Review: “The Changeling” by Sarah Langan

4 of 5 stars.

A Japanese-style horror film could be easily adapted from this short dark tale not encumbered by sentimentality and expectation.

A strange gray-skinned, hairy child is born to a young couple that don’t know what to do with her. She won’t take the breast, cries non-stop, and never learns to speak. Nannies come and go and the neglect builds until the parents knowingly abandon their unloved child to her own fate at about aged four.

The dead come for her, but take pity recognizing her as kin. For a dozen years, she remains underground suckling off the blood of the dead. Then she goes to hunt for them, finding abandoned children, then unwanted and abused children, then perfectly healthy happy children. Rarely does she pity them before handing them over to be fed on.

One day, she recognizes a familiar house and nursery while coveting the perfect boy asleep inside. He awakens and recognizes her as his sister . . .

This tale appears in Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters edited by John Langan and Paul Tremblay after originally appearing in Phantom Issue Zero.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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