Author: Alana K. Drex and A.W. Mason
Publication Date: 8 June 2022
Available As: e-book and limited paperback
Melinda hates squirrels. She blames them for her husband’s death, and as time goes forward, instead of trying to move on, her obsessive anger only grows. But what has lead Melinda to blame the little rodents for her husband’s demise? And where will this hateful path ultimately lead her.
The Scampering advertises itself as “An Extreme Horror” story and it certainly lives up to that branding. Authors Drex and Mason have crafted a short, snappy, vicious little tale about a woman, Melinda, who has become obsessed with eradicating squirrels without hesitation or remorse. Melinda’s hatred of the little rodents stems from a life-changing car crash from about a year ago in which her husband, Michael, swerved to avoid hitting two squirrels and ended up brutally killed and left her broken and scarred, both mentally and physically.
Now, Melinda chases squirrels down in her car to run them over, sets traps in her garden to capture and kill them, and puts up anonymous flyers all over her town warning people abut the “evil” squirrels that she believes are responsible for untold numbers of deaths that are ruled out as accidents. Melinda’s so disgusted by them, so far gone, that she’s taken to retrieving the bodies of dead squirrels and cooking them up in various different ways (the story even includes a recipe for her famous squirrel-meat tacos!) and would like nothing more than to see them all killed.
However, Melinda’s vendetta comes back to (literally) bite her in the most gruesome of ways when the squirrels invade her home and take ghastly, bloody revenge upon her. Authors Drex and Mason really outdo themselves with their descriptions of mutilation and assault, meaning that The Scampering definitely isn’t for those with a poor constitution. Personally, I loved it! The descriptions of the squirrels’ revenge reminded me of Mr. Kreeg’s (Brian Cox) run in with Sam (Quinn Lord) in Trick ‘r Treat (Dougherty, 2007) and Battleground (King, 1972) from Night Shift (ibid, 1978) and Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King (Henson, 2006) and even recalled Patrick Hocksetter’s grisly death in It (King, 1986). The authors definitely didn’t shy away from going all-in with their descriptions of bloody carnage, but The Scampering also contains a fair bit of dark humour, such as when Melinda throws a squirrel’s carcass in the face of her nosey neighbour!
If you’re a fan of squirrels and cute little animals then The Scampering’s depiction of their violent deaths and Melinda’s unwavering hatred of them may make you a bit uneasy, but all proceeds from the story go to the Animal Welfare Institute and at no point are Melinda’s actions or state of mind portrayed in a positive light. She was clearly devastated and left a broken, neurotic mess after Michael’s death and is lashing out in an effort to cope with it. unfortunately for her, she’s chosen to take her grief out on those cute little rodents, leaving her little more than a wild animal at times and causing her to suffer a gruesome end as a result. In the end, The Scampering was a very imaginative and macabre read; I enjoyed its unapologetic depictions of gore and unsettling imagery and definitely think fans of extreme or gory horror should give this one a go.
If you’re interested in checking out The Scampering, and to learn more about Alana K. Drex and A.W. Mason and their journey as authors, visit the links at the top of the page.