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Of Covens and Death

For the longest time, the women in my writing group have been obsessed with “The Coven of Dead Girls” by L’Erin Ogle, narrated by Nika Harper for Pseudopod. And for just as long, I’ve been avoiding it. Just the title sounded like too much for me.

See, I like the idea of horror, but my anxiety doesn’t actually allow me to consume much horror. Visual horror can sometimes give me visual hallucinations when I have panic attacks. So it is better for me to avoid the extra fodder and protect my sanity. I can handle some written horror, but it will often push my anxiety levels too high, and it’s rarely worth the risk.

But people kept talking about this story. And talking. One of my good writing friends listened to it again the other day, and I decided I would bite the bullet and give it a try. In the bright spring sunshine.

I’m glad I did.

I’ll be honest. This story is hard to listen to. The subject matter — girls who were killed by a serial killer — is not for the faint of heart. But the voice of the story: the anger, the seething rage of the injustice, was perfect. The story explored the cycles of abuse in the world, but focused mainly on giving voice to one victim. It was powerful.

Then, the narration. I usually prefer reading shorts rather than listening to them, but this was a true performance by Nika Harper. Her voice was in turns haunting and terrifying, exactly what the story called for. She breathed life into Ogle’s story. All the way to the end. And what an end it was.

This is one of those stories that gets in the skin. It stays with you. I don’t want to say it’s beautiful, because it’s terrible. But the writing is so precise, and the delivery is nothing short of perfection.

Let’s just say I’m yet another one of those blown away by “The Coven of Dead Girls.” And now I’ll join in obsessing over it.

You should, too.

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