Theresa Braun is back with another review for us! This time it’s a short story by Billie Sue Mosiman
Ooh Carnie Horror! What is it about these places? They should be fun and welcoming, yet they inspire all kinds of fear. Ahem…Clowns? How many have been the back drop for gruesome acts? Countless I’m sure. Nevertheless, we will keep going to carnivals, circuses and fairs, if only to gorge on carnival food.
They came to see the freak show, but afterwards were offered a special showing for the price of one more admission. They were promised they could look upon The Freak of All Freaks, a monstrosity rarely seen by man.
Five of them dared to take the tour. All of them were hiding dark secrets.
One of them possessed the worst secret of all and wished she had left when she had the chance.
I came across Billie Sue Mosiman when reading her anthology of female horror writers entitled Fright-Mare. After finding out she’s an Edgar and Stoker nominated author who has penned over 50 stories, I knew I had to pick up some of her work and devour it. Several of her tales are waiting on my Kindle, but she recently made some titles free on Amazon. I couldn’t click “buy” fast enough.
Her story “Carnival Freak” was one of those free stories (check to see if you still can get your own copy—it’s worth the money if it’s no longer free!).
The premise is this: at a carnival, the crowd is asked if they want to pay an extra fee to see some freak that they will never be able to see anywhere else. Five people eagerly give up their money to experience the side-show, but get more than they bargain for. The “freak” proceeds to tell all of them their dark secrets, saying that they are really the freaks. They run off feeling violated and angry.
At that point in the story, I wasn’t expecting any more twists and turns. I thought I was in for a neat wrap up. The end. Well, I was wrong. Brace yourself for a shocking surprise as the pages come to a close. It is amusing and terrifying at the same time. And you will be left satisfied that you went to the “freak show” after all.
I recommend the story, especially since it’s a short and enjoyable read. (Kindle estimates that the average person can finish it in about 30 minutes). Mosiman’s descriptions are interesting, and she adds just the right amount of detail. She also has the ability to get to the crux of the tale, without the extra fluff some other writers use.
So, it’s back to the Kindle for some more Mosiman!
Rating: B+ or 4/5*