Short Take: How many horrifying things can you fit into one short story? Apparently, ALL OF THEM.
I have mentioned before that short stories aren’t really my thing, but I was gifted a copy of this one in exchange for an honest review, so I figured why not? It’s only 30 or so pages, no great effort.
I was wrong.
You see, Patrick C. Greene has a gift. And he uses it in wonderful, terrible ways. He can fill a few short words, or a single sentence with a sense of dread and terror. And he has this way of giving the reader what they think they want, only to make you go oh no, wait, I didn’t want that AT ALL.
Ok, so I’m rambling. For such a small tale, there’s a lot to process here. The plot can be summed up very quickly. Brian and Wendell are a couple of perverts for hire, who create horrific child porn for a price. (Thankfully, the descriptions here are pretty spare, but I don’t know which is worse – seeing, or imagining. Anyway…) To that end, they kidnap Shelly, who is nine years old, blue-eyed, and adorable, and whisk her away to the remote forest where they usually do their dirty work.
But this time, it doesn’t go as planned, because Shelley has some awful tricks of her own up her sleeve.
So. There are a lot of “captive turns the tables on captors” stories out there. I’ve read a few, I’ve seen I-don’t-know-how-many movies about that. And I can say with complete and utter sincerity, The Abductors is not like any of them.
Shelly is terrifying, and probably not for the reasons most people are thinking. And what happens to Wendell… pure, concentrated, distilled nightmare fuel. As much as Greene holds back on the descriptions of Brian and Wendell’s plans for Shelly, he goes right on to the other extreme when detailing what happens to the guys. And I do mean extreme.
This is yet another review that’s hard to write, because I don’t want to give much away. There are a few spots I would love to quote, but in a story this short, every sentence has weight to it, every word adds something crucial, and I absolutely don’t want to spoil this for anyone who wants to read it. And I can say without reservation that if you’re a horror fan, you want to read this.
With the light on.
The Nerd’s Rating: FIVE HAPPY NEURONS