Devolution Z – The Horror Magazine edited by Julia McAdams (2017) – I don’t read much horror, but this anthology included some excellent writing so I picked up my wooden stake, lit a few candles, and snuggled in to read some gore and listen for things that go bump in the night.
The Breed: Last Watch – A dying werewolf is surrounded by his friends and family and flashing back to when the Nazi’s captured and experimented on him and his kind before being rescued by an American werewolf/human squad in Dresden. Possibly the most sympathetic and heroic werewolf story you’ll ever read.
Justice – Deputy Alessa finds an infant slowly dying from being left in a hot car while the mother suntans with her friends at a nearby lake. Fortunately, Alessa is an aguane, a water fairy who, along with her sisters, takes babies to Fairyland and leaves a dead changeling in their place. To make sure the mother doesn’t cause a problem (and pays for her neglect), her sisters ensure she’s drowned. Just an average day in the life of an aguane (I had to look it up) passing as human.
Eyes Like a Butterfly – A man who watched his entire office get killed by a man with a gun decides to take matters into his own hands and take back his life. He carries a pistol, learns how to use it, and hits the dark alleys of town where a mysterious little girl in a red cloak is making people disappear. I don’t know which was scarier, the man so frightened that he becomes a man of violence or the red cape with teeth.
Sons of the Spider – A hiker wakes up a park ranger with an incredible tale of poking the eyes out of a giant spider and being pursued by hundreds of hatching eggs. Unfortunately, the ranger isn’t the savior he was thought to be. A little predictable but still very well written.
Rolling Zombie Bones – I don’t know what the editor was thinking, putting the best story in the middle, but this story was great for a couple reasons: the old man fired right before his retirement, the clever way the living have dealt with the zombies for forty years (they bury them in gravel pits in the north and continually steamroll them every day), the cold-hearted corporation that decides the zombie virus surely has run its course by now, and the old man’s plan to prove them wrong as they’re trying to drag him from the pit. Great world, great story, great character. I believed him when the old man said that the zombies were awake and just waiting to break out. When I finished reading the story, I looked around for my coat, and it’s almost 80 degrees outside!
In Tall Grass – When a new mother is attacked in the garden by a ferocious beast that toys with her, the reader knows we’re in an unusual perspective. We’re pretty sure the mother isn’t human, but we don’t know until the very last line exactly what kind of creature she is.
Deliver Me – A delivery man on his last day at work tries to make it back to the land of the living but his finger-munching boss makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
You Can Never Go Home Again – I love it when jerks get their just deserts. An the old man who threw it all away, including the plain woman he abandoned as a young man, returns home for his last days. Imagine his surprise when the young woman he left is patiently waiting for him.
Incident Zero is well named. A good cop/bad cop team happen upon the first victim of the zombie apocalypse, but they’re too concerned about what Internal Affairs has on the bad cop to really understand it’s the end of the world.
Homo Aquaticus – What happens in the future when mankind has moved beneath the oceans and mixes shark DNA with humans? I felt as if I was watching a movie as two young couples stumble upon the research center where everyone is dismembered and struggle to survive a creature whose only desire is to kill. Surprising ending.