After a particularly violent storm, Nick and his date Tara explore the land surrounding Nick’s home. They come upon an uprooted oak tree, which would seem like an everyday occurrence, but not when it happens in the world of writer Anthony Rapino.
The story unfolds with the two exploring strange shadows and poses the question what is real, what is part of a different reality, and which one is worse?
“Shadows shifted and crept closer. Something shuffled just out of view, and he knew these were the things he had been trying to see. The things slithering in his periphery. He had just enough time to wonder, why, God why, had he wanted to see them?”
Rooted (I couldn’t resist…) in reality, this story makes it easy for the reader to relate to the strange circumstances, and that could be because, as Rapino explained to me, he used real-life experience as the seed of the tale.
“The idea for “Uprooted” came like a bolt of lightning…literally. There was a huge storm one night, during which a loud thunder strike shook the house. What followed sounded like the melancholy moan of a distressed and dying giant, which quickly became a snapping explosion. For anyone who has lived in a country setting for more than a year, the ominous sound would be familiar: A tree had fallen. The next day I went for a walk and found the fallen tree. It was enormous, and the water-filled hole where its roots had been seemed to vibrate with energy. I had my story.”
Often, as writers, we are asked where we get our ideas. Rapino demonstrates how even the most average event can provide the spark one needs for a story.
Rapino uses those exposed roots found by Nick and Tara as a means to illustrate how dread, fear and an unsettling darkness can creep and crawl and edge their way into your subconscious. A solid story that doesn’t rely upon blood and gore to get readers scared.
Uprooted also contains 2 other stories, “Retired”, which was first printed in the October 2007 issue of Magus Press, and one I particularly enjoyed, “Just Once More, Little Sister”, from the February 2010 edition of Nossa Morte.
If you’re still smarting from the end of Halloween, this creepy, sinister little tale will get you back in the spirit.
The story follows Frank Whistler and his yearly ritual of carving pumpkins and roasting the spoils for his sister, Nora. All that painstaking attention to detail — including the planting of said pumpkins, the reaping, the sowing — all come in handy when he needs to prepare for cultivating the biggest and best seeds ever.
I tell you, I will certainly never look at jack-o-lanterns the same way again!
This little chapbook is a gem, offering 3 different stories that provide a delightfully dark sampling of Tony’s writing.
Uprooted by Anthony J. Rapino
Limited Edition Chapbook, 32 pages
Publisher: March 2011 by Strange Publications
Have you read Uprooted or other works by Anthony J. Rapino? Share your favorite tale or your thoughts on Tony’s writing in the comments section.