In this first season of Come Join Us By The Fire, presented by Nightfire Books, there are 35 short horror stories that are narrated by Ramón de Ocampo, Saskia Maarleveld, and Gerard Doyle.
Shout out to Laurie of Bark At The Ghouls for putting this on my radar! Check out her review of Season 1 here.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Come Join Us By The Fire: Season 1
Each of these tale varies in length; they range from 3:25 to 33:45, and one was an 1 hour and 15 minutes long but broken up into two halves. This makes this series the perfect thing to listen to here and there as time allows. I listened mainly while doing projects around the house. A few times, I was so engrossed in the tale, I found myself just sitting there, waiting to see what would happen next!
The narrators do an amazing job reading and making the stories extra creepy with their tone and pacing! The sound effects added in also added to the overall atmosphere of the stories.
My favorite tales from this season include:
- This Guy by Chuck Wendig
- Flayed Ed by Richard Kadrey
- The Pond by Paul Tremblay
- Midnight Caller by Stephen Graham Jones
- When The Zombies Win by Karina Sumner-Smith
- Harold the Spider Man by Paul Tremblay
- Don’t Turn on the Lights by Cassandra Khaw
- Dream House by Kat Howard
Per usual, here are my quick notes about each story:
No Matter Which Way We Turned by Brian Evenson – Three Stars
Oh my gosh, the first line of this one sure got my attention! This is a tale about a girl that doesn’t have a face and her people aren’t sure what to do with her. The overall tone was very creepy, but I wasn’t totally sure what was going on.
Daddy by Victor LaValle – Four Stars
This tale is about a father that is having difficulty adjusting to becoming a father. Determined to break the patterns of his past, he battles with internal demons.
Boy was this one creepy! I loved not being able to guess where the story was headed. I was very unprepared for that ending!
This Guy by Chuck Wendig – Five Stars
This tale had a Fight Club-like theme. I LOVED this one!
Flayed Ed by Richard Kadrey – Five Stars
This short is about the murder, Ed Gein, but with a twist. I thought this was such an interesting take that makes an already terrifying story even more of a nightmare.
The Pond by Paul Tremblay – Five Stars
A heartbreaking and eerie tale about brothers that have moved out of childhood into the next stages of their personal paths after their trip to the pond changes things forever. My goodness, the use of the phrase “I walk” got more and more powerful as the story went on. What a tale!
My Body, Herself by Carmen Maria Machado – Four Stars
In this story, a woman is crushed by a cave in. But after death, she isn’t alone. This one was beautiful and horrific at the same time. The thought of being stuck in place, unable to tell your family where you are is absolutely terrifying to me.
The Girls From The Horror Movie by Gwendolyn Kiste – Four Stars
When twin sisters have a small role in a horror film, they have no idea what the public’s reaction will be. Years later, one sister enjoys attending cons and staying in the public eye, while the other just wants to be left alone. But something else has it’s eye on these two…
This one was so spooky! I loved the build up and the bit of foreshadowing we got before the ending.
These Deathless Bones by Cassandra Khaw – Four Stars
This is a tale about a woman and her relationship with her wicked stepson. Phew, this one was a difficult listen! I wanted this child to meet a swift end… I don’t recommend listening to this one while eating with the sounds that are included.
It Washed Up by Joe R. Lansdale – Four Stars
WOOF. This one was brutal. When a creature comes from the sea and enters the town, he takes a mans harmonica and begins to play a tune that the people can’t help but be captivated by. This one was written so beautifully that the darkness hits extra hard.
Stemming The Tide by Simon Strantzas – Three Stars
The tide in this town rises, but sometimes, the dead come with it.
Woah, I’m not sure why this guy was so darn angry or what him and his wife had gone through… but it must have been something really intense. His internal monologue was very unsettling.
Midnight Caller by Stephen Graham Jones – Five Stars
When this one picks up, a caller is trying to get help for her and her friends at a camp they were preparing for campers. This is such a twisted tale! While familiar, there’s still plenty that will spook you.
Black Bark by Brian Evenson – Three Stars
Two cowboys are out looking for a cabin, though as the reader, we’re not sure why. One is injured but he’s determined to tell a story. This one was very creepy and bizarre!
The Anatomist’s Mnemonic by Priya Sharma –
I may have missed something with this one. It unfortunately wasn’t keeping my attention. The obsession with hands was unsettling though!
Rabbit Heart by Alyssa Wong – Three Stars
What would you do in order to replace a lost loved one? I love this trope, it just never gets old for me. This was an interesting take on the idea! And that ending!!
