2 of 5 stars.
This horror story is a psychologically compromised fever-dream crawling with beetles told in five vignettes numbered Five through One covering four points in the characters’ history jumping back one decade at a time. Neither the characters nor this reader could tell what was going on or real.
A true love triangle with deeply intimate relationships between each pairing enfolds Trevor, Oona and the female first-person speaker. In Five, the 37 y.o.s are not doing well. Trevor is newly divorced. The speaker has been ditched by a pregnant girlfriend. Oona is dead–it’s unclear how or why, but it was while studying beetles in the South Pacific. Trevor chants: Dead girl, dead girl, come alive. A specter of Oona appears and the front window of the pub where the two meet explodes.
Four: 27 y.o. Oona wants to play a game–Who’s Your Executioner? A vision of ghostly children, beetles and blood emerges . . .
Three: 17 y.o. Oona is the prom queen and singing a simple song to pick out a date and prom king. The chosen guy erupts into a vision of beetles and gore . . .
Two: 7 y.o. Oona wants to play Dead Girl, Dead Girl, Come Alive. Specters and beetles emerge . . .
One: The front window of the pub explodes amid specters of all ages of the trio and beetles. . .
“Who is Your Executioner?” appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books. It first appeared in Nightmare, November 2014.
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