Short Story Review: “When We Change” by Mason Ian Bundschuh

3 of 5 stars.

The hardest part was not killing the kids, but cutting them up to fit in the furnace. All we had in the cabin was a carving knife and a small hand saw.

There’s no mincing genre with that opening line–this is horror, dehumanized and owned. Not flushing out into a full story, this tale remains a kernel which could have expanded into many directions without overstaying its welcome. More would have been more in this case. That is not to say that what little is offered doesn’t work–it does. It just doesn’t develop. Half of the tale is dealing with the living memories of the 2 deceased kids without offering any explanations.

Only two hints are given for what has led to this horrific opening action and those two hints don’t mesh easily together. 1) “We never should have moved back. I thought it had ended with the murder-suicide of my great-uncle so long ago.” So, it could be the house, or a haunt. Something supernatural is going on. 2) Later, the narrator’s wife acknowledges that she expects to change and she doesn’t want to live through it. Huh–not much to go on. She was reading the Innsmouth Times which references the Lovecraft Universe where people physically morph away from their humanity.

This tale appears in Whispers from the Abyss edited by Kat Rocha. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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