Horns - by Joe Hill

HornsMost everyone has heard of "cringe humor"--the kind of awkward humor that makes you shudder and want to be somewhere else.  The best way I can describe "Horns" might therefore be "cringe horror".  You'll shudder and want to get away, but the horrific ideas and scenarios put forward will hold you captive even when you aren't reading...

The story begins the morning after a drunken night of debauchery and blasphemous behavior.  Our protagonist, Ignatius (Iggy) Perish wakes up with with a splitting headache and budding set of horns growing from his skull.   Even before the horns, Iggy was already a pretty infamous character within his community.  The former prime suspect in the brutal slaying of his girlfriend, the general consensus among the people of his town is that Iggy's rich father and his lawyers let him get away with murder.

The horns however were not the only thing Ig woke up with.  Ig finds that he now has the power to, simply by touching a person, know the worst things they have ever done.  Not only that, but people have begun volunteering their worst thoughts and ideas to Iggy--as if they want encouragement to act on them.

Before you consider what an awesome superpower this could be, consider what that might mean for your friends and family.  If you knew all the terrible, awful things they had ever done, could you look at them the same way?  If you knew the worst thing they thought of you, that they think of you, could you still love them?  Hill explores these scenarios in cringe inducing detail.  Naked honesty can be more disturbing than the things that go bump in the night.

As for what happens to Iggy and the truth about who killed his girlfriend?  Go read "Horns" to find out!  If you like dark fantasy or horror, you'll be glad you did.

-AK