You know how sometimes something startles you and you let out one of those nervous laughs? It always seems like an odd thing to me. "That triggered my evolutionary 'fight or flight' response and my heart is beating a mile a minute and instead of biting or running now I'm going to chortle." Brains are odd.
I say this because I wasn't expecting the next tale in Night Shadows: Queer Horror edited by J.M. Redmann and Greg Herren. The story in question, with the deep-breath-required title "A Letter to My Brother, relating Recent Events with Unintended Consequences" by Carol Rosenfeld, made me giggle and chortle, and not just because of the language and characters therein.
The whole story is the letter in question, where a lady writes to her brother about her encounter with someone in the vampire scene - except, of course, things aren't always as "scene" as one hopes when you're living in a horror story world. The consequences in question - and the incredibly funny voice delivering the letter - combine into a clever mix that brims with wit.
It was also a nice pause - just a second for the reader to catch a breath and laugh nervously. As a piece of the anthology, it adds to the whole in an unexpected way, this laugh. Your guard goes back down and you're in a fun place, admiring Rosenfeld's turn of phrase.
Of course, in every horror story, there's laughter before the screams, right?