By Hubert Williams
Castigation by Hubert Williams is one of those short stories you hope to find when you start reading short stories in the first place. A tale of a man and a terrible secret he holds, then the repercussions of such, Castigation has got all the makings for a great ghost story. It incorporates old magic, religion, the power of love and family, and then weighs in on what it must be like for a human to carry around the burden of a terrible secret never told to any of his closest loved ones.
George Walker was involved in a situation that would never leave his conscience-- or his life. He's a man who doesn't believe in the hogwash of the supernatural, yet is unknowingly plagued by it. It wreaks havoc on him-- his heart and soul and mind all suffer-- but on his loved ones as well. Family members and friends become ill or die, unexplained things happen to people who are working on the properties in which he's involved, and inevitably all of these things come to a head that require the help of a local shaman.
Hubert Williams is undoubtedly extraordinarily creative. You can tell he's a brilliant guy by the way he weaves religion and folklore and superstition all together to create an intricate, interesting weave, and Castigation is the kind of story I'd recommend to anyone who's interested in the paranormal. It's not *too* scary-- it didn't give me nightmares, thank goodness-- but it's definitely the kind of thing you'll think about for long after you put it down. I've already found myself wanting to tell friends about this cool story I read every time something reminds me of it. My only complaint in terms of this story is the proofreading aspect-- it is, of course, always important to proofread and proofread again, to make sure those elements don't distract the reader from the story. But ultimately, that's just nitpicking. Castigation is a great story, and I really enjoyed it.