ARCS BY CLAYTON STEALBACK
When everyone around him grew ill to the point of ending their own lives, Isaac began to realise that there is something terribly wrong with him. That he is, in some way, tainted. But the further he digs into his family’s past the more he understands that he is not merely tainted, but is a conduit for an immeasurable power.
It is always a great feeling to read a book that breaks your run of bad books. Although to be be honest, after reading two of Clayton’s stories in Dark Minds and The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies it was no great surprise that this was going to be a very good read.
Arcs is an very well written dark and atmospheric novella, that charts the journey of discovery of Isaac as he tries to figure out just why everyone ends up committing suicide after spending time in his company. Clayton’s writing is tight, descriptive and excellently conveys Isaac’s sadness, loneliness and desperation to find the truth about himself. The passage where Isaac recounts how is foster family transforms from a pair of deeply attentive and loving parents to such apathy that they end up killing themselves is heart wrenching. Clayton keeps the reader guessing as to the nature of the Isaac’s affliction right up to the ambiguous ending of this excellent and satisfying novella. Highly recommend.