“The shrine. How does it operate? Do you just pray to it or do you have to bring it something or what?”
In this unsettling novella by Bentley Little, many strange occurrences unsettle the inhabitants of William Tell Circle:
For Helen, a knock on the door brings an unexpected visitor along with lavish gifts, and it seems all her wishes have been granted…but at what cost?
For young Frank and his friends, a fabled neighborhood shrine may answer their prayers for a girlfriend, just as their older brothers hope the same source will grant them money. But the older boys' improvised ritual turns into something horrible…
For Gil Marotta, a rescue mission to the shrine leads him into a chilling confrontation with the local witch…
The Circle tells the story of a normally quiet community, plunged into the kind of surreal nightmare only Bentley Little can deliver.
Readers who view women as objects of horror possessed of heartless greed, foul excretions, faked intelligence, loathsome curves, and demonic souls may experience some frisson while perusing this novella; others will merely be disgusted. In part one, childless Helen allows a strange young boy into her house and is astonished when he deposits diamonds into the toilet. Part two follows eighth-grader Frank and his friends, who ardently wish to know what cunnilingus is like and are willing to dare a witch s shrine to find out. Part three is the first-person account of Frank s father, Gil, who is drawn by one of the screaming boys into an encounter with the witch herself: that lady professor... hugely fat. Little (The Haunted) employs competent prose without flair, which does nothing to mitigate the absurdity and tedium of this catalogue of repulsive bodily functions and injuries.