Review: “The Quiet Room” by V. H. Leslie

5 of 5 stars.

When a member of a family dies, the absence is palpable, the silence roars. The situation is all the more complicated if relationships were unsettled before the death. This eerie tale perfectly composes the unsettling silence.

Terry finally has custody of his teenaged daughter, Ava, after years of spotty visitation and the death of his ex-wife, Prue. He purchases a 20-years-abandoned house in Ava’s school district to ease her transition. The only thing in the large 3-story house is a silenced piano in the ground floor music room to which Ava adds the urn of Prue’s ashes. Ava then retreats into the attic, claiming it over the empty bedrooms of the 2nd floor.

From here, sounds and silence take on a life of their own. Whispers behind closed doors. A music box that works and then doesn’t. A piano that does the same. A stereo that turns on seemingly on its own. The sounds of a house settling. And then no sounds–even from the old wooden stairs . . .

“The Quiet Room” appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books. It first appeared in Shadows and Tall Trees: 2014, ed. Michael Kelly (ChiZone Publications).

[Check out my other reviews here.]

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