Dark and Darker Stories

The Amazon page for Night Asylum by Douglas Clegg describes the novel as a collection of tales of mystery and horror. There are eighteen short stories and three samples from other Clegg novels. The eighteen short stories were so interesting I almost abandoned my usual practice of not reading the samples. I don’t read the teasers at the end of a novel for the same reason that I don’t go grocery shopping when I am hungry. Food that I previously found desirable when in the store populates the farthest reaches of all my refrigerator shelves. My TBR shelves have collapsed a few times. Still, I was tempted to read the samples by the variety of writing styles I found throughout the short stories. I’ll just pick ONE of Clegg’s longer novels to download. Not one of the samples, rather The Priest of Blood: A Dark Fantasy Vampire Epic (The Vampyricon Book 1) is listed on Amazon for USD 0.00 and is my next Clegg read.

The Stain                     Readers might think about the lives of foreign workers, especially children when purchasing their next “made in …” product. Five points on a ten-point horror scale.

The American              You might think you can see the ending of this story coming. But can you be sure? Five points on a ten-point horror scale.

Belinda in the Pool     This is a very complex short story with a lot of meaning for a parent watching a child grow up. Did Dad ever really understand Belinda? Readers decide. Only three points on the ten-point horror scale.

The Skin of the World             What would you sacrifice for family bliss? How about a member of the family? Seven points on a ten-point horror scale.

A Madness of Starlings           He, along with his wife and two sons, had taken in the injured bird for only five days before it became well enough to return to the wild. Those five days altered all their lives for the rest of their lives. Six points on a ten-point horror scale.

Subway Turnstile         Davy had an important message for the woman who helped him and his dad. It wasn’t the “thank you” she expected. Seven points on a ten-point horror scale.

Where Flies Are Born             Ellen was right about her abusive husband Frank. She was right to protect Joey, their son. She was wrong about Papa Neeson. He was not abusive towards his children. And when Ellen needed help with Joey, it was Mom and Pop Neeson she turned to. Seven points on a ten-point horror scale.

Becoming Men            Boot Camp was rough. The one they were in had to be illegal. Overly zealous staff members had killed one kid. Ralph knew he had to join other inmates at the camp in a plot to escape, even if they had to kill the guard staff to do it. Seven points on a ten-point horror scale.

People Who Love Life             Irene thought she died. She welcomed death. Sometimes it seemed she had died many times but there was always that pesky preacher who brought her back. Seven points on the ten-point horror scale.

Fries With That?         Many of us have heard the phrase “He/She fried their brains.” In this story, it is almost literal. Brains fried should be fresh, kept too long, the resultant dish might be lethal. And then there is the school shooting. Eight points on the ten-point horror scale.

The Machinery of Night          This educational story will leave the reader with a new appreciation of physics theory that explains how molecules move and reshape in the dark (of course). Why never in the light? Eight points on a ten-point horror scale.

The Wolf                      The bounty hunter made a good mentor for the younger boy, a hunter who still had a lot to learn. That is why the girlfriend’s father hired the experienced hunter and tracker to teach the boy. Eight and one-half points on a ten-point horror scale.

The Wicked                  A serial killer may have just met his match. Strange, unlucky coincidences had been happening all day. Then Mike met Charlie. Nine points on a ten-point horror scale.

265 and Heaven          Keeping the family together requires sacrifice. Eight points on the ten-point horror scale.

Ice Palace       Fraternity hazing is not new. Sometimes it goes too far. Here is an example. This story is told in a different “voice” than all the others. Nine points on a ten-point horror scale.

Why My Doll is Evil                This is a poem about a creepy voyeur doll. Eight points on a ten- point horror scale.

The Five          Naomi found a safe place where the Five lived. Some walls were broken down but she knew how to rebuild them. Nine points on a ten-point horror scale.

The Dark Game          This is the last and darkest story in the collection. Gordon, or Gordie, or the Captain grows to love being dominated, whipped, and tortured so much that he found a way to use his experiences in a more positive way. He invented The Dark Game. Ten on a scale of ten.

The stories became increasingly darker from the first story through number eighteen. The Dark Game is very psychologically disturbing. I gave the overall collection five Amazon stars. Only Ice Palace has language and situations that may disturb readers turned off by sexual language.

 

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