Weekend’s here in Wyoming! Six teenagers bolted out of school to embark on a journey together across the borders to Canada. Heading North to Canada they passed an uncanny town to fill up gas. Shops were quiet and seemed closed down and they all felt the awkward silence that resonated through the town. Like most teenagers, their main focus of the weekend was to party and get back to their habitual ways back home, but things did not turn out the way they have expected. They got to the party, but their return journey home left no stones unturned with the horror that awaited them. The stomach-churning and blood-curdling series of events could have easily been an episode of American Horror Story – Roanoke. The only difference is this is really happening, unlike Roanoke’s legendary stories.

Meanwhile way down South of the world, Cecilia was sitting in her grandparents' car, on the N2 Highway towards Somerset West in Cape Town. She had no other option but to start a new life living with her grandparents. She sat in a lucid state in the car, when it appeared! The hand! It startled her to move away from the window. Cecilia could have imagined it if only she did not actually see a hand print left on the window of the car. As she started examining the handprint after re-assuring her grandparents that everything is ok. She heard another loud thud, this time on the opposite side of the car and as the thud reached the window, the fingers bent for the nails to reach the glass and the hand dragged down the span of the window. Cecilia held her hands over her ears trying to block the screeching sound. Her grandmother observed her actions and asked what was wrong, to which Cecilia ask her, where was the mist. There was no mist! Was all this in just in Cecilia’s imagination or was there really something sinister and dark going on? Will therapy help her or was she knocking on close doors with ‘no entry’ signs, again?

And not so far off we find George, waking up with terror sweats, with uncontrollable nightmares of the past. He gets an email from Harry who he was sure he saw die; well there was certainly no way he could have survived any catastrophe such as that. His screaming panics and autistic reactions would put a strain on any marriage but his wife stayed with him through it all, wanting to understand and comprehend the fatalities that have happened a year ago, if only he would open up and talk to her. With Harry’s email, the opportunity presented itself to her that will take her on a physical journey that will help her understand what happened. George did not want her to go with her but there was no way she would have allowed him to go without her. What they both were in store for may have been worse than George’s prior experience. Was it really true that Harry was still alive? Will Mary, his wife now inevitably understand what happened, or would they all live to tell one more tale?

Unfortunately, the stories told here did not invoke terror in me, where I would not close my eyes to sleep at night, as that is what an excellent horror would do. This could probably be due to the fact that I watch so much horror movies and read so many horror books that I have gotten immune to the effects of horror on me. The important thing for me in any story is to keep me captivated till the end and keeps you wanting more, even when the end is over, so these stories satisfied this need in me on most levels of storytelling.

On the whole, each piece was fairly good and well written. These short stories had me gripped and engaged. The twists, turns and suspense kept me enthralled with every flip of a page. I wanted more than a short story and did not want it to just end where it ended. This Anthology is full of blood-curdling, cannibalistic, sinister, dark, gloomy and broken characters. For a discerning reader like me, I would definitely pick up this book in a bookstore or library to read. I could not choose a favourite amongst them as they all spoke the same language to me. But if I wanted to know more about any particular story and wanted it turned into a novel, I would definitely like to see that materialise with Stonehurst and Curse Of The Forgotten Evil, and maybe Initiation. I am looking forward to Volume 2 of this anthology.


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Pragashnie Naidoo