Short Stories Challenge – Tell Me I’ll See You Again by Dennis Etchison from the collection A Book of Horrors

Published September 26, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s Tell Me I’ll See You Again all about?:

Tell Me I’ll See You Again explores the strange things that keep happening to a young boy who is struggling to cope with a family tragedy.

What did I think?:

This was a really interesting little story that I don’t think really fits into the horror genre of this collection but certainly had its eerie moments and the more I think about it, the better it gets. When the story opens, we are walking with a young girl called Sherron who spots a cricket falling to the ground where it lies motionless, appearing to be dead. She picks it up, puts it into her pocket and continues walking. This is relevant information I promise! Then something happens that makes her uneasy, she sees her neighbours van driving past and a young boy pursuing the vehicle on a bike. This is the son of the van driver, David Donohue and one of her best friends. She begins to follow and is instantly terrified when she hears what seems to be a collision which causes her to run to the site of the assumed accident, their other friend Vincent in tow.

Sherron and Vincent find their friend David in a tangled heap with his bike, his eyes closed and not responding to their voices. Curiouser still, Vincent doesn’t seem to be bothered in the least and it turns out the four friends used to stage mock accidents last summer and score each other out of ten. (Vincent scores him eight by the way as it doesn’t seem as if he is even breathing). By tapping his head gently but firmly against the ground, Sherron brings him round and although slightly confused, he does not seem any worse for the episode. The dead cricket in her pocket also comes back to life and she also revives a seemingly dead possum from the roadside where David lay. What on earth is going on?!

Then the reader finds out that David has been experiencing a lot of these “fake deaths” ever since his mother and brother were killed in a horrific accident. He hates it when his father leaves the house without him which is why he raced off in pursuit of him. David also has terrible thoughts which he confides to Sherron in the hope that she may understand. Sherron wants to try and help him but he is remarkably resistant to her efforts or her “science project,” as she deposits her now very alive cricket with a few other insects in a glass jar. Again… what is going on?!

The author speeds up the action and fast-forwards the years of the children, letting us know what happened and flooring us with a brilliant last line that tells us everything and yet nothing at all! I have so many questions about this story that will most likely remain unanswered. Perhaps the author leaves it up to his reader to fill in the gaps? I did find this frustrating but in a good way as it kept my brain ticking around the story. If you don’t like ambiguous endings, this might be a bit maddening as there is too much which is just left unsaid. As this is the first thing I’ve ever read of Dennis Etchison’s work, I will definitely be checking out what else he has written. Tell Me I’ll See You Again was a fantastic short read that I really enjoyed and left me with lots to think about.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT SHORT STORY: The Whisperer in Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft from the collection The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft

 

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6 comments on “Short Stories Challenge – Tell Me I’ll See You Again by Dennis Etchison from the collection A Book of Horrors

  • I must say Stephen Jones’ name on the cover is always a good recommendation to me – his collections are usually full of interesting stuff. I’ve just acquired his latest one – Horrorology – sounds perfect for Hallowe’en season!

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