Short Story Review: “Echoes in Porcelain” by Konstantine Paradias

3 of 5 stars.

This rather short tale manages to veer through twists of humor and turns of absurdism landing in some very unexpected places, especially once it starts quoting Lovecraft and then applying those lessons in surprising ways. The title politely echoes the opening lines:

For Gladys, it all started when the voices started whispering from her toilet bowl.

It took her a while before she realized it, as this problem began the way all great problems do: subtly, without warning and at the worst possible moment.

Gladys had been having bowel trouble, when she heard the first whispers. Distorted by the echo in the toilet bowl . . .

Voices in the toilet are followed by the vanity mirror breaking and then a little head and eyes appearing above the rim of the toilet. The poor woman has every reason to be freaked. The creatures [speaking mocking English to the distraught lady] are both rat-like and not at the same time. She calls an exterminator. And they exterminate him. Without leaving evidence. The police obligingly take a statement from hysterical Gladys.

At this point, the tale takes the first of its two jarring breaks from its narrative and voice for lengthy quotes from Lovecraft. It’s needed information for the tale, but it also could have preceded the tale and been trimmed down so as to let the tale unspool more smoothly, if not still surprisingly. The quotes concern the Deep Sea city of R’lyeh and the rising of the “drownies,” its inhabitants that took to the coastal cities. Likewise coming to shore was the unsettling pests of R’lyeh.

After weeks of consulting psychics, psychiatrists, priests and a plethora of other “p”-occupations for help but to no avail, Gladys heads to the ghetto where the drownies live . . .

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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