Beyond the Veil

Rated 4.75/5 based on 4 reviews
When a new arrival lands in hell, there's only so much one can do to help him adjust to his new surroundings. It doesn't make matters any easier when there's something worse awaiting your second death. "Beyond the Veil" is a short horror story by Gustavo Bondoni and Lyndon Perry. More
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Published by ResAliens Press
Words: 6,490
Language: English
ISBN: 9781476226170
About Lyndon Perry

Lyndon Perry writes a variety of speculative fiction, from fantasy and science fiction to mystery and spiritual thriller. He's also a middle school Language Arts teacher, part time swim coach, and drinker of coffee.

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Review by: Jeff Chapman on March 23, 2013 :
Horror stories often talk of hideous beings coming from hell. In Beyond the Veil, we go to hell, literally, and ultimately encounter something worse.

The story centers on Sir Richard of Aquitaine. Yes, that's Richard the Lionheart. He's spent over seven hundred years in hell when Yoshi, a man from modern-day Japan, drops into the midst of a battle. Richard drags Yoshi to safety and immediately though unintentionally insults the newcomer, calling him an Oriental.

“Yoshi,” [the newcomer] said finally. “An Oriental, really? What century are you from? And how come you speak perfect Japanese?”

Richard sighed. Oh well, better to get it over with as quickly as possible.

“We normally let one of the more experienced and empathic women do this, but, unfortunately, we never know when—or where—a new penitent will arrive. I really hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’re dead.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Yoshi replied, indignantly. “First you beat me to a pulp, and now this. I want to know what’s going on!”

Yoshi learns that Richard leads a band of people from various ethnic groups and time periods who are struggling to break through the wall of a huge black cone from under which new land emerges. Richard is convinced that heaven, or something better than their current situation, awaits them on the other side. Richard's "people" (he can't stop being a king) are opposed by an army of zombie-like creatures who used to be people but have given up their individuality to submit to a mob mentality. They are huge, hulking creatures but not very smart individually. Somehow they know of Richard's plans to punch a hole in the cone wall and are desperate to stop him. Plenty of zombie-style hacking awaits as the two groups come to blows in battles of ever increasing numbers (on the zombie side) and ferocity.

To their credit, Bondoni and Perry manage to convey the humor and ridiculousness of this horrible situation. The newcomer Yoshi acts as a foil to Richard and gives him an opportunity to explain their plight and answer questions the reader (also a stranger to this version of hell) might ask. My favorite scene comes when Yoshi sees Richard run through with a spear in one of the battles, but Richard appears none the worse for wear. Yoshi has a difficult time with the dissonance this scene creates and protests that "if somebody decides to poke me with a spear, I would most certainly feel it, and would probably have the decency to die." Richard explains with all the patience he can muster that their bodies in hell are like flesh and blood but are not. As Yoshi discovers, it takes time to wrap your head around the idea of being "dead."

Beyond the Veil comments on the human condition, which after death is not all that much different than during life. There's a ferocious war between us and them; a maniacal single-minded leader convinced beyond a doubt in the truth and ultimate success of his campaign; and a celebration of what can be achieved when vastly different people come together. But, Beyond the Veil is a horror story, and it works on an inversion. What if the dumb herd is right? What if all that Richard celebrates and represents leads to a horror beyond hell?
(review of free book)

Review by: H.G. Estok on Feb. 25, 2013 :
A chilling glimpse of the afterlife, this tale is full of fast-paced action and witty dialogue that will have you reading on the edge of your seat. Zombies, grotesque humanoids, ghoulish gnome-like ants, this story has it all -- even a knight to lead the charge against them.
(review of free book)

Review by: T.K. Toppin on Dec. 27, 2012 :
An interesting take on purgatory. The action jumps right at you with the first few opening lines, then takes you down an unusual path as our hero battles for what he thinks is freedom from the realm he's been placed in. Short and sweet but full of imagery and humorous dialogue.
(review of free book)

Review by: Walter Lazo on July 14, 2012 :
One of the best stories I've read this year--richly imaginative and well-written. As soon as I started reading, I knew this was something special, and will now be on the lookout for more works from this author.
(review of free book)

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