Willow, Weep by Victor J. Banis

Willow, Weep by Victor J. Banis
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror, Historical
Length: Short Story (6 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The old inn sits by a lake in an ancient forest, shrouded in mystery. Outside, a restless willow thrashes its limbs and, for a fleeting moment, a woman seems to dance in the mist. A trick of the light? Or a villi, perhaps, one of the sirens of legend, who tempt the unfaithful lover to his doom? A man would be a fool to venture out into that night–but the sultry Magda may be waiting for him, an invitation he is unable to resist. And it’s only mist, isn’t it…?

Everyone is tempted by something or someone eventually. The question is, what makes one person give in while another continues to keep his or her promises?

One of the most interesting parts of travelling to a new area is learning about their local myths. Brad and his bride are one of only a handful of visitors at this particular inn tonight, and their reactions to the stories that Magda, the woman who runs the establishment, tells are quite revealing. The best parts of this short story involve subtle hints about what is really going on that are tucked into otherwise ordinary conversations.

I had a hard time believing that Brad could be as naive as he was written. He consistently fails to pick up on obvious clues that not everything around him is necessarily what it appears to be. His offensive mannerisms and profound lack of curiosity about his surroundings also made it difficult for me to empathize with what happens to him. Not every character needs to be likable in order to be interesting, of course, but in this case Brad was written with such a negative slant that he comes across as very one dimensional.

The creepy atmosphere is what drew me back into the plot. Mr. Banis’ use of the extremely isolated location and poor weather conditions lends an eerie quality to this tale that drastically heightens the suspense. In some ways the setting is actually scarier than anything else the characters experience because the fog obstructs their view so completely. It’s extremely hard to know where you’re going in a thick, unrelenting fog, after all.

Willow, Weep is a solid horror tale that I would recommend to anyone who likes to be frightened but isn’t interested in the explicit violence that is so common in this genre.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to read and review my story. It is a creepy setting, isn’t it? Some years back I stayed at an inn upon which this one is modeled.

  2. You’re very welcome. I had a good time reviewing it, and the setting is even scarier now that I know it was based on a real place. Spooky!

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