*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Will thought Derek was screwing with him. He was about to say, Yeah right, when he trained his Eveready on the same spot as Derek’s. Yes, there it was. Well, there was a box made of bones. Will was still sceptical that it was – or hopeful that it wasn’t – the Bone Box. This had to be something Shawn had glued together using the leftovers from a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Come one, Shawn, Will thought. Get this over with, for Christ’s sake. Jump out and make us shit our pants and do whatever else it is y’all are planning to do to us.
But no Shawn. No other teenagers, period. Will and Derek were alone in the outskirts of the Okefenokee with a couple of one-dollar flashlights and a knife with a Bic lighter in the handle.
‘The Bone Box’
Two friends search a Georgia swamp at night for a local legend said to call forth death itself… A self-aware hoard tells the story of its creation… A boy in a secluded village is visited by a traveler with a strange bottle… A teacher stumbles upon an alien monstrosity in an abandoned locker room… After his wife leaves him, a man discovers he has a unique power tied to his dreams…Horrors & Wonders is a collection of these tales and many more—stories of horror and fantasy and science fiction that capture what makes this world, and all others, both frightening and wondrous.
(If you would like to see my review of Hughes’ other collection, ‘The Last Book You’ll Ever Read’, you can find it here.) Another stellar short story collection from Scott Hughes, Horrors & Wonders is a set of stories, and a poem, that hold darkness and light in equal measure. Not all of the stories are straight forward horrifying tales, some are more inclined towards hope and fascination, but, as with life, it is not always easy to tell which is which when you dive in.
‘Songcaster and Little Dune’ was a particularly wonderful story that I think perfectly represents the wonder section of this collection. A fantasy story set in a barren world held in the grip of a fanatic religion, where ‘heathens’ can weave spells through music and a little girl has the ability to grow lush green vegetation in a desolate desert with just a single drop of blood. There is still horror in the events of the story, but there is also hope and a sprawling universe that could be explored. I would have happily dived into a novel about this world. Another story that struck me was ‘Dreamcatch’ which tells of the unfortunate evening that a man discovers his wife has left him. He drinks, and he dreams, and when he wakes the dreams have somehow followed him into the real world. A story that teeters on the knife edge between horror and wonder until the very last line, it was the perfect story to end with.
Horrors & Wonders if the perfect blend of hope and darkness, of terrifying events and undaunted characters. Yet another unforgettable collection from Hughes.
About the Author –
Scott Hughes is a Georgia writer who graduated from Mercer University and then received an MFA in creative writing from Georgia College & State University.
His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in such publications as Crazyhorse, One Sentence Poems, Entropy, Deep Magic, Carbon Culture Review, Redivider, Redheaded Stepchild, PopMatters, Strange Horizons, Odd Tales of Wonder, and Compaso: Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology.
His collection of horror short stories, The Last Book You’ll Ever Read , is available from Sinister Stoat Press, an imprint of Weasel Press. His poetry collection, The Universe You Swallowed Whole , is available from Finishing Line Press. His latest fiction collection, Horrors & Wonders , is available now.
For more information you can find writescott.com
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