Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Scary Stories

Posted: April 17, 2019 in Blog
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I have always been fascinated by scary tales, as I suspect are a vast majority of all of you. There seems an allure of the frightening, the unknown, especially in the controlled context of experiencing it as a form of entertainment. I felt the magic of it, the sense not only of something mysterious but also how such even came to be. But none of it ever actually scared me.

Even as a child, when I would read collections of dark folklore and ghost stories, none would scare me. Most of these were intended for children, but I would have presumed some measure of feeling fright. I’m not trying to say I was some incredibly courageous kid. Typically though, the things that scared me came from my own mind, and those generally at night when all was dark and quiet, and I was trying to get to sleep.

I had, of course, heard of Stephen King, though I had read nothing of his nor had I seen any of the movies available at the time. I wanted to, but my parents would not allow it. This also pre-dated the internet, so the methods of circumventing that control were much more limited. The whole idea of getting my hands on a Stephen King novel intrigued me. This built up the mystique, and I began to overplay it in my mind.

What if these were stories that would really scare me? Maybe I shouldn’t read them. My older sister got a hold of one novel, and I wondered if she might surreptitiously slip it to me when she was done. Would I want her to do that? I was really building this up, as if it were now some dark, creaky door, waiting to be opened, promising me new experiences, but did I really want them?

I don’t know what happened with that book. A part of me thinks my parents made sure to get it from my sister when she was done with. They knew I had a voracious appetite for consuming stories, and they worried over protecting us kids from scary things.

Finally, when I graduated high school and went off to college, I was able to go to the book store and buy whatever I wanted. Surely, I could have done so prior to this time, but myriad things happening in my life kept me from it. I was even writing horror short stories, and one of them was quite popular amongst my friends. One said it reminded them of something Stephen King would write. I was so proud, and yet, I still did not go out to the store and get any of his works. Until college.

I forget which novel of his I read first, but I began down the Stephen King trail, and once I did, I went at a quick pace. At some point, perhaps on my third or fourth novel, I realized that though I was thoroughly enjoying his work, none of it scared me. I then decided to read his short story collection Night Shift. “Jerusalem’s Lot”, “Graveyard Shift”, “The Mangler”, all good tales with frightening elements. I enjoyed them, but none scared me.

I eventually got to “The Boogeyman”. Another good one, full of the typical Stephen King weaving, but then, the end. Those of you who have read it know. I was living in a small apartment with that same older sister who had read the King novel those years ago. She was not home. It was night. I was in my small bedroom, which was labeled as a study on the floor plan. It had a tiny closet with double doors, and one of them was slightly ajar.

I stared at that open space, that vertical slit of darkness. The small lamp next to my bed would not penetrate it. I felt a creeping rise along my back and to my neck. I was scared.

I finally got up and shut the door and made sure it stayed close. I was an eighteen year old young man off at college, and I had finally experienced my first real fright from the written word. Leave it to Stephen King to lure me in, then catch me off guard.

Enjoy your readings, my friend, however they may affect you.


Broken Mirror
These stories are not just morbid. They take you down dark passageways of the human psyche. There is fear, violence, trauma. I found some of the tales impacted me to such a degree that I needed a breather before moving on to the next. Ms. Voiez is kind enough to even list trigger warnings before some of the stories, in case the subject matter may resonate too personally.

The very first tale sets its own interesting tone, as it begins feeling more like a gothic romance then quickly travels down much darker pathways. Though it is the longest of the set, I was caught by the ending and wish there would be more.

Victims aplenty are in this collection, but Ms. Voiez does not ignore the transgressors, delving into their minds. The various points of view are fascinating, disturbing, and even sympathetic in some very tragic situations.

I also enjoyed Ms. Voiez’s writing style. Her descriptions prove well done, feeling poised to not only stoke the underlying tension of many tales but also a near sense of helplessness. You don’t yawn; a yawn claims your throat.

All in all this is a wonderful collection. I recommend it, though do be careful reading it alone in the dark.

Broken Mirror and other Morbid Tales by Carmilla Voiez (Amazon Link)

Curse of Mary 03 - reduced

A Seductive Coax

This tale is an interesting take on a possible origin of a notable Urban Legend regarding Bloody Mary. It spans hundreds of years, examining the characters and the impact of the lineage in many ways. At the start of the 15th Century, we begin to learn of the Cambelle family and their dark secret, but things take a decided turn rather quickly.  It was very intriguing seeing how the situation developed, this early point in history showing its own layering within a well-developed lore that is slowly revealed to us. Within this tapestry, we are treated to the lives of many characters as they experience the consequences of the family’s heritage, not the least of which is the eponymous Mary, for whom a grave tragedy awaits.  Before this fully manifests, we are treated to some titillating erotic scenes.  The book is noted as being for 18+ readers, and it pulls no punches when it comes to sex and gore.  This may serve to lure the reader, sometimes like a seductive coax, other times akin to a deep shock.  This book is not for the squeamish.

The narrative spans many years and generations, jumping ahead so we may experience the haunting legacy of those seeds as we visit the 19th and 21st Centuries to fully realize the horrible consequences that have resulted in this legend.  This presents many interesting viewpoints as without this context, it might be easy to merely view Mary as a monster.

The ending felt quite sudden, even a touch anticlimactic; however, it left me wanting more. If anything, it seemed it could have been another beginning, even a cliffhanger. I’d like to know more of Mary, the curse, and the descendants of the family and what may further befall them.

Be sure to buy, read, and review this book!

The Curse of Mary: All Legends Begin in Truth by NicolaJayne Taylor (Amazon Link)