Infinite Matrix, February 1, 2005

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"The Witch’s Hand" by Patrick O’Leary

A great twist on the urban myth comes through with a humorous punch in "The Witch’s Hand" by Patrick O’Leary.  Young Jimmy invites two friends over to camp in a tent in the back yard and they tell scary stories.  When he relays the tales of The Knight Who Worked At The Hardware Store and The Stalking Inescapable Hand, his audience becomes enraptured with fear.  Strange plopping sounds emanate from beyond the tent and Jimmy’s father is suspiciously absent.

O’Leary conquers the formidable task of being scary and funny at the same time and elevates the suspense from the start.  I’m a fan of the occasional campfire horror story, and this offering didn’t let me down.  It captures the essence of youth and our need to live life larger and more dramatically than it turns out to be.

Eileen Gunn’s art for this offering is less ambitious than the story.