It's Singapore's birthday month, and we're still in the middle of the lunar Seventh (Ghost) Month. Had a chuckle as I flipped through 'The New Singapore Horror Story Collection' (2019) by S.J. Huang.
The first story titled 'The Office' is a total bore. It opens with a suicide, a fierce competition in the office that resulted one being fired, and the other promoted. There's a guilty person. Predictably, the ghost returned to haunt the guilty and exacted vengeance. Okay lor.
The second story 'Lights' dealt with disappearing school boys in a school field after dark, with monsters in the form of green lights or using green lights. It isn't better. Ugh. It's up to us readers to imagine what happened and guess where the boys went. Eaten up by a monster or they got swallowed into a void.
I read so much horror that I'm not too bothered about the language, and can forgive loads of grammatical errors, typos and odd phrasing. I look for the ideas behind the stories. The plot and such are what would draw me in. These 13 stories are a bit disappointing. The historical supernatural story was so predictable that I yawned. It could have been beefed up more if the writer delved a little into those historical mysteries, or xianxia things.
The final story in the book is titled 'The Last Exorcism'. Sure, it's about demonic possession and a seemingly successful exorcism done by James the priest. There were apparently two demons, the mention of the priest's dead son, blackmail and such. After that 'exorcism', James decided to quit being a priest. The ending made want to stab myself. Good lawwd. 🙄
A thought struck me at the door.
"What do you mean, you spared the son? You told me before that demons can't stay on the earthly plane for long without a vessel. You didn't leave him in the husband—Damien—did you?"
I turned around to face him, but he was hunched over, and I only saw his mussed-up hair. For some reason, a queasy fear was starting to fill my stomach, and a desperate urgency pressed me. I shook him. "James, dammit, answer me!"
I stared at him for a few more seconds, and was just about to give up when he started to raise his head slowly.
"James, what did y—"
My voice withered. His eyes, gleaming red, met mine, and a slow smile began spreading across his lips.