Crossroads… What can I say about this gorgeous novella that hasn’t been said before? Beautifully written, emotional, relatable, heartbreaking — yes, it’s all these things. But what’s more? It’s one of those rare works of horror that can make you ache like the main character, stab you right in the gut and draw forth real tears. But how? Let’s face it, what is the most horrifying thing imaginable? That’s right, losing the person you love the most and not being able to do a damn thing about it.
Chris is a mother in her forties, struggling in the aftermath of losing her only son, Trey, in a catastrophic car crash. She’d had him for so long, almost two decades, and now he’s gone. Every day, she visits the spot where he died, now marked by a cross at the side of the road. One day, shortly before the anniversary of his death, she nicks her finger and a drop of blood hits the earth…just a tiny amount of blood, but the results will keep you flipping the page to see what happens next.
I mentioned above this was a relatable story, but how? Not all of us are mothers (including myself), and not all of us have lost loved ones in such a sudden and brutal manner. Yet that doesn’t matter. Chris herself is so real, a special feat indeed that not every writer can master. I could almost hear her, telling me the story in my head instead of me actually reading the words, and I recognized her. She could be one of many people in my life, someone I might meet, or even someone like myself. So when she is going through these intense waves of grief and loss, I go through them with her. I care what happens to Chris, and I fear that one day I might endure something similar. Not all of us will become parents, but we all have someone we love the most, someone who brings light and joy to our lives, and if that person was somehow lost, imagine the state we’d be left in?
Some may say Crossroads is not “real” horror, but I emphatically disagree. I was legitimately scared for Chris, for the path I could see her stumbling down. And I didn’t just fear for her. I feared for myself, if I ever found myself burdened with a similar amount of grief. What are any of us capable of when the person we love the most dies, a loss that crashes our entire world into rubble? Horror is an emotion, a primal fear, and that flows strong through this novella, gripping so tight at times it takes one’s breath away. I highly recommend this story, but be prepared for occasional bouts of tears and to have your heart, mind, and soul changed…and isn’t that why we love reading in the first place?