The Beasts of the Earth, the Madness of Men by Brooke Bolander – Four Stars
A captain of a ship has long since left her human form, but her corpse is still floating on the ocean and she lingers, not ready to let go yet. We also meet a whale that is ready to pass on. This one was beautifully haunting.
Cold, Silent, and Dark by – Five Stars
When a man meets a woman, he thinks he has found love. However, she has something else in mind. I loved this one! It was so heartfelt up until the point when it suddenly wasn’t. Then it was dark!
When The Zombies Win by Karina Sumner-Smith – Five Stars
What happens to the world once the zombies win? That’s exactly what is explored here. I loved this tak on what happens next. I’m always a sucker for zombie tales, but I have to admit, I haven’t thought about what could come next!
Harold the Spider Man by Paul Tremblay – Five Stars
NO THANK YOU! I am petrified of spiders and this one made my skin crawl.
Ponies by Kij Johnson – Two Stars
Ah the horrors of trying to fit in as a kid…
Black Neurology by Richard Kadrey –
Unfortunately not a story for me.
Beware Of Owner by Chuck Wendig – Four Stars
When a father and son say they don’t abide trespassers… they certainly mean it. This is another that’s difficult to listen to because of the content, but phew, what a terrifying tale!
The Vault of the Sky, the Face of the Deep by Robert Levy – Four Stars
After an evacuation of a power plant, this old woman is left alone. But then she get a visitor, and she tells this visitor her story. This one is very dark, hits on heavy topics, and will leave you feeling a bit sad. Beautifully written!
Don’t Turn on the Lights by Cassandra Khaw – Five Stars
A familiar tale of a girl returning to her room to hear something that she think’s is odd, but she doesn’t turn on the light to check.
I LOVED this one. Around minute four, when the quote “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the lights” was narrated, I let out a little scream. This lore is so haunting and straight out of my childhood. Phew! I loved the new twist as well. That made it SO much darker!
Wasp & Snake by Livia Llewellyn – Four Stars
I’ve never read the fable that this one is based on, but I really enjoyed this tale! It’s a fun sci-fi horror short about body modifications and tasks being assigned to those with the body mods.
Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt – Three Stars
There’s something that terrifies me when it comes to stories about truckers… I think I have Joy Ride to blame for that. This one was so eerie!
And When She Was Bad by Nadia Bulkin – Three Stars
When this story begins, we meet a final girl that has survived a massacre. When she attacks the monster that was responsible for, she takes it with her on her way to find help. What a trip we go on in this one!
El Charro by John Langan – Three Stars
When a man wakes up in a cell after being knocked out, he’s confused. But then when he realizes that something else is there, things take a darker turn. This one was eerie!
Dream House by Kat Howard – Five Stars
A woman has been haunted by dreams of a home in her childhood town. Today, she has purchased the house and is moving in with a huge ring of keys in hand. Just what do all these keys go to? I LOVED this one! I loved creepy house tales, and this one hit the mark. I loved the ending as well!
Spawning Season by Nicholas Kaufmann – Three Stars
When a man is suddenly inspired to return to his hometown, he thinks it’s just to see the place again. But in a town of only men, no women, there’s something else this man must do before he returns to the city again. I loved how this story was set up! It was very intriguing and I couldn’t wait to learn what the deal was. That ending…
In Sheep’s Clothing by Molly Tanzer – Four Stars
In this world, people are getting sick… the world is moving back to simpler times where people trade things for what they need. Our main character knits sweaters… but there’s something else going on here. Something darker. I did not see this ending coming! PHEW.
57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides by Sam J. Miller – Three Stars
Wow! This one is literally a list of reasons why this teen has lashed out. This one is brutal and terrifying to see all of the little things that can make someone snap!
Was She Wicked? Was She Good? by M. Rickert –
A Life That Is Not Mine by Kristi DeMeester – Three Stars
Phew, this poor woman is going through quite the rough time and things just keep getting darker and darker.
That Which Does Not Kill You by Lucy A. Snyder – Four Stars
When a woman wakes up missing her heart, she is forced to confront feelings that she has been having trouble dealing with. Luckily, there’s someone there to help mend her. This was a lovely tale with a great underlying message of care and trust.
The Design by China Miéville, Part 1 & 2 – Three Stars
What a tale to end with! The descriptions of working on the cadavers made me squeamish.
My Final Thoughts on Come Join Us By The Fire, Season 1
This was such a fun and spooky series to listen to, filled with some really amazing tales that I absolutely loved!
Whether you already enjoy horror audio tales, or are looking for something to dip your toes into, I highly recommend checking this out!
Check it out here: