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

Nightmare #48, September 2016

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Nightmare #48, September 2016

Four Haunted Houses” by Adam-Troy Castro

"Little Widow" by Maria Dahvana Headley

Reviewed by Eric Kimminau

According to John Joseph Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Nightmare, “it is our hope that you’ll see where horror comes from, where it is now, and where it’s going.” With an open mind and a tinge of fear, I’m diving in.

Four Haunted Houses” by Adam-Troy Castro starts innocently enough, leading you into a false sense of security with a tale of a tame house, rumored to be haunted but instead turning out to be the bargain you always searched for. However, the tale of the second home sets the table for where you are headed. “After minutes, shivering despite the warmth of the day, you return inside, once again reconciled to your damnation.” Which leads to the tale of the third home, truly hell on earth which has lead to an “unending monotonous chase,” forever chasing the voice of the cries of your loved one and “a reunion you still believe in.” Screaming, you reach the fourth tale of a depressing, depressed family distraught in their personal haunting and suburban nightmare. I was drawn into the scenarios one by one and now will forever have them walking the hallways of my mind, their imprint apparent but never leaving traces of the haunted steps through the inches of gathered dust.

"Little Widow" by Maria Dahvana Headley is just… unexpected. It’s set in the town of Miracle, somewhere on the dirty road to California, site of a 1913 miracle raising of the dead. Three child/sister/widows of the preacher of a self-suicided cult goes from strange to creepy to holy crap where did that come from. This is truly a story for the dark and twisted that has to be experienced, relished, ending where you absolutely had no idea you would be when you began. Delicious.

I have enjoyed Nightmare. I have been scarred and disturbed and forever marred with the memories of a haunting and an ascension. Perhaps next month I shall have another eccentric perversion of reality create another lasting stain on my psyche.


Eric Kimminau is a BBS geek turned IT professional seeking those of like mind and character with whom I may share in wit and wisdom.