Review–Gateways to Abomination
A parade of horrors files past in Matthew Bartlett’s Gateways to Abomination, accompanied by the strains of an otherworldly broadcast. The discord awakens both terror and fascination, makes our eyes pop even as we struggle to look away. The writing—poetic, detailed, traumatizing—gives lift to hairs we didn’t know we had at the back of the neck.
These pieces sprout mold, inedible and stinking, in the dark, damp forests of our worst imagining.
when i was a boy—a broadcast opens simply enough. It begins as a story about three kids who may well eat frogs. It ends in the immolation of townsfolk enjoying the rapacious company of a woman who’s chained her sons to a tree. Is it right even to call those boys friends of the narrator’s? “I once saw Christopher trying to strangle a tomcat and I jammed a thick branch into his ear until it spat blood and I handily convinced Alex to take the blame.” Among the debris of his arson the narrator finds numerous oddities, including “Three-eyed spectacles and a bucket full of feet.”