This was a gritty demon hunt with a fair amount of gore and violence. The imagery riddled me with tiny barbs, then pull me into a front rows seat to its horrible feeding. I’ve read a handful of Riessen’s shorts now and I have reached out to him more than once asking for a novel.
The story also speaks to me as an allegory. Chuck is a war vet who gets an unusually traumatic case of PTSD. He actually faces demons, but Riessen’s well laid characterization and setting also shares the tale that many returning soldiers confront with their inner demons. I’m thankful the veterans in my life had it a bit easier than Chuck did.
Chuck has been slowly deteriorating his body to match the damage in his mind. Can he muster the grit necessary to overcome those old demons? You tell me.
This is a side note that has nothing to do with Riessen's ebook. I bought this story in the anthology Urban Temples of Cthulhu. I would have preferred to read the whole anthology as an ebook because the print has text disappearing into the gutter in the center paperback. I had to hold the book funny to read. If the editor wants free advice, I set all four margins to .5" and the gutter to .7". I've published three books in 6" x 9", with similar thickness, and actually read the physical copies and it allows the reader to hold the book comfortably. It's important to save on expenses, but not at the expense of an enjoyable experience.