My new book of eclectic short stories, Behind the Red Door, is now available for ordering. http://shop.claytonbye.com or at Amazon.
Behind the Red Door
Clayton C. bye
Chase Enterprises Publishing, 2015
Kenneth Weene | 5 out of 5 Stars!
As an author I appreciate good writing; and to be successful. short stories as a genre require writing that moves the reader along. Clayton Bye has given us good, fast-paced writing with stories that explore the humor of the mundane, i.e. Big Trout Lake Blues and Regarding Love, the incredible world of science fiction, i.e. Retrovirus, and horror that makes the hair at the nape of your neck stand to attention, i.e., The Speed of Dark and The Last Unicorn. There are ten stories in this book, and my bet is that readers will savor every one of these delights.
Before you open the door and find out what is behind it understand that your world as you see it now will never be the same. The people that you meet, their stories that you will hear and the endings that they meet will not only startle you, surprise you but help you to understand that their world is really not that much different than yours in some respects. Behind the Red Door is a compilation of original stories each with its own theme, message and story yet each linked in some way. The sadness, the tragedies, the deceits, lies and deceptions are there but each main character often justifies his/her actions and the end result is not always what you expect.
A young boy has to cope with a mother who uses her children for food. How does this child survive? In the Speed of Dark, story one, Richard Bartholomew lives in a world that would frighten any child. What is the Speed of Dark and how does he and his brother find their way into the light? As their mother informs them that someone has to go and there is no choice or decision in the matter and her wishes are clear, Richard ponders his fate and that of everyone else. Will he survive? What can he do when it’s his day? What surprise just might change it all?
The next story focuses on a lone police office in a real place called Big Trout Lake, which is followed by Stiletto. Defining the word in graphic detail and helping readers understand the power of this weapon author Clayton Bye takes us further inside the red door inside the mind of a killer who has no qualms about going after his prey. Justice: An eye for an eye! But, will he prevail?
The story that I really got into the most was Retrovirus. How far would a man go in order to be accepted and find love? Men in black cloaks, late afternoon, jet-black stallions and an entire herd. A stranger “more than half believed that he would find a stand of swords in the alders behind him.” What transpires next is right out of an Alfred Hitchcock Movie or an episode of the Twilight Zone as Jim sitting in front of his computer witnesses something that would forever change his life. What would you do if you saw a creature come out of your computer? A snake with a face! Green fluid that felt like oil to the touch and materialized in human form in front of Jim. Wanting to form some type of bond with this person/creature he fails to see through her façade and falls prey to more than just her appearance and words. Her name is Gilada and although she might have acted like a friend to Jim she was anything but. When relationships form, deeds are done and the end result is Jim’s health and physical appearance become so deteriorated that his own doctor cannot recognize what is wrong. How do you react when your whole body turns into blister and sores? What would you do if you were told you had a computer virus? Things come to a full head and Gilada explains his plight but a chameleon can change forms and in this case Jim sees and hears what she wants him to. What is his final fate? What is her primary goal? What happens will make the fires of hell seem luke warm as Jim mistakes deception and lies for love and the men sitting around the fire waiting for the storm to brew listen as the “wind screeched like a dying woman.”
The next is another Big Trout Lake Blues story focusing on Mike Money followed by Regarding Love. Would you forgive your spouse if he was having an affair with another man? Find out the rationale behind that in this unique story.
The next story is really eerie and once again the author takes us beyond the realm of reality into the world of good vs. evil as we meet someone, let’s not give him a name or title whose goal it is to gather souls. Finding himself in need of one and meeting a man named Brad the events unfold, their worlds collide and the end result is quite startling. When he refuses to stay in one of his own worlds, with the “legions of the dead, The Lord goes out of his way to punish me.” Of course he finds that unfair. Getting injured and waking up in a hospital bed is no problem as he can heal himself. Hearing his justification for his actions and learning that sometimes the tables are turned quite remarkable. What does happen when one soul refuses to adhere to his rules? What will happen the next time he searches for a soul? Would you commit a mortal sin? That would be a serious matter and the person committing it “must have reflected however, briefly, on the gravity of the situation before acting.” Will that stop him? Watch as events unfold with Bryan Cole and learn who has the final say: Him or God.
The Maniac and The Return of the Dwarves round out the collection, which ends with The Last Unicorn. A young girl about the age of this man finds her way into his life and explains she’s a unicorn. What would you do? Find out when one young man assimilates into a world that most would shy away or run from, becomes a shape shifter, and thinks he has found love but in reality what he finds is anything but.
Horror, humor, fear, paranormal, ethereal and much more are just part of what you will find when you enter the worlds created by author Clayton Bye. But, make sure that you leave a crack in the door and don’t close it fully behind you as Behind the Red Door you will find worlds that you might want to escape or maybe you too will become part of one. Beware: This is an original collection that draws the reader in from the start and you just might not be able to escape.