Jeremy C. Shipp
April 17th, 2018
Ms. Valdez travels to a home where she has been hired as a governess only to discover that the strange home is missing one very essential part of the job…the child.
When she first arrives at the house, she is horrified and enthralled at the grotesque works of art around the property. Statues of deformed people suffering and contorted, eyes where they don’t belong, missing limbs. The artist, who is the owner of the home, calls them his ‘Atrocities’.
She soon finds out that her pupil passed away before she arrived. Her mother believes she haunts the house, and must be suitably occupied to avoid her capricious ghost damaging the house.
Ms. Valdez must decide if she wants to leave immediately, or stay to help this strange woman who is so distraught by the loss of her child that she claims to see her.
This strange novella has bursts of unexplained visions and dreams, at times feeling like a nod toward ‘The Yellow Wallpaper‘. We have two women, one who has obviously been entrapped and gaslit- and one who has been through some serious trauma that has barely been explained. A lot of the oddities–and indeed the Atrocities themselves–are unexplained in the novella, but the story does not suffer from it. The unexplained nature of the story works to make it creepier, because instead of rationalizations and explanations we get dreams and madness and oddity.
It’s a creepy little novella that reminds me of some of the old classics. Great read.