Eternity Swamp
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Pages: 30
Goes Well With: A fine cognac, perhaps. Or, failing that, a well-balanced meal with simple food and drink—and no cigar.

J. W. hasn’t spoken to God since his daddy’s passing, but now he’s coon-hunting, lost in the swamp, and feeling like a “dang fool” for failing to take his father’s advice. He might even be tempted to make “just a small prayer” for help. The question, of course, is who will listen and answer.

Author T. C. Tereschak tells this story in a nicely convincing voice, bringing J. W., swamp creatures, and a granddaddy-like stranger to vivid life. The dialect is nicely rendered and easy to read, with convincing cadence and tone. The swamp where J. W. wanders, “with a full moon shinin’ down through the Spanish moss,” is an evocatively dark and frightening place. And its history turns out to be as haunted as the sounds of screams in the night.

Nicely researched details intrigue the reader, even as the speaker weaves his web of danger and fear. History, from Civil War to World War, echoes with fiddle music from the devil’s crossroads. The cruelty of man to man, the injustice of rich men’s institutions, and the hopelessness of a defeated soul all are equally well-told in this short tale. Meanwhile, one lost soul listens to the findings of another, waiting for dogs and sanity to return.

If you love classic horror, this short story’s surely for you. If you don’t mind being scared over your lunch, read it with simple food and stay away from cognac and cigars. Then drive home in the light. But this short tale is long on meaning—so if you enter this swamp, know that your sins are going to find you out.

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