First published as a stand-alone tale in chapbook format by Ghostwriter Publications back in April of 2009, Guy N Smith’s short story ‘The Last Train’ had previously appeared in Stephen Jones’ ‘The Mammoth Book Of Frankenstein’ (1994).  This later edition of the short was unfortunately an unedited version, with many typos and errors present throughout the text.

DLS Synopsis:
Twenty-one year old Jeremy had lived a sheltered life thus far; working six days a week on his parents’ farm, with little to no money to his name and his overbearing parents always suppressing whatever he wants to do.  With the annual Smithland show approaching, Jeremy purchases a ticket, which includes travel to and from London as well as hotel accommodation for that night.

His parents strongly disapprove of Jeremy’s planned excursion to London, but once he has left for the big city by himself, he soon begins the revel in the freedom that he has suddenly obtained.  Thoughts of prostitutes immediately spring to mind.  But once he’s there in London, and finally manages to locate one of these ladies of the night, his nerves fail him and he is left in deep embarrassment at his sudden impotentness.

All seems lost until he quickly clambers on to the last train of the evening, having been stalked to the train stop by unknown assailants.  But he is not alone on the carriage.  A shabby looking man and two skimpily clad women are sitting together just down from him.  Realising what their trade is, Jeremy’s urges begin to get the better of him once again.  If only he had some money left…

DLS Review:
Aside from the constant distraction of the poorly edited and obviously un-proof-read text (a usual complaint with Ghostwriter Publications’ editions) the tale itself is a gripping and intriguing one, with plenty of tension building within the fast storyline.

The principal character of Jeremy is set down early on, with a good level of characterisation and backstory put in to forming the character and thusly his motivations within London.  With such a character-dominant and character-dependent storyline, this works perfectly in establishing the base for what turns out to be a savage and creepy tale of desperation that turns to a hideous nightmare.

The ending is thrust upon the reader with a suddenness that is almost surreal in its instant shifting of premise.  The gritty twist ending was obviously written specifically for the ‘The Mammoth Book Of Frankenstein’ collection (1994), with the brutal change in direction fulfilling the criteria for this collection to the tee.

All in all, the short is exciting, compelling, fast-paced and enjoyable; with plenty of twists and turns crammed in to the limited space of this gritty horror short story.

The chapbook runs for a total of 11 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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