Lorie is trying desperately to acclimate to a new home. Her partner Thomas’ frequent absence and shared substance addiction don’t make that task any easier, and her twelve-year-old son Reggie’s new preoccupation with burial is only going to make it worse. God, you see, has come to Reggie and given him very specific instructions: dig a hole in the ground, put a box inside, climb inside that box, and bury yourself:
“It’ll be like playing hide and seek,” God said.
“I like that game.”
“I know you do, Reggie. Why do you think we’re going to play it?”
Luckily for Reggie, new friends Mikey and Tabby are there to assist him in this task, and it is this initial project that sets off a series of surreally malevolent episodes akin to a diabolical fever dream. Foreman’s story is original and downright creepy, and his imagery is meticulously crafted. Sentences like “Her smoky words swirled with concern” and “A piece of his childhood fell from him, sucked into a void” expertly nail each scene’s atmosphere, painting every chapter with a constant shadow of dread.
At its heart, The Bury Box is a ghost story, and not just of the spectral forms that haunt Lori, Thomas, and Reggie, but of the conversations unsaid and missteps made that hang about a family’s consciousness, refusing to resolve themselves until addressed head-on. As Lorie notes in a panicked foreshadowing, “Maybe that’s how these domestic massacres start. Fear, paranoia, the mind playing practical jokes that go too far.” My only criticism of The Bury Box, and this is rather minor, is that I would have rather this story been the headliner in a collection, a longer anchor piece in a small, similarly-themed group, ala Joyce Carol Oates’ The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, rather than a stand-alone publication. Its images are haunting and guaranteed to stay with you long after you’ve closed the cover.