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Adrienne Morris

After the Fire

After the Fire - D. Alexander Ward Frank Neely is a man tormented by guilt-induced nightmares. As children, Frank and his best friend pull a prank on a neighborhood widow rumored to be a witch. The prank goes horribly wrong, and the memory of that traumatic experience continues to haunt him. When sleep deprivation begins loosening his grip on reality, and his dreams become waking nightmares, Frank revisits his past in hope of finding peace.This was a well-done psychological thriller. I wasn’t really sure what direction this story was going to take — if the supernatural elements were real or a product of Frank’s spiral into mental illness. Was it guilt, or ghost? Haunting, or hallucination? Do restless spirits even respond to meds? A good thriller should always keep you on your toes, and this story definitely delivered.The eerie atmosphere was well developed and I enjoyed the macabre descriptions of Victorian post-mortem death photography. Without giving too much away, this story was an intriguing retooling of New Orleans’ infamous Delphine LaLaurie. Since reading this story, my fascination with her evil has been rekindled, and I’m now really hoping she will appear as a character in this season’s American Horror Story: Coven.