Best Horror of the Year: Just Outside Our Windows…. by Brian Hodge

Best Horror of the Year Volume 3 edited by Ellen Datlow
Best Horror of the Year Volume 3 edited by Ellen Datlow

-At the Riding School by Cody Goodfellow

-Mr. Pigsny by Reggie Oliver

City of the Dog by John Langan

Just Outside Our Windows, Deep Inside Our Doors by Brian Hodge

Horror fiction has often had a fascinating relationship with children.  Maybe it’s just me but I always feel that a lot of horror features children in a central role.  Novels like Stephen King’s It, Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night, Dougless Clegg’s Neverland, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Richard Laymon’s Traveling Vampire Show all use children as our heroes.  It is always a fascinating to see the juxtaposition of childhood innocence with unflinching horror.  Hodges story is subtle in its exploration of that juxtaposition.  He uses several careful layers in the story’s opening to obscure where the horrific elements are coming from.

Similar in vein to Let the Right One In, Hodge’s story is at its heart a story about the friendship between two outcasts.  One of which is a product of human monsters and the other just part monster.  It is sad and chilling at the same time.  Hodge’s opening lines for the story set the tone wonderfully setting us on the path to horror when our narrator states “…once the bloom is off the earliest years of childhood, we stand revealed as something our parents are mortified to have created.”