Sunday, January 20, 2013

Short Story Spotlight: "Electric Mist Confidential"

"Electric Mist Confidential" by Weston Ochse (Cemetery Dance #68)

"The bottom line is that there's a frequency you can use to listen to the dead.  Somewhere between Old Gospel Hour and a classic rock station, there's a line of static the careful, steady hand can dial in that carries words never meant to be broadcast, never meant to be heard."  This ghostly static is the "electric mist" of Ochse's title, and the launching point for one terrific story.

Nathaniel Webster is a disabled veteran who spends his ample free time tuning in to, and communing with, the "deaders" broadcasting from their unmarked graves alongside a lonely stretch of Tennessee highway.  As the tale opens, Nate is drawn to a new posthumous voice, and his curiosity is likewise peaked by a mysterious figure in a car parked nearby.  That these two elements prove to be connected is no great surprise, but Ochse nonetheless manages to hit readers with a couple of stunning plot twists.  The story features both a strong narrative voice and an original and wickedly clever villain who has some truly ghoulish plans for his victims.  In its seamless mix of dark crime and the supernatural, "Electric Mist Confidential" is pure Cemetery Dance, and one of the best pieces of short fiction to appear in the magazine in the past year.

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