ORDER A COPY: The Noctuary
Publisher: Damnation Books
Publishing Date: December 1, 2011
eBook: 56 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Struggling writer Simon Ryan’s life has gone to Hell.
Shadows are pouring into his reality and his words are not his own anymore. He has been chosen to become a scribe for some of the worst creatures of the Underworld–the ones whose sole purpose is to torment human souls–The Dark Muses.
As Simon writes he falls deeper into the abyss and before long he has no sense of what is real. With the help of another scribe, old and mutilated, Simon comes to discover that his writing can mould people and places–that he can write things out of existence.
To become a scribe he has to pass a test and the Muses offer him a chance to rewrite his horrible past. All Simon has to decide is how the story ends.
The Noctuary is a short story in the genre of Horror. Simon Ryan is a writer who has had a traumatic childhood. His dark writings have attacked the attention of one of the Dark Muses from Hell. To prove to Simon his potential writing powers, Meknok gives Simon an opportunity to re-write his childhood in exchange for becoming a scribe for Meknok. Simon learns that trying to re-write your past and control your life is a lot harder then the stroke of a pen.
As a long time fan of Stephen King, I have read many, many of these bizarre story concepts, and I will admit at the end I had to stop a moment and think about the story as a whole. For a short story, it is broken up into two parts: one where Simon meets the dark muse who is trying to tempt Simon to write dark stories for him; and the second part is where Simon tries to re-write his past. Both parts of the story were very well written, and show that Greg can write various types of horror stories, one being the creepy, boogeyman hiding in the closet type, and the almost scarier, dangerous human with no moral compass and their only pleasure is in the fear and pain they cause others.
It was an intriguing story and gives us a taste of Greg Chapman’s writing talent.
My only issue is that this short story is only 56 pages, but is listed on Amazon for $4.50 which seems very, very steep for a short story.
Received review copy from the author. Thank you.
“Your father…” he says, sneering.
My father—what about my father? How does Meknok know about my father?
“I know your very soul, Simon, sometimes I feel it is my own.” He touches my face and traces the marks where he scratched me. “I know your past, your pain. You have lost so much that it shattered your soul; made you perfect for me.”
“But what does that have to do with my father?”
“He is to blame for your life as it is now,” Meknok says. “In some ways, he should be glorified for his actions, but in others he should be cursed and his time will come, be certain of that. But what if you could change things, my young scribe?”
The Muses lean in; they seem more attuned to what Meknok is saying. I ask him again to explain.
“You can change events—for better or worse—with a stroke of a pen! Imagine it! The power to change your past, present and future!”
Is he saying I can change what happened to me and my sister and mother—that it could be as if it never happened? I remember Schiller’s words to me when I found Christina’s corpse in my bed; how he said I wrote her horrible death and it was so.
“Rewrite your life, Simon,” Meknok snarls. “Either damn it or save it but be it your choice.”