THE DISTANCE TRAVELLED

Brett Savory

Necro Publications / 270 pages / (January 1, 2006)

ISBN: 1889186627

What is it with Brett A. Savory and pigs? Come to think of it, even if you do know, I don’t think I want to. Some things are better left unexamined. Fortunately, that doesn’t include Savory’s fiction. If you like your horror dark and twisted and sometimes hilarious, he’s your man. And here’s an added bonus: The Distance Travelled is the first one of his stories I haven’t felt compelled to give an NC-1 rating to; a PG-13 will suit this one just dandy.

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Here’s the picture: you’re sitting around one day in Hell, minding your own business, when some low-life creeps throw a live pig through your kitchen window. (Okay, I suppose, technically, it’s Hell’s kitchen…) Now, that kind of thing doesn’t go down well up here among the living and it certainly isn’t any more tolerated in Hell. One can’t just spend one’s time running willy-nilly about the house, dodging airborne livestock, really.

Well, the victim of this prank decides to track down the perpetrators and that’s when all… well, you know what breaks loose. And let me tell you, the Underworld is not exactly like the bible-thumpers would have you believe. It can even be barely tolerable as long as your air conditioning unit doesn’t give up the ghost. Or, if you don’t have to stop for a fill-up, because if you’re still bemoaning the demise of full-service gas pumps, there’s a character in The Distance Travelled that will shut you up on that score. Permanently.

In order to solve the mystery of the barnyard missiles, our hero must go to the most dangerous spot in Hell, the flame pit where the nameless beast waits for crunchy treats of any sort. He must also get within spitting distance of the most feared man in the Underworld (and you’d be surprised to find out that isn’t the Big Red Fella) and find an opening that leads to the Upside.

In anyone else’s hands, it could be sheer torture, but all this means Savory is just getting warmed up. And damned if you won’t have a great time before this whole deranged ride is over. And it will just whet your appetite for Savory’s first-ever novel, In And Down, which he has just finished.

Until that bent offering comes out, Savory has kindly and bravely given us a peek into the past at a short story he wrote in 1984 at the “tender” age of eleven. Like many first attempts of good writers it shows the ideas are there — every idea he’d had up until that point, crammed into one horrendous, hysterical mess. Go ahead. He laughs at it, so can you. Think of it as a before-and-after ad.

Just remember that the guy in the after picture is going places and he’s taking that little before kid with him. They are on their way.