“Thou Earth, Thou” by K. M. Ferebee from Wilde Stories 2012 (Lethe Press). Edited by Steve Berman.

This story is written in the grand tradition of the sinister movies I used to watch in the afternoons and on weekends all during my childhood, back in the 1970s. Creepy yarns about young couples transplanted from the fast-paced city, looking to put down roots in a seemingly charming, bucolic village or sleepy suburb which of course, always turned out to be the home base for a Satanic cult, or aliens hell-bent on taking over the human race, or a corporation looking to do the same.

Mason and Dunbar are transplants from the city, but Mason still commutes to work there. He loves the city, and would never have left it, but Dunbar was unhappy. He needs wide open spaces and nature, not concrete, at his fingertips. They’ve moved into a house in a suburb, where Dunbar works on his Master’s thesis and fiddles in the overgrown garden, while Mason is off at work in a theatre costume shop. It seems like a fairly reasonable compromise until Dunbar begins digging up bones in the backyard, and Mason starts seeing dark shapes moving beyond the window.

The author built up a marvelous tension, and raised all sorts of questions, but the story ends without answering them. I’m left wanting to know exactly what the threat is and how it came to pass in the first place, and what becomes of Mason and Dunbar.