Archive for February, 2009
Title: Bumps in the Night
Author: William Todd
Format: Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) Also available in HTML and Microsoft Lit
File Size: 473kb Unzipped (.pdf).
Number of Pages: 111
Summary: A collection of nine chilling short stories of the supernatural and the macabre.
Author Bio: William Todd has been writing online for almost ten years. He was the third most popular author on the website Storiesbyemail.com before it shut down. He has an 8 year old son Kiaran, who is a budding author himself, and a 6 year old daughter Alina, who has Down’s Syndrome. He and his wife Joan have been married for 10 years, and make Erie, PA their home. When not writing, he is a full time histologist and a part time pathologist assistant at a local hospital. His hobbies are writing, running, reading, and watching old movies.
Bumps in the Night hits a few bumps in the road in its endeavor to terrify the reader, The Whitaker House Curse
The Whitaker House Curseis a first-person account in which the protagonist hurriedly relates his fateful tale under threat of an imminent deadline. It has such great voice I almost felt I was reading something from Edgar Allen Poe. However, the epilogue seemed a bit tacked on and unnecessary, and it almost ruined the ending for me. I think the story would be better without it. On the other hand, Jack, a chilling first-person take on the infamous serial killer, probably has the most surprising–and ultimately,
Rounding out my favorites of the bunch are The Night Stalker and Bumps in the Night. In The Night Stalker, a prostitute suspects her latest john may just be a killer when he drives her down a dark, isolated road. The second half of the story is terrifying, and I loved the ending. Bumps in the Night is told from the viewpoint of a Down Syndrome girl–a delightful young protagonist with a fresh, new voice–who once a month listens to the horrifying sounds of her father’s transformations. My only quibble with this story is that because it’s written with Todd’s wonderful slightly turn-of-the-century tone, the mention of computers by the protagonist jarred me; until then my mind’s eye had placed the setting in the distant past, not modern times.
Similarly, the characters in The People Under The River speak like 1930’s gangsters, so their references to 1970’s pop culture (and use of a weapon created in the 80’s) made me reorient my initial impression of the time period. This story, in which two killers’ dumping ground is at risk of discovery by an innocent young couple, is the least frightening, since it doesn’t deal with anything supernatural, though it has a satisfying ending. The malevolent entity encountered in Ghost Hunters had the potential to be the most terrifying for me, but the ending fizzled instead of sizzled. The same was true for The Delivery, in which a scientifically-minded courier has his beliefs turned inside out, though the narrative benefits from Todd’s period tone of voice.