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Short Stories 365:25

It's cold out there. We're having some seriously impactful wind chill right now, and the end result is a lot of time under a blanket with a hot cup of tea and as much not-going-outside as I can manage around work. I'm certainly getting a lot of reading done. Winter is definitely good at bringing me book weather. I'm not good at being hot - I admit that I'd rather be cold than hot, since I can always put on more layers or snuggle down under a blanket or something - but the cold of the last few days is making me reconsider. Cold as the grave, the phrase goes.

Speaking of graves...

"Daddy's Gift," by Larry C. Faulkner

Most of the stories in Tales from the Den, edited by R. Jackson, have a chill to them. The collection as a whole is hair-raising (and since we're talking bears, there's a lot of hair to raise). The first story, "Daddy's Gift," has that chill of the grave to it throughout, voiced by a bear who is no longer alive, strictly speaking, and slaking a vampiric thirst of a particularly bearish bent.

Vampire short fiction can end so darkly, and even when you know and love the genre, each tale has that knife's edge to it. Will everyone survive? As you watch the two men circle each other, that sense of tension builds, and throughout the story, the past of the narrator is teased for you. The past has been rough for him - will the present follow suit?

"Daddy's Gift" opens the collection delightfully, and gives you a real sense for where some of these bearish tales are going to go.

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