Five Stories Ya Gotta Read – July 2020

It’s time for another Five Stories Ya Gotta Read!

Rust and Bones’ by Craig Davidson from The New Black ed. Richard Thomas.

This was my very first read of anything by Craig Davidson. It is the vivid story of a broken boxer’s life. You feel every bone crunching punch and the blood spray from head wounds. Such a strong story with a huge ‘gut punch’. I will be seeking out more of Craig’s work.

Welcome to the Reptile House’ by Stephen Graham Jones from his collection After All of the People Lights Have Gone Off.

After the people lights have gone off, book cover

I have read Stephen Graham Jones before; a novella called The Night Cyclist. The novella was good, but it does not hold a candle to the stories in this collection. Almost every one of these is a home run for me. This story is one of the earlier ones in the collection. Tattoos, morgues, and vampires. That’s all I’ll give you on this one. Now go read some SGJ!

Ted the Caver

Okay, now this one is a bit of internet history. And I have no clue how I missed out on it for so long. First, let me say that found footage horror flicks are a guilty pleasure of mine. Especially ones about people getting lost in the wilderness(The Blair Witch Project), or underground(As Above, So Below). This story was the Creepy Pasta equivalent of everything I love about those movies. I’d tell you more, but that would spoil the fun. This one’s free online, so go read it!

Afterward, check out this article if you’d like to learn more about it:

‘Pretty Little Butterflies’ by Tim Waggoner from the Shallow Waters anthology ed. Joe Mynhardt.

So, I’m pretty new to flash fiction. I haven’t read a lot of it, nor have I written much of it. From this anthology I have learned that I must remedy this dire situation. The book is a wonderful dive into what can be done in horror flash fiction. This story in particular shook me a bit. I did not anticipate the imagery at all. Again, I would tell you more, but that would spoil the fun. Okay, I’ll give you one thing: butterflies!

‘Skullpocket’ by Nathan Ballingrud from his Wounds collection.

Wounds book cover

That last story for this month is a doozy. Nathan Ballingrud’s writing is always amazing. I’ve yet to come across one of his works that doesn’t blow me away. He takes things in directions that should not work. And, not only does he make it work, he makes it completely believable in every way possible. This story is grotesque and strange and violent and … It’s just good, okay. This one tracks the origins of a strange festival in a small town controlled by an un-dead lord of sorts. Really, this whole book is required reading in the genre. I’ll say this one last time today: Read It!

And that’s it! At least for this month. Come back in August for five more awesome short stories ya gotta read!


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