Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Short fiction that creeps up on you

Baby's Breath

by Sydney Leigh

Publisher: Villipede Publications

Pub. Date: March, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Diane becomes pregnant and is fearful about how that will affect her husband. Her fear of losing him, coupled with her constant jealousy, transforms into a paranoia that is only confirmed by her husband increasing alienation from her. That is the starting point for Sydney Leigh's poignant and creepy short work of fiction, Baby Breath.

Baby's Breath is the kind of short fiction that excites me. It slowly sneaks up on you until the end when you are hit with the big surprise. The author has an eerie but literary style that is custom made for macabre story-telling and perfect for this particular story. This is psychological horror at its best, a brief study into a descent into madness. One of the things I like is that Diane, who narrates the tale, sounds somewhat understandable and sane as she continues her descent, a common person falling into the abyss. Yet the eerie feeling that she is not "all there" is present even at the beginning. It is easy to see why this was a finalist in the 2014 Bram Stoker Award nominations for best short story.

The edition I read was the signed limited edition chapbook of only 50 copies published by Villipede Publications. I feel safe to say that it is probably sold out by now. But fortunately for you, the story is also available in the anthology, Bugs: Tales That Slither, Creep, and Crawl from Old Ones Publishing. I have not read the collection but if Baby's Breath is typical, it must be one hell of a collection.

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