Diabolical Plots #62, April 2020
“A Promise of Dying Embers” by Jordan Kurella
“On You and Your Husband’s Appointment at the Reverse-Crematorium” by Bill Ferris
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
Two very different stories dealing with the thin line between life and death appear in the latest issue of this monthly publication.
The narrator of “A Promise of Dying Embers” by Jordan Kurella carries the bones of her dead uncle from his mountaintop home to the cave of a dragon. During the long and dangerous journey, a series of flashbacks reveal that the narrator lived with the ghost of her uncle, already killed by the dragon, since she was a young child. Her quest begins when the ghost undergoes its own form of death. Upon reaching the cave, she learns of the ambiguous relationship between the dragon and her uncle.
The author uses standard fantasy tropes to tell a story of two characters who share a peculiar form of love for each other, but who remain deadly enemies. What this says about human nature, and the meaning of the narrator’s actions at the end of the story, remain unclear.
In “On You and Your Husband’s Appointment at the Reverse-Crematorium” by Bill Ferris, a character who resembles a modern version of a classic Mad Scientist uses cobbled-together technology to transform the ashes of a dead man into a synthetic zombie. Despite the fact that he is very different from the man she loved, his wife accepts him.
This brief synopsis fully describes the simple plot of this dark comedy. The chief source of incongruity comes from the use of many modern brand names with familiar themes from horror fiction. The use of second person present tense narration may strike some readers as pretentious, particularly in a story that is little more than a gruesome joke.
Victoria Silverwolf slept later than usual today.