My Best Friend's Exorcism
"It was a pretty uneventful shift until around four thirty, when
the phone rang.
'TCBY, how may I help you?' Abby said.
'Blood,' Gretchen said. 'Everything's covered in blood.'"
There's something about a well written horror story: one richly
evocative of time and place, one that relies more on the darker
aspects of human nature than on gratuitous gore, one that you probably
shouldn't read in the middle of a stormy night if you're home alone.
Grady Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism is a masterpiece in this
Abby and Gretchen have been best friends ever since Abby's
skating rink birthday party when Gretchen was the only kid who showed
up. Somehow Gretchen took Abby from deep disappointment to a keen
appreciation of the fun the two of them could have. Since then their
lives have revolved around each other.
Their sophomore year in high school all that's about to change.
That's the year they and two friends try acid for the first time.
It's the summer Gretchen runs off, naked, into the dark woods. Abby
finds her the next morning in a scary falling down blockhouse.
Something's wrong with Gretchen. At first she constantly claims
that an unseen entity is touching her. After awhile she shambles
around sleep deprived, unmade up, stinky, in the same grimy clothes
every day. Her behavior has become so bizarre her friends except for
Abby ditch her.
Just as abruptly Gretchen seems to snap back to herself,
regaining her popularity. Abby, who has desperately been seeking a
solution to her best chum's crisis, is seen as the villain, ostracized
by peers and adults alike.
Abby is the only one who can see that things are getting much
much worse for everyone.
The body of the story is embedded in short sections of what
seems to be a yearbook, complete with classmate signatures. This
format really adds to the feeling of retro, of looking back at past
events. Its banal normalcy makes what goes on in the plot seem all
the more evil.
On a personal note, after saving up for five months I was finally able
to get myself a new camera to replace the one that broke after years
of heavy use. It was like regaining a limb or one of my senses. My
paparazzi services are again in high demand.
A great big shout out goes to skilled horror story writers.
Sent from my iPod