Written by: Vitina Molgaard
This is an interesting collection of twelve stories that the author himself chooses to label as weird horror fiction. Mr. Everington creates tales of a surreal and uncanny nature, and they’re awfully enjoyable. The horror here deals less with gore and more with the way people respond horrifically to negative or unconventional situations. Things like loneliness, fear, the isolation that comes with being different and those parts of life that leave us with regret.
Out of the multitude of options, which I feel could easily all be called excellent tales, I have chosen the following shorts to give you an idea of what to expect from this standout collection.
My first pick is the titular tale, The Other Room. Imagine a man so weary and tired of traveling and sleeping in hotels, that he has grown to hate his own life. With his marriage on the rocks and no desire to repair it, our character suddenly finds himself with an opportunity to do something different on his journey. But on the road he stumbles into the wrong hotel room, and everything this man has come to know as normalcy is suddenly twisted and contorted. This hotel room commands a special price, the question is: Can he afford to pay up?
Another shining tale is Red Route. Here we find Eliot, tired beyond exhaustion, driving along on the very highway which this story is named after, a byway he’s traveled more times than he can actually remember. There is a very annoying aspect of this roadway: the road signs. They bear postings of the death tolls that accumulate in increasing numbers as he proceeds along. This is one driver who begins to find himself wondering if getting behind the wheel of the car today was the wisest decision.
The Final Wish makes for another shiner. A man filled with grief, riddled with guilt should probably be very cautious as he wanders about aimlessly, wondering what — if any — worth his life holds before he makes any major wishes. And, wishing for a conclusion to existence is never an upbeat concept, but this fellow is about to discover that such a desire can be for more than bargained for.
My final pick is called, A Writers Word. The narrative focuses on a man (once a lover of words) who boards a train heading for home. As the journey progresses, things begin to unravel, his trek becoming more of a mystery than a familiar voyage. No longer does he find any recognizable signs indicating he’s headed in the proper direction. His fellow passengers also seem to be showing signs of hostility and anger towards him. Soon confusion and fear overwhelm him, as his bid to lean on what he knows best, words, completely fails him. The very words he loves and relies upon are not available to him anymore.
Mention should be made of a number of others here that are stand out stories. First Time Buyers, The Watchers and When The Walls Bend, are all haunting tales. These are all very well written works and will stick with readers. James Everington has done a masterful job, and I recommend you take time to get lost in this book.