The Monsters of Heaven

by Nathan Ballingrud

[rating:4/5]

“The Monsters of Heaven” is a story that faces the very real tragedy a family has to deal with when they lose a child through abduction. Throw in supernatural monsters and a father slowly twisted by the untenable circumstances into a monster himself and you have one creepy horror story. The short story was published in The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 and Inferno: New Tales of Terror and the Supernatural.

I have to say “The Monsters of Heaven” was almost more than I could stomach. Reading about the horror the family was put through when their child was stolen from them and the way it twisted and hurt them as both the mother and father dealt with the travesty in different, very unhealthy, ways was hard enough to read about. The father especially finds himself becoming more and more twisted as time passes and his son remains missing.

But on top of that is thrown in an invasion of supernatural being on earth that are being called angels by the news. One enters the lives of the couple with the missing child and that’s when things take a turn. What follows is both heart wrenchingly sad and a little sick and twisted as we begin to wonder who is the bigger monster in the story exactly. This story has won the Shirley Jackson Award in the short story category.

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