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“Teddy Bears and Tea Parties” / S. Boyd Taylor 

from ChiZine #41 / July 2009
Reviewed by: Anthony J. Rapino

Playing out like a twisted fairy tale, “Teddy Bears and Tea Parties” leads the reader through a dark forest peppered with breadcrumb trails of cryptic references and surreal descriptions. We find ourselves in a world where “the magic came back,” bringing with it living picture frames, hungry houses, and an army of teddy bears.

Little Girl is trapped in a house with the razor-clawed, vampire-fanged teddy bears. In order to stay alive she systematically slices them up and feasts on their blood, which is made of different types of jelly; her favorite is Concord grape. Like the houses, picture frames, and teddy bears, Little Girl is very hungry.

She needs to find out where her sister, Angie, has been taken, though she’s certain an eyeless man, Hymn, has something to do with it. Once she finishes off the teddy bears and runs out of jelly-blood to eat, she is forced to confront Hymn. The story delves deeper into magical realism as Hymn swallows Little Girl whole. Inside his cavernous eye-lined body, she finds a massive tea party populated by dolls, one of which is her sister. They attempt to fight their way to freedom against more teddy bears and the inner workings of Hymn.

S. Boyd Taylor manages to take these many hallucinogenic bits – akin to a bad dream after reading an innocuous bedtime story – and close with satisfactory reasoning and a lingering sense of dread. As you read the last lines, noting the sudden rhythm and rhyme, you again may be reminded of a children’s book gone horribly wrong. And this reviewer means that in the very best of ways.

Read “Teddy Bears and Tea Parties” by S. Boyd Taylor.

Posted on Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 12:09PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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