Short Story Review: “Five Minutes or Less” by Michael Hudson

2 of 5 stars.

This vignette feels like the short pre-opening credits scene to an episode of the television show Supernatural in that it focuses on a person [and family] that we don’t know and then something horrific happens to them. In the case of the show, then the episode really begins and we might meet some characters that we will get to know and feel for. For this vignette, it’s just over without getting to know or care about anyone involved.

Ray Morland has a wife and 2 sons and an unsatisfactory middle class lifestyle. The wife and sons apparently don’t merit names in this tale as if Ray defines his wife merely as his wife and his sons only as his sons. Which seems unlikely, but possible. When one hears about a murder-suicide of a family by the father of said family, one must wonder if that is indeed the mentality of the perp–that the rest of the family is solely defined by him thus granting him rationale for snuffing out their lives before his own . . .

As Ray’s wife prepares dinner, the couple bicker a pointless fight while the sons upstairs do the same over a video game. Then comes a knock at the door from a missionary to the Old Gods out of Lovecraft. The message is one of imminence and brimstone. At first Ray starts to treat the stranger like he does the Mormon and Jehovah Witnesses that have come before. But then a dark portal opens in the sky and tentacles start to push through lending a certain weight to the sermon of needing a sacrifice to secure one’s place in the here-after. So, Ray borrows the stranger’s scythe and announces the guest’s arrival . . .

This tale appears in Whispers of the Abyss 2: The Horrors That Were and Shall Be edited by Kat Rocha. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through  
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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