Zakk reviews “Little Dead Red” by Mercedes M. Yardley

The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow presents The Eyes of Madness, “Simple reviews from a simple reader…”

  
Zakk reviews “Little Dead Red” by Mercedes M. Yardley. 61 pages published by Crystal Lake Publishing, 2015.
“Once upon a time, somewhere before her second divorce, Marie had smiled. She had simply been Marie then, and occasionally even Happy Marie, and that was a kind and gracious thing. Marie knew of the dangers of the world, but Marie also knew of love and laughter.”

Synopsis:

The Wolf is roaming the city, and he must be stopped.

Grim Marie knows far too much about the wolves of the world, a world where little girls go missing. After all, she had married one before she/he showed his claws, and what that wolf did to her little girl was unforgiveable. Grim Marie isn’t certain if she can ever forgive herself for putting her Little Aleta in harm’s way.

When Grandmother becomes ill, Aleta offers to take the bus through the concrete forest to Grandmother’s house to bring her some goodies. She knows the way. What could possibly go wrong?

In this modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf takes to the city streets to capture his prey, but the hunter is close behind him. With Grim Marie on the prowl, the hunter becomes the hunted.

Wolves pad through the darkest kind of fairytale: one that can come true.

“Two months had passed. Two months of looking out the window and doors and standing on the front porch in the wind and rain and sunshine just in case Aleta forgot what home looked like. If her little girl happened to wander by, confused, looking at houses and front porches and trying to remember which apartment had been hers, why, there would be her mother! To love and hold and greet her. To smooth her hair back from her eyes and promise she’d love her always no matter what had happened, no matter what she had been forced to do.”

Damn… damn. “Little Dead Red” is a test, a soul check. If something doesn’t stir deep down inside of you, if you don’t experience at least a slight sting in the eyes, if you don’t receive a solid squeeze to the feels whilst reading this novella then you are a lost cause, damaged beyond repair. And I’m sorry.

This piece, another in a long line of immensely satisfying reads from Mercedes M. Yardley, is the darkest thing I read in 2015. Prose like a river sweeping you along, sweeping you under if you’re not careful, It’s an emotional journey of a mother seeking answers, purpose, revenge after the loss of her only child.

Like all of MMY’s work the characters that populate this night terror twist on a fairy tale are flesh and blood and their essence spills upon the page, staining your fingertips. And Marie is the centerpiece, Happy Marie, Grim Marie. She hurts, and so do you. She makes irrational but emotional choices, and you support her, you encourage her. She falls apart, you are already in pieces.

The only thing you can do is get up and live. Beware the wolf.

“Her hand had dropped from his face. Her fingers fluttered on the ground, useless.

Broken butterflies.

Shredded sparrows.”

Overall score: 5/ 5

Place little dead red on a playlist with your favorite bottle of hooch, Kyle M. Scott’s “Where the Dead Ones Play” (formerly Protection) & Jonathan Winn’s “Eidolon Avenue”

Zakk is a big dumb animal!

**Note: I first read “Little Dead Red” early in 2015 in the Ragnarok collection “Grim Mistresses”. I then purchased it when it was rereleased on its own. It has haunted me from day one. These are my nightmares.

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