Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Most Disturbing Short Story I've Ever Read...

Make that the most disturbing story I've ever read, short or not.  "Serial" by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch left me with images and scenes in my head that made me feel quite literally sick to my stomach.  These images still, weeks later, will creep into my mind at the most inopportune times leaving me feeling nauseated all over again.  I try desperately to block them out, and the harder I try, the worse it gets.

"Serial" is a 3 part story written about 2 serial killers who by chance meet while the female serial killer is hitch hiking to find her next victim and the male is picking up hitch hikers looking for his next victim.  Each author was responsible for developing a serial killer character without letting the other know anything about their character.

In part 1, you meet Donaldson, who picks up hitch hikers and kills them in a pretty typical serial killer manner.  Don't think that this isn't still horrific when you read the author's descriptions, they are vivid.  But Donaldson is what many people think of when they think serial killer/rapist.  He does have methods to incapacitate his prey that are less than typical, and this adds to the dementedness of his character.

In part 2, you meet Lucy, who is hitch hiking looking for her next kill.  Her method for incapacitating her prey are far more standard than her actual method of maiming and killing.  The thought that anyone would actually do what this girl does and find pleasure in it is horrifying, but far more horrifying are the images created in your head of her victims while she is killing them.

In part 3, Donaldson and Lucy meet.  This doesn't bode well for either character.  They quickly realize what the other is, and it is a race for survival.  Not knowing how the story would end, I almost found myself rooting for Donaldson solely because I didn't think I could live through another of Lucy's kills.  While one killer is severely hurt, and the other is drugged, the two killers stumble around for their "fix", which seemingly is more important than their actual survival.

After reading this story, I sat in horror struck silence for a few minutes, probably with my mouth hanging open the entire time.  Needless to say, this short story left an impression on me, and I will certainly remember these authors for a long time, and unfortunately, the characters as well.  However, I will not dismiss the authors, considering that, aside from the actual content, they wrote a hell of a story.  I will just screen my next read more thoroughly.  

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