Short Story Review: “Below the Falls” by Daniel Mills

4 of 5 stars.

Ghost stories come in many packages. Eerie and compelling, this one promises to be outside the box and yet a ghost story nevertheless.

A diary found in a psychiatric hospital reveals hints of layered family secrets. Despite missing pages and no witnesses to the events, a sordid narrative emerges of a small town girl in New Hampshire at the turn of the 20th Century who’s father has passed under dark circumstances. There’s also a friendly but removed paternal uncle that tries to write to the distressed lady, a clandestine love, a loveless marriage to her mother’s cousin in Boston and the grim, religious stepfather that’s moved her mother away to Vermont. The old house in NH along with any remnants is burned to the ground and plowed under . . .

Mix the hints together with the culturally oppressive role of women in society before WWI and, indeed, restless spirits abound.

This tale appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, I received directly from Prime Books.

 

 

 

[Check out my other reviews here.]

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