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Today is Thursday, March 17, and we are officially halfway through showcasing the twenty-five stories being included in our upcoming horror anthology, CHROMOPHOBIA, edited by Sara Tantlinger. As always, if you’ve missed out and want to catch up, please check out the handy links at the bottom of the article!
Interior work for the anthology is happening now, and we are hoping to have physical ARCs in the next two months, at the latest. The hardcover of CHROMOPHOBIA will start hitting mail boxes in mid-to-late summer. We can’t wait for you all to see this amazing book!
We cannot stress this enough:
CHROMOPHOBIA is a beast of a book. The anthology is very good, and it is bursting with talent. You can Pre-order the special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.
by Geneve Flynn
Jin drew furiously on his cigarette and paced the matchmaker’s office. The harsh smoke burned the back of his throat but he hardly noticed. “So, can you help me?”
The matchmaker probed his teeth with a toothpick and shook his head. His jowls wobbled. “You know how it is. Not enough girls. Too many heading off to the city for work.” He left it unspoken that baby girls were often abandoned or aborted in favor of boys. “The earliest I could organize a meeting is in three months’ time.”
“Three months!” Jin paced and ran a hand through his hair. He picked up a tea cup then put it back down. “I really can’t wait that long.” Jin tapped his fingers against his leg. He drew on his cigarette again.
He had heard rumors. “What if I paid extra?”
The matchmaker’s toothpick stilled. “Paid extra for what?” He began packing his tattered folder containing photos of successful matches.
“A ghost bride.”
The matchmaker looked at Jin for a long moment. Jin held his gaze, even though his skin prickled.
Eventually, the matchmaker sighed. “It is very difficult. Do you know how much families will pay for a newly deceased girl? The latest auction at the hospital fetched over two hundred thousand yuan. And the girl wasn’t even dead yet. Do you have that kind of money?”
Two hundred thousand? Fuck!
“Are there other options?”
“Options?” The matchmaker’s expression fell blank as a piece of slate.
“You know.” Jin swallowed. “Other ways to find a ghost bride. The news story about the cemetery—”
The matchmaker suddenly stood and grabbed Jin by the elbow, steering him out of the shop. Jin struggled to stop himself from tripping on the boxes and camphor chests in the maze to the door.
“I’m sorry! Please, I need your help!” He threw his arm out and caught his momentum on a filing cabinet. Jin fished into his pocket for his wallet. He yanked out a thick handful of money, everything he had, and held it up. The matchmaker paused, a sweaty mass against his back.
The wad of cash was plucked from Jin’s fingers and he was shoved outside. “Come back tomorrow. At midnight.” The matchmaker clicked the door shut.
Some of the best horror stories involve characters getting exactly what they want, but not in the way they expect. Geneve Flynn’s “Double Happiness” does just this thing, and brings to mind the short stories of M.R. James, wherein objects of the inanimate variety are a portent of doom. Horror as a warning to tread carefully in life, “Double Happiness” is a nice contemporary take on the vengeful ghost bride of Chinese folklore.
Geneve Flynn is both a Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award-winner, and you can check out more of her work and accomplishment at her site, HERE.
Want to read the previous CHROMOPHOBIA showcases? Click a title:
Pre-order the special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.
Check out part two of editor Sara Tantlinger’s CHROMOPHOBIA roundtable HERE.
Thanks for the support, and remember…