Fantastic Stories #232, Jan./Feb. 2016

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Fantastic Stories of the Imagination #232, Jan./Feb. 2016

“While I Wait” by Layla Al-Bedawi

“Girl in Blue Dress (1881)” by Sunil Patel

Reviewed by Eric Kimminau

According to Warren Lapine, Editor-in-Chief for Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, they are looking for “a story to surprise us and to take us to unexpected places.” I am hoping to find this issue full of both surprises and unexpected direction.

“While I Wait” by Layla Al-Bedawi offers an interesting, albeit very brief look into the life of someone who receives daily visits from the freshly dead. Only by feeding them a saucer of milk will they move on. Somehow the daily ritual of feeding their souls along with some type of blessing or prayer from our protagonist is now a desired daily part of their life, their only “visitors” and helps to limit or possibly even eliminate their loneliness. Definitely took me to someplace unexpected but a bit more development as to how, how long or why these spirits chose this particular doorstep and how it was discovered milk was the solution to the visitation would have been welcomed.

“Girl in Blue Dress (1881)” by Sunil Patel also takes us to an unexpected place with an account of a beautiful young girl, approached by an artist in oils who asks to immortalize her, to paint her so that everyone would remember her. But what he failed to relate was that it would become a permanent transformation into an incompletely captured moment in time. While the young girl is apparently still aware of her loss and her predicament she also seeks some form of vengeance against the man with the paintbrush. The reader can only hope her efforts prove to be successful. But who is the painter? How did he get his powers? Is it forever? Is there any escape? Why does he do this to his unsuspecting models? We may never know.

I have enjoyed Fantastic Stories. Each story offered an unexpected direction and were very well written, but both could have developed their tale so much more fully. I was left wanting so much more but neither truly delivered enough to satisfy my hunger.

Eric Kimminau is a BBS geek turned IT professional seeking those of like mind and character with whom I may share in wit and wisdom.