Short Thoughts on Short Fiction is a new monthly column that will focus on short stories. Each month we will review a small selection of short stories from anthologies, collections, and zines, both old and new. We want to acknowledge some of the great short fiction that’s out there, shine a light on emerging writers, and point readers in the direction of great fiction.
“Down, in Their World” (Romania) by Flavius Ardelean from The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories
This is one of those wonderful stories that has a a full, vibrant, and rich world in a small amount of pages. I was left wanting more. Even seemingly throw away moments were rich with possibility and life. Every character met leaves the scene or the moment and you are convinced you are convinced they live on. Oddly enough, I was reminded, just a little and at times, of Gwendolyn Kiste. Fans of hers should check this story out. Everyone else too.
“The Cistern” by Ronald Kelly from Dark Dixie: Tales of Southern Horror
The Cistern is straight out of the heart of Bradbury country, reminiscent of Something Wicked This Way Comes. A man returns to the small town he grew up in and discovers something sinister. All towns have local objects or places of legend, where something happened and the stories of it get passed down through the ages. Like a game of generational telephone, the details change or get shrouded over time. One such object is at the heart of this story. The creep factor escalates and turns into the stuff of nightmare. Can you ever really escape the town you came from?