I feel it worthwhile to quote from the Introduction to this novel, Horror d’Oeuvres: Bite-Sized Tales of Terror so that readers know what they are getting into. I came to this collection via Tobias Wade. He publishes a couple of fantasy/horror/twisted tales per week. I get those free in a weekly email. Tobias Wade is listed as an author of this edited anthology. One of his emails recommended this collection. It has 61 pieces of short fiction plus three bonus stories. My (hopefully relevant quote):
“This anthology was born from a rogues gallery of the best authors from Reddit’s premier horror flash fiction community, /r/ShortScaryStories.” (loc 170-172).
“This charity anthology … All revenue generated from the sales of eBooks, physical books, and audiobooks will be donated to Scares That Care!, an approved 501(c)(3) charity which fights the REAL MONSTERS of childhood illness, burns, and breast cancer by helping families that are experiencing these extraordinary hardships cope with the financial burden. It’s a 100% volunteer charity; meaning all donations are given to those who are in need; no CEO salaries, no overheads. Donations will be made on a quarterly basis for one year following the publication date of this collection. All information on the donations, sales numbers, and all other pertinent information will be available on www.reddit.com/r/Human_Gravy.” (loc 175-180).
It should go without saying that lots of these stories will be Not Safe for Work (NSFW). Assume that is true for all. One selection, “The Twins,” appears before the Introduction. It is a perfect indicator of the tone that is to pervade throughout following tales. As I read through these I could not resist noting my first takeaway thoughts. It is sort of like my responses to a Rorschach Test. But that also makes this a longer review than is my usual. But the reading was fun for me.
THE SHORT STORIES
Left a Bad Taste in my Mouth Crimson Clubs This redefines “Soul Food.”
Rachel and the Snowflake Jonas Lefkowitch Sacrifice inspired by a snowflake.
In the Trees J.A. Marshall A ghost returns for her child.
The Things Beneath the Ice D.G. Collins Kim knows who to call for help.
Zombies Mike Sundberg Mass hysteria and decaf coffee.
Tiny Teeth Dan Hilliard Sometimes it’s better not to see.
I Was Dying Kristopher J. Patten A man totally out of synch with the new reality.
Riding the Gamut Jonas Lefkowitch When twins are so much the same they are different.
Saint Gaul Ashley Franz Holzmann Life on the monthly installment plan
Suitcase Eskild Thomsen Anything and everything required sacrifice.
Fearing the Unseen Claudia Winters Sometimes the dark is better and less fishy.
Curfew Edwin Crowe Locked out or locked in. It is (almost) your choice.
Father Brad Marc Kinsville Waiting to claim a stake in their future
Static Man J.L. Knight Too much TV is not good for you
Another Saturday Night in an Oil Patch Town Michael Parrish Angela got her wish.
Unknown Pleasures Kristopher J. Patten Promises kept.
Raw Meats Are Such a Delicacy Jordan Accinelli Winnie the Pooh will not like this story.
Pure of Heart Kathryne H. Cancel the order for the unicorns.
An Answer to Her Prayers Jonas Lefkowitch A warped sense of humor from on high.
Let’s Play Pretend! Dieben Anatomy class is next.
Let’s Go Someplace Else Nicholas Ong James gets his wish.
For the Good of Our Species Michael Lee Brown Patriarchy problem solved.
The Voyeur Evolves Marc Kinsville Everyone has to have a hobby.
In the Dark Grace Bowland Monsters unseen are monsters accepted.
I Lit a Candle in Your Honor Today Michael Parrish All in the family.
Born K An Intuitive Step-By-Step Guide to Finding YouTube Black Jordan Accinelli and Jonas Lefkowitch An answer to You Tube Red.
Siren Song Tony Johnson He held the key to their relationship.
Over the Edge Crimson Clubs He would have given anything to leave the nest.
The Nightmare John Andreini The reality of nightmares
Streetlight J. L. Knight What you don’t see can’t hurt you.
As the Light of the World Went Out Matthew Jeffrey He must have made dad proud.
Ghosts of Ourselves Ashley Franz Holzmann Once again, don’t text and drive.
The Pagorian Sleep Cycle Nicholas Ong Getting a little help from the family.
Fair Game Kathryne H. When you find a good chess partner, you just want to hang on.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Michael Lee Brown The misunderstood life of Kim Jung Un.
The Mire Michael Parrish Don’t play with clay in Alabama.
The Tickle Monster Marty Hoefkes The demons the homeless might fight.
*Click* Marc Kinsville This story is literally a real switch.
Seventh-Inning Stretch Jonas Lefkowitch The monster within.
Sound Shadow Kristopher J. Patten Movement destroys a sound shadow.
My Parents Are Hiding Something Marty Hoefkes Some people should not have kids.
The Lost Boy Nicholas Ong Some searches don’t find anything but end in more loss.
Accidents Will Happen Dieben When simulations become reality.
Deprivation Marty Hoefkes After you lose everything …
The Higher You Fly Jordan Accinelli I didn’t believe it would happen.
Stare Grace Bowland Watching from beyond the grave
Medusa Dieben A pure heart and intent could overpower almost anything
Raised by Wolves Bill Leeson Tough Love.
Chesty Ashley Franz Holzmann A father’s love for a son.
Henry’s Eyes Jonas Lefkowitch True love gone too far.
The Deep Hell Nicholas Ong And then you become the bait.
The Canyon Cave Kristopher J. Patten Caves have lives too.
My Daughter’s Necklaces Marc Kinsville Leane made necklaces out of recycled material.
There’s No Such Thing J.A. Marshall A message from Stanley (via the monster).
Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple Michael Parrish Andy happened.
A Long Night Drive Tony Johnson You can, you must, go home again.
Welcome to the Club Michael Parrish Sam finally made the big time.
Sapper Mike Sundberg Underground truths.
The Test Dieben and Jonas Lefkowitch Unreasonable requests are sometimes fulfilled.
THE BONUS STORIES
Island Tony Johnson There may be a beginning of a new world. It was foretold in a phone booth and only cost a dime.
Four Peaks Spring Kristopher J. Patten A story about the loss of free will.
Spirit of the Party Crimson Clubs The greatest death of all would be a great party. But Becky turned down the final invitation.