Review: “Mr. Hill’s Death” by S. L. Gilbow

4 of 5 stars.

This tale of the uncanny presents a supernatural enigma amid growing horror for Mr. Hill–who is going to die, and it will be tragic. The 50-second dashboard-cam video clip of Mr. Hill’s yellow convertible tearing down a rural road and ending wrapped around a tree is all over YouTube with the title “Tragic Car Wreck”.

11th Grade English teacher, Mr. Hill, allows his students to present an extra credit report on a literary tone. Emily Williams presents tragic to which she’s provided a verbatim dictionary definition of tragic and tragedy, a MacBeth quote [Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow…], a diorama of a horror film beheading, and finally a YouTube clip entitled “Tragic Car Wreck”. Mr. Hill fears that she doesn’t appreciate the concept of the tragic hero, a noble person that undeservedly suffers tragedy. One of his students points out that the car in the final clip looks like Mr. Hill’s, to which he agrees.

Later, he finds the clip on his classroom hard drive and starts obsessively rewatching it. He cannot make out the driver nor the license plate, but neither can he make out a single difference between his car and the car in the clip. He deletes the clip.

It reappears.

He changes the name. It reverts back. He notes the upload date–one month in the future. He trades in the yellow convertible for a black SUV.

A Mr. Williams buys the car for his daughter, Emily . . .

“Mr. Hill’s Death” appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books. It first appeared in The Dark, Issue 4.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

2 responses to “Review: “Mr. Hill’s Death” by S. L. Gilbow

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