Cheney, Kathleen J.: A Hand For Each (2011)

a hand for each
Cover photograph by Robert Glen Fogarty
Cover design by Kathleen J. Cheney

Three short stories are presented in A Hand for Each. The stories are: A Hand for Each, Masks of War and Fleurs du Mal.

A Hand for Each was published in 2007 in Shimmer’s Pirate Issue. From it we learn that if your ship is conquered by natives of some island and all of its crew left dead except yourself, you had better get off that ship as soon as possible. Otherwise you are going to be in serious trouble.

I guess you could say that A Hand for Each is reminiscent of The Flying Dutchman. That would make this a semi-horror story, although with the ending it might be more appropriate to call it a horror story. I like stories like these. I just know how it is has to end but I keep on hoping that I am wrong. (It probably doesn’t help that I often read the ending before I get there).

Masks of War was published in 2008 in Fantasy Magazine. It is obviously a story about masks of some kind, in this case a literal one. Sergeant Grey is given the job of tagging along with a German soldier who has had his face disfigured. Once the soldier puts on a mask to hide his disfigurement something strange happens and off the both of them go.

Masks of War is a story about hope and change. Sometimes it is possible to right a wrong, to change your path in life by acknowledging what has gone forever. I found it fascinating to follow along with the two ex-soldiers as they watched the amazing unfold.

Fleurs du Mal was published in 2010 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I think you could probably call Fleurs du Mal a horror story. We have here a story about possession, a really strange type of possession. Good thing I have the opposite of a green thumb. Any plant that comes near me had better run for its life.

Fleurs du Mal was fun. It’s story has all of the ingredients that a mild horror should have. I am unable to read anything harder than that. The oh, oh feeling came back again and again and I kept a running commentary on the characters of the story. (I do this with movies as well.)

So, all in all A Hand for Each was fun to read and I definitely kept reading through all three stories. Good job Kathleen J. Cheney.

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