Contemporary Southern Gothic meets weird horror in this new novelette from Priscilla Bettis.
Professor Claire Davenport yearns to be a mother. After suffering four miscarriages, the university microbiologist tries and fails to qualify as an adoptive mother. Then Claire’s husband leaves.
Alone and emotionally wounded, Claire takes a summer sabbatical from her microbiology classes and escapes to rural Virginia to heal. There, she meets local farmers with strange agricultural practices.
Claire moves into the historic manor house she rented for the summer, and an abandoned child greets her. Is the child real, an answer to her prayers? Or is he a figment of her tormented emotions? Perhaps the tight-knit locals are playing a trick on the science lady from the city.
Whatever the boy’s origin, Claire is determined to find the truth, but the truth may be bloody.
I’ve been anxiously anticipating this novelette after reading the description on the author’s blog. Southern Gothic, weird horror, and a historic manor house? Everything about that calls out to the horror fan in me.
What’s so scary about a hay bale you ask? Plenty. To microbiologist Claire, it can be a breeding ground for fungus and disease. It may also hide something else. Reeling after suffering four miscarriages, failing to qualify as an adoptive mother, and separating from her husband, Claire takes a step back from her life and rents a house in a small town for the summer where she can begin to heal. That small town is filled with odd people, and she soon learns disturbing information about her new home. And that’s on top of the fact that it also seems to be inhabited by the ghost of a young boy.
Atmospheric, unsettling, and full of creepy imagery (I felt some Midsommar vibes), this horror novelette can be easily read in an hour and will stick with you long after finishing. I’m anxious to see what this author does next.