Don’t Open The Door is a horror anthology edited by Cory Mason, who also wrote one of the stories, “The Locks.” I was attracted to the book by one of its other authors, Yawatta Hosby, an author whose works I read whenever an author alert appears. Cory Mason writes in a “Note From the Editor” that stories in the collection are “a study in what it means when the normal is a thin facade, and things are not as they seem.” (Kindle location 60). The point is important. Stories do not veer off into horribly twisted, shocking, gory twists. Life is normal …almost. Readers have something to look for to see if this theme is fulfilled. The group of stories is available on Kindle Unlimited as a free read.
Feed the Pigs – Augie Peterson ***** For many, the morning sight of the familiar, iconic yellow school bus evokes anticipation of another dreary school day. Taking the bus home means the beginning of daily chores. Not for this group of passengers. Are they happy or terrified to see the bus? Readers decide.
Nico’s Blood – Yawatta Hosby ***** Deanna was ready to begin taping the latest show in the reality TV series, but her husband, Nico, was late. The rest of the production crew was present, and they could only delay production time for a limited time. Otherwise, all their good work would be in the toilet.
Don’t Sleep – T.H. Willoughby ***** Something was dangerous for the involuntary subject. When he slept, something tried to take over his body and commit horrible acts. But the answer was simple. Don’t sleep. Ever.
Heart of Stone – J.A. Sullivan ***** Medical experimentation in the style of Dr. Jose Mengele hasn’t been done since WW II, right?
The Locks – Cory Mason ***** She had always kept her house doors and windows locked. So, why were they sometimes open when she came home? Later, finally adjusting to mysterious circumstances, she then came back to find her house doors and windows locked. What was going on? Although she never found out who it was, she knew for sure someone was giving her a hand.
Noah’s New Friend – Kimberly Wolkens ***** Finding kittens, puppies, birds; all of these might be excellent pets. White fuzzy things that administer shocks might not be the kind of pet you want to bring home. They were hard to train. Ask Noah. He tried.
The Dark Room – L.M. Du Preez ***** Dr. Grove helped people face their fears. June was afraid of the dark but was offered a lot of money to act as a subject in an experiment. June would have to face complete darkness for a set period. If June could do it, she would receive money. If June felt she had to give up, there was a safe word. June could quit at any time. But what if no one could hear the safe word?
Man Cave – Yawatta Hosby ***** Mary had lied to her husband about getting high. But she could get rid of the smell before he got home. How was Mary to know that he was back also? How was she to know that Mr. Perfect had lied to her too?
The Woman Of The House – A.J. Walker ***** Ivan had told Richard not to stay in the large house. Both women named Natalya (1 and 2) had told him the same thing. Richard had never gotten reliable information from anyone while on this trip to Russia. Why should Richard believe them now? Kikimora could tell him, but, then again, Richard is one of those people hard to convince.
Trapped in the Haunted House – Johvan Calvo ***** Leo challenged his younger brother to go through the funhouse without screaming. The brothers got separated, but when they were finally reunited, Leo had to pay off Mathew with the ice cream bet. But where did the Teddy Bear come from?
Chalk – T.H. Willoughby ***** There was a fight in the world to protect humans from Prey. Hunters had to find and kill Prey before more humans transformed. The Priest asks a fundamental question. It is the point of the story. Read the story to discover the mystery.
No More Time – Johvan Calvo ***** This vacuum salesman knew much more about Karen than he should have.
The Ten-Fingered Man – Luke Elliott Alphonso Jr. ***** This story is my favorite as it examines the nature of reality seen through a literary lens. This story contains my favorite quote from the collection. “ The job of a narrator is quite the arduous one; always on the periphery, always having to sit through the same ordeal any time they above decide to read through it. Having to try and bring life to suffering.” (location 3055).
A helpful “Author Bios” section follows the stories and is useful with hyperlinks that allow connections with new favorite authors readers may have discovered.
Throughout the stories, there are disturbing and unpredictable line breaks. Some sentences continue to the middle of the page for no reason such as unusually long expressions. In one case, a line ends with “Al-“ (at the half-page mark) and begins on the next line with “ready” (location 1480). No matter how good content might be, I would never give a rating higher than three for such a poorly formatted book. Stories and writing are generally good. Formatting is sloppy and lazy.