‘Bones’ brings together four chilling ghost stories by award winning writer-director Andrew Cull. Four monsters collected in paperback for the first time.
‘Did You Forget About Me?’
“He had written to me a month or so before he died. I’d ignored the letter the same way I’d ignored all the others.”
When Cam Miller returns to the town he grew up in he’s heading to clear his estranged father’s farmhouse. He’s also returning to the house he fled 23 years before. There, among the nicotine stained keepsakes and remnants of a broken life, he’ll come face to face with a horror that has waited all those years for his return.
“It’s you he wants.”
‘Hope and Walker’
“We were both 10. But he was dead. And I sat drawing him.”
Em Walker is just like any other 10-year-old girl growing up in the small, outback town of Hope. That is, except for the fact that her Dad runs one of the town’s two funeral parlours, and the dead have just started speaking to her…
When Hope is rocked by a terrible crime, Em, stubborn, scared of spiders, and with a temper that’s likely to get her into trouble, will find herself thrust into the middle of a dangerous hunt for the truth.
“Being scared’s good,” Grandpa Walker had told me once. “Stops us from doing stupid things.” It hadn’t stopped me.
That summer should have been filled with laughter, with slip n’ slides in the yard, lazy afternoons lying watching ice cream clouds swirling through the blue sky, melting in slow motion. I watched a plane rising high above our house. From the ground it looked completely still, as if it hung suspended in the air, a model on a string. I wished I was on it, I wished I could escape. I was seven and that was the summer death stalked our home.
It began with the offerings…
‘Knock and You Will See Me’
“We buried Dad in the winter. It wasn’t until the spring that we heard from him again.”
When grieving Ellie Ray finds a crumpled, handwritten note from her recently deceased father, hidden behind the couch, she assumes that her middle boy, Max, left it there. It has a single word written on it: WHY. But, as more and more letters begin to appear throughout the house, Ellie and her three boys will find themselves dragged into a deeply sinister mystery surrounding her father’s death.
“Dad? I looked down at the scribbled note in my hand, at the words torn into the paper. What had started as a whisper had grown louder, more desperate. The words had been screamed onto the page. Dad? Please. What’s going on?”
‘Bones’ Four Stories. Four Monsters.
Bones by Andrew Cull is a brilliantly written, deliciously short collection of short stories and a novella that I’m glad to have on my shelf. I received the book sometime last year, and after completing it, I really wish I’d read it sooner. Once again Cull proves to me that he’s an exceptional writer when it comes to horror–and in the case of one story in this collection, he shows his ability to rend hearts.
The first story in this collection, “Did You Forget About Me?”, is a delightfully eerie take on an urban legend localized to Thatcham, Berkshire. Fast-paced and entertaining, my only complaint with this one is the fact that it jumps around a lot and can be really hard to follow. The characters are well-written, and the camaraderie between brother and sister really shows.
“Hope and Walker” is by far my favorite of the stories in this collection, despite the fact it’s not scary. If anything, it’s heartbreaking and sad, with a perfectly melancholic tone to it. It takes place in a small town, which to me is extremely familiar so I felt right at home reading it–even if I did have to look up a few things, such as what Redskins are. By the way, they’re apparently a raspberry chewy candy!
Coming in third is the story “The Trade”, in which a family receives downright disturbing “offerings” at the back door of their house. Assuming it’s foxes, the story continues on to take a very dark, sad turn that almost left me in tears.
Following the novella is a very short piece that could be considered flash fiction. Entitled “The Rambling Man”, this little tale is one that, in a matter of pages, takes you on a creepy ride that reminds you exactly how preposterous the beliefs of some people can be. It’s an absolute must read, but easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, as this little gem is not listed in the table of contents.
Overall, I adored this collection. I look forward, as before, to more of Cull’s work. I love his style, his descriptions, and his ability to put a sense of urgency into what he writes.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.