A very well written story, full of imagery and suspense. I enjoyed how you talked about the horse, and how the things the character touched felt in such descriptive language. I felt like I was there not watching but actually being the main character. The thing I liked most about this story is it’s so different from any other story I’ve read here before.
This just sent chills up my spine. Any good horror, pulls you in with gory and stops-you-in-your-tracks details. Hollow Fences leave me terrified yet satisfied. (Perhaps I am satisfied being horrified.) I love the beginning when the character pulls itself out of the grave-What a great setting as we watch the character (or ourselves) being born into the post death mission. I’m trying to imagine. What monster am I supposed to be? A zombie to eat brains, perhaps and then I reach the line that makes everything click: “Because you can’t think. You don’t. You need a head for that.”
The flashback to his execution is also well written and gives us a bit of sympathy for the monster, an understanding about why he seeks revenge. I particularly liked the line “Cacophony of prayers, fake words spoken by fale men looking for one to punish in their place.”
Then I we reach the churchyard, unable to enter and I thought. Here the story ends. Even if they don’t deserve it, these people will get the reprieve, but they don’t. The fear makes them easy targets and the monster within me finishes the job thus creating a bone-chilling story. Great job!
You might like one of my stories. It’s similar but about a dementor. It’s called Demented.
After about 90 years of waiting, I'm finally here for your entry review for the Autumn Prefect Challenge!
You've always had a knack for imagery and description, especially when it comes to making these beautiful dark fics. I mean, just some of the word choice in here makes for some absolutely chilling images: Blood-soaked boots stride forward between the pews... What's more, in this in particular, I adored how you focused on the way the character was feeling. I think your play off of emotions added to the horror-feel in a way that typical description couldn't do alone. Of course, I suppose you would HAVE to use a great sense of feeling since your character doesn't have a head, or eyes to see with. ;)
Now, as far as the content, I LOVED the play off the legend of the Headless Horseman! I'm always happy to see someone use second-person perspective because while it might distance the writer from the character and events, it secures this rather eerie connection between reader and character. Because this particular character is portrayed in a rather sinister light in his vengeful mission against his murderers, it brings a whole new element to that second-person perspective. And suddenly the sense of being wronged and seeking revenge is that much more prominent with the readers, which is really cool. You can practically feel the excitement emanating off of the character. (I mean, I get it, I would be pretty upset if a mob chopped off my head, too.)
What I find most interesting about this piece is the lack of backstory in the beginning as to WHY this character was being murdered in the first place -- and I love that ambiguity. It definitely leaves this gray area for the readers to ponder whether the Horseman's actions are an act of justice or an act of someone who is simply evil, because we don't know what he was being executed for. I mean, it's very clear that HE feels as if he was innocent, and that he was murdered without just cause (though, really, trying to justify when it's okay to murder someone is something I'm not about to get into, of course). And that leads us right back TO the Horseman's post-death actions: even if he was murdered for no reason, does that make his vengeance justifiable?
At any rate, I found this extremely enjoyable -- definitely a favorite of mine. I think you've done an amazing job with it, and you should be very proud of yourself.
Hi Karen! Here to spread some holiday cheer :)
So I obviously read this previously for the challenge but reading it again was nice. You really took the prompt and ran with it, and I honestly really liked it a lot! The darkness was definitely something that stood out to me among some of the other entries. The headless horseman-esque attack going on here with the ax and the church killing is the right amount of dark and horror for a Halloween/Autumn story. Your use of description without true sound is just phenomenal here, especially with the word count limit that was established. It's so visual because there's a lack of a head for this person to hear with, so it must all be done through touch and smell, really, and you do such a good job with it.
Overall, very well done and very much in line with the prompt issued by the challenge. Great job, Karen! :)
I'm so, so glad I decided to read this story!
For one, I love the legend of Sleepy Hollow. Even though it wasn't perceptable from your summary and really, until halfway through the story, the second I pieced all the pieces together I was hoping it was the Headless Horseman, and the ending gave it away.
