Short Story Review: “Vic” by Maura McHugh

3 of 5 stars.

Subtle horror often comes from the lack of knowledge. A sheltered innocence can’t understand all the wrongs of its environment. However, it also cannot show the full picture through its various scrims.

In this short tale, Vic is a broken, sheltered kid watching the world through his “bedroom” window. The window where he spies the neighbor kids is one of his only pleasures, along with his library books. His parents don’t interact with him much.

Vic is the ultimate unreliable narrator. The extent of his situation is slow to reveal as the bandages become apparent. And he reveals that he doesn’t know the names of any neighbor kids. And he is surprised to find his door unlocked . . .

Even by the end of the tale, the mysteries have not been answered, merely compounded. To the end, Vic largely remains ignorant of his situation though gruesome memories start to bleed through the curtains of his mind.

This short story was included in the anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 edited by Paula Guran.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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