Smashing Saturday Shorts (12)

The Comfort of the Shriek, by Scott Crowder

Summary: When President Lincoln is shot dead, an apocalyptic cult worshiping in the swamps of Louisiana fears the end of days is near. When they find the apocalypse’s angel buried in mud, they know it. One of them, though, has decided the angel is not theirs to fawn over, it’s his. And he’ll do anything at all to keep it…

Thoughts: Wow. Just… wow! I was truly impressed by this story, the way it blended madness with possibility, the reality and despair of the situation that the reader finds themselves stumbling through.

The main character, Ryan, is a member of an apocalyptic cult that finds a statue in the swamp, which the priest of the cult declares to be an angel of God sent to bring the end times. Ryan hears the angel whisper in his mind, telling him to love her and to obey her. The cult, as is common, goes through an elaborate poison-drinking ritual to reach Heaven before God rains down his wrath on the world, and only Ryan plans on surviving, to finish off anybody who had second thoughts, because this is what the angel wanted.

You spend the story thinking that Ryan’s insane, but every once in a while you get little hints that make you start to wonder if perhaps there’s a method to his madness, if there really is something sinister about that statue. The ending reveals the truth, clearly and without room for doubt, but without going into an overly-long explanation of everything that happened.

Stylistically, I can’t find fault with this story at all. The language chosen was good, the pacing smooth and even. Even the formatting, which can be hit-or-miss with what you download from Smashwords, was dead-on. This is a story by someone with talent and dedication, and with a single exception, all of his stories on Smashwords are free, so I highly recommend you go and take a look at what he’s written. This is someone who can clearly go far, and I want to be there when it happens!

One comment on “Smashing Saturday Shorts (12)

  1. Good afternoon, Ms. Bridges. I'm Scott Crowder, the author of the short story reviewed here. I wanted to take a moment and thank you for your kind words. It really meant a lot that you took the time to read my work, much less write such a glowing review of it(I'm sorry if I sound like I'm gushing; this is the first time something like this has happened!). If you'd like, I'd love to send you a .pdf of my novella The House of Fists, not to ask that you review it (it doesn't fit in with what you seem to enjoy most here on your site; it's a brutal little suspense-bordering-on-horror piece), but just as a thank you for your effort.Again, I appreciate your kind words and I wish you all the best. Scott

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