Darcy Coates * 30 Mini-Bites Short Horror Story collection

After reading the Quarter to Midnight: Fifteen Horror Short Stories by Darcy Coates and The Haunting of Ashburn House * Darcy Coates * Book review, I decided to try one more. But you know what they say about good things (not that they come in 3’s) but that they eventually come to an end.

I was mildly intrigued but not scared by any of the stories and I think I went through the entire collection without the horror buzz I usually get when reading scary stories. Don’t get me wrong, some of Stephen King’s short stories had the same effect on me.

“You’ll do better to spend your time with the living.”

CONTENTS

1: Footsteps in the Night
2: The Dog’s Grave Digger
3: Flotsam
4: The Last Bus
5: House for Sale
6: Abandoned
7: Radio
8: The Resident
9: Bogrot
10: Beanie’s Fast Food
11: Ghost Town
12: 99 Messages
13: After Closing
14: Bunker
15: What Lives in the Woods
16: Quarantine
17: Room for Rent
18: The Woman in the Morgue
19: Great Aunt Enid
20: Overheard
21: The Cleaners
22: Left Behind
23: Diagen
24: Undeparted
25: Hazard Lights
26: Snow Hunting
27: Host
28: The Empty Church
30: The Sightless

The best stories

I liked “99 Messages” – a guy comes back home and has 99 messages on his answering machine. As he starts playing them back, he can hear someone telling him he will murder him and how he entered his house and how he is waiting for him. As the last message plays, the murder is behind him.

I also liked “Room for Rent” – a guy stumbles into a remote place where a mother and his child live. The child is fussy with his food and the mom sends him to his room. She tells the traveller that he is not eating well and has to be locked up at night since the last person who stayed over died. The guy is startled and as he turns around, she chokes him

The worst of the stories

Vivian clapped a hand over her mouth. She stepped onto her front porch and stared up and down the length of the road where, barely moments before, hundreds of souls had gathered. The sun had just barely breached the hill on the horizon, and its golden light spread across the road. Vivian rotated on the spot, staring at the empty street and the empty houses, as she found herself facing the idea of being the last person left on earth.

I didn’t get anything from most of the others. “Left behind” was the worst I believe where a woman is not taking part in the Rapture.
“Undeparted” – a guys sees his dead wife when fishing. Umm.. OK..

“Murderer,” she repeated, and her voice had developed an angry, dangerous note. Mark stumbled further back, but his foot became tangled in a water weed. He fell, and the icy billabong rushed over him to envelope him in its cruel embrace. As he struggled to pull himself upright, two horribly cold, viciously hard hands fixed around his neck. The woman’s eyes, maniacally wide and bloodshot, gloated at him.

It’s a good read but not as good as the others – 2/5

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