Leavings - P.D. Cacek Leavings is a collection of mostly morbid short fiction by author P. D. Cacek. From the slightly odd introduction I got the gist that these are earlier writings in her career and perhaps aren't her best work. I thought some of them were pretty darn good and worth checking out if you like dark and gloomy tales. There's a lot of stories in this book so I'll be brief.

Leavings starts things off. It tells the story of an old woman who believes that when one dies bits of their personality are passed on to whoever is near. As her mean spirited husband lay dying in a bed upstairs, she does her best to keep her favorite grandchild away from the bed as he passes. What bothered me most about this story was the fact the she allowed her many other innocent grandchildren and her children to "inherit" his uglier qualities and wasn't concerned in the least about them. I hope they all steer clear of her when she keels over.

Baby Dolls is a sad little tale about a lonely, childless man who works for a woman running a porcelain doll shop. She praises him for his gentleness with her babies and when one of the dolls is damaged in transit he learns that quirkiness isn't the reason she's so careful around the dolls. . . This a good creepy dollie story and was one of my favorites.

Mime Games tells the story of one woman's harrowing lunch hour run-in with a local mime. It says some disturbing things about human nature and isn't easily forgotten.

The Princess is about a spoiled little girl left to her own devices. It's one of those "who is the ghost?" type of stories and isn't at all remarkable.

Gilgamesh Recividus tells the tale of immortal men and . . . unicorns. Despite my undying love for the horned horse this was another that just didn't stick with me.

Ancient One is about a cursed family and the teddy bear passed down through generations that is much more than it seems. I liked this one more than the previous two but thoughts of Koontz's "Tick Tock" featuring a similar type thing kept popping into my head. That's the one where the juju doll comes alive and wreaks havoc on its hapless protagonist and it's one of my favorite books. This story was too similar for my liking.

Tomb with a View has a nice title but less than stellar story. It's about a New York city that is quickly being swallowed up by smog. One man decides to stick it out after nearly everyone else evacuates or dies. He is slowly going mad. In this bizarre tale the rats, the roaches and the underground dwellers move on up to his high rise. This story just never jelled for me.

Under the Haystack is a sad vignette about lost dreams, death and a ghost who may or may not be real.

Heart of Stone is about a heartless man who collects gargoyles. His hobby and callousness end up causing a whole lot of trouble. This would've made a terrific "Tales from the Darkside" episode and I liked it a lot.

Here There Be Dragons is another story that didn't work for me at all. It's about Merlin in the modern world and his search for a man to assist him in locating the holy grail. I was bored and skimmed most of it.

Letting Go is another tale of grief based in reality. Honestly? It was just plain sad. You might want to skip this one if you're feeling blue.

Yrena is about a male predator in post revolution Russia who takes in a homeless waif to use and abuse but discovers she's some sort of vampire. It's morbid and a bit scattered and another that didn't work for me on any level.

The collection ends with Just A Little Bug that revisits the same theme as "Letting Go" and "Under the Haystack" but it's much more painful to read than either of them. It's about a little girl with terminal cancer and though extremely hard to read it makes one step back and think about the fragility of life.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about this collection. Some were okay, some deadly dull and several extremely emotional but honestly I wouldn't reread the book because so many of them are downer's and it left me in a funk.