Six short stories. Very different, very good.
Eric Arvin wrote The Demon of Jericho. A sweet fantasy story of a young man who finds an angel. This angel winds up saving the village from the terrors of a bad demon. Fantasy’s not my favourite genre. I liked this one. It left me with a feeling of peace, regardless of the violence or gruesome details peppered here and there. The love story of the young man with his angel was sweet nonetheless.
Abigail Roux went with a war story, A Cruel Thing. I hate war stories in general. You’ll never catch me watching a WW2 movie even if Channing Tatum plays – and even dances – in it. This story was so touching, so real, so full of sincere emotions. I didn’t get too lost in the descriptions as it was mainly about a unit of soldiers during the events of December 1941, Pearl Harbour. Some soldiers fall in love with each other and promise life and love forever to each other. Some don’t make it home, obviously. Some do. I loved it. I’ll read it again, I’m sure. And until the end, you don’t know who the narrator is, or who lives and who dies. It’s fucking gripping. This one left me with a profound sadness and an urge to kiss my sleeping husband.
Wrong, by SJD Peterson, was a hard one to read for me. It’s not even BDSM, it’s plain and simple cruelty done to a guy who couldn’t deserve it more. He’s a true asshole, and that’s the part of him that’s used to bring him down a notch or three. I didn’t get this story, other than that. I had to skip a few lines because the descriptions were a bit too much for me. The thought that came to mind when I finished the story was “ouch”.
Anguish by Jason Huffman-Black is a narration of what is going through a man’s mind as he drives his car and the control he has over three other lives – which I didn’t understand how they were connected – by steering one way or another. Is it an impending accident? Don’t know. Didn’t understand. This one left me wondering what I didn’t get.
S.A. McAuley spun a really nice story in The Hotel Luz about two lovers who lost contact with each other but reunite at a hotel for lunch when one of them learns of the other’s difficulties. Is it too late? Is it the one that got away? Very nicely written, it’s poignant and a little sad.
And then the coup de grâce: John & Jackie by TJ Klune. Well. Let me tell you now it left me with… it didn’t leave me. Yet. This is the dedication at the beginning:
“To those who have ever loved with their whole hearts.”
How true. It’s a pure, sincere, lovely love story about two guys who meet when they’re twelve and live seventy-one years together. To say it’s beautiful seems trite but it is beautiful. In its purest form. The writing is honest and well versed.
Sorry my young readers: it’s not PG-13. It’s not even PG-16 because of Wrong. Stay away from this one until you’ve had some experience and know that not all sexual encounters are like that. It’s fiction, guys.