Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review The Chariots, The Horsemen by Stephanie Malia Morris.
Fiction Friday: The Chariots, The Horsemen
Happy Friday the 13th. It’s that unlucky day that for some reason, equate Friday and 13 as bad luck. So naturally, every so often in random parts of the calendar year, we celebrate all things unlucky. Black cats, broken mirrors, avoiding ladders, and dangerous camp-goers in hockey masks. And of course, spooky stories.
We’re doing something different in the celebration of bad luck with a haunting tale about disease and loss of will. Today’s short story is The Chariots, The Horsemen by Stephanie Malia Morris, as featured in Apex Magazine. You can find it here. It’s really short, but it manages to pack a chilling tale in such few words. So let’s give our luck a boost and review it.
The Chariots and The Horsemen
The story is about a daughter and her mother who succumbed to a curse where the main protagonist is able to float like a balloon, meant to fly away, but cannot as she’ll lose her family if she does. That’s essentially the basics without going too much into it. It’s a genuinely creepy tale that’s sure to give you a rough nights sleep. Not horrific, but creepy does the job sometimes.
The tale about a girl who flies up reminds me of an old tale by Shel Silverstein called “Falling Up.” It’s a collection of strange poems for kids and the title story was one that always gave me the creeps. This story reminded me of that, and it’s equally as spooky.
It also had some Poltergeist vibes with the horsemen (as in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which might be Pestilence here). The girl clawing at her skin and scratching herself bleeding was no doubt a dark moment. You know, like the scene where the dad’s face is peeling off.
The story is also a discussion on weight, too. The main character is “fat,” as she calls herself. The story explains she’s too heavy to float but does so eventually. I’m a bit beefy myself, but I can see it being some story of metaphor, like letting go of your weight and just being free.
Some people tend to be ashamed of their weight and would rather be thin. We have this concept that we have to be thin in order to be accepted. Many people in the past thought that. The sin, gluttony, doesn’t necessarily equate to overeating (the true is is hoarding all the food for yourself and not giving it to those who need it.).
I do think that mentality that fat is inherently bad needs to take a backseat and let people embrace their shape. I mean, sure, for some, people need to lose weight for health reasons (as long as you mix in a good balance of fruits and vegetables, and more water instead of soda, it’s better than nothing. Lost 10-15 pounds because of that).
This story is creepy, but uplifting. Be free of your self-hate and learn to let it all go. Granted, floating with no control is likely bad, but I think the message I got is to not let your own horrors get to you and embrace your own freedom. Be you, regardless of who you are.
The horror theme adds to it, because we’ve all been there, scared to show our pudgy goodness, but you know what? He proud. Be happy. Sure, tearing your skin off and floating aren’t healthy things for you, but your guilt is weighing you down (for our protagonist, literally).
That’s what I got out of that. It’s a creepy story that’ll punch you in the gut and make you embrace who you are…I guess…It’s also super creepy as any Apex Magazine story is, so don’t think too much of that. So happy Friday the 13th, and make sure your day is lucky. Also, if you plan on visiting Camp Crystal Lake anytime soon, I’d advise looking elsewhere. Unless you want to pay Mr. Voorhees a visit.
That’s all for today. Take care, have a lucky (or not-so-lucky) day, and remember, the inn is always open.
If you have any suggestions for future topics and reviews, hit me up on my social media channels and let me know your thoughts. I always read the feedback, even if I don’t respond. Your feedback is what keeps me going, so thank you for supporting me.
My Japanese Mythology-inspired short story, Do Not Stare Into The Eyes Of A Kitsune, is now available. You can buy it on Amazon or wherever ebooks are sold. Help a debut author make his debut worth it.
My next work will be titled “City of Kaiju,” a tale about an unlikely alliance between a young girl and her gigantic dog-dragon monster, as they survive chaos and disaster from a gigantic kaiju invasion. Part of a new Short Novel initiative, intended to fill in the gap between releases. Set for release within the Fall 2018/Winter 2019 period. Read more about it here)