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Midnight Mix-Tape: August 2017 – Abiding Angels

Mixtapes ScatteredUncle Jake’s here to hook you up with some of the latest and greatest horror short stories available online right now.  Stories that will challenge, evolve, and redefine what horror is, and what it will become.  These are themed mix-tapes of fear, dread, danger, and gore, lovingly curated just for your reading pleasure.

I’ve got an angel story. When I was a kid I slept in the back bedroom at my grandma’s house and I’d wake occasionally to see a guy standing in the doorway, silhouetted there, leaning against the frame. I told this to my mom a few weeks later and she said, “Yeah, that happened to me too when I slept in that room as a kid. I used to think it was my dad, but he said it wasn’t.” My grandma called it a guardian angel, watching us. Protecting us.

Man, it creeped me out.

Angels, beatific and unknowable, are right up there with Lovecraft’s Elder Gods for me on the freak-out scale. Here are these perfect beings, replaced by the imperfect and tasked with watching over them and delivering messages for their mutual creator, right? What kind of thoughts do these things have? What kind of resentments may they harbor? More to the point: What the hell are they? Here’s a couple of stories that might give you a taste of the divine . . . or a few more sleepless nights, worried that there’s someone in the doorway watching over you.

Track One: A.G.A. by S.P. Miskowski

Two guys are chatting in a bar, and soon enough the conversation starts to lead toward confession and thoughts of revenge.

Track Two: The Monsters of Heaven by Nathan Ballingrud

Brian and Amy are drowning in their mutual loss, but can the last shred of hope be the strange and unusual world they find themselves in . . . and the abandoned creatures in it?

Track Three: Under the Hollywood Sign by Tom Reamy

This brutal story, written in 1975, packs a hell of a gut punch. Many thanks to Gemma Files for the recommendation!

Hidden Tracks

 Sometimes you’ve got to dig a little deeper. Pull a book down from your shelf, run out to the library, or order it from Amazon. Get a collection or anthology in your hands, crack the pages, and get into it. These “Hidden Tracks” can’t be found online (as of this publication), but are worth seeking out and devouring. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt by tracking them down.

The Monstrous, edited by Ellen DatlowTrack Four: A Wish from a Bone by Gemma Files

Speaking of Gemma Files, I first read this deliciously disturbing tale of the Terrible Seven in Ellen Datlow’s Fearful Symmetries (and yes, if I find a way to put every single one of the stories in that anthology into these articles, dear reader, I’m gonna!). This time, though, I’ll give a shout out to Datlow’s The Monstrous, another incredible anthology featuring Gemma’s brilliant story. This one is definitely one of my favorites, so track it down!

Smoke and Mirrors Neil Gaiman - coverTrack Five: Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman

From his first collection, Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman gives us an unconventional detective story in a way that has stuck with me for a decade. There’s a murderer among the angels, and God only knows whodunnit.

 

If you have a favorite story or two that fits our theme, whether online or sitting on a shelf in your library, add it to the Comments below!

JAKE MARLEY

 

If you enjoyed our Midnight Mix-Tape and want to read our Hidden Tracks please consider clicking through to our Amazon Affiliate links. If you do you’ll help keep the This Is Horror ship afloat with some very welcome remuneration.

 

Buy The Monstrous, edited by Ellen Datlow

Buy Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman


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