The Narrator, by Michael McBride and Norman Prentiss
Something is wrong with Julia Linder’s sixth grade class.
One boy’s harmless tendency of getting lost becomes a crippling fog of disorientation. A girl’s mild twitch turns into an obsessive pattern of frightened raps and repetition. The symptoms are spreading and the source seems to be stories that seize upon the children’s deeply seated fears and intensify them exponentially.
How can mere stories change their behavior? The secrets are locked in tales from the past, where only The Narrator can find them.
2012 Bram Stoker Award Nominee, Long Fiction Category
“The Fleshless Man wants to kill me,” his mother said.
Curtis never enjoyed the cool, oppressive atmosphere of his childhood home, and that atmosphere is even worse when he returns as an adult. His mother is dying, and her illness seems to infect everyone around her: Curtis’s brother has developed a nervous habit that might indicate more serious problems; the attending nurse exhibits puzzling, possibly sinister behavior; and Curtis himself suffers from nightmares and uncharacteristic dark thoughts.
It’s as if the house itself wants his mother to die more quickly–and it will achieve that goal however it can.
Even if it must inspire Curtis to imagine harming his own mother.
Even if it must summon the intervention of a strange entity called the Fleshless Man.
"An examination of the nature of families in crisis and sibling relationships put to the test. Throughout this story there is very much the feel of something terrible taking place just off the page, out of the reader’s line of sight."
— Black Static
"Quietly sneaks up on the reader, delivering a sense of unease and dread. You won’t want to put this book down. "
— Horror Drive-In
2010 Bram Stoker Award Winner, Long Fiction Category
"Cemetery Dance’s short novel program yields another gem with this sobering story about the imaginary barriers of fear we place around our life circumstances as we grow up… Carefully crafted prose… a lucid reflection on life’s inevitable burden of fear and fractured memory."
INTERVIEWER: How did you get out of there alive?
[A silence, twenty seconds.]
VICTIM: Now we’re getting somewhere, but you already know the answer to that.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, when did you realize something wasn’t right that Halloween night?
[Another silence, this time thirty seconds.]
VICTIM: When I discovered that so many of my neighbors were dead.
This Halloween, critically acclaimed authors Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss welcome you to visit the Stillbrook Apartments…where some very interesting people have lived and died, and where something just might be very, very wrong with the children.
Print edition SOLD OUT; Now available as an eBook for $2.99!
The Bram Stoker Awards are given annually by the Horror Writers Association. The 2010 awards were presented as part of the Stoker Weekend in Long Island, New York (June 16-19, 2011). Invisible Fences won in the Long Fiction category.
At the 2011 Stoker Weekend, after the awards presentation (L to R): Angel Leigh McCoy, Bruce Boston, Rocky Wood, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Norman Prentiss, Peter Straub, Ellen Datlow, Lisa Morton
“Quiet House” A Halloween Short Story, reprinted in Four Halloweens (Cemetery Dance Publications)
“The Thing with Feathers” (chapbook, White Noise Press)
“Burls” in Lamplight Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1; reprinted in Lamplight Volume 2 omnibus, and in Widowmakers: A Benefit Anthology of Dark Fiction
“The Shell” in Four Zombies (Cemetery Dance Publications)
“Beneath their Shoulders: An Odd Adventure with Your Other Father” in Dark Fusions, edited by Lois H. Gresh (PS Publishing)
“The Storybook Forest” in Shivers VII, edited by Richard Chizmar (Cemetery Dance Publications)
“The Covered Doll” in Black Static
issue 20 (December 2010)
“The Old Ways” in Shivers VI
, edited by Richard Chizmar, Cemetery Dance Publications (December 2010). Shivers VI
weighs in at 410 pages and contains more than 110,000 words from today’s most popular authors of horror and suspense including Stephen King, Peter Straub, Al Sarrantonio, Jay Bonansinga, Lisa Tuttle, David B. Silva, Melanie Tem, Brian Hodge, Brian Keene, Alan Peter Ryan, Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn, Bev Vincent, Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss, and many others.
“Distance” in Commutability,
edited by David Jack Bell and Molly McCaffrey, MSR Publishing (August 2010)
“In the Porches of My Ears” reprinted in Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror,
edited by Paula Guran, Prime Books (October 2010)
Originally appeared in Postscripts 18 (PS Publishing), and also available in Best Horror of the Year, Volume 2 edited by Ellen Datlow (Night Shade Books) and forthcoming in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror edited by Paula Guran (Prime Books)