I like listening to audio books while driving to and from work. It helps pass the time and allows me to make some progress through my reading list.
It also, sometimes, lets me hear a story in the author’s own voice. This is the case with “Forever.” This short story is recorded along with its companion “Father and Son” on Dark Voices, Volume 3. I’m choosing to review “Forever” because, of the two, it was my favorite.
Angel’s Adjectives: hopeful and heart-breaking
I’m not sure I’d label this story a horror story. It’s much more a psychological drama, but it’s a beautiful story, told with heart and much personal detail. The main character is married to a woman dying of cancer. He wants nothing more than for her to live out the rest of her life happily. He has a plan to make that happen, and it involves nefarious activities.
This was the first Ketchum story I’ve ever read, shame on me, and I was struck by his ability to describe exactly the right thing (bed sores) in exactly the right way to evoke the emotions he wanted in me. He played me like a puppet. Very quickly he had me hating her cancer as much as the characters involved do, and with few words, he makes me understand just how horrible it is.
Then, he births the plan.
There’s not much action in the story. No car chases or fight scenes. This story is about two people who have been in love for decades and who are facing a dark end. They grasp for hope and happiness.
The ending is nothing but hope and heart-break. The combination of the two is what sets this story apart.
I liked it.