Thomas Gloom’s eco-horror novella, The Potted Plant, immediately pulled me in with a cover that:
1) sneaks in an animation of Gloom’s author persona, who is never without his shades — and which I’m sure also depicts the narrator of the tale; and
2) parallels what I imagine was a lot of fans’ gateway into the horror genre — Little Shop of Horrors.
And the nods to the classic comedic horror 1986 film starring Rick Moranis don’t end at the cover.
The Potted Plant follows a young man who faces an existential crisis — his girlfriend, the woman he planned to marry, cheats on him. And, to make matters worse, she cheats with the narrator’s lifelong best friend.
Grief-stricken, the protagonist becomes entangled in a web of feelings and thoughts of hatred, sorrow, confusion, and — perhaps the most dangerous of them all — vengeance.
Remember the poor nerdy man in Little Shop of Horrors?
Enter a woman who the narrator suspects to be a witch. She gives the broken-hearted man clear instructions and sends him on his way with a new house plant. Day by day, the plant grows, consuming flies and then mice, and then….
I won’t spoil anything, but let’s say this thing has a taste for carnage.
In a classic “eye for an eye” tale, Gloom weaves a wickedly enticing story that packs a sucker punch — an impressive feat in 134 pages.
The Potted Plant reads like an old Poe story. Of course, the novella has modern touches throughout, but it reminds me of Poe in a way that feels thought-provoking thematically, atmospheric, and horrific.
Gloom is one to watch.