by Vanessa Finaughty
I must confess; I gave up vampires long ago. There was a time when I devoured each new offering from Anne Rice, whose vampires, though certainly camp, were neither ‘sparkling in the sun’ nor dancing in forest glades with bare torsos and buff abdomens like some of today’s cinematic offerings are wont to do. Thankfully, Vanessa Finaughty offers up none of this. By self admission, her protagonist confesses to the horrors he has committed – one of which provides a nice shock for the reader – and leads him to the day of reckoning for himself and that of his kin as he stares bleakly at self-destruction.
Of course though, the writer’s cleverer than that; it is not just the vampire that must make a choice, but us. We are the ones staring into the void with the power at our fingertips to make just that change. Can we do it? I doubt it.
This is a finely crafted story that does just what a short story should do; it grabs you in the first few paragraphs and leads you swiftly to the conclusion. I shall certainly read more of this author’s work.
Michelle van Wyk is an unlucky person indeed. She thought her troubles over with the death of the malevolent Matthieu and was looking forward to a life of normality. Unfortunately for her, the deceased’s spirit has other ideas and begins a haunting campaign against her. To make matters worse she has stolen his ashes.
Matthieu is not the only one intent on regaining the remains - his brother Pierre wants them too – though not to scatter them, but to perform a satanic rite upon a snowy mountainside. Pierre and Michelle begin a frantic journey to rid them of Matthieu’s spirit and are both unsure of the obsessive feelings they have for each other. Is it love, lust, obsession, or are both of them equally crazed?
Male readers might feel it a little uncomfortable being so close to a woman’s thoughts and to feel the inner workings of the female mind and its complexities. On completion I wasn’t sure which I knew better; Michelle or the author. If I were to meet the author in the flesh I would take care to place the coffee cup on a coaster and not the table, just to be on the safe side!
This story is very competently told and the interactions with the poltergeist are genuinely spooky, and I didn’t second guess the ending at all.