Short Story Review: “I Do the Work of the Bone Queen” by John R. Fultz

3 of 5 stars.

A unique voice with a hint of noir and evocative descriptions provide for a new, poetic take on supernatural horror. The narrator is many years dead having taken his own life and now an unbound spirit. That fact that humanity remains in the spirit and it senses horror is both comforting and disturbing.

I … willed myself higher, rising above the cracked pavement and the black rooftops of condemned buildings. The town snored below me, a neglected, dying organism rotting in its own filth. A heavy rain fell, passing through my ethereal self, and distant thunder rolled across the flat, grey horizon.

Among the slumped roofs and crumbling towers stood the abandoned factory, a shriveled heart that had once pumped lifeblood into the town.

Curiosity lures the ghost back to the factory only to find a grisly and macabre business has taken root behind the boarded windows. Monklike people formed an assembly line with raw meat, chunks of bone and sheets of skin as their component parts. Worse yet, they weren’t deconstructing, but constructing . . .

I hovered above the manufacturing tables, an unseen spirit watching the grisly work, and a deep horror surged to fill my bodiless form. What were these bloody sculptures and who were these faceless drones? What gruesome purpose did this installation serve? I imagine a work force of mass murderers engaged in the hopeless endeavor of reassembling the bodies of all those they had slain.

This rich opening feels like a prologue to a much longer story yet to be written. It opens a world unknown to the spirit and to the reader without crossing over the threshold.

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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