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No Sh!t, There I Was: The One About Jacob

As promised yesterday, I asked the great god RNG to pick a story for me to tell you about today, and it has. That story is: The One About Jacob, by Tyler Hayes.

The One About Jacob is one of the few dark/horror stories that made it into the anthology–we didn’t get a whole lot of horror submissions, and that’s just fine, because I’m not that big of a reader of horror either. And it’s one of those stories that I didn’t read and immediately body slam onto the YES I WILL HAVE THIS list–because it did its work in a much subtler way. It crept up on me, day after day, and I found myself just thinking about the story, and the eerie nature of it, and the creepy final lines, until I finally had to beg: “Look, if I put you in the ToC, will you please stop whispering in my ear when I’m trying to make my morning tea?”

And Jacob smiled, that game, preternaturally likable smile of his, and said “Sure.” (He was lying.)

The One About Jacob is a story that’s about the power of stories people tell each other, both positive and negative. The way stories can bring the wounded together, and the way they can warp and twist and become something truly awful without anyone ever intending the end result. It’s also about the tenuous nature of free will, and how it’s a bad idea for anyone to have the power to change peoples’ minds in a permanent way, but an even worse idea when we’re talking pissed off, lonely, fucked up teenagers. Because this is what happens when people can literally create their own perfect friends, when perfection tends to hide something monstrous and ugly beneath.

It’s an excellent, creepy story, and it’s in No Shit, There I Was. Reason number 1 of 24 to support the Kickstarter so you can read it!

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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