The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales collects eight stories of literary dark fiction. Tense and terrifying, these masterful stories by Eric LaRocca explore the shadow side of love.
You Follow Wherever They Go.
Bodies Are for Burning.
The Strange Thing We Become.
The Trees Grew Because I Bled There.
You’re Not Supposed to Be Here.
Where Flames Burned Emerald as Grass.
I’ll Be Gone by Then.
Please Leave or I’m Going to Hurt You.
Sometimes you pick up a book and fall in love with it and then sometimes you pick up an Eric LaRocca book and it just hits different!
The Strange Thing We Become and other Dark Tales was not my first by LaRocca, so I was already Intune to just how flawless his skill is. The characterisations, the haunting undertones, the way he just reaches in and pulls your heart out. Call me a masochist, call me a glutton for punishment! If you haven’t checked out this man’s inexplicable magic with the written word, rectify that now. He creates prose with the written word like the exquisite sculpting of Michelangelo’s David.
Let me introduce you to some of the individual stories. You Follow Wherever They Go – A story of childhood. It’s the preparation of a journey that will make you feel and hurt. It’s an opening that gifts you a knife, leaves you without instructions on how to use it, but, you know it’s not going to be pleasant. We all know children are extremely resilient, but how much of that is borne from pain and suffering?
Bodies Are for Burning – I’m not ashamed to admit that this one punched me in the throat…hard. We all know that grief affects us all differently. It can either drag us down temporarily or it can send us off at the deep end. It can feel like standing at the edge of a precipice and one step is all it takes. Reading this story left me with a lurching feeling in my stomach as a mother. LaRocca’s examination of mental health was unique but deeply disturbing.
The Strange Thing We Become – This wouldn’t be a horror compilation without the devastation of the human condition. Illness can catch us at any point. Life can be trucking on and then you can receive terrible news, and everything changes. The story is incredibly gut wrenching and never has an author been able to convince me so coherently that the person watching a loved one suffer also changes and often not for the better.
The Trees Grew Because I Bled There – Holy hell! I know relationships should be a combination of give and take but this beyond anything I could have imagined. A story of lust and obsession. Control and selfishness.
You’re Not Supposed To Be Here – Now this is a story that has to be experienced. Instantly gave me vibes of the movie franchise, Saw and the Jigsaw Killer. This story had me on tender hooks the entire time.
I’ll Be Gone by Then – I interpreted this story as a kind of circle of life. From caring for our children to the expected burden of caring for ailing parents. It’s not until it gone do you realise what you have lost. Youth is wasted on the young scenario.
LaRocca’s writing is mesmerising. He takes the weaknesses that he finds in everyday individuals and injects it into his fiction. He uses it to spur an authenticity into his stories. The way the author has used trauma and tragedy into his narration is real and awful and so perfectly written that your own emotions are on a rollercoaster. Each individual plot is intricate, outraging and deeply sad. It felt so amazing to engage myself in Eric’s writing once more – he’s on fire!