Then. of course, your writing. I'm absolutely fascinated by the way you were able to write the Horseman and his surroundings so incredibly well. Your descriptions painted a very vivid picture, and as for the creepyness level I think it was perfectly on point. I think you did amazing for such a short story, and this was a delight.
i was immediately drawn in by your summary - it's very capturing and at first glance i thought the story was going to be about something to do with the headless hubt but ultimately, your story is far more chilling. i was very impressed how you managed to write the entire thing without being able to describe what the protagonist sees, hears, smells...i think it must have been quite hard to set yourself in that mindset but you did it brilliantly! what i also loved about the story is that honestly, by the time we get to the end, i'm not quite sure i can emphatise with the protagonist (like i did at the start with his desire for revenge) and i think he most likely got what he deserved when they beheaded him....but then i get to thinking and i wonder if his deeds now are just mindless deeds that have nothing to do with the past him - he can't think, can't be responsible for the things he does and maybe....the force that brought him back is behind them and we're experiencing their influence on a dead body??? it's great that you open up a lot of questions with a relatively short, but also very dark and chilling, story :)
Hi Karen! Dropping by from your wishlist thread. :)
So, when I began reading this, I had no clue what to expect or what this was about. Your story summary didn't reveal much but it was so intriguing and I was hooked onto this before I even began reading!
I absolutely love this one-shot. There was a sinister, chilling mood from the very beginning, and I was captivated by the vivid imagery you've got going on. Writing about a headless horseman is such a unique idea and I'm amazed by how well you've brought out his feelings of pain and revenge without any visual descriptions. Every line seems carefully placed and worded to keep the mood going, and the way it builds up is just.... wow.
I love how there's a philosophical undercurrent to this and it's not just about illogical rage-driven revenge -- it's about betrayal, of false punishment, and there's a subtle questioning of people's morals and why things happened the way they did. I love the bit about God himself seeing enough, the "damnable cacophony of prayers", and "fake words spoken by false men." And then, when the horseman finally takes his revenge, it's at a church, on holy ground, and there's this question of whether these people are as righteous and holy as they claim to be. It added a whole new dimension to this piece and it's wonderfully written.
I think the best thing about this piece is that the narrator is unreliable. I was able to relate to him in a way, sort of understand his thought process and why he wants to get revenge on these people who beheaded him. But at the same time, we don't know exactly why he was beheaded, and whether it was a punishment that fit the crime -- we only know his own thoughts and reactions to the incident. And what makes it even more complex is that he seems to be thrilled by the prospect of killing all those people who wronged him (and maybe some innocents as well?) "Their panic is a delight to you." There's an underlying sense of poetic justice but the extent of his rage turns it into bloodlust and cruel vengeance.
The last line is just perfect. I love it. Such a brilliant way of ending this one-shot.
This piece is short but packed with so much detail and complex meaning. On the surface, it's a story of revenge, but there are layers and layers of repressed emotions, anguish, and past history hidden below it. I LOVE this so much (I've repeated this way too many times haha) and I think you've done an absolutely brilliant job of writing this.
Hello, I'm here to spread a little holiday cheer! :)
Ooh, this story is so chilling! Your writing style here is fantastic, because you're writing a character who literally can't see anything, and the whole story exists in other senses, which is SUCH A DIFFICULT THING TO DO, because the natural tendency is to default to visual description in writing, and you've worked around that and really embraced other sensations and unseen forces instead. Your use of descriptions throughout this piece is really the defining factor of the story, and is what really makes this special.
On that note, I also really like that this is horror, but doesn't go straight for the shock value. You're really intentional with your word choice throughout and with shedding light on the backstory, that the deaths and more horror-esque parts at the end of this piece feel very much like the natural progression of the story.
And the last line is... it's such a nice creepy note to end on, and feels like a really powerful ending to tie in the horseman's rage at the church and the people in it. This whole thing was just really well-executed and well-written - well done!
Oh, Karen! I loved this the first time I read it (and it wasn't even finished!) and I love it even more now. It's deliciously gruesome and chilling. A delight to read in a horrific kind of way.
I'm not a lover of horror that's just all shock treatment. And, yours is not. It's got a seed of what happened to our 'hero', here. In his death, you've given him the reason why he's been ressurected. Revenge on those that took his life. Silly and foolish villagers, right?
The Headless Horseman has always been a fascination. He's shown up from one movie to another. It's usually Ichabod Crane's POV, but it's a good change to see it from the Headless Horseman's POV.
Thanks for such a wonderful story!!
My darling Juls!
Thank you SO VERY MUCH for your wonderful review, it truly made my day! <3
I absolutely HATE shock treatment also as it, I believe, takes away from a genuinely decent story. I'm a fan of horror but not gruesome stuff--it's like 'yeah, okay and?' or 'oh wow this is original' lol. Here it was important to convey the particulars with as much punch as possible, to be able to feel both the Horseman's pain as well as his rage. This was a tremendous challenge as I'm not used to working with word limits. I'm happy that I was able to succeed a little bit :)
It was my honor and pleasure to be able to share this with you originally, thank YOU for wanting to check it out! <333
P.S. -- I truly believe that my Horseman will forever be known as "The Hero" because of our discussion LOL :-P