It’s Pirates of the Caribbean in Hell. It’s the best horror story of the year for me so far, possibly one of my favorite horror stories ever.
It has Hell-monks with iron boxes locked over their heads forever, pirate ships, cannibal cults and last and definitely not least, flying, ship-destroying angel-possessed giant squid.
I am, of course, talking about Nathan Ballingrud’s story The Butcher’s Table, in his collection WOUNDS.
The story is about a man who we later learn is a member of a cannibalistic gentleman’s club, who does everything in his power to get aboard a ship he has learned is on its way to the shores of Hell for a feast, the eponymous vessel The Butcher’s Table.
There, he is to meet up with his beloved as they plot to make the journey into something slightly different. The Butcher’s Table is being followed by sinister beings (or divine, it’s unclear) that want to stop them from reaching Hell.
Fantastic, fantastic story.
Wounds, the story that gives the collection its name, is about a bartender who finds a phone at his bar. The phone has some unsettling images and texts and the bartender gets dragged into a dark, dark place.
It’s been made into a movie.
It also turns out that Nathan Ballingrud’s entire previous collection, North American Lake Monsters, has been optioned by HULU who are making a mini-series.
Hulu has greenlit a series adaptation of Nathan Ballingrud’s short story collection “North American Lake Monsters.”
The untitled series will be an anthology, with the first season consisting of eight episodes. In the series, encounters with vampires, fallen angels, and other monsters force Louisiana natives to re-examine their broken lives.Variety
This is just to give you an idea of the sort of quality Ballingrud is producing, all in the effort to get you to check out The Butcher’s Table.
Buy WOUNDS now. Read The Butcher’s Table. Write me a thank-you email.