Snow Shadows by Mick Garris is quite different from Development Hell, which was also published by Cemetery Dance. In his new piece of fiction, rather than using hardcore violence, bizarre sex, and outright gore to entertain the readers, the author chooses instead to tell a simple ghost story through the imagery of his mind’s eye. He uses the beauty of words to build intricate characters and to describe an incident that isn’t so much scary as it is realistic in its doomed triangle of love and sexual obsession.
The story takes place at the Ravensbrooke Youth Academy for the Arts in England. Most of the teachers there have given up on their own dreams and have settled in for the drudgery of instructing exceptional children. Everything is going along smoothly during the winter months until one of the faculty, Ms. Featherstone, decides to climb to the top of the clock tower on campus and take a nose dive to the quad below. You see, Ms. Featherstone had a one-night stand with another teacher, Nicolas, and took the sex much more seriously than he did. She feels betrayed, used, and unimportant, while Nicolas is being eaten up with guilt at the betrayal to his own wife for the act of adultery. It doesn’t seem to matter that Ms. Featherstone instigated the affair and seduced Nicolas. The whole wretched incident is now a downward spiral and no one will walk away unscathed.
Naturally, Ms. Featherstone plans her revenge very carefully and ends up jumping off the clock tower, shouting for Nicolas to come out and witness her dramatic death, falling with a written note that declares her love-but to whom? The note falls into the hands of a young child prodigy named, David, who had a crush on Ms. Featherstone. After reading the note, he clearly feels it was meant for him, and that the teacher was stating her own secret love. In time, David’s young mind, with the assistance of Ms. Featherstone’s spirit, sees Nicolas as having been a rival for his teacher’s affection and plots to destroy him.
I should point out that this story can mean different things to its readers.
I, for one, believe the note from the falling teacher was meant for Nicolas and not David. Ms. Featherstone, like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction, seduced Nicolas into having sex with her and then wouldn’t let go. She wanted him at any cost, even if it meant breaking up his marriage by her own suicide. David, being an odd student to begin with, accidently gets the note and blows it up into something that was never meant to be. Now, whether the spirit of Ms. Featherstone existed in reality, or in the minds of both David and Nicolas, is up for debate. Needless to say, Ms. Featherstone gets her revenge at the end.
To all the gentlemen out there, this is yet another reason to keep that infernal zipper pulled up. It can lead to nothing but trouble in the end … trouble that involves ghosts and horrible retribution. Yeah, that’s exactly what I said.
An orgasm isn’t worth it.
I’m sure the author, Mick Garris, being a successful film director, has had his share of temptation over the years, but instinctively understands that his wife would happily kill him in a very creative way, if he was ever caught cheating. It’s also important for the ladies to understand that when a man’s little head comes alive, love usually goes right out the window in the heat of the moment. So the men need to stay faithful out of fear, if not love. Let Snow Shadows be a powerful reminder of what can happen when you lose control for even a few moments. Understand that divorce is the least of your worries … that there are things out there more frightening than your imagination and revenge can be a much stronger emotion than even love.
I can’t wait for Mick Garris’ next book from Cemetery Dance this fall – Tyler’s Third Act.