Hey there! I saw this in the Green Room and thought I'd drop by for a review for the first time since... June, apparently. So bear with me as I shake off the dust.I liked this story a lot. It was clever and full of a lot of interesting, creepy worldbuilding that drew me right in. I love the general idea of this cursed land populated by monsters cursed to immortality, and you do a great job of going into all the body horror implications of that.Your atmosphere at the beginning of the story was on point. You immediately establish the strange wrongness of this world. I especially loved the line "She opened the door, expecting another monster, for the tapping sound was hard like a claw. But the smell was human." Expecting a monster to knock on the door instead of a human is such a delicious piece of wrongness, perfect for horror.In general, I'm really fascinated by the mare and her life in such a forsaken world. I wonder why drives her to stay there, but still rescue people from the monsters rather than becoming one herself.Story-wise, I think my biggest point of critique is pacing. You have a really cool concept here, from the ever-living monsters to the dream-world fruit of immortality, but the way you showed off and explained that hurt the tension of the story. Basically, since this is a horror short story, I expected it to start off tense (which it did) and never let up - I expected to just always feel a little unsettled and off-kilter. Instead, once the man settled into the mare's house and started talking to her about his problem, I lost most if not all of the tension, because suddenly things felt normal again. Even though they were in a house in a creepy place talking about strange and bizarre things, the fact that they were sitting and chatting like friends, that there was no trace of conflict anymore besides the logical problem of what to do about the ring on his hand, made the tension fall flat for me. I kept expecting there to be something more - like that she would lose control of herself and attack him (after all, isn't she a monster too? maybe she would have those tendencies), or trick him into staying forever, because my horror instincts were saying he can't be welcomed into a creepy house in a cursed place and not have there be a catch. The final solution was really cool, though, and I loved the short scene at the end showing what became of the monster ("bony and full of hands is such a great descriptor"). I was just hoping for a little bit more conflict to drive the middle and end of the story, especially something about the mare that helps her feel a little more monstrous.Well, I meant to talk about other stuff, but I found that's really my only point of critique for the story, especially since the dialogue and descriptions were all great. The only thing I'd add is that the first time reading this, I skimmed over the explanation of the golden fruit and the mares, and I think that ties into the pacing issues I mentioned earlier - it was just slightly too much of an casual infodump when I was instead expecting escalating tension.Overall, I really enjoyed this story! A very cool read. Let me know if you have any questions about anything I said in this review. Good luck, keep writing, and happy Review Month!
Hey there! I saw this in the Green Room and the title interested me, so I thought I'd check it out
The world she lived in was a forgotten one. Intentionally forgotten, and avoided. The deepest, darkest depths of the north, turning with long days where the sun never set and long nights where it never rose. It was on one of those nights that the tapping came to her door.
She opened the door, expecting another monster, for the tapping sound was hard like a claw.
IHe was pressed beside it, against the wall of the hut, shivering in the snow and wind and cold.
He took out matches, and stoked the dead coals in the middle of the floor.
The hut warmed up.
He’d taken off most of his layers of coats, and she saw not only his hand, but his whole left arm was bone, and pale threads were creeping up his neck.
She could see things slowly falling into place in his head. “Night mare. Nightmare.”
Her gaze shifted to the floor. “But there’s nothing. There’s nothing here. Nothing but monsters without prey, eating each other alive.“Anyway, it wasn’t hard to figure out you didn’t exactly come for the scenery.”
‘Better him than me.’ he said.” His voice was bitter.
A golden, healing...flower, that can cure anything.
“Eating that’s in your best interest. Once the monsters are down your throat, they’re as close to dead as they can get.”
“So,” he began.“So. Where did the, um, old mares...get the fruit, exactly?”
She slipped out of it, like a butterfly from a chrysalis.
“Yeah?””And you know how what it needs for that is a hand? A living hand?” She said.“Yeah?”“And you know how cut-up pieces of monster keep growing after they’re cut up?” She said.“Yeah?”“And you know how back home, you make watermelons grow into shapes with moulds?” She said.“Yeah?”“And you know how I have this glove?”
She turned her head to look at the girl with a steely gaze. “Better it than you.”
I just-wow. This is awesome
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