needle’s Eye," is about a serious plague that, if it doesn’t kill you, could lead to blindness.
"Looker" is the story of man at a party. There, he meets a young woman who has a secret. He discovers the secret, too late.
The story "Cowboy’s Row" tells of an animal husbandry technician who disagrees with his boss, and has an angry drive into the night.
The next tale, "Safe," is the story about Clark who, among other things, suspects the sun might be melting.
"The Carpet Maker" is a tale of a man who may have accidentally sold his daughter. His wife is not very sympathetic.
In the story "Foxford," a young woman has a problem with two difficult guests parking in her apartment – her sister and her obnoxious boyfriend. Topping off her difficulties, she seems to be hallucinating foxes.
"My Body" is the tale of a man driving alone on a dark country highway when a very young girl appears at the side of the road. He stops to see what is the matter.
The tale, "The Shrines," takes a look at some strange shrines being built near the Toronto waterfront.
The next story in the collection is "Dead," a tale about a family with an unusual son – he is dead, but still among them.
The final story in the collection, "The Weight of Stones," revolves around the Frank Slide and what happened in one house in the mining community back in 1903.
This anthology sh ould appeal to fans of the horror genre who appreciate a variety of styles and takes on dark and macabre fantasy. Written by a mix of experienced and relatively new Canadian writers, the stories are set in some locations that might be familiar to the reader.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
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