Bedtime Tales of Horror: The Curse of Miley
By Bradley Poage
Here, my good friends, is what I would deem a shining example of what a short horror story should be. A wonderful little piece of entertainment that is well-rounded, complete and leaves the reader with a feeling of satisfaction AND anticipation. Gripping and suspenseful, this tale will snatch your attention and have you enthralled, from the first paragraph to the very last.
One of the challenges with a horror short is deciding how much detail to include, what to give to the reader and what to remove from the story to fit a desired length, all while somehow manufacturing a cohesive story that is not only interesting but also one that the reader can visualize in their own imagination. Trying to communicate what is in your head to someone else AND have them understand it AND GET IT…well, that’s not always easy. Even harder when trying to create a masterful tale of terror that only takes up a few pages. And Poage has done it with this production of a well written and well-balanced piece of horror.
Although consistent with what I have come to expect of Poage and his writing, this tragic tale of woe goes above and beyond the chilling joys of many of the previous works of his that I have read. As soon as I began to read this tasty little devilish snack, I was so engrossed I could not put it down until I was done reading. And the great thing about Poage’s short stories…they are actually genuine short stories. So, it was only a few pages, a few minutes and a small break from the horror of my reality to the hell of someone else’s.
There is just enough explained that you know what is happening and can follow the plot. However, there isn’t so much extra detail that we get bogged down in seemingly innocuous details or taken for a ride on the author’s drug induced tangent of some sort that makes no sense and has nothing to do with anything at all.
In this apprehensive anecdote everything centers around a beloved childhood toy. A ventriloquist dummy named Miley Smiles. (I mean, geez, just the name of the damn doll is creepy as hell, right?!) A simple toy for a simple person in a simple tale that will send chills down your spine and make hairs on your arm stand up.
All of that finished off with an ending that is, in my humble opinion, rather genius. It leaves the door wide open for the reader’s imagination, pushing you to go in, pulling your mind in all directions of thought. Yet the ending is totally and utterly complete. In theory, it’s like one of those really good horror films that has that one ending where it concludes the movie and the film could be a stand-alone if they left it that way OR they could totally make a sequel with the way they left it open. I like these kinds of endings because, as the reader, you get to participate in writing the story a bit for yourself. You decide what happens after a certain point OR you decide to leave it as the author left it. It’s perfect to play with and a lot of fun.
I have to say that any of my fellow horror lovers would dig this and dare I say, even some readers that like short stories in general. As well as this one flows, it’s hard to imagine someone not liking it.
To read for yourself you can get your own copy at the Amazon link below: