2 of 5 stars.
This short story recounts a television crew’s archaeological expedition into war-torn Sudan and their ensuing supernatural possession.
The crew, led by Goss and Hynde, find an easily overlooked ancient temple that contains a deep dry well at its core. The well is inscribed with a Sumerian relief of The Terrible Seven, which are a septet of apocalyptic demons or angels (depending on the source) known as the Maskim.
Hynde, on tape, starts to lecture on the archaeological context when, under the possession of one of the Terrible Seven, he starts to chant ancient verses of their arrival. Meanwhile, a sandstorm forms around the site and all communication cuts off . . .
The unsure nature of third-person identifying a possession and the psychologically compromised first-person recounting of a possession are depicted through a muddle of italics, quotes, and bold fonts. The resultant blur of human characters, Terrible Spirits, prophesy, dialogue, thoughts and actions does nothing to aid the plot. A longer form of tale would have time to build the mythos and establish clearer POVs.
“A Wish from a Bone” appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books. It first appeared in Fearful Symmetries, ed. Ellen Datlow (ChiZine Publications).
[Check out my other reviews here.]