2 of 5 stars
An enjoyable haunted house tale leaning into the unknowns and the maybes lingers too long with its first postscript. Then unnecessarily and unwisely doubles down with a second postscript. The awkwardly expositional ending takes away from the tale with its lack of finesse after a solid build.
Tanya and Nathan decide to remake their lives after blindsiding layoffs. They turn to real estate opportunities in rural Vermont with an eye for opening a B&B. Better yet, they hope to cash in on “haunted B&B” chic for an extreme experience. The property they find has both the layout and murderous history that they desire.
But then the noises start. And the old woman appears and disappears in the garden. Nathan’s awkward trances. And, unreliable lighting and blackouts. . . Even Tanya the cynic becomes unraveled.
This would have been enough, but the tale doesn’t stop here. Keeping a subtle, more distant third person narration for the final Nathan scene would have been nice, as his thoughts were not projected for the bulk of the tale prior to this.
This story was included in the anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 edited by Paula Guran. I’ve previously read and reviewed this author’s solid “The Screams of Dragons” short story.
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