Joe R. Lansdale has written dozens of powerful and compelling stories. I have made no secret of my preferences in previous posts this week.
Today I want to single out one story in particular: "The Companion" (1995). Lansdale wrote the story in collaboration for an anthology of stories by writers and their kids.
"The Companion" begins with a typical Lansdale situation: a young man on his own, fishing in an East Texas river. When he runs out of bait, he crosses the river to find more.
....After walking through the trees and out into the huge field, he noticed a large and odd-looking scarecrow on a post. Beyond the scarecrow, some stretch away, surrounded by saplings and weeds, he saw what had once been a fine two-story farmhouse. Now it was not much more than an abandoned shell of broken glass and aging lumber.
At this point my hair started rising in anticipation. An abandoned house in a rural landscape? Bierce. A scarecrow? Take your pick of writers; mine would be James' masterful story "Rats."
The story carries forward at breakneck speed from there. The secret of the abandoned house is unravelled, and with it the poignant and macabre history of the scarecrow.
"The Companion" is traditional rural horror at its best.
Don't miss this story!
20 October 2018