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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Nightmare #2, November 2012

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Nightmare #2, November 2012

 
“Construction Project” by Desirina Boskovich
“At Lorn Hall” by Ramsey Campbell

Reviewed by Cyd Athens

This issue of Nightmare is the first to contain a mix of reprints and new stories. The reprints, “Graves” by Joe Haldeman, and “The Ash of Memory, the Dust of Desire” by Poppy Z. Brite, which will not be reviewed here, are sandwiched between two delicious new horror tales.

Desirina Boskovich leads off with “Construction Project,” a story about a young couple, Eli and Sarah, who are clearly in love. And they are racing against time to build a sanctuary and secure their third-floor apartment against a heinous beast. Beginning in August, they toil to complete their safe room. Their dedication speaks to both the seriousness and the urgency of the undertaking. This project requires considerable time and effort, but they persevere until November, when it is completed. Then, all that is left is to wait and see if their efforts have ensured their survival.

One can only imagine, and try to avoid, the type of otherworldly monster that would drive someone to the lengths presented here. Though the story is dense and complex, it is a fast read.

Even the furniture in Ramsey Campbell’s haunted house tale, “At Lorn Hall,” is foreboding. The sofas are senile and obese; spiders have lent extra patterns to the doilies; and, every room has a portrait of the lord of the manor, Lord Crowcross. His images are sinister enough to make one wonder if Crowcross is, perhaps, related to Dorian Gray.

Randolph, out for a drive and, spared the company of his wife or children, decides to stop at Lorn Hall and take shelter from the rain. Other than a parked van, the property seems deserted. Randolph enters anyway, drops a few coins in a box marked HONESTY, takes a set of headphones from a box marked TOUR, and begins to walk through the place. Plenty of shivers here sans slashing or violence.

Cyd Athens indulges a speculative fiction addiction from 45ø 29 30.65 N, 122ø 35 30.91 W.