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“Bloodlines” is not just any horror anthology but a thrilling journey into other periods, dimensions, and alternate universes.

Bloodlines

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Bloodlines: Horrors Past, Present, and Future, edited by Kevin Lucia, is a collection of high-quality, original horror with diverse themes ranging from existential to socio-political. The pages are filled with insightful stories that creatively use classic horror tropes, including ghosts and mythological beings.

Gwendolyn Kiste explores how the past affects our lives and the importance of letting go of it with “The Invention of Ghosts”.

Childhood friends Everly and Dahlia are roommates in college. Everly is a seeker, a history major who specializes in occult history. She studies the lives of mystics and spiritualists, hoping to find the answers to life’s mysteries. As she dives deeper into occult studies, paranormal phenomena surround the two.

Kiste takes the reader on an interesting journey with a compelling tale of two outsiders. She builds suspense throughout the story, as she reveals the characters’ issues slowly, culminating in a thought-provoking plot twist.

D.T. Friedman invites the reader into alternate realities with “Paint Box Puzzle Box” — an original exploration of life, death, and the universe or multiverse we live in.

The story opens with an artist conversing with Death itself, with the perspective shifting to aspiring artist Carlisa. After Leo, one of the painters, takes her under his wing, Carlisa’s creativity flourishes. Meanwhile, Death searches for Leo and meets its match.

Friedman’s descriptive and insightful prose takes us into a multiverse full of infinite possibilities. “Paint Box Puzzle Box” is an innovative story that offers a fascinating exploration of death, dying, and grief.

Mort Castle brings us back in time to 1920s Illinois with his novella “Buck Eye Jim in Egypt”.

The enigmatic titular character arrives in a Southern Illinois town in 1924. He crosses paths with two characters who are ideological opposites: Mark Dupont, head of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and progressive C. Cooper Legrand, Jr.

Legrand’s family owns a mining corporation in Ft. Lorraine, a community that promotes diversity and racial harmony and provides jobs for those in need. Dupont is in strong opposition to Legrand. Dupont has a strange experience that he believes is linked to Legrand — and the Devil himself. Dupont visits local witch Granny Granger for help.

Castle believably depicts 1920s Illinois, with dialogue written in a dialect that breathes life into the characters. He unabashedly questions religion and presents a bold commentary on racism, and socio-political issues.

A news wire receives a mysterious story in H.N. Arnold’s “The Night Wire”.

Writer John Morgan takes down every strange detail — a transmission of an odd story from a city no one has ever heard of. A fog hangs over the city and takes on a life of its own. Morgan’s supervisor, Jim, devours every detail.

“The Night Wire” is a suspenseful mix of sci-fi and horror that ends with an unexpected twist.

Rounding out the exceptional collection of stories in Bloodlines is Jack Cady’s “The Night We Buried Road Dog”  — a rustic slice of Americana.

Cady’s tale is an imaginative and original ghost story told from the perspective of Jed, a 19-year-old growing up in rural Montana. He and his friend, Jesse, are car enthusiasts; cars are their life. After burying Jessie’s old truck, “Miss Molly,” Jesse decides that the two should go on a road trip.

At their stops, they find cryptic messages left by a mysterious figure known only as Road Dog, a local legend whom many speculate about. Once they cross paths with the ghost of Miss Molly on the road, the plot thickens.

Cady vividly brings rural life in Montana to life. He paints vivid portraits of his characters with poetic, insightful, and thought-provoking prose written in dialect. A feeling of nostalgia, love of cars, and the open road is conveyed through brilliant metaphors.

“The Night We Buried Road Dog” presents a mystery that slowly unravels, creating a suspenseful and gripping tale.

With Bloodlines: Horrors Past, Present, and Future, editor Kevin Lucia has curated a collection of original, high-quality horror stories told from diverse perspectives. Each story is a gem, and the collection is a treasure trove of original, mind-bending horror stories with innovative twists on classic horror themes.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 5

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