cover image Everything That’s Underneath

Everything That’s Underneath

Kristi DeMeester. Apex, $14.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-937009-57-1

DeMeester (Beneath) fills this dark fantasy collection with 18 stories, or perhaps image-laden prose poems, that capture people driven by desperation. In “The Wicked Shall Come upon Him,” characters struggle to find romance in an environmentally blighted setting where rancid yellow moonlight leaks into people’s skins, “turning it the color of something spoiled, rotted.” In “To Sleep Long, to Sleep Deep,” a woman jealously covets a book of forbidden lore, even though it caused the bloody dismemberment of a friend who studied it. In several stories, true identities and natures manifest as biological phenomena seeking to escape their containment: spiders from beneath the skin in “The Beautiful Nature of Venom,” bones from a traumatized body in “The Marking,” blood from the house of a troubled mother and daughter in “Worship Only What She Bleeds.” DeMeester’s tales are relatively short on plot, but their bizarre situations and imaginatively rendered scenes of transformation will resonate with fans of horror and the macabre. (Aug.)