Dark Screams: Volume 7 edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar
Available: Kindle edition
After reading Dark Screams Volume 6, I knew I had to read Volume 7. Freeman and Chizmar have another great anthology here.
Robert McCammon weaves a tale of the “Lizardman”, who thinks he is the mightiest predator living in the Florida swamp, until he meets the real “big bad” lurking in the waters. Old Pope can drive people to madness and devour them quickly. What will become of the Lizardman when he meets the great beast?
James Renner’s story, “A Monster Comes to Ashdown Forest (in Which Christopher Robin Says Goodbye),” is both heartbreaking and terrifying at the same time. A caretaker working at a hospital at Dartmouth meets the real Christopher Robin, a seventy-five year old senile man who lived as a recluse so no one could find him and torment him about that silly old bear. There’s a very good reason why he wanted to forget the bear, the forest, and the carnage wrought beneath its trees.
Death comes to four families in “Furtherest” by Kaaron Warren. Grandpa Sheet, the old man living in one of the houses, rewards children who wander the dunes the furtherest where they find the graves of the boys who died. How far is the girl from House 1 willing to go out past the dunes?
Brian Hodge’s “West of Matamoros, North of Hell” is probably the most brutal story of the anthology. After the success of their latest album, Sebastián, Sofia, and Enrique head to Mexico for a photo shoot at a shrine to Santa Muerte, but instead they find themselves tormented and held prisoner by worshipers of the Saint of Death with others who have met the same fate. One by one, prisoners are dragged out of their dark enclosure. Unfortunately for those remaining it isn’t dark enough. Through one small window looking out to the giant statue of Santa Muerte, the prisoners witness the grisly sacrifices their captors make to their deity. However, when Sebastián and Enrique’s turns come, things are a little different.
A wolf is stalking Lieutenant Dietrich Drexler and his men through the Carpathian Mountains in “The Expedition” by Bill Schweigart. When Drexler is the only man left, he must take the news of what happened back to the Führer. Fortunately for Drexler, another fate awaits him.
Mick Garris’ story, “Snow Shadows,” revolves around a schoolteacher’s affair and a student’s infatuation that teaches a lesson in death and revenge.
While I enjoyed the sixth volume of the anthology more, Dark Screams Volume 7 was outstanding. I particularly enjoyed the story of Christopher Robin and the dark version of Pooh and the rest of the gang from the Hundred-Acre Wood. This volume is not to be missed if you have found this series. Recommended.
Contains: blood, brief sex, gore
Reviewed by Lizzy Walker